miércoles, 28 de abril de 2010

Planet ISKCON - 52 new articles

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"Planet ISKCON" - 52 new articles

  1. Dandavats.com: New Vrindaban Hosts Harvard's Pluralism Project
  2. Dandavats.com: SURVEY: New programs at Bhaktivedanta College
  3. Dandavats.com: Kirtan retreat in Croatia
  4. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  5. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  6. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  7. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  8. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  9. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  10. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  11. Dandavats.com: The Dramatic Edge
  12. Japa Group: The Lord's Reciprocation
  13. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Nanda-Mandir Prabhu
  14. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Someone recently asked my mother, "What was the happiest day of your life?" Part 1.
  15. Kurma dasa, AU: Whey to Go
  16. Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Questions
  17. Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: No problems except self-created ones
  18. HH. Satsvarupa das Goswami: '405' from The Yellow Submarine
  19. HH. Satsvarupa das Goswami: '"Always Think of Krishna"' from The Yellow Submarine
  20. HH. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 'Harinama on Rehoboth Beach and Staying At Home' from The Yellow Submarine
  21. HH. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 'Newsweek' from The Yellow Submarine
  22. Sutapa das, BV Manor, UK: Yoga is Balance
  23. Rupa Madhurya das, TX, USA: Bhajan - New Year's Eve 2010 - Nityananda Chandra das - 7/22
  24. New Vrindavan, USA: New Vrindaban Hosts Harvard's Pluralism Project
  25. ISKCON Toronto, Canada: A Visit from the Funny Side!
  26. Japa Group: I Wanted To Do It With Devotion
  27. Jahnavi, UK: Spring Art Flow
  28. Gaura Nitai das, Mayapura, IN: Your best friend the absolute truth
  29. Madri dd, South Africa: Darsan @ Iskcon, Johannesburg; South Africa Sri Sri Nitai Gaura-Hari
  30. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Let's talk about the benefits of saying "I don't understand" rather than "an apparent contradiction" when posing questions."
  31. H.H. Sivarama Swami: SB 4.27.4 Srila Prabhupada says of those who always think of money and the opposite sex
  32. H.H. Sivarama Swami: How do different ragas/tunes in which kirtan is sung affect the manifestation of the potency of the holy name?
  33. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Death approaches King Puranjana
  34. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Taking care of devotees 3.
  35. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Madhavendra Puri's ecstatic love of Godhead
  36. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Returning to New Vraja-dhama and appreciating its wonders
  37. Mayapur Online: MI course during Narasimha Caturdasi 2010
  38. Mayapur Online: ToVP Chairman's Message
  39. H.H. Sivarama Swami
  40. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Sunday, April 11th, 2010
  41. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Sunday April 4th, 2010
  42. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Monday, April 5th, 2010
  43. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Tuesday, April 6th, 2010
  44. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
  45. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Thursday, April 8th, 2010
  46. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Friday, April 9th, 2010
  47. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Saturday, April 10th, 2010
  48. Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: FRESH The Movie!
  49. David Haslam, UK: Lambs and Japa, a thought.
  50. Gouranga TV: Mantra session 20.03.2010 3/7
  51. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: 12Hour Kirtan - Sunday 11th April
  52. Gaura Sakti das & Adi Radhika dd, New Vraja Dham, Hungary: Play in Sand
  53. More Recent Articles
  54. Search Planet ISKCON

Dandavats.com: New Vrindaban Hosts Harvard's Pluralism Project

By Bhaktin Rita Gupta

This past weekend, New Vrindaban Community hosted 36 students from the Global Leadership Center (GLC) at Ohio University it Athens, OH. Dr. Greg Emery, the GLC's Director, is an affiliate of Harvard University's Pluralism Project, which studies religious diversity in the United States, focusing on communities and religious traditions from Asia and the Middle East.

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Dandavats.com: SURVEY: New programs at Bhaktivedanta College

Bhaktivedanta College: Kindly help us further develop programs at Bhaktivedanta College. We have designed a survey that hopefully will give us a good picture of how we can serve our students better. Your time and effort spent on answering the following questions are greatly appreciated.

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Dandavats.com: Kirtan retreat in Croatia

Govindananda das: The first international Kirtan Retreat will be held on the serenely peaceful Island of Iz in the Mediterranean Sea (Croatia), June 12 - 19, 2010, facilitated by His Holiness Sacinandana Swami

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1966 April 13: "Navami. Today I received one letter from the chief assistant of the Governor of New York. In the evening eight ladies and gentlemen attended the meeting. Paul's T.R. is alright. Income -- $1.00."
Prabhupada Journal :: 1966

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1968 April 13: "You should understand first of all the philosophy. Without understanding the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness, if we try to convert Christians into Krishna Consciousness, it will be utter failure."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1968

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1969 April 13: "Before I came from India, I published three volumes of Srimad-Bhagavatam, each of about 400 pages. Since then I have published Bhagavad-gita As It Is by MacMillan and Teachings of Lord Caitanya."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1969

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1969 April 13: "You have mentioned about the disagreement amongst our god-brothers, and it is a fact. But so far as I am concerned, I am trying to execute my humble bit, and if somebody disagrees in these activities, what can I do?"
Prabhupada Letters :: 1969

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 April 13: "Yes, I acted the part of Advaita Prabhu in one such drama. I organized that theater performance in my youthhood. It was very much appreciated by the highest class of men in Calcutta. We were invited to many places to perform."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 April 13: "I think there is more advantage in Bir Krsna remaining fully engaged in his temple duties than in going back to college. What would be the practical benefit of such degree?"
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 April 13: "After Hyderabad I travel one week in Southern India; then Paris, five days each in Geneva, Rome, Sweden, Germany. Then Australia and back to India by Janmastami. After that England and then the U.S."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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Dandavats.com: The Dramatic Edge

Sankirtana Das: If your coming to the Festival of Inspiration you might consider arriving a day earlier for this unique workshop. Whether you're in theater or interested in storytelling or are a workshop presenter or want to enhance your preaching, this workshop has something for you

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Japa Group: The Lord's Reciprocation

Today I was reflecting on this....the Lord needs something to reciprocate with in our relationship with Him through the Spiritual Master. Our vow is to chant 16 GOOD rounds and not just 16 below average rounds. By making this effort to be attentive and concentrate, our relationship with the Lord is reciprocal and He blesses us with spiritual energy and eventually love for Krsna or Krsna Prema.

If we continue with our inattention, some benefit is there but we are chanting shadow Japa, or the outer form of the Holy names. The inner form is the Lord's spiritual energy, and when we really make an effort, then this energy is perceived by us (higher taste, sense of peacefulness and maybe some spiritual emotions).

Let's all make this effort in the time we chant our Japa and get this wonderful spiritual energy from the Lord.

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Nanda-Mandir Prabhu

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.19.11 - Devotees need to guide people through Vedic knowledge because their brains have been fried by Kali-yuga.

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Someone recently asked my mother, "What was the happiest day of your life?" Part 1.

I read a letter that she wrote answering that and giving an idea of what she and others went through in WWII.

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Kurma dasa, AU: Whey to Go

shakes and smoothies:

B from Melbourne writes:

"Could you please suggest some recipes to use the whey created when making panir cheese? I have tried it cooking rice, and vegetables, but am looking for something a bit more creative."

My reply:

You can boil pasta in it. You can add it to bread dough, pastry dough, cake mix and pizza dough, and as the liquid ingredient in batters and pancakes, and in all kinds of soups and dals* (*added at the end).

Try adding it to homemade lemonade - one or two parts finely strained fresh whey, added to a lemonade of one part fresh lemon, one part sugar, and 6 parts water and ice.

Whey is very nutritious, so don't waste a drop. Add it to shakes and smoothies. If all else fails, pour it on your rose bush for fabulous blooms. Acid-loving plants really crave whey, and flourish.

Oh, and pets adore it too, especially puppies and kittens. Serve it straight up, in their drinking bowls.

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Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Questions

Briefly: just do the same as all women in India have done for thousands of years.

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Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: No problems except self-created ones

Prabhupada: Actually there is no problem. Why there should be problem? There are 8,400,000 species of life. Out of that, human being are 400... Out of that, 80%, they are uncivilized. So all these living entities have no problem for eating. This 20% or 15% people who are called as civilized, they have problem. They have created problem. At least in India, say, hundred years before, there was no problem for eating, even for the sudra class or any... No, there was no... The society was so made, there was no problem. Why fifty years? In 1933 or '36 in Vrndavana somebody wanted milk, some pilgrimage amongst ourselves. So went to a house. So, "Can you supply us some milk?" "Ah, how much you want?" So it was about ten pounds. So she supplied immediately, one woman, and when she was offered price, "Oh, why shall I take a price for ten or twenty pounds of milk? Oh, you can take it." That is my practical experience. Milk was so freely available. So simply we are creating problems by godless civilization. That is a fact.

Hamsaduta: Once you said we are making solutions to self-created problems, and we think it's advancement.

Prabhupada: Yes.

Hamsaduta: We've created a big thing and then make so many solutions.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Room Conversation -- December 21, 1970, Surat

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HH. Satsvarupa das Goswami: '405' from The Yellow Submarine

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

3:35 A.M.

I received some appreciations of my japa from a meeting of devotees that took place on my seventieth birthday. Someone said he appreciated japa inspirations from my writings and wished to pass it on to his sons. A senior Godbrother said he was impressed with my dedication to the chanting of the holy names for practically a lifetime. When I hear these things I get mixed emotions. As a normal human being I am flattered and joyful: "I must be doing something right!" But I also feel an emotion of emptiness. I think, "I am not an advanced japa chanter like those who chant thirty-two or sixty-four rounds and who chant with clear enunciation from the mouth and chest." I have been talking about japa and struggling with it for a lifetime with not much progress. Which emotion is prominent? The prominent emotion I feel when I hear these things is a humbling and a determination—especially a determination to improve. I feel asa-bandha—hope against hope that I can actually progress to taste in chanting before my life is over. I am eager for my new book to come out, Japa Transformations, because it expresses my determination and makes me want to live up to the higher standards. When I hear encouragement I want to chant better today, just as Bhurijana Prabhu says, "Chant better with this very mantra you are on." Let me do it. Stop the distractions. Report of the japa log from the japa captain on April 13th: I rose at 1:30 A.M. today and was rolling along. Earn the right to be considered a sincere chanter. I am listening to the mantras and hearing each one separately and sincerely. They are accumulating quickly. I will have sixteen done before breakfast. I will not be chanting while doing something else. I will be chanting while I'm chanting.

A day with encouragement,
someone says you're trying.
You believe it and actually
try. I cannot claim to
reciprocate with Radha and
Krishna and live with
Nama Prabhu as an actual person.
But my beads are real
and the mantras are smooth
and numerical strength builds
like an athlete at a gym.
If you want your heart to
feel "This is the very best"
you'll be disappointed,
but at least you are

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HH. Satsvarupa das Goswami: '"Always Think of Krishna"' from The Yellow Submarine

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

Prabhupada Smaranam

This is an early quote by Srila Prabhupada. There are so many statements by him. But this has an early ISKCON feel to it. First of all he makes it sound easy to always think of Krishna. Go ahead, just do it. Chant this Hare Krishna he has brought with him, either on your Tandy beads or singing it with chorus with the Swami in the storefront. Or think of Him. How do you do that? What about all the other things you are always thinking of, do you just void them out, push them away for good? Think of the stories he's told you of Krishna or the philosophy. Think "Well, if I don't think of Him I'll go to hell." Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati spoke more on the tattva than on the lila. So did our Prabhupada.

And then he says it will make you happy. That sounds simplistic. You'll just see that you'll feel good by thinking of Krishna. He's happy, and you will be. You're happy. But exactly how do you think of Him? As father, the creator, the divine, the paramour. He is the absolute holder-together of everything that exists.

Just try it. Go ahead. Make the attempt. It is not impossible. Just always think of Krishna wherever you are.

And then he says "Make an experiment." It's like a dare or an attempt at something new and original. Make a test. You never tried it before so go ahead and take a chance and just see if it works. He used to say, "You have nothing to lose, and the gain is very great." The Vedas state the hypothesis—think of Krishna, and you'll be happy—so you plan to provide the evidence for or against the hypothesis. It is empirical. Either it will work or not.

But Prabhupada doesn't make it sound like it may not work. He is positive of the result. "You will be happy." Now just become a fortunate experimenter. It's not like the lottery. He's just saying make an experiment to trust in a sporting temperament. Go ahead and give it a try. He already knows the outcome. This is Prabhupada's sporting language. And it worked. The young men were willing to take the bet, and it turns out in almost all cases that Krishna is the winner, and He captures you if you are sincere.

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HH. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 'Harinama on Rehoboth Beach and Staying At Home' from The Yellow Submarine

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

My dear Lord Krishna,
I have love for You for most
of my life, and I have served
You with my body and words.
I have also failed You and
fallen on occasions.
I come to You today asking
for feelings of love to arouse
in me so I can
serve You better and with more

Yesterday three devotees did
harinama on Rehoboth

read more from SDGonline - daily updates from The Yellow Submarine: My Bhajana Kutir journal 

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HH. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 'Newsweek' from The Yellow Submarine

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

Free write

This photo appeared in Newsweek magazine in the early 1970s. I don't have any text that went with it, but it was probably chosen for the eclectic life of the streets of New York City. The old lady looks like she's on her last legs struggling home after some shopping. She is oblivious to or ignoring the small Hare Krishna harinama group as she staggers past them. They're standing on the street corner. The fat man sitting on the milk cart is also in his own world savoring a soft drink and with no attention to the chanters or the old lady. Even the lead mrdanga player of the Krishnas seems displaced, detached from his colleagues and peering around the street corner—distracted. There is a taxi in the middle of the road with the back door open, discharging or picking up a passenger.

The best thing that can be said about the picture is that they are there. They may not be attracting attention, and one of them seems himself out of place, but they are there, present, chanting the holy names and making a big difference in the life of the city. Even if the people don't acknowledge, the holy names are penetrating the mundane covering of  the modes of passion and ignorance and bringing liberation to the street. The holy names are opening the clutches of maya, and brining Krishna to the dead, opening the way for eternal life. The sacrifice is not going unnoticed and living beings are being freed, even ones we cannot see in this picture.

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Sutapa das, BV Manor, UK: Yoga is Balance

Think of yoga and it conjures up images uncomfortable breathing patterns and awkward postures which test your balance. With a 6ft 5 body, balance has always been a problem! Of course, most people understand that yoga is more than a health regime. It is actually the process by which we spiritualize our entire being and harmonize it with God. However, this type of internal transformation via yoga also requires a certain kind of balance – a balanced attitude and character. A good attitude and approach to spirituality can help overcome all obstacles that worldly life may pose.

This ideal attitude must incorporate many different elements. One must be incredibly enthusiastic and greedy to advance in ones spiritual realization, but at the same time one must exhibit great patience. One must exude confidence and determination, but simultaneously remain meek and humble. One must open the heart in ones spiritual relationships, but also be thick-skinned in challenging times and embody steadiness. The spiritualist must selflessly engage with the world and its people, yet at the same time remain safe within his own sacred space of consciousness.

Often, it is the unbalanced approach which either stagnates ones growth or renders ones growth unsustainable. We may add many floors to a skyscraper building and many will marvel at its magnificence. However, if the foundations do not simultaneously grow deeper, then the building will simply become more and more susceptible to falling down. We must keep the balance.

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Rupa Madhurya das, TX, USA: Bhajan - New Year's Eve 2010 - Nityananda Chandra das - 7/22

Nityananda Chandra das singing a Hare Krishna during the 12hr New Year's Eve bhajan.

Dallas, TX

Download: 2010-01-01 - New Year Eve Bhajans - 07 - Nityananda Chandra das.mp3
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New Vrindavan, USA: New Vrindaban Hosts Harvard's Pluralism Project

Sankirtan Prabhu addressing the students

This past weekend, New Vrindaban Community hosted 36 students from the Global Leadership Center (GLC) at Ohio University it Athens, OH.  Dr. Greg Emery, the GLC's Director, is an affiliate of Harvard University's Pluralism Project, which studies religious diversity in the United States, focusing on communities and religious traditions from Asia and the Middle East.  The Pluralism Project is funded by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations.

Dr. Emery first encountered the Hare Krishna tradition as an undergraduate student in 1980 when he met Radhanath Swami, who was then a member of New Vrindaban Community.  Dr. Emery continues to visit New Vrindaban regularly as part of his on-going research on the community.

The GLC offers a two-year undergraduate certificate that prepares students to be internationally-minded professions.  "Studying the Hare Krishna tradition is the most exciting project we've had over the past two years," said Diana Gryniuk, a junior in Communications Studies.  "A lot of us are Catholic, and this is the first religion-based project we have had."

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ISKCON Toronto, Canada: A Visit from the Funny Side!

We stumbled upon a cute little comic that portrays the dilemma of the modern devotee. (Just for the record, Facebook is not considered taboo in Hare Krishna circles... but if you're spending 18 hours a day on Facebook... that's another story!) :o)

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Japa Group: I Wanted To Do It With Devotion

It is hard when the body doesn't cooperate and get sleepy and catches you unaware. But alert japa players can surmount the difficulties of drowsiness by putting water on their face or doing something or other to stay awake. I know I will make my quota but I wanted to do it faster and I wanted to do it with devotion, keeping Krishna in the heart and not just mumbling words.

From Bhajan Kutir #404
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Jahnavi, UK: Spring Art Flow

The sun is out again! The air is fresh, and I'm having fun working on little art projects just before I take off for New York City.

My brother Mali turned 13 a few weeks ago…

Ramayana masks for the Bhaktivedanta Manor nursery

The kids had fun taking pictures with these Rama and Sita figures at the Bhaktivedanta Manor Gurukula spring fair.

I did mehndi for a bride and her bridesmaids the other night. I haven't done it for ages and it was really nice to have an excuse to get into it again. The smell of henna paste evokes so many teenage memories, practicing on my sister's hands.

I spent a good few hours today painting a mural on my friend's wall as a birthday present, and repainting a friend's deity of Narasimha. Creating art can be so rejuvenating – a wonderful meditation.

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Gaura Nitai das, Mayapura, IN: Your best friend the absolute truth

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I received a letter from a gentleman that I met at the ISKCON Delhi temple last week. I have placed the gist of his letter and my feeble response on this post.

Dear Guara Nitai Das,

It was very nice talking to you on Sunday and listening to your words of wisdom
about Krishna Bhakti.

Prabhu, what is mean't by the absolute truth according to the quote from Resuming in
in your blog Truth and Beauty through Bhakti.

"The scene here reinforces my conviction that when the absolute truth is presented without selfish or ulterior motives it is attractive to everyone sincerely seeking truth."

Hare Krishna,



I hope that you are well!

Thank you for your mail.

Well, what did you think when you first read that word "absolute truth", Is there even such a thing that can be characterized as an/the absolute truth? Or when I discuss the absolute truth am I just carelessly speaking about the "absolute truth" from my point of view? If I was speaking about the absolute merely from my own point of view only or the speculative point of view of my friends, colleagues and mentors then it would have to be referred to as relative truth.

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Discussions and descriptions of the absolute truth can fill unlimited amounts time and space. The Srimad Bhagavatam describes that this type of discussion, if practiced under appropriate guidance, are truly satisfying to the mind, intelligence and soul. Questions such as the one you ask, 'What is the meaning of the "absolute truth"' are according to authoritative Vedic literatures the best of all types of questions. In the opening verses of the Srimad Bhagavatam, Suta Goswami, before answering similar questions asked of him, glorifies these types of inquiries. He says in Canto 1 Chapter 2 Verse 25:

"O sages, I have been justly questioned by you. Your questions are worthy because they relate to Lord Kṛṣṇa and so are of relevance to the world's welfare. Only questions of this sort are capable of completely satisfying the self.

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I like the smell of the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, ginger, and other spices when they are cooked in ghee. I have experienced others who smell this part of the cooking and think that it smells horrid! Instead, they may like the smell of pigs flesh being burnt over the fire. In the same way we may try to extend this situation to everything we experience. Is there any one thing that is satisfying and brings bliss or at least satisfaction to every living entity who comes in contact with it. Modern philosophers would generally say "no there is not, therefore everything (taste, smell, etc) is relative." This means that there is no one thing that can satisfy every living entity. Taking this idea of the relative world even further we would say that we all have different goals in life, different morals that direct us towards those goals and ultimately a different conception of what will truly satisfy and enlighten us.

One of the conclusions that some people come up with is that the absolute truth is something that cannot have any qualities, like form, personality, knowledge or any other perceivable quality that we can see, imagine or experience in this world. The result is an empty concept of voidism, nothingness or simply a denial the existence of an absolute truth. These conclusions are natural for those materially conditioned souls who have not received and understood the absolute truth from a tattva-darsi or a knower of the absolute truth.

When students or teachers who actually blessed with knowledge and realization of the absolute truth speak about spiritual qualities, the mind and intelligence of those conditioned by false ego (ahankara) tend to rebel. This is a natural reaction for most conditioned entities, The only qualities that people have experienced are qualities exhibited by material nature. As a result we tend to project that conception on the absolute! We ask "How can the perfect God have a form and qualities? That would be limiting and disqualify Him from being the absolute truth. How can the Supreme Personality of Godhead have names, friends, activities and all of those things that we have experienced here in matter". Or even "I see a picture of the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna and I do not feel enlightened or attracted" These are all common and reasonable objections.

Let us take a look at a description of one of the absolute truth's inconceivable qualities. This verse is the invocation verse of the Sri Isopanisad:

om purnam adah purnam idam purnat purnam udacyate

purnasya purnam adaya purnam evavasisyate

The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the Complete Whole is also complete in itself. Because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.

This verse is a bit of a tongue twister but please do not let that distract you from the profundity of the statement. This quality of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is inaccessible to even the most erudite mind and intelligence. It is saying that the complete whole or the Supreme Person emanates other items (complete units) from itself and it does not lose anything. Say, for example, you have a nice carob chip cookie in your hand and there are many hungry kids around. If you were to take a piece of that cookie off of the original then the cookie would be reduced in size and quantity. If you are magnanimous you will keep giving away pieces of the cookie until it is completely gone! The manifestation of the cookie as a complete whole would no longer be in existence Also, the hungry kids only have smaller portions of the original cookie. None of them are able to enjoy the entire cookie. The absolute truth however has the capability to produce "complete units" (like complete cookies) without reducing the original in any way.

These complete units may be characterized into three basic types: 1. (matter), insentient substances of various qualities and characteristics 2. (spiritual) dependent and eternally individual living entities of various characteristics, (us) and 3. (spiritual) Himself and with the exact same potencies and qualities as Himself. According to the Visnu Purana these are the three types of energies that "emanate" from the absolute truth. In the Bhagavad Gita (verses 7.4-7) Krishna Himself gives clear description of these three categories. :

Catagory 1. BG 7.4 Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego — all together these eight constitute My separated material energies.

Catagory 2. BG 7.5 Besides these, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is another, superior energy of Mine, which comprises the living entities who are exploiting the resources of this material, inferior nature.

Catagory 3. BG 7.6 & BG7.7 All created beings have their source in these two natures. Of all that is material and all that is spiritual in this world, know for certain that I am both the origin and the dissolution.O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.

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The crux of the problem for the layman, apart from lack of desire to know the absolute truth, is an incomplete or totally absent conception of the above mentioned primary energies of the absolute truth. You will notice that category 1 is a material quality while qualities 2 and 3 are regarded as spiritual energies. In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna begins His spiritual instructions by distinguishing between the material energy and the spiritual energy (BG 2.12-BG 2.30). Th Bhagavad Gita is considered to be that ABC's of spiritual thought in the sense that it lays the foundation for further spiritual practice and understanding. That is why Krishna gives these instructions first. It is the foundation for the foundation!

The qualities of this spiritual nature are eternal, fully cognizant and full of bliss. The qualities of matter are just the opposite, temporary manifestations, entirely insentient, and full of suffering. As spiritual living entities we are not in our natural state when we identify with this material body. No one wants to die, no one wants to be dumb, and no one desires unhappiness. That is natural because that is the nature of the soul! The problem is that we are looking for satisfaction of our desires in dull matter only. Only when we learn to properly associate with the Lord through His devotees and by chanting His name (Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare) will we begin to experience the spiritual nature. We may have a theoretical understanding of spirit in the beginning but after time Krishna gradually allows you to experience the true bliss of the soul. And by the way that bliss is ever increasing and it never gets stale.

Here are some comments by Srila Prabhupada on the previously quoted Sri Isopanisad verse:

* When one realizes the Supreme Person, he realizes these aspects of the Absolute Truth in their completeness. Vigrahah means "form." Thus the Complete Whole is not formless. If He were formless, or if He were less than His creation in any other way, He could not be complete. The Complete Whole must contain everything both within and beyond our experience; otherwise He cannot be complete.

* The Complete Whole, the Personality of Godhead, has immense potencies, all of which are as complete as He is. Thus this phenomenal world is also complete in itself. ….

*….All facilities are given to the small complete units (namely the living beings) to enable them to realize the Complete Whole. All forms of incompleteness are experienced due to incomplete knowledge of the Complete Whole…..

The soul is pleasure seeking so it must turn somewhere for that pleasure. It is only when we begin to taste some of that spiritual realization and bliss that we can naturally give up the material conceptions. These realizations allow us to tread the tangible road map towards the natural joy of the soul. The greatest self realized souls come to the point where personally experiencing spiritual bliss is not their purpose in acting. Instead they act to give that bliss to others. Indeed, selflessness is the litmus test for genuine realization of the absolute truth. Ironically, in that state of selfless consciousness the bliss and realization of the practitioner increases unlimitedly. Every living entity who properly approaches the absolute truth with sincerity and submission will ultimately be attracted to the absolute truth Sri Krishna. <!--[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]--> <!--[endif]-->

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Krishna and His energies which are inconceivably both different and non-different is the absolute truth. Ecstatic selfless loving interactions between the spiritual energies and the Sri Krishna is the means and the goal of life for every living entity. Absolutely.

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Madri dd, South Africa: Darsan @ Iskcon, Johannesburg; South Africa Sri Sri Nitai Gaura-Hari

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Let's talk about the benefits of saying "I don't understand" rather than "an apparent contradiction" when posing questions."

It avoids risks of even unintentionally implying speakers are making mistakes.

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: SB 4.27.4 Srila Prabhupada says of those who always think of money and the opposite sex

"…he overindulges in sex-life and becomes unfit for self-realization."

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: How do different ragas/tunes in which kirtan is sung affect the manifestation of the potency of the holy name?

Bhakta Heeren, London

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Death approaches King Puranjana

And it's also approaching all of us.

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Taking care of devotees 3.

H.H. Niranjana Swami's seminar on taking care of Krishna's devotees, part 3/3.

22 Aug: Taking care of devotees 1.
25 Aug: Taking care of devotees 2.

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Madhavendra Puri's ecstatic love of Godhead

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Returning to New Vraja-dhama and appreciating its wonders

Also asking for devotees' patience this year while completing NVM.

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Mayapur Online: MI course during Narasimha Caturdasi 2010

Mayapur Institute will conduct TTC1 course from May 21- May 26,2010 during Narasimha Caturdasi festival. In this course, devotees will participate in group exercises, class discussions, experiential learning exercises, and group presentations; and they will learn how to utilize these teaching methods by their participation. This course is suitable both for experienced and novice teachers. It is particularly appropriate for devotees involved in training other devotees. It is highly interactive, intensive, transformational, and fun.

For more details, Click here…

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Mayapur Online: ToVP Chairman's Message

"Now you all together make this Vedic Planetarium very nice, so that people will come and see. From the description in the Srimad- Bhagavatam you prepare this Vedic Planetarium. My idea is to attract people of the whole world to Mayapur". 

Srila Prabhupada 1976,

Dear Devotees and Friends
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

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H.H. Sivarama Swami

Unless in the human society the varnasrama system is introduced, no scheme or social order, health order or any order, political order, will be successful.

- Srila Prabhupada

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Hope in the Fields

Port Royal, Pennsylvania

I admit to being as sucker for vintage stuff. Whenever spending time at the Gita Nagari farm, I make a deliberate effort to stroll along the Juniata River via the Covered Bridge Rd. and then through the covered bridge itself. The walk on the property itself are idyllic. Peacocks abound. It's peaceful. You are away from traffic. And now comfrey, wild mustard, dandelion and other vegetation have exploded their way through the earth to become full blown products of natural value.

In reality this extremely fertile property had fallen into neglect. Barn maintenance is down and the asset that lies in the soil has been underused. Lo and behold new management is sinking much energy into great organic veggie planting. Some repair is underway in the primary residential building and two new cabins are being constructed for those who wish to experience a retreat in the countryside.

Just a week ago I was in South Africa at Gandhi's original settlement called Satyagraha. His motive was to establish self sustenance on the one hundred acre property. Time wore those dreams away with the socio-political climate being what it was.

Gita Nagari, a similar attempt does have the facility and favourable cultural advantages around. The Amish are everywhere, and apart from the cattle-raising they have that agro-guru blood that has made them successful at working the land. Gita Nagari stands a chance to succeed. It is a sleeping giant just about to wake provided the integrity of initial intent is applied and social discord is kept at bay.

Our loving Guru, Srila Prabhupada, really wanted this community to be naturally dependant providing organic dairy products and edibles from the ground. All the power and blessings to Dhruva, the coordinator of the project and crew.

Oh! And another crew, our little drama troupe, staged "Lonely People". They were phenomenally good.

6 KM

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Sunday April 4th, 2010

Costa and People

Durban, South Africa

Costa is a smiley bright faced black chap who is employed by the temple to keep it neat and clean. He approaches his work which has been on going for eight years with the most positive attitudes. Truly he's an angel. He speaks proudly of his daughter's reaching the 7th grade and remorsefully of his wife who died of malaria.
"I love my daughter like crazy," he told me. He has a passion for doing his service at the temple. I've known Costa for those eight years. He's just a fine human being. It's people like him that give you some hope for the human race.

I say this because this is South Africa after all – a place of high crime rate. It makes walking a little risky. For safety I take a circle around the temple and continue for a two hour stretch if I can. I found that theft is so rampant that my second set of meditation beads was lifted (stolen) during a drama practice. It was silly that I left some coins in the bead bag. I put trust being in the temple compound by leaving them at the side ledge of the interior. On the one hand you have someone like Costa and then you feel some hope.

On the bright side a vibrancy pervades. When pumping gas the attendant does it with a dance and when wiping your windshield he'll pick up rhythm even more and add a song. As I had come to find out a major soccer game was stirring excitement shooting up adrenaline in fans and all the service people connected.

Meanwhile at the Chariot Festival site the fair was giving more than cheap thrills to the count of over 100,000 in attendance over this weekend. At the main stage the biggest drawing card was our premiere of "The Three Lives of Bharat".

My biggest regret about the event was the fact that the ten swamis that were there were so occupied in speeches, leading chants, and charming the people that we (and I being one) had so little time with each other. It is just a very intense program for four consecutive days. Rewarding and purifying. Uplifting. There is this marvelous cohesive feeling within the crowds – all credit going to the spiritual nature of the event.

6 KM

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Monday, April 5th, 2010

At Gandhi's Place

Durban, South Africa

It took two police escort cars with two officers in each to bring myself and three South African born folks, Vaishnava, Janaki and Mahavir, to Satyagraha. This very unique place holds some significance to the world. It is the settlement started by Mohandas Gandhi in 1904. In 1985 the settlement was destroyed by Apartheid Violence but since then has been rebuilt as a symbol of freedom. It was here that Gandhi started a school, a printing press and homes for those who followed in the line of self sustainability.

As most may know, he was thrown out of the train in Pietermeritzburg, a city nearby, an experience which fuelled his cause towards equality and respect. Gandhi witnessed oppression on the indentured labourers. He spent 21 years with his wife, Kausturba, in this modest place on top a hill as part of a one hundred acre plot. The area surrounding has become an unsafe area of depressed dwellings (for the escorts).

I was moved by the vintage photos from the time of struggle which lead to inspiration., The texts that inspired him were The Ramayana, The Gita, The Bible, and The Koran. It was in one of the rooms that we stood where he lead prayer. One prayer which he wrote is also on display. When he decided to leave for India, one of his four sons remained in Satyagraha where his home is also a feature of this well preserved property.

Our interpreter was a local Zulu man, very respectful, who took his shoes off upon seeing us and offered his pranams (folded palms). He was highly informative and a pleasure to listen to. He inquired from me about the essence of the Gita. I was surprised that we were the only tourists or pilgrims at this peaceful place. A different kind of peace was found at the Chariot Festival site once again. I was asked to sing in the place of one of our monks who wasn't feeling physically up to it. On the stage came our young men, anyone with a drum, trumpet or flute. And to everyone's pleasure and surprise also on board came a troupe of tribal dancers wearing skins and all. This last evening of the festival called a second chariot ride so those on stage were given the queue to go in procession.

The dancers and I forged ahead to the beginning of the crowd. And while they are so much more agile than I and much younger they let me take the lead to moving the body. Of all there in the crowd the dancers chanted with the greatest volume and conviction. It was a great display of ahimsa, of non-violence. Our guru, Srila Prabhupada wrote to Gandhi in his last year before Gandhi was assassinated. There was never a response, but the contents of the letter recommended kirtan (chanting) as a way to address social strife.

Well, here, we were doing it and thanks to the organizers of a well attended Chariot Festival.

5 KM

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

At the U.

Durban, South Africa

After a short rest in the evening, I rose for the usual 4:30 AM spiritual program pre-empting it with a good circumambulation around the temple. At 10:00 AM I was driven along with some of our drama volunteers to the Kwala Zulu Natal University to speak to the theatre arts students. With some of the puppets made for our new drama, "The Three Lives of Bharat" our presentation added a new dimension to the course. The staff and students participated in a "wing-it workshop". There was no apprehension about joining us in chanting mantras as a way to warm up for one of our standard sessions. I led them in pranati mantras to the guru, beginning with "Namah om Vishnu-padaya" and demonstrated surya namaskara (sun salutations). We played out one scene of the drama of Bharat, one of the very celebrated kings of India who had turned monk in his maturing years. It was a pleasure playing the role of a teacher of theatre while in my monastic cloth.

Baked potatoes as a prep called 'Gauranga Potatoes' was the main course of 'the last supper' during our stay in South Africa. Hugs, hugs and more hugs – appreciation of all kinds were exchanged. Bhakti Chaitanya Swami, presiding monk in Durban, gave blessings.

As Simon and Garfunkel had sung, "Homeward Bound" the mood for home was nudging me even though South Africa is almost like a second home for now. In all reality if you are an ascetic, all places you go are home.

6 KM

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

In the Air

In the Air Over the Atlantic

In the air back to Canada we see the screen monitors lit up with the film "Avatar". It's a name borrowed from India's Vedas. I guess the word is not copy written. I don't need to explain much about this blockbuster film. A tall, slender blue hued race is under siege by humanoids. I did not listen to the film, I only captured some of the visual. It doesn't take much intelligence to follow the story. Blue skin is another Vedic look as found in Krishna, Vishnu, or Shiva and the Vaisnava looking forehead markings could be an accidental occurrence. The writer and director of the film is James Cameron. I recall walking through his home town in Canada. The town Kapuskasing in northern Ontario has its own charm. People were friendly – curious. One of the town's folk that stopped to talk was a woman who had twenty siblings all from the same parents. We talked about what that was like living with all those extras.

I recall the many bear sightings and moose in that area. The media was very responsive. As I was on this plane thousands of feet in the air somehow I find a connection to the road via Avatar, the director, the town and the trail.

Personally I would take to the free road over sitting in a small cubicle up in the air but that is part of the exercise of renunciation. Flying or walking, it's all part of the mission. Hey, those blue people flying on those winged whatever they are looks like fun.

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Getting the Job Done


It was 2 AM. It was wet and warm out. Rascally raccoons screeched out a fierce fight hanging on to the edge of their individual territorial branch. A woman stopped her jeep and asked, "Have you seen my dog? It goes by the name 'Emory'. It's a boxer, very white."

I had to admit, "No!" but that I'll inform the monks inside and we'll get back to her. "How do we reach you?"

"My phone number is on her collar," she said most anxiously. "I have a friend. She goes to your temple. Oh! I'm so upset about my dog!"

"I'll pray."

"Thank you!" She drove off.

I gave a hand wave to the newspaper man. He reciprocated. He's been delivering for years. I guess that's inspirational. A lot goes on at such an early hour.

What have I learned from all of this interaction? We defend. We worry. We work. We pray. We are dry. We are wet. We go through a lot. And somehow through the course of it all we keep the Divine in mind.

My reason for the early walk outside in the drizzle was to complete my daily prescribed japa (chanting on beads). Before embarking on a journey by car to our farm near Port Royal, Pennsylvania, I just wanted to have the task completed. My newspaper friend is vigilant and reminds me through his vigilance that I'm doing the right thing. Furthermore, he does his job with a smile which reminds me of one more thing. Experience tells that the guru is not fazed by distractions. He happily carries on with his services to humanity. Wet, dry, sad, glad, rough, smooth – whatever the condition. Get the job done.

By 6:30 AM bags were packed. My chanting was done. I attended some bhajans. I showered, dressed, placed on the forehead tilak marks and headed for the U.S. border. The driver, Gaurachandra said that before he got behind the steering wheel he was determined to complete his daily prescribed japa. That means he and I were both on the same page.

One other person was picked up, Nitai Priya, before we left for the hills of Pennsylvania. Like Gaurachandra and I, she had made a commitment to daily prescribed chanting. That makes three of us who made such vows and that's what made the trip powerful. We had all this chanting behind us.

6 KM

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Friday, April 9th, 2010

More Gurus

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

One of my primary motivations for the trip to Pennsylvania was to keep to a wish by residents at the Port Royal farm and devotees of Harrisburg to have me visit. A second reason was to train two young talented men from the farm in drama workshops in order to perform on the weekend and then bring them back to Canada for more transcendental theatrical work. It is my intent to have those two accompany me on walks while in Canada.

I was so impressed with them that their lines to the play, "Lonely People", were memorized. What a relief! I think working with them is going to be good because right at the onset they displayed a healthy inner drive. "There is hope", I thought to myself. Gaura, 23, and Nitai, who just turned 18, are the two chaps referred to. They had enough interest to accompany us to Harrisburg, an hour's drive from the Gita Nagari farm, for the weekly Friday evening satsang (spiritual gathering). We stepped into a community center with an enthusiastic group of people who sat eager to learn.

I was given Chapter 14, verse 1 of the Bhagavad-gita to speak from. I turned the session into verse memorization, not lines for a play. The topic here was knowing the three prong ways of nature called gunas. I elaborated on these three modes. It became an interactive session including kids as well as adults. You can say I played the role of guru.

For the evening I retired at the home of Tamal Krishna and Lila Katha and their 2 year old toddler. Before lying down we discussed the need to expand the number of gurus or teachers in the world. "With little effort I personally know about fifty people who are eligible to function in this role as guru to offer this service to humanity. They just need to be empowered to do the job," I recommended.

While the world sinks into maya's (illusion's) abyss, there is a great need to activate and mobilize quality people to the task of teaching the world the finer values of life.

7 KM

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Part Two: More Gurus

Port Royal, Pennsylvania

The morning air was brisk, especially on top of the residential hill in Harrisburg where I spent the evening with a very special couple, Tamal and Lila. I circled the hill's rounded peak again and again to make a collective 6 Km. Walk. While my legs moved, so did thoughts on a rerun topic, the need for more mentors, councilors, gurus.

In a recent dialogue I had with a very advanced soul, Bhakit Chaitanya Swami, from South Africa, I suggested we increase in our institution, ISKCON, the number of gurus (teachers). The current numbers of gurus is on a decline due to illness, death and defection. While our communities and membership increases proportionately, does it not make sense to enhance the number of teachers, whether they be monks or family persons? Bhakti Chaitanya has a past in what's called the Guru Services Committee.

I also spoke with him about my concern for fairly high profile gurus who 'bite the dust' so to speak, on an annual basis. What's causing it? What are we doing about it? I felt the need for us as a spiritual society to be more proactive and less reactive in the area of 'fall down'. It doesn't make us look good.

To say a word about pro-activity, retreats for gurus has begun as well as guru training. Bless these programs. They have helped. But it's not enough. I believe it's time for leaders to identify the qualified people in our midst who can offer this service of teaching and training others. To expand guru's figures in our society has been my mental consumption for this period.

I desperately would like to see that a relatively easy and attractive process can be in place to bring good people on board, and secondly, to help our current gurus from pitfalls.

8 KM

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Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: FRESH The Movie!

Click here to check out the FRESH website and trailer.

FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.

Among several main characters, FRESH features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, the recipient of MacArthur's 2008 Genius Award; sustainable farmer and entrepreneur, Joel Salatin, made famous by Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma; and supermarket owner, David Ball, challenging our Wal-Mart dominated economy.

FRESH is more than a movie, it's a gateway to action. Our aim is to help grow FRESH food, ideas, and become active participant in an exciting, vibrant, and fast-growing movement.

When I write we, I don't mean our small team (officially two of us, with lots of amazing helps from our interns and volunteers) but I mean YOU. All of you. FRESH is a grassroots efforts for a grassroots movement. It's been tremendously exciting to see the movie catch on and spread like wild fire, being used all over the country as a platform to raise awareness and connecting people to the solutions available in their community.

Within a month of our launch, we've received over 20,000 visitors and hundreds of screenings have already been organized. We want to reach 1 million folks. Not just because that would totally feel nice to our ego (mine especially!), but because, we believe that FRESH can truly help get us to a tipping point, when sustainable food will no longer be just a niche market.

Please help us reach 1 million people (to start with that is.) Organize a home screening or a community screening. Get in touch with us, let us know what we can do more and better. We're open!

And join us on Facebook & Twitter.

Ana Joanes & The FRESH Team

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David Haslam, UK: Lambs and Japa, a thought.

For those who are on facebook you would have noticed that I said in my next blog posting I would talk about japa and lambs, an unusual subject to which at first there appears to be no connection. Well there is, well at least an analogy of sorts showing the importance of japa and how of [...]

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Gouranga TV: Mantra session 20.03.2010 3/7

Mantra session, kirtan 20.03.2010 3/7

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: 12Hour Kirtan - Sunday 11th April

You would have heard by now that last Sunday's 12Hour Kirtan was beyond this world and if you were there you would know what we're talking about.

The spiritual sound vibrations didn't fail to lift us to transcendental heights. Here are some pictures of the first half of this memorable day.

The second half built up steadily from there on and no words can describe the ambiance that was brewing in the temple room then; maybe those snapshots might give you a little glimpse...

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Gaura Sakti das & Adi Radhika dd, New Vraja Dham, Hungary: Play in Sand

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