"Planet ISKCON" - 28 new articles
Last Thursday Lacie, my mom and I were supposed to get together so I tried to think of something we could do indoors, August in Florida is no joke and you probably don't want to be outside unless in your in some body of water.
Gainesville doesn't have a whole lot to do so I suggested we check out the Museum of Natural History run by the University of Florida.
There were some interesting exhibits about the history and ecology of Florida. The largest exhibit in the museum was the exhibit on evolution ie natural history. It was an interesting experience seeing all the fossils arranged according to the different periods of the earths history in which they live. As you walked through the museum exhibit it was arranged so that you were walking through millions of years of "evolutionary" history, it was a sort of fast forward version of the "natural history" of the earth as we walked through the exhibit.
It was indeed fascinating to see all the different creatures and monsters that walked on the prehistoric earth, and swam the depths of the primordial ocean. Many of them were gigantic and in many was fantastic.
One interesting fact I walked away with from the exhibit was that they estimate that 99.99 percent of all the lifeforms that have ever existed are now extinct. That doesn't bode well for us as a species, but I digress.
This post is about natural history, well not really about history but more about the idea of natural history.
Is there any such thing as natural history?
As I'm walking through this exhibit looking at all these fossils I'm wondering how we can plausibly draw the philosophical conclusion of naturalism based on the evidence before us. And of course the answer is that there is nothing in the fossil record that leads to the conclusion of naturalism.
It was the famous sceptic David Hume who pointed out that we can't even know that any two events are causally related, even though we may observe them happening in an apparent causal relations hundreds, thousands or even millions of times.
There is absolutely no way to put all these different life forms in some kind of causal relationship based on the theory of darwinian evolution.
All we have are the fossils remains of different species, and we have the conjecture of darwinian evolution, random mutation and natural selection, as to the cause of these different life forms.
This is the naturalistic explanation of life on earth, an explanation that ostensibly make no reference to any supernatural power to explain the existence of life.
However the museum could just as well have been called The Florida Museum of Supernatural History. Naturalism and supernaturalism are two philosophical schools that are really completely independent of the evidence. The same evidence could be displayed and presented as the supernatural creation of God.
There is simply no hard evidence, no scientific evidence for evolution. Evolution is a story, a story about who we are and how we got here, and all of life, but without any real evidence.
Natural history just is an assumption, the very idea of natural history is an assumption that not only hasn't been proven but can never be proven.
The truth of it was just so obvious looking at the exhibit.
An exhibit displaying fossil evidence as the evidence for the natural history of life is a classic example of begging the question, it assumes what is to be proven.
Rohini from South Africa wrote asking me for an eggplant pickle recipe. Here it is:
Hot & Sweet Eggplant Pickles
This tender and delicious pickle from Maharastra is simultaneously hot sweet and sour. Select firm fresh eggplants for best results. Makes 3 cups.
450g eggplants, about 3 medium, ½ cup peanut oil, 2 teaspoons finely minced ginger, 1 teaspoon yellow asafetida powder, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, ½ cup apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons ground roasted cumin seeds.
Wash and dry the eggplants. Cut them into wedges, ensuring each wedge has some skin on it.
Heat the oil over moderate heat in a wok until fairly hot. Drop in the ginger and saute for 1 minute, or until aromatic. Sprinkle in the yellow asafetida powder, saute momentarily then add the eggplant, salt and cayenne. Stir-fry the eggplants constantly for about 10 minutes, or until the eggplants are soft enough to pierce with a knife.
Add the vinegar or lemon juice, and the sugar. Reduce the heat and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the eggplants are very tender. Sprinkle in the ground cumin seeds, and remove the pickle from the heat. Allow to cool then serve.
I slept well but didn't wake up until the alarm went off at 2 A.M. I considered that late. I started chanting like the chirping of the birds in Stuyvesant Falls. Chirpy-chirpy, I clicked away at a good speed. My attention was a little diverted, but I wrestled my way back to attentive hearing. Yesterday Haridasa and I spoke about chanting. He mentioned that I always say I'm at my post chanting and that I like to do it, and there is nothing I would rather do in the world. He said that similarly Krishna likes me to be chanting, and He's pleased. I told him I had read something like that in Prabhupada's purport. Krishna is an individual as we are, and He has the same propensities. As we like to hear our names chanted, Krishna likes to hear His names chanted. So if you enjoy chanting His names, Krishna will reciprocate and give you taste. I have chanted twelve rounds but did not say them with the depth I would have preferred, with the prayer mood. When you pray in chanting you plea to Krishna to please let you be devoted to the names and love the names and feel the names as Radha and Krishna. If you don't do that, you're going through the outer motions only–clickety-click. The birds in the morning are not really chanting the divine names, although they are chanting out of a kind of animal joy. I want my chanting to be human and that of a prayer man, not a bird.
You want to chant from
Srila Prabhupada is standing on an immigration line behind a group of businessmen with his secretary Purusottama Das behind him. Sometimes devotees arranged for VIP treatment for Prabhupada where he was able to bypass the immigration queue. But mostly he was treated like an ordinary person. He resented the way the immigration officials treated him. In his lectures he compared them to barking watchdogs. "Whew! Whew! Why have you come here? How long are you going to stay?" He believed that a sadhu should not be challenged at national borders but allowed to pass freely. National borders were an artificial construction. All the land in the world actually belonged to God, and the preacher was on God's business, to save the fallen souls. Just as the gatekeepers Jaya and Vijaya were offenders for stopping the brahmacaris, the four Kumaras, the immigration officials were acting offensive in challenging Prabhupada with their formalities.
There are only two occasions I know of where he was stopped because of his Indian passport. One was in Nairobi, Africa, where he was actually denied entry and had to turn back. Another time was in Bombay, when he came from Africa without a card for yellow fever inoculation and was forced to stay in quarantine for a week before being allowed to enter the country.
Here Prabhupada is standing erect, noble and patiently in line. He behaves submissively and civilly with the authorities. He was always allowed smooth passage without delay. But it was an inconvenience for him in his old age to have to stand for long periods on slow-moving queues. He much appreciated the VIP treatment when devotees were able to arrange it. They did it sometimes in India, and even in countries outside of India. The more famous he became as a leader of the Hare Krishna movement, it was more possible to arrange.
But he had a deep philosophical objection to the erection of borders and the stoppage of Krishna's devotee for inspection and suspicion. He should be able to enter everywhere freely, like the four Kumaras. Mercifully, he did not make a curse against the border guards but accepted it with tolerance.
A brother asked me do I
"He was among the best performers
"To hell with them, the governments,
"But John walked away bored
Cane and root beer.
"…Just give me a piece of bread
No, I'll paint and write
A poem should be a praise
Bob looked at the Swami not knowing what to expect "He's come down on me heavily," the boy said.
"I don't think you did such a terrible thing. Smoking marijuana isn't good for you. It's called the ‘gentle assassin’ because it gently kills all your ideals. But you were just taking it for the first time as an experiment, weren't you?
"That's right," said Bob. "And after all this trouble I'm not looking to try it again."
Swami Rupa had broken the ice. The Swami asked Bob what was his favorite subject in school.
"I like English. I like writing essays and reading literature. My English teacher is a cool guy."
"I heard you were thinking of becoming a professor."
"Maybe. But my dad doesn't like the idea. He doesn't think they make enough money."
The Swami realized he was on thin ice. He didn't want to contradict Dan. But he wanted to encourage Bob.
"I'd like to see some of your writing," said the Swami.
"Sure. I can show you something. I get all A's."
Sometimes Srila Prabhupada's first western disciples in India, being unfamiliar with Indian culture and the behavior expected of sadhus, would attract unfavorable comments. Srila Prabhupada would often respond, "My disciples are not as qualified as you, but their one qualification is that whatever I say, they firmly believe, and they carry out my instructions". >From this it was understood that Srila Prabhupada considered that this one qualification outweighed all others, outweighing even considerable manifest disqualifications.
from a lecture by TKG
As pearls are hidden within a shell, and as a king travels surrounded by an entourage, the essence of the Bhagavad-gita is hidden in the middle of the conversation – the ninth chapter. Krishna explains the knowledge herein to be the king of all knowledge and the most secret of all secrets. Why is this knowledge considered to be the highest? Well, it is explaining the very essence of the Bhagavad-gita, the essence of spirituality and the very essence of our entire being.
About the need for personal association with a spiritual master in order to be situated in goodness and progress beyond that to Krsna consciousness.
1967 August 9 : "I had some talks with my god-brother, Swami Bon, and it is hopeful that he can give us some land for our own building for the students who come here to study sanskrit and the goswami literature."
1969 August 9 : "I do not think taking on an outside job will be nice. If you can organize sales of BTG and our literature very nicely, there will be no financial strain. Also try to cooperate with the local booksellers."
1971 August 9 : "Just now I have come to London after spending two weeks in New York. Both these centers are doing very nicely. When I was in Los Angeles, Krishna das came to see me. He was having some doubts but now he is all right."
1972 August 9 : "I am told such building could be built for less in America, what to speak of India. I shall expect it to be the most first-class building of India, you are spending like it is the Taj Mahal."
1972 August 9 : "Chanting and dancing, that's all right - but there must be some tangible results. If you go to the big steel-making cities of India and do not take donation of steel, only some letters, then where is your credit?"
1972 August 9 : "Preaching Krsna is the same as remembering Krsna. You do not have to minimize preaching in order to study. Preach as much as possible and whenever you have time, read and study. This will be the perfect program."
1974 August 9: "You have mentioned that you want to write a book, but instead of writing books, you should read and explain my books to others. Reading and writing are the same, sravanam kirtanam vishnoh."
1974 August 9: "Krsna and Balarama fighting as bulls is completely rejected by me. You have made it demoniac. Make Them as they are themselves, as boys fighting. Never show like this. Everything is there in Krsna Book. Don't imagine."
"We all need an education in the obvious."
Mukunda Datta das singing the bhajan "Bhaja Hure Mana".
Download: 2010-01-04 - 6 - Saha Home Program - Mukunda Datta das - Baja Hure Mana.mp3
If I am going to be a life skills teacher and trainer I need to practice more than any of my students.
Fear is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real.
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.22.52 & 53 - Stay close to devotees and they'll take you to Krishna.
The Life and Philosophy of Srila Jiva Goswami.
What sets us apart
Gouranga TV: Lokanath Swami – Je Anilo Prema Dhana – Prabhupada Disappearance Day – ISKCON Vrindavan 2009
The following lecture was given by H.H. Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja on August 07th, 2010, in ISKCON Ujjain. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam Canto 3: The Status Quondash; Chapter 24: The Renunciation of Kardama Munindash; Text 12
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