okay, this is discounting the fact that gods only exist in the minds of those who worship them… this is a purely practical examination of the aspects of hindu gods, in particular… and to be precise, an examination of their clothing.
most depictions of deities are clothed. there are deities which are naked, and part of the devotion to these deities is dressing, undressing, and bathing them, but i’m talking about the deities that are depicted as clothed.
some back-story: a sheriff’s department in tenesee was arrogantly posting on farcebook about how they’ve gotten new stickers for their (publically owned) vehicles that say “IN GOD WE TRUST”. i wrote the following response to their boastful bragging.
my comment received several likes, and a number of supportive comments, despite the sheriff’s complaints, but, eventually, he deleted the entire thread, along with several other comments from other people.
i was somewhat taken aback, as it was my understanding that deletion of comments on a page that is intended to represent a governmental entity such as a sheriff was, at the very least, discouraged, and could potentially be taken as a blatant violation of the laws concerning such things.
so, i upped the ante, and left a review on their page:
after i left the review, i was promptly banned from leaving any comments on the henderson county sheriff’s department farcebook page… which means that i am immortalised on their page, and can’t do anything to change the settings, or respond to any comments.
at the same time, i left the review yesterday, and despite everything, i’ve still got four likes, which i consider to be pretty good, considering everything.
however, when people like Nathan N Angela Reeves posts an absolutely ignorant, idiotic comment, i can’t respond to how stupid they are… so i’m posting it here, because WTF?!?!?!? seriously…
We love God here and we also love Trump. Once he is elected, your voice will truly be less effective.
so… you think that, once #drumpf is elected, people like me will just vanish? you think that we’re going to just let drumpf and his ignorant, ass-backwards policies just run roughshod over the country without making any attempts to stop him. you think BLM is annoying now, just you wait… people like me are going to be making your life orders of magnitude more difficult, and that will just be the beginning.
You are a secular
where did you get that idea? certainly not from me, or anything i wrote… i disagree with you 100%, but the idea that my life is not governed by “anything other than what i want to do” is way out of line.
The bible “which you will not believe I’m sure”
what do you want to bet i know more about the bible than you do?
the bible also says “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
I hope you’re right about “no God”
again, i wonder where you got the idea that i’m saying there’s no God… if you do your research, you’ll discover that i say BOTH that there is no God, and that God exists, at the same time, without contradiction, but i certainly never said that there is no God in any place where you have looked… did you actually read my comments, or did you just knee-jerk respond without even looking up?
I’m a preacher
i’ll just bet you are… i am too, and i guarantee you, i can preach circles around you, buddy… 😉
I’ve been called to the bed of 5-6 dying Atheist
oh, so now you know everything there is to know about every single atheist on the planet… do you realise how mind-bogglingly STUPID that sounds?
obviously, you don’t. 😕
and, once again, i never said anything about being an atheist. in fact, i said, very clearly, at the beginning of my post, that i am a hindu, which leads me to suspect that you don’t know the difference between hindus and atheists. i’m not sure how you got the impression that i am an atheist, but you’re entirely, 100% wrong.
You to sir, will call on the Name of Jesus as you slip into eternity.
This is better, that one do his own task as he may, even though he fail, than to take tasks not his own, though they seem good. To die performing duty is no ill, but who seeks other roads shall wander still.
some of this story suffers from being written by a person (or people) whose native language is not english, but still, there’s enough scientific and journalistic integrity to make me severely wonder what ol’ P.Z. would make of it:
Ahmedabad, Apr 26: Survival of a Hindu ascetic, claimed to be not taking food or water and not passing stool or urine for over 70 years, has baffled the medical fraternity and now defence experts are studying about the miracle man to emulate the practice for soldiers1.
Experts of Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), in collaboration with the doctors of the city-based Sterling Hospital, have launched an observational study of the 81-year-old Prahladbhai Jani alias ‘Mataji’2, who is living in a cave in the temple town of Ambaji in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district.
The round the clock study from April 22 to May 7 will cover all aspects of physiology and biochemistry. The saint is kept in isolation at a special ward in the hospital and even mediapersons were kept out of bounds.
Talking to mediapersons at the hospital, Dr Sudhir Shah, a neurologist, and Dr Ila Wazgan of DIPAS said the main aim of the project is to study how a human being can survive without consuming food or water and not passing stool or urine for so long.
Dr Shah, who had conducted a similar study on the saint in 2003, said ‘There are incidents of prolonged fastings in our country. But they have been taking some water. In the case of Jani, he is not taking any food or water. What is medically more important and baffling is the fact that he is not passing stool or urine’.
The saint has informed the doctors that he has rare ‘Kundalini’ power (serpentine energy), a Yogic feat.3
Explaining the rationale behind the study, Dr Wazgan said ”If we can find out the reason or unveil the mystery behind Mr Jani’s survival without food and water, the study may help in working out strategies in managing calamaty-struck people, soldiers deployed at extremely hostile terrains like high altitude mountains and places with the scarcity of water and food”.
Considering the interest taken by DIPAS, some new parameters have been added to the study, Dr Shah said.
An interesting fact ascertained by doctors is that Mr Jani’s brain is as efficient as that of a 25-year old young man though he is aged 81. There are no signs of aging. Even today he can climb a seven storey building without any exhaustion, said Dr Shah.
The saint has shown evidences of formation of urine, which seems to be reabsorbed from his bladder wall. However, at present the medicos do not have any scientific explanation for the same but help of senior scientists and medical personnel of the country is being taken for the same.
A series of investigations are being carried out on Mr Jani according to a pre-determined protocol and additional tests are carried out as per suggestions of the team.
”If everything is ok with Jani, the study on his condition will continue for ten or 15 days. The defence wing wants to understand what is the structure of Mr Jani’s body, what is special about it, because of which he can survive normally. Whether the same can be replicated in other’s body, is the main question. If the answer is yes, it could be useful for soldiers and astrologers’4, added Dr Wazgan.
As per the details provided by Mr Jani’s followers, at the age of seven years, he left home in search of spiritual unfoldment. At the age of eleven years he was blessed by a goddess. He claims that since that blessing, he has gained his sustenance from nectar that filters down through a hole in his palate5, and has not passed urine or stools since then.
Mr Jani had explained to his followers, ”I get the elixir of life from the hole in my palate, which enables me to go without food and water”. Almost daily Mr Jani enters a state of Samadhi characterised by extreme bliss and enormous light and strength. He says that he has never experienced medical problems. He says that he did not speak for a period of forty-five years.
the closer we get to xmas, the more i am feeling like a jew at a nazi rally, and i am aware of the irony of such a statement a lot more accutely than those of you who may be shocked at the reference.
what i would really like, is to magically transport myself to somewhere where they don’t celebrate xmas for the month of december – and possibly the months of november and january as well – just to get away from the hype that is going on. the commercialism and the politics of the holiday are really starting to get to me, and i still have 10 days until it’s over for another year.
it’s not that i don’t celebrate xmas, and it’s not even that i don’t believe in the “christ” and “god” that are behind the current incarnation of the holiday so much (although that’s another part of the story). what is really disturbing to me is the combination of not being able to turn on the television or the radio without hearing either commercials for products that i know won’t work (like Windows 7), or seeing news reports of people complaining because the greeter at walmart said something, or didn’t say something that was offensive to them… or not… 😐
i was brought up in a family that celebrated the commercial aspects of xmas. we didn’t even have a regular church service that we went to that was on a day other than sunday, and the church services that we went to all the time were pretty ecuminical and inclusive of traditions and cultures that were not specifically “christian”, so when i grew up and learned that some people believed that xmas was for stuff other than getting loads of toys and candy, i didn’t quite understand, but i didn’t really notice that much when the checker at the grocery store wished me a “merry xmas”. as i developed more of a relationship with sanatanadharma (which is what “hinduism” is really called) i started noticing the discontinuity a lot more: the “peace on earth and good will toward men” compared to the war, hunger and poverty that exist in the world, the constant fighting between catholics and protestants, the constant fighting between the christians and the non-christians, and the growing furor over “the war on xmas” came much more to the forefront, and i find it quite distressing.
things like the reference to a woman who compared santa to a swastika take on a meaning that is not immediately obvious to people who believe the swastika is an evil symbol, for example. i can see how santa is a lot like a swastika, and i wouldn’t mind seeing both of them in more common usage, but if there’s going to be an uproar over whether or not to have a swastika in a public display, then there certainly should be just as much uproar over whether or not to have a public holiday that celebrates santa – even if santa is not the "reason for the season".
and, for that matter, if you think about it a little more than most "christians" have, jeezis himself is not the “reason for the season” either. people celebrated the winter solstice for a long time before jeezis showed up, and it’s really only been within the past 200 to 500 years that we’ve had anything at all like what is currently celebrated as xmas, so all of those "war on xmas" fanatics really don’t have a leg to stand on in the first place. but in general, i think that the hindus and jews and buddhists and muslims and animists and even athiests have gone out of their way to accommodate all of the fanatics who insist that they are to be greeted with the phrase "merry xmas" instead of the more ecuminical "happy holidays" in fact, the only reason we have been as accommodating as we have been is because the "christians" are a majority of our population and if we weren’t so willing to give up what we believe in order to make peace, most "christians" wouldn’t have the slightest problem killing us!
what would jesus do, indeed?
i keep feeling like i am totally alone in a society of people who would have no problem killing me if they happened to find out that i don’t believe the way they do, but at the same time, i feel compelled to inform these ignoramuses that they aren’t the only ones on the planet, and that other people – people who believe differently than they do – have just as much right to exist as they do, and what jesus would really do is get along with everyone… which is supposed to be "The Christmas Message" anyway.
please keep in mind that i differentiate between “christians”, christians and Christians. i’ve known about 10 Christians in my entire life, and about half of them were not actually Christians (people like Swami Bhaskarananda, for example). most of the people i have met in my entire life that profess to be Christian are actually “christian” to one degree or another.
during my last couple of years of high school, i was really getting interested in religion, and had started reading the bible and, significantly the gospel of sri ramakrishna, on a regular basis… and already i was getting the very strong impression that what the preacher said from behind his lecturn wasn’t always the way things worked in reality.
a friend and i went to the “christian” church that met in my school’s cafetorium on sunday. i was fairly sure that i wasn’t going to like it, but i wanted to show my friend that you can’t always trust a christian, especially when they’re the ones in charge. i brought my bible, and we were sitting close to the back of the auditorium. i was finding the scriptures the preacher was reading from and noticing right away that if you continued reading, not more than two or three verses later scripture was directly contradicting what the preacher was saying. this happened at least three times, each of which i pointed out to my friend, when the preacher took notice of me, and instructed one of his parishoners to escort my friend and i outside and “explain to them why they are being asked to leave”. we spent the rest of the service sitting on a bench outside the auditorium with my friend and i listening while the guy ranted on about things that i knew were not in the bible, but because of my unfamiliarity with it at the time, i wasn’t able to point out the discrepancies to his satisfaction.
it was at that point that i decided that, if they would only listen to people who made sense when they talked, that “christians” might be able to see the light that truly is Jesus Christ. i decided that i would learn as much as i could about the bible, so that when i encountered such people in the future, i would be prepared. shortly after that, i entered a seminary, where i was a student for seven years.
several years later, i was hanging out with a bunch of people who enjoyed bible study, and we decided that we were going to a halloween party in another part of town. we put on costumes – i was wearing a devil mask, and there was another guy who was wearing a santa claus mask – and we were walking down the street, when a group of people came out of a storefront church and assulted us. they knocked me down and hit a couple of other guys. one of my friends managed to get free and called the police, who said they would be there “eventually” and we never saw them. i was on the ground, surrounded by a whole bunch of angry young men who wouldn’t let me get up, when the “preacher” appeared. i thought everything was going to be okay, but then the “preacher” started chanting what at first sounded like nonsense, but then i realised that he was saying “the only name that can save you is christ, there is no other name” – over and over, without regard to what i was saying or the fact that i was on the ground, surrounded by an angry crowd.
later, the same group of guys and i went to another, bigger storefront church (it was in a building that, appropriately enough, was a porno theater before the church moved in) with hidden tape recorders, and interviewed the people there. one interview in particular was memorable because of the fact that, when asked why the guy was carrying such a large bible, he responded by repeating, several times, “it’s my bazooka”. then he said “i take it, and i aim it at the devil, and i go ‘buhda-duhda-duhda-duhda-duhda-dow’!” needless to say, he knew a lot less about “the ammunition” for his “bazooka” than he let on.
at the same time, i was progressing fairly well in the seminary, but i was feeling more and more uneasy about my relationship with the bible. i read it, and understood what it was saying, but i felt strangely uncomfortable with the words that were being used to convey certain ideas. at one point i approached the headmistress of the seminary with my concerns, and she recommended, since i had a fairly good understanding of the bible, that i read scriptures from other religions, with a mind towards finding similarities with what the bible says. i took this task very seriously, and i read pretty much any scripture i could get my hands on, from the more esoteric teachings of Christianity contained in the Philokalia, the nag hammadi library, the forgotten books of eden, the kebra nagast and others, to the teachings of the qur’aan, the sufis, three different forms of buddhism, the tao, Georges Gurdjieff, Zarathustra, the papyrus of ani, traditional celtic witchcraft, Aleister Crowley, and even several different forms of what is called devil worship or satanism. however when i read the scriptures of hinduism for the first time, i was struck with how much they spoke to my heart, and when i read the bhaghavad gita for the first time it was like i was coming home.
it wasn’t long after that – a matter of two or three years – before i decided that regardless of whether they were making sense or not, some “christians” were simply not going to see the light, regardless of how hard someone tried to convince them. it was at that point that my conversion to hinduism commenced. when i graduated from the seminary, i received my ordination, and two days later i recieved my first diksha as a dedicated hindu.
i’m still coughing intermittently. i went to see chris a few days ago and he gave me some Clear Mountain Air Tea Pills. the recommended dose is 8 pills 3 times a day, but i found that they produce extremely bitter tasting phlegm, and i decided to reduce the dosage to 8 pills once a day because that way the bitter taste was less pronounced.
i’m still rather amused about the disparity between what i read and largely agree with at pharyngula and the stuff, which if PZ myers knew i was reading, would probably put him in a tizzy, namely my general acceptance of things like acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, and hinduism. things like my ear, and my back – i know enough about chiropractic that i can instruct someone who has never done it before in the correct way to “crack” my back to make the pain disappear (and stay gone for 2-3 years) that the doctor said was “a virus” that i would simply have to put up with in my shoulder (when i was in high school) – and the fact that when i take certain homeopathic and/or herbal medicines, things go away a lot more quickly than they would if i were treating them with “conventional” medicines… or the fact that, regardless of how little evidence there is to prove the existence of God, i don’t just believe, i know that God exists, because i am in constant communication with Him (for lack of a better term). i really wonder how a guy who can be rational and reasonable – and, more importantly, correct – so much of the time, can be so pig-headed and ignorant so much of the time. and then i remember that, for all of the proof that i accept as real, i can’t actually show that proof to anyone.
oh well… 😐
i haven’t been posting as much because the weather has been ridiculously hot for the past week or so, and i’ve been keeping the computers turned off as much as possible… and there hasn’t been very much in the way of postable stuff happening anyway, apart from the usual death, destruction and politics. it’s cooler and overcast today, but it’s still pretty hot. i built a shelf for the air conditioner that we got last year – the “universal air conditioner support” that i bought at home depot wouldn’t work – so now, theoretically, all i have to do is block up the rest of the window that remains open when the air conditioner is in use – which i will probably do with styrofoam window insulation – and we’ll have a functioning air conditioner in the house.
i went to a thing that was advertised to me as an “art car” show on tuesday at roosevelt high school. it turned out that Ganesha was the only “real” art car there – there was a local amphibious car, which had an anchor labeled “emergency brake” and was made up to look like a boat, but most of them were “muscle cars”, complete with shiny, polished engine compartments, flames, and trophies. i was really surprised that a roosevelt high school student walked up and asked me if that was sanskrit, and then proceded to talk with me about a sanskrit tattoo that she wanted to get. also one of the roosevelt staff was actually able to read my car, which is unusual under normal conditions, but this lady wasn’t a hindu, and wasn’t from india. she said she was from the philippines, and her father was a pandit, though, and that made all the difference.
i’m going white water rafting in eastern washington tomorrow with st. fred and a bunch of his cronies, including st. gordy of boehnghytte, so i won’t be posting anything tomorrow. if anything outstanding happens, i’ll probably post again on sunday… or whenever i feel like it.