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A BG perspective on Avatar movie

Babhru wrote: And the term avatar as used in this film certainly derives from the kind of avatars we see online, as in Second Life, etc., not directly on an incarnation of Godhead. While contrasting the film’s idea of avatar with the Vedic concept may tempt us, and may even arouse some short-term interest among a few, in the long run it’s likely to make us look a little–how shall I say it?–naive.
Thank you for your comment, Babhru Prabhu. Regarding the source from which the title ‘Avatar’ was borrowed from, this is what
Cameron himself credited for it:

“In a 2007 interview with Time magazine, Cameron addressed the meaning of the film’s title, answering the question “What is an avatar, anyway?” Cameron stated, “It’s an incarnation of one of the Hindu gods taking a flesh form.” He said that “[i]n this film what that means is that the human technology in the future is capable of injecting a human’s intelligence into a remotely located body, a biological body”. Cameron stated, “It’s not an avatar in the sense of just existing as ones and zeroes in cyberspace. It’s actually a physical body.”

So it seems that parallels between ‘Avatar’ the title and the Vedic concept of Avatar are not entirely unwarranted.

Your servant,
Madana-mohan das

» Posted By Mmd On Jan 10, 2010 @ 3:04 am

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

A much fuller version of the same article is carried by a number of news sites of Australian Fairfax group of media, most notably on Sydney Morning Herald website. Readers are welcome to leave their comments there.

your servant,
Madana-mohan das

» Posted By Mmd On Jan 7, 2010 @ 11:35 pm

Thank you, Amala Gaura Prabhu, for your kind words.

I did not want to be seen as the author because, first of all, there are lots of brilliant writers in ISKCON who would (and should) do a much better job writing such reviews than me, and, secondly, authorship is not as relevant here as the fact that a major newspaper of India unexpectedly carried the article, and picked it up.

I just thought that passing up on such an opportunity to introduce a drop of BG philosophy would be a crime. After all, when will we next have a madly popular Hollywood blockbuster having a Sanskrit theological term for name and featuring tall blue-skinned handsome positive characters sporting tilaks (and sort of shikhas) and teaching respect for all life? Didn’t Srila Prabhupada call us “the greatest opportunists”?

Even though the review was edited by HT down to 2/3 of its original length for publishing purposes, losing much of its important points and cohesion, I hope it will still make a few people more curious of the BG and its philosophy.

And I am confident that the preaching inroads opened up for us at the cost of $500 million are not exhausted by this tiny review. I think we can successfully use this movie for attracting people to the true meaning of ‘Avatar’ and the One behind it. After all, as if cheering us up, some Christian groups are already doing just that: “The True Avatar”

your servant,
Madana-mohan das

PS. BTW, you may want to leave your comments at the bottom of the HT article page. It will help more HT readers find and read it as well.

» Posted By Mmd On Jan 3, 2010 @ 4:06 am

Srila Vyasadeva — Visnu or jiva?

Dear Jaya Vijaya Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for your comment. I would be grateful to get your research on Srila Vyasadeva. You can send it at m2m _at_ where _at_ stands for @

Many thanks.

ys, Mmd

» Posted By Mmd On Apr 20, 2007 @ 9:19 am

On the fairness of falldown

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

There is a whole lot of Srila Prabhupada’s clear statements that we came from Vaikuntha and not just from a tatastha position, like this:

Bhagavad-gita 2.6 — London, August 6, 1973

“…Because we have also come down from Vaikuntha some millions and millions of years ago. Anadi karama-phale. Anadi means before the creation…”

We should perhaps keep in mind that Srila Prabhupada is no less of an acarya that the other previous acaryas, and to qualify as his followers we have to take his side on all issues, and not just on a selected range of them — even when other options may seem more logical to imperfect us.

As for Srila bhaktivinoda Thakur’s own position, besides all that was quoted from his works in the Our Original Position, there is a very clear one in his Krsna-samhita (2.41), with his own commentary:

sambid-rupa maha-maya linga-rupa-vidhayini
ahankaratmakam cittam baddha-jive tanoty aho

When the external potency of the superior energy interacts with samvit, it creates the subtle body of conditioned souls in the form of intelligence and false ego. The constitutional position of a pure living entity is beyond the gross and subtle bodies. The samvit aspect of the external potency is known in the scriptures as nescience. Due to this nescience, the gross and subtle bodies of the living entities are created. When pure living entities reside in VaikuŠ˜ha, the first knot of nescience, in the form of false ego, does not entangle them. Pure living entities cannot remain steady after giving up spiritual activities. Therefore as soon as the living entities become situated in their own happiness through the minute independence given by the Lord, they become shelterless and are compelled to take shelter of M€y€. On account of this, pure living entities have no shelter other than VaikuŠ˜ha. The living entities of VaikuŠ˜ha are very insignificant, like fireflies in comparison to the powerful sunlike Lord. As soon as the living entity leaves VaikuŠ˜ha, he is simultaneously awarded a subtle body and thrown into the material world, created by M€y€. All manifestations of the sandhin…, samvit, and hl€din… aspects of the marginal potency are mixed with m€y€ as soon as the living entity leaves the shelter of VaikuŠ˜ha. When one considers material existence as his own, this is called false ego. Absorption in this false ego is the function of the heart, cultivating material sense objects through the heart is the function of the mind, and realization through this cultivation is called material knowledge. The mind, being superior to the senses, manifests as the functions of the senses in their association. When the impression of contact between the senses and sense objects is established within, it is protected by the strength of remembrance. When one cultivates those protected memories by following the process of elaborating and condensing them, then whatever one conjectures is called argument. By this argument, knowledge of sense objects and related items is acquired.

Similar statements or indications can be found in the works of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti and Srila Jiva Goswami.

However, for us Srila Prabhupada’s followers, his unequivocal words should be enough to put the matter to rest.

» Posted By Mmd On Apr 17, 2007 @ 11:43 am

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