Sanatana Dharma~Where to start? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 09-08-2002, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm currently a practicing eclectic pagan, but very interested in Sanatana Dharma. But honestly I'm not sure where to start? Is their a daily practice that I can start with? Most of the reading I have done is really an overview of philosophy with little info on how to walk this path.

I feel a connection to Sarasvati but I can't find info on doing puja for her.
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#2 of 20 Old 09-10-2002, 03:29 PM
 
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I found some information on Sarasvati--if you scroll down this page there is a "Sarasvati puja" text file:

This is probably not the easiest reference, but I'll do a more extensive search for you later. I didn't have much time to explore this site, but it looks very informative.

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Part...175/index.html
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#3 of 20 Old 09-10-2002, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, I'll check it out. I noticed on HinduUniverse.com that a book is being written on doing puja for Sarasvati, but it didn't say when it would be published.
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#4 of 20 Old 09-12-2002, 02:04 AM
 
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I too was drawn to Saraswati but my dh follows a different path and I followed his path for awhile too (just started to find my own again!). I gave our Saraswati to someone who will honor her in their home like she deserves.

But that's cool that you found Saraswati! There's a festival day when she's honored in the home. You place a flower or red kumkumam on every object in your home that you consider essential to the harmony and prosperity of the home. This includes musical instraments, kitchen tools, gardening tools, etc. Also the car and any other vehicles. In my IL's house they put them on the computers too!

Recognition of the world as the manifestation of Shakti is worship of Shakti. .

As a Hindu I embrace you. Esp. as an ecclectic person myself who started out on the Wiccan path and still hold fond memories of campfire rituals and still have a jar of Circle soil in a special place in our home. You can be both Pagan and Hindu-- they are one and the same. There are no rules in Hinduism except for the basic tenets of ahimsa, karma, dharma, etc. You can be athiest or devoutly religious. You can say mantras to yourself during all your waking hours or you can pray only when you feel like it or you can not pray at all, but read philosophy.

I started out with just offering a flower or fruit to an image of Ganesha every day and praying in my own words for whatever was on my mind at that time. I would also light a small oil lamp or candle at sunset. I have since learned so many Sanskrit pujas and prayers, learned so many rules and customs. And know what? I was happiest just doing what I did in those early days. So I'm backtracking and finding my own path now, where the magic did not get lost in all the rules of how things should be done. If you have a local temple just go there, bring some fruit and flowers, and after leaving them near the opening of the sanctum just sit and absorb. Best is to go when there is nothing else going on so you can get the vibrations and not worry about what others are thinking and doing. Later you can enjoy festival times but I still enjoy the silent times best.

Devi Gita extols, "We bow down to the universal soul of all. Above and below and in all four directions, Mother of the universe, we bow

This book Dancing With Siva has a lot of good basic Hindu information in it. The author is a little conservative and traditional when it comes to women, so take it with a grain of salt. The main content of the book though, is wonderful.

http://www.himalayanacademy.com/books/dws/Contents.html

Another good one is Am I A Hindu? by Ed Visarthwanan

You can go to www.ammachi.org and order the CD called From Untruth to Truth which is interactive and contains a LOT of good information. It's pricy but well worth the money. It has so much info as well as songs and festivals and stories. My dd likes the animated ones.



Aum shanti,
Darshani


Let us worship Him, the pure-formed One, the cloud which, emitting a rain of unthinkable joy, satiates the hearts and eyes of its followers, as if millions of rain clouds had poured down, the stay of the Great Silence, called by many names, described by many religions, the embodiment of ineffable degrees of spiritual happiness.




7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#5 of 20 Old 09-12-2002, 03:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much Darshani.

I don't have a Hindu temple in my city, but I will be traveling to Tampa Florida in 2 weeks and I found one there that I plan to visit. Other than bringing an offering and not wearing shoes inside or leather, I wasn't sure what to expect. I did visit their website and they post their schedule there. I will visit during the "off times" when they aren't expected to be busy. If you can think of anything else I should know ( I don't want to do anything potentially offensive) please let me know.

Thank you for the links I will check out the titles you mentioned.

It sounds like what I have already been doing is a good start. My current practice consists of burnt offerings (herbs, resins, barks et) candle burning and meditation/prayers. I don't have any specific deity representations right now on my altar.

I'm still looking for the cd you mentioned to me in a previous thread when I was asking for info on learning mantras.

Thanks again.
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#6 of 20 Old 09-12-2002, 11:44 AM
 
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Arduinna,

Here's the Untruth to Truth CD:
http://www.mothersbooks.org/cgi-bin/...tailCatg=gifts

It looks like they've even reduced the price from when I bought it! No fair! ;-)

And here's Chants of India:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...music&n=507846

I hope you have a good time at the temple! Sometimes the priests will come up to Non-Indian visitors and give them VIP treatment, and other times they will just let you be alone.

I'm sure you'll be fine when you visit the temple. Just don't show up in a skin tight leather outfit like I saw one person do. lol! Basically you know to remove your shoes and keep them outside, bring fruit and flowers and a few dollars if you wish to donate to the Hundi, etc. I'd love to know your experiences when you return!

Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#7 of 20 Old 09-13-2002, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the links, and I will post back when I return from my trip :-)

About the pagan/hindu title (association?) it's funny that you brought that up. Some of the sites I'm a member of do like to include Hindu's when they are listing pagan spiritual paths. But I've never seen any Hindu's at any of the pagan sites I go to and I often wondered if they would be offended to be included as a part of paganism. I guess some wouldn't mind being included and some would. As long as the title isn't "neopagan" since I think most would agree it doesn't qualify as that, not being a reborn spirituality but one with a long unbroken history.

Anyway, I only bring it up because I have felt for awhile that it was an either or choice, so this is eyeopening. I do see my views and practices changing the more I learn.

Thanks for giving me something else to ponder :-)
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#8 of 20 Old 09-13-2002, 08:27 PM
 
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Arduinna that is a good topic! I had to explore that one myself awhile ago and was very hurt and confused until I understood. As you said you can be a Pagan and have a Hindu path, but you would be hard put to find a Hindu who was proud to be a Pagan, at least an India-born one.

The reason for this is because Christianity has made such an impact in India, and how many of the missionaries called the Hindus "heathens" and "pagans." It has a very negative feel to the word. Indian Hindus don't always understand the modern (or ancient!) def. of Pagan, they just think it means they are backwards and ignorant, because this is how Christians saw them.

I had to explain to my SIL what qualified as a Pagan and how many people in the West proudly carried that name. I explained that being Pagan meant in general believing in karma (of some sort), reincarnation, accepting a pantheon of gods, having worship close to nature and based on the cycles of the seasons or planets, and using divinity to make decisions. She thought that was cool that people in the West were like that.

A few years ago there was an article in Hinduism Today talking about Pagans in Europe and they even had some photos of white-robed Pagans having Circle and made the mistake of saying something like, "Hindus should embrace their fellow Pagans." They got many angry letters in response but stuck to their position that Hinduims is a Pagan religion.

I hope that in the future Hindus can find alliance with other Pagans because it's alarming to see how many missionaries are converting Hindus in India. The reason is because many of the Hindus are not that educated into the whys and hows of their own faith and the missionaries come in with stronger hows and whys and manipulate the facts a lot of times. I have actually seen a missionary sermon in India that was translated into English and it made me sooo angry. I was raised Christian and that man was so misquoting the Bible and also putting down Hinduism in a very ignorant way. But people bought it.

Anyway, I digress. . . . we are about to leave for the temple. I'm fortunate that dh has Fridays off so we can do this little family trip.

Aum shanti,
Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#9 of 20 Old 09-14-2002, 11:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone care to talk about being pagan and walking a hindu path? I never really thought of it as a possibility, or should I say how to do it? How is it different than being hindu?

I think I'm a little confused. I've been struggling with this very idea. arg, I wish I could think of the right questions.

See I actually feel the universal truth is that we are all divinity. I don't believe in a divinity outside ourselves that deals out punishment and reward based on following the rules. I believe we create our own reality and that the purpose of being in a body is to realize we aren't the body, but our spirit self. For lack of a better way to put it. I see all the myriad ways of seeing divinity as a way to get in touch with that part of ourselves we see reflected in Deity. And that we punish ourselves (pain) by not seeing the divinity of ourselves. Honestly I'm not sure if that really does it justice, but the best I can put in words at this time.

I think the deity (my divine self) only cares that I realize that fact.
In other words, I am God! My higher consience self is anyway, not my body.
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#10 of 20 Old 09-15-2002, 12:31 AM
 
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Arduinna, you sound like an Indigo person. :-) I am just learning about this myself but it makes a lot of sense.

http://www.metagifted.org/topics/met...ultIndigo.html

A very high way of thinking indeed, beyond labels and such. Hindus (and many other paths) believe that we ARE the Divine inside. I was just having a discussion with dh about this last night and found a good explanation.

In this case Siva=the Divine by whatever name you give him/her/it. That's how I read it. This discussion is getting really deep! BTW I don't mean to dominate this thread- I'd love to hear from others too!!

Although I call myself a Hindu, it's because it fits with most of what I have always believed inside from a young age. In the end I stopped asking myself "What do Hindus believe about XYZ?" and started asking myself "What do *I* believe about XYZ?" That's where I was finally able to find God. Hinduism is the most organized spiritual path that fits who I am, and I am discover and affirm most of my beliefs with Hindu texts and practices. However I don't agree with all of what I read and that's okay. I can still be a Hindu. And you can still be whatever you want to call youself, if anything at all. It's okay if you don't have a name for your beliefs. The most important thing is to know what your beliefs are.

----------------

How Is Our Soul Identical with Siva?

The essence of our soul, which was never created, is immanent love and transcendent reality and is identical and eternally one with God Siva. At the core of our being, we already are That--perfect at this very moment. Aum.

At the core of the subtle soul body is Parashakti, or Satchidananda, immanent love; and at the core of that is Parashiva, transcendent reality. At this depth of our being there exists no separate identity or difference--all are One. Thus, deep within our soul we are identical with God now and forever. These two divine perfections are not aspects of the evolving soul, but the nucleus of the soul which does not change or evolve. From an absolute perspective, our soul is already in nondual union with God, but to be realized to be known. We are That. We do not become That. Deep within this physical body, with its turbulent emotions and getting-educated mind, is pure perfection identical to Siva's own perfections of Parashakti and Parashiva. In this sacred mystery we find the paradoxes of oneness and twoness, of being and becoming, of created and uncreated existence subtly delineated. Yea, in the depth of our being, we are as He is. The Vedas explain, "The one controller, the inner Self of all things, who makes His one form manifold, to the wise who perceive Him as abiding in the soul, to them is eternal bliss--to no others." Aum Namah Sivaya.

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#11 of 20 Old 09-15-2002, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Still digesting your last post :-) I will post back when I get my thoughts together.

Thanks for the link :-) I'm really liking this thread....
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#12 of 20 Old 09-15-2002, 02:08 PM
 
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This discussion is fascinating. Don't sweat "dominating" it Darshani. You're the one with the info.

I'm finding much here that I can agree with, though I come at it from a Celtic and modern perspective. The underlying principle of a core of the divine deep within every soul does indeed resonate.

As fas as the use of the term "Pagan". That's a sticky one in some circles. Academically it means any religion not of the Abrahamic family of religions. It derives from the Latin Paganus=country dweller, thus the connotation of backward and primitive as those away from the cities were the last to hear the Word. Usewise, among the majority of Americans(Christians at least in name) it still carries connotations of primitive, ignorant, violent even(there's a motorcycle gang by that name in my state ).

On some other boards I frequent at Beliefnet, the Celtic Recon/Traditionalists don't like the term. They reject the academic use; I think mostly because they don't like to be defined in relation to another group of religions and also because Celtic Includes Christianity. They also don't much care to be lumped in with the Neo-Pagan/New Age, in many cases "fluffy"{fluffy=light on actual history, academics and logic} aspects of modern Paganism that they see flourishing. I've found that if a discussion about this starts there it is best to begin by clearly stating one's operative definition of the word "Pagan.": Probably a new thread in this is we care to delve?

The Native Americans there also reject the term because they caught on to the demeaning meanings early on.

I am not at all surprised that Indian Hindus would feel the same way about it, as Darshani already has found.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#13 of 20 Old 09-15-2002, 09:27 PM
 
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hello~ Arduinna, I don't have a clue what the title of this thread means, but as I read the discussion, I realize I'd like to join in regarding your question about pagan & Hindu paths. Darshani, your statements about being pagan & Hindi are eye-opening to me, and I am glad to have read them.

Have you read anything by Vicki Noble, specifically "Shakti Woman." What about Starhawk, Monica Sjoo, Mary Daly? I ask bcz the writings of these women & others probably represent the basic core of my cosmology. I came to my eclectic pagan spirituality as a liberation theology for women. The Goddess being a powerful antidote to patriarchal culture for me. I am very much against the way the patriarchal nature of recent history has used religion to distort spirituality & (IMHO) cripple people. This is why I completely reject my culture's religion, Christianity. I respect Hinduism as a pagan religion & find many things about it that I relate to, such as concepts of karma and immanence (as Darshani explained), however I have reservations bcz of the seemingly patriarchal patterns I see in Indian culture. I have very shallow knowlege regarding this & wonder what I would think if I knew more. Has Indian culture used Hinduism to uphold its patriarchal traditions the way western culture uses Christianity? What are the roots of patriarchal culture in India? Does Hinduism have a "spiritual side" and a "religious-political" side?

I know that for me I both crave fellow "worshippers" to put it that way, but also desire a direct connect with my own divinity & don't think I need group worship to get that. I am wondering if going to our local Hindu temple for ritual would be appropriate for me and if I would feel comfortable there? I do yoga. I have done chants in a group workshop with Vicki Noble. I respect & revere a pantheon of goddesses & gods & there are Hindu figures in there, for what little I know of them. Shakti & Shiva are both represented on the Motherpeace Tarot cards I use.
I am sorry for rambling so long, but I didn't know any other way to present myself. If anything I have said has been offensive, pls know I didn't intend it that way & am just interested in what you are discussing.
blessings, maria
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#14 of 20 Old 09-15-2002, 11:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Welcome SpiralWoman!!

Sanatana Dharma is the traditional name for the native religion of what we call India. Sanatana Dharma is translated to mean "the eternal religion". And India is called Bharat traditionally by it's citizens. Hindu and India are terms that were assigned by outsiders (I think the English?). Hopefully Darshani will correct me if I'm wrong :-)

If you are interested in the Goddess worshipping side of Sanatana Dharma you might be interested in the Shaktas. I can't help you much with the spefics of the Shaktas, as I'm just learning myself.
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#15 of 20 Old 09-16-2002, 01:04 AM
 
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I just want to say how much I'm enjoying this thread too!!!

And welcome to Meiri and Spiral Woman! :-)

As Arduinna already stated there are different brances of Hinduism and one of the, Shakism, focuses totally on Goddess worship. Yes Hindu culture is patriarchial in most ways, but in the days of old it was not like that at all. In S. India the culture was matriarchial until the Mulsim invasions a few centuries ago, followed by the British occupation. There was also a person called Manu who wrote some laws of the time, he was very anti-female and also set most of the caste rules that we know of today. I don't like Manu and reject many of the ideas of women being subservient to men. In my dh's family the women still are the ones who run the household, even though as my MIL told me with a wink they let the menfolk think they are. lol!

Also as Arduinna said, Sanatana Dharma is a much nicer thing to call Hindus because it describes the path better. I think I read somewhere that the word Hindu came from foreigners or early explorers who labeled the people living along the Sindhu river valley as Hindus.

My dh's path is very male-oriented and we are having some conflich right now because he wants the shrine room to be set up a certain way with his deities but I would like some female ones too. He of course is not a chauvanist or anything, just chooses to follow the path of his guru and they have a way to set up the shrine that is different than what I would like. So we'll see what happens there. I may just set up my own little goddess shrine in the kitchen or something. :-)

About visiting a temple-- each has its own flavor. At most you will find people who are more than helpful, esp. the priests. At others you may get stares from people who are still a bit ignorant that Westerners can also enjoy the path of Sanatana Dharma. (I should start using that term more often!)


Gotta run for now and put dd to bed. I just wanted to say again how refreshing this conversation has been. I enjoy talking about diapers and stuff, but this really renewing my spirit. It's nice to have met such neat people here! I live in "Conservativeville" and hardly ever get to meet like minded souls. Although I've been welcomed into our local community I haven't made friends with any of the Indian women.

Aum shanti,
Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#16 of 20 Old 09-18-2002, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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mildly T although not by much....

How do I get bindi centered good? And does anyone have any tips for someone that also wears glasses? Are the felt ones just considered a fashion statement? I am married and I don't want to wear it as a fashion statement. It's a symbol, like my nose piercing of who I am. I have to admit that I don't usually like being the center of attention, so wearing it outside makes me a little nervous.
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#17 of 20 Old 09-18-2002, 08:53 PM
 
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If it makes you feel better I still get my bindis crooked sometimes, and I've never learned to put the kunkumam powder on in the temple without making a big mess. lol! I hardly ever wear one anymore. Like you I felt like the center of attention. I wear one at temple and that's about it. I feel like I know who I am inside and I don't need to wear a red dot to prove it.

About the glasses thing, do you have bangs? If not then maybe just put one above the glasses. Normally it's placed right smack in the middle of the forehead so it shouldn't get in the way of your glasses. If you have bangs, then put one on the bridge of your glasses. Just kidding!! :-)

Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#18 of 20 Old 09-18-2002, 09:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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LOL your too funny. I don't have bangs, long all one length hair. I found that when I put it on it's above my glasses enough that it doesn't look funny.

I'm just wearing it at home now. Which is fine. I do feel different with it though, and it does bring focus to the third eye. Almost like it opens that chakra or something?

Thanks :-)
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#19 of 20 Old 09-19-2002, 12:42 PM
 
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Just want to say, finding this thread has been a blessing to me. Your insights and spirits are like a drink of cool water on a hot day, a fresh seabreeze! Goddess bless all of you.

I am a recovering Xian. I have just started reading the bible, and it is getting me very upset, as those of you who have seen my posts on other threads have certainly noticed by now. I thought I was strong enough now in my Pagan beliefs, feeling, exps, to read it through for myself, but I am starting to seriously doubt if I can or should try to do it all in one fell swoop!

To look on the positive side, I was introduced to "Hinduism" and Krishna Consciousness from several different sources as an older teen. A very very cool HS English teacher took a group of us, in senior year, to a Krishna Consciousness temple/ashram in NYC. I was blown away by the beauty of the rituals the faithful were practicing tht day. As I recall, the god/goddess(forget which) was hanging on a little "swing" and each member would take a flower from a communal vase, and adorn the ropes of the "swing" with it, then give the "swing" a little push.

There was also chanting, and drumming. So much more absorbing than the empty, formal and sad seeming xian rituals I was subjected to up to that point. We were then invited to share in a delicious vegetarian meal, served to us by the devotees, and the (young white) women were dressed in saris, with the really cool nose piercing, and the little delicate chain going over to the ear pierce. This was before piercings were so very trendy.

Of course, (as I am a boomer) Geo H and the other Beatles did us all a big favor by popularizing some of these ideas in the late 60's.

Then in freshman year of college, I took a course in comp religions, where I learned about the "Hinduism" of "India." (we also read Jung.) I particularly enjoyed the creation stories: the one god sleeping eternally on the waters, the lotus blooming out of his navel, the little god in the flower going and creating the universe. Sorry, I forget the proper names of these manifestations of god. Brahma, Vishnu?

It is only in the last 2-3 years tho, that I have begun id-ing as a "pagan." Neo-pagan? And I never did a formal study of "Hinduism," or Buddhism, or channeling, or crystal energies, just went from one to the other, finding similarities, like a bumblebee. I took Jos Campbell's word for it on many of the ideas, as I really trust his judgement and wisdom.

thanks for all the positive vibes! Namaste and blessed be!
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#20 of 20 Old 09-20-2002, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Welcome Daryl!!

I loved hearing about your visit to the temple!!
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