Ramkrishna Order
To return again to our menu of choices: The 'Ramakrishna Order' is another appealing blue box which invites further investigation. Clicking the box, a new page pops up, telling us: 'the Ramakrishna Order, with headquarters in Calcutta, is one of the largest and most respected religions orders in India today. The Order was  by the great Bengali saint, Ramakrishna. ' We've already seen the page devoted to Sri Ramakrishna; part of the fun of a Web site is that through hypertext you can reach topics through various entryways. Thus while the biographies and photos of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivakananda, and Sri sarada Devi (as well as the Seal of the Order) are actually located in the 'Ramakrishna Order' segment, you can reach it just as well through several other sections.

A few paragraphs down we read: 'There are over 140 official centers of the Ramakrishna Order, and many more unofficial, or unaffiliated ones.' Clicking on' centers' hypertext will bring us again to the complete listing of the Vedanta Societies around the world including an abbreviated listing of the 'Ramakrishna Maths and 'Missions in India. The rest of the 'Ramakrishna Order' page is devoted to a brief discussion of the Ramakrishna Order: the Maths and Missions, their ideals and activities.

'Contact Us' is the last blue box before the 'Home' box. By clicking the 'Home' box, you simply 'return to the 'home page-the first page of the Web sit--it's like going back to 'Home' in a Monopoly game. 'Contact Us' is another highly interactive section: it opens with: 'please send your comments on this site to webmaster@vedanta.org.' This is a different e-mail site from the 'Talk to a Monastic' page; comments on the site itself go to the Vedanta Society's 'webmaster'-a close devotee college student whose formidable computer skills allow him to make the Web site's frequent changes. 'Questions on Vedanta in general,' the page continues, 'should be directed to info@vedanta.org.' This e-mail address routes this kind of mail to yet another Santa Barbara nun. This makes a total of three different e-mail addresses through which reader response is encouraged.

Also included in the 'Contact Us' section is the 'Frequently Asked Questions'   portion of the Wed site. This spares both the reader and the monastic the trouble of having to repeatedly formulate the same questions and answers: At the top of the list is: 'Is Vedanta a the same as Hinduism?' Other FAQS (Frequently Asked Questions) are: 'Is Hinduism polytheistic?'; 'Why do some Indian gods and goddesses have so many arms?'; 'What is the law of karma?': 'Is it possible to be reborn as an animal of plant?'; 'Do Hindus worship cows?'; 'Is it necessary to adopt Indian ways of dressing and Hindu food restrictions to be a Vedantist'; 'If there is no devil, what about evil?'; 'Christ said, "No one shall enter the kingdom of heaven except through me."Aren't you worried about  going to hell?'; 'If every" thing is an illusion, then what does it matter what we do?' These FAQS' were formulated by an American Swami with much experience in answering questions from the general public. Those of us with similar public experience can attest to the fact that these really are the most frequently asked questions.

One of the Web site's most attractive features is the 'Links' section which appears in the 'What is Vedanta?' page(though it could just as easily have been nested any place else). We've already seen how hypertext links different sections within one Web site; but what is really interesting is how hypertext can connect the reader to different Web sites all to gether.In the 'Links' section of the Vedanta Society Web site: you can dick on the words 'Links' and a box saying Select a topic' comes into view. Click on the box and a pulldown menu appears with the follqwing headidgs :

  1. lnterreligious Studies
  2. Interreligious Dialogue
  3. Spirituality/Mysficism
  4. Bookstores
  5. Sacred Scriptures
  6. Advaita Vedanta
  7. Vedanta Yoga Teachers
  8. Hinduism
  9. KaIi Yantra
  10. Ramakrishna-Vedanta
  11. Christianity
  12. Buddhism
  13. Islam
  14. Judaism
  15. Other Religious

You probably weren't expecting to find the Vedatnta's home page linked to the Vedanta Society's Web site, but there it is, listed as one of the several links under Christianity. The Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh's home pages are also there - two of the Buddhist links. You can see the Sringeri Math as well as read the Global Hinduism home pages; they are but two of the various hinduism links. If you want to compare the Koran and Bhagvad Gita, you can do so by going through the Sacred Scriptures link.
You can also read Time magazine's excellent home page [ http://www.GOD.com ] bygoing through the Interreligious link.

One of the Santa Barbara nuns had an unexpected surprise when she came across the 'Mysticism in World Religions' Web site [  http://www.digiserve.com/mystic ] clicking on the 'HinduMysticism's selection, she discovered what Sri Ramakrishna said about various spiritual topics by first clicking on the name 'Ramakrishna',  then choosing a topic from the menu 'Desire', for example, or 'Where to direct your mind". By clicking on the latter topic you will read: 'mC mind of the XQgi is always fixed on Cod, always absorbed in the Self.' (p l.E13..) T$e, page nurnbErs cite, of course, the Cc-   of Sri Rarnakrisbpa. The underlined 'yogi' inH dicates that if you click on.the word,.you'fl goto a different page. In thiscase, you'll find yourself in the 'Glossa;y' section where you You can also find what the Ihagavad Gita, the Upanishads., AbhiEiavagupta, Patanjali. or Vasishtha have to say about 'Where to direct your mind' or any of the other various spiritual topics that are of-fend &}r further exploration.EHmdu mystiH cism is only.one sectipn of this. Web site: Jewish my. sticism, Christian mysticism, IsH lamic mysticism, Buddhist mysticism, and Taoist mysticism are similarly investigated. Witi;t its site, originating in India, the Rarnakrishna Mission [ daistech..com.rkmiEsion can be found among the  Ramakrislna-Vedanta links. The Mission's Web site is divided into two sec-dons: The Ramakrishna Movemerit.and the Ramaicrishna Mission. flw latter page offers a glimpse. at its work in medical service,   relief activities, educational services, etc.Several topics are in hypertext for further inforrnadon, The Ramakrishna7Vivekananda Center  in New York. and the,> Vedanta Society of  Portland are the twootherVed. an. aSocieties in America that ane,.oniifle. The first Vedanta Society to rnqve into cyberspape, the Ramakrislna -Vivekaaanda !,Center. [ I  www.ramakrishna.orgj opens to a homepage with a clear and lovely color ploE  grsph of the Center., A lecture schedule is  pq@ted E well as infor;rtation about the CenH ter and its history. The Porfiand Vedanta   Society's Web, site [ I Icyberhighway.net/ -vedanta gives the lecture schedH ule along with a splendid history of the Center arfl some frie old. photographs.

'Holy Mother's Cyber-Tantu' ('tantu' is the Sanskrit word for 'web') was created by a San Diego devotee and is dedicated to Vedanta philosophy----specifically the teachings of. Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi,and Swami Vivekananda, with a special emphasis on Sri Sarada Devi.  A look at this  home page [ http://www.scescape.com/saradama ] shows how far creativity can have expression: the background behind the text bears a striking resemblance to a typical Bengali sari--textured white with a red border. You can't' help but think of Holy Mother's sari when the page appear on the screen.

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