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All varieties of devotional topics that don't fit under the other sections of the forums. However, devotionally relevant topics, please - there are other boards for other topics.

Moods and attitudes - Traditional versus IGM

Mina - Fri, 03 Jun 2005 07:09:33 +0530
Since people here have a genuine interest in the traditional Vaishnava community, especially those who have abandoned IGM and would like to know how to follow the rAgAnugA path instead, I thought it would be in order to share a few insights. I just got off the phone with JD33 and he brought up some interesting points in this connection. The traditional community for one does not have a great deal of conversational discussion about the theology and the practices. That is mainly because it is already ingrained in their culture. Yes, they do go to hear the lectures given by the pandits. However, that does not mean they sit around and philosophize about the material in the literature the way people in IGM do. What they do as a community is gather for kirton in the evenings and at festival times, and the rest of the time they do their individual puja and practice. This makes a lot of sense if you think about our own culture of mainly Christians. People do not generally sit around and discuss the Holy Trinity and the subject matter of the New Testament, yet they do participate in the activities of their respective churches to various degrees and participate in the various rituals and rites of passage. Even if they do not go to church every Sunday, they still celebrate Christmas and Easter and get married in church and say prayers at funerals. In fact if someone engages in discussions about religion in the workplace, they are viewed as fanatical and politically incorrect.

My own perception is that our tradition has its own inherent power and hypnotic appeal that it draws people that are ready for it without anyone having to preach to them about it. And the people that would even need to be preached to don't have the necessary attraction in the first place. I think that is where many miss the point about kirton in public places. It has the power to convert people on its own, which is the power of harinam magnified by the congregational component. It does not need any parallel advertising to go along with it.

To summarize, it is more than just a difference in doctrine and practice that we are talking about here, but rather also a totally different mood and atmosphere within the community. Let this thread be focused on people sharing their insights on this and elaborating upon that difference.