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ISKCON News.com: Future of Religion: News Series Start With Hinduism



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"Planet ISKCON" - 56 new articles

  1. ISKCON News.com: Summer Training Courses for Ladies
  2. ISKCON News.com: Mayapur Institute Fall - Spring Courses
  3. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Sankarsana Dasa Adhikari
  4. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Bhakti Visrambha Madhava Swami
  5. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Jaya Radha Madhava - Sankarsana Dasa Adhikari
  6. ISKCON News.com: ISKCON Youth: Worldwide Summer Programs
  7. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Sankarsana Dasa Adhikari
  8. ISKCON News.com: Strawberries Stimulate Metabolism and Suppress Appetite
  9. ISKCON News.com: The Animal-Cruelty Syndrome
  10. ISKCON News.com: Tastes Like Chicken: The Quest for Fake Meat
  11. Dandavats.com: Well… We Just Got Divorced
  12. Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Don't add and subtract
  13. ISKCON News.com: Future of Religion: News Series Start With Hinduism
  14. ISKCON News.com: Mythology, Media, and the Future of Hinduism
  15. Japa Group: Time And Place
  16. Kurma dasa, AU: Travelling West - Krishna Meditations
  17. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 483
  18. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Under Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati's Shelter
  19. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Leaving the Yellow Submarine
  20. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: To the Mode of Goodness
  21. Kaunteya das, Mayapura: An interview, and what it could mean to us
  22. H.H. Sivarama Swami
  23. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  24. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  25. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  26. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  27. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  28. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  29. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  30. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  31. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  32. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  33. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  34. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  35. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  36. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  37. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  38. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  39. Akrura das, Gita Coaching: UP THE HILL
  40. Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: Jagganatha's Cold
  41. Mayapur Online: TOVP Announcement- Donations
  42. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Friday, June 25th, 2010
  43. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Monday, June 28th, 2010
  44. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Sunday, June 27th, 2010
  45. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Saturday, June 26th, 2010
  46. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Thursday, June 24th, 2010
  47. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
  48. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
  49. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Balanuja, Yashashvini and Sanatana Prabhus ask questions about the use of astrology in raising children
  50. Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: Another Aussie Journey: Day 11
  51. Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: Original Aussie Journey: Day 10
  52. Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: Did Scientists Create Life?
  53. David Haslam, UK: Is there life after Facebook?
  54. Gouranga TV: KuliMela 2008 – Radhadesh – Navarasa Gauri by Samadhi Dance Company
  55. Mayapur Online: New book released: Sri Navadvipa Parikrama
  56. Japa Group: I Was Impressed By His Efforts
  57. More Recent Articles
  58. Search Planet ISKCON

ISKCON News.com: Summer Training Courses for Ladies

By ISKCON News Staff for ISKCON News on 30 Jun 2010

Beginning on July 3rd 2010, at ISKCON`s Simhachalam Farm in Germany there will be two training courses for ladies.

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ISKCON News.com: Mayapur Institute Fall - Spring Courses

By ISKCON News Staff for ISKCON News on 30 Jun 2010

The Mayapur Institute for Education and Training is going to start this year's curriculum in November 2010 and will continue until February 2011.

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Sankarsana Dasa Adhikari

Wednesday 30th June, 2010.

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.21.41

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Bhakti Visrambha Madhava Swami

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.21.42

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Jaya Radha Madhava - Sankarsana Dasa Adhikari

Length: 8:10

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ISKCON News.com: ISKCON Youth: Worldwide Summer Programs

By ISKCON News Staff on 30 Jun 2010

Now in its fifteenth year, the annual youth festival bus tour around North America kicked off an exciting two months of travel, started on the 23rd of June. Over the summer, there will various exciting ISKCON youth programs throughout the world.

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Sankarsana Dasa Adhikari

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.21.42

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ISKCON News.com: Strawberries Stimulate Metabolism and Suppress Appetite

By Wendy Rae for Natural News on 25 Jun 2010

June is the month for road-side stands, farmer's market deliciousness, and red berry gathering in gardens across the world. Strawberries can increase a hormone that stimulates metabolism, suppresses appetite, and controls blood sugar after starchy meals while inhibiting inflammation.

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ISKCON News.com: The Animal-Cruelty Syndrome

By Charles Siebert for The New York Times on 7 Jun 2010

The connection between animal abuse and other criminal behaviors was recognized long before the evolution of the social sciences and institutions with which we now address such behaviors.

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ISKCON News.com: Tastes Like Chicken: The Quest for Fake Meat

By John Cloud for Time.com on 14 Jun 2010

The desire to eat meat has posed an ethical question ever since humans achieved reliable crop production: Do we really need to kill animals to live?

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Dandavats.com: Well… We Just Got Divorced

By Vishnupriya Devi Dasi

Vishnupriya: "Hare Krishna mataji! It's so nice to see you! How are you and your good husband?" Mataji: Well, I'm fine. But my husband, well. we just got divorced." I've had similar exchanges to the one above at least six times this past year

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Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Don't add and subtract

Preach only what you have heard from Krsna and guru, that's all. Don't add and subtract. Then you are secure. And if you add some concoction just like somebody says that "I may do whatever I like independently. If I chant, then everything is all right," this is nonsense addition. It is not the fact. That is the danger. Some inexperienced man, he introduces some concoction. Sometimes they say, "Prabhupada said it." More misleading.

(Morning Walk Hawaii Feb. 3, 1975)

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ISKCON News.com: Future of Religion: News Series Start With Hinduism

By David Charles for Patheos.com on 29 Jun 2010

Patheos.com launched a new eleven-week series on the "Future of Religion." The series begins with the "Future of Hinduism."

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ISKCON News.com: Mythology, Media, and the Future of Hinduism

By by Vamsee Juluri for Patheos.com on 28 Jun 2010

In an age of terrorism, wars, and environmental degradation, the need for the tales of the gods is stronger than ever. The challenge for us is simply to tell them better.

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Japa Group: Time And Place

There are many quotes about when and where we should chant. Obviously during the Brahma Muhurta hour is ideal and in a peaceful non-distractive environment. The main thing is not to allow ourselves to get distracted by anything around us...even if we are in the most peaceful place with no sound...still we can allow our mind to wander to thoughts from the past, present and about the future. Having said that....finding a good place that is favourable for Japa is important to reduce the chance of distraction.
If you have a busy family life at home then try to go for a Japa walk or rise early enough before things get hectic in the house. If there is a will then there is always a way to chant our Japa with attention at the right time and place.
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Kurma dasa, AU: Travelling West - Krishna Meditations

I'm packing for two weeks away from home, an extended visit to Western Australia for a batch of cookery classes on the far western shores of Australia. If you want to attend any of the classes, sorry, but all are totally booked out, except for one venue.

As I always do before big events, I like to meditate on the essence of life to keep me stable and focused. Allow me to share with you an excerpt from one of my favourite chapters of one of my favourite books. Hare Krishna.

"The brahmanas' wives saw Krsna with a blackish complexion, wearing a garment that glittered like gold. He wore a nice garland of forest flowers and a peacock feather on His head. He was also painted with the minerals found in Vrndavana, and He looked exactly like a dancing actor on a theatrical stage.

Beautiful Krishna:

They saw Him resting one hand on the shoulder of His friend, and in His other hand He was holding a lotus flower. His ears were decorated with lilies, He wore marks of tilaka, and He was smiling charmingly.

With their very eyes the wives of the brahmanas saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead, of whom they had heard so much, who was so dear to them, and in whom their minds were always absorbed. Now they saw Him eye to eye and face to face, and Krsna entered within their hearts through their eyes..."

From Chapter 23 of 'Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead' by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 483

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

1:21 A.M.

Once I began to chant, my pain subsided and my mind settled in to attention on the holy names. I began to think of the things we are reading. In Caitanya-caritamrta we are at the part where Lord Caitanya travels to Vrndavana. He's in a very ecstatic mood, and as soon as He sees the River Yamuna, He dives in and becomes unconscious.  Balabhadra Bhattacarya has to raise Him out of the river. At the Kesavaji temple, which is the birthplace of Lord Krishna, Lord Caitanya manifested wonderful chanting and dancing that astounded all the people and changed them into Vaisnavas. He also met there a special brahmana who was also dancing and chanting in ecstasy. When Lord Caitanya inquired about him, he said he was a disciple of Madhavendra Puri, and Lord Caitanya offered him His obeisances. The Caitanya-caritamrta is filled with narrations about the importance of chanting Hare Krishna.

In Raghunatha dasa Goswami's poems, we are reading Vraja-vilasa-stava. It enumerates all the eternal personages who live in Vraja with Radha and Krishna. The thoughts of these persons passed through my mind as I chanted and helped me to be in a transcendental mood. I was awake, and I whispered the holy names. I chanted at a medium pace. I've chanted over 13 rounds so far.

Reading transcendental literature
about the pastimes of Lord Caitanya
and Radha-Krishna, enhances my
japa and carries me away from
a distracted state of mind.
I chant while thinking of the
ecstatic chanting of Mahaprabhu
and of the gopis and gopas
of Vraja. I should always
stay immersed in such readings
as it keeps my japa pure.
There are so many subjects
for worrying about, and they
put you in an anxious state.
But when you are thinking
of Radha-Krishna and uttering
Their names you approach
the spiritual world.

read more from SDGonline - daily updates from The Yellow Submarine: My Bhajana Kutir journal 
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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Under Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati's Shelter

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

Prabhupada Smaranam

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and Prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada is offering flowers to an altar where a picture of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is placed and garlanded and lit with candles. From the architecture of the room, it appears to be a humble place in India. He is observing the appearance day of his spiritual master in a simple way. If he were in a big temple there would be more opulent worship, but wherever he is, on any day of the year, he is offering his life in service to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. Our Prabhupada said that he was not a great scholar or a great devotee. He spoke humbly about himself and made no great claims. But he asserted that he had 100% faith in his spiritual master.

It was this faith that drove him to make the long voyage to America with no money, in ill health, in old age, and with no promise of support in preaching. While on the Jaladuta he wrote a poem and said that by the force of his spiritual master he would be able to spread the holy name around the world. Of all the disciples of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, our Srila Prabhupada was the most empowered and did the most to spread Lord Caitanya's movement. It is difficult for us to imagine how much devotion he had to his guru. In his "Concluding Words" to the Caitanya-caritamrta, Prabhupada wrote that he believed his spiritual master was always with him, watching him and guiding him and blessing him. Although, during the lifetime of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, our Prabhupada was not one of the leading sannyasis, his faith made him the most intimate disciple. Here, in a simple setting, he bows before his spiritual master and offers flowers. By the blessings of his spiritual master, this servant has thousands of followers who are grand-disciples of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and receive his blessings through our Prabhupada. In fact, Prabhupada said that the grandfather is more kind to the grandchildren than he is to his own children. Therefore Prabhupada's disciples, according to their faith in Srila Prabhupada, receive the full blessings of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, and through him the benediction of the entire parampara.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Leaving the Yellow Submarine

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

Today is my last day of
residing in the townhouse I
call the Yellow Submarine.
For three years it has been
a shelter and a bhajana-kutir
for my solitary-seeking self.

Here Krishna directly allowed me
to write the prayers called My Dear Lord Krishna, one
of the best books I've ever
done, and I wrote a
daily journal with many
poems and posted them
on the Web. It has been
a place where I have reached
out in cyberspace to hundreds
of readers and fulfilled
my preaching need.

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

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: To the Mode of Goodness

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

Free Write

Green Forest Countryside

I am moving in a few days to a beautiful rural countryside. Baladeva is there now, preparing my house and he told me on the phone how it will be superior to where we are living now. We are in a fairly quiet townhouse now. But across the street is a developing downtown of commercial enterprises such as the Fish-On restaurant and the ladies health and beauty spa, a coffee shop, and on the corner, The Green Turtle, a liquor bar and meat-eating place. The buildings all have façades that all look artificial, like a Hollywood set for a town. So Upstate New York will be a more natural environment. I am also contemplating visiting the Pennsylvania countryside at the end of July, for Gita Nagari Ratha Yatra. Gita Nagari is a beautiful sylvan setting with gardens, lawns, forests and the Tuscarora Creek. The sastra say that city is in the mode of passion and the country is in the mode of goodness. But the mode of goodness is still within the material world. A temple with a deity of Godhead (such as Radha Damodara's temple at Gita Nagari, or my room with its deities of Gaura-Nitai and Radha-Govinda) is in the transcendental world. The city is a good place for preaching because so many conditioned souls live there and are accessible. But one should live in the temple, if possible, or make a temple in one's home and invite people to visit there for kirtana and prasadam.

I must admit the rural areas are most peaceful to my mind. Gita Nagari is a special place with a great charm, and I am also looking forward to living in the more rural areas, Stuyvesant Falls, NY, in my new residence.

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Kaunteya das, Mayapura: An interview, and what it could mean to us

I found thought-provoking the interview by Kayla Webley to David Freedman,
author of "Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us - and How to Know When Not to
Trust Them":


She describes as "terrifying" the data that Freedman includes in his book;
for instance, "about two-thirds of the findings published in the top medical
journals are refuted within a few years. . . . As much as 90% of physicians'
medical knowledge has been found to be substantially or completely wrong. .
. . there is a 1 in 12 chance that a doctor's diagnosis will be so wrong
that it causes the patient significant harm. And it's not just medicine.
Economists have found that all studies published in economics journals are
likely to be wrong. Professionally prepared tax returns are more likely to
contain significant errors than self-prepared returns. Half of all newspaper
articles contain at least one factual error."

You get the idea.

I may or may not necessarily encourage him or her, but a devotee reading the
article *might* start wondering: "How to deal with 'ISKCON experts'?" "Are
there also within ISKCON people who - being largely self-appointed and
perhaps even self-motivated - aspire at making others believe they have very
insightful realizations on how ISKCON should run, a temple should run or
one's life should be managed?" "Are there people who, emboldened by their
ambiguous and often inconclusive rank as 'senior,' roam the Earth dispensing
their self-concocted wisdom and advice - thus causing untold individual and
collective catastrophes?"

From my limited but variegated experiences with *some* of the leaders (the
stress being on the word "some") - experiences and observations later
confirmed or even amplified by devotees who I truly consider knowledgeable
and mature - my conclusion is that, yes, unfortunately some of those who act
(or should act) as reference points to others (often many others) bring with
themselves a baggage of atheism, deism or plain ignorance and mundane
moralism so dangerous that they can change - and in fact they are changing -
whatever part of ISKCON they influence into something completely different
from what Srila Prabhupada intended, envisioned and prayed for.

How to distinguish between good/useful advices and bad/dangerous ones? I
would suggest:

1. Thorough and regular study of Srila Prabhupada books, conversations,
letters, etc. (so that you can recognize when someone speaks something
against that body of information).

2. Carefully and prayerfully choose whom to learn from and whom to
listen from when in need of personal advice.

(Of course it's up to you to decide if the above is good or bad advice; or
how sufficient is it to your needs.)

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H.H. Sivarama Swami

The sin accrued by an abortion is twice greater than sin committed by killing a brahmana.There is no atonement for this sin.

- Parasara Muni

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1966 July 1:
"Chaturdasi. Today I entered the new house at 26 Second Avenue. For my purpose it is all good. I do not why Krishna is trying to establish me in New York. I am his servant's servant and therefore let His desire be fulfilled through my agency. In the evening there was meeting in the New Store. There was about eight men."
Prabhupada Journal :: 1966

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1969 July 1: "I am glad to know that one rich Indian is prepared to contribute. But my mission will be more successful if the Americans construct a temple."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1969

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1970 July 1: "I do not know what Kirtanananda has told you. If there is scarcity of qualified pujaris, each center should be satisfied only by worshipping Panca Tattva by performance of Sankirtana."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1970

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 July 1: "I'm very sorry that you are separated from the temple. But don't worry. Krishna will save you, you can be sure. There is no doubt about it. So go on chanting Hare Krishna at all costs and never mind these tribulations of maya."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 July 1: "I am so much pleased that you have taken Sannyas and are preaching whole-heartedly. Do not worry about your wife and child, Krishna will take care of them. Just you save the foolish world from going to hell."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 July 1: "All big officers should be invited. Goswamis and godbrothers also. All the inhabitants of Vrindaban will be invited. There is no question of money. Let it be a first class, A-1 arrangement"
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 July 1: "We do not have to be dependent on taking help from persons who will not even eat with us, thinking us inferior. We are not dependent on any Indian goswami. Let them come as invited but we shall conduct the affair ourselves."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1975 July 1: "Actually we are not fond of having businesses. Regard your main business as trying to become Krsna conscious through reading my books and associating with the devotees in the Sankirtana movement."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1975

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1968 June 30: "Simply for land, we don't care. We simply want favorable place for worshipping Krishna. If your neighbors are always suspicious, there may be always danger. Why should we make our residence in such a place?"
Prabhupada Letters :: 1968

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1968 June 30: "Live as simply as possible without any exaggeration, regularly hold Krishna Kirtana, and try to convince people about the non-sectarian nature of Krishna Consciousness. That will make you successful."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1968

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1968 June 30: "Krishna Consciousness is not a religious movement as it is generally understood. We are teaching love for God. That means Krishna Consciousness is the post-graduate class for all religious sects."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1968

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1968 June 30: "Neither Krishna claims Himself that He is an Indian or a Ksatriya, or a Brahmin. Krishna is universal. Krishna is non-sectarian, and therefore they must know how that non-sectarian institution is possible."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1968

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 June 30: "We received copies of the Swahili Topmost Yoga System and it is very nicely done. This printing and distribution of our literature is most important aspect of our propaganda work."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 June 30: "My blessing does not require my physical presence. If you are following all of my instructions then there is no question of not receiving the blessings of Lord Caitanya whose mission I am humbly trying to push on."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1975 June 30: "Why work in hellish factories? Let everyone live simply and be Krsna conscious. This farm project you should consider very important. Let people be self sufficient."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1975

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1975 June 30: "There is no need to form a separate committee. Let each zone and center push on in their area of the world. I have organized GBC for the purpose of spreading Krsna consciousness all over the world."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1975

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Akrura das, Gita Coaching: UP THE HILL

As I walk up the hill, away from the noise of everyday life, towards the church at the top, I become more peaceful.

Similarly, as we raise our consciousness to the spiritual platform, closer to God, we become peaceful.

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Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: Jagganatha's Cold

It was one of my first days in the Castle and to my surprise it was Snanyatra (we were celebrating early). I was unaware until I heard the morning announcements. Abhiseka was commencing after Bhagavatam class. Before the japa period, Visakha Mataji found me and informed me that we had to go to town to register for residency, the final piece of bureaucracy I had to deal with before I could finally settle down in the Castle. I hoped it didn't interfere too much with the day's celebrations.

Bhagavatam class ended and we started the abhiseka ceremony. When it was my turn, the pujari whispered in my ear "are you Brahmin initiated" and I told him I was not. He then informed me that Radhadesh standard was that I had to pour my conch into his, like a flow of consecutive fountains so that it was technically done by a brahmana. It was a new thing for me but so was a lot of the stuff that went on, behind closed doors, in the Castle. Soon Jagannatha had to go away because he was feeling a little chilly. Later on I heard that the Lordships had caught a cold.

I jetted off for my boring appointment at town hall and was informed I had to wait on the Police, who would come at some random time, as they pleased, within the next couple weeks. I was disturbed that there was even more arrangements that had to be made but simply prayed to Jagannatha and the Vaisnavas that I could secure the final documents in time for Polish tour. It was going to be tight.

While wandering around the Castle and courtyard, for many days, hoping for the Police to arrive, I bumped into Mangala Candrika Mataji, admin in the school. She checked I was settling in and asked if I was going to Rathayatra. I suggested I would like to go but knew nothing about it. She pointed me out to the sign up sheet and I put my name down, only hours before it was removed from the wall altogether.

I sat with Ramacandra Kaviraja Prabhu in the library one day. He was on his Skype phone, booking a bus for tomorrow's rathayatra. He told me he had added my name to the list, in case I missed out and I informed him that it was already on it. I took this as a sign that Jagannatha wanted me to participate in His festival.

Before Mangala Arati, I heard some senior devotees concerned if there was a bus for Rathayatra. I politely butted in and informed them that Rama had made the booking. There was great news in the morning announcements - Jagannatha was cured from His cold. I was happy to hear but a little regretful because, somehow, I had caught Jagannatha's cold!?

We all straddled into the bus that Rama booked and made our way to Antwerp to celebrate. I sat at the back, reading sastra and writing some whimsical things. We arrived to rains and cold winds of Antwerp. We all made our prayers to the gods to cease for our parade. We all took shelter in tents around the fair grounds. The setup was something similar to Polish tour, only not all the tents were run by devotees.

The rain lightened out and I began to explore. I bumped into Bhakta Nir, who was distributing books. He asked me if I wanted to join him but I confessed I could only speak English. "That is all I can speak" he responded and my deep, dark well of excuses ran dry. It was very spontaneous and I sold a French Science of Self Realization to the first man I stopped. I also managed to stop a small group of English boys who were travelling. I handed over the books and soon realized that they wouldn't be able to make much sense out of it unless they were linguists. I soon had an English Sri Isopanisad in their hands and they all raked out their coins. I continued to have books in my hands for most of the day but I lost the drive as my cold symptoms increased.

At the time of the parade, sure enough, the sun came out. We cheered and began to chant along to our expert kirtana leaders. The police sped ahead on bikes, making road blockades at all the intersections. The parade traversed the city like a sea of mighty elephants. The Rathayatra produced amazing ecstasy. Jagannatha and his Siblings could be seen with beaming wide smiles as they paraded in their car. I was mostly feeling great happiness, seeing their Lordships and the devotees but I was occasionally scorched by the bone chilling winds, colder than I had ever experienced (especially in the summer). To my surprise, there were many Indians living in Antwerp and they eagerly passed the parade or gazed out of their windows. The city itself was splayed out with amazing architecture, putting to shame any structure that you would see down under and the Ratha cart made a beautifully colourful contrast to the ancient stone structures.

We soon arrived back in the square where the carnival was taking place. There was a kirtana going on the stage and soon the lines queued up for Prasadam Hundreds of guests heard the holy name, took Prasadam and took darsana of Jagannatha. Many people watched the dramas and other entertainment also. Many books also went out, to all the spectators, as well as a hundreds of flyers advertising different festivals and preaching events. It was a day not to be forgotten and it was worth the wrath of the cold for the service of Jagannatha.


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Mayapur Online: TOVP Announcement- Donations

Hari Krishna! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Please take a look at the T.o.V.P site at http://tovp.org/ . The website is constantly being updated and has a new blog section full of breaking news, progress of building, and stories about life in Mayapur Dham while construction is underway.

We here at the Temple of The Vedic Planetarium would like to sincerely thank all of you who have donated to the Mayapur project!

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Friday, June 25th, 2010

What the Eyes Saw!

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia

They are radiant – the monks of Nova Scotia. Our brahmacharis, namely Nitai Ram, Karuna Sindhu, Jeff, Dustin and Jacob are a real working team. Before they embark on a journey for summer travel (by wheels and not on foot), we took a drive down this popular destination point. There's one of those old lighthouses, ancient worn rocks and rustic quaint homes of fishermen. As we parked we took in the great ocean air and then went wild to choose which massive boulder to conquer. We settled on one spot for a chanting session location.

Our guys glowed in their saffron attire set against the blue sky. At a rock next to us sat a group of female graduates all in black gowns. This made for an interesting juxtaposition.

One of the boys tapped on the mrdunga drum. Another figured his way along the harmonium keyboard and the rest of us, admirers of Krishna, began to sing.

A tourist asked if the song was a memorial service to the Swissair disaster of several years back when tragically a plane crashed at this cove. The answer could easily be answered: "Every time we chant it is a service whether for something specific or not. Chanting is an offering to the Supreme, the creation and all that's within. It is always a dedication."
More tourists were curious. They saw this all as an added feature. People came to see the village with its boats docked, lobster traps stacked on small piers, the lighthouse, the mysterious ocean and now they saw a group of bald monks singing their hearts out.

And we, the monks, were happy to see them.

4 KM

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Monday, June 28th, 2010

The Queen Visits

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Our small theatre troupe flew by Westjet Airlines from the Halifax Airport. And on this day as we were leaving this harbour city, Queen Elizabeth II was arriving which was the beginning of a nine day tour through Canada.

Ever since I can remember she has been there. I believe she was coronated around the same time I was born. She's like a Fidel Castro in that regard, an immortal character. Growing in Canada in the fifties meant that you would see this monarch pictured and framed in a prominent place on the wall somewhere high to invoke a kind of reverence. At school we would sing "God Save the Queen" until the national anthem muscled its way in. "O Canada" became the new song to stand up at. Both songs were uplifting in some way although they didn't hit the charts for the teenage love-bombing of the time.

The Queen makes her rounds on planet earth more as a figure head than a ruler. The royal crown has been replaced for an outdated hat with gloves to match. But people seem to like her. She's known to live in big homes.

When I became a monk in '73, she was the Queen I was most familiar with, until I heard about Queen Kunti, the mother of the virtuous Pandavas and wife to King Pandu. Crammed in our little temple on 187 Gerrard St. in Toronto, our renounced group of young men and women would read the outpourings of devotion that Queen Kunti expressed in the book, Bhagavatam. One monk, Jaya Keshava, showed me his favourite book for reading, "The Teachings of Queen Kunti".

I agree with him that it's an ideal book and that she's an ideal queen.

3 KM

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Young Men

New Glasgow, Nova Scotia

An overnight stay at a doctor's home landed us in New Glasgow. I had walked the Samson Trail along the river while our traveling party I left sleeping. I didn't get the name of the river. A Persian cat came to greet me. A dog barked from the distance. A blue jay bird was riled up about something. All seemed natural and almost perfect on this peaceful Sunday morning. Then I met some curious humans when I detoured from the tree lined trail to the small downtown. Three young men pulled over their vehicle.

"Hey, are you a Hare Krishna?"asked the sober driver (the two passengers were juiced).

"Well, as a matter of fact I am."

"I've never seen you in this town before. You should spend some time here and give the Mormons some competition," he recommended.

"I wouldn't mind being in your pretty little downtown. You will find some of our monks in Halifax though."

"Yeah, you guys should do your dancing in these streets here," he pressed.

The passengers with their bloodshot, hangover eyes were very much taken by the surreal looking person standing outside their vehicle. It could have been a peak moment for them. Anyways, I was happy to have made new friends.

In the late morning a fine young French Canadian Brahmana, Manu, conducted a fire ceremony in his backyard. The first ever Vaishnava initiation took place in Nova Scotia and for a Nova Scotian. Dustin, 23, is a young Nova Scotian who became a monk donning saffron cloth 2 years ago. The colour of his clothes are the colour of the eyes of the chaps I met earlier. Dustin assisted me so much with my personal needs on the February trip to India. He is a fine young man with good character. He received the name Dhruva (pronounced Dhroova).

Dhruva did a super excellent job play acting in our production "Lonely People". It was the largest gathering at our Halifax centre yet. The feast the local monks cooked up was par excellence, a five star quality.

7 KM

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Saturday, June 26th, 2010

To the Quiet Island

Dustin and I set ourselves for an early pace on Highway 102. It's actually illegal according to the sign board which you see only after trailing it. We decided for an 'ahead of the game' approach to our trip as I usually do because I generally get impatient waiting for the rest of my co-travelers. We decided they will come when ready and pick us up.

It was funny. Enroute to the highway on the Joseph Howe Drive, Dustin and I passed by thte Bethany United Church. An outdoor church sign indicated that the Sundays' sermon topic will be "Shit Happens!" That topic grabbed my attention. What would they be referring to – this material world? I have heard it said by one of my peers that this whole mundane world is one big toilet. It isn't even debatable.

Speaking of which, today's destination was Charlottetown. It is one of those places of 'crap incident'. By that I'm referring to war and struggle of the historical past in the city. It was another one of those French/English collisions of cannon balls flying and shops and buildings being destroyed.

Right next to the historic cannons at the battery in Victoria Park, Nitai Ram, Dustin and I plopped ourselves on the grass for our musical rehearsal in preparation for the evening. We played. And passerby enjoyed.

The performance held in the Benevolent Irish Cultural Centre on North River Road went well. The modest hall reached its full capacity. People were charmed by our chant, our speech and our dramatic performance of 'Lonely People'. That was our ammunition.

9 KM

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Liking Your Shoes

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Our small cast of three for drama presentations this weekend made its way by flight to Halifax. People generally ask after you reach the airport, "How was the flight?"

That's a hard one to respond to because flying is not so exciting. If someone asks, "How was your walk?" then you have something to report. Since walking was at a minimum there is little to say. My eyes did travel through pages of "What Is the Difficulty?" a book by author Sruti Kirti, assistant to our guru, Srila Prabhupada. I came upon one passage to do with shoes.

Sruta Kriti writes about Prabhupada, "While I was gently rubbing his body he said 'One of my favourite things when I was young was my shoes. Once, my father bought me a pair of shoes. They were imported from England. They had soft leather uppers and hard leather souls. That was a fortune… I like my shoes very much. I remember wearing them to school.'

"At that point he stopped speaking for a few minutes. I was caught up in Srila Prabhupada's mood. I tried to imagine him walking around in his shoes. Still massaging his beautiful form I smiled and said, 'Prabhupada, when you walked to school, did you look at your shoes as you were walking?'

'Yes, he said laughing. "I would look down at my shoes. I liked them so much, these shoes.' "

3 KM

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Back for a Day, Preparing

Toronto, Ontario

With two days past the summer solstice the heat can be felt.

I had been walking from Ossington/Dovercourt area back to the ashram and through what's known as Little Italy. Hey, it seems as I had never left Italy. People are enjoying the out-of-doors. It's hot and humid.

I caught one person speaking to another about the tremour felt earlier in the afternoon. On the Richter scale it measured at 5.5. From six hundred kilometers to the east of us, Montreal residents felt it as well.

Police are all around in preparation for any protesting potentials. This weekend will be a G20 summit in Toronto. Delegates are arriving from around the world to discuss financial woes. It's beginning to feel like a setting up for people clashing. Some streets are blocked and police are on guard everywhere while maintaining a friendly demeanour.

It's interesting. I was walking from a martial arts class. I decided to invest our little drama troupe in taking some Indian Martial Arts called Kala Rupina, a skill rooted from South India. The devotee actors enjoyed the workout which was taken more as a style of dance. I watched.

I guess we all need to prepare for a coming or rather on-going battle with the six senses including the mind.

9 KM

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Going Back

Over Europe & the Atlantic

It was the first day of serious sun for some time. This is unusual for Italy. Smog hit the Milano skyline on our way to the airport. It cleared from sight as we turned north towards the mountains. What a world we live in, isn't it? Oil spills, smogs and billboards advertising people with clothes almost on…It's not the clothes they're selling but the flesh or the sex in your face. It's appalling!

I know I may sound like an old fuddy duddy but I see this last image I describe as an exploitation of the public. For sure people are not being guided on the spiritual path. On the contrary.

At the Helsinki airport a Chinese man from Canada came up and asked if I was following Tibetan Buddhism.

"No," I said. "I'm with the Hare Krishna."
"Oh yes," he remarked, "Buddhism came from your Hindu tradition."

He continued, "I remember you folks so active on the streets in the seventies – the hippie days. It was so idealistic then. There was so much anti-materialism."

I did agree with the man but I couldn't refrain from thinking that the world has surely stepped up on self-aggrandizement. Having just spent the last twelve days in Italy I dwelt on a sure sign of what I consider a moral decay. Sexual promiscuity is rampant in our modern world – active sex but no kids. And Italy being rated as the highest of the European nations in the category of low procreation indicates that this nation isn't exempt from moral misbehaviour.

Please don't get me wrong. I really liked Italy and will hold fond memories in my heart. I'm just witnessing some unwholesome signs. I know I sound a bit like my Dad did when talking to his teenage son, me. He sounded like a fuddy duddy. Here I am making judgment but based on having my eyes open.

On the plane ride back I saw people all around. At least beside me in front and behind I was witnessing the craze for filling out crossword puzzles. I'm not judging that. It can be a wit-tester solving out those games. They are passing their time. I'm chanting on my meditative beads.

5,000 KM

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Balanuja, Yashashvini and Sanatana Prabhus ask questions about the use of astrology in raising children

What I know about times for garbhadhana and about rank and file devotees’ responsibility to protect Srila Prabhupada’s legacy.

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Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: Another Aussie Journey: Day 11

Sunday 30th, December 2007. We had our morning program in Sydney temple. One senior Prabhu from South Africa, who was on the tour, gave class. He drew a flow chart showing the principle of like attracts unlike, mostly in relation with finding ourselves a partner. It was a rather amusing little diagram by the end of his dialogue the whole temple was laughing. There was yet another ecstatic kirtana to add to the mix and we danced enthusiastically with a new crowd of devotees.

We made our way back to Govinda Valley. We had ourselves another ishta gosthi out in the nice greenery. HH Indradyumna Swami pulled out a stack of paper near the end of the meeting. "It hasn't been released yet but I am going to read a little bit from my new diary entry from the Diary of the Travelling Preacher." Maharaja's diaries were exciting and told of stories in so many different places, with different names and situations, all to do with the preaching mission of Lord Caitanya. We eagerly listened as he shared with our small group his much demanded Diary.

We were again off for harinam. This time we were off to a beach town named Cronulla. I was on flyer and Prasadam distribution, handing out flyers for Govindas' programs, and little packets of nuts and dried fruits. We drenched the beach folk in the holy name and then made our way back to Govinda Valley, to have lunch with the Swami. I had some interesting words with Dominik, after lunch, talking about the troupe going on to New Govardhana and hearing about the amazing things they were doing in Poland. Every word that came out of the mouths of these tour devotees had my eyes lighting up just a little bit more. I retired to my room. I seemed to go to bed earlier than the rest of the devotees, which made me feel evermore like the kid of the troupe. I was the youngest, excluding Srinatha, who wasn't even a teenager yet. As I nestled into my sleeping bag, the only other person who seemed to be around was Gaura Hari Prabhu. He was constantly on his skype phone, checking on his friends and relatives in foreign lands. I wondered a little what it must be like to be a travelling preacher.


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Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: Original Aussie Journey: Day 10

Saturday 29th, December 2007. The regular program of Govinda Valley was one to be excited about. We had blissful japa in the morning, followed by a nectar class and finished off with an amazing kirtana. We were doing harinams for a couple of days and now we had a day off, because the devotees hadn't had sufficient rest since before their Melbourne leg. Everyday seemed to be an adventure though - one day we were at a Sri Vaisnava temple and the next day we were at a Buddhist temple. Today we were going to the beach, a typical Australian experience.

We came to a busy beach car park. I was astonished that we actually had to do some bush walking just to find our swimming spot. Nonetheless I was mesmerized when I saw the final destination. It was a beautiful beach, tucked between two rocky cliff faces, with a great big underwater, rocky outcrop in the middle. On either sides of the rocky outcrop, between the cliffs, was a nice little place to swim. The waves weren't so impressive but I think we were catering for the Europeans, who mostly had never seen a real beach in their lives. Behind this whole ornate setting was a river, which was a green colour, with a big stack of rocks that people were jumping off.

I found myself with a couple experienced Aussies swimming out far, around the rocky outcrop. The water was deep but crystal clear. We decided to dive for sand, which was two or three meters bellow. I was enthusiastic as I pushed towards the bottom. My eyes were open in the mild salt water and the scene was rather beautiful. I went to reach for the sand but then the sand that I was aiming for swam away!? One of Krsna's eight million, four hundred thousand species of life - the sting ray. I am normally not so fearful of these creatures but an apparently great Australian celebrity had been ironically killed by one recently so my mind screamed danger. We hurried up to the surface. One of the guys managed to pick up some sand before the scare but the rest of us simply surfaced with laughter. In the end, I took a couple jumps off the river rocks, just to show my daring side and then we were off again, for some more spiritual adventures.

We made our way back up to Sydney temple. There was a Srila Prabhupada Appreciation Day that we had been invited to. We happily joined the crowds yet again and sat for an outdoor class. HH Janananda Goswami was giving class and then HG Bhavananda Prabhu gave class. He gave a super heavy class insisting we read Srila Prabhupada's books and it shook my heart - his conviction had me set to act upon this instruction. We were soon jetting off into the temple room for a super ecstatic kirtana led by HH Janananda Goswami. It was so intense that the walls themselves were perspiring. It seemed impossible to end the kirtana at the momentum it had acquired so Janananda Goswami ingeniously led the kirtana outside, into the cooling air, and we ended in the tent. As soon as the kirtana ended HH Indradyumna Swami gave his class. It was a nectar night to remember.


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Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: Did Scientists Create Life?

By Gauranga Kishore Das for gaurangakishore.blogspot.com on 17 Jun 2010
From ISKCON News

With the recent announcement by the scientific community of the creation of a living organism using synthetic DNA many people are wondering about the religious implications of this achievement. Religion has long claimed that God created life. Will the developments of modern science disprove this crucial part of the religious worldview?

In response to the latest achievements of a group of scientists of the Venter Institute, headed by microbiologist Craig Venter, headlines read: Scientists Create First Self-Replicating Synthetic Life. Such headlines may have the religiously faint of heart amongst us worried that science is laying siege to the empire of theistic belief, the idea that life comes from God, the idea that there is more to life than physical laws, the belief in a soul that resides within and animates the body.

Should we be questioning our beliefs in light of this new discovery?

First, we should be clear on exactly what has been done because some of the headlines like the one above may be misleading. The scientists of the Venter institute have not created life, they have synthetically replicated the DNA sequence of a micro-organism, removed it's original DNA and replaced it with the synthetic DNA. The experiment was a success and the cell began to reproduce.

So what has really been done could be described as a DNA transplant, which is significantly short of creating life.

When asked in an interview on CNN whether he had created life Venter responded, "We created a new cell. It's alive. But we didn't create life from scratch. We were created, as all life on this planet is, out of a living cell."

Venter and his team did not create life, they implanted synthetic DNA into a living microorganism. Practically, this is a big breakthough in the field of microbiology that could have some very important implications in the future, but despite this new breakthrough in genetics, the core philosophical issues still remain untouched in regards to the fundamental nature of life.

The most fundamental question of religion and philosophy is: how did we get here? Until Darwin came along, there was no non-religious answer to this question. Darwin made it possible for a person to be an intellectual atheist, at least superficially. Darwin's answer was random variation or what we now call random mutation. Darwin's basic scientific idea of variation and natural selection was an amazing insight into how species can change and adapt over time, but huge questions still remain.

Is it really possible for one species to change into another? Up until now, there has not really been any evidence of this. The fossil record has not been unforthcoming in its support of Darwin's hypothesis. Species seem to appear in the fossil record fully formed and disappear the same way when new fully formed species take their place.

Genetic evidence seems to strongly confirm Darwin's idea of common ancestry. However, common descent doesn't prove Darwinian evolution to be true, because what really makes Darwin's theory controversial is not the idea of common descent but the idea that the primary force at work in the evolutionary process in randomness, not divine intervention.

All questions about evolution aside, there are still many questions about how the very first living organism arose. The Miller Urey experiment proved that amino acids could be randomly generated in a certain environment but this is far different from life. Even if it is someday shown exactly how life could have come about by totally material processes, and exactly which genetic mutations led to the creation of every organism on the plant, even if we could have a totally naturalistic explanation for all life, we are still left with the problem that these events are so highly improbable that a naturalistic explanation remains.

The odds are so stacked against the creation of life and the evolution of species by Darwinian processes that the generation of life from natural elements and the creation of new species requires a supernatural explanation. The esteemed Carl Sagan estimated that the possibility of human life being randomly generated at 10 to the 2,000,000,000. This number is so large it is practically impossible to fathom.

Borel's law states that any event with odds of less than one in 10 raised to the fiftieth power is impossible. This is because the number of atoms in the universe is only estimated to be ten raised to the eightieth power.

The odds against the creation of life are almost infinitely more than the number of atomic particles in the universe!

The improbability of life can be extended out further into the universe to include fundamental laws of nature. One example is the expansion rate of the universe in relationship to the forces of gravity. Stephan Hawking comments, "Why did the universe start out with so nearly the critical rate of expansion that separates models that recollapse form those that go on expanding forever, that even now, 10 thousand million years later, it is still expanding at nearly the critical rate? If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in 100 thousand million, the universe would have recollapsed before it ever reached its present size. . .It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us."

Even Francis Crick had to admit, "An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going."

The huge improbabilities regarding the existence of life, ranging from the physical laws of the universe, to the creation of the universe, to the individual events in the creation of life, and the evolution of one species into another, lead me to believe there is a conscious force guiding the apparently random processes.

Although the latest achievements of molecular biology are amazing, which may have profound implications for the advancement of science and technology, they are still far short of creating life. And the creation of life in a laboratory would still be far short of life being randomly generated in a universe that is perfectly suited to support life.

I personally don't think that life will be able to be created artificially. BUT even if life is created artificially I don't think it weakens the theological position. Venter and his team spent the last 15 years and over forty million dollars to create and implant their synthetic DNA into a living cell. There doesn't seem to be anything random about that. Rather it only seems to strengthen the design hypothesis.

Rather than disprove the God hypothesis, the advancements of modern science only seem to strengthen it. The more we learn about the Universe, the more we learn about life, the less likely it seems that it could all just be an accident. The more we learn, the more we see the evidence for design, and the more we see the unseen hand of God at work in the universe.

I think Harry Rimmer said it perfectly: "I fail to see how the natural man can scoff at the faith of a Christian who believes in one miracle of creation, when the unbeliever accepts multiplied millions of miracles to justify his violation of every known law of biology and every evidence of paleontology, and to cling to the exploded myth of evolution."

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David Haslam, UK: Is there life after Facebook?

There was one question and one question only I was asked during the Ratha Yatra festival. No, not why you limping and unable to dance; No, not why do you look tired; No, not how are you I’ve not see you for ages; No, not how are you progressing in devotional life. Sadly not one of these questions were asked. I [...]

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Gouranga TV: KuliMela 2008 – Radhadesh – Navarasa Gauri by Samadhi Dance Company

KuliMela 2008 – Radhadesh – Navarasa Gauri by Samadhi Dance Company

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Mayapur Online: New book released: Sri Navadvipa Parikrama

Authored by HH Bhakti Purusottama Swami, Sri Navadvipa Parikrama is complete guide on the Navadvipa dhama. A 235 pages book with colorful pictures ,very attractive designs and layout, this book includes descriptions of the pastimes of the Lord Gauranga in Navadvipa even before His actual appearance. It gives detailed information on how to reach the temples in holy dhama.

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Japa Group: I Was Impressed By His Efforts

Yesterday I spoke with Haridas Dasa about his chanting. He told me that sometimes when the chanting is going bad and when he feels he is marching through mud, if he makes a con­centrated effort to improve, he pulls out of it and his chanting clears up. He has a full-time job and does most of his chanting early in the morning, which he says, by far is the best time for japa. He takes his japa seriously as his most important sadhana. He said that if he can't hear his chanting than he doesn't think Krishna in reciprocation will hear him, and so he tries very hard to hear the sound of his own chanting. I was impressed by his efforts, although he was very humble about his own japa performance.
From Bhajan Kutir #478
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