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"Planet ISKCON" - 39 new articles
- H.G. Sankarshan das Adhikari, USA: Friday 29 July 2011--Your Japa Creates Your Day--and--Can I Chant a Shorter Version of Hare Krishna?
- Sri Nandanandana dasa: The Power of a United Hindu Community, By Stephen Knapp (Sri Nandanandana dasa)
- ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Devamrita Swami
- Japa Group: The 10 Offenses Pt.7
- Akrura das, Gita Coaching: TURN DREAMING INTO BEAMING
- H.H. Devamrita Swami: Welcome to What's on My Mind
- Akrura das, Gita Coaching: GIVING KRSNA IN A WORKPLACE
- Akrura das, Gita Coaching: BEING INSPIRED
- ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Today's Darsana
- Akrura das, Gita Coaching: BALANCE
- Akrura das, Gita Coaching: EXPRESS YOUR EMOTIONS AND REALIZATIONS
- Gaura-shakti Kirtan, Toronto, CA: "An Evening of Bhakti" takes place on August 5th, 2011!
- Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: What hooked us all
- Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Overcoming thoughts of sense gratification
- Akrura das, Gita Coaching: WHAT YOU LIKE TO DO
- Dandavats.com: An update on prasadam distribution in London
- Nityananda Chandra Das, Dallas TX: Tulasi Kanthi–neck beads of the Krishna devotees
- David Haslam, UK: A Spiritual Care Revolution.
- Akrura das, Gita Coaching: CONNECTING WITH YOUR DHARMA
- H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: Invitation Card Srila Prabhupada Memorial Festival 2011.
- Nrsimhadeva.com: To the Lord's Weapons
- Srila Prabhupada's Letters
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- Ananda Subramanian, Iowa, USA: Why is Srila Prabhupada special?
- H.H. Sivarama Swami: Acyuta-gopi asks
- H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
- H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Monday, July 25th, 2011
- H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Sunday, July 24th, 2011
- Hari Sauri das, Mayapura, IN: 2011 eurotour – Amsterdam ‘on yer bike!’
- Vraja Kishor, JP: “Prove it!”
- Gouranga TV: Toronto Rathayatra 2011 Tunnel with Niranjana Swami
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H.G. Sankarshan das Adhikari, USA: Friday 29 July 2011--Your Japa Creates Your Day--and--Can I Chant a Shorter Version of Hare Krishna?
A daily broadcast of the Ultimate Self Realization Course Friday 29 July 2011 The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna, and His eternal consort, Srimati Radharani are enjoying transcendental pastimes in the topmost planet of the spiritual world, Sri Goloka Vrindavan. They are beckoning us to rejoin them. (Click on photo to see a larger image.) Our Mission: To help everyone awaken their original Krishna consciousness, which is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. Such a global awakening will, in one stroke, solve all the problems of the world society bringing in a new era of unprecedented peace and prosperity for all. May that day, which the world so desperately needs, come very soon. We request you to participate in this mission by reviving your dormant Krishna consciousness and assisting us in spreading this science all over the world. Dedicated with love to ISKCON Founder-Acharya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, our beloved spiritual master, and to you, our dear readers. Special Announcement: The Entire Spring 2011 Around-the-World Lectures Are Now Available At: http://www.ultimateselfrealization.com/Lectures/andromeda.php?q=fandf=%2F2011 Today's Thought: Your Japa Creates Your Day Uploaded from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA Our daily chanting of the Hare Krishna mahamantra on japa beads is the most significant event of our day. It is our daily opportunity to have a personal, private meeting with God. Therefore the mood in which we chant is of the utmost importance. If our minds are wandering somewhere else during our japa, it will be difficult to remember Krishna throughout the day, and our day will be a struggle. But if we fix our minds nicely on on the mahamantra during our japa meditation, it will be easy to remember Krishna throughout the day, and we'll have a really blissful day. So the essential point is that you create what sort of day you will have every day by how you chant your rounds first thing in the morning. Chanting one's rounds later in the day makes it more difficult to feel connected because one is beginning his day without tuning in to Krishna. Sankarshan Das Adhikari Srila Prabhupada Deeply Absorbed in Japa http://www.backtohome.com/images/Prabhupada/SP_Chanting_Japa.jpg Answers by Citing the Vedic Version: Question: Can I Chant a Shorter Version of Hare Krishna? Respected Gurudeva, While I chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra, I feel it is too long. I can chant a smaller mantra like Om Namah Shivaya and feel equally happy. Is there a shorter version of the Hare Krishna mahamantra which can be chanted? Please forgive my impudence. Shriram B. Mumbai, India Answer: Take the Prescribed Medicine to be Cured The physician gives the patient the correct medicine in the proper dosage for recovering his health as soon as possible. The patient does not take the medicine for his enjoyment. Even if bitter, he takes that medicine simply for the purpose of regaining his his health. So are you chanting for your enjoyment or for your purification? If you are chanting for your purification, you should accept the recommended mantra for this age, the Hare Krishna mantra. If you are chanting for your enjoyment, you can chant anything you like. But do not expect to get the same result which you will get by chanting the full Hare Krishna mahamantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare Taking this prescribed Hare Krishna mahamantra medicine will deliver you from the disease of birth and death. Chanting whatever you like, although perhaps seemingly easier, will not give you the same result. Sankarshan Das Adhikari Transcendental Resources: Receive the Special Blessings of Krishna Now you too can render the greatest service to the suffering humanity and attract the all-auspicious blessings of Lord Sri Krishna upon yourself and your family by assisting our mission. Lectures and Kirtans in Audio and Video: Link to High Definition Videos Link to Over 1,000 Lecture Audios Lecture-Travel Schedule for 2011 http://www.ultimateselfrealization.com/schedule Have Questions or Need Further Guidance? Check out the resources at: http://www.ultimateselfrealization.com or write Sankarshan Das Adhikari at: email@example.com Get your copy today of the world's greatest self-realization guide book, Bhagavad-gita As It Is available at:http://www.ultimateselfrealization.com/store Know someone who could benefit from this? Forward it to them. 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Sri Nandanandana dasa: The Power of a United Hindu Community, By Stephen Knapp (Sri Nandanandana dasa)
[This is the strong keynote lecture that I gave at the Hindu Unity Day Festival (Hindu Sangathan Divas) onJuly 10th, 2011at the Hindu Temple Auditorium inFlushing,New York. This was very well received by everyone who wanted to meet me, shake hands, have photos taken, or talk to me about what I had to say. The event was shared with Dr. Subramanian Swamy as Chief Guest and Kamal Kumar Swami as the additional speaker, both of whom I had met before at an event in Tirupati for protecting Hindu temples from government control. However, this is the complete version, which is a few paragraphs longer than what I presented at the festival.]
Namaste. It gives me great pleasure to be here, and I especially thank the organizers of this important event for inviting me, namely Arish Sahani and Narain Kataria. I am honored to be here. And I thank all of you for attending.
First of all, for those who may not know that much about me, I’m a Hindu, a follower of Sanatana-dharma, or what I prefer to call a Dharmist, and aKrishnabhakta. And I will be one until the day I die. No one can stop that.
Vedic culture and its spiritual knowledge saved me, it saved my life and gave me the real purpose for being here and what to do while I am here in this world. And now this is all I do—my spiritual sadhana and practice, my speaking engagements, and writing over 20 books so far to help spread and explain the importance of this Vedic spiritual knowledge to as many people as possible. This is all I’m living for. This is my only motivation. I also help manage my localKrishnatemple inDetroitas the Chairman of the Board, which can involve all kinds of things. I’m also the president of the Vedic Friends Association. I’m also a direct disciple of His Divine Grace Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, which is how I got my name Sri Nandanandana dasa. So I’ve been doing meditation and chanting the Hare Krishna mantra for over 40 years. And all of this has only deepened my conviction of the profound nature of the Vedic system of spiritual realization.
And I will tell you, I love what I do. I love being a Hindu, I love being aKrishnabhakta, a follower of Santana-dharma. I love following the Bhagavad-gita, and I love writing books about various aspects of Vedic culture and telling other people about it and what it has done for me, and what it can do for them.
So, I like to share with others the good things I have found in life, and now that I=ve found Vedic Dharma, I like letting others know more about it. But I=ll also fight to keep it, and to keep my freedom to follow it. Why should I let anyone else take it away from me when it took 20 years of my life to find it? I wasn’t just born into it, I had to look for it. It is a karmic privilege to be born into Vedic culture, so do not take it for granted. But by working to preserve and protect it is also my way of being a good Hindu. And this is what I call being a Vedic Ambassador.
We need more Vedic Ambassadors, or those who can easily and willingly share the good points about Vedic culture and its philosophy, traditions, and its deep spiritual knowledge with others, especially those who are curious, and there are many who are looking for this spiritual knowledge, but they just don’t know where to look. So we need those who can also tell their story of how Vedic culture has improved their lives or had a positive affect on them. That is not so difficult, and many people like to hear the story of someone’s life and how they have grown or developed.
So, in this way, let us all be Vedic Ambassadors, persons who are not afraid to say they are Hindu and then share it with others.
I’m also aKrishnabhakta becauseKrishnawanted action from Arjuna, not a passive and apathetic person that runs away from battle or does nothing. But he wanted Arjuna to stand up and take a stance for defending Dharma. This is the whole reason whyKrishnaspoke the Bhagavad-gita, to motivate Arjuna to become free from the illusion and stand up and fight for defending and preserving Sanatana-dharma so others can also take advantage of it. This is my motivation.
Everyone can do something and we need to understand that if everyone does a little, then something great and miraculous can happen. Because let’s face it, being a follower of Sanatana-dharma is also a freedom. This is a freedom, and sometimes you have to work to protect your freedoms or you will lose them when someone else takes them away. History has shown this time and time again.
Some people, however, ask how I can feel so strongly about this when I was not born inIndia, not born a Hindu. But that is only because they do not see the big picture. And what is the big picture? That this is not our first or only life in this material world, and that I obviously had a previous birth inIndia. Anyone who knows me knows that I must have been a Hindu, aKrishnabhakta inIndiain a previous life. Now I’ve taken birth inAmericato continue my mission of helping preserve, protect and promote Vedic Dharma. I=m only taking up where I left off from my previous existence. That is why I=m so comfortable when I go to India, and so far I have traveled through all of India except for the three small states of Tripura, Meghalaya, and Mizoram. That is also why I=m so comfortable around all of you. You are my Indian and Hindu family.
However, now it is time to increase our efforts to work together and make Hindus a concerted force that is recognized by everyone. Of course, we know this is not easy and is going to take time, but the sooner we all get started, the sooner we can accomplish it. But there are those of us, such as those I am sharing the stage with, who have already been working on this for years. We only ask that you all make a stand to join together, to make a powerful and strong Hindu community.
Vedic culture has been changing the world throughout the ages. For example, many have offered their respects to the Vedic culture, such as Henry David Thoreau who said: “In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial.”
Or Arthur Schopenhauer: “There is no religion or philosophy so sublime and elevating as Vedanta.”
And, of course, Ralph Waldo Emerson who mentioned, “I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-Gita. It was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.”
Many other quotes could be included but you get the picture. Vedic culture will continue to change the lives of many people, but we can accelerate this positive change the more we unite and the more we work together. Let us all move forward in this direction and become the great force we were meant to be, and that this world needs.
This means that we must be good Hindus, good Dharmists, followers of Vedic Dharma. And that means that we must follow our principles, uphold the yamas and niyamas, and observe our traditions. Is that so difficult? I don=t think so. But that means we also need to be educated in them. Let us not relinquish or let go of our standards because of too much Western influence. We must know what they mean and their real purposes. Let us interact with Western society, as we already do, but let us not forget who we areBwhat is our real identity. The fact is that more Westerners than ever before are adopting the ways and philosophy of Vedic culture, whether it is through yoga and meditation, or adapting the philosophy of karma and reincarnation. Many are those who want to follow this path. I=m an example of that, and there are many more out there, and many more who want to but don=t know it yet. We need to be willing to share it with them. That itself is a great contribution to the world from the Vedic path. The more we uphold our principles and let others know why they are important, the more they will also adopt our ways.
For example, I have one Indian friend who is a strong vegetarian and would always hide his meal when he took it to work so no one would see it. But then someone started asking questions about it, so he had to explain why he was a vegetarian, and included information about the Ayurvedic reasons and benefits about the spices we use, like tumeric, cumin, and others. In a short while, most of his work crew, which consisted of 80 other workers, became wild about Indian vegetarian cooking. Then he also did the same thing with explaining the benefits of doing the Surya Namaskar, after which nearly half of his co-workers started practicing it. So what is the difficulty? All you have to do is share what you already know, and people will become interested.
This is also why real Hindus need to be educated in their culture to realize how profound, deep and special it is, and what knowledge it contains. Then they will be proud of their culture and follow it. After all, we have nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to be afraid of. We are representations of and participants in the most profound and oldest of all spiritual traditions and cultures, and it has the deepest of all spiritual knowledge. The only thing is that many people don=t know that. I dare say that many Hindus also do not fully know how deep and profound it is because of lacking the education of their own path. This needs to change. And this lack of knowledge is the prime reason why Hindus inIndiamay convert to some other religion.
To help make this change, we also need to understand that it is a fact that without proper measures of defense and promotion of our culture, you cannot give proper protection to it. It is a tough world and things have changed. Most wars in this world are now 80% intellectual. We now have to use our intelligence to show what our culture is in order to really protect and preserve it from those who are always trying to demean and criticize it. We must understand that apathy is an enemy. Apathy, the tendency to do nothing, is our greatest enemy. We must conquer our own apathy where we find it. This, in fact is the teaching of Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita, as previously stated. Are you are follower of the Bhagavad-gita? Are you a follower of Sanatana-Dharma? Then we must conquer our apathy and take a stand for doing something to maintain Vedic Dharma.
We have to be fearless to protect and promote Vedic Dharma. I am honored and proud to be on the same stage as Dr. Subramanian Swamy and Kamal Kumar Swami, who are examples of the fearlessness of which I speak. I am honored and proud to be in front of all of you, and I am honored and proud to be called a Hindu, aKrishnabhakta, a follower of Sanatana-dharma. We should all be honored and proud in the same way and willing to work together. We don=t have to proselytize, but we can all share the benefits of what our culture has given to us and to the world.
For example, in Secunderabad nearHyderabad, a few years ago there was aKrishnatemple the government wanted to move in order to widen the road, but all the local Hindus came together with a big demonstration to protest, and the state government backed down. This shows what can be done and what has been done when Hindus unite, and shows what we must continue to do. Then people will take us more seriously and reconsider before they simply get up to offend Hindus and think there will be no reaction. People will hesitate before taking Hindus lightly or making us upset. But we have to have the determination to make a stand. And once we begin to work in this way, we cannot stop but must continue for the long-term, and never stop until the goal is reached.
Sometimes just by doing a little endeavor we don’t know and may even be surprised at what doors of opportunity will open for us. Sometimes all it takes is that we just start, step one foot in front of the other, and suddenly we step into a force, a current of energy that lifts us along like nothing we have experienced. Like a reciprocation from something that is far greater than we are that assists us to do things in ways that far exceeds our own expectations.
You have no idea how many times this has happened to me, and I’m sure many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. So can you imagine what would happen if all of us stepped forward in unity for the Dharma and open ourselves to that opportunity to make a difference? Plus, the more we all step forward to do something together, the easier it gets for everyone.
It is one thing to say we are united, and quite another to work and act united, engaged in concerted efforts as one community to protect, defend and properly promote our culture. It should not matter whether we are Vaishnavas, Shaivites, Brahmanandis, Shaktas, or Bengalis, Gujaratis, Tamils, Rajasthanis, or Americans, or any ethnicity, because when one aspect of the Vedic tradition is threatened, demeaned or unnecessarily criticized, then it is to the whole culture that is under attack. We must see it that way. We must step forward and be strong Dharmists, and make a stand for our tradition and its future.
Sanatana-dharma is universal. It is actually beyond the universe, it is spiritual. We are essentially all Dharmists. It goes beyond all materialistic labels and definitions, and that is how we should act as united Hindus, followers of Santana-dharma.
Such materialistic labels and identities are part of the illusion, maya, and Sanatana-dharma is meant to lift us out of the illusion and into reality, the ultimate and supreme reality. Working in this way and helping each other as well as all is real unity.
So, let us also support each other in friendship, in Dharmic brotherhood and sisterhood. Let us not become divided by minor or superficial differences or labels, but let us gather and see our unity, our similarities as spiritual beings, all parts of the Supreme Spirit. That is the ultimate teaching of Bhagavad-gita and the Vedic shastra. That perception of reality is becoming increasingly rare these days in society, but it is an inherent principle and basic reality of Vedic Dharma and Dharmic civilization. That is why I call it the Last Bastion of deep spiritual truth. It goes beyond basic moralistic ethics and gives you the higher principles of self-realization. It gives you direct access to the Absolute, the Supreme, not only by descriptions but by offering the methods by which we can perceive and directly experience it by spiritualizing our consciousness. It gives us one of the last hopes for world peace. Let us not forget that and also help each other raise our consciousness and maintain that spiritual vision of who and what we really are. That will also pave the way for a truly united Hindu society.
There is no greater need for Hindu unity than right now, since there are forces that are also gathering that are trying to work against us. The problem is that it is in our nature to respect everyone, but not everyone wants to return the same respect back toward us. In fact, there are those who would like to see our complete extinction, the complete demise of Hinduism or Vedic culture if they could, such as we have seen inPakistan,Bangladesh,Kashmir, and so on. How long does it take before it becomes obvious that we must stand together even if only to preserve and protect what remains of our culture, and preserve and protect the homeland of our culture, Mother India, Bharathvarsha.
We must also recognize those people or groups who mean to do us harm, or even wish for our extinction, and then defend ourselves and our culture from their attacks, whatever they may be. But we need to be pro-active and develop plans, not merely wait for something to happen and then show some knee-jerk reaction. There are many who know this and already working in this way, but can you imagine if the whole Vedic community acted in this way together and supported such plans? It would have profound effects. We must look to see what we need to do and where we need to be in our measures to preserve and protect Vedic Dharma in 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years, and make pro-active plans to accomplish those goals. Major industrial companies do this, other religions do this, so there is no reason why we should not do this. Many of the more detailed action plans I have developed can be found in my book, “Crimes Against India: And the Need to Protect its Ancient Vedic Tradition.”
We still have a sizable population of nearly one billion Hindus around the world, but have you ever wondered why we are still not as formidable a force as we should be? In places likeAmerica, Indians, most of which are Hindus, are one of the wealthiest ethnic groups in the country. We are certainly gathering influence here in many ways, and many are those who are entering politics and gaining influential positions, but we still have not become as formidable a force in the world as we could be. Why is that? It’s simple really. It’s because of a lack of organized effort, too much apathy, but primarily a lack of unity amongst us.
With a united force, we could more easily see to it that laws in government are passed that help defend Hindus rather than take our freedoms away. If we were a united and pro-active force, politicians would be scrambling to get our favor. We would get respect from politicians. We would create a greater recognition on the importance for them to acquire the Hindu vote, especially inIndia. We could also have more control over the media that today thinks that being secular means to be anti-Hindu. We would get non-Hindus or critics of Hinduism to feel that they cannot just say any damn thing against us because we won’t do anything about it. We need to be a force to be reckoned with, a force that is watching what others are doing for or against us, and listening to what they are saying about us, and be ready to stand up and do something about it when it is unjust.
We must unite around a common set of values, concepts and traditions that can be the universal uniting factors for all Hindus. This does not mean we give up our distinctions, lineages or paramparas, but that we focus on uniting on the basis of what we can all easily agree on, such as the basis of the Bhagavad-gita. Everyone knows the Bhagavad-gita, and should know it. There are all kinds of knowledge within it. But the thing that many people seem to forget is that the Bhagavad-gita is a call to defend Dharma. It is a call to action. That was one of the motivating factors for Arjuna from Lord Krishna. That Arjuna must not run away to the forest simply to meditate, which is what he wanted to do, but he must stand up and fight to defend Santana-dharma. And we must do the same because as we can plainly see all around us, that without it the whole world is falling into hell and confusion. As exhibited by the Mahabharata, sometimes when all else fails, you have to stand up and fight to protect Dharma and its spiritual principles.
We must also have the attitude that no Hindu is left behind, at least no sincere Hindu. A true Dharmic leader or Vedic Ambassador will feel this in the core of his heart. Everyone is a part of the whole, the complete. We merely have to awaken that completeness within ourselves. When everyone shares this vision amongst the whole community, then it becomes extremely powerful. When everyone is imbibed with spiritual unity, then the spiritual vibration is no longer something to seek or acquire, but it is something to witness, to experience, and we should bring together all like-minded people to work in that unity and to expand that spiritual vibration, that higher energy that exists within us all.
Everyone in the Vedic community must see all other Hindus as Dharmic brothers and sisters who are eligible to make the same spiritual progress as anyone else. Why? No Hindu left behind. That means everyone is eligible to enter the temples, everyone is eligible to practice its customs, everyone is eligible to participate in the core identity of being a Dharmist. Everyone should feel they have a place and are valued and have something to contribute. This is the basis of enthusiasm, which everyone should feel. This is the power a united Dharmic community. No Hindu is left behind. When this is established, it creates a most positive atmosphere in all who participate, it creates a very positive future, and it creates a winning team in which many others want to join. Everyone wants to be on a winning team, and then feel they can stand up and do their part. Then we all become very powerful in our ability to change this world, and bring in and manifest the spiritual vibration for one and all. Then we all become a part of that uplifting force, which is the ultimate destiny for all humanity, which is also described in the Vedic shastra, like Bhagavad-gita.
This is also, if I may say so, one of the main principles of what Kamal Kumar Swamiji is doing on his padayatras inIndia. He goes everywhere, whether it is the villages, the streets, the dusty roads, even the houses of the Hindus, anywhere it takes to inspire everyone to remain a part of the Vedic family, and then work together to help preserve it. I have seen it. I have been with Kamal Kumar Swami in Tirupati for this very reason, and I applaud his work, and many others should be going out to reach the people in similar ways.
This is the ideal of no Hindu left behind, and the Dharmic leader and Vedic Ambassadors know how to instill this unity for everyone to take a stand, become involved and to defend and preserve the culture and all who participate in it. Any apathy amongst Hindus is what must be given up and left behind as we all gather momentum to make sure we all have our freedom and facilities to follow the principles, the customs, and the traditions of the Vedic path.
So to wrap this up, we have covered a number of points, such as:
We all need to be Vedic ambassadors.
We must be educated in the profound nature of our culture.
Practicing the Vedic tradition is a right and a freedom which must be protected.
Apathy is an enemy.
Everyone can and must do something.
The Bhagavad-gita is a call to action.
No sincere Hindu left behind.
We must become united and work in concerted efforts, and become a formidable force for Vedic Dharma.
So how do we do this? We must become united under common principles, such as the teachings of Bhagavad-gita, united for stopping cow slaughter, united to stop the deceitful conversion practices that try to take people away from Vedic culture, united for such things as saving the sacredYamunaRiver from all the pollution that is killing it. We should also be united to stop the corruption in Indian politics, and united to keepIndia the homeland of a dynamic and thriving Vedic tradition, united for preserving all aspects of the Vedic spiritual knowledge, and for passing it to the next generations. We should be united for the protection and promotion of the glorious character of Vedic culture that everyone can appreciate. Who among us cannot join and be united for these points? And the more people who participate and work together, the easier it is for all of us. The more we work in such concerted efforts, the more we establish a unified, global Vedic community.
It is said that the war of Kurukshetra, the war to uphold Dharma, lasted 18 days, which changed the world. If all Hindus, Dharmists, gurus, sadhus, bhaktas, etc., etc., all over the world ever really and truly united and worked together as a single force, we could change the world in 18 days. Isn’t that a goal worth working for? Isn’t that a goal worth fighting for? That, my friends, my brothers and sisters in Dharma, is one of the primary purposes of my life. This is all I’m living for. This is my vision, but we all have to share the vision. And I will work with anyone who shares that vision. In this way, we can stand united, and in this way we stay united.
So, if you help me and I help you, if you wish me well and I give you my best wishes, and we all work together like that, it creates an atmosphere of strength and positivity. It makes our future very bright and full of potential. And if everyone does a little something to help, fantastic things can happen. Many people will become attracted and want to be a part of it. So let us all work together, encouraging each other and become more united as Hindus, followers of Sanatana-dharma, and show the world the great contributions that the culture of Vedic Dharma has given and continues to give to all of humanity. If we take care of Dharma, Dharma will take care of us. But we have to take the first step. Together as united Hindus we can do this. That is the potency and power if we stay together, stand together and work together as a united, global Vedic community.
Thank you very much.
Dharma Rakshati Rakshita
Jai Sri Krishna
Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.1 - One who does not acknowledge Krsna's position as the supreme controller & enjoyer, actually himself wats to be the contoller & enjoyer (isvaro 'ham aham bhogi siddho'ham balavan sukhi...).
To think that the Hare Krsna mantra can counteract all sinful reactions and one may therefore go on with his sinful activities and at the same time chant the Hare Krsna mantra to neutralize them is the greatest offense at the lotus feet of Hari-nama.
- To commit sins with the expectation of neutralising the reactions by chanting.
- Prabhupada often repeated that this is the greatest offense.
- After taking shelter of the holy name, one should strictly restrain himself from committing sinful acts.
- Accidental sins don't countHow to counter-act the offence: The only thing that can help is to sincerely repent.
Start dreaming about your goal, your project, about something wonderful you want to do for Krsna. Dream boldly. Don't be afraid. Don't think there are no resources. There are unlimited resources. Don't limit yourself by thinking like that.
You can ask yourself this question: "If I would have an unlimited time and money, what would I do?"
One of the best remedies for being distracted from Krsna consciousness and getting into various illusory escape activities, is to do something you are excited to do for Krsna and work on it. Even if you start doing it few minutes a day, but you look forward to it, you sit and you meditate on your dream, on something wonderful you want to do for Krsna, you will start making progress and be much more inspired.
That is something very practical and anyone can do it.
One devotee would like to be a trekking guide and preach to people while taking them to various places in nature. He would use all the experiences to show how we are connected with God.
So this is exactly where Gita Coaching can help - to help you achieve what you want to achieve for Krsna. Srila Prabhupada said in many places that everything is possible by Krsna's mercy. If we accept that principle and work together, the limits of what we can achieve expand more and more.
More important than what you achieve in life is who you become by your efforts. And you can become an extremely inspired devotee. You can become someone who is so fired up that your association is contagious. You inspire so many people.
Every devotee should become an extremely inspired person. When people meet him, they think, "Wow! Who was this guy?"
Then they also start to think, "Well, what is my own dream? I am going to die soon, so what I am going to do. I want to be like him."
Dare to think about it. Returning Back to Godhead (BTG): is it meant 2 B, at least for U and me? Should a bhakti aspirant fervently desire to return to Krishna's abode? Who do I know that actually yearns and burns with the motivation to exit the loop of endless births?
Here's a possible approach: how about just calmly and placidly letting the chips fall where they may. That is, "I'll wind up . . . where I wind up; meanwhile I've got a few things to achieve in this lifetime, places to go, people to meet, money to make."
BTG—is it really a practical ambition? Perhaps that goal is selfish—a type of transcendental end-gaining, like winning the lottery, all the goodies for me, in the biggest possible way.
Lord Chaitanya, solving the puzzle, presents that a deep, selfless absorption in devotional service is Back to Godhead indeed: "I'll willingly undergo countless births as long as I have Your service."
The Pracetas, offering further insight, pray that regardless of wherever in the material world they may wander, they always want the sanga of those attached to discussing Krishna's pastimes. In other words, the association of enlivening devotees is BTG. (S. Bhag. 4.30.34)
I'd like to share with you parts of the astonishing Bhaktivedanta purport, which always mesmerizes me. I really hope you will read and think about it:
"A pure devotee does not pray for liberation or for cessation of the cycle of birth and death because he does not consider that important. The most important thing for a devotee is getting a chance to hear about the pastimes and glories of the Lord. The devotees who engage in the service of the Lord in this world will have the same opportunity in the spiritual world also. Thus for a devotee, everything is in the spiritual world, for as long as he can hear about the pastimes of the Lord, or wherever he can chant, the Lord is personally present. . . . For the devotee there is no need to pray to the Lord for transferal to the Vaikuntha world. A pure devotee can create Vaikuntha or Vrndavana anywhere simply by chanting the glories of the Lord without offense.
"The Pracetas pray for an opportunity to hear of the glories of the Lord in every form of life (bhave bhave). A living entity transmigrates from one body to another. The devotee is not particularly eager to stop this process. Caitanya Mahaprabhu prays, mama janmani janmanisvare bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi: 'My dear Lord, life after life may I be fixed in Your pure devotional service.' Out of humility, a devotee considers himself unfit to be transferred to the spiritual world. He always thinks himself contaminated by the modes of material nature. Nor is there any need for a devotee to ask to be freed from the modes of material nature. Devotional service itself is in the transcendental position; therefore there is no question of asking for this special facility. The conclusion is that a pure devotee is not anxious to stop the repetition of birth and death, but is always eager to associate with other devotees who are engaged in chanting and hearing about the glories of the Lord.
What do you think? Is this practical, the real world—or way over our head? Maybe it's better to just worship these words from a safe distance. Would you or I ever consider trying to live in this way?
How can you give Krsna to your co-workers?
You can give them prasadam. You can give them and discuss Srila Prabhupada's books.
You can become friends with people and show that you are genuinely interested in them.
People can see you as a man who is very kind, knowledgeable, who has experience and know a lot about many things, who is a resource for them.
And one day they will ask you, "Where did you get all these things?"
And you can tell them you are getting it from the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, and mantra meditation.
Devotees sometimes say, "I am not inspired. I am not inspired by the classes. I am not inspired by the Mangala Arati, by the kirtanas."
I say to them, "It is your responsibility to be inspired every single day. It is your duty to ensure that you are enthusiastic every single day. How are your going to do it? It's your task."
We can find ways to be inspired every day, but we have to become diligent. The mind has to become diligent, and has to want this state. "I want to be inspired every single day." And it's not some artificial hype-up thing.
For example, when you are chanting your rounds in the morning, this can be a wonderful process to become super inspired for the whole day. And if we listen to our rounds, we can be very much inspired. The whole day is amazing.
How can I be inspired, when I had a wonderful morning chanting and dancing with the devotees, or at my home, then I have to go to this stupid work?
Someone who works can be inspired like anything, if he sees his work differently. And if he sees preaching opportunities in his work. If you see that you can do something at your work that will bring people closer to Krsna consciousness, then you are excited to go there and find these opportunities and do something that is very valuable or significant.
Every morning we pray:
"O Tulasi Devi...I beg you to make me a follower of the cowherd damsels of Vraja. Please give me the privilege of devotional service and make me your own maidservant."
O Srimati Tulasi Devi, please give us the priviledge of relishing the darsana of the Divine Couple everyday.
There has to be a balance between doing the needful and doing our cherished project or something that you like to do. Sometimes devotees neglect sadhana and do all day long what they like to do. They neglect their family or other important aspects of their lives.
We have an inclination to work according to our conditioned nature. Under good guidance we should engage this in Krsna's service. And there is our eternal occupation, our eternal relationship with Krsna, which at the moment we don't know - what is our eternal svarupa, our eternal service, our eternal form, and our eternal position in the spiritual world.
These inclinations that are already there can be engaged in a much more effective way. By discussing with our spiritual guides we can find out what is it. How can I serve Krsna according to what He has given me, and also according to my conditioning. This requires guidance and a deeper discussion. Devotee has to explore and find what this is, or try few things to see how it goes. And then choose and focus on one thing.
It's not always easy to find out what is your calling, your dharma, but with the help of another devotee who is interested in you, you can work to discover it, by going through different questions and thinking about it more deeply, looking into your heart more deeply - you can find out.
Sometimes we need to try different things, until we find something we are excited about. My understanding is that Krsna wants to see that you do something for Him with love. Not just duty, duty, duty!
I encourage devotees to always have something aside, apart from their duty or something they have accepted as their responsibility. Do something that you like to do. One devotees wanted to play mrdanga, so I told him to play daily for half-an-hour and that this will inspire him. This will spill over into other areas where you will be more enthusiastic to do other things.
I also encourage devotees to sing bhajanas, whether they are very talented or not. Because singing is such an amazing transformative activity. I induce them to express themselves. If you don't express yourself gradually you will die emotionally and spiritually. The soul has to express himself. We can express our devotion. We can express our affection fro devotees, etc. When you start expressing yourself, it will also help you find your dharma, find your calling.
Then it becomes natural. Those who like to sing or to write songs, they feel very satisfied when they do something like that. And so many other devotees become inspired by your natural expression.
Feed your soul with an enchanting dinner and kirtan presented by Gaura-Shakti, a Toronto's very own kirtan yoga group!
While we have all become accustomed to seeing the typical images that are conjured up when we think of yoga, it can be an heart-opening experience to learn of bhakti-yoga - the yoga of love. We invite you to come and dive into an evening full of divine chants as you learn more about the ancient teachings of the yoga of love.
When: Friday, August 5, 2011.
7pm - 9pm
Where: Govinda's Hall
243 Avenue Road, Toronto, On.
Entrance: $ 15
Collaborated with www.govindas.ca.
Gargamuni: Made some curry. (everyone eating for a long time) Prabhupada: Everything hot. Brahmananda: Yes. Prabhupada: Before Krsna consciousness, was there any puri manufactured here? No. (laughs) Gargamuni: No. None of this. Brahmananda: When I first came to Krsna consciousness, I'd only been coming I think maybe two days to Krsna consciousness, and then Mukunda had his wedding. Oh, that hooked me. Nice wedding and nice feasting. I was hooked. Rayarama: That was the day after our initiations. They initiated the night before. We had two days feasting. Devotee: I came into San Francisco looking for a spiritual teacher and I came to prasadam and I never left. Gargamuni: I think that's what hooked all of us. (laughter) Prabhupada: Prasade sarva-duhkhanam hanir asyopajayate. (pause) Thank you. Govinda dasi has become very good housewife. Yes. (pause) Rayarama, come. Krsna baro doyamoy koribare jihva jay sva-prasad-anna dilo bhai. No more.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Room Conversation -- April 12, 1969, New York
Because we are not pure, these thoughts of sense gratification are bound to come into our mind, but if we do not act on them and keep ourselves always engaged in Krishna conscious activities, they will have no effect. Maya is always placing the memories of our past sinful activities before us, and encouraging us to come once again into her clutches, but by always chanting Hare Krishna and keeping our mind fixed on Krishna, he will give us the strength to resist her demands, and gradually they will diminish. Krishna is like the sun, and Maya is like darkness. Where there is sun what is the question of darkness?
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Koumadaki — Australia March 27, 1972
Srila Prabhupada wrote to one uninitiated devotee that he should ask his Temple President to find him an activity that he is inspired to do. Srila Prabhupada says that it is advantageous to do to something we like to do, we are inspired to do, and it even positively affect following the principles.
This principle of doing something that you like to do is very important, but neglected. Because we run the movement, we need to do so many things, and we try to fit people into different projects, but we tend to forget about the people themselves.
When I do coaching I focus on the benefit of the individual. I ask devotees, "What is your dream? What ar you really excited about? Ideally speaking, what would you like to do for Krsna?"
In the beginning they don't always know, but as we go on with sessions something emerges and they really become excited. I keep on asking, "What would you really like to do for Krsna?" And then they come up with something.
Sometimes people are afraid to desire. I encourage them to desire something, even if the desire is not 100 percent pure. Let's say a devotee says, "I want to become a famous book distributor." This is not pure desire. He wants to do service but he also wants some fame. I teell him, "Go for it! If you become too proud, Krsna will sort you out. Don't worry! He will show you what is false and what is real."
Parasuram das: Westminster Council are trying to pass a law that would criminalise homeless people sleeping rough, and also criminalise the charities that feed them. There was a lot of opposition from various charities, including ourselves
A few weeks ago I posted an article about Tilaka. In this article Srila Prabhupada was quoted saying,
“I have no objection if members of the Society dress like nice American gentlemen; but in all circumstances a devotee cannot avoid tilaka, flag on head (shikha) and (tulasi) beads on the neck. These are the essential features of a Vaisnava." (SPL to Brahmananda, 14th October, 1967)Tulsi Kanthi in on this list so I thought that I should also share some info about the kanthi, neckbeads as well.
The Krishna conscious culture teaches that anyone who is an aspiring devotee of Krishna should wear Tulasi neckbeads for Tulasi is so spiritually potent. The following are some verses from the Hari Bhakti Vilasa
yah punas tulasī-mālām krtvā kanthe janārdanam |
pūjayet punyam āpnoti pratipuspam gavāyutam ||326||
One who engages in the worship of Śrī Janārdana while wearing tulasī neckbeads accumulates piety equivalent to giving ten thousand cows in charity for each of his flower offerings.tulasī-kāstha-sambhūtām yo mālām vahate narah |
phalam yacchati daitārih pratyaham dvārakodbhavam ||332||
A person who wears tulasī neckbeads all the time obtains the result of living in Dvārakā.
sadā prītamanās tasya krsna devakī-nandanah |
tulasī-kāstha-sambhūtām yo mālām vahate narah |
prāyaścittam na tasyāsti nāśaucam tasya vigrahe ||334||
tulasī-kāstha-sambhūtām śiraso yasya bhūsanam |
bāhvoh kare ca martyasya dehe tasya sadā harih ||335||
There is no need to perform atonement for a person who wears tulasī neckbeads. Factually, he does not become contaminated at any stage in his life. Śrī Hari resides in the body of a person whose neck and arms are decorated with ornament made of tulasī.tulasī-kāstha-mālām tu preta-rājasya dūtakāh |
drstvā naśyanti dūrena vātoddhūtam yathā dalam ||337||
tulasī-kāstha-mālābhir bhūsito bhramate yadi |
duhsvapnam durnimittam ca na bhayam śastrajam kvacit ||338||
Just by seeing the tulasī beads on a person’s neck, the Yamadūtas flee to a distant place. A person who wanders here and there after putting on tulasī neckbeads has nothing to fear from an accident, bad dreams, or weapons.Srila Prabhupada also states,
In the Padma Purāna there is a statement describing how a Vaisnava should decorate his body with tilaka and beads: "Persons who put tulasī beads on the neck, who mark twelve places of their bodies as Visnu temples with Visnu's symbolic representations [the four items held in the four hands of Lord Visnu—conch, mace, disc and lotus], and who have visnu-tilaka on their foreheads, are to be understood as the devotees of Lord Visnu in this world. Their presence makes the world purified, and anywhere they remain, they make that place as good as Vaikuntha."In response to a list of several question asked by disciple Vidya dasi, Srila Prabhupada replies
“1) Tulasi is one devotee who appears wherever there is devotion to Krsna. 2) Tulasis body is spiritual. 3) Yes, jewelry is all right. 4) If possible. 5) Tulasi leaves should be offered to the Deity.Answers to
1. Is each Tulasi a separate jiva soul or an expansion of one pure devotee?
2. Where does her spirit soul go when she leaves this body?
4. When tulasi is being cared for by householders in their homes, must two aratis still be offered?
5. When tulasi is being cared for by householders in their homes, may they use her leaves and manjaris on their home offerings or should they take them to the temple?Srila Prabhupada has also said,
"Just as a pet dog has got a collar, similarly we are pet dogs of God. So we have got this collar. And Yamaraja, the Lord of Death will understand that he-the devotee-is God's dog; he should not be shot down."Because Tulasi kanthi is so important they are never taken off, but they can be replaced. Anyone who wears Tulasi neckbeads at the time of death is greatly benefited beyond imagination, therefore it is important to keep them on at all times. Tulasi also identifies one as a follower of Lord Chaitanya.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura sings in his Svīkara: Acceptance of Activities Favorable to Pure Devotion - Song 2 Verse 3
3) I will put on the garb that is dear to the devotees of Lord Gaura-sundara, including the twelve Vaisnava tilaka markings on my body and beautiful beads of tulasī wood around my neck.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur also writes in his Jaiva Dharma that of the 64 angas of devotional service the remaining fourty-four are observed to increase one’s bhakti. Item number one is decoration of the body with the Vaisnava signs of tilaka and tulasī beads.
Q. One may ask that if we are not the body then what is the need of instructions of decoration of the body?
A. Yes we are not the body but unless were are Paramahamsa pure devotees then we are still conditioned by the body. We don’t want to become falsely transcendental and reject those good things that the greatly intelligent pure devotees has suggested for our spiritual welfare. Yes, if we are not the body then we also do not need to eat, but because this body is Krishna’s property we take care of it and because this body is Krishna’s property we decorate it in the suggested fashion. Hare Krishna
Although spending more than three years studying and more years working in children’s services I’ve worked across the health care sector (currently I’m working in learning disabilities). There’s one area however that makes me cringe and it’s not the dedication of the staff and managers but the underpinning ethos; and it will effect in one [...]
The word dharma means duty. It means truth. It means occupation.
For us it is important to find something that we are excited about. Something that we want to do for Krsna with love. Something we can put our heart into.
When we join Krsna consciousness, we are taught to do the needful. Srila Prabhupada gave us this principle and it's a very useful principle. But we see that devotees who have lasted in Krsna consciousness - not only survived but thrived - that they specialize in something. They find something they are excited about and they become better and better at it.
So it is important we find something we like to do and become an expert in it. And that we can give a nice contribution. We are creative beings. We want to express ourselves and we can use our talents in Krsna's service.
please click on the picture to see the enlarged vision
The personification of the Chakra
To the Chakra
bhramat samantad bhagavat-prayuktam
dandagdhi dandagdhy ari-sainyam ashu
kaksham yatha vata-sakho hutashaha
Set into motion by the Supreme Personality of Godhead and wandering in all the four directions, the disc of the Supreme Lord has sharp edges as destructive as the fire of devastation at the end of the millennium. As a blazing fire burns dry grass to ashes with the assistance of the breeze, may the Sudarshana chakra burn our enemies to ashes.
To the Club
nishpindhi nishpindhy ajita-priyasi
bhuta-grahamsh churnaya churnayarin
O club in the hand of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you produce sparks of fire as powerful as thunderbolts, and you are extremely dear to the Lord. I am also His servant. Therefore kindly help me pound to pieces the evil living beings known as Kushmandas, Vainayakas, Yakshas, Rakshasas, Bhutas and Grahas. Please pulverize them.
To the Conchshell
darendra vidravaya krishna-purito
bhima-svano ‘rer hridayani kampayan
O best of the conchshells, O Panchajanya in the hands of the Lord, you are always filled with the breath of Lord Krishna. Therefore you create a fearful sound vibration that causes trembling in the hearts of enemies like the Rakshasas, Pramatha ghosts, Pretas, Matas, Pishachas and brahmana ghosts with fearful eyes.
1973 July 28: "So you are doing very nicely and especially your Deities have attracted my attention. I have named Them, Kisora Kisori. Now go on with your worship and increase more and more till all of Chicago becomes aware of Kisora Kisori."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973
1973 July 28: "There is enough food in the world but at the same time there is scarcity. But if you pay more on the black market then you will get enough. So from God's side there is enough food but from our side we mismanage everything simply to make more money."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973
1971 July 28: "My Dear Visnujana Maharaja, anyone you recommend, gladly I will initiate. So go on preaching, these college campuses are our great future hope. Please take care of Isana and his wife. I like them both, but sometimes he goes a little crazy."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971
1969 July 28: "Take care of your child, I have noticed he has all the instincts of devotional life and I have a great hope for him. My special request is that you take care of this child very nicely, and he will become a great son to glorify his parents."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1969
1969 July 28: "I just returned from San Francisco where we held a gigantic Rathayatra Ceremony with 10,000 people chanting and dancing in ecstasy. It was most magnificent and I am very much encouraged that now the Western world will come to understand the glories of this great movement."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1969
1967 July 28: "I am now old man, and attacked with serious disease; I may be overcome by death at any moment. Therefore I wish to leave some trained preachers so they can do the work of Krishna Consciousness in the Western World. That is my ambition. Please pray to Krishna so I may be able to execute my duty properly."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1967
1967 July 28: "Vrindaban is the only solitary transcendental abode within this universe where Krishna Consciousness automatically reveals. Therefore I have a great hope to train some of my disciples there for preaching work, even in my absence."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1967
1958 July 28: "Some years ago Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja my spiritual master attempted to preach this message throughout the world but unfortunately after His departure the movement was not carried by the entrusted successors. I am feeling for it and I have come to Bombay for organizing this movement."
1958 July 28
Why is Srila Prabhupada special, at least to me?
Prabhupada is famous for his literary works, his trips around the world and the worldwide movement he initiated and is running. If we look at history and its myriad great personalities, there are many who are famous for their literature and famous for trips around the world. In the spiritual lineage there are many spiritual masters giving Krishna in different capacities. So why then is Prabhupada so special?
To me, Srila Prabhupada is the epitome of compassion. As the Founder Acharya of a worldwide movement, he may have accomplished many things; however the singular point that differentiates Prabhupada from others is his immense compassion to the fallen souls of this world. I have not seen or come across any with such compassion to somehow help others in need.
It is true that he decided to come to the west because of his spiritual master. However, Srila Prabhupada endeavored so hard despite repeated failures because he was motivated by compassion. He could have come to the west and left having tried to fulfill his spiritual master’s words but he chose to continue seeing the plight of the modern world. In his ripe old age, he travelled, wrote books, opened centers and managed neophyte disciples just so people benefit and not suffer forever. This desire that everyone should be happy free from suffering makes Srila Prabhupada who he is. It is this compassion that sets him apart and puts him in a high pedestal than other teachers of Vedanta.
I have not seen anyone or heard of anyone who genuinely shed tears for the fallen souls of this world without any expectations. This one statement sums it all up Srila Prabhupada writes in his book that if at least one person becomes a pure devotee of the Lord, he would have considered his mission successful. For this one devotee, Prabhupada crossed oceans risking his life and endured lot of hardships…such was his compassion!
To such a magnanimous and compassionate soul, I offer my respectful obeisance.
Why in Caitanya Caritamrta Srila Prabhupada recommends polygamy and in Srimad Bhagavatam he forbids it.
Hard Work Gets Results
The walk at the park system along Ponce de Lion Ave is really cool. It’s the humidity that drives one away from a trail, and that’s before the sun rises.
As far as temple/mission oriented services are concerned, I was asked to give the class from the book Bhagavatam. I tend to place a little piece of my historical self into the presentation, making it a little more personable as I interweave it into the Vedic philosophy. It was about my early childhood, my shyness, and how Krishna Consciousness helped me gain confidence. Today was also the premier performance of The Three Lives of Bharat, with a new cast composed of a pick of young people who will be part of our road show for the next month.
In the production I have also incorporated my early life’s experience, which is witnessing the sometimes intense arguments. On the farm we saw pigs wallowing in the mud and watched a cow give birth. I regard these experiences as precious, as something to have learned from, and something to apply to later on in life. For me, it’s the dramas.
The presentation held at the Atlanta temple was well received by a devotional audience. The story originating from Canto 5 of the Bhagavatam, traces the three consecutive lives of a great king. In the opening scene, we portray the soul’s journey going through different species. Fish, chimps, cows, etc.
In any event, everyone worked hard in the performance and in the five day rehearsals preceding it. The grainless feast to follow the performance was 'lekker', the South African word for delicious, as our co-director to the play would say. Laghu Hari is also an actor and the puppet maker for the show and he adds so much to the production. My gratitude knows no limits for his full on energy supply.
Dissolve Inferior Cravings
Thirty one of us passengers, including the bus driver of the Krishna Youth Ministry, pulled up at the ISKCON Centre in the Druid Hills Centre of Atlanta. It was 1:45 am and we had been on the road since 8 pm, Sunday night. All were fast asleep to the exception of the driver, Dranaksha, and bus leader, Manu, now they retired. I woke up and felt it was time to walk, to chant some japa (mantra meditation). Nirguna, a spiritual student of Vancouver, awoke, and we both decided to head for mid-town Atlanta.
We met people asking for nickels and dimes, a security police noticed our robes, he became curious wanting to know about our monastery in Druid Hills. He indicated we were walking in a drugs zone, affiliated with the drug scene of course is violence. The cop, an amiable largely built fellow, he was an amiable one. I was sure he didn’t fear for our being coaxed into taking drugs, but rather, being possible victims of violence. We continued forward, never the less, with confidence.
If I could say boldly, drugs are a real culprit in society today. I won’t reserve to say also, that the root of the problem is the lack of spiritual purpose in life.
I was informed that 2 of the young men on the bus had been persuaded to experiment with drugs, in other words, they have had some struggle with it. But, under a different kind of pressure, another kind of peer pressure however, such as the conducive arrangement found with the clean fun on the traveling bus, it could turn things around for the boys. There is hope in spiritual power, more so than in material energy, which is inferior.
People resort to drugs and so many other addictions due to a vacuum. When the vacuum can be filled with a deeper and more meaningful kind of purpose, inferior cravings dissolve.
He was only three feet from me eating voraciously at grass, or what might be crawling on the grass. I will admit, it was the first time I’ve seen an armadillo. He didn’t hear my footsteps coming towards him, he was absorbed in what he was doing.
I even chanted fairly audibly, and still he persisted in his purpose. It wasn’t until I released a genuine cough that he acknowledged my presence, and from there, he scurried off into the distance.
Now, if anyone has ever encountered one of these fellows, with his armor like body, you could then relate to a turtle who has a similar dynamic. Apparently, the armadillo usually defends himself by turning into a stationary object like a rock, but my buddy’s protection involved ‘taking off’.
As we all know, the tortoise is described as a creature who stands still in danger, and in the Gita, it explains that he draws his limbs within his shell. That is his defense mechanism, and his way of self-preservation. How this becomes relevant to us is that sense pleasures encroach on our spiritual development. The way to protect yourself from temptations of all kinds is to clam up and chant Hare Krishna. You send a clear, deliberate message, ‘not interested, goodbye.’
This is easier said than done, but we do need to try in order to have preservation of peace.
Trying is something that Jonothan has been working on. Jonothan works with a major airline in the US, but has been pursuing the lofty skies of Krishna Consciousness. Today he succeeded in getting his diksa (initiation). His new Sanskrit name is Jagatvira Das, which means the servant of the one who controls the universe. Congratulations, Jagatvira! Keep saying to the cause of maya, illusion, ‘not interested’.
I flew out from Kolkata on July 22 evening to Dubai and had a pleasant overnight stay in a first class hotel, compliments of Emirates Airlines. And on July 23 morning I arrived without hassles in that most cosmopolitan of all European cities Amsterdam – not quite the holy dham, but we have a nice temple here. Or at least will have, as you will see.
It was my first visit and I was met at the airport by temple president Dhananjaya prabhu
along with Iranian devotee Mohsen. Dhananjaya was the first temple president of ISKCON Amsterdam at the beginning of the 70s. More recently he was the manager of the MVT project in Vrndavana for over ten years. He has now come full circle and returned with his wife Bala Gopala mataji 2 years ago to take up his old post and give the preaching a boost.
We traveled by train and tram to our temple. The temple doesn’t have a car, and it turns out many people in this small city of less than one million don’t. The preferred mode of transport is bicycle. And they have every variety you can imagine, by the tens of thousands.
Everyone uses them, you see whole families on them, business men, women, office workers etc.
The roads have special bike lanes and you have to be careful where you walk because they don’t like to use bells or horns to warn you to get out of the way. It can be dangerous if you aren’t watching where you are going.
Amsterdam is a beautiful city with wide roads, lots of trees and no pollution. Much of the well run public transport system consists of modern, sparkling clean efficient trams and people don’t mind walking and riding to get around, even apparently in the snow of winter.
My purpose in coming was to meet my godbrother Hari Krishna prabhu. We hadn’t seen each other since Sri Sri Radha Londonisvara’s 25th anniversary in December 1994. Nowadays he is a highly successful business man with friends in the very highest levels of government and huge influence in business circles. His latest ventures include developing cutting edge bio-fuel farms. But that’s not what I came to see him about.
HK prabhu has a serious interest in science and is currently writing a book based on intelligent design, to defeat the foolish atheism of people like Richard Dorkins, sorry Dawkins. The TOVP in Mayapur will have an entire wing dedicated to exhibits, many of which will be science based, exposing the limitations and fallacies of chemical evolution, and the bankrupt mechanical view of the universe. So my visit was to invite Hari Krishna prabhu to join our team of developers. I am happy to say that he was enthusiastic to do so.
We also met with Lalitanatha prabhu,
aka Leif A. Jensen, self-described science journalist and author of the excellent book “Rethinking Darwin – A Vedic Study of Darwinism and Intelligent Design.” It was recently published by the BBT. If you don’t have a copy, get one!
It is an excellent analysis of the limitations of the evolutionary explanation of life and its origins, and clearly and articulately argues the case for the Vedic world view of life comes from life.
We had some enlivening meetings and Lalitanatha prabhu produced eight good outlines for exhibits in the TOVP before he returned to his base in Copenhagen.
In the coming months and years we will be refining the basic outlines and producing scripts, storyboards and models ready for the time when we can actually the exhibits and videos.
Most of our discussions took place at the present small storefront temple, which has been ISKCON’s home for 20 years. It barely serves its purpose although the devotees take full use. Walking in gave me flashbacks to the late 60s and early 70s ‘starter pack’ Hare Krsna temples. Its small entry doubles as a store, food preparation area, dining area and conference room
It has a very narrow but well equipped kitchen that runs down the side of the modest temple room and from where Bhakta Errol cooks excellent Sunday feasts (and practically every other meal. He is one of those gems who loves to cook and serve).
The feast was well attended and Hari Krishna prabhu gave a good class followed by an very enthusiastic kirtan
But a change is long overdue and in fact is just about to happen as you will see in my next posting…
This question – how do you “prove” something – has to go to the department of “epistemology.” That word means “how you know what you know.” Vedic epistemology is very thorough: There are 10 primary “proofs” (pramaana), but of those 10 there are really 3 that are crucial. One is by direct empirical observation (pratyaksha), the second is by mental deduction (anumaan), and the third is by declaration of authority (shabda).
Different subjects require different proofs. Something that fits within the range of the senses can be proven by direct observation. Something that is beyond the immediate perception but is still within the grasp of ordinary logic can be proven by mental deduction. Something which is beyond all of these cannot be proven except by the statement of an authority on the topic.
That’s a nutshell synopsis of Vedic epistemology. Here are some examples to clarify:
I can prove that a glass is on the table by looking at it. the glass, the table and their relationship are all within the range of my senses – therefore I can validate their relationship with an observation (pratyaksha).
I cannot prove that there is fire on the hill by direct observation, because the hill is too far away and I cannot see the fire directly. But the smoke billows up and I can deduce that every time I see smoke it is associated with fire. Therefore by mental deduction (anumaan) I can prove that there is fire on the mountain. Fire, smoke and their relationship are all within the purview of our experience and therefore we can make rational deductions and validate fire via the observation of smoke.
That God is dark blue and has a peacock feather in his hair, for example, has absolutely no reference point within our experience. What to speak of these fine details of how God looks in his most intimate and unguarded moments, everything pertaining to God is by definition beyond the limitations of our ignorant materially confined capacity of experience and understanding. Therefore I can conclusively neither prove nor disprove anything about God via direct perception or mental deduction alone. Only if I have the blessing from the infinite to be able to hear directly from the divine an authoritative statement, only then can any proof be offered and considered regarding such subjects.
The three proofs are not mutually exclusive. In fact they all work together. It is just that in divine, transcendental matters the statement of authority is the primary proof – and logical deduction and practical observation play a role of elaborating and substantiating and clarifying the statement of authority. In all three pramaana, all three work together. We simply name the pramaana for the more prominent of the three. So the important point to take away here is that it is not that observational validation and logical deduction play no role at all in congizing the reality of God. They do play a role, but the primary role – for the soul in ignorance, without access to a transcendental mind and senses – is the statement of authority.
The Vedic body is broadly accepted to represent the transmission of Godhead Vishnu to the world for the primary sake of giving authoritative statements on supra-ordinary phenomena. Those of sufficient rational mettle find that the authoritative statements in these scriptures are thoroughly logical, rigorously sensible, and bear out against empirical observation whenever possible.
There is at least one school of Vedic thought which attempts to prove and explain the transcendental divine reality without reference to any authoritative statements – only via empiric observation and logical deduction. This school is called nyaaya. Its main target is to counteract the atheistic influence of Buddhism without being too unlike the basic tenor of Buddhism (which rejects the Vedas and thus rejects the sources of authoritative statements). It was quite successful, and thus you find very, very little Buddhism surviving in its homeland, where it had to content with Nyaya. If a person is very against the concept of “authoritative statements” as a method of proof, you could make some headway with them by presenting the systematic arguments developed by the nyaya school.
The stripped down fundamentals of their school is that every object is created by something else – therefore there must be a creative intelligence of some supra-mundane type behind the creation that we directly see all around us. It is essentially the Shelter lyric, “A creation without a creator, can it be? It’s like a painting without a painter – an absurdity.” Although this is a strong logic it does have several holes, which were thoroughly attacked by other Vedic schools of thought, and thoroughly counter-argued by the proponents of Nyaya.
It is a fascinating subject, and useful for clearly demonstrating that Vedic based philosophy is not philosophically shallow at all or from any angle – emperic, logical, or mystical. However in the end, I agree with the Vedantic and other schools that say when all is said and done that which is beyond the mind and senses cannot be validated thoroughly without reference to authoritative statements.
Toronto Rathayatra 2011 Tunnel with Niranjana Swami
How to counter-act the offence: Reveal it to the devotees and beg forgiveness.
- To think that chanting creates a chemical reaction in the brain and simply produces some euphoric effect.
- Thinking that Hari means impersonal Brahman, Krishna refers to the mind, and Rama means satisfaction etc.
- To define the holy name of the Lord in terms of one's mundane calculation.
I recently had a very interesting and informative conversation with Sara Guberti, our latest addition to the rapidly growing TOVP team. Sara, who originally hails from Ravenna Italy, the capital of the Byzantine Mosaics, is a renowned artist in her field of art. She has worked for 'Sacred Word Foundation' in Delhi on the vision of the Director Ranjit Makkuni. At present she is in collaboration with the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith. It is here in this country, that Sara came to follow her dream, "the light" she explains, by dealing with a completely original concept of using the mosaic styles with Hindu Gods (which will also act as a prominent unique feature in the TOVP).“Art has always given me answers. It is a channel of conversation for me, as if a dialogue with God – a side that I found was not very common in Western European culture.” Jalasaya: What first interested you to come to India out of all places? Sara: I first came to India twelve years ago. I initially came to find a special flower extracted pigment paint that might be available there, as I was developing a piece of work based on this pictorial concept. This quest of mine turned out to be successful, and I found what I was looking for.
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