New member Introduction: Jethro Zevenbergen

Vaidya Sundaram Vaidya_Sundaram at I2.COM
Thu Jun 24 10:04:46 CDT 1999

------- Forwarded by Vaidya Sundaram/Dallas/US/i2Tech on 06/24/99 10:04 AM

Dear Advaita-l listmembers,

Thank you for helping this list flourish. Apart from this introductory message,
I'll start for the time being with just enjoying your conversation, so as to get
the proper tone and attitude before I'ld join the discussion. My name is Jethro
Zevenbergen, I'm a Dutchman so English isn't my native language. I'm pursuing a
PhD-thesis at the University of Nijmegen in philosophy of education (applied
philosophy that is), specifically on themes of rational and critical thinking as
well as religious development. Having been raised as an atheist by hippie
parents, who brought me up as a pacifist though, I discovered the nonviolent
approach of M. K. Gandhi at the age of about fifteen (I'm almost thirty now). To
my astonishment I discovered that Gandhi was religiously inspired to his
nonviolence, so I was forced to rethink my attitude towards religion which I
till then considered to be a mere superstition (if not worse). I borrowed the
Bhagavad Gita translation by Christopher Ishwerwoo!
 d and Swami Prabhavananda from the local library (well, the Dutch translation
actually), which convinced me that within Hinduism there is room for difference
of opinion unlike in most Christian denominations. Also, I was caught by the
nondualist ideas I encountered in the Gita, which very much spoke to my mind.
I've been collecting different translations of the Bhagavad Gita since, by
people of all persuasions. Recently I came across a translation which also
contains the commentary of Shankara. Wishing to have a better understanding of
his ideas and of advaita in general, as well as wishing to taste its spirit next
to its intellectual content, I now join this list.

You might be willing to know that I'm not formally a Hindu or a Vedantist - in
fact, about a decade ago I joined the liberal branch of the Religious Society of
Friends, better known as Quakers. Quakers have always welcomed open dialogue
with people of any persuasion whatsoever, stressing the need for mutual respect
and a supportive attitude over doctrinal agreement. In fact, Quakers refuse to
subscribe to any creed whatsoever on the ground that Reality is too complex to
be adequately caught in a mere human formulation. Thus within Quakerism there is
room for my serious reservations concerning orthodox Christian dogmatism, and
I'm enabled to draw my inspiration and current beliefs from nondualist
tradition, specifically from writings by Swami Vivekandanda and other writers of
the Ramakrishna Mission (as well as from many other religious sources within all

I realize that I may be a strange duck in this particular pond, as the Dutch
saying goes. But I hope I'm welcome nevertheless, particularly on the ground
that all roads finally lead to the realization of Brahman - even mine. Thank

Yours sincerely,

Jethro Zevenbergen

Lies en Jethro Zevenbergen           Drs. Jethro K. Zevenbergen
en Laura en Yentl                    Opvoedingsfilosofie
  <L.Zevenbergen-Smit at>   (= Philosophy and History of Education)
  <J.Zevenbergen at>        Universiteit van Nijmegen (KUN)
Vuurvlindertjesstraat 20             Postbus 9104
NL - 6533 TC Nijmegen                NL - 6500 HE Nijmegen (THE NETHERLANDS)
tel. +31-24-3566893                  tel. +31-24-3612383, fax 3616211

Bezoekadres: Spinozagebouw (PsyLab), Montessorilaan 3, kamer A.05.10a
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*** "The unexamined life isn't worth living" - Socrates ***

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