Wednesday, November 30, 2011
What they don't realize is that I already have, found Someone -- God Himself -- and, as I had previously mentioned, once He assumes the role as one's spouse, there's just no going back.
As usual, Mirabai says it best:
“I have felt the swaying of the elephant's shoulders; and now you want me to climb on a jackass? Try to be serious.”A modern-day version of that sentiment might be: "I have experienced the ride of a Cadillac; and now you want me to settle for a Yugo? As if!"
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Well... it's a bigger project than I first realized, so, in case it never sees the light of day, the main message I was trying to convey through it is that God is Westley, and humankind (on both the individual and the collective levels) is/are His Princess Bride.
Fellow Buttercups, don't ever let the Humperdincks in life persuade you otherwise! :) ♥
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
I had started out Roman Catholic. At the age of 22, I got born-again and entered into the nondenominational Protestant evangelical/fundamentalist segment of Christianity. Then, at age 40, I became convinced there is no eternal hell awaiting those who die in unbelief and thus became what's known as a Christian Universalist.
The central theme of each of these phases is that Jesus died to save mankind from the penalty of sin and to reconcile us to God. Jesus brought an end to the Old Covenant, with all of its religious rules, regulations, and requirements. Religious ritual was no longer necessary draw near to God. This aspect of Divinity is, therefore, important to me. Having come to appreciate it, to believe in any less generous of a god-concept would be a step backwards in my journey. No matter what their names are, it's hard to top a deity who would sacrifice His/Her own progeny for our eternal benefit.
What does this have to do with reincarnation?
While I have never really been sold on the idea of reincarnation, I still wouldn't rule it out. But an idea had struck me over the last couple days that I want to share here: If there was a system of reincarnation in place up to the time of Christ, maybe Christ's sacrifice eliminated that, too.
Of course, that hinges on the reasons for reincarnation. If reincarnation is for the purpose of balancing out the bad deeds of a previous life with the good deeds of a current life, then Jesus may have eradicated it along with all the other things involving personal effort or goodness in getting close to God. Given that now there is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) -- and I believe that includes everyone -- there is now no more need for endless reincarnation in order to "get it right", just as there is no more need for animal sacrifices or adherence to religious laws in order to do so.
Now, if the purpose of reincarnation is just for the fun of it, or as some outlet for personal challenge and growth, then hey, why not? But for God to have no choice but to condemn someone to a perpetual cycle of death and rebirth until they get their act together is, in my view, almost as nonsensical as His having to throw them into an eternal torture chamber with no hope of release. He's All-Powerful and All-Knowing. As such, I'm sure He has other, far more constructive (not to mention humane), alternatives at His disposal for fixing whatever remains broken in His creation.
I am in no way affiliated with any Hindu, Hare-Krishna, or any other religious organizations. I learned as a Christian to be free from religious ritual; that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross freed mankind from all that. I still believe that to be the case in my post-Christian walk. Paul expressed his concern for the Galatians who were slipping back into their old religious routines that were done away with:
"Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 'Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!'? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence." (Colossians 2:16-23)
"The resolute determination of Self-realization is not formed in the minds of those who are attached to pleasure and power, and whose judgment is obscured by ritualistic activities. (2.44) Become free from pairs of opposites, be ever balanced and unconcerned with the thought of acquisition and preservation. Rise above the three modes of Material Nature (goodness, passion and ignorance) and be Self-conscious, O Arjuna. (2.45) To a God-realized person scripture is as useless as a river in a flooded area. Scripture is only an aid to God-realization, not needed after one has realized God." (2.46)While Jesus hadn't yet arrived on the scene to do away with religious laws when God (as Krishna) expressed the above to Arjuna, it would seem that He was all about steering folks in that general direction: To relate with Him rather than just ritualize around Him.
"I personally take care of both spiritual and material welfare of those ever-steadfast devotees who always remember and adore Me with single-minded contemplation. (9.22) O Arjuna, even those devotees who worship the deities with faith, they also really worship Me. (9.23) Whosoever offers Me a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water with devotion; I accept and eat the offering of devotion by the pure-hearted. (9.26) O Arjuna, whatever you do, eat, give, or sacrifice, do it as an offering to Me." (9.27) A dedicated heart full of devotion is needed to obtain God's grace, not rituals.
"O Arjuna, neither by study of scriptures, nor by austerity, nor by charity, nor by ritual, can I be seen in the form as you have seen Me. (11.53) However, through single minded devotion I can be seen in this form, can be known in essence, and also can be reached. (11.54) One who does his worldly duty for Me, to whom I am the supreme goal, who is my devotee, free from attachment and without enmity towards living beings, realizes Me." (11.55)
"Transcendental knowledge of the scriptures is better than mere ritualistic practice; meditation is better than scriptural knowledge; renunciation of selfish attachment to the fruit of work is better than meditation; peace immediately follows renunciation of selfish motives." (12.12)
So it would seem that once someone gets involved in a religious institution of whatever persuasion, sooner or later that organization's rules, regulations, and requirements are going to start creeping into their relationship with God. If it gets tacky enough, that organization may even earn the title of "Cult". Sometimes I wonder if man-made religion was founded by folks with severe OCD: everything has to be done a Certain Way in order to please the Deity of the Day. I'm sorry, but no sirree! Spirituality cannot be institutionalized, in my view. It's a very personal, one-on-one thing. Power-hungry priests, gurus, priestesses and pastors need to remember that God doesn't need help reaching each and every individual soul. He made them, He knows where they are, and He'll bring them Home again, and I can almost guarantee that the process doesn't require fifty push-ups in front of a statue of Saint Whatshisname each morning at 4am. We can be beacons of light without charring people to a crisp burdening them with nonessentials.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Meera Bai (also known as Mira) was one of the foremost exponents of the Prema Bhakti (Divine Love) and an inspired poetess of North India. She is regarded as an incarnation of Radha.
This is the story of the daring princess Meerabai, who revealed the secret of true happiness.
Meerabai, the great devotee of Krishna, who discovered that true wealth, lies not in the palaces of kings but in the hearts of the Lords devotees
Around 500 years ago, the Indian kingdom of Rajasthan was a land of warriors and sages, sadhus and kings. One such king had a daughter, the princess Meerabai, who saw beyond such things as riches and war.
She was born in Samvat 1557 or 1498 A.D. in the village Kurkhi, in Marwar, near Merta, a fortress-city, founded by her grandfather Rao Dudaji, about 40-50 miles north-east of Ajmer near Rajasthan. Meera was the daughter of Ratan Singh Ranthor and the grand-daughter of Rao Dudaji of Merta.
When she was four years of age, she manifested religious tendencies. As a child, she adored the cowherd god, Krishna, an image of whom she treated as a doll.
One day, while watching a wedding procession Meera asked her mother, "Dear Mother, who will be my bridegroom?"
Caught by surprise and unsure what to say, Meera mother smiled, and half in jest and half in earnest, pointed towards the image of Sri Krishna and said, "My dear Meera, this beautiful image is your bridegroom, her mother replied, "He is Lord Krishna."
From that moment on, child Meera began to love the idol of Krishna very much. She spent much of her time in bathing and dressing the image. She worshipped the image. She slept with the image. She danced about the image in ecstasy. She sang beautiful songs in front of the image. She used to talk to the idol.
Sadly her mother died when Meerabai was only four or five years old. As her father was away much of the time, she was then sent to be raised at her grandfather's house.
Other members of the family were also inclined towards Vaishnava practices, and in this environment Meerabai's own religious sentiments could grow freely.
Along with her general education she received lessons in music and dance too. She acquired a good mastery over them. She must have been especially proficient in music. The sweet musical quality of her songs is rarely found in the lyrics of other poets. This melody is the main reason for the immense popularity of her songs.
Meera had been worshipping Krishna right from her childhood. Nobody in her parents home had come in the way. If anything they actively encouraged it.
As she grew up, Meerabai's love for Krishna only strengthened. One night, she dreams that she and Krishna are married and for Meerabai, this is true also in her waking life. She lives as if she is Krishnas bride. She was passionately attached to the idol of Giridhar Gopal, a form of Lord Krishna and would refuse to be parted from it. Meera's mother died when she was ten year old. She then came to live with her grandfather who died in 1515. Her father's elder brother Vikram Deo who succeeded to the throne arranged her marriage with Prince Bhoj Raj, the eldest son of Rana Sanga of Chitter.
The marriage was celebrated with great pomp and grandeur in 1516. It seems Meera had placed the idol of Sri Krishna by her side even on the bridal seat. The royal family, which had the custom of placing a sword representing the bridegroom by the bride's side, might well have allowed this. This marriage raised Meera to a very high social status as the ruler of Chitter was considered to be the leader of the Hindu princes. But as soon as she came to live with her husband, her devotion to Sri Krishna began to cause displeasure among the members of her husband's family. It may seem strange that one should regard God as the husband and behave accordingly. But it is not a new thing in the Bhakti cult. There are several types of Bhakti (devotion). They are classified according to the relation that exists between God and the devotee. If God is regarded with parental affection, it is called as one's own dear child 'Vatsalya Bhava' (or the devotion of a parent to a child). The relation between Yashoda and Krishna is a good example of this type.
Instead of this, if a devotee considers God as his Master and firmly believes that he lives only by that Master's Grace and owes everything in life to Him, the relation would be that, which exists between Master and servant, It is called Dasya Bhava' (devotion of a servant to the Master). The relation between Hanumaan and Sri Rama is an example of this. When God is taken for an intimate friend, it is called "Sakhya Bhava' - the devotion of a friend to a friend. The friendship of Sri Krishna and Kuchela is of this type. When the relation between God and the devotee is one of love and of the intimacy that exists between husband and wife, it is called 'Madhurya Bhava'. This is considered the highest form of devotion.
The devotee is the wife and God is the husband. A wife serves her lord in several roles. She looks after him with affectionate care like a mother; she stands in attendance with respect and obedience like a servant; she treats him with sweet familiarity like a friend. In 'Madhurya Bhava' the devotee's relationship with God is exactly that of the wife with her husband. Though Meera had firmly believed even from her young age that Sri Krishna was her Lord, there is nothing to show in real life that she neglected her husband. As an ideal wife she might have returned his love and affection. But under no circumstances was she prepared to forget her Sri Krishna. In the entire world nothing was greater to her than that love. She loved to sit before the sweet little image of Sri Krishna, sing about Him in her sweet voice and dance. That was her life. She was born for only that. How could she give it up? But to others in her husband's house this looked like impertinence. It made them hate Meera. Everybody at home advised the obstinate girl to mend herself. She listened to their words calmly. In fact she would do whatever else she was asked to do; but, if she was told to forget Krishna, she could not bear it.
In the view of others, her intense devotion was nothing but a craze. When they made sure that she would not budge whatever they might say, they grew indifferent towards her.
Day by day she went on spending more and more time in the company of monks and other holy people, meditating upon Sri Krishna. At last Bhoj Raj got a temple built exclusively for her near the palace. (Some say that this temple was meant to divert the large number of Sadhus who came to the palace.) Anyway this provided Meera with a place where she could worship Sri Krishna in freedom. She used to spend the whole day in song and dance there. "When the whole world is asleep I, being away from my Lord, keep awake. Likewise some one else separated from her lover sits in a luxurious mansion stringing pearls, I know. Counting the stars I spend the whole night. When will dawn the hour of happiness for me? It is only after Giridhar, the Lord of Meera, comes that this suffering will end," so she sang in great joy. Her own people who had seen her sing, dance and go into ecstasy had concluded that she had gone mad. But the monks respected her as a great saint. The number of those who came to be blessed by her sight increased. She was revered among the people as 'a great saint', and as the 'Radha of Kaliyuga'. The prestige of the royal family of Chittore stood very high. What a disgrace to such a renowned and noble family that the wife of the prince went on singing and dancing with monks! Besides, she had insulted her husband's family by not worshipping Mother Kali. Such were the thoughts that crossed the minds of many in her husband's house. They were angry and had nothing but contempt for her. But Bhoj Raj had immense love for her. Therefore no one had the courage to say anything against her. There were no children from this marriage. Sadly, Bhoj Raj passed away in 1521. He had been wounded in a battle in 1518, and the wounds proved fatal. Within about six years of her marriage Meera had become a widow. She was only twenty-three then. The only link Meera had with the world had snapped. There was no one to care for her. Meerabai was left vulnerable to the hostility of her conservative male relatives, and that this hostility increased as Meerabai became visibly detached from the affairs of the world and her obligations to her in-laws.
Overstepping all propriety, she would descend from the Sisodiya palace, into town, where she would consort with sadhus and low caste bhaktas in local temples; and apparently danced before the image of Krishna.
Her in laws were enraged. She was suspected of consorting with spies. There were three attempts to kill her. It has been suggested that a much younger male relative, Vikramajita, is supposed to have locked her into a room, but when that failed to bring Meerabai to her senses, he attempted, unsuccessfully, to then poison her.
It has been suggested that her relatives expected her to commit Satiâ, or self-immolation, after the death of her husband; indeed, in one of her poems Meerabai wrote, "sati na hosyan girdhar ghanshyam mhara man moho ghananami", "I will not commit Sati. I will sing the songs of Girdhar Krishna."
Branded as mad, she had already suffered everybody's contempt. But this apathy of her own people only strengthened her devotion. More than ever she clung firmly to her Lord Krishna.
Sometime around 1538 Meerabai arrived in Vrindavan, where she spent most of the remainder of her life before moving, shortly before her death, to Dwarka.
A group of Brahmins come to Meerabai, and tell her of the destruction of their city, the brave death of Uda and others whom she loved. They beseech her to return to the city and be their queen. Though she does not want to go, she agrees to leave if it is Krishna's will.
It is said that Krishna himself could not bear their separation, for the next morning, when the Brahmins return to the temple, they find only Meerabai's shawl. Finally, the union of Meerabai and Krishna is complete.
It is Meera's bhajans or devotional lyrics through which she conveys her intense love or Krishna, that have immortalised her story as his "bride", which also lends credibility to Radha's love for the historical Krishna.
Meera's songs are inimitable, as sober and sincere expressions of deep love that is thoroughly spiritual in character. The songs are a class by themselves and will remain our prized possession. Her odes and hymns are so rich, sweet and inspiring, not because of any high rhetoric or dexterity of language, but because they are characterised by a tenderness and simplicity of feeling as genuine outpourings of a heart completely dedicated to God.
The vocabulary of human love used in them is simple and familiar, drawn from human situations that we come across in our day-to-day life, mostly connected with the 'affairs of the heart'.
And yet they strongly appeal to us, especially to those who are themselves devout and have got a good ear for music. Most songs pierce to the heart and convince us of Meera's supreme devotion to Krishna. They unmistakably convey to us that she knows her lord, for sure, to be the indwelling Master and the only object of her worship, not the mere image she is fondly attached to.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
In my research concerning marriage to a mortal spouse as compared with belonging to God alone (bridal mysticism), I came across the following by Sri Swami Sivananda. Being currently separated (from a mortal spouse that is ツ), the part that really struck me was the following:
"My dear Mira, your life with this mortal husband is over now. You are absolutely free. Be cheerful. You are Mine.”
These words were spoken by Lord Krishna to Mirabai (a Hindu saint who was devoted to Him her whole life), Who appeared to her and stopped her from drowning herself in the river (something her angry husband had ordered her to do for supposedly disgracing her family).
I remember hearing in sermons how, when a woman loses her husband for whatever reason, God steps in and assumes the role of husband. They got that right! ツ One drawback to this that I can see is from a humanistic perspective, in that once an Immortal, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Unconditionally-Loving God becomes that Ultimate Companion, mortals just don't cut it anymore.
There’s simply no going back.
Human marriage has been said to be merely metaphor of the Real Deal, which can only truly be found in God. Human spouses change, and/or they pass away. But there’s something about knowing that the One you love will never change, die, or stop loving you back – and that at a depth that the mortal mind just cannot grasp – that packs that much more of a punch.
I like the following song and the imagery alongside it because it can be viewed as expressing the raptures of being caught up above the clouds in the ultimate love-embrace of the Divine, while, far below, mankind demonstrates what can only be described as a rough sketch (marred by its pitfalls) of that ultimate Union. I should add that the bluish cast Celine takes on towards the end of the video carries it's own significance as well for those who love God in His Krishna incarnation. A nice touch, that one is! :)
❤ When Divine Love hits you, a New Day truly has come! ❤
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Suppose you hear about a relative in your family whom you never actually met; perhaps they passed away before you were born. You hear about all the wonderful things they did, about how loving they were, their great accomplishments, some of which may have even benefited you and your family directly. Wouldn't it bring some sort of closure to actually know what the relative looked like? Wouldn't it bring things more into focus somehow? Sure, it would! It would help... at the very least, it would be the icing on the cake.
That's exactly what happened in my relationship with the Lord. All these years I had learned of His Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence, and of His Love, but never had anything but vague notions of what physical form He might take; and let's face it -- as long as I'm residing in this here physical plane, the physical attributes of any entity are going to play a part in their overall being in my mind. Maybe it's the artist in me... I have to have visuals! :) Sure, I had the more depressing impressions of an old, bearded guy hell-bent on cursing me forever if I screwed up, but that doesn't line up with the teaching that He is Love (see aforementioned verse, as well as the comparison of artistic renderings of God I posted about here).
Concerning trying to maintain a close, loving relationship with God as a vague, formless entity, Lord Krishna even said it Himself:
"For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied." ~ Lord Krishna (Bhagavad Gita 12:5)
"Therefore, the bhakti-yogi accepts the Deity of Krishna as worshipable because there is some bodily conception fixed in the mind, which can thus be applied."Yeah... no kidding! I wish I had known this sooner, but the particular flavors of Christianity I was hanging with especially in more recent decades seemed to discourage such an approach for fear of "idolatry". Well, if this is idolatry, then so is the everyday family photograph or the picture of one's spouse hidden in their locket.
Besides, I'm pretty confident that a belief system which has been around far, far longer than Christianity (not to mention just about every other major religion) will know a thing or two about God's physical features, and it will be far closer to the truth than the angry (or at the very least, clinically depressed) "Santa" impressions of the West.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
A Description of Krishna - The Vedas describe Krishna in this way: He is a beautiful youth with a glowing complexion the color of rain clouds. He plays a flute, attracting the hearts of all. His cheeks are brilliant, His smile enchanting. He wears a peacock feather in His curly black hair and a flower garland around His neck. His beautiful garments are the color of lightning. His toenails resemble the light of the moon. (Source: Krishna.com)
Monday, November 14, 2011
All faiths have their own set of rationalizations, and mine is no different. So, here's how I see it:
Jesus said that no one comes to the Father (God) except through him (John 14:6). We enter into the Most Holy Place by a new and living way that was opened for us through the "curtain", Jesus' body (Hebrews 10:19). Jesus refers to himself as the "door", or "gate", through which we come (John 10:7). So, essentially, Scripture depicts Jesus as a portal through which we come to God. He's the bridge from here to there. That being the case, I think it's safe to say that, for 40+ years, I have been crossing that bridge and/or passing through that door. I would have a very hard time saying that I didn't get to where I am now without having gone "through Jesus" in just about every sense of the term there is.
But unless passing through the door/curtain is the end in and of itself, there must be something beyond that stage, no? Does a person, upon reaching the doorway, just stand in the doorway and go no further? When crossing a bridge, does a person cross halfway and then just plop down in the middle, not proceeding another step towards the other side?
There is a subset of Christianity which believes that Jesus is not God incarnate, to the utter consternation of those Christians that do believe it. Not to get into the details of that debate (I'm at the point where that's "their issue" which they need to work out among themselves, as I no longer consider myself strictly Christian). But for the sake of this post, perhaps those parts of Scripture that do seem to make the distinction between Jesus and God are indicating that Jesus is the means and God is the End. Much like my post about continuing to gaze at a map after one has arrived at the destination to which it led, perhaps Jesus's role is that of a conduit, a channel from here to God. Perhaps it wasn't intended that we stop at Jesus (the door) and not continue on through that door to the Father.
So that's where I'm at now. I have passed through the Garden Gate (Jesus) and into the Garden (God's Presence), where He speaks to me in a language He knows I'll understand best. ❤
"To a God-realized person scripture is as useless as a river in a flooded area. Scripture is only an aid to God-realization, not needed after one has realized God." (Bhagavad Gita 2.46)I like the analogy of using a map to get to a destination. Studying the map and following its guidance is extremely helpful in getting from Point-A to Point-B. However, once one has reached that destination, there's little reason to continue sitting there staring at the map when one could instead be availing themselves of all that the destination has to offer.
"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." (John 5:39-40)
Sunday, November 13, 2011
“My Lover said to me,
‘Rise up, My darling! Come away with Me, My fair one!
Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone.
The flowers are springing up,
the season of singing birds has come,
and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.
The fig trees are forming young fruit,
and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming.
Rise up, My darling!
Come away with Me, My fair one!’”
~ Song of Songs 2:10-13 ~
My Rapture: Caught up in the Rain Clouds
Okay, so one night a while back I was drifting in and out of sleep and pondering what name by which to refer to God in my post-Christian spiritual walk. I was at that point leaning heavily towards coming up with a unique, personally-relevant name for God, rather than borrowing a term from any already-established religion. Drifting into sleep a brief dream occurred, the sort that pops up in the shallower modes of sleep, in which I was looking at the word "Taren" on a computer screen, accompanied by a male voice saying, "My name is Taren."
Later that day I decided to look up the meaning of the name Taren. Evidently, it's a male name meaning "Thunder". One mythical god of thunder, Thor, came to mind, so I ended up dismissing that, because that doesn't speak to my understanding of the Divine at this point (though I am a fan of thunderstorms! ツ).
Anyway, days passed and I thought no more about it.
Then, a few days later, I was looking through a gallery of artistic paintings of Krishna. For whatever reason, I was mesmerized by the beauty of the imagery. If I were to define what God looked like, this would be it. My christian background overall seemed to discourage such things as pictures and statues of Deity because of the fear of idolatry. In my Catholic upbringing, there was more in the way of such visual aids, but they lacked a certain peace and joy, both of which are fully present in the paintings concerning Krishna. Especially those images depicting Krishna with Radhe... they speak to me of what our relationship with the Lord can be like, a picture of Christ and His church (both corporate and each individual), if you will.
What does this have to do with thunder? I didn't make the connection right away, but one of the distinguishing features of Krishna (whose name means "blue-black, dark-colored") is his bluish color, which is likened to the color of rain clouds ... or even thunder clouds. ;) So, in a way, my mini-dream from days before could have been something of a heads-up. Taren=thunder=thunder clouds = Krishna = W000T!! ツ
And what does this have to do with a rapture? Well, while it turns out there wasn't an actual rapture on May 21st, maybe it could be said that there was, if private raptures-as-in-spiritual-ecstatic-experiences, count. The day before, I was totally absorbed in God as Krishna. I had even submitted a hold-request at my local library for a book dealing with Hinduism, intending to get the story behind all the Krishna artwork I had seen. I was feeling a connection with God that I had not felt before, and it was downright exhilarating. I was literally a bawling (though joyful) mess at 2AM! I guess you could say I was, in a sense, "caught up in the (rain) clouds".
Yes, the imagery was instrumental in re-establishing a connection with the Lord -- it conveys so much of He who is both Love and Lovely -- but it was a breath of fresh air, as my walk with Him had been stagnating from disillusionment with regards to Christianity and what I had thought was an inerrant bible at that point. I am ready to relate to the Divine in a context other than Christian, and it would seem that this ... epiphany? ... came in just the nick of time.
I don't know that I'll ever call myself "Hindu" (though, interestingly enough, I did rank as "95% Hindu" on a spirituality test I took over at Beliefnet), but from what I have seen and read thus far, Krishna more accurately represents what I have come to believe constitutes God, which is less like a stern-looking judge planning on sending most of mankind to hell, and more like a blissful, victorious, and yes... rapture-inducing Lord of All.