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Christianity

India in the Bible (Douay-Rheims) and Ophir

Esther
1:1. In the days of Assuerus, who reigned from India to Ethiopia over a hundred and twenty seven provinces:
8:9. Then the king's scribes and secretaries were called for (now it was the time of the third month which is called Siban) the three and twentieth day of the month, and letters were written, as Mardochai had a mind, to the Jews, and to the governors, and to the deputies, and to the judges, who were rulers over the hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India even to Ethiopia: to province and province, to people and people, according to their languages and characters, and to the Jews, according as they could read and hear.
13:1. And this was the copy of the letter: Artaxerxes the great king who reigneth from India to Ethiopia, to the princes and governors of the hundred and twenty-seven provinces, that are subject to his empire, greeting.
16:1. The great king Artaxerxes, from India to Ethiopia, to the governors and princes of a hundred and twenty-seven provinces, which obey our command, sendeth greeting.

Job
28:16. It shall not be compared with the dyed colours of India, or with the most precious stone sardonyx, or the sapphire.

Ezechiel
27:6. They have cut thy oars out of the oaks of Basan: and they have made thee benches of Indian ivory and cabins with things brought from the islands of Italy.

1 Machabees
6:37. And upon the beast, there were strong wooden towers which covered every one of them: and engines upon them, and upon every one thirty-two valiant men, who fought from above: and an Indian to rule the beast.
8:8. And the country of the Indians, and of the Medes, and of the Lydians, some of their best provinces: and those which they had taken from them, they gave to king Eumenes.

Mysterious land of Ophir

One of the Bible mysteries is whereabouts of the land of Ophir from which King Solomon imported immense wealth beginning with gold. Among imported items are mentioned peacocks (3. Kings 10:22), which rules out Africa since they're native to Asia. This text mentions together with peacocks also ivory, which was imported from India as per Ezechiel 27:6:
They have cut thy oars out of the oaks of Basan: and they have made thee benches of Indian ivory and cabins with things brought from the islands of Italy.

On Angels from the Apostolic Catholic related and Eastern Vaishnava-centric traditions

by Bhakti Ananda Goswami

Angel is a rather generic term for Messenger that is found in the Biblical tradition, where it usually refers to a more-than-human being that is a servant of God. It may also rarely refer to a human servant or messenger of God. Thus some 'angels' are human, and some are super-human and among these, there are many kinds and grades from elemental and planetary protectors, to transcendent beings in the highest heaven of heavens, who are very close to God.

The English word Angel is related linguistically to the Anglo-Saxon word Engel, the Latin word Angelu and the Greek word Aggelos or Aggaros. Aggaros should be compared to the ancient Persian word for a mounted courier, and to the Sanskrit word Angira-s. All these forms of the word retain the same meaning, which is Messenger. On pages 21 and 22 in Skeat's Etymological Dictionary (Oxford), the etymology of Angel is given with the meaning of Sanskrit Angira-s as "a messenger from the gods to men (Macdonell)." In Fr. Raimundo Panikkar's translation of the Vedic Hymns, on page 869, he also compares Angiras to the Biblical Greek Angelos, and says that they are the "...mediators between the world of Men and the Gods." In the Vedas, the Angirasas are the sons of Agni and the Fire Priests of the Rig Veda (pages 13 and 14 Harper's Dict. of Hinduism). Monier-Williams (page 8) compares Angira-s and the Greek Aggelos, Aggaros, and cites the Vedic sources for the Rishi Angiras, author of Rig Vedic Hymns, and son of Brahma, who was sometimes mentioned as the father of Agni and Brihaspati or even humanity.

These bare facts do not reveal the all-important connection of the Angirasas to Vishnu worship, to the uninitiated. Angiras Rishi was related to Vishnu worship, and the Angirasas were fire priests of Vishnu. Agni was considered the Tongue of Vishnu for accepting fire sacrifices. The fire priests who conducted such rites were also called Purohitas. Now let us consider the Helleno-Semitic connections between the Proto-Catholic fire priesthood of Helios or Eli-Yahu and the Rig Vedic fire sacrifice priesthood of Hari or Vasudeva (Vishnu). One is associated with the messenger Angelos and the other with the messenger Angirasas.

A few of the Angel cult's' related Deity's names and terms:

  • Ignis Fire-Priest of Rome as hearth Servitor Lord Uesnos, Sanskrit Agni cult of Vishnu
  • Roman Flamen Dialis, Vedic Brahmin Devarishi
  • Hebrew Yishma, Sanskrit Vishnu Hebrew Eli, Greco-Egyptian Heri / Heli, Sanskrit Hari (the so-called 'Solar and Fire' form of Monotheism) Hebrew Yahu (Toba-Yahu), Greek Ousios, Sanskrit Vasu (Vasu-Deva) Hebrew Azar, Greek Osiris, Sanskrit Asura (root Asu)
  • Scripture Name ...Hebrew Yeda, Greek Oida, Sanskrit Veda
  • Fire Priest ...Greek-Jewish Propheta, Sanskrit Purohita
  • Seer ...Jewish Hebrew Roeh, Sanskrit Rishi
  • Fire, the Tongue of Vishnu ...Latin Igni, Sanskrit Agni

The Greeks called the fire priests of both the Egypto-Greek Helios and of the Jewish Deity Eli-Yahu Prophetas (prophets). These performed the same kind of rites as the Purohitas of Vishnu. Aggelos (Angels called Malak in Hebrew) were associated with the fire sacrifices of Helios / Eli-Yahu. In fact these beings were sometimes seen ascending or descending in the flames of the sacrificial fires. Thus there is a clear connection between the messenger Angels of the Biblical Deity Eli-Yahu and the fire sacrifice related Angiras messengers of Hari or Vasu Deva. The seers or sages of the fire sacrifice cult of Helios / Eli-Yahu were called Roeh and their Vedic counterparts were called Rishi, both terms meaning 'seer'. Later the word Propheta for these fire-sacrifice cult 'seers' was confounded with the meaning of their other name, Roeh, so that by association, the Biblical use of the word for fire-priest came to mean Seer / Prophet. The meaning of 'messenger' in general and specifically a messenger of Vishnu and the Vasudevas is consistent in the common Sanskrit usage, and carries through the Persian (where very early Ahura God's messengers had wings, for example see the Fravarshi of Cyrus the Great at Parsagard), and is preserved in the Greco-Jewish and Catholic traditions. In Judaism's oldest scriptures the Angels are called Malak in Hebrew. Aggelos is used to translate the Hebrew Malak many times in the Greek 'Old Testament' Bible Septuagint and Apocrypha. In the New Testament Aggelos is translated 'angel' 181 times and 'messenger' 7 times. Beginning in the first Book of the Bible Genesis (compare Janus and Ganesha as the Patrons of Scripture, Writing, and all Creations and Beginning endeavors) the Hebrew word Malak is translated as Angel 111 times, as Messenger 98 times and as Ambassador 4 times. Malak is also associated with royalty (as ambassadors of God), see 'begin to reign' 284 times and to 'make king' 39 times. (Find any of these numbers in a good Biblical concordance with a Greek and Hebrew Lexicon.) Angel or Messenger is really a very generic term, and is used as such in the Bible. It may be used for every kind of celestial and actually heavenly (transcendental) being, and even for human messengers of God. Angel may even be used for 'rebellious' angels or agents of death and destruction, such as the 'angel of death'. Let us look at some of these different kinds of angels, or uses for the word angel as a messenger, and especially a messenger of the True God.

In the Bible's Catholic Apocalypse (Protestant Book of Revelation) a human angel arises from the east and seals (by anointing) the elect of god in their foreheads with "the name of the living god". This human angel as a Purohita / Prophet in the ancient tradition of consecration by anointing would be an Angiras. As a fire-priest representative of the Brahma sampradaya, Srila Prabhupada was an Angirasa (being in the line of the Angirasas). He initiated and anointed according to the Rig Vedic Purusha Sukta fire sacrifice tradition, thus reviving the ancient Helleno-Semitic rite (ritya in Sanskrit) of the Proto- Catholic Mediterranean form of Vaishnavism. He was a human Angiras / messenger who arose from the East and came West anointing and sealing people devoted to God in their foreheads with the same manumission mark that the ancient Helios and Eli-Yahu worshipers used to wear! For the ancient Mediterranean devotees, the 'urdhva tilaka' 'u' or 'y' or 'v' mark was the sign of the name of the living God Yahu Theos / Vasu Deva / Wasu Theos. It was used by Jews, Pythagoreans and other Helios / Eli-Yahu worshipers. The guru messenger who initiates in the line of Brahma and Agni / the Rig Vedic Purusha sacrifices may be considered a humanAngirasa or Angelos / Angel.

In Jewish Mysticism there are also 72 Angels with the Names of God. These Angels' Holy Names contain elements of the El (Hari) Name, and the Yahu (Vasu) Name. For example Michael is a compound of the Names Micha and El. There are scores of such compound Theophoric Names in the Bible and Jewish / West Semitic Sacred tradition. Each one of these compound El and Yahu Names reveals something else about the Eli-Yahu Godhead. In the Judeo-Catholic tradition, the angels were also revealers of God, and the guides and protectors of creation and humankind. Angels like the so-called 'Solar' Vasu Devas, Suras or Adityas presided over all of the elements, every organ and limb, every person and family, house, community and nation, planet and universe.

Every person has his own angel protector called 'guardian angel' in elaborate Catholic angelology. The doctrine of these guardians in relationship to protecting devas as the good agents of GOD in Vaishnavism has been examined by Vaishnava Vedic Astrologers and Jewish Scholars like Isa Dasa (Jewish) and Jeffrey Armstrong (Astrologer). I have personally discussed the Judeo-Catholic doctrine of presiding Angels from the Vaishnava viewpoint of presiding Devas with numerous Jewish and Catholic experts throughout the years, and it has always been agreed that these protecting planetary, personal and elemental devas are the same as some of the presiding or guardian angels of the Judeo-Catholic tradition.

We should never pray to them as separate from or, equal to the Supreme Lord, but we can venerate (not 'adore') them, and pray to them as great devotees and agents of the Lord. Thus the Catholic Church actually encourages praying for the help of one's guardian angel.

There are many other beings generally called 'angels' in the Judeo-Catholic tradition. Some of these are hierarchically ranked as (highest to lowest) Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, then Dominions, Virtues, Powers, and lastly Principalities, Archangels and Angels. They may be venerated (worshiped appropriately) by the faithful, just as Saints may be venerated as the servants, sons and daughters, friends, parents or even brides of God in the Catholic tradition.

Read the story of Rahu-Ketu, keeping the story of Satan's casting-out-of-heaven in mind. Setu / Ketu and his minions the Rahus become the arch enemies of Hari and the Suragana / gods.

In ancient Egypt, Israel and Judah, Ananta Sesha Naga was sometimes depicted with wings and then called a Seraph. This Winged Serpent form of His in China is the Good Dragon of Mother Kuan Yin.

In the early Sumerian and Assyrian and Persian traditions, and in Egypt the Lord and His expansions or representatives were sometimes depicted as having multiple arms or limbs and some of these were sometimes wings or wings with hands. Thus the Lion Headed wrathful form of God as Time in these areas sometimes had multiple arms and sometimes multiple wings, and sometimes wing-arms (with hands) and sometimes both wings and arms. Six was a common number. I have personally seen these kinds of ancient Icons of the Lord with six limbs (arms, or wings, or wings and arms) many times in my studies. It is often purely prejudice that blinds people to recognizing GOD when he appears before them in His unfamiliar multi-form. Be open to God! Open your hearts and Minds my dear brothers and you will begin to see Him everywhere! Do not let your minds dictate to God what He can look like, or who He can choose for His devotees, and what they can look like!

The Vishnuduta and Yamaduta messengers of Vishnu and Yama would also qualify as kinds of angels. The Vishnudutas have a form like the Lords'. They look like Jaya and Vijaya in Vaikuntha. The Guards in front of ancient Pure Land Buddhist Shrines used to look just like Jaya and Vijaya. The Guards or Fravarshis outside the throne rooms in Persia and Egypt would often have wings instead of more than two arms. The Iconographic variations within Indian Vaishnavism are so extreme, that it is simply illogical to dismiss Iconographic variations from outside India as somehow less sacred than those from inside India. The Lord has infinite forms and names, and His devotees do too! The same principle of simultaneous one-and-difference applies to differences in form, color, hair, decoration and dress etc. The Lord's forms are so astoundingly variegated within the Eastern Bhakti traditions, that it is simply ridiculous to dis-allow Him the same degree of difference outside of the Eastern Traditions. About the author

Reformulating yoga in a Christian context

By Alexandra Alter

RELIGION NEWS SERVICE (source: http://www.bayarea.com/mld/cctimes/news/nation/6339282.htm)

ANNANDALE, Va. - Marylyn Mandeville sits crossed-legged on a mat in front of 11 of her students. Her hands are folded as if in prayer, framed by the slogan on her T-shirt: "Know Yoga, Know Peace." A gold cross rests on the Om symbol emblazoned on her shirt.

"Namaste," she says to the class, bowing deeply while offering the Sanskrit salutation "I bow to the God within you."

No one in the Parkwood Baptist Church, not even the pastor, reacts to Mandeville's T-shirt, gesture, or the New Age flute music playing in the background. They're lying flat on their backs in Savasana, the Corpse pose, having endured two hours of vigorous stretching.

"Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is light," she continues. "Jesus said, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Yoga will free your body, let God free your life."

Mandeville, who has been teaching yoga at Parkwood Baptist for the past two years and often has up to 75 participants in a single class, is part of a growing movement to reformulate yoga, a 5,000-year-old practice that originated in India, in a Christian context.

While some argue that taking up a yoga practice might lead Christians down the dangerous path of New Age mysticism, Mandeville says she considers it part of her ministry to teach other Christians how to look after their bodies.

"There's an important Scripture that says we are God's temple and we're supposed to take care of that temple, but we don't do that," she said.

The Rev. Jim Hamacher, the church's pastor, who was back on the yoga mat after recovering from back surgery, said he was apprehensive at first about introducing yoga classes.

"You call yourself a Christian church, a Southern Baptist church no less, and then you start offering yoga, well, there are some people who are going to wonder what you've turned into," he said.

But Hamacher concluded that bringing relaxation and meditation techniques into the church might help to revive a strain of spirituality that had been filtered out of Christianity over the years. He also saw health benefits to offering yoga classes.

"I've always believed that the salvation that Jesus brings is to make a person whole, and this is part of that," Hamacher said. "When you talk about ministering to the whole person, you're ministering to body, mind and spirit."

As yoga becomes increasingly popular, with an estimated 15 million practitioners in the United States according to a recent study by Yoga Journal, alternative forms of yoga are steadily grabbing more adherents. At least half of those people are coming to yoga from a Christian background, says the Rev. Thomas Ryan, a Catholic priest and author of "Prayer of Heart and Body: Meditation, Yoga as a Christian Spiritual Practice," published by Paulist Press in 1994.

"There are an enormous number of people engaging in Eastern practices like yoga and meditation who need assistance making the points of connection with their Christian faith," said Ryan, who will lead a yoga retreat at the Kripalu Yoga center in Western Massachusetts this August.

"There is a sense among some that this comes from Hinduism, but when one looks at yoga, it really belongs to world spirituality," he added.

Other pioneers in Christian Yoga say they have been overwhelmed by the growth of the movement as it spreads nationally and even internationally. Susan Bordenkircher of Mobile, Ala., has gotten requests for her yoga video "Outstretched in Worship" from Christians in Indonesia and Singapore and missionaries in Chad. She said that although some concepts in yoga may be at odds with Christianity, there is much to be gained from the practice.

"There is some of the history of yoga that involves worshipping different gods that is contradictory to Christian concepts," she said. But rejecting the yoga practice altogether would be a mistake, Bordenkircher warned.

"It's kind of throwing the baby out with the bath water, because the postures themselves are so good," she said. In her video and classes, Bordenkircher injects yoga postures with a Christian flavor by teaching "moving mantras," during which students silently recite scriptural passages such as "You are my strength, Oh God," as they stretch. A United Methodist, Bordenkircher said yoga practice has taught her how to pray Scripture in a visceral way.

But while fans marvel at the growing success of the movement, others are seeking to draw more distinct boundaries between the Christian faith and popular New Age practices.

Daniel Akin, dean of the school of theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said Christians who are drawn to the physical benefits of yoga should avoid its spiritual and psychological underpinnings.

"Yoga is rooted in Eastern mysticism, and Eastern mysticism is incompatible with Christianity," he said. "There are some people who are looking for relaxation in the form of meditation, but I don't see the need to go to yoga to do that," Akin said, adding that the Bible holds ample opportunities for meditation.

Others say it's impossible to extract the physical benefits of yoga from its spiritual roots.

Laurette Willis of Tulsa, Okla., a yoga veteran of 22 years and a born-again Christian, said the feeling of euphoria she got from yoga left her vulnerable to "psychic influences" she believed to be demonic.

"Yoga led me down a false rosy path," Willis said. "It opened the door to 20 years of involvement in the New Age movement."

After becoming a Christian in 1987, she developed "PraiseMoves, Fitness for His Witness," a series of 20 stretches set to Scripture, in 2001. Willis has been so overwhelmed by requests to teach that she is in the process of certifying 20 new PraiseMoves teachers around the country and has produced a video set for release in August.

Willis says many yoga postures are based on ancient Hindu worship of the sun and moon as deities, and rejects the notion that they can be redeemed by putting a Christian spin on them.

"Christian yoga is an oxymoron," she said. "It's like the fellow who says, 'I'm a Christian Buddhist.'"

Francois Gautier on Christianity and Hinduism

Indian Express, Monday, October 25, 1999, excerpts:

French historian Alain Danielou had noticed as early as 1950 that "a great number of events which surround the birth of Christ - as it is related in the Gospels - strangely remind us of Buddhist and Krishnaite legends".

Danielou quotes as examples the structure of the Christian Church, which resembles that of the Buddhist Chaitya; the rigorous asceticism of certain early Christian sects, which reminds one of the asceticism of Jain and Buddhist saints; the veneration of relics, the usage of holy water, which is an Indian practice, or the word 'Amen', which comes from the Hindu 'OM'.

Another historian, Belgium's Konraad Elst, also remarks "that many early Christian saints, such as Hippolytus of Rome, possessed an intimate knowledge of Brahmanism". Elst even quotes the famous Saint Augustin who wrote: "We never cease to look towards India, where many things are proposed to our admiration". Unfortunately, remarks American Indologist David Frawley, "from the second century onwards, Christian leaders decided to break away from the Hindu influence and show that Christianity only started with the birth of Christ". Hence, many later saints began branding Brahmins as "heretics" and Saint Gregory set a future trend by publicly destroying the "pagan" idols of the Hindus.

Ravi Shankar notes, for instance, that Jesus sometimes wore an orange robe, the Hindu symbol of renunciation in the world, which was not a usual practice in Judaism. "In the same way", he continues, "the worshiping of the Virgin Mary in Catholicism is probably borrowed from the Hindu cult of Devi." Bells too, which cannot be found today in synagogues, the surviving form of Judaism, are used in church and we all know their importance in Buddhism and Hinduism for thousands of years. There are many other similarities between Hinduism and Christianity: incense, sacred bread (prasadam), the different altars around churches (which recall the manifold deities in their niches inside Hindu temples); reciting the rosary (japamala), the Christian Trinity, Christian processions (parikrama), the sign of the cross (anganyasa), and so on.

In fact, Hinduism's pervading influence seems to go much earlier than Christianity. American mathematician, A. Seidenberg, has for example shown that the Sulbasutras, the ancient Vedic science of mathematics, constitute the source of mathematics in the antique world, from Babylon to Greece: "The arithmetic equations of the Sulbasutras were used in the observation of the triangle by the Babylonians, as well as in the edification of Egyptian pyramids, in particular the funeral altar in form of pyramid known in the Vedic world as smasanacit."

In astronomy too, the "Indus" (from the valley of the Indus) have left a universal legacy, determining for instance the dates of solstices, as noted by 18th century French astronomer Jean-Sylvain Bailly: "The movement of stars which was calculated by Hindus 4,500 years ago, does not differ even by a minute from the tables which we are using today." And he concludes: "The Hindu systems of astronomy are much more ancient than those of the Egyptians - even the Jews derived from the Hindus their knowledge". There is also no doubt that the Greeks heavily borrowed from the "Indus".

Danielou notes that the Greek cult of Dionysus, which later became Bacchus with the Romans, is a branch of Shaivism: "Greeks spoke of India as the sacred territory of Dionysus and even historians of Alexander the Great identified the Indian Shiva with Dionysus and mention the dates and legends of the Puranas".

French philosopher and Le Monde journalist, Jean-Paul Droit, recently wrote in his book The Forgetfulness of India that "The Greeks loved so much Indian philosophy that Demetrios Galianos had even translated the Bhagavad Gita".

Many western and Christian historians have tried to nullify this Indian influence on Christian and ancient Greece, by saying that it is the West, through the Aryan invasion, and later the onslaught of Alexander the Great on India, which influenced Indian astronomy, mathematics, architecture, philosophy - and not vice versa. But new archaeological and linguistic discoveries have proved that there never was an Aryan invasion and that there is a continuity from ancient Vedic civilization to the Saraswati culture. The Vedas, for instance, which constitute the soul of present day Hinduism, have not been composed in 1500 BC, as dear Max Mueller arbitrarily decided, but may go back to 7000 years before Christ, giving Hinduism plenty of time to influence Christianity and older civilizations which preceded it.

This article gives the gist of Gautier's forthcoming book, 'The Indian Origin of Things'.

Serapis-Jesus connection

(Hadrian writes in a letter to his brother-in-law Servianus, preserved by historian Vopiscus in his "Life of the Tyrant Saturninus"):

"Those who worship Serapis are likewise Christians; even those who style themselves the bishops of Christ are devoted to Serapis. The very Patriarch himself [the Patriarch of Tiberias, head of the Jewish religion after the destruction of Jerusalem], when he comes to Egypt, is forced by some to adore Serapis, by others to worship Christ. There is but one God for them all: Him do the Christians, Him do the Jews, Him do the Gentiles...worship."

Severus Alexander, too, who daily paid his devotions to Christ and Abraham, did none the less expend large sums in decorating the temples of Serapis and Isis "with statues, couches, and all things pertaining to their Mysteries," whilst he left the other gods of Rome to take care of themselves.

"The religion of Jesus Christ is neither new nor strange." (Eusebius of Caesarea, circa 283-371 AD)

"This, in our day, is the Christian religion, not as having been unknown in former times, but as having recently received that name." (St. Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 AD)

Vedic Aspects of Christmas

Christmas atmosphere - snow, dazzling shop windows with Christmas decoration, Christmas markets, traditional customs, Christmas trees, gifts, Christmas food, carols, bells, churches with mangers and the midnight Mass. Kids love it and almost all people try to behave better to each other. Despite all the commercialization and secularization which keeps on destroying this atmosphere as well as a fact that Christmas feasting costs lives of innumerable animals, spiritual atmosphere of Christmas still survives.

Origin of Christmas

December 25, shortly after winter solstice, was in Mediterranean region celebrated as "Dies Natalis Invict" (Day of Unconquerable One), an appearance day of Vedic-Persian-Roman sun god and savior of mankind Mitra. "Mitra" means "friend" or "friendship" in Sanskrit and his life (like that of other savior gods) resembles that of Jesus. There's an association of sun with Jesus (Mosaic of the Vatican grottoes under St. Peter's Basilica, on the ceiling of the tomb of the Julii. Representation of the sun-god Helios/ Sol Invictus riding in his chariot. Christian tomb dated approx. to 3rd century AD.) as well as of sun with Krsna:

chAdayAmi jagad vizvaM bhUtvA sUrya ivAMzubhiH
sarvA bhUtAdhivAsaz ca vAsudevAS tato hy aham

"Assuming the form of the sun I cover the universe with my rays and because I am the home of all creatures, I am called by the name VAsudeva." (MahAbhArata 12.348.6-8 quoted in "The Philosophy and Religion of Sri Caitanya" by O.B.L. Kapoor, p. 4; 12.328.36 in Poona Critical Edition; see also BG 7.8, 8.4, 8.9, 10.21, 11.17, 11.19, 15.12)

Other similarities relate to the very births of Jesus and Krsna (Janmastami): - the birth from the Holy Spirit/Ksirodakasayi Visnu (as all avataras do),
- in manger/prison,
- at midnight,
- announced and glorified by angels/devas and informed humans
- an evil king kills the newborn babies
Due to them it used to be considered that Janmastami was copied from Christmas until the Heliodorus column and other artifacts definitely proven the pre-Christian origin of Krsna worship.

When the Christianity moved to new regions it pushed out aboriginal religions (mainly forms of lower Vedic systems like nature and ancestor worship whose features survived in many extant folk customs). It was also done by covering their holidays by Christian ones of similar nature. Thus Christmas has become to be celebrated as an appearance day of Jesus.

There are two prominent Vedic aspects of Christmas whose origin and meaning was in the course of time more or less forgotten. By learning about them we can enrich not just our Christmas celebrations but the whole life.

Carols (bhajan/kirtan)

In the course of centuries appeared in Europe many carols, an inherent part of Christmas. They are songs celebrating Jesus' birth and mercy. Eulogizing God and His pure devotees is called kirtan, one form of devotional service to God. The same goes for hearing (sravanam). In Vaisnava tradition there are many such songs (bhajans) sung on various occasions. Majority of people in the West has this chance to hear and sing carols once a year even though they don't know its spiritual potency. This form of unknowing devotional service is called ajnata-sukrti and it makes one ready for conscious service. If God and His devotee are satisfied, all living beings are also satisfied - this is the secret of popularity of carols which contribute significantly to the merry Christmas atmosphere (and why some people don't like them).

On a personal note - before becoming a practicing Vaishnava I used to listen often to carols during the year and others condescendingly reminded me that carols are listened to at Christmas... But why only at Christmas? Celebration of God and His servants is not limited by time, place or in any other way. It is of eternal nature (nitya-bhagavata-seva).

Gift-giving (dana)

Second inherent aspect of Christmas are gifts. Shops are making offers already long time before Christmas so to most people the idea of Christmas blends with gifts. How the tradition of gift-giving began?

Gospel of Matthew 2:1-12 describes how sages came from the East to pay respect to the Son of God and they brought Him gifts. Although their background is not known, to bring gifts to newborn baby is part of Vedic tradition as we can see e.g. from the description of Sri Krsna's and Sri Caitanya's appearance. To present God or His servants with gifts is devotional service and a symptom of love among devotees (priti-laksana).

It is a nature of this material world that originally spiritual activities turn into material ones under the influence of time. Thus Martin Luther promoted an idea that the gifts were given by Christkind (Baby Jesus) and this tradition survives in Germany and surrounding countries. People, not knowing God or His servants, present gifts to each other (especially to children) instead and spiritual essence is lost since not everyone is a Son or at least a conscious servant of God. Someone may object that identity of God is not known but Vedic tradition is clear: God, or the Supreme Person, Purusottama, is Visnu/Krisna.

If we would follow the original way of gift-giving (shown by the sages) and offered gifts to God and His servants, we would give Christmas back its transcendent content for the benefit of all and experience until now unknown joy.

Santa Claus and Vedic Connection

Round the 5th of December the Batavians (now Holland) had a festival dedicated to Wodan/Odin (Varuna) and his son Thor (Indra), who would ride through the sky on Wodan's eight-legged, white horse Sleipnir, announcing the change of year. Later their names changed into Kunne Klaas and Tijl, and during the Christian era into Sinterklaas (from Sint Nicolaas). (One of the strategies used by the Christians for the conversion of heathens in Europe.)

His white horse was still there, but now with just four legs, and his son had disappeared. Now he was supposed to simply come from Spain to chastise the naughty children and reward the brave ones with gifts from his never-empty sack of presents, stuffing them through the chimneys while riding his sledge over the rooftops. Of course he also had a huge book in which everything was noted down about the kids and a bunch of black, dwarfy helpers (supposed to be Moors from Spain). Still later Sinterklaas and his entourage were banished to the North Pole, to become the fatty Santa Claus and his dwarfs of modern times.

Grandfather Frost is a Vedic God

Dadan Upadhyay
Copyright 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

MOSCOW, DECEMBER 30: A Russian scholar says red Russia's fairy tale Grandfather Frost, or Ded Moroz, is none other than Varuna, the god of seas in Hindu mythology.

Grandfather Frost, who is currently taking rest at his Moscow residence, gives children presents just as Santa Claus does but is associated with New Year's, the most universally observed Russian holiday. He flew to the capital from the northern Vologda region town of Veliky Ustyug, his official hometown, 800 kms east of Moscow, along with his assistant Snegurochka, or the Snow Maiden, as the festivities kicked off on the Christmas.

In the year 2003, which marks the beginning of the astrological age of Aquarius, Grandfather Frost is expected to shed his dear old-man mask and allow the people of the world to see him as he truly is Varuna, the supreme Vedic god of water.

According to Vologda State University ethnologist, Svetlana Zharnikova, the Frost legend originated in the Russian north, the cradle of Indo-European civilization.

"All the original paradigms of Indo-European culture grew out of Polar Europe, and one of them is the image of Grandfather Frost," claims Zharnikova. "Because the Indo-European peoples originated within the Arctic circle, which was 30 degrees further south at the end of the Stone Age," she said. Characters related to cold and winter became an integral part of Vedic mythologies.

Varuna was both the source of life and death, and was described in Vedic writings as holding the tree of life, an image reminiscent of Grandfather Frost standing next to a Christmas tree, says the ethnologist.

The mythical hero of Russian children's New Year celebrations is said to emerge from the forest, deliver presents, then disappear to some uncertain destination. source

Related:

The Three Wise Men of Bible were from India

The native land of the three saints has frequently been placed in the Arabian area or, as the attribute of origin 'from the East' rather leads one to expect, in the Indo-Iranian region. The Indian thesis of their origin is nowadays steadily gaining adherents. Helmut Mogge, among others, has upheld this view:

"In the writings of the seventh and eighth centuries the Wise Men are still called Bithisarca, Melchior and Gathaspa; in the ninth century appeared the names of Gaspar, Balthasar and Melchior.

But where did the Magi come from? What is East, seen from Jerusalem? The word 'magoi' caused many to believe that they were of ancient Persian lineage. Others thought that Chaldea in Mesopotamia was the home of the Magi. Others still, as for instance Tertullian, were inclined to accept Arabia as the Wise Men's homeland inasmuch as gold and incense would have been most easily found there. The learned friar Bovar rejects Arabia though, because of the 'inadequate interpretation of the 72nd Psalm'. The church fathers' tradition on the country of origin of the Magi is contradictory.

Nothing can substantiate that the ancient Arabs, nomadic tribes, were especially wise. At the time of Christ's birth, the wisdom of the Chaldeans was no longer lauded. Yet Indian wisdom was proverbial. Persian historians praised it. They went to India 'in search of the tree of wisdom'. India was the country where wisdom had been of a high order since earliest times. The sages of India, called 'rishis', have always and into our days formed a 'social cast superior to all others in the land'.

India was also a country where astronomy and astrology was being cultivated. The Indian epic Mahabharata announces the coming of a divine redeemer who was to absolve mankind from its misfortune and misery. He would enjoy great power and be a commanding ruler; he would restore order and harmony in this world; he would destroy all evil and create a new era.

The Indian prophecy also speaks of a phenomenon in the sky upon the birth of the reformer or redeemer. The modern Indian astronomer, Shri Swamikannu Pillai, has traced the studies of Kepler and Karl Adams and come to the conclusion that the star which guided the Wise Men from the East was Brhaspati in conjunction with the Sun and the Moon, when they entered the constellation Tisya [aka Pusya; "When the moon, sun and the planet Brihaspati, Jupiter, enters simultaneously into one constellation and conjoin in the lunar mansion Pusya, Satya-yuga begins." - SB 12.2.24].

Father Antonius, a priest from Ceylon, reconstructed the journey of the Magi from that and innumerable other evidence in this way.

They offered the child 'gifts of gold, incense and myrrh'. Those were gifts usually offered according to Oriental etiquette; by presenting them, they honored the new-born babe as king. [Gold stands for king, myrrh for God and incense for 'dead, mortal' as well as for cure, healing.]

Gold existed in India. Incense and myrrh originally came from 'lucky Arabia', yet they were doubtlessly imported also to India. It was perfectly natural for the rishis from India offer the traditional gifts of gold, incense and myrrh."

[Vedic custom is to offer presents to a newly born child. See Bhagavata Purana 10.5.10, etc. Later, during anna-prasana samskara (a rite of passage, "first grains") at six months of age, children are offered various items like rice, gold, coins and books to choose from and thus show their inclinations in future life.]

The Holy Shroud of Turin: Did Jesus wear a tilaka?

Scientist Paul Vignon, an official examiner of the Shroud in 1930', noticed in the Byzantine painting, a mosaic of the Holy Shroud of Turin, a "V" mark down the center of the forehead.

"Pantocrator", Sinai Monastery, Daphni, Greece, 11th century

"Researcher Paul Vignon noticed on the forehead between the eyebrows of this work a starkly geometrical |_| shape... When he turned to the equivalent point on the Shroud face, there was the same feature, equally as geometric, and equally as unnatural because it appeared to have noting to do with the image itself..." (Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?, 1978)

"Artists have copied certain characteristic details, technically known as Vignon markings, after the scientist who analyzed fifteen of them, such as a transverse streak across the forehead of the Shroud image, a V-shape at the bridge of the nose, two curling stands of hair in the middle of the forehead, a hairless area between the lower lip and the beard, and so forth. In some of the earliest copies... as many as thirteen of the fifteen details are discernible." (Noel Currer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail, 1987) source: http://www.mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/sphysical.html
See also: Manton94
MANTON96

It seems that early pictures of Christ were much different than the ones that began to circulate in the 600's. Before that time Jesus was shown as young, clean-shaven. Then suddenly they changed to show a grown man with long hair, beard, and eyes that were abnormally large and round. This "new" face was remarkably similar to the traditional Christ-type pictures seen on many ancient icons, the religious paintings of early Eastern Christianity.

Checking the icons in the museums and libraries of Paris, Vignon discovered dramatic evidence that the shroud face and the face on the icons had more than a casual link. Not only did the eyes, nose, and mustache seem the same; but strange marks that were not facial features also appeared on both the shroud and the icons. There's a V with a three-sided box on top of it that appears between the eyes just above the nose. One other mark that isn't part of the image is a line that crosses the throat of the man. This line has no relation to the image, and yet appears on many icons. In fact, of the hundreds of Byzantine icons Vignon examined, 80 percent had the identifying mark between the eyes. [Note: So even if the Shroud is of late origin, the Byzantine icons were its inspiration.] www.asis.com/users/stag/shroud/deschist.html

This U and V mark together look very much like a Vaisnava tilaka, especially its Gaudiya Vaisnava type: Lokanatha Gosvami/Narottama dasa Thakura lineage tilaka, Kunjabihari Das Babaji - Nityananda vamsa tilaka.
More on tilak
Head of Queen Olokun of Ife, brass, 36"h, former Benin Kingdom, with vertical tilak (source: http://www.angelo.edu/faculty/rprestia/1301/images/IN011Ife%20Queen%20@@%5B1%5D.jpg)
source 2

References to a sign (mark) of God on His servants's foreheads:

Exodus 13:16 And it will be a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand.

Ezekiel 9:4-6 And the Lord said to him, "Go through Jerusalem, and put a mark upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it." And to the others he said in my hearing, "Pass through the city after him, and smite; your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity; slay old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one upon whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary.

Rev. 7:3 Saying: Hurt not the earth nor the sea nor the trees, till we sign the servants of our God in their foreheads.

9:4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth nor any green thing nor any tree: but only the men who have not the sign of God on their foreheads.

14:1 And I beheld: and lo a Lamb stood upon mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty-four thousand, having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads.

22:4 And they shall see his face: and his name shall be on their foreheads.

Epistle of Ignatius to Tarsians, ch. 2: "...For ye are the fellow-citizens as well as the disciples of Paul, who "fully preached the Gospel from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum,"(9) and bare about "the marks of Christ" in his flesh.(10)"

A traveler to Asia, Hippolytus in his "Daniel" 4.9 visualizes a moral battleground between the people who will follow Jesus, representative of God, and the people who will follow Augustus, Emperor of Rome, a worldly king, a representative of Satan. In so doing he describes the earliest Christians as wearing the mark of victory on their forehead. His statement that Christians "bear a new name" may refer not simply to the fact that they are called Christians, but also to the tradition of giving initiates a new spiritual name, which Jesus gave to Peter for example.

Hippolytus, "Daniel" 4.9 "For as our Lord was born in the forty-second year of the emperor Augustus, whence the Roman empire developed, and as the Lord also called all nations and all tongues by means of the apostles and fashioned believing Christians into a people, the people of the Lord, and the people which consists of those who bear a new name - so was all this imitated to the letter by the empire of that day, ruling 'according to the working of Satan': for it also collected to itself the noblest of every nation, and, dubbing them Romans, got ready for the fray. And that is the reason why the first census took place under Augustus, when our Lord was born at Bethlehem; it was to get the men of this world, who enrolled for our earthly king, called Romans, while those who believed in a heavenly king were termed Christians, bearing on their foreheads the sign of victory over death."

Bhakti Ananda Goswami:

Tilaka was also worn in the Mediterranean Heliopolitan Asyla Federations and was especially associated there with manumission or the redemption of a soul from chattel slavery and their devotion to the 'son' of Helios, or to Helios, the God of Manumission. For the best brief summary of sources on the subject of manumission, see 'Greek and Roman Slavery' by Thomas Wiedemann and search for manumission, redemption, asyla / asylum, cities of refuge, refuge or sanctuary, sanctuary laws of asyla federations leagues or alliances, chattel slavery, slave trade, religious 'slaves' devotion and vows, slave prices and purchase, religious cult marks, slave marks brands scarifications and tattoos, marks of crime sentence (Greek Biblical krima / krino is God's Judgement karma), cattle brands, treasury seals, Heliopolitan and Asclepiadean plastic surgical treatment for the disfiguring marks of slaves and krima-nals, religious and kinship and heraldic devices, peerage and the history of nobility and divine right, shield and coat-of-arms symbols, Rhodons and other Deity temple city-state and alliance symbols on seals, coins, amulets and temple foundation deposits (which might also be used voluntarily or involuntarily on humans), specifically women's symbols, Jewish symbols, the circle as a Heliopolitan cult mark, the V or triangle as a Jewish or Serapean or Platonic or Pythagorean cult mark, the band or ladder mark of Dionysos and the (Left Hand Tantric) Maenads or Bacchants, the Seraph or Serpent tattoos of the Spartoi Anguipeds Erechtids and those from Warka (Dvarka). For Biblical reference to the regional and Jewish uses of cult marks, read both the Old and New Testament for the Name of the Living God, His mark of Judgement and protection, and the mark of the Beast on both the forehead / brow of the face and on the hands. There have been some scholarly studies done on the Biblical Deity's mark of protection. Most of these may be located by searching for books or papers on 'the mark of Cain'.

Genesis 4:15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

Unfortunately the subject has generally become hopelessly muddled in the popular modern mind of Neo-Gnostic Aryo-Sophists, New-Agers and Protestant Fundamentalists due to nonsense speculations about the mark of the Beast, thought-control human or alien brain implants, occult teachings about 'the third eye', etc. All these fanciful interpretations of the Biblical body-marks ignore the real-world use of voluntary tilaka and forced (slave or hereditary) body marking in the ancient world... practices which appear to have been prevalent in nearly every region at one time or another.

I once did an in-depth study of tilaka and other forms of body marking, tonsure and religious dress, comparing Mediterranean practices to those in the Indian Regional Complex of Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Buddhism and Devi worship. Again there are significant parallels between Heliopolitan and Vaishnava symbols and Baal-Dionysian and Shaivite symbols. The V, U, Y or triangle glyph for Toba-Yahu or Wasu-Theos (Vasu-Deva) in the Mediterranean Complex (MC) of Vaishnavism is paralleled in the Indian Complex by the 'urdhva' or 'up-right' general form of Vaishnava tilaka. The comparative study of these marks is an entire vast field of research waiting to be explored, which could keep many scholars busy for lifetimes, and still not exhaust the subject. The conclusion of my own study is that the 'up right' form of tilaka in the Mediterranean and Indian Complexes is associated with the Heleno-Semitic-Egyptian worship of Yahu or Wasu and the Eastern Vaishnava worship of Vasudeva or Vishnu. In the Mediterranean region this symbol invoked the Name of the Transcendent and All-pervasive Cosmic Deity. It was regarded as the aniconic or self-revealed signature or Name of the omnipresent Person of the Godhead (Vedic Ashura or Purusha = Egyptian Asar / Osiris). Thus it was seen written in the sky by the Creator in passing flocks of His sacred Geese or Swans, or in retreating patterns of water on the shoreline's sands, on leaves and flowers, mountain ranges and forest skylines, on the faces of many species and generally pervading nature everywhere.

Related to Yahu's sacred triangle was the Hexad (Shakti) symbol or 'Star of David' of Jewish Yahu-Shekinah Bridal Mysticism (Sri Yantra or the Pure Land Buddhist Tara-Lokeshvara star) and the mystical science of geometry. (For an interesting comparison see Pythagorean Mathematical Mysticism and modern Fractal studies). The Hexad was a pictorial pun / hieroglyph for the Shekinah (Shakti) of Helios Kouros named Hekate (= Hexad = Shakti). The triangle, V, U or Y mark was was especially sacred naturally occurring on the faces of animals. Thus domesticated animals were bred with a preference for the 'blaze' or V mark on their foreheads, which was considered auspicious, to say the least. The circle or dot form of tilaka was associated with Eli, Heri, Helios or Soleus etc. and often confused with a 'third eye' because of its prominent location in the middle of the brow or forehead. In 'The Greek Myths' Robert Graves has speculated about the widespread use of the 'solar' circle glyph as cult mark. As the universal hieroglyph for the Holy Name Sole (Soleus) / Sura (Surya) / Heri (Horus) / Hari (Haryeh) / Heli (Helios) / Eli (Eliyahu) / Ali (Allah / Eloah) or Hrih (the mantra name of the PL Adi Buddha) etc. the Hari Chakra (cakra = kyklos in Greek) makes a perfect identifying body-mark for the devotees of the Supreme Lord. Actually there are as many ancient associations of this Deity name with love and the heart as there are with 'solar' associations. Hari was and is preeminently God-who-is-love, the Lord of all hearts. The triangle (or V or U) and circle marks were the two most prominent marks of Serapis and Helios. Experts judging the antiquity and authenticity of early Christian icons of Jesus and the Saints have used the presence or absence of the V type face marks, which they call Vignon Marks (which look just like Gaudiya or Nityananda Vamsa urdhva tilaka marks!) in their process of authentication. Ian Wilson in his study of the Shroud of Turin discusses this practice of authentication of icons as it relates to the mark on the face of the Shroud. When I studied early icons in Athens, Greece, the icon experts there could not explain the nature or meaning of mark. Similarly in Nepal, the Nepalese and Tibetan Buddhist icon experts could not explain the similar marks on the earliest icons of their Pure Land related Buddhism. The remnants of Indian-related tilaka marks survive today in Japanese theater where they identify various characters and deities on traditional masks. I probably have collected enough material for several volumes on the subject of religious, military, criminal, slave, and hereditary body marking, which is one of the many interdisciplinary ways that I have confirmed my findings regarding the connections between Mediterranean Complex and Indian Complex Krishna-Vishnu worship.

Again, the Catholic practice of anointing on the forehead, significantly in the confirmation rite of Catholic initiation, and related anointing rites, is directly related to the Proto Catholic Heliopolitan Serapean and Jewish tilaka traditions and through these to Vaishnavism, Shaivism, PL Buddhism and other Eastern traditions. As the Savior Deity of Manumission, Jesus-Asclepius cannot be separated from this ancient salvific practice. Any treatment of the 'Historical Jesus' which ignores or minimizes the role of His Saving Grace in the ancient practice of manumission is fundamentally flawed.

Shroud's Shikha?

Moreover, the back of head on the Shroud shows a longer hair resembling pigtail. Similarity to a Vaishnava shikha is obvious.

Sikha: Christian Tradition As Well

ISA DAS

USA, Mar 2 (VNN) — "Why do you shave your heads?

For cleanliness and simplicity, the celibate monks and some of the married men shave their heads. This ancient tradition is a sign that the person is more interested in cultivating the beauty of the soul than the body.

What is the tuft of the hair in the back for?

This is called a sikha. In the East, voidists and impersonalists also shave their heads as monks, so the Hare Krishna devotees wear sikha to distinguish that they are personal theists.

This practice is believed to have been a Jewish tradition that Jesus Christ followed. The famous Shroud of Turin clearly shows that a streak of hair much longer than the rest flows down his back. This sculpture (mirror) (c. 1300) at the Cathedral of Notre Dame shows that this was an accepted Christian tradition as well."

  • source
  • Examples of old frescos

    Some Shroud links:

    Jesus-Paramatma connection

    No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44)

    I was walking down the street in downtown, when suddenly I felt this incredible force inside of me, pushing me to give a book to a woman walking on my left. I handed her a Science of Self-realization and told her what the book was about. After she said, "Sure I will buy this book, let me give you a donation" as she handed me five dollars. She said, "Actually, I am a Christian, see (she pointed to her cross), and I was just praying to Jesus that I want to love God more than anything else in my life. At that time, I felt a more intense connection with God than I ever had in my life. I thought, "What is going to happen next?" Then I walked out here and you handed me this book!"

    Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

    Jagannath Das (19) is one of Prabhupada's up and coming gurukuli youth. He is presently serving in H.H. Danavir Goswami's RVC project in Kansas City, MO.

    A Christian lady distributing books of Srila Prabhupada

    Once I was busy distributing books in Croydon, south of London. Another devotee was on the other side of the street. It was quite tough out there because the pavement was narrow and people could easily see us giving out books, so they were avoiding us like the plague.

    Suddenly I heard a woman's voice bellowing out to me, 'Hey boy, have you been saved?'

    A fat black mama was right in my face with an intent look. Since I have been saved by Patita Pavana, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, I didn't think that I was deceiving her in any way when I quickly replied, 'Yes, I've been saved!'

    She replied in a satisfied tone, 'Praise the Lord!'

    She then asked whether I'd read the good book (Bible).

    I quickly responded, 'Oh, yes, I've read the very good book and guess what?'

    She looked at me with anticipation.

    'The good Lord has chosen you to do something very special today.'

    She said 'No!'

    I said 'Yes! I've got these good books that I'm giving out with the message of our Lord.'

    She looked at the books: The Perfection of Yoga and Beyond Birth and Death. I said, 'These are the words of the Lord and He has chosen you to help me deliver the fallen souls today. Glory hallelujah, sister!'

    I handed her a few books and said, 'Give these out to everyone and ask for a small donation and the good Lord will bless you'.

    She took the books from my hand and enthusiastically proceeded to distribute Lord Chaitanya's message. After a short time, she came back and said, 'These books are very special, I can feel the Lord's presence when I'm given them out'.

    I was very, very happy to see this sincere soul get Lord Gauranga's mercy in such a nice way. She asked me for more books, and I gave her five more. I was amazed to see the Lord engage this soul in the highest welfare work (para upakara). Finally, when she said she had to go, she gave me the laxmi and a couple of remaining books.

    I said, 'Today you've done a great thing and the Lord will bless you and your family. Jesus will be so pleased with your work today!'

    She said goodbye and thanked me for letting her give out those books, and then she disappeared in the crowd. Jesus will be very pleased with her for distributing Srila Prabhupada's transcendental books.

    Srila Prabhupada's transcendental book distribution ki jay!

    Your servant, Sakhyarasa Prema Dasa

    The true story of a follower of Jesus who prayed to Him to be used in God's plan

    This is the story of one young man who eventually became a devotee of Krishna by first going into the main Cathedral in Melbourne to pray to Jesus in 1972.

    By Rod Davis

    When this young man entered the Church as a last resort to find some meaning and purpose to life, he went down on his knees in total helplessness and, with tears in his eyes, prayed to Jesus, "Please use me in your service, in your plan, my life is now useless, it is better you use me in your plan to spread God Consciousness". He prayed like this for about an hour, then to his suprise, a young devotee in saffron robes walked in the Church (Shyamananda dasa is a brilliant artist who was admiring the various paintings there). This young man was very moved by the devotee's simplicity and knew the repetition he was hearing must be like the rosary, chanting the names of God. This young man took this as a gift and message to his prayers from Jesus, who was showing him the way. This young man was amazed and without knowing anything about Krishna, he still had tears in his eyes seeing this young devotee. He never took his eyes off Shyamananda dasa. When the devotee left, the young man followed him out and watched what he thought was one of God's angels walk up the street.

    The young man then walked no more than ten yards up Swanston St., when a bubbling young girl in her mid teens (Krsnapremi dasi) approached him in a beautiful sari with flowers in her hair. "Hari Bol", she said, then continued. "I'm with the Hare Krishna Movement and here is our magazine Back to Godhead, we are having a love feast tomorrow, come along and experience the ecstasy of Krishna Consciousness! This young man was blown away, as they used to say back then, he was thrilled and truly believed Jesus had answered his prayers.

    Probably the most astonishing thing was when he turned up the next day (February 18th 1972); it was Lord Caitanya's appearance day. He even played the part of Haridasa Thakura in a play (because he had a beard) where Lord Nityananda was hit on the head with a clay pot. (...)

    That night the young man who took directions from Jesus, joined the temple and eventually became initiated by Srila Prabhupada. To this very day he is thankful to Jesus who directed him to Srila Prabhupada who in turn began teaching him about Krishna's pastimes. source


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