Thursday, 29 September 2011

Catholic Croatia going nuts on Hinduism ?

Two days ago I came back from Medjugorje. My last stop was in Split – a beautiful city (second biggest in Croatia) on the coast. Wondering the street at the dawn I couldn’t stop noticing the posters advertising Yoga. I was even more puzzled as few days ago, on my trip to Medjugorje from Split I met a young lady who was (as she described herself) a ‘nun’ in the Bhakti Marga community – a community of Guru Sri Swami Vishwenanda. Her main purpose to visit Split was to assist the ‘guru’.

I was really puzzled – such a concentration of Hinduism in Roman Catholic Croatia. I checked the latest data about the religion in Croatia – yep, still Catholic (88%), then Orthodox, then Atheism or Agnostism and the others. Well, it doesn’t say Hindu to my knowledge. What is really going on here ? Why that confusion ?

I was amazed to discover so many yoga centers in Croatia, enough to check Wikipedia.
It also says that : “a Croat-Indian Society set up in June 1994 has been active in organizing social and cultural events including classical dance performances, animation films based on Indian mythology, various documentaries on India and its traditions. An Agreement of Cooperation was signed between the Diplomatic Academy of Croatia and the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi in January 2000. Seven Croatian diplomats have attended the Professional Course for Foreign Diplomats (PCFD) at FSI, New Delhi. Shri Santosh Kumar, Secretary & Dean (FSI) attended the conference of Deans at Dubrovnik, Croatia, on 29-30 September 2003.”
One videos on YouTube are quite revealing: for example Hindu Converts In Rjeka

People are in spiritual search but their search is not genuine. There is luck of fundamental knowledge about Eastern Religions. And there is lots of manipulation creating confusion.

Let’s take the case of the mention guru Sri Swami Vishwenanda and its Bhakti Marga Yoga community. In Hinduism Bhakti is a term for religious devotion, understood as active involvement of a devotee in divine worship. Bhakti Yoga is described by Swami Vivekananda (we already talked about him – he was the instrumental person in bringing yoga to the West) as "the path of systematized devotion for the attainment of union with the Absolute".

The discussion I had with my befriended “follower” was about God, their beliefs, devotion, purpose, meaning, love, etc. I found it really confusing as she stressed that their belief is a combination of Orthodox Christianity with Hinduism (even though when you look at their website is a pure Hinduism with few icons of Our Lady). They have a votive chapel with relicts but she couldn’t name any saints of who the relicts belong to. To my amazement she knew very well some readings of Saint Teresa of Avila (Interior Castle – she explained that Seven Mansions were like seven chakras) or Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque and The Sacret Heart of Jesus (omitting that the visions were about a form of the devotion, the chief features being reception of Holy Communion on the First Friday Devotions of each month, the Eucharistic adoration during the Holy Hour on Thursdays, and the celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart).
It did not surprise me at all, when asked how this all started for her, she named yoga and reiki as initial practices. I will repeat my mantra but those practices are like open door to different reality. Not mentioning that they can take you for a real magic trip where devil will start to do his work. I repeat after Father Amorth: those practices may lead to possession and some supernatural experiences are already a serious warning. And to my sad surprise my befriended “follower” did experience some of them.
I don’t know that community well enough but all that she told me seem to me a mishmash of Hinduism and Christianity (the second one being more for familiarity and smoother conversion of the Westerners). 

There is a great post from South Africa about the dangers of that Community and its leader. 
Many facts are presented, among them one that is a clear sacrilege:

“Swami Vishwananda was recently indicted in Switzerland for stealing relics from a church. He explained this behavior to some brahmacharis by stating that “Jesus told him to do it” and that it was not wrong because he did not profit from stealing the relics, i.e. he did not resell them to anyone so it was OK. Swami has on occasion actually worn costumes, dressed as an orthodox priest, to gain entry into churches in an effort to acquire relics. It is well-known that Swami frequently visits churches in France and other countries in search of relics. Why is this such a passion for him? Is it possible that he gets power through the relics? Why else would it be important enough for him to have that he is willing to face prosecution for acting illegally?
On Obedience (my acquaintance did mention something like that)
“Whenever something is asked from me or me through an appointed person, it has to be done without delay. If it comes from me directly, it has to be done without thinking about it and without asking questions.” – Swami Vishwananda.

Sounds to me like a sect! How come those things can exist and flourish in any country, helas in Catholic country is a mystery … or the work of evil!

My trip left me perplexed about the state of our faith in one of most Catholic countries in Europe – Croatia. Someone told me once that New Age will enter the religious countries via false mysticism and false spirituality – the ground is there, it just needs some adjustments. 

I will pray for my befriended “follower” that her heart turns into the real truth and light. May Our Lady of Medjugorje protects her and guides her to Our Lord, Jesus Christ (a real one, not a manifestation of supreme Brahman). 

And anyone involved I fully recommend a book: A death of a Guru - The story of Rabi Maharaj

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Modern Primitives

Modern primitives or urban primitives are people in developed nations who engage in body modification rituals and practices while making reference or homage to the rite of passage practices in "primitive cultures" These practices may include body piercing, tattooing, play piercing, flesh hook suspension, corset training, scarification, branding, and cutting. The motivation for engaging in these varied practices may be personal growth, rite of passage, or spiritual or sexual curiosity.
Roland Loomis, also known as Fakir Musafar, is considered the father of the modern primitive movement. The 1989 RE/Search book Modern Primitives is largely responsible for the promotion of the concept of modern primitivism. It involves some sort of strange juxtaposition of high technology and "low" tribalism, animism, and body modification - a kind of 'Technoshamanism,' if you will, at once possession trance and kinetic dance.

What does make the modern primitive movement unusual is its pursuit of sensation. Borrowing from the S & M sexual subculture, the modern primitives suggest that one of the effects of modernization and industrialization has been psychic numbing. People no longer know either authentic pleasure or pain, and have forgotten the curious neurochemical ways in which they are interwoven. Piercing is more than just inscription; piercing of the genitals or other sensitive areas of the body means pain, especially during sexual intercourse... but it is a pain that becomes part of the ecstasy for ModPrims... there is this idea of a knowing through pain which modernity has forgotten.

When Mustafar or Stelarc hang themselves from hooks, or pierce themselves with sharp painful implements, they are only duplicating a practice found all over the world. It is a key ritual for many "primitive" and other societies for the person to go into trance and to demonstrate their "absorbtion" by the divine through the negation of pain and injury. The ModPrims claim that their performances are a pursuit of transcendence, proving the ability of the mind to go beyond the taxings and limitations of the body. Stelarc calls himself a "Cyberhuman," pointing to his belief that the future of human evolution toward a greater interconnection of men and machines will require humankind's mastery over (rather than suppression of) passion, suffering, and pain.

Futher, within the ModPrim movement, there is this sort of obsession over technological invasion of the body, through prosthetics, genetic modification, implants, and so on. This bodily invasion is at once feared (as a colonization by capital) and desired (by permitting people to directly neurally link into the "consensual hallucination" of Gibson's Virtual Reality.) The body is seen as information (DNA provides the 'code') and its invasion as either 'scrambling' (through viruses, cancer, etc.) or 'purification' (by removing 'noise' or 'distortion.') The technological modification of the body is seen as a reworking of the shamanic 'deconstruction' of a past era, where the shaman is torn apart by the gods of his tribe, and then his bones and flesh are replaced with quartz or fire or something else...

ModPrims also embrace the rave as a sign of the uniting of past and future. The rave is at once 'primitive,' with its gathering of 'tribes' of young people for the experience of Levy-Bruhl 'participation mystique' through kinetics and MDMA (Ecstasy), and 'futuristic' (or modern) with its use of digitally sampled and remixed music, laser and light effects, and multimedia expositions. Ravers at once dress in way that signifies past and future - piercing their ears with computer chips, wearing 70s (or earlier) clothes with futuristic hologram jewelry, combining the fashion of folk and punk. They consider themselves the heirs of the 60s counterculture, and also its antithesis, since they reject its anti-technology, pro-natural, 'peace and harmony,' and idealist emphases for a more pragmatist, aggressive, and techno-positive viewpoint... to the raver, whether a drug is synthetic or organic is besides the point.

Besides raves and piercing, ModPrims are perhaps best known for their attempts at juxtaposing magick and science. Publications like Virus 23 juxtapose Crowleyan occultism with chaos theory, Neo-Paganism & Wicca with memetics and information theory,etc.

From article: "Modern Primitives": The Accelerating Collision of Past and Future in the Postmodern Era


Paganism, which is also referred to as contemporary Paganism, Neo-Paganism and Neopaganism, is an umbrella term used to identify a wide variety of modern religious movements, particularly those influenced by or claiming to be derived from the various pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe. Contemporary Pagan religious movements are extremely diverse, and there is no set of beliefs shared by all of them, although there are commonalities shared by most of them. These include an approach to theology that embraces such beliefs as polytheism, animism, and pantheism. Many Pagans practise a spirituality that is entirely modern in origin, while others attempt accurately to reconstruct or revive indigenous, ethnic religions as found in historical and folkloric sources.
Contemporary Paganism is a development in the industrialized countries, found in particular strength in the United States and Britain, but also in Continental Europe (German-speaking Europe, Scandinavia, Slavic Europe, Latin Europe and elsewhere) and Canada. The largest Contemporary Pagan religion is Wicca, though other significantly sized Pagan faiths include Neo-druidism, Germanic Neopaganism, and Slavic Neopaganism. The modern popularisation of the terms "Pagan" and "Neopagan", as they are currently understood, is largely traced to Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, co-founder of "the 1st Neo-Pagan Church of All Worlds" who, beginning in 1967 with the early issues of Green Egg, used both terms for the growing movement. estimates that there are roughly 1 milion  Pagans worldwide (as of 2000), including "Wicca, Magick, Druidism, Asatru, neo-Native American religion and others". High estimates by Pagan authors may reach several times that number. A precise number is impossible to establish, because of the largely uninstitutionalised nature of the religion and the secrecy observed by some traditions, – sometimes explained by fear of religious discrimination.


Beliefs and practices vary widely amongst different Pagan groups, however there are a series of core principles common to most, if not all, forms of contemporary Paganism.


Sociologist Margot Adler noted that one of the "most important principles" of the Pagan movement was polytheism, the belief in, and veneration of, more than one god and/or goddess. For many in the Pagan community, these polytheistic deities are however not viewed as literal entities, but as Jungian archetypes that exist in the human psyche. Many Pagans adopt attitudes similar to that of American theologian David Miller, the professor of religion at Syracuse University who argued, in his book The New Polytheism, that the adoption of a polytheistic worldview would be beneficial for western society, replacing the dominant monotheism that both Miller and many Pagans believe is by its very nature politically and socially repressive. Adler remarked that many Pagans informed her of how they had adopted polytheism because it allowed a greater freedom, diversity and tolerance of worship amongst the community than that permitted in monotheistic religions. In Wicca, (especially Dianic Wicca) the concept of an Earth or Mother Goddess similar to the Greek Gaia is emphasized. Male counterparts are usually also evoked, such as the Green Man and the Horned God (who is loosely based on the Celtic Cernunnos.) These Duotheistic philosophies tend to emphasize the God and Goddess' (or Lord and Lady's) genders as being complementary opposites analogous to that of yin and yang in ancient Chinese philosophy. Many Oriental philosophies equate weakness with femininity and strength with masculinity; this is not the prevailing attitude in Paganism and Wicca. Among many Pagans, there is a strong desire to incorporate the female aspects of the divine in their worship and within their lives, which can partially explain the attitude which sometimes manifests as the veneration of women. Other Neopagans reject the concept of binary gender roles.


Another pivotal belief in the contemporary Pagan movement is that of animism. For modern Pagans, this "is used to imply a reality in which all things are imbued with vitality."Animism was also a concept to common to many pre-Christian European religions, and in adopting it, contemporary Pagans are attempting to "allow their participants to reenter the primeval worldview, to participate in nature in a way that is not possible for most Westerners after childhood."


A third pivotal belief in the Pagan community is that of pantheism, the belief that divinity and the material and/or spiritual universe are one and the same. For Pagans, it means that "divinity is inseperable from nature and that deity is immanent in nature."


Worship and ritual

Several Pagan religions incorporate the use of magic into their ritual practices. Among these are Wicca, Shamanism, Druidism, and other Pagan belief systems, the rituals of which were at least initially partially based upon those of ceremonial magic.

Sociologist Margot Adler highlighted how several Pagan groups, like the Reformed Druids of North America and the Erisian movement refuse to take their rituals seriously, instead incorporating into them a great deal of play. She noted that there are those who would argue that "the Pagan community is one of the only spiritual communities that is exploring humor, joy, abandonment, even silliness and outrageousness as valid parts of spiritual experience." Adler also noted how there were many Pagan groups whose practices revolved around the inclusion and celebration of male homosexuality, such as the Minoan Brotherhood, a Wiccan group that combines the iconography from ancient Minoan religion with a Wiccan theology and an emphasis on "men-loving-men", and the eclectic Pagan group known as the Radical Faeries. Similarly, there are also groups for lesbians, like certain forms of Dianic Wicca and the Minoan Sisterhood. When Adler asked one gay Pagan what the Pagan community offered members of the LGBT community, the reply was "A place to belong. Community. Acceptance. And a way to connect with all kinds of people, gay, bi, straight, celibate, transgender, in a way that is hard to do in the greater society".


Most modern Pagan religions celebrate the cycles and seasons of nature through a festival calendar that honours these changes. The timing of festivals, and the rites celebrated, may vary from climate to climate, and will also vary (sometimes widely) depending upon which particular Pagan religion the adherent subscribes to (see Wheel of the Year).

Neopagan symbols


The New Age - A Pathway to Paradise ?

A bit oldish movie but ideas are still around.

First established in London in 1977, the Mind Body Spirit Festival has been going on for over 35 years. Now its twice a year: