miércoles, 18 de agosto de 2010

H.H. Jayadvaita Swami: "The senses meant for work"? Check out the "Gita changes" for Chapter 5.



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"Planet ISKCON" - 23 new articles

  1. New Vrndavan, USA: Devotee's Do Care!
  2. Rupa Madhurya das, TX, USA: Bhajan - Amala Kirtan das - Hare Krishna
  3. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Yamuna Lila Mataji
  4. Akrura das, Gita Coaching: WHY IS COACHING USEFUL?
  5. Japa Group: Japa Poem
  6. Sita-pati dasa, AU: Dawkins and Prabhupada on Cultural Relativism
  7. Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Purity
  8. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 43
  9. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Absorption in the Holy Name
  10. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Praying for More to Come
  11. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Healing Through Yoga
  12. H.H. Jayadvaita Swami: "The senses meant for work"? Check out the "Gita changes" for Chapter 5.
  13. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Pizza Party
  14. Kripamoya dasa, UK: Ancient Mantras at the Royal Opera House
  15. Prema-Rupa dd, USA: Security Guards
  16. Australian News: Krishna's Birthday… for Kids!
  17. Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: A Journey Across to Poland: [P20] Letting the Dust Settle
  18. H.H. Sivarama Swami: To donate or not to donate!
  19. Australian News: Calling all Kirtaniyers!
  20. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Krishna loves glorifying His devotees!
  21. Japa Group: I Uttered The Names In A Clear Flow
  22. Gouranga TV: Service beyond Janmashtami
  23. Gaura Nitai das, Mayapura, IN: Jesus...would he approve?
  24. More Recent Articles
  25. Search Planet ISKCON

New Vrndavan, USA: Devotee's Do Care!

A participatory seminar & workshop on implementing Devotee care. Facilitated by Vraja Lila dd & Ekavira das, disciples of Bhakti Tirtha Swami. Intended to benefit both the individual and the community alike. Organized by Malati dd (304-845-9591)

Monday August 30th

8: 00 am Temple ….. ( followed by Community Breakfast under tent )

6:00 pm Guest Prasad Room ….. ( light refreshments served )

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Rupa Madhurya das, TX, USA: Bhajan - Amala Kirtan das - Hare Krishna

Amala Kirtan das singing a Hare Krishna bhajan.

Dallas, TX

Download: 2010-01-09 - 1 - Home Program - Amala Kirtan das - Hare Krishna.mp3
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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Yamuna Lila Mataji

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.23.6 - Glories of Tolerance

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Akrura das, Gita Coaching: WHY IS COACHING USEFUL?

I invite you to learn why coaching is important!

Perhaps you have heard people talking about it, or you have read articles about people turning to personal coaches to achieve success.

More and more, people from all walks of life are seeking the help of a personal coach to assist them and hold them accountable to reach the results they want.

You can achieve results faster with one of the skilled coaches, who are well-versed in success principles and know what it takes to become successful.

You may need someone who can see where you might be stuck to help you move forward to achieve the success you've always wanted, but have yet to achieve.

Not sure if it's for you? Accept a free trial session and see for yourself if this growing service that has helped thousands of people, is just the thing you need to achieve the success you desire.

It may be a time for you to get to know what many people are talking about, taking advantage of, and benefiting from!

You may contact me on akrura@gmail.com for a trial session.

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Japa Group: Japa Poem

Your average japa
is not intense but
pays attention to Nama Prabhu.
I feel there is no point
in pulling my sikha
or shouting histrionics
of my fallen state.
I do what I can
and accept it as my lot.
If I could chant much
better I would do so.
Rise up, spirit soul, I tell
myself, and patiently abide
with my status quo.
If He would bless me with
better chanting it would be nice.

From Bhajan Kutir #43
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Sita-pati dasa, AU: Dawkins and Prabhupada on Cultural Relativism

Note: My "Devotional Dawkins" series of posts is not designed to prove or even assert the factual correctness of either Dawkins' Darwinian narrative or the Vedic worldview narrative. Its purpose is to demonstrate that there are significant points of congruence between the two. Caveat Lector. And on with today's post...

It is often thought clever to say that science is no more than our modern origin myth. The Jews had their Adam and Eve, the Sumerians their Marduk and Gilgamesh, the Greeks Zeus and the Olympians, the Norsemen their Valhalla. What is evolution, some smart people say, but our modern equivalent of gods and epic heroes, neither better nor worse, neither truer nor falser? There is a fashionable salon philosophy called cultural relativism which holds, in its extreme form, that science has no more claim to truth than tribal myth: science is just the mythology favored by our modern Western tribe. I once was provoked by an anthropologist colleague into putting the point starkly, as follows: Suppose there is a tribe, I said, who believe that the moon is an old calabash tossed into the sky, hanging only just out of reach above the treetops. Do you really claim that our scientific truth — that the moon is about a quarter of a million miles away and a quarter the diameter of the Earth — is no more true than the tribe's calabash? "Yes," the anthropologist said. "We are just brought up in a culture that sees the world in a scientific way. They are brought up to see the world in another way. Neither way is more true than the other."

Show me a cultural relativist at thirty thousand feet and I'll show you a hypocrite. Airplanes built according to scientific principles work. They stay aloft, and they get you to a chosen destination. Airplanes built to tribal or mythological specifications, such as the dummy planes of the cargo cults in jungle clearings or the beeswaxed wings of Icarus, don't. If you are flying to an international congress of anthropologists or literary critics, the reason you will probably get there — the reason you don't plummet into a ploughed field — is that a lot of Western scientifically trained engineers have got their sums right.

- River out of Eden, Richard Dawkins, p. 31-32

A nice example of Richard Dawkins doing what he does best - arguing in a cogent, entertaining, memorable and widely-accessible way.

In my copy of the audio book, which Richard Dawkins personally narrates, he goes on to say:

This is not the first time I have used this knock-down argument, and I must stress that it is aimed strictly at people who think like my colleague of the calabash. There are others who, confusingly, also call themselves cultural relativists, although their views are completely different, and perfectly sensible. To them, cultural relativism just means that you cannot understand a culture if you try to interpret its beliefs in terms of your own culture. You have to see each of the culture's beliefs in the context of the culture's other beliefs. I suspect this sensible form of cultural relativism is the original one, and that the one I've criticised is an extremist, though alarmingly common perversion of it. Sensible relativists should work harder to distance themselves from the fatuous kind.

I don't agree with all of Richard Dawkins' conclusions, but I do admire his intellectual rigour, his clarity, and his intellectual honesty.

Dawkins will lay the "cultural relativist smack" down hard when he feels he needs to - for example in the video below. This use of the argument is public debate, so it's more populist than the carefully measured argument he makes above.

What he is doing here, pre-emptively I must add, is defusing what he perceives as an attempt to inject another cultural context into the conversation he is having within the cultural context of modern science. You hear the murmuring of the crowd when the question is asked? That's Dawkin's signal to go on the offensive to keep the crowd (and note the rock star applause he gets at the end - classic). However, we can see from the above statement that he is not opposed in principle, and in fact thinks it a good idea, to analyse cultural belief systems as a gestalt - a complete whole.

This sensible approach to understanding an unfamiliar system of thought is echoed in A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's introduction to his commentary on Bhagavad-gita, called Bhagavad-gita As It Is:

So according to the statements of Bhagavad-gita or the statements of Arjuna, the person who is trying to understand the Bhagavad-gita, we should at least theoretically accept Sri Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and with that submissive spirit we can understand the Bhagavad-gita. Unless one reads the Bhagavad-gita in a submissive spirit, it is very difficult to understand Bhagavad-gita, because it is a great mystery.

- Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Bhagavad-gita As It Is

"Submissive" in this sense means suspending critical analysis of the work until all the pieces of the work and their relationship have been grasped, and the work can be considered and critiqued as an integral whole. Readers of Bhagavad-gita who attempt to analyse it piecemeal, without comprehending the gestalt, will be defeated in their attempt to understand it.

I know this, because that is what happened to me. I read through the first three chapters of the book without any problem, but when I hit the fourth chapter, and read a statement that the Bhagavad-gita had been extant in human society for 120 million years, I put the book down, saying: "This is ridiculous". That statement, admittedly, is not in the original text, but is in Prabhupada's comment on a text.

Some time later, by associating with persons who had grokked the metaphysical system expounded in Bhagavad-gita, I was able to again study the work and gain some comprehension of the overall system that it presented.

There is some debate today among students of Bhagavad-gita As It Is as to the effectiveness of Prabhupada's commentary in the contemporary context. Personally I think it is a double-edged sword. Some people find it very beneficial in helping them to understand the Bhagavad-gita, as do I now. In my case, however, the commentary initially ejected me from the book. I find a commentary such as that provided by Swami B.V. Tripurari, Bhagavad-gita, Its Feeling and Philosophy to be more initially accessible, and the one that I would probably recommend for a first read to friends who are intimately familiar with the ins and outs of Dawkins' world view, written as it is with them in mind.

Swami BV Tripurari is a student of Srila Prabhupada, one who has studied Bhagavad-gita As It Is in depth, and produced a commentary in which he wanted to (and I feel he succeeded) preserve the intent of Prabhupada's commentary, while making it more digestible for an audience coming from a modern scientific background, and perhaps lacking the close personal association that made Bhagavad-gita As It Is accessible to me.

My own teacher, Devamrita Swami, frames his presentation of the Bhagavad-gita's metaphysical system, Perfect Escape, in a similar way. I am paraphrasing here from memory, as I do not have the book to hand:

[Update: I located my copy, and it is now verbatim. One thing to note is that the target audience for this argument, and the book itself, are not those influenced by Dawkins, but rather those influenced by 'new age' concepts]

Often contemporary seekers of spirituality look askance at spiritual texts from another era. "Why trouble yourself with the dry bones of previous millennia?" they say. "Those books had value for people then, but not now! All you need for your enlightenment is right there within yourself - here and now. The book is a dead artifact from someone else's distant past, but you are the living truth, at this ever-present moment."

I would like to point out that you can only be aware of something through consciousness - your consciousness. Whether that object seems to be of the past, present, or future, it is, in effect, of your consciousness at the present moment. So there is no need to try to isolate yourself from spiritual classics by artificially exporting them to a lifeless Siberia, a barren terrain "outside of consciousness: commonly known as "the past". Just as you are here, now, so is this transcendental text... why not see if there is some advantage to acknowledging the book's presence - in a reality, of course, that can only be known as you and of you?

- Devamrita Swami, Perfect Escape, p.2

The structure and intent of the argument is the same - the idea is to suspend judgement until the whole picture has been assembled, then treat it as a complete whole.

So in terms of how this information should be approached, as a gestalt - Dawkins and our Vedic spokesman, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are in agreement.

I don't think that fundamentalist Creationists would be so intellectually liberal as to allow for that. My experience of critiques of both Dawkins and Bhagavad-gita by persons who subscribe to Creationism as a doctrine is that in a majority of cases they have not understood either as a complete whole, but rather try to poke holes in pieces of them, taken out of context. Ted Haggard's statement about the "eye or ear forming accidentally" in Dawkin's video "Root of all Evil" is a classic example of this.

So on this point, I call 100% congruence.

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Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Purity

There are two kinds of purity: external and internal. External purity is bodily cleanliness. Internal purity means keeping the mind always on Krishna. There are times when it is not possible to keep the body clean, due to external conditions, but external conditions need not keep the mind from being clean. We can and should always keep our internal purity, regardless of external conditions.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Notes transcribed from a lecture given September 8, 1966

from BTG #4

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 43

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

3:39 A.M.

From Namamrta by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada:

“Chanting the holy name is the basic principle of spiritual advancement:

“[Lord Kapila to Devahuti]: ‘A devotee should always try to hear about spiritual matters and should always utilize his time in chanting the holy name of the Lord…’

“It is especially mentioned here, nama sankirtana ca: one should chant the holy names of the Lord—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare—either individually or with others. Lord Caitanya has given special stress to chanting of these holy names of the Lord as the basic principle of spiritual advancement (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.29.18).”

So here it is once more, chanting is the basic principle of spiritual advancement. I was talking to Narayana about the sameness in my japa reports and the desire to vary it. He said maybe I could write in the mood of Narottama dasa Thakura and write bitter lamentations that I am at the same stage and not changing. But I do not have that lamentation. I am not in the mood of Dylan Thomas: "Do not go gentle into that good night, old age should rage against the dying of the light." I have a certain acceptance of the stage I am at without feeling very unhappy about it. I am grateful that I have good japa habits of early rising and chanting as my first priority. I accept my low state honestly and don't make pretensions. But I have not reached the stage of crying out like Narottama dasa Thakura. I may state it—that I am fallen in chanting—but it is not done with fervor or intensity. It is a matter of fact. I live with it. I live with myself.

This morning I woke at 12.30 with a headache and got up from bed and took medicine. I stayed up and began chanting, but my chanting was slow. Nevertheless I finished sixteen rounds before starting to write. I chanted in a routine way, busy with accumulating the numerical count and paying attention, although not in a deep way. My japa reports are always confessions, even if they do not howl.

Your average japa
is not intense but
pays attention to Nama Prabhu.
I feel there is no point
in pulling my sikha
or shouting histrionics
of my fallen state.
I do what I can
and accept it as my lot.
If I could chant much
better I would do so.
Rise up, spirit soul, I tell
myself, and patiently abide
with my status quo.
If He would bless me with
better chanting it would be nice.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Absorption in the Holy Name

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

Prabhupada Smaranam

Srila Prabhupada concentrates on his japa in a secluded place. He did not chant his japa in the association of devotees but by himself. In the beginning, at 26th Second Avenue, he would stay with the disciples after chanting samsara-dava in the morning, and he would say "Chant one round." Then he would lead us, and we would all chant a round of japa together. That was to teach us how to do it. But in his personal practice he preferred to chant alone. He would begin chanting after finishing his hours of work on translations and purports which usually began at 1 A.M. That means he would begin japa about 4 A.M. He would rumble the names in a deep voice, and his personal servant could hear them in the next room. Then he would take his beads on his morning walk, although he spent much of that time in speaking philosophy with his devotees. He would chant throughout the day, in late morning and afternoon. Once in the presence of Srutakirti he was chanting his japa, and on finishing one round he pushed his counter beads and said, "Now I have finished my quota, and I can do any damn thing I please." It was a lighthearted reference to the fact that Prabhupada actually counted a quota day in and day out. He would not have assigned it to us if he did not do it himself.

His chanting, as recorded, is very deep. But clearly enunciated and quickly done. He taught his disciples, “Of all the instructions of the spiritual master, the instruction to chant sixteen rounds is essential.” Once, in Hyderabad, after a morning walk in which he discussed many things, a disciple finally asked what was the position of a disciple who didn't chant sixteen rounds. Prabhupada bluntly answered, "He's an animal."

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Praying for More to Come

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

I lost the inspiration
for two projects today.
I'll write in a private
journal until a new idea
comes my way.
Surely I’ve got something
more to say,
but it doesn't hurt if
I go silent
while I weigh
my options.

New ideas may come on wings,
new ideas like bells will ring,
and my lines will sing
with something new.

Krishna lets it happen
and then He makes it stop.
He's the sustaining power
in a project.

So I pray to Him that I
may write again
and fill my soul with bliss
and share some realizations.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Healing Through Yoga

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

Healing House

There are many yogis in the neighborhood of the Healing House. They each have different approaches. Gopi-manjari likes to incorporate spirituality into her asanas or physical positions. She employs metaphors and asks her students to be “as tolerant as a tree” or she asks them to meditate on what they want to be in five years, etc. Almost all the yogis speak of releasing blocks or traumas in their students, through asana and especially breathing. Samantha spoke of "body memories" which we hold which are like traumas, and how through yoga you can come into a sacred space where you can make changes in your life. She says, "I want to be healed, and I want to heal." We are in a dream state in the material world, and yoga is bringing us back to equilibrium. Yoga is what you are when you are balanced. Krishna-Balarama says it is a very good time for Hare Krishna devotees to teach yoga. Instructors can be very direct in teaching Krishna consciousness. There is no hindrance in the world of yoga to give bhakti. People are at different levels in healing, and they can be taught according to their condition. Often in yoga classes you get a large percentage of asana, then pranayama or breathing, then meditation. For meditation Beth simply tells the students to remain silent. If their mind chews on something too much, they should meditate on "the third eye." Gopi-manjari has them meditate on a word of their choosing. She has them say chants during the asanas, like Om, Govinda, Hare Krishna, or Jaya Radhe-Shyama while doing a position. At the end of the session while they are lying on their backs relaxing in the corpse pose she has them ask themselves, "Who are you?" "What is the purpose of your life?" One woman reported to her how she is much more empowered to deal with difficulties in her life after going to yoga classes. One thing Gopi-manjari employs is “kriya,” or energetic two- part movements that quickly heat up the body. She employs a mandala or circular movement. The students pantomime that they are stringing a bow and sing "Rama!" These exercises bring on deep sensations of release.

Beth's goal is to create an opportunity for healing. It keeps her in good connection with people. Krishna-Balarama said yoga is a form of teaching. We are told to go and preach. "By teaching I transform. It transforms their lives. It fully engages the yoga teacher's heart to compassion and love for others…non-violent sharing. Students come and find an exemplary teacher, and the healing process begins. They are eager to come for a religious experience. The yoga studio is a new church. On every street corner in the city there are yoga centers for spiritual healing of the whole person."

Swami Rupa is encouraged by so many devotee-yoga teachers. He feels they have found a way to express and fulfill themselves and is in favor of this outreach preaching to a very favorable audience. He has no intentions of taking yoga lessons himself. He thinks he is too old and out of shape to do the asanas. He is satisfied to approve it and meet with the yogis outside of their studios.

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H.H. Jayadvaita Swami: "The senses meant for work"? Check out the "Gita changes" for Chapter 5.

BBT press release

Activities such as hearing, seeing, speaking, evacuating, etc., are actions of the senses meant for work.” Really? Wait a second—aren’t hearing and seeing what we do with our knowledge-gathering senses, not our working ones?

But the quotation comes right from Bhagavad-gita As It Is, from the purport to 5.9. So how could it be wrong?

It’s wrong because it’s the first edition and a typist left something out.

See for yourself in the annotated scans for chapter five, now online at www.BBTedit.com/changes.

read more

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Pizza Party

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Kripamoya dasa, UK: Ancient Mantras at the Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House in London with the arched glass frame of the Paul Hamlyn Hall to the left

I conducted a wedding yesterday in the glass-domed Paul Hamlyn Hall of the Royal Opera House in London. Superb location with, as one might expect in such a venue, excellent acoustics. Around 300 in attendance. At the height of the ceremonies, at the purna-huti of the fire sacrifice, to have hundreds enthusiastically singing the Hare Krishna mantra was an unexpected pleasure.

Earlier, while waiting for the groom to arrive on a white horse, surrounded by dancers and drummers, I was standing barefoot on the pavement outside. I looked across Bow Street to the police station and law courts on the other side. This is the very street where London’s first professional police force began back in 1749, in response to the area having become a red-light district with theives and vagabonds of all sorts.

Back in 1975, at the tender age of 19, I was regularly being escorted by the long arms of the law into the narrow confines of the holding cells of the Bow Street police station. Selling my spiritual master’s books or singing through the streets with clay drums and cymbals was still considered quite a problem by the police. Many Monday mornings were spent lining up with ladies of the night and hawkers to receive a short hearing and a £5 fine from the magistrates.

Less than 40 years later and the police would not think of arresting us for singing and dancing in the streets of London. Indeed, so acclimatised has London become to the sight and sound of the devotees that now they even make jigsaw puzzles for tourists featuring all the ‘traditional sights’ of London: the red buses, the black cabs – and the orange Hare Krishnas. And here I am singing the same songs inside the Royal Opera House.

After two hours of explanatory talks, rituals, and the chanting of Sanskrit mantras, I rested for a while high up on the terrace of the Opera House. There is a commanding view of London from up here, including the old Covent Garden Market. From the 1600s up until 1974 it was a thriving fruit and vegetable market where, in the early morning hours, traders would sell their fresh wares brought in overnight from the English countryside.

It was here, when as a 16 year-old spiritual seeker, I slept on the back of a flat-bed lorry, on a truckload of newly-dug potatoes, having hitched a ride the night before all the way from my home in Newark, Nottinghamshire. For me, London was the place where I could explore all the many ways of being that I had read about in books, and meet spiritual practitioners who could advise me. If only that 16 year-old boy could have looked up from the vegetables, up to the roof of the Royal Opera House, and seen his much older self looking down. I would have told him a thing or two, and helped him along his spiritual path.

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Prema-Rupa dd, USA: Security Guards

Mayapur 8/27/2009-8/31/2009

Sri-Sri Radha-Madhava on Radhastami 8/27/09- photo courtesy of mayapur.com

By the end of the trip, I was tired of all the traveling we had done. I was hopeful that Mayapur would be a sweet relief, everything that it has been hyped up to be. From the first day I was pessimistic. Probably because the trip to Mayapur had gotten off to a bad start. Our train in Varanasi was seven hours late due to a terrorist attack or something. The train station in Varanasi was absolutely filthy- filled with giant rats the size of cats- I wish I were exaggerating. I had a fever of 104 degrees at the time and I was so sick and tired that I just lay a gamcha on the floor and tried to sleep. By the time our train arrived we were cutting it close to being able to celebrate Radhastami in Mayapur. When we boarded the train it had German roaches- what German roaches are doing in India Im not sure but by then I was so tired and irritated all I could think of was reaching the magical paradise that was Sri Mayapur Dham and hopefully in time for Radhastami.

We made it just in time for the last five minutes of mangal-arati. It was completely packed with people and I felt overwhelmed with all of them pushing and shoving- I felt invisible. I had been separated from my husband during the program to our respective sides and I hadn't seen him since- there were so many people.

After mangal-arati I left the temple and sat on a bench, waiting to hopefully see my husband leave the temple. I chanted quietly and looked around. Through association with my husband I had learned a lot about Mayapur. I prayed and dreamt about being here, and now my dream had been fulfilled. Behind me was the beautiful lotus fountain and in front of me was the infamous Long Building. Everything was so big. I didn't know anyone here. Suddenly, I felt like the smallest person in the world. My husband has daydreamt about living here but I wasn't sure that I could. Its just too big. There are too many people here, there's probably no service for me to do. I remembered all the villagers, pushing and shoving for the last bit of mangal-arati darshan of Radha-Madhava. Its too much.

"Prema-Rupa! Why are you just sitting there?"
"Oh!…I couldn't remember how to get back to our room. This place is so…big…" I said sheepishly.
"You are so so silly. How long have you been sitting there?"
"Oh, umm, since after mangal-arati."
"Dear! That was almost an hour ago!"
"I couldn't find you." I muttered, sad and embarrassed. Somehow Mayapur wasn't what I expected.

The Deity Darshan in the morning was nice, but again it was packed and people were still coming in. I tried to take Darshan, tried to absorb the mood of devotion and ignore the pushing and chattering of the visitors around me but its practically impossible. I had never experienced such a packed room in my life, and everyone was just pushing and shoving, one lady hit me in the back of the head and I was so crabby I probably could have knocked her out.

When I was able to attain some peace at one side of the room, a female security guard approached me, "go there!" she instructed. I shrugged and complied, figuring that I was somehow in the way of the festivities and made my way a few feet ahead and to the left. After a few minutes I was approached by a male security guard, "move there!" he said, pointing to the spot I was originally standing in. Why can’t I just stand somewhere and take darshan on Radhastami in peace? I moved back to my original spot. This was not going well for me. I thought I would fall in love with Mayapur but so far all I've seen is a big place, with big buildings, and big Deities, and big noisy crowds.

"I told you to stand there!" I turned and saw the female security guard, angry that I had returned to my original spot. Unable to catch a break, I squished myself through the crowd and I left the temple room frustrated.

The security guards were driving me crazy. No cell-phones, no cameras, they kept giving my father a hard time for wearing short pants in the temple. I know they're just doing their job, I saw the lack of temple etiquette guests have, but cant they tell the difference between a regular polite person and a person who is unaware of temple behavior? It was miserable.

While I was being miserable, my husband was having a blast. He was visiting with old friends and family, chit-chatting with bramhachari's, and working on securing our property in Gaur-Nagar. He would often promise to be back in a moment but wouldn't return for hours and I would be left alone in our room. It bothered me at first but its not like I wanted to go anywhere so why should I stop him from his good time? I was so startled by the amount and behavior of the visitors here that I wouldn't go anywhere, no matter how much my husband tried to encourage me, I wouldn't even attend any of the daily temple programs. I was perfectly content hanging around our room in the Gada Building all day being discontented and miserable.

I did try a couple times to leave my room and go for a walk, hopefully get caught up in some kind of adventure or rekindle my love for the Dham. But I would just walk around the campus and come back to my room after about 20 minutes. One day I decided to chant my rounds in the temple room. I sat in Sri Panca-tattva's side of the temple room, in the back, near a pillar. I crossed my legs, closed my eyes and tried to focus on the Holy Name. After a few moments, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I opened my eyes to see a female security guard,

"No ghum!"
"Ghum? Sleep? No ghum. Japa." I replied, pointing to my beadbag. She walked away and I resumed my japa. After a few minutes I got a tap on my shoulder again, I once again opened my eyes to see the same security guard, "No ghum!" she instructed sternly. I pulled together the best Bengali that I could, "Amar ghum na! Ami jap korchi!" Do I have to be one of those newbie devotees having a japa seizure for people to think Im having a focused, meditative japa? Frustrated again, I left the temple.

As I walked back to my room I could hear the Nagar Sankirtan team in the distance. It was made-up of mostly international devotees and when I heard them singing, the tunes and styles, hearing the accordion and watching devotees of all colors and backgrounds dance and glorify Krishna together, it reminded me of America. It made me homesick. I had been in India almost two months, and this was the first time I wanted to go back.

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Australian News: Krishna's Birthday… for Kids!

Sri Krishna Janmastami for children of all ages

Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha Mandir
Sydney, Australia.

Saturday 4th September 2010 – from 10am

As an extra festival this year celebrating the appearance of Lord Krishna, we are holding a special day for kids to participate in the transcendentally exciting activites of spiritual life. You can bring alog a birthday card and a gift for Krishna if you would like.
Please come and brings your children for a fun filled day in the temple! Read on for the agenda and a few links to click on so you can stay up to date. See you there.

"Krishna's Birthday… Janmastami for Kids"
4th of September, Saturday

3:30pm Games
4:00pm Arati
4:20pm Offering gifts to Radha Gopinatha
4:30pm Abhishek (all children to participate)
5:00pm Feast for children
6:00pm Play "Shyamantaka Jewel"

Click here to visit the facebook page

Click here to visit the newsletter for the Sydney Temple Newsletter.

Click here to see how to get to the temple

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Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: A Journey Across to Poland: [P20] Letting the Dust Settle

Wednesday 4th, August 2010.

I awoke after a serious session with the bhutas. A man committed suicide outside our school, at Woodstock, and I was curious if he tagged along with us for the bus ride. One time in Australia, we went up north for Prasadam catering. We stayed in a little cabin, which was noticeably haunted. I managed to take the bhuta all the way back home with me, to the temple, which was the same approximate distance as our Woodstock base was from our regular base, and the bhuta attacked me through the night, in the ashram. I decided to wash off today's nightmarish rumble with a shower and a cup of hot milk, from the breakfast menu.

The next couple of days were free days, to recover from Woodstock and to prepare for the upcoming marathon of festivals. We started the day with a game of Ultimate Frisbee, before going for a long walk down to the spooky forest. There was a hunting tower, nicknamed "the Tree House" and we settled this as our final destination. The Tree House was rather creepy but otherwise the place was rather serene.

We had a wholesome Prasadam lunch and then we went to the skleps (shops) for dessert. We met Patita Pavana Prabhu (Prabhupada disciple and astrologer) and his wife along the way. We started to chat and he asked me how long I had lived in India for, because I dressed as if I had lived there for a long time. I informed him that I had only ever lived there for three months. He was surprised and suggested, "you look like you've gone tropo". He asked me if I knew what it meant. I understood the context and I managed to guess it when I actually analyzed the word but I had never before thought so much about it. "It means going tropical" he said, explaining that it was used in context of the English settlers when they adopted the culture or a country that they were "colonizing". He was confused that I didn't fully comprehend his traditional English dialect, because he had mistaken me for an Englishman. I made sure to drop the fact that I was Australian in our conversation, at one point, and we laughed at the situation. From then on he was asking me about Australia and my experiences in Gurukul.

We came back to the base. I started my daily reading of Caitanya Caritamrta. Lord Caitanya was travelling through the Jharikhanda forest, inducing the animals to chant and dance. Srila Prabhupada was commenting about distributing the holy name to the seemingly unqualified and I was thinking back to Woodstock. We had all the drunks and punks, in the masses, hearing kirtanas, and witnessing Rathayatras, all day and night. It truly was Lord Caitanya's modern day pastimes and I was so happy that we could all be a part of it. It was these realizations that made the tour that extra bit more satisfying.


Thursday 5th, August 2010. Everyone woke up for Maharaja's Istha goshti. Mostly Maharaja was praising Jurek Owsiak, the organizer of Woodstock. He commented that Jurek had done more preaching work in Poland than most of the devotees combined, simply by voicing an appreciative opinion from his position of popularity. "Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow." - Bg 3.21 Indradyumna Swami began to prompt us about the festivals to come. He mentioned that those who were just joining were about to find out how intense tour could become. Those who were on the tour were already exhausted before Woodstock even and those who were just coming were about to experience it first hand. The last few weeks were usually a compressed bit of nectar, usually with no days off and shorter, harder festivals, running every two days. I was interested to see what happened this year with the whole arrangement.

In the afternoon, I went for another Istha goshti, for the restaurant crew. I arrived, with about thirty other matajis and Rasikendra Prabhu (our service charge). He looked at me for a moment and then said, "you already know you service. Just come tomorrow at seven" and that was the end of my participation in the meeting. Later I heard they had ice-creams but I think it was best that I will never know the truth.

I spent some time on the internet, doing the usual duties. Dominik had employed Gaura Mohana to revolutionize the network. There were some devotees who did more than simply check emails, occasional mindless web search, etc. Some were downloading movies and there was some other strange history coming up on our server. Gaura Mohana was going to police it, making the service more practical for devotees and stopping people from wasting their precious time on "Maya". I checked Indradyumna Swami's photos from Woodstock and sent a couple messages back and forth with HH Mukunda Goswami. Mukunda Goswami was informing me about his work with the local yatra and GBC, trying to make my home community, New Govardhana, into a more "relevant" project for all the community members. He was vague about it but I was excited to see what happened in the end. I was happy that someone was putting some extra initiative into the project and I was anxious to hurry up my projects in Europe so I could return to see the results.

We had a lunch session outside. Whilst honouring Prasadam, we were discussing the famous, occasionally infamous, Gauranga Monks. The Gauranga Monks was a renegade preaching campaign in Scotland and England. The idea was to influence as many people as you could to say "Gauranga" and it was affiliated with a good time or being happy. "Say Gauranga and be Happy" was one of the slogans; or "can you say Gauranga? It means: be happy". It was a controversial preaching method because it was a little indirect, but because it was indirect, not officially affiliated with ISCKON at all, there were some rather outrageous things done under the Gauranga bandwagon. There were Gauranga posters, stickers and even bridges with massive Gauranga graffiti. There was talk that it might start up again, some time in the near future.

I started a little japa walk. Everyone was going on with their business. I found the Gurukulis in the Gymnasium, practicing their Gita play. Krsna Das was being trained up to play Arjuna, so they were running through the whole thing. I paused on my chanting for a moment and did the moves with them. I had done all the steps in Australia, so many times before, so it was a lot of fun to tease them all. I was probably more rehearsed than some of the actual players, who had been doing half the season in Poland or so. It was a good laugh but I knew I had better leave before they employed me so I eventually made run for it.

I found myself a spot out on the field, and stilled my body and mind. I chanted some extra serious japa and I felt everything become peaceful again. You needed experiences like this on tour, otherwise the wicked mind takes advantage of the perpetual tiredness. I finished a heap of my rounds and then went with Radheya to take darsana of his Jagannatha log. Sundara Caitanya was finally cutting the log into three pieces (Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra) and we helped along with the sawing. The Deities were one step closer to manifesting.

The couple days were well spent in some serious feasting, resting and recreation. "He who is regulated in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system." Bg - 6.17 All I had to do now was write (work)! I wrote up, edited and published a diary - all at once, hoping not to fall behind in the shadow end of the tour (which happened on most other tours). Gaura Mohana's internet revolution included putting a curfew on the internet, so people wouldn't stay up all night on it, wasting precious sleeping time. Fortunately for me they didn't switch it off straight away and I had enough time to publish my Messages from Madd Monk. I quickly scooted off to bed once I was finished. The final section of Polish tour was well on its way. There would be a lot of mixed emotions in these final weeks and certainly a lot of adventure. One could merely pray to Lord Caitanya and go along for the ride, which He had set for us all.



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H.H. Sivarama Swami: To donate or not to donate!

Is it as much of a question in Krsna’s mind as it sometimes is in ours. Notice: Controversy rating: High.

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Australian News: Calling all Kirtaniyers!

Lord Chaintanya's Sankirtan Movement
Hare Krishna Prabhus,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I am happy to announce that Maha Kirtan 7 featuring H.H. Devamrta Swami will be taking place on Saturday, August 28 at the Brisbane ISKCON Temple – 95 Bank Road, Graceville.

I am sending out this expression of interest to the other Yatras to see if you would like participate in this wonderful event.

I am calling all kirtaniyas to come to Brisbane for Maha Kirtan 7 to be part of this Nama-yajna and feature on the Kirtan Roster.

If we generate enough interest we could possibly extend the event to be a 24hr Kirtan ( 2 x 12hrs – Saturday & Sunday).

At this stage I need the email addresses of persons you think would be interested in attending and participating in Maha Kirtan 7.

Once I have the relevant email addresses I will send out an invitation to see how many people will be attending. With the relevant numbers confirmed I can then arrange accommodation etc.

Thank-you for your time and attention to this matter. Australian Yatra Kirtan ki Jaya! Param Vijayate Sri Krishna Sankirtanam!

your aspiring servant,

Krishnapada dasa.

Contact Krishnapada to reserve your place on krishnapada at hotmail.com

Click here to check out the Facebook page, see who’s on the roster and count yourself into the event.

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Krishna loves glorifying His devotees!


Indeed, depending on one's level of surrender and dedication to the Lord, He reciprocates and sometimes in ways far beyond one's imagination and expectation.

Radhanath Swami's book "The Journey Home" featured in the highlights of the United States' Fox News, one of the most prominent broadcasting corporations of America. Here's the media coverage.

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Japa Group: I Uttered The Names In A Clear Flow

The chanting I did was without serious impediment. I sailed through the names like a sailboat in not-rough waters. I uttered the names in a clear flow, keeping my mind on the syllables of the holy names.

From Bhajan Kutir #41
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Gouranga TV: Service beyond Janmashtami

Service beyond Janmashtami

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Gaura Nitai das, Mayapura, IN: Jesus...would he approve?

Thou shall not kill.

Jesus would certainly want as little suffering as possible in this world.

If we desire to please Jesus then we should take a look at all aspects of our lives and assess whether our actions resonate with his mood and desires. Our diet is a good place to start. If the content of our meal involves the killing of a living entity that would otherwise run away if it knew you were trying to kill it, should you still indulge? Remember, the reason why it would run away is to avoid pain and suffering.

If you decide to go ahead and indulge in this meal then my question is, what does it mean to accept Jesus into your heart?

This is an important question.

Whether Jesus was a strict vegetarian or not may or may not be convincing by the following clip. What is convincing about the clip is that factory farms for "raising" or "farming" any type of animal meat causes extreme amounts of suffering to the animal.

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