"Planet ISKCON" - 30 new articles
H.G. Sankarshan das Adhikari, USA: Thursday 12 August 2010--Entering into the Supreme Existence--and--Why Do All Traditions Claim ...
There is another existence beyond this material dimension, a perfect place where life is eternal, full of knowledge, and full of bliss. That place is available to us at every moment. All we have to do to enter it is to properly attune our consciousness to it. The attuning process is known as transcendental meditation. And in this age the topmost system...
What made Darwin's idea so controversial was not the idea of evolution itself, not the idea that one species can change into another over time. What made his idea controversial is the mechanism of change that he suggested, random variation or random mutation.
Darwinian evolution replaces God with randomness.
In his book Francis Collins endorses what he calls Theistic Evolution. The form of theistic evolution suggested by Collins is that Darwinian evolution is not incompatible with belief in God. I think it is, if you are talking about Darwinian evolution which is driven only by random variation and natural selection. It seems that Collins is trying to build bridges between science and religion but I think he gives a little too much ground on this issue, and is possibly not being honest with himself.
I've read The Language of God and while it is a pretty good book I would recommend The Edge of Evolution by Michael Behe as a more better treatment of the subject.
There Behe takes objection to Collins' idea that Darwinian Evolution is compatible with belief in God.
He writes, "This line of thinking is known as 'Theistic Evolution.' But its followers are kidding themselves if they think it is compatible with Darwinism. First, to the extant that anyone - either God, Pope Mary's Phsicist, or 'any being. . .external to our universe responsible for selecting its properties"-set nature up in any way to ensure a partiuclar outcome, then, to that extent, although there may be evolution, there is no Darwinism. Darwin's main contribution to science was to posit a mechanism for the unfolding of life that required no input from any intelligence-random variation and natural selection. If laws were 'implanted' into nature with eh express knowledge that they would lead to intelligent life, then even if the results follow by 'natural development,' nonetheless, intelligent life is not a random result."
To answer the original question, "Is evolution compatible with the Vedic view of the Universe?" I think the answer would be yes, not with standard darwinian evolution, but with a kind of evolution sees God, or gods involved in some significant way in outcome of the universe.
In some sense the Vedic paradigm lends itself very well to "evolutionary" perspectives due to its cyclic nature. The universes are constantly undergoing various creations and destructions and recreations and within the specific planet you have different cycles of advancement of civilization and destruction. So in a general sense change is very much a part of the Vedic view. And the Vedas do contain an account of the creation of life, and it is a somewhat gradual process. First Brahma is born from Visnu, then he creates other beings who gradually create the universe as we know it.
And yes as you pointed out, I don' think the Vedic view of the world requires that there be human beings present on our planet. Although I haven't explicitly read this anywhere I would assume that souls could go from one universe to another in order to find a karmic situation that would fit their needs.
However I should probably point out that a totally literal interpretation of the Vedic creation is completely incompatible with any account of the empirical version of reality that we perceive.
Although the fossil record doesn't fully support Darwinian evolution, as it contains some serious anomalies from an Darwinian perspective, the fossil record certainly doesn't support a Vedic view of the history of the earth. For example, where is the evidence for previous Kali yugas? A yuga cycle only lasts for a little over four million years, not much in geological time, and if there had been many of these Kali yuga's I would imagine that there would be some evidence, at least if they were happening in the same dimension that we are currently existing in.
We can definitely speculate about complex theories that could account this apparent discrepancy. For example we could imagine that the different yugas exist in different dimensions and these different dimension phase in and out of existence, etc etc.
However the standard Vedic view is actually very simple, and it is that we can never achieve any accurate knowledge through our senses. The only way to receive any true knowledge is through the perfect revelation of the Vedic scriptures.
Any attempt to harmonize our sense perception with Vedic reality is futile, we are like the "frogs a well," to use a Vedic expression.
This is not as dogmatic as it sounds, it is a pretty classic philosophical position taken by many philosophers including Plato and more modern philosophers like Kant, and many many others in between.
This makes coming up with any comprehensive empirical account of history of the universe impossible, so in that sense nothing empirical could possibly threaten the Vedic worldview. To use the example of evolution, it may appear that one species is changing into another over time but this process may be influenced by beings in higher dimensions, even with our current scientific understanding we could hypothesize how this could be possible, and with the Vedic idea of time being relative this could all be happening very quickly in a higher realm but could be taking millions of years here in our three dimensional world.
To use a reference to pop culture, we are in the matrix and have no access to the world that lies outside of it.
Darwinian evolution is in conflict with the Vedic, and really any Theistic, paradigm primarily in that it posits random mutation as the driving force rather that seeing the process and the universe itself as being under the control of God.
So I would say that from the Vedic perspective, there may be some kind of evolution, ie. common descent (there is pretty strong genetic evidence for this), or it just may appear to us that there is common descent but most importantly the driving force behind the existence of life cannot be randomness it must be God.
But again I would caution that it is impossible to reconcile the realty of our senses and the "natural history" we have constructed based on that with the Vedic view of life on Earth and the history of the universe.
A few thoughts, on the topic.
Kalindi dasi singing a Hare Krishna bhajan.
Download: 2010-01-04 - 8 - Saha Home Program - Kalindi Dasi - Hare Krishna.mp3
Madhava Ghosh dasa, New Vrndavan, USA: Gosh Podiums AT 2010 National Kidney Foundation Transplant Games
I won a silver medal at the National Kidney Foundation 2010 transplant Games in Madison , WI. in the men’s 60-69 age group 800 meter.
It isn’t as great as it sounds at first. Note that no one is standing on the Bronze medal platform because there was only 2 of us in the event. The winner lapped me before I finished the first lap of two. Got the medal mainly for showing up and finishing the race. My goal was to run the distance without having to stop and walk from time to time like I had to in 2008 and I did achieve that.
I have adopted as my motto something I heard from a woman who does marathons.
I use the calendar as my stop watch — finish the race the same day I start it.
I left the Games early once my events were finished so I was trying to find the Closing Ceremonies on the web and stumbled into some stories. There had been a booth set up at the Games where one could go in and tell their story. Practically anyone you talked to at the Games had a story that could be a feature article in a local newspaper. Here is the story by the guy who won his 4th medal of the 2010 Games by beating me. He would have been competitive with anyone.
I am sorry I wasn’t more suitable competition for him.
Filed under: Liver Transplant, Sports
I slept well and woke at a quarter after one. But my first eight rounds were slow. I felt sleepy and didn't do good chanting. Nara came up at 2:30 and gave me some ginseng pills and water to drink. After this I woke up and chanted my next six rounds very alertly. It was such a happy feeling to spring back and to chant in Krishna's shelter. We should do whatever we have to (taking rest early, taking proper vitamin supplements, etc.) so that we can chant in a good condition of mind. In my last six rounds my mind did not wander, and I kept my consciousness simplified and paying attention to the syllables of the holy names. Haridas sometimes tells me that I underestimate my chanting and that I'm actually a better chanter than I say I am. But I think what you see is what you are. I am a struggling sadhaka who chants, at best, with attention to the holy names. Narottama dasa Thakura sings in his lamentation mood that he does not think of Radha and Krishna or Lord Caitanya. I think I have to make this lamentation too. I would like to be able to chant in the other set of prayers that he makes, where he so boldly aspires for direct service for Radha and Krishna, but I cannot do it yet. All glories to Narottama dasa Thakura and his wonderful Bengali songs of exaltation and lamentation teaching us how to be Vaishnavas.
Improving in your japa
Srila Prabhupada is giving his time to a single guest. It might seem like a non-economical use of his time to spend a couple of hours with just one person, but Prabhupada did it many times. He liked his disciples to bring him respectable persons: professors, politicians, businessmen, etc. He thought influencing the elite was an effective way of spreading Krishna consciousness. He used to say, "If only ten percent of the people would become Krishna conscious,” it would bring a significant change in society. Here he is sitting somewhat in the background while a guest looks on at one of Srila Prabhupada's books with Pusta-krishna Maharaja, and perhaps Yogesvara Prabhu translates from French. But Prabhupada is controlling the conversation. They are reading from the text of the scripture, and Prabhupada is explaining it in his own words.
At Bhaktivedanta Manor in England he used to tell his secretary Syamasundara to bring him a new distinguished guest every day, and sometimes Prabhupada would stay at the Manor for months as Syamasundara expertly invited important people to meet with Prabhupada. Prabhupada liked to have an elevated conversation and preferred an influential person. But in person he told his devotees that for the most part the important men they brought to him were ignorant of the very fundamentals of spiritual life and hard to convince. Still, he went on meeting them, humbly serving Lord Caitanya's instruction to tell everyone you meet about Krishna. Prabhupada did it for his own preaching agenda, and he set the example for his disciples, that they should always be actively meeting people—especially prestigious people—and try to convince them of Krishna. And it was not all fruitless. Many people that Prabhupada met were deeply impressed by his learning and saintly demeanor and kept permanent favorable impressions of their encounter with His Divine Grace.
Joey continued visiting the Healing House and liked to spend time there. Rupa Swami wasn't very successful in teaching him Bhagavad-gita because Joey couldn't retain the teachings. He didn't remember who Krishna was, and sometimes he didn't even recognize the Swami. He once reverted to asking him if he were a Buddhist. But he liked to render menial service and working under Ollie's direction. He liked sitting outside by the fence and calming the next-door neighbor's dog when it barked. They were still in the process of moving into the Healing House, and Joey helped unpack boxes of books and hang paintings. He did well with simple tasks under supervision. Ollie explained to him the principle of devotional service. He said they were all monks, and the house was an ashram. Whatever they did there was a direct service to God, so preparing for cooking or unpacking boxes could be as pleasing to Krishna as studying the Bhagavad-gita or chanting the holy names. Joey liked the idea that he was rendering "bhakti" by doing chores at the house, and Ollie told him of the great service of devotees like Hanuman and Arjuna.
Joey learned to operate the washer and drier and he helped doing the laundry. One day Ollie was ironing the Swami's kurtas, and Joey asked, "May I do it?" Ollie hesitated and said it was a delicate operation. Joey insisted and said he did ironing at home. Ollie let him do one shirt, and Joey did it well, making neat seams on the sleeves and taking out the wrinkles. Ollie said, "Okay, I'll let you do the rest. I'm going to take a little nap. If you have any trouble, wake me up." Joey applied himself to ironing while Ollie went to his room. Joey sang the Hare Krishna tune.
After five minutes Joey heard the dog barking in the neighbor's backyard. He left the steam-iron sitting on the shirt and went out the back door to sit by the fence. Within a few minutes the steam dried up in the iron, and it heated up. It burnt a hole through the shirt causing smoke to rise, and burnt into the cloth covering of the ironing board. Ollie was fast asleep. Saci had installed a fire-alarm system in the house that went off when too much smoke accumulated. The alarm was connected to the volunteer fire department which happened to be located only a few minutes away on the same block. After another five minutes, smoke was billowing through the room, embers were spreading on the ironing-board—and the kitchen fire alarm went off. Ollie woke up and saw smoke pouring through the low ceilings of the rooms on the first floor. He ran to the source of the fire and pulled the iron off the ironing board. But it was too late. The emergency alarm had already gone off in the firehouse, indicating a house fire at 909 Albany Avenue. Preparing for the worst, the volunteers assembled and drove two trucks out of the building with sirens blaring. Ten men had gathered, and they donned fire-resistant coats and masks, with water tanks on their backs, and axes in their hands. The paramedic ambulance also pulled out of the firehouse. Ollie got the Swami, and they both ran out of the smoke-filled house. Within minutes the firemen with all their paraphernalia rushed into the front door. Ollie informed them that it was only an iron on the ironing board and that the fire was put out. But the firemen, who were not pleased at this turn of events, ran around the house, turning things over to make sure another fire had not sprouted up somewhere in the building. Both floors and the basement were filled with firemen. Neighbors gathered in the street to watch. Joey wandered by and stood in front of the house watching with the neighbors.
Ollie took the blame for the fire and didn't mention Joey's negligence. The firemen reprimanded him and lectured him on what was a waste of their time and risk of accident. After half an hour, as the smoke cleared and they found no sign of a fire, they left uttering stern warnings to be more careful.
Ollie figured there was not much point in telling Joey what he had done wrong. He had just been forgetful, and that was due to his disease. Ollie did go through the motions dispassionately and told Joey that he should not have left the room with thethe iron unattended on the board.
” I forgot,” Joey said with some sheepish regret. After that they decided Joey could keep coming to the Healing House, but they would be very careful what tasks to give him and always supervise him. They did tell his his daughter about the incident, and she was very alarmed. She said she would restrict Joey from coming to their house. But the inmates thought Joey had such a nice service service attitude that they shouldn’t ban him but continue to give him the opportunity to render service to Krshna.
To see images in real size and to see their descriptions, click on them.
1971 August 11: "I am very glad to hear that he has changed his mind and is wanting to preach. If he can go to South America that will be very nice. And he should take to preaching very seriously. A sannyasa should be strong minded, not childish."
1971 August 11: "I am so much encouraged to learn that you have come to Kathmandu. Please try and organize a center there. It will be a great credit for you. Nepalese will take to this Krishna Consciousness movement very easily. Simply you have to organize it nicely."
1971 August 11: "I understand that you have been invited by her. I don't advise that you associate with her because she is sahajiya. To associate with her will hamper pure devotional service."
1971 August 11: "I understand that sometimes you are going to Delhi with Tamala in a plane for visiting some officers but that is of no use. My request is that you go organize a center there for printing our books and magazine and recruiting life members."
1972 August 11: "Have a European preaching center and try to enlist all the hippies and tourists who come to Vrndavana. Give them nice prasadam, engage them in chanting, cleaning the temple, reading our books, and give them all facilities for becoming devotees."
1972 August 11: "Make Krsna your husband, always think of Him, chant without fail sixteen rounds daily, read Srimad-Bhagavatam at least one hour daily, and in this way without any doubt you will very soon become very happy."
GBC Strategic Planning announcement
Srila Prabhupada established the GBC to provide leadership and governance for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. In turn, the GBC develops global policies and strategies to ensure that ISKCON moves smoothly and sustainably into the future. The times call for both dynamic, visionary planning as well as the effective execution of those plans. The GBC has concluded that to best serve ISKCON, it needs to strengthen its executive strategies by establishing an Executive Director, who will serve the GBC by ensuring that GBC members fulfill the fundamental assignments Srila Prabhupada gave them, implement the GBC's resolutions, and make progress in activities related to strategic planning
By Chirag Dangarwala
Just like in order to become a Masters of Science one has to at least have a Bachelor's degree, similarly in order to develop the transcendental love for Godhead one has to be situated in the mode of goodness at least, that is a pre-requisite
By Gopal Gaura Guru dasa
Kalady is the birth place of Sripada Shankaracharya who blazed an intellectual and spiritual trail from this humble hamlet and toured the holy land of Bharata desa with the clarion call for bursting the illusory bubble of material existence.
Taruni Tan: Since 2001, Atma Yoga has been developing a training program that is the only one of its kind in the world. What makes Atma Yoga so unique is that it integrates yogic philosophy and yoga practices that work together in this modern age
Balaram (बलराम, Balarāma), also known as Baladeva, Balabhadra and Haladhara, is the elder brother of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. Within Vaishnavism and a number of South Indian, Hindu traditions Balaram is worshipped as an avatar of Vishnu, and He is also listed as such in the Bhagavata Purana. Within both the Vaishnava traditions and Hinduism generally He is acknowledged as being a manifestation of Shesha, the serpent on whom Vishnu rests.
From the Bhagavad Gita we understand that the soul is indestructible but the body is. The person within the body never changes but the body changes (BG 2.13). Therefore when the body is born, growes old and ultimately dissolves, still the person remains. This is true because if we analyze our own "person", we will realize that the "I" we relate to is the same since early childhood but the "body" we relate to seems to dwindle with age. Yet for some reason, we are convinced that the unchanging feeling of "I" and the changing "body" is one and the same thing.
This oneness has been proven wrong recently in a personality study. Of course, the goal of the study is not to disprove the body-soul theory but to disprove that the personality changes with age.
Doctoral student and original author Christopher Nave infers from his personality study that "we remain recognizably the same person". Personality implies person and the person is recognizably the same from early childhood till death thus vindicating the 5000 year old knowledge contained within the Gita that the person is changeless whereas the body changes ultimately implying that we are not the body but something other than the body.
The research will be published in an issue of social psychology and personality science. I found this article on Yahoo - link
However, what is interesting is at the end the author states that personality is part of us, part of our biology. He equates personality with biology as one. That means biology is also constant and unchanging. But this cannot be true as we constantly experience biological changes taking place in our body, how then, can an unchanging personality be equated with a changing biology?
This obvious contradiction exposes the fallacy of modern day thought and the hypocrisy associated with it - all in the name of knowledge & evidence!
Here are a couple of videos from the recent tour. A live album made up of the best of the tour is in the works.
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