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In-Depth on Reincarnation

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In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  TheSeekingDisciple on Mon May 19, 2014 11:56 pm

Recently, I have been working with Baha'is to set up a youth program. The program is based on the Baha'i faith and so much of the training involves learning about the faith. Through learning about the faith, I have found some of the writings of their authority figures. One in particular is 'Abdu'l-Baha, the son of the founder Baha'ullah. 'Abdu'l-Baha wrote a book called "Some Answered Questions", and in said book, he covers the topic of reincarnation.

As for his arguments, he seems to make some strong arguments. However, I feel he fails to explain why some people have experienced past life regressions and why it is so ubiquitous amongst cultures. He seems to dismiss it as imagination and never really goes into much detail.

My question is: can anyone make a rebuttal to his arguments?
Abdu'l-Baha wrote:Question.—What is the truth of the question of reincarnation, which is believed by some people?
Answer.—The object of what we are about to say is to explain the reality—not to deride the beliefs of other people; it is only to explain the facts; that is all. We do not oppose anyone’s ideas, nor do we approve of criticism.
Know, then, that those who believe in reincarnation are of two classes: one class does not believe in the spiritual punishments and rewards of the other world, and they suppose that man by reincarnation and return to this world gains rewards and recompenses; they consider heaven and hell to be restricted to this world and do not speak of the existence of the other world. Among these there are two further divisions. One division thinks that man sometimes returns to this world in the form of an animal in order to undergo severe punishment and that, after enduring this painful torment, he will be released from the animal world and will come again into the human world; this is called transmigration. The other division thinks that from the human world one again returns to the human world, and that by this return rewards and punishments for a former life are obtained; this is called reincarnation. Neither of these classes speak of any other world besides this one.
The second sort of believers in reincarnation affirm the existence of the other world, and they consider reincarnation the means of becoming perfect—that is, they think that man, by going from and coming again to this world, 283 will gradually acquire perfections, until he reaches the inmost perfection. In other words, that men are composed of matter and force: matter in the beginning—that is to say, in the first cycle—is imperfect, but on coming repeatedly to this world it progresses and acquires refinement and delicacy, until it becomes like a polished mirror; and force, which is no other than spirit, is realized in it with all the perfections.
This is the presentation of the subject by those who believe in reincarnation and transmigration. We have condensed it; if we entered into the details, it would take much time. This summary is sufficient. No logical arguments and proofs of this question are brought forward; they are only suppositions and inferences from conjectures, and not conclusive arguments. Proofs must be asked for from the believers in reincarnation, and not conjectures, suppositions and imaginations.
But you have asked for arguments of the impossibility of reincarnation. This is what we must now explain. The first argument for its impossibility is that the outward is the expression of the inward; the earth is the mirror of the Kingdom; the material world corresponds to the spiritual world. Now observe that in the sensible world appearances are not repeated, for no being in any respect is identical with, nor the same as, another being. The sign of singleness is visible and apparent in all things. If all the granaries of the world were full of grain, you would not find two grains absolutely alike, the same and identical without any distinction. It is certain that there will be differences and distinctions between them. As the proof of uniqueness exists in all things, and the Oneness and Unity of God is apparent in the reality of all things, the repetition of the same appearance is absolutely impossible. Therefore, reincarnation, which is the repeated appearance of the same spirit with its former essence and condition in this same world of appearance, is impossible and unrealizable. 284 As the repetition of the same appearance is impossible and interdicted for each of the material beings, so for spiritual beings also, a return to the same condition, whether in the arc of descent or in the arc of ascent, is interdicted and impossible, for the material corresponds to the spiritual.
Nevertheless, the return of material beings with regard to species is evident; so the trees which during former years brought forth leaves, blossoms and fruits in the coming years will bring forth exactly the same leaves, blossoms and fruits. This is called the repetition of species. If anyone makes an objection saying that the leaf, the blossom and the fruit have been decomposed, and have descended from the vegetable world to the mineral world, and again have come back from the mineral world to the vegetable world, and, therefore, there has been a repetition—the answer is that the blossom, the leaf and the fruit of last year were decomposed, and these combined elements were disintegrated and were dispersed in space, and that the particles of the leaf and fruit of last year, after decomposition, have not again become combined, and have not returned. On the contrary, by the composition of new elements, the species has returned. It is the same with the human body, which after decomposition becomes disintegrated, and the elements which composed it are dispersed. If, in like manner, this body should again return from the mineral or vegetable world, it would not have exactly the same composition of elements as the former man. Those elements have been decomposed and dispersed; they are dissipated in this vast space. Afterward, other particles of elements have been combined, and a second body has been formed; it may be that one of the particles of the former individual has entered into the composition of the succeeding individual, but these particles have not been conserved and kept, exactly and completely, without addition or diminution, so that they may be combined 285 again, and from that composition and mingling another individual may come into existence. So it cannot be proved that this body with all its particles has returned; that the former man has become the latter; and that, consequently, there has been repetition; that the spirit also, like the body, has returned; and that after death its essence has come back to this world.
If we say that this reincarnation is for acquiring perfections so that matter may become refined and delicate, and that the light of the spirit may be manifest in it with the greatest perfection, this also is mere imagination. For, even supposing we believe in this argument, still change of nature is impossible through renewal and return. The essence of imperfection, by returning, does not become the reality of perfection; complete darkness, by returning, does not become the source of light; the essence of weakness is not transformed into power and might by returning, and an earthly nature does not become a heavenly reality. The tree of Zaqqúm, 1 no matter how frequently it may come back, will not bring forth sweet fruit, and the good tree, no matter how often it may return, will not bear a bitter fruit. Therefore, it is evident that returning and coming back to the material world does not become the cause of perfection. This theory has no proofs nor evidences; it is simply an idea. No, in reality the cause of acquiring perfections is the bounty of God.
The Theosophists believe that man on the arc of ascent 2 will return many times until he reaches the Supreme Center; in that condition matter becomes a clear mirror, the light of the spirit will shine upon it with its full power, and essential perfection will be acquired. Now, this is an established and deep theological proposition, that the material worlds are terminated at the end of the arc of descent, and that the condition of man is at the end of the arc 286 of descent, and at the beginning of the arc of ascent, which is opposite to the Supreme Center. Also, from the beginning to the end of the arc of ascent, there are numerous spiritual degrees. The arc of descent is called beginning, 3 and that of ascent is called progress. 4 The arc of descent ends in materialities, and the arc of ascent ends in spiritualities. The point of the compass in describing a circle makes no retrograde motion, for this would be contrary to the natural movement and the divine order; otherwise, the symmetry of the circle would be spoiled.
Moreover, this material world has not such value or such excellence that man, after having escaped from this cage, will desire a second time to fall into this snare. No, through the Eternal Bounty the worth and true ability of man becomes apparent and visible by traversing the degrees of existence, and not by returning. When the shell is once opened, it will be apparent and evident whether it contains a pearl or worthless matter. When once the plant has grown it will bring forth either thorns or flowers; there is no need for it to grow up again. Besides, advancing and moving in the worlds in a direct order according to the natural law is the cause of existence, and a movement contrary to the system and law of nature is the cause of nonexistence. The return of the soul after death is contrary to the natural movement, and opposed to the divine system.
Therefore, by returning, it is absolutely impossible to obtain existence; it is as if man, after being freed from the womb, should return to it a second time. Consider what a puerile imagination this is which is implied by the belief in reincarnation and transmigration. Believers in it consider the body as a vessel in which the spirit is contained, as water is contained in a cup; this water has been taken from one cup and poured into another. This is child’s play. 287 They do not realize that the spirit is an incorporeal being, and does not enter and come forth, but is only connected with the body as the sun is with the mirror. If it were thus, and the spirit by returning to this material world could pass through the degrees and attain to essential perfection, it would be better if God prolonged the life of the spirit in the material world until it had acquired perfections and graces; it then would not be necessary for it to taste of the cup of death, or to acquire a second life.
The idea that existence is restricted to this perishable world, and the denial of the existence of divine worlds, originally proceeded from the imaginations of certain believers in reincarnation; but the divine worlds are infinite. If the divine worlds culminated in this material world, creation would be futile: nay, existence would be pure child’s play. The result of these endless beings, which is the noble existence of man, would come and go for a few days in this perishable dwelling, and after receiving punishments and rewards, at last all would become perfect. The divine creation and the infinite existing beings would be perfected and completed, and then the Divinity of the Lord, and the names and qualities of God, on behalf of these spiritual beings, would, as regards their effect, result in laziness and inaction! “Glory to thy Lord, the Lord Who is sanctified from all their descriptions.” 5
Such were the limited minds of the former philosophers, like Ptolemy and the others who believed and imagined that the world, life and existence were restricted to this terrestrial globe, and that this boundless space was confined within the nine spheres of heaven, and that all were empty and void. Consider how greatly their thoughts were limited and how weak their minds. Those who believe in reincarnation think that the spiritual worlds are restricted to the worlds of human imagination. Moreover, some of them, like the Druzes and the 288 Nusayris, think that existence is restricted to this physical world. What an ignorant supposition! For in this universe of God, which appears in the most complete perfection, beauty and grandeur, the luminous stars of the material universe are innumerable! Then we must reflect how limitless and infinite are the spiritual worlds, which are the essential foundation. “Take heed ye who are endued with discernment.” 6
But let us return to our subject. In the Divine Scriptures and Holy Books “return” is spoken of, but the ignorant have not understood the meaning, and those who believed in reincarnation have made conjectures on the subject. For what the divine Prophets meant by “return” is not the return of the essence, but that of the qualities; it is not the return of the Manifestation, but that of the perfections. In the Gospel it says that John, the son of Zacharias, is Elias. These words do not mean the return of the rational soul and personality of Elias in the body of John, but rather that the perfections and qualities of Elias were manifested and appeared in John.
A lamp shone in this room last night, and when tonight another lamp shines, we say the light of last night is again shining. Water flows from a fountain; then it ceases; and when it begins to flow a second time, we say this water is the same water flowing again; or we say this light is identical with the former light. It is the same with the spring of last year, when blossoms, flowers and sweet-scented herbs bloomed, and delicious fruits were brought forth; next year we say that those delicious fruits have come back, and those blossoms, flowers and blooms have returned and come again. This does not mean that exactly the same particles composing the flowers of last year have, after decomposition, been again combined and have then come back and returned. On the contrary, the meaning is that the delicacy, freshness, delicious perfume and wonderful 289 color of the flowers of last year are visible and apparent in exactly the same manner in the flowers of this year. Briefly, this expression refers only to the resemblance and likeness which exist between the former and latter flowers. The “return” which is mentioned in the Divine Scriptures is this: it is fully explained by the Supreme Pen 7 in the Kitáb-i-Íqán. Refer to it, so that you may be informed of the truth of the divine mysteries.


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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  Erodius on Tue May 20, 2014 12:46 am

Well, first and foremost, the Baha'i religion is an Abrahamic movement, and is, essentially, an offshoot of Shi'a Islam, which vehemently denies any sort of transmigration.

The truth is, one cannot prove or disprove reincarnation. One cannot even prove the existence of a soul at all, at least not 'scientifically.'

I apologize for not having the energy to go point by point to counter the Baha'i argument (I am usually an energetic rebuttal-writer), but I think doing so anyhow would be sort of senseless, for the following reason:

Religious movements that profess palingenesis/reincarnation typically agree on a particular cosmological point, on which they differ from those religions that reject it. Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Jainism, Buddhism, Orphism, and a variety of other related movements all share the idea of the soul itself being essentially co-eternal with the cosmos – i.e. that the souls that exist now have always existed in some form. One-life-only religions, however, like Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Bahaiism generally teach that souls are individually created by God just prior to their being born – i.e. that every soul is a 'new soul'.

In each case, whether there is palingenesis or not is almost interwoven with the fundamental cosmology of the respective religion. The core of Nicene Christian worldview and teaching sort of falls apart if one introduces reincarnation to it, and the inverse is also true on the other hand. Buddhism or Orphism, for instance, cannot really function on a one-life model, the basic structure and cosmology would break down in either case.

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  TheSeekingDisciple on Tue May 20, 2014 9:06 am

I didn't think of it in that sense. Baha'is now-a-days seem to be making efforts to depart from their Abrahamic roots. Although, it still operates primarily from a dualistic Abrahamic paradigm that sees the soul and nature in general as separate from God. Strangely, they have this belief that their ethics and belief system apply to everyone regardless of whether they conform. The rational being that there faith's ethics are universal and that their faith is the most recent legitimate faith (not sure if they're saying Thelema or Wicca are not).
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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  Erodius on Tue May 20, 2014 9:28 am

Strangely, they have this belief that their ethics and belief system apply to everyone regardless of whether they conform. The rational[e] being that there faith's ethics are universal and that their faith is the most recent legitimate faith

It's not so strange at all. I think anyone would be hard-pressed to find any ethical model that does not consider itself to be, essentially, universal. Actually, I would say that, if a given ethical model does not consider itself universal, that its trustworthiness is questionable, because it would be essentially affirming a wishy-washy, relativistic 'morality.'

Bahaiism is certainly a fascinating subject.

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  DavidMcCann on Tue May 20, 2014 6:16 pm

The passage is a bit rambling: perhaps that's why it has such obvious weak points!

1. The fact that two animals or plants are never identical obviously can't be taken to imply that the same soul can't have two bodies at different times. A complete non sequitur.

2. The tree may not change with time, but the human can. Intelligent beings accumulate experience. And even the tree can evolve through the generations, so why not the soul through its incarnations?

3. Why would the soul return? Because it realises it needs to, or because it's still attracted to the world.

4. The claim that belief in reincarnation implied a denial of the spiritual world can only be made by some-one who's never studied the teaching of a religion which accepts reincarnation? Did he not know what moksha means?

Erodius has the gist of it. Baha'i is an offshoot of Islam: those things in the parent that had seemed a problem to its founder were dropped, but the other baggage was retained without question. This passage is an attempt to explain ideas that have already been accepted without question. I've been reading some Hindu philosophy lately — Ramanuja — and he's in a completely different class to this stuff.

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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  TheSeekingDisciple on Tue May 20, 2014 7:21 pm

Erodius wrote:

Religious movements that profess palingenesis/reincarnation typically agree on a particular cosmological point, on which they differ from those religions that reject it. Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Jainism, Buddhism, Orphism, and a variety of other related movements all share the idea of the soul itself being essentially co-eternal with the cosmos – i.e. that the souls that exist now have always existed in some form. One-life-only religions, however, like Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Bahaiism generally teach that souls are individually created by God just prior to their being born – i.e. that every soul is a 'new soul'.

Interestingly enough, I was reading 'Abdu'l-Baha's Some Answered Questions book again. He wrote an article on Real Pre-existance. He actually agrees more with the Dharmic and Orphic standpoint on the soul.

'Abdu'l-Baha wrote:Question.—How many kinds of preexistence and of phenomena are there?
Answer.—Some sages and philosophers believe that there are two kinds of preexistence: essential preexistence and preexistence of time. Phenomena are also of two kinds, essential phenomena and that of time.
Essential preexistence is an existence which is not preceded by a cause, but essential phenomena are preceded by causes. Preexistence of time is without beginning, but the phenomena of time have beginnings and endings; for the existence of everything depends upon four causes—the efficient cause, the matter, the form and the final cause. For example, this chair has a maker who is a carpenter, a substance which is wood, a form which is that of a chair, and a purpose which is that it is to be used as a seat. Therefore, this chair is essentially phenomenal, for it is preceded by a cause, and its existence depends upon causes. This is called the essential and really phenomenal.
Now this world of existence in relation to its maker is a real phenomenon. As the body is sustained by the spirit, it is in relation to the spirit an essential phenomenon. The spirit is independent of the body, and in relation to it the spirit is an essential preexistence. Though the rays are always inseparable from the sun, nevertheless, the sun is preexistent and the rays are phenomenal, for the existence of the rays depends upon that of the sun. But the existence of the sun does not depend upon that of the rays, for the sun is the giver and the rays are the gift. 281
The second proposition is that existence and nonexistence are both relative. If it be said that such a thing came into existence from nonexistence, this does not refer to absolute nonexistence, but means that its former condition in relation to its actual condition was nothingness. For absolute nothingness cannot find existence, as it has not the capacity of existence. Man, like the mineral, is existing; but the existence of the mineral in relation to that of man is nothingness, for when the body of man is annihilated it becomes dust and mineral. But when dust progresses into the human world, and this dead body becomes living, man becomes existing. Though the dust—that is to say, the mineral—has existence in its own condition, in relation to man it is nothingness. Both exist, but the existence of dust and mineral, in relation to man, is nonexistence and nothingness; for when man becomes nonexistent, he returns to dust and mineral.
Therefore, though the world of contingency exists, in relation to the existence of God it is nonexistent and nothingness. Man and dust both exist, but how great the difference between the existence of the mineral and that of man! The one in relation to the other is nonexistence. In the same way, the existence of creation in relation to the existence of God is nonexistence. Thus it is evident and clear that although the beings exist, in relation to God and to the Word of God they are nonexistent. This is the beginning and the end of the Word of God, Who says: “I am Alpha and Omega”; for He is the beginning and the end of Bounty. The Creator always had a creation; the rays have always shone and gleamed from the reality of the sun, for without the rays the sun would be opaque darkness. The names and attributes of God require the existence of beings, and the Eternal Bounty does not cease. If it were to, it would be contrary to the perfections of Go.

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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  Erodius on Tue May 20, 2014 8:42 pm

I cannot find much in that passage of Abdu'l-Baha that I would dispute, aside, however, from a part of his conclusion:

Therefore, though the world of contingency exists, in relation to the existence of God it is nonexistent and nothingness. Man and dust both exist, but how great the difference between the existence of the mineral and that of man! The one in relation to the other is nonexistence. In the same way, the existence of creation in relation to the existence of God is nonexistence.

This seems to me to anthropomorphize God in seeming to advocate that, because we as human beings tend to think of dust as 'nothingness', that God has a similar conception of the world in turn.

Of course, Bahaiism, with its monosomatic monotheism inherited from Islam, here differs from both the Dharmic and Orpheo-Pythagorean religions, which might be accurately called polysomatic monotheisms, in which God is still one, but is considered to exist in both a single, unifying Nirguṇa/Ἄρρητος essence, as well as in multiple Saguṇa/Ῥητός personalities.

In Orphic theology, for instance, it is considered that every microcosm of the universe represents a complete reflection of its macrocosm, with every divine power reflected likewise. Every cosmos, from far off stars in distant constellations, to the cells in my own right hand, to the dust Abdu'l-Baha seems to look down upon so severely, is full of God.

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  TheSeekingDisciple on Tue May 20, 2014 8:47 pm

DavidMcCann wrote:The passage is a bit rambling: perhaps that's why it has such obvious weak points!

1. The fact that two animals or plants are never identical obviously can't be taken to imply that the same soul can't have two bodies at different times. A complete non sequitur.

Sorry to double post, I am a bit scatterbrained. I thought what he may have been saying that the body and soul are so connected that the soul is unique like the body. Which does make sense in a way. However, if the soul exists before the body and is a spark of God (the writer supports this too) it would be reasonable to assume that the soul has no real form or appearance. I had asked my Baha'i friends if the God was "formless" and if the soul was a ''fragment" of God; they answered yes to both questions.

Thank you for your perspectives.
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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  Erodius on Tue May 20, 2014 9:13 pm

that the soul has no real form or appearance.


Perhaps for the mortal eye, no — but another feature common to Dharmic, Vajrayana Buddhist, and Orpheo-Pythagorean theology (I am less familiar with Jain or exoteric Buddhist conception of the material qualities of soul) is the affirmation that the soul/consciousness does have an incorrupt,  sublime/aetherial body, which is its true body, in addition to the gross/corruptible body. Both are real, physical, material forms, it is simply that the aetherial body is imperceptible to the hylic eye.

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  TheSeekingDisciple on Tue May 20, 2014 9:34 pm

Erodius wrote:
that the soul has no real form or appearance.


Perhaps for the mortal eye, no — but another feature common to Dharmic, Vajrayana Buddhist, and Orpheo-Pythagorean theology (I am less familiar with Jain or exoteric Buddhist conception of the material qualities of soul) is the affirmation that the soul/consciousness does have an incorrupt,  sublime/aetherial body, which is its true body, in addition to the gross/corruptible body. Both are real, physical, material forms, it is simply that the aetherial body is imperceptible to the hylic eye.

I can agree with that. I am not unfamiliar with this. From reading Hinduism, I have found the ideology that a person's chosen deity resides in their heart (I.e. spiritual core or "Self") and the chakras. Each of these can be explored with meditation or what some would call "a pilgrimage to holy sites within."
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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  De Li on Wed May 21, 2014 10:20 am

Erodius wrote:
...
In Orphic theology, for instance, it is considered that every microcosm of the universe represents a complete reflection of its macrocosm, with every divine power reflected likewise. Every cosmos, from far off stars in distant constellations, to the cells in my own right hand, to the dust Abdu'l-Baha seems to look down upon so severely, is full of God.

Erodius wrote: ... another feature common to Dharmic, Vajrayana Buddhist, and Orpheo-Pythagorean theology (I am less familiar with Jain or exoteric Buddhist conception of the material qualities of soul) is the affirmation that the soul/consciousness does have an incorrupt,  sublime/aetherial body, which is its true body, in addition to the gross/corruptible body. Both are real, physical, material forms, it is simply that the aetherial body is imperceptible to the hylic eye.

Dear Erodius,
as both orthodox advaita Hindu Shakta and Orphic I struggle to reconcile the idea of the soul's end-stasis still being physical: on the one hand the soul would still be connected to Physis respectively Prakriti, but on the other hand -and at the same time- would have reached it's end-stasis?
The advaita (non-dual) concept of Moksha in Sanatana Dharma is that the distinction between jivatma (the soul as a 'individual self' and Paramatma (The Supreme Soul which is identical to Brahman, the One Reality) is extinct.
If a soul retains an [aethir] body - where would this body be "located"? Or to put it another way: if the soul in it's end-stasis of Moksha is "God" (Brahman) and "God" is everywhere that would logically lead to the conclusion that the liberated soul also has to be everywhere (?)

I'd be extremely interested to hear your metaphysical theory on this.
(If this were too much off topic and/or your response were to be too much off the focus of this forum, please do write to me privately)

Yours gratefully,

De Li
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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  DavidMcCann on Wed May 21, 2014 2:01 pm

On the idea of a persisting subtle body, I find that odd. I suspect it's a hang-over from a Stoic-type materialist phase that Hindu philosophy went through. It gives you three substances — soul, subtle body, and matter — where only two seem necessary.

The advaita view is of course a minority opinion in Hinduism, in so far as the normal practitioner of a religion ever bothers with metaphysics anyway. It raises the question that if we are part of God, how come we never notice? As Ramanuja said, you end up with a vicious circle: we're separate because we're ignorant and we're ignorant because we're separate. I think it comes from considering mystical experiences, where the soul feels united to God, but ignoring numinous ones, where God is perceived as other. The better-known Upanishads recount the former, but the Gita has the latter. A few people manage to have both, like Teresa of Avila.


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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  De Li on Wed May 21, 2014 4:42 pm

DavidMcCann wrote:On the idea of a persisting subtle body, I find that odd. I suspect it's a hang-over from a Stoic-type materialist phase that Hindu philosophy went through. It gives you three substances — soul, subtle body, and matter — where only two seem necessary.

The advaita view is of course a minority opinion in Hinduism, in so far as the normal practitioner of a religion ever bothers with metaphysics anyway. It raises the question that if we are part of God, how come we never notice? As Ramanuja said, you end up with a vicious circle: we're separate because we're ignorant and we're ignorant because we're separate. I think it comes from considering mystical experiences, where the soul feels united to God, but ignoring numinous ones, where God is perceived as other. The better-known Upanishads recount the former, but the Gita has the latter. A few people manage to have both, like Teresa of Avila.


It is very true that the majority of Hindus -and religious people in general- are bhaktas (followers of the devotional yoga). And indeed, dvaita Vaishnavism is very much a bhakti religion and jnana yoga and metaphysics are pushed to the margin, if existent at all. My path within Sanatana Dharma is the one of jnana - Knowledge; and we Jnanis are all about metaphysics  Wink . (This goes hand in hand with my -almost religious- devotion to Logic.)
Bhakti -for me personally- is where Orphismos / Hellenismos comes in. (Which is not to say that metaphysics and/or Jnana were not essential to Orphismos, too - from all I can say, they very much are.)

I wouldn't say that the Upanishads are better-known than the Gita (assuming you mean the Bhagavad Gita, as there are numeral 'Songs') - the BG is foundational to modern Hindu Bhakti religions / Vaishnavism.
And yes, as my Shakta teacher says: what keeps us from awakening simultaneously and realising that there is no separation is the 'Beautiful Lie' of Maya...
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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  Erodius on Wed May 21, 2014 6:48 pm

Dear Erodius,
as both orthodox advaita Hindu Shakta and Orphic I struggle to reconcile the idea of the soul's end-stasis still being physical: on the one hand the soul would still be connected to Physis respectively Prakriti, but on the other hand -and at the same time- would have reached it's end-stasis?

The advaita (non-dual) concept of Moksha in Sanatana Dharma is that the distinction between jivatma (the soul as a 'individual self' and Paramatma (The Supreme Soul which is identical to Brahman, the One Reality) is extinct.
If a soul retains an [aethir] body - where would this body be "located"? Or to put it another way: if the soul in it's end-stasis of Moksha is "God" (Brahman) and "God" is everywhere that would logically lead to the conclusion that the liberated soul also has to be everywhere (?)

In terms of Indic lines, I am a Shaivasiddhanti, which rests somewhere in the middle between total Advaita and total Dvaita – perhaps a certain variety of Viśiṣṭādvaita, where I would also say Orphic ontology sits. Diverging from the pure Dvaita Samkhya frame, on the full existential scale, Puruṣa/Συνεχής/Aether and Prakṛti/Μεριστή/Chaos are ontologically one, but on the level of cosmic manifestation, they are separate. They must be, in order to interact and bring about the cosmos. When they are indistinctly united, that is, I would say, during the 'Night of Brahmā', when existence is dormant. In the Orphic doctrine, one could say there are two levels of Φύσις, and this is evident in OH-10. On one hand, there is the manifest Φύσις, equated with the material world, but Φύσις is also equated with the nondual, pre-generation Protogonus. As such, ultimately, both cosmogonic substances are material. From the Orphic frame, there is nothing that is not Φύσις. Thus, yes, even the ectheotic soul is physical, but it is not of the same state of matter as the body, for instance.

At least as long as the universe remains manifest, the Orphic and Shaivasiddhanta conception of mokṣa/ectheosis retains a certain type of distinction between the soul and God. At the event of primary ectheosis, the soul becomes a microcosmic God – however, the event of deification is not the end of the line. It is simply that the soul has departed the corrupted and mortal ontological level and returned to the immortal level. There are, even still, however, further steps to climb, as the Orphic Logos describes beyond the 9th House, even in the immortal realm.

In Orphic/Neoplatonic reckoning, the basally-deified soul resides in the aetherially-governed domains of the Ensouled Stars above the Moon, which are the orbits of the planets. If you mean the finally-deified soul, which is the henotic soul, then, yes, it is identical with the nonduality of the supreme and ineffable God-source.

It gives you three substances — soul, subtle body, and matter — where only two seem necessary.

I am not quite as familiar with the Advaita frame here, but the Orphic frame does not recognize three substances either, only two. The soul is not considered to reside in a subtle body, it is the subtle body.

There is only soul-matter and body-matter. Although, as I mentioned, if you really want to press the question all the way to the end, ultimately, soul-matter and body-matter are mutually related. They are both Being/Ὄν/Φύσις-Αὐτοπάτωρ.

Does that make sense? Or am I just confusing the matter more?

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"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  DavidMcCann on Wed May 21, 2014 6:54 pm

By "better-known Upanishads" I meant the Mukhya Upanishads. One would have to be very dedicated to have read every Upanishad! I'm more of a jnana than a bhakti personality, but I don't find Advaita convincing. Maya? Who's fooling whom? If I'm an aspect of God, is he fooling himself? But I think we're getting too far from Greece here!

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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  De Li on Thu May 22, 2014 10:34 am

DavidMcCann wrote:By "better-known Upanishads" I meant the Mukhya Upanishads. One would have to be very dedicated to have read every Upanishad! I'm more of a jnana than a bhakti personality, but I don't find Advaita convincing. Maya? Who's fooling whom? If I'm an aspect of God, is he fooling himself? But I think we're getting too far from Greece here!
Yes, I guess you are right David, and this strays too far away from the scope of this forum. Which is why I won't get into this any further here (as much as I'd like to). Just so you know I'm not ignoring you  Smile 

However, I have to remark, that I note with pleasure that the parallel between Hinduism and Hellenismos is well known and acknowledged, and there seem to be a lot of Hellenists who draw on parallels to Sanatana Dharma  Smile
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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Thu May 22, 2014 10:44 am

De Li wrote:
DavidMcCann wrote:By "better-known Upanishads" I meant the Mukhya Upanishads. One would have to be very dedicated to have read every Upanishad! I'm more of a jnana than a bhakti personality, but I don't find Advaita convincing. Maya? Who's fooling whom? If I'm an aspect of God, is he fooling himself? But I think we're getting too far from Greece here!
Yes, I guess you are right David, and this strays too far away from the scope of this forum. Which is why I won't get into this any further here (as much as I'd like to). Just so you know I'm not ignoring you  Smile 

However, I have to remark, that I note with pleasure that the parallel between Hinduism and Hellenismos is well known and acknowledged, and there seem to be a lot of Hellenists who draw on parallels to Sanatana Dharma  Smile 

From the cursory glances I have given it, I'd venture to say that certain branches of both religions are essentially the same religion through different cultural lenses (namely Orphism and Saiva Siddhanta, from the peeks of Saiva Sidhanta's theology I've seen; I really should study it more Laughing)

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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  Erodius on Thu May 22, 2014 1:04 pm

From the cursory glances I have given it, I'd venture to say that certain branches of both religions are essentially the same religion through different cultural lenses (namely Orphism and Saiva Siddhanta, from the peeks of Saiva Sidhanta's theology I've seen; I really should study it more  Laughing )

The sages of the 3rd-5th century Orpheo-Pythagorean revival, which developed with and into Neoplatonism, certainly thought so, such that Apollonius of Tyana, probably the most directly revered of the revival-era sages, traveled to north India, through Persia, to study with groups of sages there that were called, in Greek, βραχμάνες – i.e. 'brahmins'.

There are actually some scholars who consider there to exist a direct relationship between India and the Late-Antique revival, tracing it to the founding figure of the revival, a poorly-known man called Ammonius-Saccas, who taught Plotinus, the 'first Neoplatonist.' Ammonius is now often considered by scholars to have been either Indian himself, or of Indian-immigrant heritage, both based on Porphyrius' testament that Saccas highly esteemed India and Indic philosophy, and the probable etymology of his surname 'Saccas', which, because it is occasionally placed before his actual name Ammonius in written texts, is most likely a designation of origin, which was a routine way of specifying a person in Antiquity, when most people only had a first name. 'Saccas' is now usually considered to be a Hellenization of Śākya (pronounced Sākka or Śākka in the spoken Prakrit), which at that point in time, was used as a sort of general term for North Indian nobility, being originally a particularly powerful noble clan of north-central India.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
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"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  DavidMcCann on Thu May 22, 2014 1:55 pm

In Antiquity, Hinduism was rather eclipsed by the Buddhist and Jain faiths, although the epics were being written in Hellenistic/Roman times. But the Ancients certainly knew Buddhism. Ashoka had sent missionaries to several states, and one early Christian {Clement of Alexandria?} described Buddha as a philosopher whose modern followers treat him as if he were divine.

But as Maximus of Tyre wrote, "…there is one God, the ruler and father of all things, and many gods, children of God, ruling together with him. This the Greek says, and the barbarian…" Religious experiences are the same everywhere (although interpretations obviously vary) and philosophers will reach similar conclusions reflecting on them.

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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  Erodius on Thu May 22, 2014 2:25 pm

one early Christian {Clement of Alexandria?} described Buddha as a philosopher whose modern followers treat him as if he were divine.

If my memory serves me right, you are correct. It might've been Origen, but I'm fairly sure it was indeed Clement of Alexandria.

But as Maximus of Tyre wrote, "…there is one God, the ruler and father of all things, and many gods, children of God, ruling together with him. This the Greek says, and the barbarian…" Religious experiences are the same everywhere (although interpretations obviously vary) and philosophers will reach similar conclusions reflecting on them.

Agreed.

PS- It's been a while since I've heard anyone bring up Maximus Tyrius. His First Discourse is among my top favorite texts, and probably my favorite pre-4th century philosophical work.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  De Li on Thu May 22, 2014 3:29 pm

Great thread!  Smile 
Just an add here to the '3 bodies' - these are sthula sharira i.e. the physical body, sukshma sharira i.e. the subtle body, and karana sharira i.e. the causal body.
The physical body of the three-tiered model is actually comprised of 2 sheaths i.e. anna maya kosha i.e. the physical matter and prana maya kosha i.e. the energy body or life force sheath; and the subtle body is also comprised of 2 sheaths i.e. mana maya kosha i.e. the mental body or thought energy sheath and vijnana maya kosha i.e. the sheath of higher wisdom / intelligence; the causal body is ananda maya kosha i.e. the spiritual body or mystical awareness sheath.
So we have 5 bodies and 3 Selves or Worlds (hence titles like 'Tripura Sundari' for Shakti Devi meaning the most beautiful Goddess of the Three Cities / Worlds).
The deified body of pure aethir would equate to the causal body rather than the subtle body, as the subtle body is bound to our current incarnation and passes away when the causal body re-incarnates - which is why we can't remember our previous lives - unless the person was spiritually trained and carried the awareness of the subtle body into the next life.

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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  De Li on Thu May 22, 2014 4:44 pm

Erodius wrote:
Dear Erodius,
as both orthodox advaita Hindu Shakta and Orphic I struggle to reconcile the idea of the soul's end-stasis still being physical: on the one hand the soul would still be connected to Physis respectively Prakriti, but on the other hand -and at the same time- would have reached it's end-stasis?

The advaita (non-dual) concept of Moksha in Sanatana Dharma is that the distinction between jivatma (the soul as a 'individual self' and Paramatma (The Supreme Soul which is identical to Brahman, the One Reality) is extinct.
If a soul retains an [aethir] body - where would this body be "located"? Or to put it another way: if the soul in it's end-stasis of Moksha is "God" (Brahman) and "God" is everywhere that would logically lead to the conclusion that the liberated soul also has to be everywhere (?)

In terms of Indic lines, I am a Shaivasiddhanti, which rests somewhere in the middle between total Advaita and total Dvaita – perhaps a certain variety of Viśiṣṭādvaita, where I would also say Orphic ontology sits. Diverging from the pure Dvaita Samkhya frame, on the full existential scale, Puruṣa/Συνεχής/Aether and Prakṛti/Μεριστή/Chaos are ontologically one, but on the level of cosmic manifestation, they are separate. They must be, in order to interact and bring about the cosmos. When they are indistinctly united, that is, I would say, during the 'Night of Brahmā', when existence is dormant. In the Orphic doctrine, one could say there are two levels of Φύσις, and this is evident in OH-10. On one hand, there is the manifest Φύσις, equated with the material world, but Φύσις is also equated with the nondual, pre-generation Protogonus. As such, ultimately, both cosmogonic substances are material. From the Orphic frame, there is nothing that is not Φύσις. Thus, yes, even the ectheotic soul is physical, but it is not of the same state of matter as the body, for instance.

At least as long as the universe remains manifest, the Orphic and Shaivasiddhanta conception of mokṣa/ectheosis retains a certain type of distinction between the soul and God. At the event of primary ectheosis, the soul becomes a microcosmic God – however, the event of deification is not the end of the line. It is simply that the soul has departed the corrupted and mortal ontological level and returned to the immortal level. There are, even still, however, further steps to climb, as the Orphic Logos describes beyond the 9th House, even in the immortal realm.

In Orphic/Neoplatonic reckoning, the basally-deified soul resides in the aetherially-governed domains of the Ensouled Stars above the Moon, which are the orbits of the planets. If you mean the finally-deified soul, which is the henotic soul, then, yes, it is identical with the nonduality of the supreme and ineffable God-source.

It gives you three substances — soul, subtle body, and matter — where only two seem necessary.

I am not quite as familiar with the Advaita frame here, but the Orphic frame does not recognize three substances either, only two. The soul is not considered to reside in a subtle body, it is the subtle body.

There is only soul-matter and body-matter. Although, as I mentioned, if you really want to press the question all the way to the end, ultimately, soul-matter and body-matter are mutually related. They are both Being/Ὄν/Φύσις-Αὐτοπάτωρ.

Does that make sense? Or am I just confusing the matter more?

Dear Erodius,
thank you, I find this reply very helpful  Smile However, I have follow-up questions (if I may)  Wink 
1. Φύσις = Ousia? (please give translation / transliteration for ancient Greek - I can't understand it [yet])
2. What does OH-10 mean?
3. if the henotic soul is identical with the God-Source (i.e. Brahman / ParaShiva / Shakti-Brahman) - does such a soul still retain a [atherial] body? - if yes, how would that work?
4. What does the basally-deified soul "do"? And how do the steps of progression look like beyond the 9th House?
5. Do the [Olympian] Gods continue to assist the soul in her progression beyond the 9th House?

And finally I note that Orphismos apparently has at least 2 forms of the equivalent of Moksha i.e. Ectheosis and Henosis - in advaita Shaktam (the school I'm being taught in) only accepts the latter as Moksha; however, the first brakes the cycle of samsara and therefore qualifies as moksha. It seems that Hinduism -at least Puranic Hinduism- does not have the Orphic middle steps between Ectheosis and Henosis -- once the soul breaks free from samsara, she merges with the pure God-consciousness.


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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  Erodius on Thu May 22, 2014 4:56 pm

I think it really gets into intricacies and technicalities here; whether the Thymetic/middle body is really an essential, or instead the interaction of the bipartite soul and material body, which would thus naturally be dissolved permanently upon each separation at death. I tend to think more that it is so – i.e. that it depends on the interaction.

This is, however, coming from the specifically Orphic doctrine of the cyclic soul being a composite soul.

Dear Erodius,
thank you, I find this reply very helpful.  Very Happy  However, I have follow-up questions (if I may)   Wink 
1. Φύσις = Ousia? (please give translation / transliteration for ancient Greek - I can't understand it [yet])
2. What does OH-10 mean?
3. if the henotic soul is identical with the God-Source (i.e. Brahman / ParaShiva / Shakti-Brahman) - does such a soul still retain a [atherial] body? - if yes, how would that work?
4. What does the basally-deified soul "do"? And how do the steps of progression look like beyond the 9th House?
5. Do the [Olympian] Gods continue to assist the soul in her progression beyond the 9th House?

And finally I note that Orphismos apparently has at least 2 forms of the equivalent of Moksha i.e. Ectheosis and Henosis - in advaita Shaktam (the school I'm being taught in) only accepts the latter as Moksha; however, the first brakes the cycle of samsara and therefore qualifies as moksha. It seems that Hinduism -at least Puranic Hinduism- does not have the Orphic middle steps between Ectheosis and Henosis -- once the soul breaks free from samsara, she merges with the pure God-consciousness.


1. Φύσις means 'Nature' or 'Existence'. It is a name both for the Firstborn, and for the material Earth; 'physics' being the study of material things and their behavior.
2. OH-10 = Orphic Hymn #10.
3. That's getting almost beyond what even I can express easily. At the ineffability of the henotic level, there no longer exists any cosmic duality or differentiation. Henosis is supercosmic, and beyond even the separated existence of the cosmogonic substances necessary for cosmic being. The soul no longer has distinct existence at all, but is identical in every way with the ineffable Absolute. Or so is as best as any of us can comprehend it. Truly, we are not able, obviously, to describe what is outside of our frame of existence, what un-manifest being is like.
4. The Orphic teaching, at least as the extant lineage preserves for us, as you might know from our teacher, does not express the 'Ladder' (as it was often called in Antiquity) beyond the Twelfth House, perhaps simply because it is not considered necessary for a worldly embodied soul to be instructed any further than that, because beyond the Ninth, the soul is no longer sublunar, and so its instruction then comes directly from God, rather than via mystagogy. As far as the 10th-12th Houses and beyond, as far as the Orphic Logos describes them, it appears that they are a re-start of the 1st-9th Houses, but in the immortal, rather than mortal, reality. The 10-12th, for instance, have the same names as the 1-3rd, but are simply described as being supermundane, rather than mundane.
5. Yes, essentially – however, in supermundane/superlunary/empyrean forms, rather than mundane/sublunar forms. Just as Mercury (House 10), being the divine words of instruction/blueprint is the empyrean equivalent of Vulcan (House 1)*, being the material implementation of those blueprints, and Jove (11) is of Mars (2), and Ceres (12) is of Dictynna (3), by extension there exists an empyrean form of Vesta (4) at the otherwise unnamed 13th House, and so on and so forth, until the Ladder reaches the highest seat of the cosmos. As to how many Houses/rungs of the Ladder there actually are, I don't know. The Orphic teaching, being geared toward earthbound mortals, doesn't map the road that far, and those few sages who may have attained a temporary henotic experience of their souls while alive, do not, as far as I have ever come across, describe what is 'out there.' The conception being that, if you can make it that far, you won't need directions anymore beyond that.

The contemporary Orphic congregations, as far as I am taught, keep a more zoomed-in/focused perspective, and concentrate almost totally on the 1st deification/Final Death, ectheosis – the liberation from mortality. However, historically, and in the Neoplatonic circles, the 1st deification is only a first step on another road. One godhood is achieved, it is considered that the deified soul must then progress through the myriad ranks of daemones, angels and deities until reaching the ultimate, final destination.

*I am describing here the Manilian system, rather than the system in contemporary Orphic use, because I believe it is more accurate. The only difference between the two being the inversion of Vulcan and Vesta in the contemporary Orphic system.


Last edited by Erodius on Thu May 22, 2014 5:40 pm; edited 2 times in total

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  De Li on Thu May 22, 2014 4:59 pm

Aktaion wrote:
De Li wrote:
DavidMcCann wrote:By "better-known Upanishads" I meant the Mukhya Upanishads. One would have to be very dedicated to have read every Upanishad! I'm more of a jnana than a bhakti personality, but I don't find Advaita convincing. Maya? Who's fooling whom? If I'm an aspect of God, is he fooling himself? But I think we're getting too far from Greece here!
Yes, I guess you are right David, and this strays too far away from the scope of this forum. Which is why I won't get into this any further here (as much as I'd like to). Just so you know I'm not ignoring you  Smile 

However, I have to remark, that I note with pleasure that the parallel between Hinduism and Hellenismos is well known and acknowledged, and there seem to be a lot of Hellenists who draw on parallels to Sanatana Dharma  Smile 

From the cursory glances I have given it, I'd venture to say that certain branches of both religions are essentially the same religion through different cultural lenses (namely Orphism and Saiva Siddhanta, from the peeks of Saiva Sidhanta's theology I've seen; I really should study it more Laughing)

That is exactly how I see it!  Smile Which is why I live and explore the path of Shakta Hindu & Orphic-Neoplatonic syncretism  Smile 

(As you probably know, Shaktism and Shaivism are very close theologically - the difference in a nutshell being that we Shaktas regard Brahman as a child of Shakti and our theology -or maybe I should say thealogy?- extends Brahman; whereas Shaivas see Brahman as ParaShiva and Shakti as His power, because even Shiva can't do anything without Shakti  Wink )
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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Thu May 22, 2014 5:16 pm

De Li wrote:
That is exactly how I see it!  Smile Which is why I live and explore the path of Shakta Hindu & Orphic-Neoplatonic syncretism  Smile 

(As you probably know, Shaktism and Shaivism are very close theologically - the difference in a nutshell being that we Shaktas regard Brahman as a child of Shakti and our theology -or maybe I should say thealogy?- extends Brahman; whereas Shaivas see Brahman as ParaShiva and Shakti as His power, because even Shiva can't do anything without Shakti  Wink )

Which, to me, rings of our Phanes and Nyx, Phanes being the Light that shines forth to reveal the Forms hidden in the Cave of Nyx. His light would have nothing to shine on if not for Nyx.

But as I said, my knowledge of Hindu philosophies is extremely limited xD

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Re: In-Depth on Reincarnation

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