domingo, 15 de agosto de 2010

H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Bhagavatam and Poem from a Prose Book



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  1. Sita-pati dasa, AU: Dawkins on Sex and Survival
  2. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 40
  3. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Relaxing
  4. Rupa Madhurya das, TX, USA: Bhajan - Anish - Hare Krishna
  5. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Bhagavatam and Poem from a Prose Book
  6. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Good Advice
  7. ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Bhajan's Night - LIVE!!!!
  8. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  9. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  10. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  11. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  12. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  13. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  14. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  15. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  16. Japa Group: Please Join The Japa Group
  17. Akrura das, Gita Coaching: GIVE MORE THAN YOU RECEIVE
  18. Bharatavarsa.net: Book distribution seminar: Book distribution in Czech Republic
  19. Bharatavarsa.net: Book distribution seminar: Book distribution in Czech Republic
  20. Book Distribution News: Book distribution in Czech Republic
  21. Book Distribution News: Book distribution in Czech Republic
  22. Caitanya Mangala, CA, USA: KulimeLA 2009: The DVD – Now Available at Krishna.com!
  23. Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: A Journey Across to Poland: [P17] Woodstock 2010. Day 2
  24. ISKCON News.com: Krishna Valley Teaches Sustainable Living to Thousands
  25. Dandavats.com: Congressman Harry Mitchell greets Hare Krishna along with Namaste
  26. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: ISKCON Gives Children a Reason to go to School
  27. ISKCON News.com: Should ISKCON Devotees Observe Chaturmasya?
  28. ISKCON News.com: Prema Hara: Distributing Divine Love of Kirtan
  29. ISKCON News.com: Summoning the Spiritual With Just Enough Cowbell
  30. ISKCON News.com: Biblical Plagues Were Real (And Could Happen Again)
  31. ISKCON News.com: For Many Muslims, Start of Ramadan Stirs Up Centuries-old Debate Between Science and Doctrine
  32. ISKCON News.com: Only Universal Truth Can Change Our World
  33. Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: New York Professionals Learn To Cook Up A Veggie Storm
  34. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Balanuja dasa asks
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Sita-pati dasa, AU: Dawkins on Sex and Survival

"Notions like Selfish Genes, memes, and extended phenotypes are powerful and exciting. They make me think differently. Unfortunately, I spend a lot of time arguing against people who have overinterpreted these ideas. They're too easily misunderstood as explaining more than they do. So you see, this Dawkins is a dangerous guy. Like Marx. Or Darwin."

- Physicist and computer scientist W. Daniel Hillis, quoted in the Edge's The Selfish Gene Thirty Years On special

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...

They are in you and me; they created us, body and mind; and their preservation is the ultimate rationale for our existence. They have come a long way, those replicators. Now they go by the name of genes, and we are their survival machines... We are survival machines, robot machines, blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.

- Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene

According to the Vedic worldview, the body and the mind are material manifestations, and are inextricably linked and interdependent:

The living entity, thus taking another gross body, obtains a certain type of ear, eye, tongue, nose and sense of touch, which are grouped about the mind. He thus enjoys a particular set of sense objects.

- Bhagavad-gita 15.9

The Vedic worldview explains that there is an "observer", who experiences the body and mind and is completely separate from the two. This observer is commonly referred to as "the living entity".

Bodies and their attendant minds are produced by material nature:

Material nature and the living entities should be understood to be beginningless. Their transformations and the modes of matter are products of material nature. Nature is said to be the cause of all material causes and effects, whereas the living entity is the cause of the various sufferings and enjoyments in this world.

- Bhagavad-gita 13.20-21

Commenting on these verses, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, a 20th century commentator on the Bhagavad-gita explains (my emphasis to highlight points of congruence with Dawkins above):

The different manifestations of body and senses among the living entities are due to material nature. There are 8,400,000 different species of life, and these varieties are creations of the material nature. They arise from the different sensual pleasures of the living entity, who thus desires to live in this body or that. When he is put into different bodies, he enjoys different kinds of happiness and distress. His material happiness and distress are due to his body, and not to himself as he is. In his original state there is no doubt of enjoyment; therefore that is his real state. Because of the desire to lord it over material nature, he is in the material world. In the spiritual world there is no such thing. The spiritual world is pure, but in the material world everyone is struggling hard to acquire different kinds of pleasures for the body. It might be more clear to state that this body is the effect of the senses. The senses are instruments for gratifying desire. Now, the sum total — body and instrument senses — are offered by material nature, and as will be clear in the next verse, the living entity is blessed or damned with circumstances according to his past desire and activity. According to one's desires and activities, material nature places one in various residential quarters. The being himself is the cause of his attaining such residential quarters and his attendant enjoyment or suffering. Once placed in some particular kind of body, he comes under the control of nature because the body, being matter, acts according to the laws of nature. At that time, the living entity has no power to change that law. Suppose an entity is put into the body of a dog. As soon as he is put into the body of a dog, he must act like a dog. He cannot act otherwise.

- A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita As It Is 13.21 purport

Congruent with Dawkins' view of the body as a machine which dictates the terms of existence, Prabhupada explains that the body and mind are produced by material nature, and that once within the material body the living entity is on the agenda of the material body.

Dawkins explains that the agenda of the material body arises from genes, which are the mechanism by which the material nature creates various bodies. The agenda of the genes is survival by means of replication. This means reproduction of bodies which contain these genes. The primary agenda for the body therefore becomes gaining access to the resources necessary for the survival of the genes' survival machine, the body - namely food and shelter - and reproduction of the genes' container - the body.

While the living entity in the body may feel that he wishes to preserve his own life, and I'm sure we all do, the genes, inasmuch as we can attribute motive to them as a means of narrating the situation, wish to preserve themselves - which means that they are happy for their survival machine to die, as long as they are able to continue in another body.

As a result of this, we see that monkeys, when offered the opportunity with electrodes implanted into their brain will press a button to experience orgasm in preference to the activities needed for their continued immediate personal survival:

It was found that in male monkeys there were separate systems for erection, for ejaculation, and for orgasm. With an electrode in the separate orgasm system, the monkey would stimulate this region and go through a total orgasm without erection and without ejaculation. Given the apparatus by which he could stimulate himself once every three minutes for twenty-fours hours a day, the monkey stimulated the site and had orgasms every three minutes for sixteen hours and then slept eight hours and started again the next day.

- John C Lilly, The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography, p.90

The monkeys run the risk of dying due to this behaviour. We all want to live, and we usually act in such a way as to preserve our life. However, the genes in our body will continue to exist after the death of our body, if they can get themselves into another body, and this leads us to behaviours that ensure the survival of the genes, while "we" (meaning the particular combination of this body and the consciousness that experiences it) die. By the Vedic standard the living entity never dies, but this body will die.

Prabhupada gives a number of examples of animals which are lured to their death by sex desire, such as an elephant that falls into a prepared trap in a path after being tempted by a female elephant. Sex desire is so powerful that it trumps self-preservation. Dawkins gives the mechanistic explanation of why this is so, based on the concept of the selfish gene, which is an application of Darwin's big idea, the single simple idea of reproduction, variation and natural selection - an idea whose power lies in its ability to explain so much from such a simple principle.

Orgasm is usually associated with ejaculation, which is usually associated with reproduction opportunity. With two or three more vehicles (bodies), genes have increased chances of survival. Therefore, natural selection will over time filter out genes which create bodies with low sexual drive, as bodies with gene sets that produce higher sexual drive reproduce more (all other factors being equal), and thus spread those genes at the expense of the lower sex-drive producing gene combinations.

The result is that reproduction will become and remain an intense driving force for the survival machines - the "sex desire that typifies and perpetuates material existence" in the Vedic worldview (actually, identification with that desire, technically). While in the body, the consciousness of the living entity is subverted by the agenda of the genes, in the Vedic worldview, or merely exists to serve the agenda of the genes in Dawkins' worldview, which does not contain the concept of a separate observer with a distinct agenda that can be subverted.

As such, all human endeavours, such as language, art, science, and commerce, are Dawkins' "extended phenotype", genetic strategies that extend the influence of the genes on their future survival beyond the biological tissue of the survival machine (his self-nominated single greatest contribution to evolutionary biology, which I shall discuss in further depth in another post), or "material activities born of lust (rajo-guna)" in the language of the Vedic worldview.

I call 100% congruence, with gratitude to Dawkins for providing a rational mechanistic explanation to colour in and support the Vedic perspective.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 40

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3:44 A.M.

The days of the month are passing quickly, and summer will soon be over. We've settled into the house for over a month now, and my chanting routine is established. I'm as well-established as I was in the Yellow Submarine.  This morning I woke up at 1:30 A.M. and had a headache, but I controlled it with medicine and went on with my chanting. I chanted silently in the mind, but swiftly heard the syllables within. It was a good session on the level that I'm presently at, and I can yearn for more, but I can't immediately accomplish more. Narayana said he would talk with me and help me to vary these japa reports so that they're not so much the same.  I like to give instructions on japa, but I basically have to report on what I'm accomplishing each day, and that tends to be the same thing. I'm feeling satisfied because I've already chanted my 16 rounds, and they were done without interruption or distraction. I just heard and moved along, taking the two sections of the mantra,  the Hare Krishna part and the Hare Rama part and joining them together and swiftly linking it to the next mantra and linking it to the next mantra, and so on. It forms a complete circle or rosary, and you go round and round. You don't feel bored or inattentive. You move to accomplish your numerical strength. You feel very peaceful in your room and enjoy the solitude and being with Krishna. In his essay on chanting, Aindra Prabhu wrote that japa is like being alone with Krishna in the union of Radha and Krishna in the kunjas, and sankirtana is like the group chanting in the rasa dance. So my japa felt like that this morning, alone with Krishna and feeling blessed.

Alone with Krishna and Radha
can I make that claim?
Yes I can, it is backed
by the scriptures. The name
is not different than the form.
I do not taste it fully,
and Lord Caitanya says this
is due to offenses. My
main offense is lack
of love. I chant with
just the quiet emotion
of japa yajna,
uttering and counting and relishing
the peace. I like to be alone
with the maha-mantra and
hear no sound but my mental chanting, the cleansing
like a broom of the dust,
the polishing of the mirror
of the mind so I can see
who I am, a servant of
the Lord, and with my
outer eyes I see Radha
and Govinda on Their altar.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Relaxing

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Prabhupada Smaranam

It is unusual to see Srila Prabhupada in such a laid-back position, his legs folded under him as he chews on a sugarcane. Prabhupada is usually very formal in his eating habits, eating only at scheduled times and sitting with the dish before him. It is a delight to see him chewing like a young Bengali boy on a raw stick of sugarcane. At this time his teeth were good enough for this exercise, and he appears to take great pleasure in the act. It shows he can enjoy himself in fun even while acting as Krishna's pure devotee. The act is also a healthy one.

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Rupa Madhurya das, TX, USA: Bhajan - Anish - Hare Krishna

Anish singing a Hare Krishna bhajan.

Dallas, TX
2010-01-04 


Download: 2010-01-04 - 9 - Saha Home Program - Anish - Hare Krishna.mp3
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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Bhagavatam and Poem from a Prose Book

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

1.
Dhruva Maharaja was attacked
by the Raksasas with puss and
stool and lightning and by tsunami
raining from the sky. He fought
back with his arrows and took
the sages' advice that the barrage was
all illusion. So he chanted Hare
Krishna mantra at the top of his
lungs, and the bad things
went away.

2.
Here is a poem from the pages of
that strange book Under Dark Stars:
"Yeah, things ain't what they used to be."
It used to be merry?
We were afraid of rocks through
the window, but there were visits and letters
from Prabhupada. And simpler
friendships. Was it not that way?

"Things ain't what they used to be.
I could work hard and chant
my rounds with loud strength
and lectures every day from dearest
Srimad-Bhagavatam.

"I have a dearest letter, I traveled in a sannyasi van.
And was greeted everywhere.

"But sure, lots of trouble even
then. She blew so loud and clear.
I liked it, Swamiji said, 'You are a boy sincere,
one of the best;' do whatever he says.

"But I wasn't always right. Better to
have a day school. Better to have a
fired-up leader who goes into the streets
running after people for a quarter.

"Or better to turn the whole thing over to one
who knows how to manage things. All I had was a
little warmth and sastra. No heavy politics
filtered through the Bhagavatam.
Now good morning breakfast,
nothing cooked by karmis."

3.
"Things ain't what they used to be"
is a jazz song indicating just that—
with the fading of youth, the high
times are gone and you sing a blues.
The poem recalls the early days of
ISKCON when the poet was
sound in body and mind and
on the front lines and
getting regular orders in missives
from the guru. In the thick
of things, "running after people for
a quarter," no headaches,
popular leader though
he made some mistakes.
Said Dallas gurukula should
be a boarding school,
not a good manager but
giving the Bhagavatam class,
ready for it every day.
From the evangelical,
simple, warmer fellow.
Now he's in the Healing House,
things ain't what they used to be.
Exiled and punished,
headaches several times a
day, just want to be
left alone, but writing still blowing,
"Things ain't what they
used to be."

4.
Dhruva Maharaja returned the attack
so much he was on the verge of
killing the whole race of Yaksas.
Their father, the demigod
treasurer, Kuvera, was in
distress. Brahma came to
Dhruva and asked him to
restrain himself. Such
unrestrained killing is not for
a ksatriya. Be cool. Dhruva relented and
stopped the slaughter.
In gratitude, Kuvera said,
"You can take whatever you
want from my unlimited treasure."
Wise Dhruva asked if he
could get the friendship of the
pure devotees of  Krishna. That alone
would satisfy his heart's desire.
That is the conclusion to a
wonderful story, his desire
for bhakti. The old man
who says, "Things ain't what they
used to be" should also desire
to be sharper and courageous, compassion
to live with the devotees.
He should not fade out
in invalidity, but like
Dhruva, ask for the truly
best thing and not think he's
unable to receive it
because of illness.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Good Advice

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

Healing House

Shortly after Sara's meeting with Swami Rupa, Dan asked for another meeting with him. They hadn't met since Dan admitted his spiritual relapse, and he was eager to meet again.

"I want to thank you for meeting with my wife," said Dan. "Your advice that she not nag me and not to worry so much about our retirement plans—but to trust in God—has really helped our relationship.”

"I thought my talk with her was supposed to be confidential," said Swami Rupa.

"You know a husband and wife can't keep much confidential from each other," Dan smiled. "But I'm really concerned about her telling you I'm a hunter and your remarks against hunting. That is a secret I keep from her." Dan then revealed to the Swami that he wasn't a hunter. "I go out hunting for two reasons," said Dan. "One is, it's my way to get away from the nagging and to spend time alone. But I don't actually shoot any ammunition or kill any animals." Dan told Swami Rupa that he was building up a gun collection as a financial investment. "That's my major retirement plan. She wants to put money in the bank, but we'll only get a little interest return on that. I'm buying expensive, valuable guns with the plan to sell them in the future. The gun lobby, the NRA, is one of the biggest lobbies in Washington. My guns are increasing in value every year. When I start selling them, we'll have a solid investment. So I shoot two birds with one stone, so to speak. I load my ATV on the back of my pickup truck, and I pack a kayak on top. I'm able to go deep into the woods, to my favorite lake, and I get some peace. When I am able to go to gun shows, I'm expert at picking out what are the best investments by my military and police experience.

"This is a far out story," said Swami Rupa, truly surprised. "But there's just one thing missing. Your marriage is falling apart. You should take your wife with you on your so-called hunting expeditions. It's a perfect way to spend quality, even romantic time together. And ease her mind about the gun purchases. Tell her it's your financial investment plan. It will relieve her anxiety about the spending.  You really owe that to her. You can sleep together in a tent by the lake and hear the eerie sound of the loons at dawn. It will bring you closer together. It will stop her whining. Here she is going off to yoga classes and you going 'hunting'—in two different directions. You could even consider going to yoga lessons with her."

Swami Rupa had another idea. He knew a devotee of Krishna who was  also an expert in conflict resolution. He had a master's degree in it. He had recently held a seminar with all the supreme court justices in India. They could consider going to see him to help them with their lack of communication.

Dan took it all in. "Yeah. Maybe. I definitely think I will take her in about my secret of gun-buying and my hunting trips. It's too secretive. Thanks for the advice."

A week later, Dan came by to see the Swami Rupa. He said things had improved very much at home. His wife said she didn't understand about investing in guns, but she trusted he knew what he was doing. They had a neighbor friend come and watch over their kids, and they spent a weekend camping in a tent. They told Bob and Janice that Dan wasn't actually hunting. Dan said the weekend in the tent was very intimate and affectionate. They planned to do it again. Swami Rupa was overjoyed, and his friendship with Dan became closer. Now if only he could get him interested in spiritual life again.

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ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Bhajan's Night - LIVE!!!!

Live Video streaming by Ustream

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1965 August 14: "The ship started at about 11 o'clock in the morning majestically. On reaching the Bay of Bengal, there is tilting and little rolling and I felt sea sickness. There was vomiting tendency and dizziness the whole day and night."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1965

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1968 August 14: "The whole Srimad-Bhagavatam is full of philosophical discussions and we are prepared for that. But at the same time we are concerned mostly with the mass of people - therefore Hare Krishna kirtana is our life and soul."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1968

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 August 14: "I am sick since the last four days. The climate here in London is not at all suitable for me. There is no sunshine. Almost always there is darkness and rain. So it has affected my health."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 August 14: "Yes, we were saved by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Road. We shall always expect to be saved by His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja Prabhupada. Whatever success we have had in preaching Lord Caitanya's mission all over the world it is only due to his mercy."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 August 14: "There are complaints against the GBC which is not very favorable. We require to hold this important meeting of the GBC to formulate the rules and regulations how things will be worked on."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 August 14: "I set up the GBC with hope that I shall get relief from administration of the mission but on the contrary I have become the center of receiving so many complaints. So it is not a relief for me, rather it is becoming troublesome."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 August 14: "Yes, I can be made President and Trustee of the Corporation as you have suggested. Now I want to make an International Trust Board for the whole Society. Make a draft and kindly send to me."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1958 August 14: "They are continuously holding expensive conferences, meetings, summit talks etc. but because such attempts are being made without any relation of God, they are all manifold creations of the External Potency of the Absolute Truth."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1947-64

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Japa Group: Please Join The Japa Group

Please share your realisations with other devotees from around the world...simply send me an introduction email and I will be happy to make you a member:

rasa108@gmail.com

ys

Rasa Rasika dasa

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Akrura das, Gita Coaching: GIVE MORE THAN YOU RECEIVE

Ultimately, what shapes the meaning and value of our lives is not what we get but what we give.

If we can have a goal to find a way to add more value to people's lives, then we will not have to worry about success.

If we are constantly trying to make a give-and-take deal, we will struggle to prosper, both internally and externally.

Someone said, "The secret to living is giving."

We are not created to be selfish, yet we are.

But we can change this by a sincere, conscious effort.

We can achieve and get things, but deep down in our souls we have an urge to give and serve, not just to take.

If each day we can sincerely try to give something valuable to people around us, we will experience a life of deeper meaning and greater joy.

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Bharatavarsa.net: Book distribution seminar: Book distribution in Czech Republic

One summer day I began distributing the books of Srila Prabhupada at a square in a small south Czech Republic city. The third person I stopped was a lady and as I presented the books, I noticed an older man listening to us from a small distance. In our devotee-slang we call such people SPA (secret police agents), and because they are a disturbing element in book distribution, we try to avoid them. This man looked a bit crazy, due to his slow motion and special accent. He interrupted our conversation and asked how he could help me. Meanwhile the lady took the opportunity and left. A bit annoyed, I told him, I don't need any help and asked him to go on with his business. The man was persistent though, and inquired what I was actually doing there. Judging by his ways and appearance I concluded he must be one of the musty, bored and curious old men who are more or less obstructions for a book distributor and take away his valuable time and determination. So I briefly replied that I am a Hare Krishna monk from Prague and today I am distributing books about God here. To my surprise he didn't leave as I expected and further inquired about the books, so I told him that they are encyclopedias of spiritual wisdom and one costs 2.800 crowns (price for a book set in Czech, 16 books). Because he was a retired person who didn't look that he could take even one of them, I was convinced that this mantra will work and he will leave.

Then he said, "I will gladly take one encyclopedia."

My jaw dropped. I started to wonder, "What is going on. Here is a soul, part of Krishna, who is very much eager for the books of Srila Prabhupada and the only obstacle is me. How absurd!" I felt terrible.

This man gave a donation of 1.000 crowns on the spot, without even seeing the books, and the rest he bought within one hour. I invited him into the van, where I showed him and gave him all our books and spent about forty minutes in pleasant and friendly talk. This man turned out to be a nice person, interested in spiritual things with deep understanding of our philosophy. He very much appreciated our traveling life and the sublime mission of Srila Prabhupada. It was the first time that I have distributed all our books to one person, and, overwhelmed by bliss, I promised myself that I will never again judge people on the street according to external appearance, but rather will try to convey the causeless mercy of Lord Caitanya to all conditioned souls without distinction.

Panca Tattva Dasa

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Bharatavarsa.net: Book distribution seminar: Book distribution in Czech Republic

One summer day I began distributing the books of Srila Prabhupada at a square in a small south Czech Republic city. The third person I stopped was a lady and as I presented the books, I noticed an older man listening to us from a small distance. In our devotee-slang we call such people SPA (secret police agents), and because they are a disturbing element in book distribution, we try to avoid them. This man looked a bit crazy, due to his slow motion and special accent. He interrupted our conversation and asked how he could help me. Meanwhile the lady took the opportunity and left. A bit annoyed, I told him, I don't need any help and asked him to go on with his business. The man was persistent though, and inquired what I was actually doing there. Judging by his ways and appearance I concluded he must be one of the musty, bored and curious old men who are more or less obstructions for a book distributor and take away his valuable time and determination. So I briefly replied that I am a Hare Krishna monk from Prague and today I am distributing books about God here. To my surprise he didn't leave as I expected and further inquired about the books, so I told him that they are encyclopedias of spiritual wisdom and one costs 2.800 crowns (price for a book set in Czech, 16 books). Because he was a retired person who didn't look that he could take even one of them, I was convinced that this mantra will work and he will leave.

Then he said, "I will gladly take one encyclopedia."

My jaw dropped. I started to wonder, "What is going on. Here is a soul, part of Krishna, who is very much eager for the books of Srila Prabhupada and the only obstacle is me. How absurd!" I felt terrible.

This man gave a donation of 1.000 crowns on the spot, without even seeing the books, and the rest he bought within one hour. I invited him into the van, where I showed him and gave him all our books and spent about forty minutes in pleasant and friendly talk. This man turned out to be a nice person, interested in spiritual things with deep understanding of our philosophy. He very much appreciated our traveling life and the sublime mission of Srila Prabhupada. It was the first time that I have distributed all our books to one person, and, overwhelmed by bliss, I promised myself that I will never again judge people on the street according to external appearance, but rather will try to convey the causeless mercy of Lord Caitanya to all conditioned souls without distinction.

Panca Tattva Dasa

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Book Distribution News: Book distribution in Czech Republic

One summer day I began distributing the books of Srila Prabhupada at a square in a small south Czech Republic city. The third person I stopped was a lady and as I presented the books, I noticed an older man listening to us from a small distance. In our devotee-slang we call such people SPA (secret police agents), and because they are a disturbing element in book distribution, we try to avoid them. This man looked a bit crazy, due to his slow motion and special accent. He interrupted our conversation and asked how he could help me. Meanwhile the lady took the opportunity and left. A bit annoyed, I told him, I don’t need any help and asked him to go on with his business. The man was persistent though, and inquired what I was actually doing there. Judging by his ways and appearance I concluded he must be one of the musty, bored and curious old men who are more or less obstructions for a book distributor and take away his valuable time and determination. So I briefly replied that I am a Hare Krishna monk from Prague and today I am distributing books about God here. To my surprise he didn’t leave as I expected and further inquired about the books, so I told him that they are encyclopedias of spiritual wisdom and one costs 2.800 crowns (price for a book set in Czech, 16 books). Because he was a retired person who didn’t look that he could take even one of them, I was convinced that this mantra will work and he will leave.

Then he said, "I will gladly take one encyclopedia."

My jaw dropped. I started to wonder, "What is going on. Here is a soul, part of Krishna, who is very much eager for the books of Srila Prabhupada and the only obstacle is me. How absurd!" I felt terrible.

This man gave a donation of 1.000 crowns on the spot, without even seeing the books, and the rest he bought within one hour. I invited him into the van, where I showed him and gave him all our books and spent about forty minutes in pleasant and friendly talk. This man turned out to be a nice person, interested in spiritual things with deep understanding of our philosophy. He very much appreciated our traveling life and the sublime mission of Srila Prabhupada. It was the first time that I have distributed all our books to one person, and, overwhelmed by bliss, I promised myself that I will never again judge people on the street according to external appearance, but rather will try to convey the causeless mercy of Lord Caitanya to all conditioned souls without distinction.

Panca Tattva Dasa

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Book Distribution News: Book distribution in Czech Republic

One summer day I began distributing the books of Srila Prabhupada at a square in a small south Czech Republic city. The third person I stopped was a lady and as I presented the books, I noticed an older man listening to us from a small distance. In our devotee-slang we call such people SPA (secret police agents), and because they are a disturbing element in book distribution, we try to avoid them. This man looked a bit crazy, due to his slow motion and special accent. He interrupted our conversation and asked how he could help me. Meanwhile the lady took the opportunity and left. A bit annoyed, I told him, I don’t need any help and asked him to go on with his business. The man was persistent though, and inquired what I was actually doing there. Judging by his ways and appearance I concluded he must be one of the musty, bored and curious old men who are more or less obstructions for a book distributor and take away his valuable time and determination. So I briefly replied that I am a Hare Krishna monk from Prague and today I am distributing books about God here. To my surprise he didn’t leave as I expected and further inquired about the books, so I told him that they are encyclopedias of spiritual wisdom and one costs 2.800 crowns (price for a book set in Czech, 16 books). Because he was a retired person who didn’t look that he could take even one of them, I was convinced that this mantra will work and he will leave.

Then he said, "I will gladly take one encyclopedia."

My jaw dropped. I started to wonder, "What is going on. Here is a soul, part of Krishna, who is very much eager for the books of Srila Prabhupada and the only obstacle is me. How absurd!" I felt terrible.

This man gave a donation of 1.000 crowns on the spot, without even seeing the books, and the rest he bought within one hour. I invited him into the van, where I showed him and gave him all our books and spent about forty minutes in pleasant and friendly talk. This man turned out to be a nice person, interested in spiritual things with deep understanding of our philosophy. He very much appreciated our traveling life and the sublime mission of Srila Prabhupada. It was the first time that I have distributed all our books to one person, and, overwhelmed by bliss, I promised myself that I will never again judge people on the street according to external appearance, but rather will try to convey the causeless mercy of Lord Caitanya to all conditioned souls without distinction.

Panca Tattva Dasa

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Caitanya Mangala, CA, USA: KulimeLA 2009: The DVD – Now Available at Krishna.com!

KulimeLA 2009: The DVD is now available from the Kuli Mela Outlet @ Krishna.com!

CLICK HERE to watch a preview of the video and to check out the growing Kuli Mela video and audio selections…

In the ancient Sanskrit language, Kuli refers to a member of a community. Mela means a festive gathering. Combined, “Kuli Mela” transforms into “A Celebration of Community.”

The year 2009 marked the 20th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Gurukuli Reunion, an annual gathering of second-generation Hare Krishnas, known informally as Gurukulis, or Kulis.

Throughout this five-day festival, over one thousand Vaishnavas from around the world came together in an amazing cultural experience – called KulimeLA – to share, reflect, and appreciate what the Gurukulis have accomplished over the past 20 years.

This film offers a look at the events of the entire festival, including the highlights from the performances at the Ford Theater, The Rose of Vidarbha play, Art Show, Fashion Show, Seminars, Workshops, Bhajan Kutir and LA Ratha Yatra.

The Kuli Mela Association is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to serving an international community by supporting and encouraging its members to come together as friends in service, association and empowerment with an emphasis on spirituality.


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Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: A Journey Across to Poland: [P17] Woodstock 2010. Day 2

Saturday 31st, July 2010.

I awoke and walked outside the gymnasium. I found someone and asked them to inform Dhira Mata that I wouldn't be able to make the breakfast shift. I went back to bed and rested. I was feeling better but my energy levels were totally depleted and my sadhana was totally destroyed. I awoke later, read and chanted the previous day's rounds. I made a whole one litre canister of ginger tea, with honey; chanting while it cooled a little, taking it as my last good health measure.

All the devotees headed off for Rathayatra but BB Govinda Maharaja stuck behind. Radheya finished his breakfast shift and was sitting with me. BB Govinda Maharaja was going to walk to Woodstock so we suggested Radheya go with him, knowing that it would be mercy association for Radheya. Off they all went and left me alone to scheme my day's plans. I had already told Dhira that I was totally out for the day but Krsna had blessed me with a resurrection from the dead so now I had to plot out a program that I could survive.

Caitanya Vallabha Prabhu soon arrived. He had been dispatched to kitchen duty, cooking for the devotees, which was being done at Green school now. I had some katha with him, while he buttered hundreds of slices of bread. I sat in the cafeteria, peacefully for some time. All of a sudden, Dhira came from the kitchen. "Maddy I need your help" she said, almost with a tone of urgency. I saw some strange light emanating from the kitchen and I half sarcastically asked "is there a fire?" "Yes she replied" but I couldn't tell if she was serious or not. Right after that, smoke began to bellow from the top of the doorway. I had been trained in basic fire control, when I used to work on electrical power lines, and now the training was going to come to good use. I entered the kitchen and found a single pot, roaring with fire. Without panicking, I grabbed a tea towel and casually placed it over the pot, smothering the blaze. I was overly zealous though so I pulled off the cloth rather quickly. "Tada!" I said, and the fire was gone. All of a sudden (because I pulled the cloth off too fast) the fire reignited and someone else, seeing my original move, put a second tea towel over it. Now the blaze was gone but the pot was ruined.

I was back in the cafeteria, reading. BB Govinda Maharaja returned - after his long walk. He grabbed half a piece of bread with butter and started to relish it. "This is great bread" he exclaimed. I was enthusiastic, seeing him praise the Vaisnava sour dough. "You've finished your fasting Maharaja?" I asked, hoping that we could begin to serve him lunch. "No" he replied, "this is just to keep my body going." It was a reasonable answer. When HH Indradyumna Swami fasted last year, he had to chew gum to keep his metabolism going. BB Govinda Maharaja was only taking fruit juice, as apposed to HH Indradyumna Swami's famous "Fire Water" so I presume the bread compensated for the extra required notorious and metabolism factor.

BB Govinda Maharaja turned his attention to me. "Who are you?" he asked. I gave him the spiel, where I came from, my parents' names, what I had been doing for the last two years, what I was planning to do next and everything else as he prompted me. "Well Madhavendra Puri" he said, "it was a pleasure to meet you." With that, he left and I felt a world of relief. The day before I had some scary first impressions with BB Govinda Maharaja and I prayed that his displeasure, brought on by my hopeless attitude, were simply temporary; and now Krsna had answered my prayers. I had heard so many nice stories about BB Govinda Maharaja and (based on my experience of HH Indradyumna Swami) I presumed it would be good to be on a name basis with him. It seemed like everything was manifesting, by the merciful arrangement of Krsna.

Dhira Mata was about to head off to the field. I informed her that I had recovered sufficiently and I decided I wanted to help out with the lunch. Originally, I was mostly concerned with my sadhana and I had already managed to sort that out, by Krsna's arrangement, so now I was ready to engage in the service of the Sadhus. It seemed Krsna was tweaking time today so that I could soak in the maximum mercy.

I was sent to collect the usual lunch participants. I found most of them but I decided to make one last trip to find Kaliyapani Prabhu. I bumped into some Polish punks who asked if I could answer some of their questions (they spoke English). "Do Hare Krsna's support big corporations like Nike, who employ third world children?" The question sounded rigged and it took them a sufficient amount of drunken rambling to ask it (I am just giving you the purport of their words). I suggested that we weren't but I had my wits about me. "Then why are you selling commercial soft drinks!?" they cried. My father once gave me the title "excuse acarya" as a joke when I used to talk back to him in my younger years; now I was hoping to utilize the title in Krsna's service. I tried to explain my way out of it but they were too drunk to understand logic or philosophy. I couldn't say anything in the end, because they were too drunk to care. They began to criticise ISKCON, saying that we were mere servants of the corporations and they used some vulgar language.

I decided to put the punks in their place and then practice the Madhyama tactic of avoiding the envious. I said some firm words but played my cards right. I moved the focus off us being businessmen and put it back on the fact that we were simply doing charity, taking help from whoever would give it (saving the advanced philosophy for the sober). They were no longer arguing but they still wouldn't let me go. The real catch was coming out; "we are hungry" they said, "but we do not want anything to do with business, we do not want to pay a fee." The Food For Life was virtually free, costing only a dollar or so in the local currency. I could tell that they had wasted loads of money on alcohol and I wasn't going to buy their excuses. It was a typical case of 'biting the hand that feeds them' and I wasn't in the mood to hear from the ungrateful, because there were thousands more who were favourable at our Krsna's Village of Peace. I was hardly feeling merciful enough or time permitted to arrange them some plates, because they had been critical of Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON, and I was probably keeping the service of the advanced devotees for this silly endeavour. I bid them a respectful farewell and ran off to do my duty.

We arranged another successful luncheon. I sat and began to start the day's rounds. HH Indradyumna Swami returned. "Maddy, go to the kirtana tent" he ordered. I waved goodbye to my rounds and replied "yes sir." "There is no one in there and Madhava is leading. It's embarrassing" mentioned Maharaja. I analyzed his proposition and decided that a second class disciple simply follows the order of the Guru but a first class disciple understands the Guru's desire. Instead of going straight to the kirtana, I popped into the Prabhu's resting tent and exclaimed "Gurudeva wants us to go to kirtana!" We all marched over and filled the empty tent with ecstatic dancers.

Gaura Hari was onstage, playing mrdanga. He gestured me to the side of the stage. "We need someone to throw water on the floor of the tent, to stop the dust" he said. I looked around and realized the same conclusion. I wanted to run straight to it, like I had done in previous years, but I was wondering what Maharaja would think if he came to the tent and I wasn't there, as he had instructed. Gaura was confused by my hesitation. Soon I saw Indradyumna Swami manifest at the edge of the tent. He beckoned me over and said "can you arrange some boys to put water on the floor to stop the dust?" My path was clear and I acted on it. As I passed the devotees I beckoned them to the kirtana tent.

I came back with a big pail of water, with another group following close behind me. We stabilized the dust until Indradyumna Swami told us it was enough. I jumped back into the tent and began to dance. We were all singing loudly. Madhava was leading with a beautiful melody, encouraging us to sing louder from time to time, which for me was a difficult request because I was already singing at the top of my lungs. I stared at the Maha Mantra, written in Polish behind the kirtaneers. I focused on each word as I sung it, reading along, and I meditated on the purport to the Maha Mantra (which I read in the ISCKON song book). I must have felt closer to the holy name than I had in a long time; this must have been what it felt like to have a hint of a taste for the holy name.

I kept dancing in the kirtana tent until I felt my knee wear out. It was the same knee that I had wasted two years before, in the same tent. I was hearing all sorts of horror stories from the senior Vaisnavas about their faulty joints, due to excessive jumping, dancing, etc, so I decided to act on the bodily concept and leave the kirtana. I started back up my rounds and roamed around the festival.

That evening the Village of Peace played again. I stayed up to watch the concert. I wanted to see Sri Prahlada, busting out on the lead; Collin, doing his thing on the bass; Sri Nama Vanamali and Radheya, rapping it up; and I wanted to film the guys rap my lyrics from my younger years. The first lyrics I ever wrote were an eight line, rhyming verse on 'time', the all powerful energy of the Supreme. It wasn't overly philosophical but it still demonstrated the limits of my realizations at the time. The two of them rapped first class and the crowd went wild. It was another successful night at Krsna's Village of Peace and other successful concert for VOP.

 

 [http://maddmonk.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/p16-woodstock-2010-day-1]


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ISKCON News.com: Krishna Valley Teaches Sustainable Living to Thousands

By Madhava Smullen for ISKCON News on 14 Aug 2010

Established in 1993 by ISKCON guru and GBC Sivarama Swami, Krishna Valley is a sustainable farm community of the kind that ISKCON founder Srila Prabhupada encouraged devotees to establish all over the world.


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Dandavats.com: Congressman Harry Mitchell greets Hare Krishna along with Namaste

By Prayag Narayan Misra

After his speech, he was offered blessed garlands from Hare Krishna temple which he gracefully accepted and wore it during the photo opps

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: ISKCON Gives Children a Reason to go to School

Saturday and Sunday feasts are large-scale affairs, right?

AksayPatra.jpg SBS Dateline recently featured the gravity force kitchen designed by Madhu Pandit Prabhu, a devotee engineer in Bangalore.

The project was also covered by Live Mint and the Wall Street Journal.

'Launched in 2000 by Iskcon, the Akshay Patra Foundation, named after a Sanskrit word for abundance, initially began by feeding 1,500 children in five government schools on Bangalore's outskirts. The response was overwhelming and in six months, there were requests to expand the scheme. So, new kitchens were set up with support from companies, individuals and foundations.

Today, the foundation feeds 830,000 children everyday, mostly from poor socio-economic backgrounds, in 4,500 government-run or aided schools, in 14 centres across five states. The operations are overseen by a team of more than 60 volunteers.'

In poorer areas where children can get food by attending school rather than by going out to work, attendance rates have risen exponentially.

MBA students at Harvard Business School are using prasadam distribution from the Bangalore gravity force kitchen as a case study in time management.

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ISKCON News.com: Should ISKCON Devotees Observe Chaturmasya?

By Madhava Smullen for ISKCON News on 14 Aug 2010

Is it a fast strongly recommended by our scriptures, or just an excuse to grow a beard? Is it an important spiritual process or just an unnecessary ritual? Should ISKCON devotees observe it? And if so, how?


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ISKCON News.com: Prema Hara: Distributing Divine Love of Kirtan

By Madhava Smullen for ISKCON News on 14 Aug 2010

Released on March 3rd, Prema Hara's debut album, "Sweet Surrender," is almost achingly beautiful. The soaring male and female vocals interlace with dazzling artistry, and draw spiritual emotion from the listener.


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ISKCON News.com: Summoning the Spiritual With Just Enough Cowbell

By Jon Caramanica for The New York Times on 10 Aug 2010

If ever there was a time for a group of former Hare Krishna adherents to come to New York to make their way as a band, it would be now. Thanks to groups like Animal Collective and its peers, the shamanic impulse is as alive as ever in indie rock. The embrace of Eastern spirituality is at an apex.


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ISKCON News.com: Biblical Plagues Were Real (And Could Happen Again)

By David Gutierrez for NaturalNews.com on 13 Aug 2010

The ten plagues recounted in the Biblical book of Exodus may have actually occurred, according to scientists featured on a National Geographic Channel miniseries.


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ISKCON News.com: For Many Muslims, Start of Ramadan Stirs Up Centuries-old Debate Between Science and Doctrine

By Michelle Boorstein for The Washington Post on 11 Aug 2010

For American Muslims, the start of the holy month of Ramadan means reflection, fasting from sunrise to sunset, community - and a bit of confusion.


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ISKCON News.com: Only Universal Truth Can Change Our World

By Xavier Moutoux for ISKCON News on 14 Aug 2010

Students form non-profit organization dedicated to finding, defining and spreading world-unifying, universal truth.


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Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: New York Professionals Learn To Cook Up A Veggie Storm

By Madhava Smullen for ISKCON News on 31 Jul 2010
Divyambara`s cooking lesson

For the busy New York City professional, it's difficult to imagine finding the time to cook, never mind whipping up a healthy and delicious vegetarian meal. But recently many have found that a balanced meat-free, home-cooked diet may not be so far out of their grasp.

The answer lies in Manhattan, where vegetarian cooking classes offered twice a week at the Bhakti Center—a spiritual educational facility based on the principles of Bhakti Yoga—are drawing ten to fifteen people per two-and-a half-hour session.

Teacher Divyambara Dasi, who has been practicing Bhakti yoga for twenty years and cooking for just as long, expects students to be able to cook their own dishes at home after only four classes. This is no cooking demonstration—it's a hands-on experience, designed for maximum learning.

"I begin each class by introducing each dish we're going to make and the main ingredients we're going to use in a very visual, interesting way," Divyambara says. "For example, I will say, 'Today we're going to cook quinoa.' Then I will show it and my assistant, who is a certified nutritionist, will explain how it is the grain richest in protein. Or I will say, 'Today we'll be cooking a zucchini dish,' and I'll explain how it's a good summer vegetable—cooling, refreshing, and easy to digest."

Divyambara then splits her students into teams of two and has them cook a full six-course dinner. Each team focuses on a different dish—rice, vegetable, bread, drink, salad dressing, or dessert. They begin by reading their recipes, all of which are quick to make, nutritionally balanced, and promote long and healthy lives—there's no refined products like white flour or white sugar, no fried food, and very little dairy.

Next, Divyambara spends some time at each team's separate station to supervise them and explain step by step what they need to do.

"Many of my students have never used the kitchen at all—some don't even know how to boil water or cut up vegetables," she says. "But I'm right next to them and show them everything, they do it, and they pick it up quickly."

Once in a while, amid the flurry of cooking, Divyambara will ring a bell, and everyone will stop what they're doing and go quiet.

"I'll say, 'Okay, rice team! Tell us and show us what have you done so far,'" she explains. "In this way, by first reading about the recipe, then cooking it themselves, and finally explaining how they did it, they learn and retain a lot. What's more, each team also becomes familiar with the different steps involved in the dishes the other teams are making."

Divyambara has two reasons to ask her class not to taste anything while they're cooking: one is purely hygienic, while the other is in preparation for blessing the finished meal. In the Bhakti tradition, she explains, we ask God to bless our food. She then chants Sanskrit prayers, and welcomes her students to offer their own prayers according to their faith. Sometimes she invites students—such as, on one occasion, a Jewish Rabbi—to say the main prayer.

She also evokes a feeling of gratitude by asking God to bless not only the meal and the cooks, but everybody else who contributed to the meal—the cows who gave the milk, the farmer in Peru who provided the quinoa, the truck driver, and the shopkeeper.

Finally, everyone sits down and eats together. "Because we've been consciously cooking together as an expression of love," says Divyambara, "It's a very beautiful atmosphere, and a very bonding experience.

During the last session of every month, Divyambara takes her class on a shopping excursion to the nearby health food and Indian grocery stores. "There are many spices and ingredients in the cooking that they're unfamiliar with," she explains. "Most of them don't know what asafoetida is, for instance. So I show them how everything looks and smells, what is good quality and what isn't."

Most of Divyambara's students are not vegetarian when they begin her classes, and are doubtful that they could sustain themselves on a meat-free diet, even if they wanted to. So Divyambara's ultimate intention for her classes is for them to go home with an exceptional experience of a tasty vegetarian meal, and knowledge of how to prepare it.

"One woman told me when she came in, 'Please forgive me, I don't know anything—I mean anything,'" says Divyambara. "But in her first class, she made an amazing dish. Then she made the same thing for her boyfriend at home, and it turned out amazing again. It was the first time she had cooked anything on her own. She told me how empowering it felt to be confident that she could actually cook for herself and be a healthy vegetarian."

But for the New York professionals who attend them, Divyambara's classes are more than just learning how to cook. There's a great sense of community, people connecting with one another, and spiritual nourishment. "I love the whole experience of teamwork," commented Donna LeBlanc, a bestselling author and life coach for CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. "And the food tastes so magical. I swear that God enters it!"

"What you're doing is more than just cooking," said a PR professional for a major company. "It's bringing people together on a higher level."

Former students—who now number over 150—are keen to keep experiencing these things, even once they have completed the four-session program. So when some expressed this desire to Divyambara, she began to invite them to come and cook together again on one Sunday every month, and to invite their friends to come and eat.

"As in the classes, I split them into teams, and each team focuses on making a different dish," Divyambara explains. "I am still there to guide them, but I have less of an active role, as we cook dishes they are already familiar with. The amazing thing was, the first time we did it, I was sure it would take at least three hours for the eight students to cook for the forty people that came. But in two hours, they had finished everything and left the kitchen completely clean!"

The food and the event was a success, as people bonded and students from different groups got to meet each other.

Divyambara hopes to make the monthly meet-ups a steady program, with possible plans to branch out to various locations around the city.

"I hope we can continue connecting with people and growing this community," she says.


Read more: http://news.iskcon.com/node/3020/2010-07-31/new_york_professionals_learn_to_cook_up_a_veggie_storm#ixzz0vNsqnIh9
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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Balanuja dasa asks

Whether the devotees playing instrument in kirtana or bhajana who can’t sing along get benefit from the maha mantra.

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Gouranga TV: Bhajan – Mukunda Datta das – Yashomati Nandana

Bhajan – Mukunda Datta das – Yashomati Nandana

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Japa Group: I Strive To Improve


My mind didn't wander much to other things, but I wasn't chanting with a fervor that's desirable for japa-yajna. I strive to improve, I strive to improve.

From Bhajan Kutir #38
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