lunes, 9 de agosto de 2010

ISKCON Klang, Malaysia: Why Is God Doing This To Me?



PLANET ISKCON

 

Your email updates, powered by FeedBlitz

 
Here are the latest updates for

"Planet ISKCON" - 40 new articles

  1. ISKCON Klang, Malaysia: Why Is God Doing This To Me?
  2. ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Sunday Feast Recording - August 8, 2010
  3. Akrura das, Gita Coaching: Why Chant Hare Krishna?
  4. Bharatavarsa.net: Book distribution seminar: family sankirtana
  5. Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Non-attachment
  6. Book Distribution News: family sankirtana
  7. Bhakti Lata, Alachua, USA: Loss
  8. Bhakti Lata, Alachua, USA: My Escape
  9. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 34
  10. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Seeing Within
  11. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Poem in the Prose Book (Take Three)
  12. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: From Gita-Nagari
  13. Ekendra das, Alachua, USA: This Blog Post Has No Anti-Aging Properties Whatsoever
  14. Akrura das, Gita Coaching: NEVER MIND
  15. Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: A Journey Across to Poland: [P15] Opening of Krsna's Village of Peace at Woodstock
  16. Krishna-kripa das, Mayapura: Travel Journal#6.12b: English Festivals and Netherlands Padayatra
  17. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Kirtan on Sunday morning
  18. Gauranga Kishore das,USA: New Car
  19. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Narrating the story of king Purusottama-deva and how Jagannatha and Balarama fought for him
  20. Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: What Are You Doing for Cow Protection?
  21. Bhakta Chris, New York, USA: The Man Who Planted Trees
  22. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  23. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  24. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  25. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  26. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  27. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  28. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  29. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  30. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  31. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  32. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  33. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  34. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  35. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  36. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  37. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  38. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  39. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  40. Gouranga TV: Aindra Prabhu – Hare Krishna kirtan – ISKCON Vrindavan – October 25, 2009
  41. More Recent Articles
  42. Search Planet ISKCON

ISKCON Klang, Malaysia: Why Is God Doing This To Me?

BY RADHANATH SWAMI We waited. And waited. It was a sweltering summer day in the Florida panhandle. The morning sun glared through the expansive windows of an airport departure gate. There, a young blond haired lady, neatly uniformed with a blue vest over a pressed white shirt and matching blue pants, stepped up to the [...]

Email to a friend

ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Sunday Feast Recording - August 8, 2010

The recording for this week's Sunday Feast can be viewed by clicking the image below. As a reminder, the recordings from our weekly live web broadcasts are stored on our ISKCON Toronto Video Archive Blog.

Email to a friend


Akrura das, Gita Coaching: Why Chant Hare Krishna?

by Jayadvaita Swami

from Back to Godhead magazine, May-June 1994

Here's a page full of reasons. I'll spare you the footnotes, but each reason is fully upheld by evidence from Vedic writings like Bhagavad-gita, the Upanisads, and the Puranas.

Chanting Hare Krishna awakens love of God.

Chanting Hare Krishna brings liberation as a side benefit along the way.

When you chant Hare Krishna, you automatically develop knowledge and detachment.

Chanting Hare Krishna gets you out of the endless cycle of birth and death.

It is the most effective means of self-realization in the present Age of Quarrel. Nothing else works nearly as well.

Chanting Hare Krishna cleanses the heart of all illusions and misunderstandings.

By chanting Hare Krishna, you become free from all anxieties.

Chanting Hare Krishna brings you to self-realization—and shows you how to act as a self-realized soul.

It keeps you ever mindful of Krishna, the reservoir of pleasure.

There are no hard and fast rules for chanting. You can chant anywhere, any time, under any circumstances.

Krishna Himself is fully present in the transcendental sound of His name. And the more you chant, the more you realize it.

All other Vedic mantras are included in the chanting of Hare Krishna. So just by chanting this mantra, you get the benefit of all others.

Chanting Hare Krishna purifies not only you but every living entity around you. Whoever hears the chanting gets spiritual benefit.

A person who chants Hare Krishna develops all good qualities.

You can chant Hare Krishna softly for personal meditation or loudly with your family or friends. Both ways work.

Srila Prabhupada chanted Hare Krishna, and so did great souls in the past. So why not you?

It's free. Chanting Hare Krishna never costs you money.

Chanting Hare Krishna brings the highest states of ecstasy.

There are no previous qualifications needed for chanting Hare Krishna. Young or old, anyone can chant—from any race, any religion, or any country of the world.

Even if you don't understand the language of the mantra, it works anyway.

Chanting Hare Krishna brings relief from all miseries.

Chanting Hare Krishna is easy. When the best way is also the easiest, why make life hard for yourself?

Chanting Hare Krishna invokes spiritual peace—for you and for those around you.

When you chant Hare Krishna, Krishna Himself becomes pleased.

When you chant Hare Krishna, Krishna dances on your tongue.

By chanting Hare Krishna you can return to Krishna's world, the eternal abode of full happiness and knowledge.

Chanting Hare Krishna frees you from the reactions of all past karma. Chanting Krishna's name even once, purely and sincerely, can free you from the reactions of more karma than you could possibly incur.

Chanting Hare Krishna counteracts the sinful atmosphere of Kali-yuga, the present Age of Hypocrisy and Quarrel.

By chanting Hare Krishna you can relish at every step the full nectar that's the real thirst of the soul.

The more you chant Hare Krishna, the better it gets.

If you look through all the Vedic scriptures, you'll find nothing higher than the chanting of Hare Krishna. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Email to a friend

Bharatavarsa.net: Book distribution seminar: family sankirtana

At present I'm traveling with my wife and eight-month-old baby girl. It is a wonderful experience going to every town and village and finding many people interested in Krsna consciousness. We decided we wanted to do a trip from Sydney to Cairns in the far north of Queensland Australia, and then further north to Cape Tribulation, and then back to Sydney, spanning two months. We packed the van with as many soft- and hardcover books as we could squeeze in and left just enough room for our possessions. We managed to get about two thousand books into the van, and we've been steadily distributing them, along with doing Harinam and some feast programs.

I have to praise my wife Krsna-rupa Devi, who has given up her comfortable home to live out of a van. Although she's not doing so many books due to looking after the baby, she goes out nearly every day selling books. Actually, our baby girl Vrndavanesvari has been attracting many souls as she sits next to us in a pram or as we carry her in one arm or in a sling as we sell books. Many people stop and comment on how peaceful, well-fed, and attractive she looks, and then they take a book from us. Of course, a family needs some extra relaxation to stay happy, and so we've found some good beaches for swimming and an island to stay on for a few days (where we also sold books). Sometimes we slept in a tent, but we often stayed in nice motels, since women and children find it difficult to perform too many austerities.

In Townsville we could not find much accommodation under $150 a night. I grimaced at spending so much book distribution laxmi, so I tried to reason with my wife, but to no avail. So I surrendered. That night I was checking the Internet when I noticed some men from New Guinea walking into the motel. I showed them some books, and one man took a Gita and an SSR. A little later another group from the same country walked past and got a Krsna book, giving a nice donation. Later I was on laundry duty when I noticed another man from New Guinea waiting for his clothes to dry. I raced to the van and brought all the hardcover books I had. He seemed very interested and went to his room, returning with $100! So I gave him a Krsna book, a Bhagavad-gita, a Nectar of Devotion, an SSR, a Your Ever Well-Wisher, and some small books. Within a half hour Krsna had given me back the laxmi I'd spent on the room! A little later a lady in a hotel gave $80 for a Gita, Kurma's cookbook, and a Your Ever Well-wisher. So it's difficult to know how Krsna works in these mysterious circumstances.

Your servant, Rupa Raghunatha das

Email to a friend

Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Non-attachment

The devotee should regard desirable and undesirable conditions equally. The householder should be detached from his family. He should take care of his family and fulfill his responsibilities, but he should not let his family stand in the way of his service to Krishna.

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

from BTG #4

Email to a friend

Book Distribution News: family sankirtana

At present I'm traveling with my wife and eight-month-old baby girl. It is a wonderful experience going to every town and village and finding many people interested in Krsna consciousness. We decided we wanted to do a trip from Sydney to Cairns in the far north of Queensland Australia, and then further north to Cape Tribulation, and then back to Sydney, spanning two months. We packed the van with as many soft- and hardcover books as we could squeeze in and left just enough room for our possessions. We managed to get about two thousand books into the van, and we've been steadily distributing them, along with doing Harinam and some feast programs.

I have to praise my wife Krsna-rupa Devi, who has given up her comfortable home to live out of a van. Although she's not doing so many books due to looking after the baby, she goes out nearly every day selling books. Actually, our baby girl Vrndavanesvari has been attracting many souls as she sits next to us in a pram or as we carry her in one arm or in a sling as we sell books. Many people stop and comment on how peaceful, well-fed, and attractive she looks, and then they take a book from us. Of course, a family needs some extra relaxation to stay happy, and so we've found some good beaches for swimming and an island to stay on for a few days (where we also sold books). Sometimes we slept in a tent, but we often stayed in nice motels, since women and children find it difficult to perform too many austerities.

In Townsville we could not find much accommodation under $150 a night. I grimaced at spending so much book distribution laxmi, so I tried to reason with my wife, but to no avail. So I surrendered. That night I was checking the Internet when I noticed some men from New Guinea walking into the motel. I showed them some books, and one man took a Gita and an SSR. A little later another group from the same country walked past and got a Krsna book, giving a nice donation. Later I was on laundry duty when I noticed another man from New Guinea waiting for his clothes to dry. I raced to the van and brought all the hardcover books I had. He seemed very interested and went to his room, returning with $100! So I gave him a Krsna book, a Bhagavad-gita, a Nectar of Devotion, an SSR, a Your Ever Well-Wisher, and some small books. Within a half hour Krsna had given me back the laxmi I'd spent on the room! A little later a lady in a hotel gave $80 for a Gita, Kurma's cookbook, and a Your Ever Well-wisher. So it's difficult to know how Krsna works in these mysterious circumstances.

Your servant, Rupa Raghunatha das

Email to a friend

Bhakti Lata, Alachua, USA: Loss

Three and a half years ago, I bought a laptop and named it Hanuman. It revolutionized my experience of life - Seed of Devotion took off, I edited books, edited all my photography, stored all my dance music and experimented with video-editing. My laptop literally circled the world with me. Next to my pen-and-paper journals, Hanuman held the most treasured content of my life.

Then, several days ago, I came home to find my laptop gone from the kitchen table.

"Jivi," I asked my roommate, a little unnerved. "Where's my laptop?"

She came out from her room, a perplexed look on her face.

"And," I said, "where's your grandmother's quilt?" I gestured to the sofa - the pillows had been thrown to the floor; the handmade quilt was gone.

"The door was ajar when I came home," Jivi said quietly. She picked up her cell phone and called the police.

I began to pace. As my loss hit me full force, I dissolved into tears. "Why? The machine was old and beat-up, worth nothing. But... but... all my writings... my photography... unfinished videos... all my editing for Jadurani's memoirs... it's all gone! Take my camera, take my cash, take my jewellry, take it all! Why this?" Jivi held me while I cried. "It's all gone."

It was an act of a desperate drug addict - Jivi later found that her prescription medicine had also been stolen. The police came and took fingerprints and asked questions, but I knew: I would never see Hanuman again.

The thief did not steal my laptop from my bag or from a bookstore table. The thief broke into my own locked home. All week long, I have tried to feel angry, but all I feel is a deep, deep sadness, like grieving the loss of a loved one.

And I realize that this whole experience is like death. Death does not ask to come and does not annouce when he will steal what I hold most dear.

Death just comes.

I understand that this post is grave. But I feel it is my duty to share my sense of urgency to not take one moment in this life for granted, as many of us have realized with the sudden, tragic loss of Aindra Prabhu.

One day, death will come for each and every one of us, and we must ask ourselves every morning: "Am I ready?"

"When death, like a gypsy,
Comes to steal what I love
I will still look to the heavens
I will still seek Your face."
- The Valley Song
by Jars of Clay

Email to a friend

Bhakti Lata, Alachua, USA: My Escape

Tell me: what does it mean for you to escape?

And where would you go? A shimmering white beach? The summit of a mountain that touches the sky? Or maybe a holy village, a temple, or a sacred river?

But still, I ask you: have you really escaped?

***

I get out of the car and walk along the sandy driveway in the velvet summer evening. Light slants through the majestic oak trees, and Spanish moss forms golden canopies above my head. My mind whirs with a thousand plans and a thousand anxieties.

I reach the front door of a renovated barn and sigh. I slip off my shoes and enter a room with warm wood floors and saffron walls. I join the other students in front of the wall-to-wall mirrors and we fold our palms and recite prayers in unison.

We offer our respects to the earth, to God, to our guru, to the audience, and then we turn to the corner of the room to offer obeisance to the deity of Lord Nataraj – the Lord of Dance.

We begin to dance, and the room resounds with the rhythm of our feet. One by one, my thousands of thoughts drop away. My worries, daydreams, plans, schedule... my excitement, sadness, anger…

Everything.

When I dance Bharatanatyam, my mind washes clean. If I think about a single plan, even form a single sentence in my head, my hands slip, my feet fall off beat, and I lose my expression. It's impossible to dance and to think.

Every moment I feel the fire circulate through my body; I focus on every moment to bend, jump, smile, and shift my gaze. Just to breathe is an adventure. Every moment is alive. I am alive.

This is my addiction to Bharatanatyam dance.

Amazing how in life so often we want to escape the present moment into an other world.

But dance is an escape from my world into the pure and present moment.

"The same stream of life
that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world
and dances in rhythmic measures."
 Rabindranath Tagore 

Anapayani dasi, my dance guru




So please tell me now: what is your escape? 


Email to a friend

H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 34

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

3:47 A.M.

I slept all right but didn't wake until the alarm went off at 2 A.M. My chanting was decent at a rapid clip and wide awake. My mind wandered a bit, but I brought it back under the control of the higher self and paid attention to the syllables of the holy name. Over the years it's become a routine and it's hard to be fervent every morning, but I have trust in the efficacy of the yajna. Even when you don't feel ecstasy, you know that you're making great advancement. You know that without it you'd be lost. Chanting every morning is required. I've done fourteen rounds, so I'm not far behind. Narayana came up at 2:30 and set up Radha-Govinda very nicely. Radharani is slightly inclined towards facing Krishna and He's facing straight ahead. They both look beautiful in Their yellow and red outfits and Their red earrings and shiny golden complexions. They are the objects of my chanting. I must never become an impersonalist. The name is the same as the form of Krishna, only it is even more lenient than Krishna and more merciful. It's hard to understand, but I accept the truth on the authority of Prabhupada and the scriptures. I'm happy to be living in the Viraha Bhavan and chanting in separation.

Happy in your japa
but wish you could
do better. Feeling
separation from the
Lord (like Sita felt
separation from Rama,
like Caitanyadeva felt
separation from Krishna).
My separation is not
so intense, it's the
generic separation of the
jiva from God. Wanting
to be closer, to feel
His closeness, to know
He is with me and protecting
my back. Krishna is the
cynosure of all the Vrajavasis'
eyes and I want to be
included. When He's caught
in the Kaliya's coils I want
to feel like I'm dead in
sorrow and I want to
join in the celebration when
He dances on the serpent's hoods.
I want to love Him
in His names.

Email to a friend

H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Seeing Within

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

Prabhupada Smaranam

Srila Prabhupada is certainly in a meditative mood. He is oblivious to all the people looking up to him. He is in his private world. You do not know what he is thinking. Is his mind in the spiritual world serving Radha and Krishna? Is he sinking into the mood of a bhagavat preacher, about to speak as a representative of Sukadeva Goswami and his own spiritual master. He seems to be taking time out from the immediate present of sitting in the hall on the vyasasana. Or is he deeply absorbed in the vyasasana role?

It is said that we really do not see or know the spiritual master when he is in this world. He is like the moon hidden behind the clouds. Certainly if you think he's an ordinary man, you are an offender. Anyone who sees the arca-vigraha as a material statue, who sees the guru as an ordinary man, and who sees the Vaisnava as a member of a certain caste, dwells in hell. Once a disciple showed Prabhupada a poster he had prepared of Prabhupada. It had his picture and the words "This man has changed the consciousness of the world." It seemed like high praise. But Prabhupada immediately disapproved. He said, "The spiritual master is not a man." In a poem he referred to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati as an "Evangelic angel" and when a disciple asked Prabhupada to speak of his spiritual master, he said, "He was a Vaikuntha man."

Prabhupada's eyes are closed and he is seeing within. In Bhagavad-gita it is said that the transcendentalist lives within. When he opens his eyes he does not see the material varieties. He does no see a tree, but he sees Krishna. He does not see boys and girls and men and women or cars and dogs. He sees spirit souls. And with his eyes anointed with the salve of love, he sees Syamasundara wherever he looks. We must be qualified to get even a glimpse of Srila Prabhupada.

Email to a friend

H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Poem in the Prose Book (Take Three)

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

1.
Narayana wrote some lovely
bhakti poems, not too long,
and personal-devotional not
scriptural-dogmatic.
The poems I wrote in the
prose book were a little looney
and abstruse but like William
Blake's "Golden Ball," when you
took the string and unraveled it,
it was magic, I dare to say so.

Here is part of one from Under
Dark Stars
:
"I am in the middle.
You can believe it?
And He abandoned me long ago.

"Reverse: you neglected Him.
I don't know how it happened,
I slept more and more.

"Couldn't you tone down
your hate and anger to me?

“‘Ornette’ he mispronounced
but I didn't say anything because
I mispronounced ‘Mahler’
and all the Sanskrit. The words
for love—amore, amor,
if I said sincerely
I botched it up.

"But I botched up so many things. There is
no sense going back on it. Stay in
America for now. Don't be afraid
of big bad sannyasis in armor and horses.

"…Bummer-boy cry-face
hawk features, tears falling
down Chief Pale-Face.
Can't do stunt tricks…

"…I just want to read the
books and believe them.
How come this is a poem?
Who said it is?"

2.
Who said it's a poem?
Who gets to judge?
Why do you write them?
They are relief and duty.
You must do one each day
or you'll dry up and
blow away.

The poem in the prose books
came out of cornucopia,
I was going through a period
of mad creativity.
I don't have it anymore.
But treasure them.
Save them in a
bank box and have
a retrospective show.

You lived through a period
of high remorse and
picking words out of a hat.
If the music was too loud
you said so. You did
not bother to etch in
the context.

But now you're in a new
period as good as the past.

Krishna is giving you a
creative vein.
Hard to maintain,
you never know if you'll
get another day but so
far He's letting you do it.

Pray to be like Picasso,
create until you’re 90
colorful beautiful works
from playful imagination.
But in my case it must
end with a head
that is strictly parampara
and instructive, true
to the six Gosvamis and
Prabhupada: All
the incarnations are parts
or plenary parts but
Krishna is Bhagavan
Himself.

Email to a friend

H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: From Gita-Nagari

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

Healing House

Mother Kaulini lives in a house next door to Saci's family. She came here from Gita-nagari at a time of health crisis for her. She had two conflicting diseases which it took time to diagnose. She had both diabetes and lupus. Her symptoms were that she had extreme pains in her joints and had to stay confined to bed. Saci found her in this condition during a visit to Gita-nagari and made her come live in a house in New York next to his and be covered by his medical insurance. She started taking steroids and this relieved the pains in her joints, but it had a counter effect of worsening her diabetes. Her sugar level shot up to over 200, and she had to be rushed to a hospital where she almost died. Two of her Godsisters came up to live with her and take care of her. It took a long time for her to recover, and to this day she still has ups and downs in her conflicting diseases (when she was in the hospital and in pain and partly incoherent, she took to chanting the Hare Krishna mantra out loud. She felt embarrassed and asked the nurses to please forgive her, but she went on chanting.)

Before Saci took Kaulini from Gita-nagari, she had been serving there steady for thirty-two years. She was a rock of a servant at the dhama and set the example for steady service. She cooked, milked the cows, dressed the Deities, and did many other services. When Gita-nagari became short in manpower she even served for a while as temple president. She went through severe austerities living there, such as few devotees to work with and no heat or hot water. Everyone loves Mother Kaulini as the epitome of a mother. To all the young devotees who joined there she was always present and like a mother to them. Her simple service attitude, without complaint, endears her to all.

Mother Kaulini had been married and bore a son named Balarama who was raised at Gita-nagari. Then her husband accepted the renounced order of life and she became a widow. Balarama grew up and became a state police trooper in California. He was then transferred to become a member of the governor's security force. He married, and his wife had a child. Mother Kaulini went to California to help out when the baby was born during the first weeks. Her ex-husband, even though a sannyasi, also takes turns playing grandfather and visiting his son's family.

Every year it was Mother Kaulini's duty to take care of the Lord Jagannatha Deities in the fortnight while They were "infirm" before Ratha Yatra. But with her health crisis she had been unable to do it for two years for the full fortnight. After that she finally felt that she was recovered enough to take up her old service, and so she left New York State for three weeks to live at Gita-nagari. Would her health hold up?

Mother Kaulini's health held up for her three weeks at Gita-nagari and she happily engaged, serving in the dhama. When she returned, she joined the devotees at a lunch where the famous Ballabha Vaisnava, Shyam Das, attended.

Shyam Das asked her, "Where do you live?"

"I live in two places,” Mother Kaulini answered. “I live here and at Gita-nagari." I was surprised that she said that and asked her about it later. She said when she stays too long in her house in Stuyvesant Falls, it is good for her hearing and chanting, but she feels she isn't doing enough service. Then she gets the itch to go again to Gita-nagari. Once she is there, she doesn't even have to ask what service needs doing because there are always a "million" things needing to be done. So Stuyvesant Falls can't completely claim Mother Kaulini. Her heart partly belongs to Gita-nagari. She is also attracted to visiting Vrndavana dhama, and Krishna seems to arrange that she can go every few years. She is a very fortunate and lovable Vaishnavi.

Email to a friend

Ekendra das, Alachua, USA: This Blog Post Has No Anti-Aging Properties Whatsoever

Cigarettes—once thought to make one look "cool"—now must be packaged with not one, but four varieties of warning labels:

• SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, And May Complicate Pregnancy.
• SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Quitting Smoking Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Health.
• SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Smoking By Pregnant Women May Result in Fetal Injury, Premature Birth, And Low Birth Weight.
• SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Cigarette Smoke Contains Carbon Monoxide.

The implication is that if you go ahead and smoke anyway you basically don't care about your health, the health of your unborn children, or the fact that you're essentially committing suicide by the equivalent of sucking on a smoking automobile tailpipe. And don't say we didn't warn you.

Maybe cigarette companies will continue to rack up profits, but their customers must now claim a higher degree of willful ignorance than ever before.

Speaking of warning labels, it's always annoyed me how herb and vitamin companies must put similar boilerplate on their products—many of which have genuinely beneficial properties and have been in use by health practitioners since before recorded history:

"These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease."

What I’ve often wondered—considering the ubiquity of this statement on health food shelves everywhere—is what is the FDA doing with their time? Why isn't someone there evaluating some of these herbs and vitamins, instead of endlessly printing up helpful labels for things like bottled water, helpfully informing us that water has essentially zero nutritional value (forget about the fact that you'll die if you don't drink it) but that Wacky Fruit Friends snacks has twenty percent of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamin C, which is full of antioxidants?

What really bugs me now, though, is this: why is it that herbs that have been in use for thousands of years—and are known all over the world for their specific therapeutic usefulness to the human body—must by law be labeled in the above manner, but any yahoo can now boldly label their products "Anti-Aging"—in large print, without any FDA caveat—even though everyone knows that you can't stop time, and that aging and death are therefore 100% inevitable?

I strongly suggest that all companies who wish to boldly declare that their skin creams and such have "Anti-Aging" properties must similarly inform their prospective customers about the outrageously misleading nature of their "Anti-Aging" claims. Something along the lines of:

"This product has not yet been shown to have any significant or insignificant effect on slowing, stopping, or otherwise affecting the passage of time in any way, shape, or form. No laboratory testing has ever demonstrated that the human body’s inevitable natural aging process can be counteracted even slightly by the application of any manner of chemical compound found in any commercially or privately available skin care product. The purchaser fully assumes all responsibility for being labeled a fool, booby, sap, imbecile, cretin, dullard, simpleton, moron, clod, nitwit, halfwit, dope, ninny, nincompoop, chump, dimwit, dingbat, dipstick, goober, coot, goon, dumbo, dummy, ditz, dumdum, fathead, numbskull, numbnuts, dunderhead, thickhead, airhead, flake, lamebrain, zombie, nerd, peabrain, birdbrain, jughead, jerk, donkey, twit, goat, dork, twerp, schmuck, bozo, boob, turkey, schlep, chowderhead, dumbhead, goofball, goof, goofus, doofus, galoot, lummox, klutz, putz, schlemiel, meatball, dumb cluck, and dumbass by the rest of thinking society."

Better to chant Hare Krishna mantra.


Email to a friend

Akrura das, Gita Coaching: NEVER MIND

Krsna sometimes became sick. So in Dvaraka many doctors came, and nobody could cure Him. Then Krsna suggested His own medicine, "If some of my devotees will give the dust of their feet on My head, then I'll be cured." Then so many devotees, including Narada Muni, were approached to give the dust of their feet, because Krsna is suffering. All of them said, "No, how can I give my dust of my feet? Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead."

But when the gopis were approached, when they heard that Krsna is sick, and He's in an urgent necessity of the dust of His devotees' feet, immediately they began to give: "Take it, take it immediately." They did not consider that by giving the dust of their feet to Krsna they will go to hell. "Never mind, I shall go to hell, it doesn't matter, but let Krsna be cured." That is their first consideration.

So this is the topmost devotee, prepared to do anything for Krsna, without any consideration. That is a pure devotee. There should be no personal desire. That should be zero. One should simply try to please Krsna. There is no other consideration. Only to satisfy Krsna. That is pure bhakti, pure devotion.

Email to a friend

Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: A Journey Across to Poland: [P15] Opening of Krsna's Village of Peace at Woodstock

Wednesday 28th, July 2010. I slept well - utilizing my ear plugs to block out any disturbances. We missed the morning bus so I found Marek, the VOP (Village of Peace band) percussionist and asked him for a lift to the Red school. He was originally from Poland, living in Ireland and was running a Vegetarian restaurant. It was pretty cool to hear the lives of people who were somehow connected to Krsna consciousness. We drove through scattered devotees, all crowded in the parking lot, as we arrived. I caught up with my friends from the Red school and we found a spot right up the front.

HH Indradyumna Swami greeted the large crowd of devotees. Maharaja started by reminding us that this event was such an amazing preaching endeavour that even the demigods would come down to witness it. He reminded us that it was a yajna and linked this to the fact that the demigods participated in such yajnas from time immemorial.

Indradyumna Swami then told us that the three thousand young people of Woodstock were not there simply to be a part of our festival. They were there for "Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll" but Krsna had arranged that we would be standing by to give them the mercy. Maharaja touched on the fact that we were participating in another person's festival, not the other way around, so we should be very respectful.

Indradyumna Swami began to talk about our VIPs and events. He introduced the kirtaneers - some present and others soon to come. We had an amazing line up this year, bigger than any other that I could remember. Maharaja announced that VOP (Village of Peace) were going to play this year also. Sri Prahlada was going to be the lead singer and many other familiar faces were going to be back onstage. Next he mentioned Patita Pavana Prabhu, who was coming to serve the devotees by doing their horoscopes. He had come last year and I managed to obtain some of his association so I was hoping for more this year.

There was going to be Rathayatra for three to four hours daily, including the day before the official Woodstock. Even today there was going to be a harinam. Maharaja said there was over thirty tonnes of bhoga for the Food For Life operation. Every night, in the Mantra Yoga tent, there would be non-stop kirtana. There were also going to be a bunch of things that we did at our coastal festivals.

Maharaja touched on some of the realities. He asked everyone to be timely for their sevas. Last year a lot of people had been missing their seva and now we had to be more attentive, because this year our group wasn't as big. He asked us that if we're approached by any journalists we direct them to the managers, not being overzealous and preaching ourselves. He also asked us to stay in Krsna's Village of Peace. "Outside is only one thing. M…A…Y…A…" We all laughed.

Maharaja passed the meeting over to Jayatam. Jayatam pointed out all the department heads for this year's Woodstock and then we dispatched for morning Prasadam. I went for a walk with Cid, down to the local sklep (store) to pick up some maslanka (butter milk). We returned for some Prasadam and some Sadhu sanga.

I waited at the entrance of the school, hoping not to miss my lift back. All of a sudden, a white van pulled up, and out stepped Gaura Hari and Govinda (Scottish - I am aware he is the third Govinda in this diary but what can we do?). I gave them both a hearty hug and had the pleasure of informing Gaura Hari that his name was listed on the door of one of the VIP classrooms (although his and my name were also listed on a door in the Red school - but this is simply a mystery) in the Green school. Before Gaura could even unpack, I had him on his way with me, in the back of Nrsimha Vallabha's car, towards the Green school. Nrsimha Vallabha Prabhu had only just joined the tour and was off home again before Woodstock was even beginning. He was checking out the festival so he could take his family next year so although it was a sad end to his trip it meant happy times to come.

I informed Gurudeva that Gaura Hari had arrived. "Send him in" he said. There was a bit of commotion as Gaura arrived and then he settled with Maharaja for some one on one time. As they were talking, Hg Satya Narayana Prabhu also arrived. I quickly informed Maharaja and he repeated the order. There was another serge of social activity before it all died down. I went in to Satya Narayana to offer my assistance to him. He asked me where I was from and I told him that I was from Australia (that is becoming a tough question now). He told me that he was in charge of the BBT management for our zone and rattled off a few names from our local BBT. I expressed immense gratitude, because our BBT was always so efficient and well stocked. Indeed it was like a trip to the candy store each time I went and the convenience had allowed me to order so many books for distribution.

I was soon in the VIP kitchen helping Dhira Mata, making pizza. I was from samosa dough to pizza dough, rolling this time as apposed to kneading. The pizza base was so big that we were using a brand new broom handle as a rolling pin. I frantically rolled as we prepared tray after tray of pizza for the assembled Sadhus.

In the early evening, Madhava arrived. Madhava was a well reputed kirtaneer (for those who are out of the loop). He remembered me from New Govardhana, where we participated in a twenty-four hour kirtana and I reminded him that I was stirring him, back then about the idea of him coming to Woodstock. Now he had arrived and his kirtanas would be filling up the Mantra Yoga tent every night. I made sure he was settled and then we all ended up in the cafeteria, for some late katha. Radheya had moved to the Green school, which was now the VIP and Halava school. Each item on the Food For Lire menu required a different kitchen: Halava at Green school, rice at Red school, papadams at another kitchen and soy sabji in the "Big Pot" at the site. Radheya was given the seva of helping to cook loads of halava for the Food For Life mission. We now had a decent bunch of boys for some good ole times.

Thursday 29th, July 2010. I awoke, feeling some new energy. I helped in the breakfast endeavours for the VIPs. Mostly, I was making herbal tea for all the kirtaneers. I was now Tea Boy. I thought this was Krsna's ironic sense of humour because I never used to drink tea or coffee, only rarely the herbal tea, so now Krsna was allotting me the karmic prerequisite of tea making, so that I could burn it off before returning to Goloka Vrndavana.

I found myself in the VIP room, yet again, lending my computer to Gaura Hari and Madhava. Now the rolls switched; they sat me down to my VIP Prasadam and presented me with various edible gifts. Gaura Hari gave me a milk sweet and Madhava gave me a calzone, that he had brought with him from Switerzland. It was a mini feast for me, while we talked about various subjects in a relaxed atmosphere.

I helped Dhira Mata a little with lunch Prasadam for the VIPs. Mostly I helped her transport it to the car, crate after crate. We had a French couple who were driving us in their own car and we struggled to fit everything in, because there was so much Prasadam. As we passed the Prasadam truck, on the way out, I saw a strangely familiar face. I was not sure if my eyes were deceiving me so I forgot about it altogether. We arrived and I had to take a walkabout to find our VIPs. I bumped into Caitanya Vallabha, for the first time this tour, and said a quick, warm Haribol before I had to rush off on my business. Eventually we had everyone together and I helped serve them lunch Prasadam, which was a load of fun on its own.

I had to find someone to help me wash the dishes. I began to walk around the site and I found Radheya. With Radheya was the same familiar face I had seen in the Prasadam truck. I presumed it was Yogananda, a Gurukuli boy from LA, whom I had been in contact with for a long time, but I was too shy to ask it straight. It happens so much, while preaching, that you see a face and just cant pick it, or if you do pick it you're too worried you'll simply guess wrong. This time I was right but I wanted to be 108% sure. Once proper introductions were in order, I had the two of them help me wash the dishes and we had a load of fun. We held up a whole wash bay and fended off Vaisnavas from the sinks with various strategies.

Patita Pavana Prabhu and his wife arrived. I considered it my duty to go and check on them, so I found them in their tent. They instantly asked if I could help them have their tent moved. I was in the site shed, moments later, arranging a relocation with Dominik. We had a whole tent crew and a nice table cloth, from our shops, and we located them to somewhere quiet and shady. Navina came in and hooked them up to the power. They instantly started calling in devotees to do their charts.

The VIPs were working their way over Woodstock, sharing their magic. The year's festival was totally packed and the devotees were all engaged. Caturatma Prabhu had a large crowd, as he talked away some Salagram nectar; Madhava was in the kirtana, cooking up a storm; and BB Govinda Maharaja was just arriving, sending cheers and excitement around the camp.

That night Krsna's Village of Peace was officially opened by the Woodstock organizer, Jurek Owsiak. He came on our main stage and loudly voiced his approval of our celebrations. Appropriately, Village of Peace (the band) began to play their Krsna conscious reggae music off into the evening. The crowds danced in appreciation and soaked in the spiritual sound vibrations

I caught an early bus home, reserving myself for the following three days of Woodstock. Although our arrangements were well on the way, Woodstock hadn't even started yet. We were soon to have three awesome, action packed days of Woodstock madness, not available for experience anywhere else in the world. This was the real yajna in Poland.

[http://maddmonk.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/p15-opening-of-krsnas-village-of-peace-at-woodstock-2010]

Email to a friend

Krishna-kripa das, Mayapura: Travel Journal#6.12b: English Festivals and Netherlands Padayatra

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 6, No.12b
By Krishna-kripa das
(June 2010, part two, section two)

English Festivals and Netherlands Padayatra

(Sent from Hamburg, Germany, on August 8, 2010)


Highlights

Borehamwood Ratha-yatra

London Ratha-yatra

Stonehenge Solstice Festival

Netherlands Padayatra

Insights from Srila Prabhupada, Jayapataka Swami,

Candramauli Swami, Jayadvaita Swami,

Janananda Swami, Bhakti Nrsimha Swami, and Others


Where I Went and What I Did


During the brahmacari convention at the Manor, I went with the other brahmacaris to the London Ratha-yatra, but I also skipped out to do a couple of additional festivals, the Borehamwood Ratha-yatra and Stonehenge Solstice Festival. After the convention I hoped to go to the famous Glastonbury Festival, where the devotees distribute prasadam and perform kirtana for a crowd of tens of thousands of people, but tickets were limited, and I did not have enough influence to get one. It made me grateful to Indradyumna Swami and Punya Palaka Prabhu that at least I am allowed to go to festivals like the Polish and Czech Woodstock. Instead of Glastonbury, I stayed with the Soho Street devotees and did harinama in Central London. Monday morning, before leaving for Radhadesh to join the Netherlands Padayatra devotees, we had a final harinama in London. Originally only three devotees wanted to go out, but when Maha-Visnu Swami decided to come, the number swelled to about twelve, and he enlivened them all by his enthusiasm, devotion, and his accordion playing. I felt happy that he was willing to come on my request and inspire many others to come out, and he was also happy that he came.


Borehamwood Ratha-yatra


One Saturday each year, the community of Borehamwood, not far from Bhaktivedanta Manor, has a parade about two hours long in which the devotees, headed by Parasurama Prabhu, have a cart bearing Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai. Devotee kids dressed as peacocks this year. One motorized vehicle pulling the cart was decorated like an elephant. One devotee played a full drum set on another vehicle. Govinda Prabhu was there to play accordion and sing. One young lady named Debra, who has some attraction to the Hare Krishna devotees and who likes their festivals, took some video of our procession. She travels different places with her teddy bear, Bearsac, and shares her experiences.


London Ratha-yatra


It was my first London Ratha-yatra, and I was impressed with many features. Miraculously it started and ended with five minutes of the scheduled times. Police threats of a 10,000 British Pound fine for taking too much time may have been a factor. In the parade alone, I talked to people from Venezuela, Lebanon, and the U.S.A, just hinting at the international outreach done by a festival in London. Their feast wins my award for the best mass distribution curd sabji and srikhand I have had within memory. I did not experience the wonderful kirtanas held before Lord Baladeva and Lady Subhadra, as I promised to dance for Lord Jagannatha the whole time. It was a great event, and I hope I can come each year.


Stonehenge Solstice Festival



I learned of a new festival that the Hare Krishna devotees attend that I had never heard of before—the Stonehenge Solstice Festival. Apparently about 28,000 people gather in the wee hours of the morning on the longest day of the year to watch the sunrise at Stonehenge in England.




I made one video on it which I posted on Youtube:



Parasurama Prabhu, of Hare Krishna Food for All, takes advantage of the gathering to distribute vegetarian spiritual food and chant Hare Krishna kirtana. This year it was a special austerity for the devotees to perform because it was early in the morning after London Ratha-yatra, itself a festival of full engagement. We had to get up around midnight to drive to the event, and Parasurama Prabhu and his team had to cook in advance.


I was also impressed with Mahavishnu Swami, who led kirtana for over four hours, playing on his accordion. He did that the day after fully participating the London Ratha-yatra, and the day after undergoing the calamity of having someone break into a car and steal all his belongings.


Many people listened to the Hare Krishna kirtana, some I recall seeing smiling and moving with the music for as long as two hours. One girl from Malaga, who loved dancing with us for over an hour, told me she had never been to our temple there, but she knew about it because her mother often attends.


I suggested that she might come to as she enjoyed dancing with us so much.


Some people learned the mantra and enjoyed both the chanting and the dancing.


The crowd for the solstice event is very much an alternative crowd, and people are open to new ideas. At least a couple festival goers had a great time playing their African djembes with us for quite a while. One middle-aged lady, who had her own sound system, let us use it for half an hour or so.


Although chanting from 2:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. at an event two hours from the temple certainly disturbs our regulated lifestyle, it was worth it to share the maha-mantra with the people.


Netherlands Padayatra



The Netherlands Padayatra was organized by Parama Karuna and Gaura Vani Devi Dasi, who are based in Radhadesh but originally from Czech Republic. They invited the Czech Padayatra team to assist them, and in many ways, the experience reminded me of the Czech Padayatra I attended last year, with the same leader, Muni Priya Prabhu, the same cart, the same bulls, and the same Bharata-Natyam dancer. I have selected photos, many with informative captions, in a Picasa web album and a video of the event on Youtube:



Several young people, whose parents were devotees, came from Radhadesh where they lived or studied, and they enjoyed engaging their talents for music, dance, and drama in Krishna's service on the padayatra, along with their friends. Cook Maha-laksmi impressed me by sacrificing going on every single padayatra walk, except the final harinama, to make an excellent lunch for the devotees. The breakfast by Kumari and her friends was also nice. Some devotees performed the sacrifice of camping out with the oxen and the cart at the site where we ended in the evening, while the rest performed the sacrifice of taking a bucket shower on the roof of the warehouse in the city that was our base, although one renounced bhaktin actually liked it.


One of the days we went by a school where all the kids were in the schoolyard for recess, and many were attracted to see our chanting party and to interact with the devotees. A couple young men came to all three days of our evening program, in the towns of Valkenburg, Gulpen, and Vijlen. They appear in the dance contest segment of the video, dancing next to each other. These evening programs, well organized by Muni Priya Prabhu, included bhajana, Indian dance, drama, and a dance contest which engaged the public and in which every participant won something. The first day one family came who took lots of pictures and gave them to me on a CD at the end of the evening. On the last day, Vaishnava youth, Kumari, injured her foot and was hobbling around before the our final stage show, but the event was so ecstatic she ended up dancing during the stage show and engaging guests in dancing as well. In fact, the last stage show was so nice, after we announced it was over, a couple devotees chanted more bhajanas and many of the guests stayed. Mother Isani, possibly the only native of the Netherlands in our party of about twenty-five devotees, talked to many of the guests both along the padayatra route and at the evening programs. From time to time when there were a number of people gathered nearby, our procession would stop and a devotee would give a brief explanation of our mission.


There was a lot of cooperation among the devotees and because of that the mood was very sweet. Living and serving together we got to know and appreciate each other. One devotee said at home she sleeps ten hours and was surprised to find on the padayatra because of the spiritual energy she needed a lot less sleep. Bhakta Richard who had previously distributed three or four books on his best day found that the padayatra created such interest in the people's minds that he was able to sell 24 books in one day! Also notable were Bhaktin Suzanna from Spain and Bhakta Noy from Israel, both of whom distributed many books daily, despite not knowing the Dutch language. The total for the three-day event was 352 books distributed.


Gaura Vani was very enthusiastic and told me she has plans to do padayatra in Belgium, Spain, and Italy, in addition to the Netherlands. I wish her all success in her endeavor, and I hope I can attend some of the padayatras.


Insights from Lectures


Srila Prabhupada:


on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.28:


We say that we trust in God. But if we really trust in God we have to be equal to all living beings like Krishna is.


When demons are killed by the Lord, their demoniac are activities are ended, and thus they become saints and attain liberation.


The Absolute Truth is the all-pervading Brahman, localized Paramatma, and the Supreme Personality. How we appreciate Him is up to us. We have to prepare ourselves to understand Krishna.


The devotees meet, talk with, and serve the Personality of Godhead.


Those advanced in intelligence concentrate on Krishna. Devotees do not have to control their senses. By engaging in Lord Krishna's service we automatically control our senses. Our spiritual senses should be engaged in the service of Lord. As soon as we engage our senses in the service of Lord, we are immediately liberated.


Krishna has no past, present, and future because He does not change His body, and therefore, He is eternal.


Matter cannot develop by itself. The spiritual energy of the Lord must touch it. There are so many machines but unless a person touches, it does not develop.


From a lecture in Caracus, Venezuela, on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.1:


If Krishna has expanded everywhere, why does He not cease to exist? Although His impersonal feature expands everywhere, He is in one place. It is like a father has kids but still remains.


Vasudeva is everywhere, but everything is not Vasudeva. The car is Ford, but Ford is not the car. The microphone is God, but we do not worship the microphone.


Q: There is maya [material illusion] in the temple.

A: Show me a place where there is no maya, and I will go there. You are in maya, so you are thinking there is maya in the temple.


One priest appreciated that previously the young people did not care for the Lord, but now they are mad after God.


Jayapataka Swami [on the Panihati chipped rice festival]:


Raghunatha Dasa Goswami's uncle had no children, so Raghunatha Dasa inherited all his wealth.


In some traditional Vaishnava families, the children have to take initiation before they get married.


Lord Nityananda told Raghunatha Dasa that he was a thief, and he was going to punish him. If someone is going to punish you, how do you respond? Raghunatha Dasa remained laying at the Lord's lotus feet. The Lord stroked his neck, and explained that as punishment he would have to arrange a festival and feed everyone chipped rice in yogurt. Thus, one of the names of this festival is Danda-mahotsava, the festival of punishment. Raghunatha Dasa Goswami's offense was that he tried to approach Lord Caitanya without first approaching Lord Nityananda. We must approach the Lord through the parampara, the line of spiritual teachers.


Srila Prabhupada wanted the devotees to spread Krishna consciousness on a boat along the Ganges River. When they tried to buy a boat, because they were foreigners, the local boat dealers overcharged them. There was one man who was so old he could not see I was a foreigner, and because I was speaking in Bengali, he charged me the actual price. Later, the boat dealer found out we were foreigners, but because he was a brahmana he kept his promised price.


At Panihati, we set up across from the tree, and served 50,000 and 100,000 people flat rice. No one advertises the festival but hundreds of thousands of people come.


At Atlanta (New Panihati), we celebrate the chipped rice festival. We do eighteen flavors at New Panihati. Six yogurt, six condensed milk, and six salads. Both Indian fruits and Western fruits. Italian salads, Mexican salads, etc. Traditional North Indian mix and traditional South Indian mix. Once in Italy, I did twelve flavors. Four of each of the above.


This Panihati festival is very important. It is known to all the Vaishnavas.


Your Bhaktivedanta Manor strawberry festival is famous. At immigration, the lady told Gaura Nama, "Your strawberry festival is coming up, and I am going to be there."


Q: How does one stay grateful?

A: We are always thinking that we are getting less punishment than we deserve. Thank Krishna I have memory of the lilas (pastimes) and instructions. In 1967 Srila Prabhupada was paralyzed from the waist down. I am suffering much less than I deserve, and Krishna is revealing how this world is a miserable place. We do not want to stay here. We want to return to Krishna.


Q: How to get the mercy of Nityananda?

A: Caitanya-caritamrita says just by saying "Jaya Nitai" one becomes ecstatic. You can pray to Lord Nityananda Prabhu, "Ha ha Prabhu Nityananda," and you can get His mercy by doing congregational preaching, for such groups are under His shelter.


Candramauli Swami:


One who cannot control his mind and senses cannot be happy, even if he can conquer the universe.


Once Hiranyakasipu went to the forest to perform austerities to gain power to conquer the universe. Narada assumed the form of a dove and flew around Hiranyakasipu, chanting the holy name of the Lord to distract him so he could not perform his austerities. Hiranyakasipu chased the bird with such anger, the bird flew away. Hiranyakasipu was so angry about the whole experience he could not meditate, so he returned home, and thus Narada's plan was successful. Right after that, Hiranyakasipu had sex with his wife, and because his mind was purified by hearing Narada Muni chanting Hare Krishna, the child conceived was the pure devotee, Prahlada.


The senses are imperfect, and therefore we become illusioned, and we make mistakes. To cover up for our mistakes, we cheat. That is the progression.

The idea is to bring people up to the standard not to lower the standard so people will meet it.


The best way to preach is present what Srila Prabhupada said, according to time and place.


Jayadvaita Swami:


The upper planetary systems of the demigods are not real in the sense that they come and go, not that they are mythological.


Sat means real or permanent while asat means unreal or temporary.


An ordinary pickpocket gets you looking somewhere else while he is picking your pocket. The scientists get people looking at the moon while they are picking their pockets on earth to the tune of billions of dollars. This is truly grand theft.


Pleasure is so constructed in the material that it is always connected to pain. (Bg. 5.22)


Even if someone could be found who just enjoys, he will have to get another material body which experiences suffering.


The demons instead of grasping for the substance, the lotus feet of Krishna, grasp for the illusion. (Bg. 16.10)


The scientists believe in what they see. One might ask them, "May I see your intelligence." "No." "Then what is the proof you have intelligence?"


NASA lost the films of the Apollo moon landings. Did you hear? NASA spaced out. The original Apollo footage is lost. That footage cost American taxpayers billions of dollars, and they lost it.


Unless one achieves self-realization, life is a failure. The scientists think that going to the moon is a success. Hiranyakasipu considered conquering heaven to be success, but actually his success was that he was ripped apart by Lord Nrsimha.


Q (by Tattva-vit Prabhu): The Pracetas meditated under water for 10,000 years. That is hard to believe.

A: Hard to believe means "you do not know how to do it." Even Houdini could do things like that, and he was just a magician. Yogis can do things like that.


Q: A Buddhist inquired, "Everything around us is temporary. What is the need for anything that is permanent?"

A: Krishna is permanent, and we are part of Krishna, so we are permanent. What is need for anything that is temporary? All things temporary things are so complicatedly arranged. Why is that? It is there to keep the living entity bewildered. He has turned away from the truth, so now the illusion is working on him. Why else is there a need for such a complicated illusion?


If you are chanting Hare Krishna and being happy, what can maya do?


Q: What about hoaxes or conspiracies, like 9/11, etc. How should we see them?

A: We can see them as symptomatic of the material world. We do not need to get into the politics of it. Cheating is a symptom of the conditioned soul. The people who are "trying to get to the bottom of it" are also cheated, because they waste their lives trying to do that and forget about self-realization. There are many ways to see things in relation to Krishna, and the devotees see them in one of these ways.


Q: We find that we are always asking Krishna for things rather than serving Him. It is hard giving to Krishna.

A: We can ask, "Please me serve you." Or as in Siksastaka 4. We can ask the Lord, "Give me strength to serve You. Please give me intelligence to serve you."


Janananda Swami:


Bhaktivinoda Thakura at Nrsimha Pali asked Lord Nrsimha for love for Radha Krishna, showing by his example that worshiping Nrsimhadeva is consistent with developing love for Radha Krishna.


Material benedictions are short-lived, mixed with distress and do not guarantee one will be happy.


There was one Indian man who wanted to marry a very attractive young Indian woman, but he was not very high up her list of prospects. He performed all kinds of austerities, with the help of a priest, and eventually married the lady. Sometimes attractive women take advantage of their husbands' attachment for them and demand more than is usually expected of a husband, and so it was for this lady. The man had to work extra jobs, and the priest told him he had to continue with the extra austerities if he wanted to keep the lady. The last I knew the man was in great distress and did not find the happiness he desired.


One man was gradually becoming serious about Krishna consciousness, chanting regularly and attending the temple. But at one point, he abruptly stopped coming. The next time I saw him, I asked him what happened. He explained that his wife left him, he totaled his car, he had to declare bankruptcy, he became sick, and his friends left him. It turned out that one day he had prayed to Radha-Londonisvara, "Please take away everything that is an impediment to my devotional service to You." Apparently the Lord took his request very seriously. Usually it is not so dramatic.


If we are conscious that material things will not satisfy us, and we chant just aspiring for devotional service, then we will progress nicely by the Lord's mercy.


Srila Prabhupada advised to pray, "Please give me the strength to serve You." Other prayers will not be fruitful. Elsewhere Srila Prabhupada said that our only prayer should be that the Lord enable us to serve Him birth after birth. Even if I am sent to hell, please let me remember to chant Hare Krishna.


The prayers of great personality are valuable to study. We should not pass over the prayers of Sri Prahlada, thinking that the real thing is the battle between Lord Nrsimha and Hiranyakasipu.


The prayers of King Kulaksekhara, although he was in aisvarya-bhava, (worshiping Laksmi-Narayana in opulence), are completely relevant to us, and Srila Prabhupada would frequently quote them.


The only austerity is to follow the instructions of the spiritual master, desiring to please him. We do not have to dream up artificial austerities.


Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that after the killing of Aghasura, that Brahma thought, "Let me do something that will cause Krishna to do something even more wonderful."


Q: Does a sincere devotee actually have to pray to become free from anarthas or will it just happen?

A: Once Srila Prabhupada was praying for protection. A disciple expressed bewilderment why that was necessary for a maha-bhagavata. Srila Prabhupada explained that was the qualification of a maha-bhagavata. Actually our whole life is prayer.


Our only real fault is that we are not seeing Krishna in the center or not seeing Him at all.


Ravana tried to built a stairway to heaven and failed, but Hiranyakasipu was sitting on the throne of Indra.


Some people criticize Raghunatha Goswami for his diplomacy in negotiating his father's business affair with the government leaders in his previous asrama. There is nothing wrong with politics. It is just what you do with it. Yudhisthira was a politician. The important thing is to implement God conscious policies.


Raghunatha Goswami stayed far away from Lord Nityananda and Lord Nitayananda Prabhu accused him of staying in the background like a thief. Just like sometime people just stand at the back of the kirtana and do not participate, and you have to push them.


Once a devotee mentioned that sometimes devotees leave ISKCON, but Srila Prabhupada replied, "No. Nobody leaves ISKCON. They may think like that, but I will not let them leave ISKCON."


Devotees came from all over to Lord Nityananda Prabhu's chipped rice festival. Just like at Ratha-yatra, you see devotees you have not seen for 30 years. When such people come, don't think in a negative way, "They only come for the festivals." That is what the temple is for—to share the mercy we have received from Lord Nityananda. It is the business of the brahmanas to have festivals and invite everyone to take part. It is not our temple or ISKCON's temple. It is Radha Gokulananda's temple, and they want everyone to come and see Them and serve Them.


The Lord performs His pastimes for us to remember. Otherwise, what will we remember?


Every day we are having a picnic, taking prasadam with our friends, here at Bhaktivedanta Manor.


Everyone should enter into the drama of Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda. We could engage everyone in playing a role in the chipped rice festival pastime, and thus reenact the pastime in a very memorable way. That is the best way to celebrate this day each year.


Bhakti Nrsimha Swami:


The Lord's internal potency gives knowledge of our relationship with the Lord, but for those who do not accept the variegatedness of the personal feature of the Lord, she just gives knowledge of the impersonal.


Krishna explains in Bg. 7.13, that everyone in this world is covered by the material energy, and in Bg. 7.14 that by surrendering to Krishna one can become free from this control.


When we understand the relationship that Krishna has with everything in this world, everything becomes clear.


There are five levels of consciousness anna-maya (concern with eating), prana-maya (concern with defense), mana-maya (concern for economic development), vijnana-maya (concern with the meaning of life), and ananda-maya (devotion to the Lord).


Gaura Krishna Prabhu:


On the way to the temple on a Saturday morning, one man put his face near mine and roared like a madman. I replied, "Hare Krishna," and the man and his friends started to jump up and down shouting, "Hare Krishna!"


Lila Suka Prabhu:


Although the chemicals of the body are present after death, the body cannot be revived because the soul is gone.


When we are connected with Krishna, that is called yoga, and in that state, we are beyond the material energy.


Most people are living as if they are going to live forever.


Once in the U.S.A., Srila Prabhupada was given twenty seconds of time on nationwide TV. He was introduced as the founder of the Hare Krishna movement and asked what his message was. In this situation, he explained, "Our movement is meant to make people God consciousness (Krishna consciousness), because without Krishna consciousness, man is like an animal."


Krishna starts in the Bhagavad-gita by giving the good news that we are eternal. (Bg. 2.12) Then in the next verse, He gives the bad news, the body is always changing, and then one changes the body completely at death.


Krishna explains in many verses one must be sober in the face of bodily changes. (Bg. 2.14, etc.)


You may study Bhagavad-gita, but until you come to the mode of goodness, you will not understand.


Krishna gives intelligence to the people who serve Him with love.


I can see since I have been practicing bhakti-yoga for seventeen years, my consciousness has changed, and I can see this will continue in the future.


Bhakta Praveen:


We take steps to Krishna, and Krishna reciprocates by taking steps to us, but Krishna's steps, as we can see in the case of Vamanadeva, are much, much bigger.


-----


yatha taror mula-nisecanena

trpyanti tat-skandha-bhujopasakhah

pranopaharac ca yathendriyanam

tathaiva sarvarhanam acyutejya


"As pouring water on the root of a tree energizes the trunk, branches, twigs and everything else, and as supplying food to the stomach enlivens the senses and limbs of the body, simply worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead through devotional service automatically satisfies the demigods, who are parts of that Supreme Personality[, and everyone else]." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.31.14)


Email to a friend

H.H. Sivarama Swami: Kirtan on Sunday morning

Email to a friend

Gauranga Kishore das,USA: New Car



I was planning on writing something up on Friday about my recent trip to the UF museum of natural history but man proposes and God disposes.

Friday morning I was rushing around on my way back from picking up a crib, as I was rushing back to meet a friend for lunch I rear ended somebody at a stop sign. We were both stopped with a third car in front of us, somehow I though he had gone through the stop sign so I accelerated and ran right into him, I was kind of looking over my shoulder trying to adjust some of the crib pieces that were in the back seat of the car. Oops. He was in a pick up truck so his metal bumper smashed my light, bent by hood and knocked my radiator back into the engine. Considering I only paid seven hundred dollars for the car I definitely wasn't going to try to repair the car, it would've cost much more than the car is worth.

So Saturday was spent trying to figure out how we would get a new car. We decided that we would just get a new car and put it on our Credit Card and then hopefully when I get my students loans and grants, and TA money in the beginning of september we would be able to pay off the whole bill.

I called around to dealerships and found a car that I like in our price range, around $3,000, it seemed to check out, not that I know that much about cars, and we purchased it, thanks to my mom who drove me out to the dealership.

Lacie wasn't even too sad about me wrecking the other she was kind of happy because it forced us to get a new one, the last car had no muffler, tons of exterior body damage, most of the doors didn't work properly, the interior was really dirty, and it wasn't reliable. No place for a baby.

The new car is a 96 Subaru Legacy station wagon. The car seems to drive well, is in pretty good shape for its age and will be a good family car. One big lesson I've learned is that it is not worth skimping on insurance so this time around we have full coverage in case anything does happen. I'm really hoping and praying that this car doesn't have any serious problems and lasts of a while.

And tomorrow I'll post something about my trip to the natural history museum.
Email to a friend

H.H. Sivarama Swami: Narrating the story of king Purusottama-deva and how Jagannatha and Balarama fought for him

Email to a friend

Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: What Are You Doing for Cow Protection?

By HH Sivarama Swami

Krsi goraksya vanijya. Krsi means ploughing or agriculture and goraksya, cow protection. These are the staples of society, this is what people live on. All living entities subsist on grains. So the ksatriyas may direct and instruct people, the brahmanas may perform their yajnas, but if they don't eat then giving shelter or instruction is not going to work.

That eating is therefore the most essential aspect of life and this is why the vaisyas and their assistants, the sudras, are so integral that the other castes think that they are the most important people, because it is actually they who are feeding. Of course the vaisyas think that the brahmanas are the most important because they are taking the result of their work and offering it back to the Lord.

Srila Prabhupada said that this very common type of exchange was there but the responsibility of this goraksya, is it the duty of just some people? Some very very exclusive people? Is it the responsibility of all vaisyas, or is it for all grhastas or all devotees?

My proposition is that it is everyone's responsibility. Just like everyone's responsibility is chanting Hare Krishna, watering Tulasi devi, reading Bhagavatam. Similarly part of our common dharma is to protect cows. This is something that you see ingrained in communities like Bhaktivedanta Manor, where they have to limit the amount of cows they receive as gifts, and be very careful about the type of food that is offered to the cows, because to a greater or lesser degree all the devotees see the protection of cows as their dharma.

It is everyone's dharma: the cow is our mother, she gives us milk while all over the rest of the world cows are being butchered, slaughtered, abused, and taken advantage of. Vaisnavas must take it as their responsibility to protect cows. Now, how do you protect cows? Does that mean that you have a cow on your balcony in downtown Singapore? No, that type of cow protection is actually cow abuse. You cannot just keep your own cow.

Cows only give milk if they have calves, which means you have to constantly have calves, which means you have to have a herd, and that is a full time business. So how is it that individuals should protect cows? They should in some way or another be connected to ISKCON's herds. Srila Prabhupada established cow protection for instance in New Vrindavan, Gita Nagari, or as we have done here in Hungary at New Vraja-dhama. These herds are not the sole responsibility or duty of the local devotees in those places, they are the responsibility of the devotees and congregation of the local country. It is their responsibility to contribute to the cow protection, to donate towards the maintenance of the cow, to come and do some cow seva, and when they come to the temple they should bring some bhoga for the cows, to find out what items are needed by the cowherds.

Cow protection is everyone's business, it is everyone's responsibility. This is being written down as varnasrama dharma. If one does not contribute or participate directly in cow protection then he should know that he is neglecting his dharma. In other words he is adharmic.

This is in my view the greater picture of what varnasrama means. Varnasrama doesn't mean that we simply philosophize about a way of life, but what are the duties of varnas and asramas, what are the duties that are common for all Vaisnavas, for all humans. And one of them is the protection of cows, just like chanting Hare Krsna is a common responsibility as mentioned earlier.

So, similairly, cow protection is a common responsibility for everyone. It doesn't necessarily always occur to us, and even when it does, it's difficult to get devotees interested. More difficult than getting devotees to do sankirtan, more difficult than getting someone to cook in the kitchen or be temple president, is to get devotees to be cowherds. To make devotees work with the cows, bulls, and oxen and to make that their life, it is very difficult for devotees to do this. "I am an educated person, I have this diploma and you want me to take care of cows? You want me to do that thing that God does? You want me to do that activity that is going on in the spiritual world?"

And that is what is going on the spiritual world. That is what is going on where we are going–at least where I want to go is where there is only gopas and gopis. The whole social identity is based on go, on cows. There are milkmaids and there are cowherd men. And if we are not willing to be milkmaids and cowherd men here in the material world, if this service is beyond us and we cannot forsee how we are going to dedicate our lives to working with the cows, then were are we going? Then you had better look for somewhere other than Braja. Then you had better go to Dwaraka or Vaikuntha, where that is not a compulsory, integral part of life.

Because in the spiritual world, in Goloka Vrindavan, Krishna goes out every day to tend cows. And yet it is so difficult to get devotees to be cowherders, to see that this is a respectable future, and to stick with that service. Because once again, cow protection is something that we talk about as being against the principles of slaughtering the animals. We don't believe in slaughtering the cow, we don't believe in eating the meat of the cow, cows should be properly protected. But, when it comes to properly protecting the cows, are we willing to do it? Are we actually willing to dedicate our lives to taking care of cows? Or are we willing to participate and support the protection of cows?

Therefore, we should ask: "What am I doing for protecting my mother? What am I doing to sustain cow protection in my zone? It is my responsibility, my duty as a Vaisnava. Am I performing my dharmic duty?"

Email to a friend

Bhakta Chris, New York, USA: The Man Who Planted Trees



The Man Who Planted Trees

by Jean Giono

For a human character to reveal truly exceptional qualities, one must have the good fortune to be able to observe its performance over many years. If this performance is devoid of all egoism, if its guiding motive is unparalleled generosity, if it is absolutely certain that there is no thought of recompense and that, in addition, it has left its visible mark upon the earth, then there can be no mistake.

About forty years ago I was taking a long trip on foot over mountain heights quite unknown to tourists, in that ancient region where the Alps thrust down into Provence. All this, at the time I embarked upon my long walk through these deserted regions, was barren and colorless land. Nothing grew there but wild lavender.

I was crossing the area at its widest point, and after three days' walking, found myself in the midst of unparalleled desolation. I camped near the vestiges of an abandoned village. I had run out of water the day before, and had to find some. These clustered houses, although in ruins, like an old wasps' nest, suggested that there must once have been a spring or well here. There was indeed a spring, but it was dry. The five or six houses, roofless, gnawed by wind and rain, the tiny chapel with its crumbling steeple, stood about like the houses and chapels in living villages, but all life had vanished.

It was a fine June day, brilliant with sunlight, but over this unsheltered land, high in the sky, the wind blew with unendurable ferocity. It growled over carcasses of the houses like a lion disturbed at its meal. I had to move my camp.

After five hours' walking I had still not found water and there was nothing to give me any hope of finding any. All about me was the same dryness, the same coarse grasses. I thought I glimpsed in the distance a small black silhouette, upright, and took it for the trunk of a solitary tree. In any case I started toward it. It was a shepherd. Thirty sheep were lying about him on the baking earth.

He gave me a drink from his water-gourd and, a little later, took me to his cottage in a fold of the plain. He drew his water—excellent water—from a very deep natural well above which he had constructed a primitive winch.

The man spoke little. This is the way of those who live alone, but one felt that he was sure of himself, and confident in his assurance. That was unexpected in this barren country. He lived, not in a cabin, but in a real house built of stone that bore plain evidence of how his own efforts had reclaimed the ruin he had found there on his arrival. His roof was strong and sound. The wind on its tiles made the sound of the sea upon its shore.

The place was in order, the dishes washed, the floor swept, his rifle oiled; his soup was boiling over the fire. I noticed then that he was cleanly shaved, that all his buttons were firmly sewed on, that his clothing had been mended with the meticulous care that makes the mending invisible. He shared his soup with me and afterwards, when I offered my tobacco pouch, he told me that he did not smoke. His dog, as silent as himself, was friendly without being servile.

It was understood from the first that I should spend the night there; the nearest village was still more than a day and a half away. And besides I was perfectly familiar with the nature of the rare villages in that region. There were four or five of them scattered well apart from each other on these mountain slopes, among white oak thickets, at the extreme end of the wagon roads. They were inhabited by charcoalburners, and the living was bad. Families, crowded together in a climate that is excessively harsh both in winter and in summer, found no escape from the unceasing conflict of personalities. Irrational ambition reached inordinate proportions in the continual desire for escape. The men took their wagonloads of charcoal to the town, then returned. The soundest characters broke under the perpetual grind. The women nursed their grievances. There was rivalry in everything, over the price of charcoal as over a pew in the church, over warring virtues as over warring vices as well as over the ceaseless combat between virtue and vice. And over all there was the wind, also ceaseless, to rasp upon the nerves. There were epidemics of suicide and frequent cases of insanity, usually homicidal.

The shepherd went to fetch a small sack and poured out a heap of acorns on the table. He began to inspect them, one by one, with great concentration, separating the good from the bad. I smoked my pipe. I did offer to help him. He told me that it was his job. And in fact, seeing the care he devoted to the task, I did not insist. That was the whole of our conversation. When he had set aside a large enough pile of good acorns he counted them out by tens, meanwhile eliminating the small ones or those which were slightly cracked, for now he examined them more closely. When he had thus selected one hundred perfect acorns he stopped and we went to bed.

There was peace in being with this man. The next day I asked if I might rest here for a day. He found it quite natural—or, to be more exact, he gave me the impression that nothing could startle him. The rest was not absolutely necessary, but I was interested and wished to know more about him. He opened the pen and led his flock to pasture. Before leaving, he plunged his sack of carefully selected and counted acorns into a pail of water.

I noticed that he carried for a stick an iron rod as thick as my thumb and about a yard and a half long. Resting myself by walking, I followed a path parallel to his. His pasture was in a valley. He left the dog in charge of the little flock and climbed toward where I stood. I was afraid that he was about the rebuke me for my indiscretion, but it was not that at all: this was the way he was going, and he invited me to go along if I had nothing better to do. He climbed to the top of the ridge, about a hundred yards away.

There he began thrusting his iron rod into the earth, making a hole in which he planted an acorn; then he refilled the hole. He was planting oak trees. I asked him if the land belonged to him. He answered no. Did he know whose it was? He did not. He supposed it was community property, or perhaps belonged to people who cared nothing about it. He was not interested in finding out whose it was. He planted his hundred acorns with the greatest care.

After the midday meal the resumed his planting. I suppose I must have been fairly insistent in my questioning, for he answered me. For three years he had been planting trees in this wilderness. He had planted one hundred thousand. Of the hundred thousand, twenty thousand had sprouted. Of the twenty thousand he still expected to lose half, to rodents or to the unpredictable designs of Providence. There remained ten thousand oak trees to grow where nothing had grown before.

That was when I began to wonder about the age of this man. He was obviously over fifty. Fifty-five, he told me. His name was Elzéard Bouffier. He had once had a farm in the lowlands. There he had had his life. He had lost his only son, then this wife. He had withdrawn into this solitude where his pleasure was to live leisurely with his lambs and his dog. It was his opinion that this land was dying for want of trees. He added that, having no very pressing business of his own, he had resolved to remedy this state of affairs.

Since I was at that time, in spite of my youth, leading a solitary life, I understood how to deal gently with solitary spirits. But my very youth forced me to consider the future in relation to myself and to a certain quest for happiness. I told him that in thirty years his ten thousand oaks would be magnificent. He answered quite simply that if God granted him life, in thirty years he would have planted so many more that these ten thousand would be like a drop of water in the ocean.

Besides, he was now studying the reproduction of beech trees and had a nursery of seedlings grown from beechnuts near his cottage. The seedlings, which he had protected from his sheep with a wire fence, were very beautiful. He was also considering birches for the valleys where, he told me, there was a certain amount of moisture a few yards below the surface of the soil.

The next day, we parted.

The following year came the War of 1914, in which I was involved for the next five years. An infantry man hardly had time for reflecting upon trees. To tell the truth, the thing itself had made no impression upon me; I had considered it as a hobby, a stamp collection, and forgotten it.

The war over, I found myself possessed of a tiny demobilization bonus and a huge desire to breathe fresh air for a while. It was with no other objective that I again took the road to the barren lands.

The countryside had not changed. However, beyond the deserted village I glimpsed in the distance a sort of grayish mist that covered the mountaintops like a carpet. Since the day before, I had begun to think again of the shepherd tree-planter. "Ten thousand oaks," I reflected, "really take up quite a bit of space."

I had seen too many men die during those five years not to imagine easily that Elzéard Bouffier was dead, especially since, at twenty, one regards men of fifty as old men with nothing left to do but die.

He was not dead. As a matter of fact, he was extremely spry. He had changed jobs. Now he had only four sheep but, instead, a hundred beehives. He had got rid of the sheep because they threatened his young trees. For, he told me (and I saw for myself), the war had disturbed him not at all. He had imperturbably continued to plant.

The oaks of 1910 were then ten years old and taller than either of us. It was an impressive spectacle. I was literally speechless and, as he did not talk, we spent the whole day walking in silence through his forest. In three sections, it measured eleven kilometers in length and three kilometers at its greatest width. When you remembered that all this had sprung from the hands and the soul of this one man, without technical resources, you understand that men could be as effectual as God in other realms than that of destruction.

He had pursued his plan, and beech trees as high as my shoulder, spreading out as far as the eye could reach, confirmed it. He showed me handsome clumps of birch planted five years before—that is, in 1915, when I had been fighting at Verdun. He had set them out in all the valleys where he had guessed—and rightly—that there was moisture almost at the surface of the ground. They were as delicate as young girls, and very well established.

Creation seemed to come about in a sort of chain reaction. He did not worry about it; he was determinedly pursuing his task in all its simplicity; but as we went back toward the village I saw water flowing in brooks that had been dry since the memory of man. This was the most impressive result of chain reaction that I had seen. These dry streams had once, long ago, run with water. Some of the dreary villages I mentioned before had been built on the sites of ancient Roman settlements, traces of which still remained; and archaeologists, exploring there, had found fishhooks where, in the twentieth century, cisterns were needed to assure a small supply of water.

The wind, too, scattered seeds. As the water reappeared, so there reappeared willows, rushes, meadows, gardens, flowers, and a certain purpose in being alive. But the transformation took place so gradually that it became part of the pattern without causing any astonishment. Hunters, climbing into the wilderness in pursuit of hares or wild boar, had of course noticed the sudden growth of little trees, but had attributed it to some natural caprice of the earth. That is why no one meddled with Elzéard Bouffier's work. If he had been detected he would have had opposition. He was indetectable. Who in the villages or in the administration could have dreamed of such perseverance in a magnificient generosity?

To have anything like a precise idea of this exceptional character one must not forget that he worked in total solitude: so total that, toward the end of his life, he lost the habit of speech. Or perhaps it was that he saw no need for it.

In 1933 he received a visit from a forest ranger who notified him of an order against lighting fires out of doors for fear of endangering the growth of this natural forest. It was the first time, that man told him naively, that he had ever heard of a forest growing out of its own accord. At that time Bouffier was about to plant beeches at a spot some twelve kilometers from his cottage. In order to avoid travelling back and forth—for he was then seventy-five—he planned to build a stone cabin right at the plantation. The next year he did so.

In 1935 a whole delegation came from the Government to examine the "natural forest". There was a high official from the Forest Service, a deputy, technicians. There was a great deal of ineffectual talk. It was decided that some thing must be done and, fortunately, nothing was done except the only helpful thing: the whole forest was placed under the protection of the State, and charcoal burning prohibited. For it was impossible not to be captivated by the beauty of those young trees in fullness of health, and they cast their spell over the deputy himself.

A friend of mine was among the forestry officers of the delegation. To him I explained the mystery. One day the following week we went together to see Elzéard Bouffier. We found him hard at work, some ten kilometers from the spot where the inspection had taken place.

This forester was not my friend for nothing. He was aware of values. He knew how to keep silent. I delivered the eggs I had brought as a present. We shared our lunch among the three of us and spent several hours in wordless contemplation of the countryside.

In the direction from which we had come the slopes were covered with trees twenty to twenty-five feet tall. I remembered how the land had looked in 1913: a desert .... Peaceful, regular toil, the vigorous mountain air, frugality and, above all, serenity of spirit had endowed this old man with awe-inspiring health. He was one of God's athletes. I wondered how many more acres he was going to cover with trees.
Before leaving, my friend simply made a brief suggestion about certain species of trees that the soil here seemed particularly suited for. He did not force the point. "For the very good reason," he told me later, "that Bouffier knows more about it than I do." At the end of an hour's walking—having turned it over his mind—he added, "He knows a lot more about it than anybody. He's discovered a wonderful way to be happy!"

It was thanks to this officer that not only the forest but also the happiness of the man was protected. He delegated three rangers to the task, and so terrorized them that they remained proof against all the bottles of wine the charcoal burners could offer.

The only serious danger to the work occurred during the war of 1939. As cars were being run on gazogenes (wood-burning generators), there was never enough wood. Cutting was started among the oaks of 1910, but the area was so far from any railroads that the enterprise turned out to be financially unsound. It was abandoned. The shepherd had seen nothing of it. He was thirty kilometers away, peacefully continuing his work, ignoring the war of '39 as he had ignored that of '14.

I saw Elzéard Bouffier for the last time in June of 1945. He was then eighty-seven. I had started back along the route through the wastelands; but now, in spite of the disorder in which the war had left the country, there was a bus running between the Durance Valley and the mountain. I attributed the fact that I no longer recognized the scenes of my earlier journeys to this relatively speedy transportation. It seemed to me, too, that the route took me through new territory. It took the name of a village to convince me that I was actually in that region that had been all ruins and desolation.

The bus put me down at Vergons. In 1913 this hamlet of ten or twelve houses had three inhabitants. They had been savage creatures, hating one another, living by trapping game, little removed, both physically and morally, from the conditions of prehistoric man. All about them nettles were feeding upon the remains of abandoned houses. Their condition had been beyond hope. For them, nothing but to await death—a situation which rarely predisposes to virtue.

Everything was changed. Even the air. Instead of the harsh dry winds that used to attack me, a gentle breeze was blowing, laden with scents. A sound like water came from the mountains: it was the wind in the forest. Most amazing of all, I heard the actual sound of water falling into a pool. I saw that a fountain had been built, that it flowed freely and—what touched me most—that some one had planted a linden beside it, a linden that must have been four years old, already in full leaf, the incontestable symbol of resurrection.

Besides, Vergons bore evidence of labor at the sort of undertaking for which hope is required. Hope, then, had returned. Ruins had been cleared away, dilapidated walls torn down and five houses restored. Now there were twenty-eight inhabitants, four of them young married couples.

The new houses, freshly plastered, were surrounded by gardens where vegetables and flowers grew in orderly confusion, cabbages and roses, leeks and snapdragons, celery and anemones. It was now a village where one would like to live.

From that point on I went on foot. The war just finished had not yet allowed the full blooming of life, but Lazarus was out of the tomb. On the lower slopes of the mountain I saw little fields of barely and of rye; deep in the narrow valleys the meadows were turning green.
It has taken only the eight years since then for the whole countryside to glow with health and prosperity. On the site of ruins I had seen in 1913 now stand neat farms, cleanly plastered, testifying to a happy and comfortable life. The old streams, fed by the rains and snows that the forest conserves, are flowing again. Their waters have been channeled. On each farm, in groves of maples, fountain pools overflow on to carpets of fresh mint.

Little by little the villages have been rebuilt. People from the plains, where land is costly, have settled here, bringing youth, motion, the spirit of adventure. Along the roads you meet hearty men and women, boys and girls who understand laughter and have recovered a taste for picnics. Counting the former population, unrecognizable now that they live in comfort, more than ten thousand people owe their happiness to Elzéard Bouffier.

When I reflect that one man, armed only with his own physical and moral resources, was able to cause this land of Canaan to spring from the wasteland, I am convinced that in spite of everything, humanity is admirable. But when I compute the unfailing greatness of spirit and the tenacity of benevolence that it must have taken to achieve this result, I am taken with an immense respect for that old and unlearned peasant who was able to complete a work worthy of God.

Elzéard Bouffier died peacefully in 1947 at the hospice in Banon.

Email to a friend

Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1968 August 8 : "This method of chanting in the park, distributing Prasadam, and selling our literature and making some collection, is just the way by which we can make both propaganda and maintain our institution."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1968

Email to a friend

Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1969 August 8 : "The Vedic system is students go from door to door for begging alms, and because everyone's son is in the asrama, nobody declines to give alms. So there is no financial difficulty; but now we have to adjust to the circumstance."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1969

Email to a friend

Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 August 8 : "First of all you must promise that you will not separate under any circumstances. This marriage is serious business and not to be taken lightly. There is no question of separation in Krishna Conscious marriages."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

Email to a friend

Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 August 8 : "How many trustees there are and how many are our initiated members? Our initiated members must be in the majority, and if any deed has to be prepared then I shall send you the wordings."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972

Email to a friend

Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 August 8 : "They may install Deities later. First let them preach. Preaching is the first thing, and when there is experience then I can install Deities. Now you go on preaching with full vigor and determination."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972

Email to a friend

Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 August 8 : "He has no sense. Unnecessarily he has canceled our sales agreement and we are suffering so much in litigation. So, he has not gained any experience what is the meaning of going to court. Therefore I cannot agree."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973

Email to a friend

Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 August 8 : "Yes, before the Spiritual Master a dullheaded fool is required, an over intelligent disciple is not a very good qualification. Chant, dance distribute books and Prasadam and everything will increase automatically."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973

Email to a friend

Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 August 8 : "I am happy that the preaching is going on. Above all our preaching must go on. If we do not get that land then we may purchase some other land, that is not a very difficult thing - but preaching is our real business."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973

Email to a friend

Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 August 8: "Regarding your expectation of 10,000 people, that is very good. I am very much pleased. Give the people nice prasadam. This is what is temple - life. Chanting, dancing, prasadam, this is what I want."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

Email to a friend

Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 August 8: "I am especially concerned that the second initiations not be taken cheaply. Brahmins are expected to rise early and follow strictly. Everyone must always chant 16 rounds and follow the four regulative principles."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

Email to a friend

Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1968 August 7: "That is the secret of Krishna Consciousness. The Spiritual Master must be bona fide representative of Krishna, and the disciple must agree to abide by His orders. This is the simple method of spiritual advancement."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1968

Email to a friend

Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 August 7: "I am not very much pleased that you are leaving. Such kinds of disturbances are not at all desirable. Do not be disturbed by the other devotees. You can come here and live with me immediately. You have nothing to do, simply chant and take prasadam."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972

Email to a friend

Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 August 7: "I have chanted upon the sacred thread and agree to accept him for second initiation. The qualifications of a Brahmana are listed in the the Bhagavad-gita. You must see that our devotees are following. We want to create some ideal men who can give guidance to the human society."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973

Email to a friend

Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 August 7: "Society is now without any intelligent head, namely Brahmins. So the Brahmins are supposed to serve the whole society by distributing this important information. Please help me in this way and Krishna will bless you."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973

Email to a friend

Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 August 7: "Yes, the advanced men can distribute big books, and the new men the smaller books. Teach others to distribute books and perform Deity worship, and distribute prasadam. Your entire program is approved by me."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

Email to a friend

Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 August 7: "I very much like this standing orders program. Try to increase it up to 50,000 such orders from the libraries. Regarding a book for use in college courses, you can pick it up from my other books, articles and speeches."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

Email to a friend

Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1975 August 7: "I think I met you sometimes in 1958. Since then I came to America and started this missionary activity. I have written 50 big books and we are collecting Rs. 20 lakhs per month in sales. The first book was started with your foreword, Easy Journey to Other Planets."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1975

Email to a friend

Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1975 August 7: "In Jagannatha Puri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's only occupation was holding Sankirtana at least four hours every day and distributing prasadam. He would give to every man prasadam quite sufficient for being eaten by two or three men. So we are trying to follow."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1975

Email to a friend

Gouranga TV: Aindra Prabhu – Hare Krishna kirtan – ISKCON Vrindavan – October 25, 2009

Aindra Prabhu – Hare Krishna kirtan – ISKCON Vrindavan – October 25, 2009

Email to a friend

More Recent Articles



Click here to safely unsubscribe now from "Planet ISKCON" or change your subscription or subscribe

 
Unsubscribe from all current and future newsletters powered by FeedBlitz
Your requested content delivery powered by FeedBlitz, LLC, 9 Thoreau Way, Sudbury, MA 01776, USA. +1.978.776.9498

 







TABLA - FUENTES - FONTS

SOUV2 BalaramScaGoudyFOLIO 4.2Biblica Font





free counters

Disculpen las Molestias

Planet ISKCON - 2010  ·  Planet ISKCON - 2011

Correo Vaishnava

Mi foto
Spain
Correo Devocional

Archivo del blog