sábado, 24 de julio de 2010

Gauranga Kishore das,USA: Philosopher Kings and Krishna Conscious Political Theory





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"Planet ISKCON" - 37 new articles

  1. Japa Group: The Japa Sailed Smooth
  2. Devadeva Mirel, Alachua, USA: First Croissants in New Kitchen
  3. Devadeva Mirel, Alachua, USA: Eggless Raviolis and Ceasar Salad
  4. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Weekly Odissi Dance
  5. Gauranga Kishore das,USA: Philosopher Kings and Krishna Conscious Political Theory
  6. Dandavats.com: Summer Fun and Spirituality: Radhadesh Youth Camp
  7. Dandavats.com: H.G. Aindra Prabhu's 24 Hour Kirtan Ashrama Needs Your Help
  8. Dandavats.com: Mayapur Jhulan Yatra 2010
  9. Dandavats.com: Brihad Bhagavatamrta Audiobook, Part One, Chapter One Free Download
  10. Dandavats.com: Safety Article
  11. Dandavats.com: Vrindavan apartment near ISKCON on rent
  12. Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Initiation means prepare to directly go back to Krsna
  13. Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: upcoming broadcast lectures
  14. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Guru-puja in Paris
  15. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Are You Qualified to Write?
  16. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Free Write
  17. Bharatavarsa.net: Book distribution seminar: What a prayer to Prabhupada will do .....
  18. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  19. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  20. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  21. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  22. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  23. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  24. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  25. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  26. Book Distribution News: What a prayer to Prabhupada will do .....
  27. Giridhari das, Brasilia, Brazil: July Yoga Retreat in Pandavas Paradise
  28. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 18
  29. Rupa Madhurya das, TX, USA: Rathayatra 2010 - Khattak Dance - Chinmayi - 10/14
  30. Krishna-kripa das, Mayapura: North England and the Midlands
  31. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Abhinandana asks a variety of question that relates to proper conduct with devotees
  32. ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Ratha-Yatra Snapshots!
  33. Japa Group: When I Came Alive Again
  34. Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: A Journey Across to Poland: [P9] Mercy in Mielno
  35. Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: Veg And The City: My Beef With Locavores
  36. H.H. Sivarama Swami
  37. Gouranga TV: Jayapataka Swami – Harinama in Barcelona 2007 – Part 1/4
  38. More Recent Articles
  39. Search Planet ISKCON

Japa Group: The Japa Sailed Smooth


A rough start,
with the twinge in the eye.
Gradually came a clearing,
and the japa sailed smooth
like a fast sail boat
with no danger, just
clear going. The mantras
came quickly, with attention
and devotion to the practice.
The first eight rounds
were almost drowning,
but I can't be blamed
for that. As soon
as the weather cleared,
I was on my way
pushing aside yesterday's errant
thoughts and diving into
the present moments of
Hare Krishna mantra.
You pray to not be
pained when it's time to chant.

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Devadeva Mirel, Alachua, USA: First Croissants in New Kitchen

Accidentally, I used bread flour. Not my favorite flour for croissant making. In the past I have had absolutely no luck with it. The high gluten content is, in theory, desirable, but it is trickier to rise in this recipe. I’ve even gone European with it and *weighed* my ingredients as opposed to measure. Still, no luck.
But I didn’t realize it was bread flour until everything was mixed. And even then, I had no AP flour on hand. So, I added more liquid. A lot more liquid, set it outside in the heat to rise and was patient.
Not easy for me.
It rose. A fair amount. Not the poof of pillow fluff expected from AP flour. But good enough. I laminated the dough with butter, stuck it in the fridge and still, it expanded. Hopeful.
After more laminating and rolling out the croissants, I baked them. My son was impatient. Croissant and jam would be his dinner and it was nearing 8pm.
Out of the oven and onto his plate. The family was very satisfied. Me? Not so much. I don’t know if it is the flour or my pregnancy tongue, but the taste is not the taste I was going for. Still, my husband ate three and my son is on his second one. I think my daughter even ate a whole one.
More croissants in the future. The nice thing about cooking–when it doesn’t go perfectly–is that it is the results are temporary…


croissants


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Devadeva Mirel, Alachua, USA: Eggless Raviolis and Ceasar Salad

There will be a repeat performance of this meal next week, with some vegan versions thrown in. Hopefully I will have the time them to really blog about it. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures. It was my first ravioli making ever and my first ravioli tasting in about 15 years!


Cranking out the pasta with a little help from my girl.


This was the most non-electric fun they had all afternoon.


Filling: Brayed paneer and chopped garden fresh flat parsley


Cuties!


Homemade Croutons


Cheese raviolis with a light tomato sauce.


Ceasar Salad--romaine lettuce, celery, kalamata olives, homemade croutons, grilled paneer w/ a dressing of olive brine, olive oil, parmesan and tofu.


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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Weekly Odissi Dance

odissi
The Saturday dancing class at Urban Yoga is in full swing. The students are religiously learning from their expert guru, Nilakshi, the basics of traditional odissi dancing. The class is conducted between 11.30am and 12.30pm and is still open for those who want to join; you can contact Nilakshi on 0430 045 898. Her objective is to have a well-established crew to perform on Krishna Janmastami this year.
Here are some pictures of fun that awaits you.
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Gauranga Kishore das,USA: Philosopher Kings and Krishna Conscious Political Theory


I've been reading The Republic in preparation for starting my philosophy studies, partly just for edification, but also because it is such a classic. Every time I read plato I am just amazed at how Vedic his philosophy is. 

Right now I'm in the section of the books where Plato drops his revolutionary thesis on political life.

"Unless either philosophers become kings in their countries or those who are now called kings and rulers come to be sufficiently inspired with a genuine desire for wisdom; unless, that is to say, political power and philosophy meet together, while the many natures who now go their several ways in the one or the other direction are forcibly debarred from doing so, there can be no rest from trouble, for states, nor yet as I believe for all mankind."

Unless philosophers become kings or kings become philosophers there will be no peace!!!

Of course his idea of a philosopher is not just a philosophical speculator, his idea of philosopher is more akin to what might be described as a liberated soul in the Vedic context.

In his description of what a philosopher is he says, "The name philosopher, then, will be reserved for those whose affections are set, in every case, on the reality."

He will abandon "those pleasures of which the body is the instrument and be concerned only with the pleasure which the soul enjoys independently." He will "be temperate and no lover of money" and "will be the last person to care about the things for the sake of which money is eagerly sought and lavishly spent." And ultimately, "For such a man death will have no terrors."

This concept of a philosopher king would certainly not be foreign to anyone from traditional Vedic culture, they would probably recognized the term as a translation of the sanskrit word Rajarsi (king-sage). The Vedic literatures are full descriptions of lives of such great saintly kings.

At one point in the dialogue Socrates is questioned as to whether this ideal republic that he is describing is possible.

His response, "Is a theory any the worse, if we cannot prove it possible that a state so organized should be actually founded?"

Plato's political theory is based on his overall theory of the world of ideal forms, which means that the best we can hope to do is come closer to the ideal of justice, but not expect to create a perfectly just world.

He writes, "Suppose we do find out what justice is, are we going to to demand that a man who is just corresponds in every respect to the ideal of justice? Or shall we be satisfied if he comes as near to the ideal as possible and has in him a larger measure of that quality than the rest of the world? . . . When we set out to discover the essential nature of justice and injustice and what a perfectly just and perfectly unjust man would be like, supposing them to exist, our purpose was to use them as ideal patterns: we were to observe the degree of happiness or unhappiness that each exhibited, and to draw the necessary inference that our own destiny would be like that of the one we most resembled. We did not set out to show that these ideals could exist in fact."

From here Plato goes on to say the best way to realize this ideal, or to come closest to this ideal, is to have a philosopher king rule the country.

Krishna consciousness political theory is very similar to Platonic political theory, or really it is vice versa as many of Plato's ideas come directly or indirectly from the east. 

I think Srila Prabhupada lays out the basics of a Krishna Conscious political theory pretty clearly in the his Back to God essay which served as his introduction to the back to godhead magazine, which was really his first serious attempt at preaching.

In that article Srila Prabhupada quotes many different Christians, here is just one that nicely summarizes the tenor of the entire article, and it is from this quote that Srila Prabhuapada took the inspiration for the name of his magazine.

"The Archbishop of Canterbury in his recent broadcast in London said, 'In every quarter of earth men long to be delivered from the curse of War and to find in a world which has regained its peace, respite from the harshness and bitterness of the world they have known till now. But so often they want the Kingdom of Heaven without its King. The kingdom of God without God. And they cannot have it. OUR RESOLVE MUST BE BACK TO GOD. We make plans for the future for peace amongst the nation and for civil security at home. That is quite right enough and it would be wrong to neglect it. But all our plans will come to ship-wreck on the rock of human selfishness unless we turn to God. BACK TO GOD, that is the chief need of England and of every nation.'"

The important thing to note about a "back to god" political theory is that it is a political theory that derives from a philosophical system of idealism, which means many things but in political philosophy it means that the ideal will never be realized and that the most we can hope for is to come closer to that ideal.

But just because the ideal can never be realized in this world it does not take anything away from the ideal.

As Socrates says, "Suppose a painter had drawn an ideally beautiful figure complete to the last touch, would you think any the worse of him if he could not show that a person as beautiful as that could exist?"
Given the nature of this world and how it is impossible for a philosopher/devotee to actually realize his ideals the philosopher retreats content simply to keep his own hands free of blood and to cultivate his own spiritual aspirations.

"One who has joined this small company and tasted the happiness that is their portion; who has watched the frenzy of the multitude and seen that there is no soundness in the conduct of public life, nowhere an ally at whose side a champion of justice could hope to escape destruction; but that, like a man fallen among wild beasts, if he should refuse to take part in their misdeeds and not hold out alone against the fury of all, he would be destined, before he could of any service to his country or his friends, to perish, having done no good to himself or anyone else - one who has weighed all this keeps quite and goes his own way, like the traveler who takes shelter under a wall from a driving storm of dust and hail and seeing lawlessness spreading on all sides, is content if he can keep his hands clean from iniquity while this life lasts and when the end comes take his departure with good hopes, in serenity and peace."


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Dandavats.com: Summer Fun and Spirituality: Radhadesh Youth Camp

Bhaktivedanta College: The drastic change in climate for some, from desert sun to a breezy valley, is not the only change experienced by the participants at the Radhadesh Summer camp after their arrival at the chateau in the Belgian Ardennes from the bustling cities of Dubai, Toronto, and Moscow
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Dandavats.com: H.G. Aindra Prabhu's 24 Hour Kirtan Ashrama Needs Your Help

Nakula Kaufman: Although Aindra prabhu eschewed the title of guru and never aspired to take disciples, his followers, young and old alike consider him among, if not their most important, siksha guru
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Dandavats.com: Mayapur Jhulan Yatra 2010

Drdha Vrata Das: With great pleasure, we invite devotees worldwide to participate in the annual 2010 Jhulan Yatra Festival at Sri Dham Mayapur. Jhulan is one of the eternal Astaka Lila pastimes that Sri Sri Radha Madhava and Their associates perform daily in Gokul Vrindavan.
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Dandavats.com: Brihad Bhagavatamrta Audiobook, Part One, Chapter One Free Download

Sadhusanga.com: Since 2004 we've been recording Gaudiya acarya's books as audiobooks. In honor of Sanatana Gosvami's disappearance day on Guru Punima this weekend, we're offering Part One, Chapter One of Brihad Bhagavatamrta for a free download.
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Dandavats.com: Safety Article

Yadavendra Das: Whilst we share the grief felt due to the untimely departure of our dear Godbrother, His Grace Aindra Prabhu, and whilst we shall miss his melodious Krishna kirtans very, very much, it is also felt that such untimely departures, including the departure of His Holiness Tamal Krishna Maharaja, could possibly be avoided
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Dandavats.com: Vrindavan apartment near ISKCON on rent

Sonu Agrawal: I have two room set apartment near Iskcon Available for sale or rent.It is very near to Iskcon just 5 minute walking distance.The apartment has the attached kitchen ,toilet and all the facilities
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Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Initiation means prepare to directly go back to Krsna

This initiation means that you should, everyone should remember that whatever sinful activities one might have done in his past life, that is now account closed. Debit and credit closed. Now, from this day, no more sinful activities. What are those sinful activities? That is simple. We have mentioned. You should take it note. No illicit sex life. Beyond marriage, there is no sex life. No intoxication. Even drinking tea, coffee, they are also intoxication-cigarette smoking. No intoxication. No meat-eating. Simple. Only Krsna prasadam. Whatever... If you remain in the temple you will get Krsna prasadam, and if not, outside you prepare your capati, dahl, offer to Krsna and take. Don't take anything except Krsna prasada. The third... And no gambling or unnecessary sporting. People are wasting time. So many sportings they have invented-sporting balls, this ball, that ball. You see? Human life is very short. We do not know when we shall die. Before that, we must prepare ourself for the next life. Next life means directly going back to Krsna, highest perfection.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Initiation Lecture -- Los Angeles, December 19, 1968
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Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: upcoming broadcast lectures

> Daily at GMT 4.45 a.m. and 2 p.m., 22 to 26 July. 24 July there will be no > afternoon lecture. > > vedamedia.ru\kazan
Sorry, this morning's lecture was not broadcast. Hopefully the rest in this series will be.
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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Guru-puja in Paris

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates
Prabhupada Smaranam

Srila Prabhupada receives guru-puja worship in the temple in Paris. This is around the time he installed the Deities Sri-Sri-Radha-Parisisvara. He received equal honor as the Deities. The morning program consisted of his first entering the temple room and sitting on the vyasasana and the devotees singing "sri guru carana padma" and the Hare Krishna kirtana. Then Prabhupada got down from the vyasasana and moved to the Deity curtain. The curtain was opened, and simultaneous to the playing of the "Govindam" record all the devotees bowed down to the altars.
The guru-puja began spontaneously and informally at Juhu Bombay. Prabhupada would go out for his morning walk about 5:30 A.M and walk on the beach for about an hour before returning to the temple. This was in about April 1974. One day, before seeing the Deities, he sat on the vyasasana (an upholstered chair) in the temporary outdoor temple. A devotee began singing "sri guru carana sadma," and Prabhupada stayed on the vyasasana. After that, he greeted the Deities. It became a routine in Bombay, and the word was spread to all the ISKCON centers that this was the new procedure of the morning program.
Since Srila Prabhupada's disappearance the same procedure is followed with a full-sized murti or picture of Prabhupada on the vyasasana. Once in a conversation in Bombay in 1977, Prabhupada remarked that the guru-puja singing was important and should be attended. He said the words of the song, "janme janme prabhu sei" mean the guru is worshiped birth after birth.
This is a high form of worship, and not conducted this way in all the Gaudiya Math temples. But the devotees of ISKCON like to offer the fullest worship to Prabhupada, and it is something he began himself. It impresses into the mind of the devotees the importance of worship of the founder–acarya as distinct among spiritual masters. He is Prabhupada, at whose feet other spiritual masters sit—and worship.
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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Are You Qualified to Write?

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates
Write a poem to Krishna,
if you can. He's the
worthy object of the muse.
The Sanskrit Padyavali is an anthology
of verses about Him by many
anonymous poets. They tell
us of the sanctity of Mathura
and Vrndavana, and the charming
pastimes of Krishna's babyhood,
and those unusual adolescent
pastimes He performed before He was actually adolescent, and then
the full-blown amorous lila
with the gopis. They
are tasty, separate poems
by a host of poets collected
by Rupa Goswami
and fun to hear.
I don't feel myself capable
of making poems like
that. They are like
sastra slokas, that good.
I tell of my yearning
to know Him and
the distance and
the separation.
I have faith that Krishna
did all those things
in Padyavali, like
stealing the butter
and killing the demons
and teasing the gopis.
I'm just not one to
recite them. What
if I say one day Krishna
went out with His friends
and they saw a huge figure
like a duck and it
swallowed up Krishna?
Is it all right if
I say He swelled up
His little body in
the Baka's neck
until the duck
choked and had to
vomit Krishna out?
Can I tell you
the duck then tried
to stab Krishna with
his beaks, and
Govinda grabbed
the beaks
and broke them in half like
a boy splits a blade of
grass, and Bakasura died?
Am I qualified to tell
it? I think it's all
right because that's just
how it happened. So
I shouldn't disclaim myself.
I can raise my voice
beside the great ones
and praise Krishna and
tell His delightful
lila in simple poems
in the footsteps of
Padyavali, and as long
as I remain humble
in parampara, I
can do it too.
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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Free Write

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates
I am not inspired to write anything in accompaniment to my collection of odd photos. Some of the pictures are of temples or religious themes. Some are nature scenes, some are military activities, some of animals, etc. But none of them prompt me to say something, what to speak of saying something with a Krishna conscious message. Should I them stop writing "free writes"? Should I write whatever comes to my mind? But that would not have a coherent Krishna conscious siddhanta. What is the sense of writing stream-of-conscious themes? I still like the playful, free-ranging approach. I am reading in my old books Under Dark Stars and Sanatorium to see if I can find some direction. I will take some time off from writing "Free Write," and see if I get a new inspiration.
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Bharatavarsa.net: Book distribution seminar: What a prayer to Prabhupada will do .....

Maha Buddhi dasa
"Bhaktitirta Swami, who was Ghanasyam before taking sanyasa was on book distribution with me in the 1970's distributing full sets to the colleges. We went to a small college and found out it was a holiday. Ganasyam decided to give it a try anyway. I said, "Why do you want to waste your time and mine, it's a small school and it is a holiday!"
Ghanasyam said, "Alright, I'll just go to the bathroom and be right back. Just in case I find someone I'll bring some books."
One hour went by, then two. I was becoming very upset. But I also knew that Ghanasyam sometimes would do amazing things, almost mystical. I decided that I wouldn't immediately chastise him, first I would find out why he took so long.
When he finally returned I asked him, "Why did you take so long, you were just going to the bathroom?"
He replied," That's what I was going to do, but as I was walking to the bathroom I was praying to Prabhupada, "Prabhupada please help me to serve you, I want to please you by distributing your books, please give me your mercy."
"While I was in the bathroom there was a man in there, and we just started talking. He was a professor of history and religion. I told him about the Srimad Bhagavatam that we distribute and showed him what I had, he was fascinated. We went to his office and he bought a set. Then I asked if he knew if the library was open. He said it wasn't, but he is a friend of the person in charge and would call him. When he called, his wife said he was on his way to the college to get some things he needed. Ten minutes later he shows up and also bought a set."
I said, "That's amazing, I'm impressed. I guess there are no material formulas if we sincerely want to distribute books."
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1969 July 23 : "I am sorry to learn that your health is not very good. The best thing is you rest for some time, taking as much rest as you feel you require, and when you feel it is all right you resume your activities."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1969
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 July 23 : "These plays are not meant for the public showing unless they are very nicely done. If they laugh, that is the greatest offense. So plays of Krishna Lila should be avoided, unless they are very gravely performed."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 July 23: "Lord Caitanya never said stop mixing with nondevotees. How a preacher can stop? The whole world is nondevotees. But simply for jobs sake, we cannot. That should be avoided."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 July 23 : "Krishna's plan becomes very easy for us when we follow Krishna's orders, otherwise, we are following Maya's plan. Following Krishna's orders means chanting daily 16 rounds, the four rules, rising early, like that."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 July 23 : "This is not my responsibility. Henceforth my students must take the responsibility for their own householder life, take all risk for supporting wife and home, but utilize it to make spiritual progress - that is the real thing."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 July 23 : "It is not necessary that we always wear the robes, but we should always keep sikha and tilok. Somehow or other distribute books and if you can impress people a little to chant then it does not matter about your dress."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 July 23 : "You are setting a very good example in that you yourself are going with the travelling party. The commander must be in front in the fight, not that he sit back behind the lines."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1975 July 23: "You have done a great service, and I am very pleased. Your proposal for travelling and distributing books all over India is very good. Krishna will bless you. Take books and sell and spend for your expenses."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1975
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Book Distribution News: What a prayer to Prabhupada will do .....

Maha Buddhi dasa
"Bhaktitirta Swami, who was Ghanasyam before taking sanyasa was on book distribution with me in the 1970's distributing full sets to the colleges. We went to a small college and found out it was a holiday. Ganasyam decided to give it a try anyway. I said, "Why do you want to waste your time and mine, it's a small school and it is a holiday!"
Ghanasyam said, "Alright, I'll just go to the bathroom and be right back. Just in case I find someone I'll bring some books."
One hour went by, then two. I was becoming very upset. But I also knew that Ghanasyam sometimes would do amazing things, almost mystical. I decided that I wouldn't immediately chastise him, first I would find out why he took so long.
When he finally returned I asked him, "Why did you take so long, you were just going to the bathroom?"
He replied," That's what I was going to do, but as I was walking to the bathroom I was praying to Prabhupada, "Prabhupada please help me to serve you, I want to please you by distributing your books, please give me your mercy."
"While I was in the bathroom there was a man in there, and we just started talking. He was a professor of history and religion. I told him about the Srimad Bhagavatam that we distribute and showed him what I had, he was fascinated. We went to his office and he bought a set. Then I asked if he knew if the library was open. He said it wasn't, but he is a friend of the person in charge and would call him. When he called, his wife said he was on his way to the college to get some things he needed. Ten minutes later he shows up and also bought a set."
I said, "That's amazing, I'm impressed. I guess there are no material formulas if we sincerely want to distribute books."
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Giridhari das, Brasilia, Brazil: July Yoga Retreat in Pandavas Paradise


We are trying to increase the number of retreats we offer in Pandavas Paradise, as we continue to improve and expand our services. One of the extra retreats we did this year, that we had previously not done, took place from the 10-15 of July. We decided to add a 5 day yoga retreat for the many Brazilians who take their vacations in July.

We got two yoga teachers to come from Rio de Janeiro. One is a devotee, Bn. Paula, and the other a teacher in Rio’s fanciest yoga studio, Edson Ramos. Edson is a Buddhist, ex-paramilitary and martial arts expert. Yet, these days, he’s hanging around with devotees a lot, and learning to play the mrdanga. In the picture above you can see the two of them, on the right, enjoying a bit of our therapeutic mud!


We had a small group and they quickly bonded. They came from different parts of Brazil, as far North as Macapá, and others from São Paulo, Goías and Minas Gerais. Above we can see some of them doing one of the cooking courses we had during the retreat. We had a nice gurukuli, Govindaji DD (in the middle, wearing a purple top, in the picture above), as our retreat cook.


They did lots of different yoga styles, even some basic acro-yoga.

Best of all they participated in all our aratiks and learnt to chant japa very attentively, both maintaining a proper sitting posture and walking. In the evenings they learnt many important basic points about the philosophy of Krishna consciousness with a full 90 minutes a day of lectures, given by me.



July is an amazing time of the year here in Chapada dos Veadeiros, with beautiful blue skies. We walked every day, in different trails through our nature reserve to our waterfalls.
In the end they all bought books and japa beads to continue with their study and practice and promised to come back soon!
Click here to see more pictures of the retreat!


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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 18

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates
3:50 A.M.
I woke up at 12:30 last night with a headache. I got up and took medicine and went back to bed. I rested until 2:00 A.M. and woke this time with a migraine in my right eye. I took medicine, but the pain persisted. It felt like I was chanting with a bullet hole in my eye. Rather than rest, I persisted in chanting rapidly. After eight rounds done with the impediment, the sensation began to go down and I chanted normally. I've chanted about 13 rounds now. The later ones were good. I grasped at the relief and chanted thankfully. I was not the least bit drowsy or distracted but chanted for the numerical count. I simply can't chant well when I have pain, but there is simply no excuse for not chanting well when you're feeling healthy. Krishna's kind to give me clear periods in which to enter the holy names and meditate on them without distraction.
A rough start,
with the twinge in the eye.
Gradually came a clearing,
and the japa sailed smooth
like a fast sailboat
with no danger, just
clear going. The mantras
came quickly, with attention
and devotion to the practice.
The first eight rounds
were almost drowning,
but I can't be blamed
for that. As soon
as the weather cleared,
I was on my way
pushing aside yesterday's errant
thoughts and diving into
the present moments of
Hare Krishna mantra.
You pray to not be
pained when it's time to chant.
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Rupa Madhurya das, TX, USA: Rathayatra 2010 - Khattak Dance - Chinmayi - 10/14


Chinmayi performing a Khattak dance for the Dallas Rathayatra.
Dallas, TX
2010-05-22

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Krishna-kripa das, Mayapura: North England and the Midlands

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 6, No.11 By Krishna-kripa das
(June 2010, part one)
North England and the Midlands
(Sent from Karlovac, Croatia, on July 23, 2010)
Highlights

Indradyumna Swami
, Sacinandana Swami, Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, and Others
Where I Was and What I Did
While in Munich, I saw on the Mayapuri's web site that the Birmingham 24-hour kirtana was happening on June 5 and 6, and since Kadamba Kanana Swami told me to preach in England and Scotland and my friends Gaura Krishna and Bhakti Rasa Prabhus, had invited me to visit them in Manchester and Newcastle, I decided to go to England straightaway. I was happy to attend that 24-hour kirtana and am thinking seriously of attending it each year. Gaura Krishna Prabhu arranged for me to speak on science and religion almost every night at the nama-hatta programs within an hour of Manchester, a great opportunity for me. Bhakti Rasa arranged for harinama every day for the three days I was there in Newcastle. He also arranged that a couple other disciples of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami come at the same time, and Caitanya Candrodaya Prabhu scheduled a meeting with our Guru Maharaja via Internet. There were also were a couple home programs.
Birmingham 24-Hour Kirtana
For the third time in the last month, I got the association of Sacinandana Swami, who is very inspired in kirtana. Krishna Ksetra Prabhu, another faithful sadhu was present as well. Also my friends, the Mayapuris, Visvambara and Kisore, performed some lively kirtana.
There was ashama space above the kirtana hall and after Visvambhara sang a Hare Krishna tune I really liked at 12:30 a.m. I took rest. When I awoke around 2:00 a.m., I heard someone singing another tune I really liked to dance to so, I got up and chanted and danced for half an hour and returned to sleep for another hour and a half. The kirtana was so much amplified it was difficult to find a place where I could just focus on my japa. I would take half hour naps when people played tunes that were difficult to follow, in order to keep going. There was plenty of prasadam but you had to wait in long lines for it.
The president of the Balaji temple, where we had the event for the second year in a row, happily said he felt the presence of Vrndavana on the grounds of his temple during the twenty-four hour kirtana. Furthermore, he said that is that it was no great thing to construct a temple, because people are always demanding it, but the genuine devotion to the glorification of the Lord which we had, demonstrated by this festival of 24-hour chanting of the maha-mantra, was the most important thing.
The Balaji temple vice president urged the devotees to come back again next year, as he had done last year.
Manchester Harinamas
In Manchester near the city bus station they have grassy area called Piccadilly Garden with a fountain in it which is full of people on the sunny days, and a great place for chanting in public. I went out one day for two and a half hours and had some positive interactions with people. One high school girl excitedly came up to me telling how she had just met the Hare Krishna at a festival in Somerset the previous weekend. Her parents are favorable to alternative ideas, and I gave her invitations to the temple. Other high school girls came up and a couple wanted to chant along briefly, for the experience. One time I chanted there and a Pakistani Moslem named Ali came by and inquired what I was doing, and I explained. He went to sit by the fountain for sometime with his girl friend, but then they both returned because he liked the music. When I had to leave for an evening program, he expressed some disappointment. In Manchester, as in Munich, I would met Indian people who did not know we had a Hare Krishna center in their city, and I would help them get connected.
I also went out with the monthly harinama party there. They were led by a very committed devotee, Vrajendra Lal Prabhu, who also runs the weekly nama-hatta in Bolton. They were enthusiastic and had a nice relationship with the people there. The only thing is they should increase because harinama is so important it should happen more than once a month.
Liverpool Harinama
Once a month the Liverpool nama-hatta meets and before that the devotees do harinama in that city. The Beatles have a connection with that city, and the people have an attraction to music and are more open than most. Many people danced with us, had their picture taken with us, and were glad to see us chanting there. One guy with a bear costume took pleasure singing with us and joined us for fifteen minutes.
Nama Hattas Around Manchester
Gaura Krishna Prabhu, who I met while studying in Mayapur with MIHET, arranged that I speak on science and religion at several nama-hattas within an hour of Manchester, such as Preston, Sheffield, Leeds, and Liverpool. I put together a Powerpoint presentation centered about some material from the Forbidden Archeology book that reveals hypocrisy in the field of archeology. It ends by looking at other explanations other than those given by science. I also made the point that if we look at revealed knowledge given in the Vedic tradition we find a lot of explanations for things science cannot explanation, and that there is empirical support for key ideas in the Vedic paradigm, such as the eternal soul, its transmigration, and the all knowing, all powerful, omnipresent Supreme Lord. I found many people were attracted by the presentation, and especially in Liverpool, there were a lot of comments and questions afterwards. I think that I could polish the presentation and give it at other places I travel to.
I also did a little program on Hanuman's appearance day at an Indian congregational member's home, whose birthday coincided with that day. I learned on the Internet that Hanuman's appearance day is celebrated on different days in different parts of India, and because in Andra Pradesh it is celebrated on one dasami in the month of Vaisakha, I was able to guess our host's place of origin. Every time I study for things like that, I learn more about the great personalities involved. We had a kirtana at the end, and Gaura Krishna encouraged the young children to dance in it to their full potential and because the children were getting into it, the parents danced more than usual which was interesting to see. It is something to keep in mind in the future to increase participation.
Newcastle Harinamas
I was very grateful that Bhakti Rasa arranged for harinama on each of three days I was in Newcastle. He also arranged two other godbrothers to visit at the same time so we had more people. There is also a couple, disciples of Janananda Swami, who do as much harinama as possible there on his order. The downtown of that city has a busy pedestrian area, which is just suitable for chanting parties. Even better than Newcastle was Durham, a picturesque university town where lots of people appreciated our chanting party.
1_akrura">1_akrura">Thoughts on Spiritual Guidance by Akrura Prabhu
We are not the mind. We have heard it many times, but we don't apply it.
In a letter to Kirtiraja Prabhu, Srila Prabhupada explains how do deal with sex desire. There are three stages of action, (1) thinking, (2) feeling, and (3) willing. One must stop it at stage of thinking, otherwise it can get out of hand.
I asked one of the top book distributors in Slovenia how he sells the books. He explains to the people that Bhagavad-gita is the ultimate motivational book. It motivates you on such a deep level that you do not become unmotivated. People are attracted and buy the book.
When devotees come to me for counseling, I asked them how a devotee would deal with their present situation. The devotee has become so overwhelmed, he has forgotten how a devotee would deal with his situation, although at heart he knows.
If we can just change the way we speak, our lives will change and our relationships will improve.
Wives make a big mistake thinking it is their sacred duty to chastise their husbands. They do not know that if they are just nice, their husbands will do anything. They do not even have to be nice, just smile, and refrain from speaking harshly.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that one who thinks the world needs to be reformed needs to be reformed himself.
I gave whole class in Croatia on answering the phone. The first thing is to pick it up. Do not let it ring and ring. When you pick it up, "Say, 'Center for Vedic Studies, Can I help you?'" Not "Who is it?" That scares them. Then when they tell you want they need, take the trouble to actually get them what the need.
The most important thing in devotee care is how we speak and how we listen to them.
Danavir Maharaja related how he encouraged the bhaktas by positive reinforcement and then the others who did not get the positive treatment automatically improved their condition realizing they must be doing something wrong.
We have to talk to ourselves positively.
When you say "How are you today?" Be ready to listen for two hours.
We can improve by using our talents in Krishna's service.
Most our stress is self-imposed. We are responsible for our health. We are responsible for our minds.
If you start giving, you will see people start giving to you.
Start every day with ten appreciations.
What we desire is of utmost importance because desire motivates activities.
People are dreaming about love, about meeting the perfect partner in this world. But it is not to be. There is a perfect partner in the spiritual world, but we do not believe it.
To controlling the mind, we first have to understand who "we" are. Then we can focus the mind on spiritual things.
You should not hate yourself. You should strive to engage your mind.
How do you advance every day? Always choose Krishna and never Maya. Use Bhagavad-gita to discriminate between them. We have enough power to say "No." Krishna gives us that power.
Let's say I am addicted to sweets. Try chanting the maha-mantra to the sweet, at least one round (108 times). You will find you become detached.
In Montenegro, they found two skeletons embracing each other. I think that is the perfection of love in the material world.
We have been taking from God and from others so much for so long, we should dedicate this life to service God and others.
Q: In our neophyte state we have impure feelings in relationship with Lord, can these be engaged in His service?
A: Kubja became lusty to enjoy with Krishna because He is an attractive boy. However, when she touched His lotus feet, she became free of her lust. So it is alright to approach Krishna with impurities. He will purify us.
Sometimes people who not serious about spiritual life leave Krishna consciousness and find another religion where they can commit sinful activities and still be respected.
We have everything in our movement, but we do not properly care for our members. That we are beginning to develop.
There was a meeting on outreach, but it split into two groups. One group doubted whether we should do outreach when we do not sufficiently take care of the people we have.
I propose you put on your business card "bhakti yoga teacher."
Sacinandana Swami has created a five part program to improve people's lives.
Sattva (acting in the mode of goodness—a balanced life), dharma (an occupational duty according to your nature), atma (your own self), Paramatma (the Lord), and bhakti (love for the Lord and everyone else).
People are more important than things. People are more important than tasks. People are more important than projects. People are more important than anything, because without people you cannot have projects, tasks, etc.
How do you care for people? You ask people how they are, you give them gifts, you listen to them. It may seem artificial at first, but you will come to like it.
Preaching is the greatest security, even for a grhastha. It is not that preaching is only for others. It is for you too. You have to preach to go back to Godhead. Preaching is the highest pleasure. If you preach, your taste will for holy name will increase.
If you have a problem, think if you were a world expert, what would you to do solve it?
Every problem is an opportunity, but what is it an opportunity for?
Prithu Maharaja taught what to ask for. People ask God for so many things, but he only wanted to hear the glories of the Lord from the lips of His pure devotees.
Time shows who is devoted and who is not.
We fear that if we surrender to the Lord, we will be missing something, but that is not a fact. We will have whatever we need and also have a relationship with the Lord.
Some people worry how they can have relationships with other people if they love only the Lord, but in reality, because all people connected with the Lord, we actually become connected with everyone.
If you say you have love for someone, but you do not have time for that person, then I do not believe you.
Faith that by this process [of devotional service] one will attain perfection is essential.
Srila Prabhupada mentions, when commenting on Bhisma's instructions, that to conquer anger, one must learn how to forgive. That implies that we do not know how to forgive, we have to learn how to forgive.
What we do in devotional service is for our benefit. Krishna has nothing to gain and nothing to lose.
One reason people are not interested in Krishna consciousness is they are afraid of joining an institution. If we can present it as universal knowledge, they can appreciate.
When you advertise your self as a spiritual mentor, it is not self promotion, but promotion of the service.
A spiritual guide means for me, four things: (1) exemplary personal conduct, (2) support (like celebrating the students' successes), (3) knowledge of the scriptures (so you can guide them), and then when the relationship develops, (4) challenging them to increase.
Srila Prabhupada said that leaders should create an atmosphere of fresh challenge.
If we do not offer to guide people, then someone else will. That someone else will be someone who is not connected to Srila Prabhupada [who can bring them to Krishna].
In London, we created a mission statement: "Our mission is to spread Krishna consciousness in the world, from Central London, by joyfully chanting Hare Krishna, distributing books, and prasadam, and by teaching others strictly according the teachings of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada."
When you are a spiritual guide, you are not attached to being "the one who helps them," you just want to offer help, and you want them to advance spiritually. If someone else can help them better in the future, that is fine with you.
A Little Humor: An Italian Poem on Sleeping
Hare Krishna Das Prabhu, who attended the Munich Ratha-yatra last month and who chants kirtana and plays accordion up to five or six hours a day on the Slovenian padayatra, told me he can't sleep more than three or four hours at night. I was envious and told him I wish I was able to be satisfied sleeping so little at night [because I often stay up too late at night doing things I had hoped to finish that day]. He quoted one poem, "Filastrocca delle ore di Sonno," which when translated from his native Italian goes like this:
One hour sleeps the rooster,
Two the horses,
Three the traveler,
Four the farmer,
Five the soldier,
Six the judge,
Seven the students,
Eight all the people,
Nine the aristocracy,
Ten the lazy,
Eleven the pigs.
Insights from Lectures
Srila Prabhupada:
From a lecture on SB 1.9.40:
Just as if you love someone, you do not care what he is, if he is rich or poor, etc., similarly the gopis of Vrndavana did not care whether Krishna was God, they just loved Him.
From lecture on SB 5.5.2 in Hyderabad:
Our business is to keep friendship with Krishna. Arjuna was ksatriya and grhastha not brahmana and not sannyasi, but he was friend of Krishna. One who understands Krishna is guru.
Arjuna, because he is Vaishnava, did not want to fight and kill, but he agreed to become an instrument in Krishna's service.
The pure devotee is not interested in anything else. He just wants to serve Krishna as He desires.
Krishna is very expert and can understand if you want to serve him with a motive or without a motive.
The devotee is not interested in advancing materially because he realizes his destiny is fixed.
In your material life, you will never make everyone happy.
If someone thinks Krishna is contradicting Himself, he has not understood.
From a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.1 in Caracus on February 20, 1975:
The most intelligent accept Krishna immediately. Serious researchers of the truth who are intelligent, because they are seeking the truth, but who are less intelligent, cannot accept this immediately. They have to research for many births, and then they will come to the same conclusion. Gold is gold whether you accept it on faith or by chemical examination. One who accepts the gold because of the statements of the authority saves time, and so it is with accepting God.
Bhakti Bhusana Swami:
How the Lord was detained because of affection for His devotee cannot be understood by materialistic persons.
On the appearance day of the great devotee Lord Jesus Christ known as Christmas, children come to their parents with lists of material desires to be fulfilled and if they do not get everything they want, they become angry. This is a very unfortunate situation. We are meant to serve the Lord for His pleasure and not ours.
We noticed in Srila Prabhupada how detached he was. When he came to Paris, some devotees were crying to see him, but Srila Prabhupada walked by them without being affected.
Once the devotees were chanting in front of a department store chanting and one woman came out of the store and collapsed on the spot. People called for an ambulance, but the devotees just kept chanting because they that was best thing for the lady. Other people, however, were annoyed and wanted them to go away.
When people saw Lord Caitanya's ecstatic chanting and dancing, they did not call the police. Rather they also chanted the holy name of the Lord and danced.
Indradyumna Swami [from a lecture on Lord Nityananda's appearance day]:
Lord Krishna's pastimes are more a less like a stage performance to attract the conditioned souls, but you cannot jump up on the stage and enter into them. But as Lord Caitanya, the Lord gets off the stage and goes into the crowd and gets people to participate.
When the sannyasi begged little Nitai from his parents, his mother Padmavati was filled with lamentation. Seeing this the sannyasi gave her a deity of Krishna from his bag, blessing her than she would see the face of her son in the deity, and so she did.
Lord Nityananda met Laksmipati Tirtha, the spiritual master of Madhvendra Puri, took initiation from him, and immediately became absorbed in love of God. You can chant the holy name and become purified from sins, but to get Krishna-prema you have to take initiation from the sampradaya.
Lord Nityananda went door-to-door to distribute Krishna consciousness—if it is good enough for God, it is good enough for us.
Lord Nityananda broke Lord Caitanya's danda rod into three parts. In His mind, this was to punish the rod for its arrogance of riding on His Lord's shoulder.
Acaryas (the great spiritual teachers) say Lord Caitanya wanted Lord Nityananda to become a married man because many of His other followers were in the renounced order, and He wanted to show that it is possible to attain perfection is a householder.
Sacinandana Swami [at the Birmington 24-hour kirtana]:
According to Bhaktivinoda Thakura, namabhasa, the clearing stage of the chanting is the best we can hope to achieve if we chant without understanding we have a relationship with Krishna.
Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami [from a Skype class with devotees at Newcastle]:
We should pray to Krishna for faith in Him and His representative.
Regarding Srila Prabhupada's association, "I took it like a hungry man takes food." I asked, "Swamiji, is there a stage of spiritual life that you do not fall down from?"
Faithful hearing is solidified by sadhu-sanga, association with saints.
Without the spiritual master, we do not have the link to Krishna. . . . Do not see the guru with your eyes, but with your ears. . . . If you are serious, you want the next step, the guru.
The fire of knowledge set by the guru destroys our anarthas. We can be perfect by surrendering to Krishna, but we have so many doubts that we have to dissipate by studying the sastra.
When I doubted about Krishna's sixteen thousand wives, Prabhupada explained that the Lord is in everyone's hearts and if he wants to come out of the heart and play the husband of a few especially qualified souls who have affection for him like that, what is the difficulty for Him?
At nistha we do not abandon our guru because he is not physically present and seek another.
Clinging to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada is the only way I can attain the higher states of Krishna consciousness.
By the mercy of my gurus worse rascals than me have attained Krishna.
Sadaputa Prabhu [from his lectures on the Origins magazine]:
Psychologists say you can understand consciousness in terms of biology. Biologists think you can explain life in terms of chemistry. Chemists think you can understand chemistry in terms of physics. Some of the latest physicists say that you need to understand consciousness to completely understand matter, and so you have a complete circle.
Trying to figure out everything with our minds, we can come to realize that we cannot do so. We can come to realize that there is a God, and by surrendering to God we can actually understand. That is the meaning of Bg. 7.19.
No artificially produced fruit flies made by mutations can survive in the wild. They have not produced a mutation that can compete with the natural ones. They all die out.
Acaryavan Prabhu:
The Middle East conflict between Palestine and Israel is about land, land that was created before both groups came into being. The land belongs to neither the Palestinian nor the Isreali. Arafat was fighting for something he cannot take. When we are born, we do not bring anything and when we die, we do not take anything with us.
Peace will come from knowledge coming from God. If there was a true spiritual leader in that region, people could be saved.
That "God is very merciful and compassionate" is there in Islam.
Comment by Zoary [wife of Mohammed]: Both sides in the conflict are killing for no reason but selfishness.
Comment by Mohammed: Both sides have religious values and strict practices so it is not that they do not have guidance. We have students who are Israeli and Lebanese who have great religious values and behavior, but when it comes to that land in Palestine. They both claim it is sacred to their tradition.
Acaryavan Prabhu (continuing): But still, neither can truly a claim proprietorship of the land. We are all children of the one God.
I lived in Morocco, then I lived in France 26 years, and then I lived in England for 16 years. I do not see it makes a difference.
Comment by Mohammed [a Iranian congregational devotee in Newcastle area]:
Islam is against music because love for music could separate us from love of God. The dervishes, on the other hand, consider how can such beautiful music come from an inert material instrument played by the material body of some being. It is God who plays makes the music appear.
Q (by me): Are the dervishes a branch of Islam?
A: No but they converted themselves to become one as it was safer that way.
Gaura Krishna Prabhu:
Birth is not a misery just for the baby but also for the mother.
Kali-yuga is so precarious that one is not even safe in the womb of one's mother. Some abortions are performed by inserting a sharp instrument into the womb and literally stabbing the embryo. One Dr. Patel, formerly an abortion doctor who performed 30,000 abortions himself, became a devotee and to discourage others from performing abortion he would show a video showing how the embryo was moving away from the sharp object, desiring to escape.
Instead of seeking an anesthetist to become from free from the pain of the many arrows shot through his body, Bhismadeva wanted to be fully conscious at the time of death, so he could fix his mind on Krishna.
Q (by me): Even though we know Krishna is in their hearts, it is hard to feel good about the drunks we see on the street [who tend to harass us.] What to do?
A: We can consider we are also mercy cases and could easily be in that situation if it was not for Srila Prabhupada's mercy. We can consider they are suffering. We can consider that love of God is everyone's heart.
Bhakti-rasa Prabhu:
Kripamoya Prabhu said that Srila Prabhupada told the early British devotees how he was previously a chemist and the druggists in those days would have bottles of colored water in the windows of their stores. They would not have actual medicine in them but just colored water to attract people. He explained to the devotees that they should not be show bottle, just appearing be to devotees, but not completely following.
Caitanya-candrodaya Prabhu:
Three stages in prayer: (1) appreciation of the Lord, (2) dainya-bodhika, presenting yourself to the Lord as being very fallen, in a very humble way, begging for mercy. (3) siddha-lalasa, aspiring for a stage of perfection.
You have to present yourself as very fallen in order to attract mercy. If you are very proud and think you deserve the mercy, you are in trouble.
The biggest problem is not materialism, but materialistic religion, because it gives people a false idea of what religion is actually about.
Caitanya Vallabha Prabhu [to a nama-hatta audience]:
Tonight we are not cooking a feast. We just put the ingredients in the kitchen and throw in a Mozeltov cocktail. If we do not get a feast the first time, will keep trying, and we hope before the end of the evening we will.
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nadiya-godrume nityananda mahajana
patiyache nama-hatta jivera karana
Nityananda Mahajana so mercifully opened a marketplace in Nadiya-Godruma for the welfare of the suffering souls. In that mar­ket place only the Holy Name is traded.
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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Abhinandana asks a variety of question that relates to proper conduct with devotees

Joking with them and committing offenses to them.

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ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Ratha-Yatra Snapshots!

The 38th Annual Ratha-Yatra: Festival of India took place on July 17-18, 2010 bringing a splash of colour to the city of Toronto. It is difficult to capture the entire festival in a few words, so we hope these pictures do the trick! More pictures and a full report coming soon!



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Japa Group: When I Came Alive Again



It was a pleasure to break out of the slump and hear the holy names chirping like birds in my last set of four when I came alive again.

From Bhajan Kutir #16
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Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: A Journey Across to Poland: [P9] Mercy in Mielno

Friday 16th, July 2010. HG Kaliyapani Prabhu gave us a wakeup call this morning. We all neglected it so he waited a few minutes and tried again. The boys were all too tired from the breakdown and other engagements. I rose up, grateful because my alarm wasn't working properly. I went down to the kitchen and kneaded dough for four hundred samosas! This festival was going to be as big as Kolobrzeg, if not more? Mielno hadn't been such a big festival last year so I was surprised with the quantity that we were cooking up.
I had noticed, by now, that HH Indradyumna Swami had been coming into the kitchen daily. He was coming in to pick up his Deity paraphernalia and also to check that the Prasadam was coming along well. The Restaurant Prasadam was our main Prasadam distribution for the festival so it was an integral part of the operation. Naturally it couldn't sink under Maharaja's check.
Today was a sad and sweet day for us all; today Pulkit and the girls (Niti, Ashta, Kanchana, Shairie) were having their last day on tour. They were leaving very early the next morning and making their way back to Australia, and other respective destinations. We tried to make the best of it but, at the same time, try to illusion ourselves of the inevitable departure. The devotees were trying their hardest to postpone their trips back but they just couldn't, due to ticket prices an the upcoming semester.
We hopped on the bus in the afternoon and made our way to Mielno. On the road, we nearly fell victim to flying vomit projectiles…charming. One of the youngsters on the tour just couldn't hold in their subji. It was sudden, revealing that danger is at every step in this crazy world
We hopped out at an unfamiliar part of town. It seemed that they had upgraded our location. We were now right in the heart of town, stationed on a first class spread of paving. I passed Indradyumna Swami and asked him if he liked the location. Maharaja happily chuckled and said he did. It seemed the frowns of Ustronie Morskie were nothing but a memory now.
I sat on the bench to help serve Prasadam. It was a nice seva, if you had the energy (usually it's a lot easier for those who didn't attend the harinam to serve Prasadam). Maharaja tapped me on the shoulder. "Your mum is on the phone" he said, with some urgency. The request didn't make sense; I didn't have a phone, my mother didn't have any contact numbers to call and there wasn't any crucial news that I was waiting on. He stared at me for a bit as I hesitated, looking back with a confused face. He tried to urge me on but I simply didn't buy his story. I know he is a holy Swami, who was capable of revealing the topmost truth but something fishy was going on. "Just get out of the way, I want to serve" he then said. It was simply a joke to move me off the bench and let him serve but he picked the wrong candidate.
I served the drink, so I could serve alongside HH Indradyumna Swami. Maharaja said something to me, talking over the servers. "Hey Maddy, did you see the picture I took of your tattoo on facebook?" he said. I told him yes and I mentioned that Nitai (my older brother) saw the pictures and wants to come next year. "Oh is that right?" he said, in his usual manner. Maharaja sweetly dealt with all the devotees that came to him for Prasadam. He asked some devotees where they were from, asked some how they were handling the tour and asked others about specifics in their services. Sometimes he would compliment them, congratulate them or just make a joke on them. Sitala Mataji passed and she asked Maharaja what he thought about the location. "It's the best" he said, full of enthusiasm.
I came to the sound tent, still with a few rounds of japa left to chant and a whole lot of things on my mind. My tour schedule was starting to catch up with me and my mind was feeling it a little bit difficult. The symptoms were showing a little in the subtle intricacies of my audio mixing. Dominik picked up on it today and decided to relinquish me of my service. I had done my time and I was happy I made the surrender but now it was time to put more into my sadhana, harinams and the diaries (my original plan). I gratefully left the sound tent, finding a solitary place and chanted some focused rounds.
The Gita play was coming up. The Gita costumes are rather simple; black pants, T shirt and some simple streaks of makeup; but the devotees always seem to make it complicated. Someone always forgets their pants; someone doesn't have a shirt, having to borrow someone else's; or something goes on with the makeup. Today this was the case, yet again. Two people didn't have costumes and they weren't sure what to do. In the end, they used Dina Dayal's black Brahmana costumes and decked out Krsna (Dina Dayal) and Arjuna (Sri Nama Vanamali Krsna Dasa), which created an awesome effect for the drama. Now the main characters were distinguished in a dignifying dress.
We sat behind the stage, with all the devotees. The devotees were chanting, reading, chatting and resting. Gurudeva came behind and joined us. He lay down and had a nap. It was encouraging for us to see this, because it reminded us that Indradyumna Swami was also working hard, probably the hardest, and his resting was a sign that he was giving it his all. He lay peacefully, whilst a couple paparazzi disciples took some photos for memory lane.
The night came to an end. I danced ecstatically with the Prabhus in the kirtana. There was one little boy who was dancing his heart out with us. At the end of the dancing, Vraja Sakha took the boy onto the stage so that he could receive a garland. When the boy vanished like that, everyone was anxious, trying to make sure he was rewarded for his enthusiasm. I informed them that Vraja had already taken care of it and they were pacified.
We quickly loaded off into the buses and headed home. It was one of the best festivals that I had seen so far and it was still on for a few more days. I spent some time in the base with Pulkit, staying up for his last night. We hung out in the dark, with a bunch of the other boys, wishing it wasn't going to end.
Saturday 17th, July 2010. I was staying up with Pulkit. He and I didn't want me to go to sleep but I was too exhausted. I begged my leave, giving him the best goodbye hug I could muster, which was rather lousy on my behalf (I was about to collapse). I crept into bed, trying not to wake anyone up as I went.
There were no wakeup calls this morning; it was a little strange. Maybe Maharaja and Kaliyapani Prabhu were sick of the laziness. I woke up in good time and made my way down to the bathrooms. On the way I bumped into Arjuna Brahmacari, who came from Vrndavana earlier in the tour. He had some news that I could never have been ready for. "Aindra Prabhu has left his body…" It hit my heart like a thunderbolt. How could it be? Krsna, in sheer separation, had taken another of our spiritual generals. I was not concerned on the fate of Aindra Prabhu, knowing it could only be the highest, but I was sad that we were loosing his association.
All day there were random thunder claps in the sky. The weather was a strange occurrence. The mood was very sober and dim. There were rumours and stories going back and forth, as the sad news spread like wildfire. The details finally became clear and the devotees all reacted in different ways. Soon a storm hit the school and the power went out. We were in darkness. I simply attributed the thunder and storms to the protest of the demigods, due to the loss of a great devotee from this world.
Radheya led Nrsimha prayers on the bus, in honour of Aindra Prabhu. Radheya had been in Vrndavana before this, spending some time on Aindra's kirtana party. I could tell it was weighing on his mind more than others, Aindra Prabhu being the last person he saw before he left the holy Dham. I understood that the great kirtaneer had simply transferred from Vrndavana to Goloka Vrndavana. He was still doing the twenty four hour kirtana. There was simply one change in his position that I recognized, that was that he was no longer doing the late night shift but would be doing the full twenty four hours.
There was carnage on the roads from the storm. It was fierce and had smashed many of the brittle trees that lined all the lanes of Poland. The trees had fallen on power lines, houses and sheds. The debris littered the roadsides, yards and streets. I was shocked to see such a storm do so much damage, so quickly.
On site, Radheya and I took Prasadam with HG Adikarta Prabhu. We sensed that he would be leaving soon so we wanted to make the most of his association while we still could. After Prasadam, I sat in a Sat Sanga circle with Radheya, Dina Dayal, Govinda Dev and Braja Kishore. We talked, as the Lilamrta went on in the background. All of a sudden, we heard the generator shut down. Dominik came running, with some others. It was a real climax point in the drama and I hoped they could mix it back to the right spot.
At the end of the night, Govinda Dev borrowed my chada for the final kirtana. He let Maharaja sit on it and I felt honoured (turning my chada into Maha). Indradyumna Swami led a fired up kirtana in grace of Aindra Prabhu. The sweet, transcendental sounds permeated the either, radiating with spiritual energy.
I sat with Dina Dayal on the bus. I felt the absence of Pulkit, my Indian Skinned Sidekick. I patiently typed away next to Dina Dayal's japa Samadhi. There was a lot of noise coming from the back seats (as per usual) and Dina Dayal had the best way to deal with it - earplugs. I felt inspired by his mere presence, radiating purity and spiritual determination. The ride back to the base seemed to go like a flash, without the usual friendly chatter and philosophical discussions.
Sunday 18th, July 2010. Kaliyapani Prabhu gave the wakeup call again. He mentioned some quote from Prahlada Maharaja, delineating the uselessness of sleep. I made my way down to the kitchens for my samosa seva. I was stationed at a sink when HH Indradyumna Swami came past. "There's that famous tattoo" he said, poking my arm as he said it. When I returned to my room I confirmed it with Radheya that there was a ghostly presence in our room last night. It was happening frequently, that someone in our room was experiencing some strange signs. I, being totally impure, always feel the presence of disembodied entities and I seemed to be the second word on officiating paranormal activity.
The harinam bus was leaving late today. The storm damage was still present along the roadsides, in all its glory. There was heavy traffic into the town of Mielno. We seemed to take the same time travelling to the town as we did in the midday traffic into the heart of Mielno. All this was only good signs for our festival to come.
Tribhuvanesvara Prabhu led another classic harinam. I danced ecstatically, in the back, with Radheya. We returned and finished the kirtana. Maharaja looked around and then decided we would continue the harinam. "The Prasadam isn't here yet. Let's go again" said Indradyumna Swami. Adikarta took us for another shortened round, down to the beach and back. Radheya embarked on a mission to engage the public in the dancing of kirtana. At first, he wasn't having great success but he soon found some enthusiastic youngsters to dance along, accompanying the holy names of the Lord.
We all sat, behind the stage. The Prasadam truck came. "Lets go boys, help transport Prasadam" said Maharaja. More than a dozen devotees went to assist us at the Prasadam truck. We unloaded all the buckets in a line and then made a train, carrying every single piece of Prasadam to the drop off zone at once. I started to lead a continuous chant of the holy name. It was quite a sight to see; one person and then another and then another, all holding buckets of Prasadam. We were hushed by Maharaja, as he led the Prasadam prayers, chanting in a rather humorous way. I served Prasadam again, next to Maharaja. "Maddy are you fasting?" asked Indradyumna Swami, when I hesitated to take my Prasadam at the end. I came up and took some Prasadam from him, just to prove I was eating and seek his blessings.
I went for a walk around the festival, checking out all the tents. It was nice to have the opportunity to inspect the whole festival from time to time. Looking at all the devotees engaged in service helped to pull out the false ego, attached exclusively to the location and activities of one's own service. I saw the Restaurant Tent, Pancake Tent, the Shops, the Bookstand & Altar, the Questions and Answers Tent, the Yoga Tent, the Astrology Tent, the Reincarnation Display, the Vegetarianism Display, the Fashion Tent and the Gopi Dots Tent. We had a serious package of Krsna consciousness for the people or Poland.
I sat in the Question and Answer Tent. I laughed as the devotee tried to attract people in Polish. This is where the philosophy really came out. If people had some concerns, some doubts, some impetuses of faith they wanted to clarify; this was the place to come. The senior devotees would often have a slot of talk time here and answer various questions, slowly bringing the people closer to the understanding of Krsna. I felt privileged when I spent time near this tent, because it reeked of the energy of spiritual learning.
As the Gita players went on, I went out like a tonne of bricks. Cid woke me, "brahmacaris aren't supposed to sleep like this" he said. I had dosed off without realizing. I returned to my reading of Caitanya Caritamrta, which I had abandoned earlier due to my relentlessly heavy eyelids. There was a long purport, filled with spiritual depth. Srila Prabhupada was talking about the power of the holy name. The kirtana started and I wanted to join. I struggled to finish the endless purport and join in the chanting and dancing. I wanted to taste the holy name that Srila Prabhupada was praising so graciously. I finished up and literally ran out into the audience. Maharaja finished the last Maha Mantra and I missed it. Next he started to sing "Jaya Aindra Prabhu!" and I was filled with ecstasy. We were praising the great honourer of the holy name. We jumped as high as we could, with big bright smiles on our faces.
The boys went for breakdown and I went for the bus. There were two buses and they were already full to the brims? I couldn't see devotees making it to the buses so fast unless they weren't dancing in the kirtana. I sat on the ground, behind the back seats of one coach liner (it had a kitchenette at the back so there was some extra floor room). Eventually someone found me a seat and gratefully accepted. We had completed our merciful festival in Mielno. I happily took the opportunity to lead the Nrsimha prayers and then called "Aindra Prabhu ki!" "Jai!"
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Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: Veg And The City: My Beef With Locavores

Check out our friend Devadeva Mirel's blog "Sabjimata" for her own take on this in her post "The Locavore's Dilemma"

From Victoria Moran at the Huffington Post

The ally relationship can be an odd one. I remember my shock in third grade, learning that the Soviets had been our ally in World War II. "How could this be?" I wondered. "Our arch-enemies, the reason we have to crawl under our desks and prepare for The Bomb, were once our friends?"
I'm having similar feelings now, as I contemplate the locavore movement. As a vegan, and someone who believes in organic growing methods and family farms, I thought we were allies. I'm also a realist: I know the world isn't going vegetarian overnight. Our numbers are growing, certainly, but the global demand for meat is greater than it's ever been. Amid all this, I was happy to see a substantial group of small farmers, given a voice by authors and commentators such as Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver, take a stand for better farming, including more humane methods of animal husbandry than the factory-farming norm. We didn't have the same ultimate goal, but both theirs (replacing corporate agriculture with small, conscientious farms) and ours (a vegan planet) are so lofty that none of us will live to see either one. But for now we were, I thought, allies.
I'd go to the farmers' market at Union Square--it's every bit as gorgeous as anybody's Eiffel Tower or Grand Canyon--and if the farmer selling goat cheese also had glorious spring greens, I'd buy her greens. It was totally friendly. I never said, "Shame on you for stealing the milk God meant for goat babies!" and she never said, "Damn you, veg-head: buy some cheese or you don't deserve arugula!" And the couple that provide the provisions for my CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture: you buy a share in a small farm for a season) always knew that I wouldn't be getting eggs. I didn't ask for anything to make up for that, but they often put in some extra potatoes or apples or a bottle of herb-flavored vinegar. It was nice. We were allies.
And, in terms of individuals like that woman, that couple, and me, we still are. I fear, however, that a strong anti-vegetarian sentiment has grown up in the locavorism movement as a whole. Several recent documentaries suggest this. The first I saw, Food, Inc., was an impeccably researched indictment of the corporations that want to take over all food production and apparently don't care how thoroughly we're poisoned and "genetically modified" in the process. It showed small, organic farmers weighing in on the issue while doing what they do, in one case, cutting the heads off chickens. "This is hard to watch," my husband whispered. "I know," I said, "but he's the good guy."
The next film we saw was Food Fight. It went into detail about providing whole food in school cafeterias, rather the way chef Jamie Oliver did on his reality show, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. No one could fault the sincerity of these people, but it did cross my mind that the vegan option--getting our nutrition firsthand rather than cycling it through animals who are, even in the best of circumstances, slaughtered in their youthful prime--was never mentioned.
My final cinematic foray into the locavores' way of seeing things was a film called Fresh, screened at a yoga studio here in Manhattan. It featured The Omnivore's Dilemma author Michael Pollan; Joel Salatin (the guy who beheaded the chickens in Food, Inc., and referred to himself in this doc as "a caretaker of creation"); and Will Allen, an urban farmer in Milwaukee, quoted in Fresh saying, "Food is the foundation, but it's really about life." Yes. I think so, too. Everybody's life.
After that showing of Fresh, there was a group discussion led by two erudite young men, one of whom claimed to be a vegetarian but who joined his cohort in ripping to shreds the concept of a plant-based lifestyle. "A vegan diet is totally unsustainable in this part of the country," somebody said. "That's nuts," I was thinking, remembering my grandmother and how she "put by" so much food with drying and canning, her pantry was overstuffed, even (according to my mom) during the Great Depression. My grandparents had a small farm in northern Missouri, and although they did raise animals, the produce alone could have gotten them through the winter. Hardy vegetables like cabbage and kale stayed in the garden, where Gramma built little coverings to protect them. "Now your kale is always sweeter after a frost," she'd say.
Apples, potatoes, yams and winter squash went into the root cellar and were good till spring. Black walnuts, hazelnuts, and pecans joined them there. Tomatoes, string beans, peaches and pears were canned, along with all sorts of preserves and jams and marmalades. Beans and peas were dried, as was some of the fruit. Nobody in Missouri had heard the word "vegan" in those days, but if such a person had wandered by, he'd have been well-fed.
I didn't pipe up with my opinion during the Q&A after that film, however, because I'd rather be an ally than an adversary. Besides, my message is to the farmers and their spokespeople, not a bunch of New Yorkers who think Long Island is "the country." I want to tell them they need us vegans: There aren't nearly enough low-intensity farmers growing animals to meet the demand. For them to make a dent in the marketplace, there will need to be millions of people not eating animal products. I'd tell them that I admire their commitment and believe there are ways we can work together, but that the vegetarian ethic didn't come into being with modern factory farming. Some of us don't like the idea of taking a life, even if that life wasn't nonstop horrific, as on factory farms.
My vegetarian predecessors from Pythagoras to Einstein made two conclusions: First, the killing of a sentient being for anything less than self-preservation or to save another is wrong; and secondly, it is close to impossible to raise animals for food and keep the process consistently humane. My grandparents, on their little farm, did the things the locavores say farmers should be doing now. Their chickens lived in a coop, had access to the outside, and nobody seared off their beaks. Roosters were pretty much dispatched with, however, because one was enough. And come Sunday, a hen whose laying was waning a bit, had her neck wrung and she showed up on a platter. The pigs gave birth and nursed their young without the hideous confinement of farrowing crates, but each one was destined for slaughter and the runt of every litter was killed as an infant.
It wasn't that my grandparents were bad people. They were simply trying to make a living and, in terms of animal agriculture, they--and the modern proponents of family farming--do it in the best way possible. This is why I want to be their ally. I know that as a vegan, I'm in a minority. People love their meat. It's up there with sugar and TV and maybe even coffee on the list of inalienable American rights. As long as people demand the product, of course I champion anyone who's willing to produce it with the least amount of suffering to the creatures involved, but that is still a great deal of suffering.
Former Michigan beef farmer Harold Brown put it this way on the site www.humanemyth.org: "In my experience, there is no such thing as humane animal products, humane farming practices, humane transport, or humane slaughter." I realize that in quoting him, I'm bringing out one of the "big guns" from "my side," just as the locavores have theirs. But I myself spent a day in a slaughterhouse once, and those sights and smells and screams will never leave me. With what I know and what I've experienced, I gladly I support anyone working to make things better. But, ultimately, "better" isn't good enough.
Victoria Moran is the author of books including Creating a Charmed Life, Shelter for the Spirit, and The Love-Powered Diet. You can view all her books here at Amazon.com.
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H.H. Sivarama Swami

There is in the worst of fortune the best of chances for a happy change.
- Euripides
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Gouranga TV: Jayapataka Swami – Harinama in Barcelona 2007 – Part 1/4

Jayapataka Swami – Harinama in Barcelona 2007 – Part 1/4

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