martes, 17 de agosto de 2010

Krishna-kripa das, Mayapura: Travel Journal#6.13: Den Haag, Paris, and Zurich Ratha-yatras



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  1. Australian News: ISKCON Perth: Harinam in pictures
  2. Gaura Nitai das, Mayapura, IN: Jesus...would he approve?
  3. Gaura Yoga, NZ: Spring into spring! Student special
  4. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Kesava Prabhu
  5. Krishna-kripa das, Mayapura: Travel Journal#6.13: Den Haag, Paris, and Zurich Ratha-yatras
  6. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  7. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  8. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  9. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  10. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  11. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
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  20. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  21. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  22. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  23. Japa Group: I Uttered The Names In A Clear Flow
  24. Giridhari das, Brasilia, Brazil: Preaching in the Brazilian Outback
  25. Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Punishment for not chanting
  26. Sita-pati dasa, AU: Real Intelligent Design
  27. Bharatavarsa.net: Book distribution seminar: A Saintly Boy
  28. Book Distribution News: A Saintly Boy
  29. ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Jhulan Yatra: August 19th - 24th!
  30. Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: A Journey Across to Poland: [P19] Winding Down Woodstock (2010)
  31. Australian News: Time and Again
  32. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 42
  33. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Defense of the Guru
  34. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Tuesday, August 10th, 2010
  35. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
  36. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Monday, August 9th, 2010
  37. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Prayers to Krishna and Poem in Prose Book
  38. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Inspired by the Saints
  39. Australian News: The Syamantaka Jewel: A Janmashtami play @ Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha, Sydney
  40. Ananda Subramanian, Iowa, USA: Modern science-statistical opinion-reality
  41. H.H. Sivarama Swami: HH Niranjana Swami speaks at the Community meeting at the renovation of four apartments in Krsna Valley (Eng/Hung)
  42. H.H. Sivarama Swami: HH Kesava Bharati Maharaja speaks at the Community meeting at the renovation of four apartments in Krsna Valley (Eng/Hung)
  43. Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: Making Green Convenient
  44. Sita-pati dasa, AU: Dawkins, Dungeons and Dragons, and Vedic metaphysics
  45. Japa Group: Make It Easier To Chant
  46. Gouranga TV: Sacinandana Swami – Hare Krishna – Vilasgarh 2009
  47. H.H. Sivarama Swami
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Australian News: ISKCON Perth: Harinam in pictures

You have heard about them and now here they are. Be the first amongst your friends to see the ISKCON Perth Harinam pictures recently revealed on Facebook.

See devotees from Perth out in the street chanting the holy names, and see the inner glow it produces. See the expert use of instruments and the nimble footwork.

Here we can see the mood building as devotees crank up the volume and start to bring the whole mind and body into kirtan yoga.

As the mood takes over and the devotees become surrounded by the vibration and it begins to show in their bodies and you can tell by appearance that they are deeply absorbed.

And then they are off and like a tide moving ever toward the sea the devotees are propelled by the Harinam in their hearts and on their lips.

As the Harinam angels move through the community Krishna seeps into the ears and the hearts of those along the way and those who pass by the assembled chanting devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

In Perth there is singing, dancing, whompers and devotional literature to distribute. All glories to the service of these devotees and those everywhere else. Hare Krishna!

See the rest here: At ISKCON Perth on Facebook

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

Thou shall not kill.


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


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


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


This is an important question.


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



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Gaura Yoga, NZ: Spring into spring! Student special

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Kesava Prabhu

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.23.3 - A devotee should introspect to see that they are developing good qualities.

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Krishna-kripa das, Mayapura: Travel Journal#6.13: Den Haag, Paris, and Zurich Ratha-yatras

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 6, No. 13
By Krishna-kripa das
(July 2010, part one)
Den Haag, Paris, and Zurich Ratha-yatras and More
(Sent from Leipzig, Germany, on August 16, 2010)

Highlights

Den Haag Ratha-yatra
Paris Ratha-yatra

Zurich Harinamas and Ratha-yatra

Insight from Srila Prabhupada, Atmanivedana Swami, Janananda Swami,
Dina Sharana Mataji, Gopaswami Prabhu, Prithu Prabhu,
Ramakantha Prabhu, Lilasuka Prabhu, and Others

Where I Went and What I Did

After the Netherlands Padayatra, we did a harinama in Maastricht, and stayed overnight in Antwerp, Belgium, where a nice devotee couple gave us a ride the next day to Den Haag Ratha-yatra, a new one for me. That evening we took the train to Paris so we could attend the next day's Ratha-yatra there. We briefly visited New Mayapur, the Hare Krishna farm in central France, and returned to Paris where we chanted on the metros, at the Eiffel Tower, and other places. Then we took a train to Zurich where we also did Ratha-yatra and harinamas.

Den Haag Ratha-yatra

Click on the following to see video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBfh2uLoLuY

Cloudy skies threatened to rain on the Den Haag (The Hague) Ratha-yatra, but by the Lord's mercy, the rain did not start until the parade was finished, and even then it was not torrential. Before the parade, I was dancing to the preliminary bhajanas on the stage, when a devotee told me they needed help in carrying Lord Jagannatha and His brother and sister from the car to the Ratha-yatra cart, so I got to do this special service. In Den Haag, there is a large congregation mostly from an Indian background, as many people with Indian ancestors who populated Surinam ultimately migrated to Holland. Some of the young Indian ladies had a single peacock feather in their hair, reminding one of Krishna. It was humorous to see one security guard so attired in her security vest. The parade route was not as filled with people as one might desire, but it was also not completely vacant. The sound system was powerful, and the kirtana could be heard a long distance. The feast after the parade included a great eggplant vegetable preparation and some halava with the grains nicely cooked. The stage show had a lot of Hare Krishna chanting with youthful musicians, and I enjoyed dancing along with the transcendental vibrations. We had to leave a little early to take the train to Paris for their Ratha-yatra the next day.

Paris Ratha-yatra
Click on the following to see video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrOBwjTFj-4

I was worried that because I arrived 40 minutes late for the Ratha-yatra in Paris that I would have difficulty finding the cart, but it was still at the starting point. Although the devotees had rented a 4,000 euro sound system, the generator would not start, so it was of no use. At one point there was a kirtana far in front of the party and one behind the cart. It occurred to me that because the kirtana was so far ahead of the cart, neither the deities nor the devotees pulling cart could hear it. I asked my devotee musician friends if they might like to do another kirtana between the ropes so that the deities and the devotees who were pulling could also hear. Janmastami Prabhu, who plays accordion, Gopinatha Prabhu, who plays the mrdanga, along with some of his Vaishnava youth friends, thus formed a new kirtana group, and I was happy to contribute by encouraging them in this way.

During the parade Indian devotees served a purple nectar drink, water, fruits and other prasadam to participants, a nice feature.

Friends from Radhadesh, including new friends I had met on the Netherlands Padayatra were also there, and it nice to see them again.

The festival at the end was in Les Halles, a very happening place. The devotees distributed prasadam for a few hours and had a stage show. There was one really rocking kirtana during which some of the devotees in the audience got up on the stage, and that was the best part of the stage show for me. I helped clean up after the prasadam distribution as well.

Zurich Harinamas and Ratha-yatra

Click on the following to see video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Anw_cIBAW-0

Although a traditional walking harinama (street chanting party) counts as a demonstration in Zurich and requires special permission, a party sitting down and playing instruments by the lake is perfectly OK. During the heat of the summer, the grassy area by the lake is packed with people. Every Saturday in the summer a group of devotees chants there. There are a variety of Gaudiya groups in the Zurich area, and people from many of them come to chant Hare Krishna together. When I was there, the chanting continued for four hours, 4:00-8:00 p.m. The people relaxing, bathing, and sunning themselves nearby did not seem much disturbed by the appearance of the kirtana party. We passed out invitations to Sunday's Ratha-yatra to the more interested people. As the sky filled with dark clouds, and sprinkles began, we ran back to the car, still chanting kirtana and playing instruments.

Bhaktin Sabina, a follower of Aindra Prabhu, is the most enthusiastic organizer of their harinama party. She went out with me and Dhruva the Tuesday after the Ratha-yatra, in response to my enthusiasm to go out. We chanted twenty-five minutes to the lake, and when we arrived there and sat down, one family was happy about our presence, and the kids took some movies of us. Later a couple of men from Iran listened to the kirtana for almost an hour and then talked to us afterwards. One lady sat on a bench and listened for over an hour. She had just flown in from Africa and found the music by the lake to be a way to relax after the flight. She had been to India many times, attending Janmastami at our Delhi temple sometimes, and even becoming a member there. She did not know that we had a temple in Zurich, so it was nice we were able to connect with her. I was impressed that a harinama party of only three people, with only one really good musician, could elicit such a nice response.

The devotees invited me to their Ratha-yatra in Zurich last year, but I could not fit it in my schedule, so I decided to come this year. The parade takes place in a scenic grassy area with lots of trees along the lake, which is crowded with people in the summer and was better than most areas than municipalities give us for the parade.

At the stage show, I talked to different visitors, including a few German tourists who I told about our temples there. I talked to a couple college girls, who were studying biology and had a lot of faith the theory of evolution. I had forgotten the extent to which some people believe in it. In 1967, a group of mathematicians showed the evolutionary biologists that the probabilities make it impossible. However, the evolutionists, proud of their theory, were convinced the mathematicians must have made some mistake and did not take them seriously. The girls ended up trying prasadam.

Insight from Lectures

Srila Prabhupada:

In our material condition, the potency of the soul is covered. Similarly, when a fire is covered by ash, its full heat cannot be felt, but when the ashes are removed, and we fan it, it will blaze and be useful in so many ways.

We are giving so much credit to the one who goes to the moon, but we do not give credit to the person who has created it.

Liberation means you go to the spiritual sky, and you don't come back. It is not that you spend millions of dollars to go to the moon planet and touch it and bring some sand, and you are successful. If you go, then live there.

Freedom means any place you go, you can stay. If you want that sort of liberation, associate with mahatmas, great souls. If we associate with debauchees, we become debauchees. If we associate with mahatamas, we become mahatma. By this Krishna consciousness movement, we can turn debauchees into mahatmas.

Atmanivedana Swami:

Although born in a demoniac family, by the blessings of his grandfather Prahlad Maharaja, Bali was a great devotee.

The Lord is called aksai, because he is never conquered. Only if He accepts voluntary defeat by his devotees, out of love, can He be defeated.

If our wealth is not engaged in the service of the Lord, it will be our downfall.

The easiest way to connect with the Supreme Lord is through the transcendental sound vibration, but we need to hear in deep way for it to enter our heart.

The brahmanas were performing sacrifice which they knew from the scripture is meant for the Supreme Lord, but they could not understand they could better serve the Lord by giving in charity to His cowherd friends who approached them.

When we preach, we should pray to the Supreme Lord to be an instrument in encouraging the people to chant the holy name.

When we chant japa, we also should pray to able to engage in the devotional service of the Lord.

When some service comes to us, we should take advantage of it immediately and not let our mind come up with excuses, otherwise the Lord will be less inclined to give us service in the future. He will give it to a more enthusiastic devotee instead.

Krishna is not imposing His service on us. It is up to our free will.

Throughout the day, we should meditate on what we learned in Srimad-Bhagavatam in the morning and how to apply in our life. Otherwise, we will just forget it, and what will be the benefit?

Srila Prabhupada shows by his personal example how to transcend the material influence by complete absorption in the Lord's service.

When Lord Ramacandra was king, at the front door of the palace, he provided facility for people to submit complaints about how the kingdom was being run. Each evening Rama would send Laksmana to check the front gate, to see if there were any complaints, so he could address them before taking rest. Lord Ramacandra's kingdom was so well run, there was never a complaint. One evening the Lord had the intuition that someone had a complaint so he sent Laksmana four times. The last time, when Laksmana went and returned, reporting there was no one with a complaint, Rama asked if there was anyone there at all. Laksmana replied that there was just a dog. Rama had Laksmana go and find out the complaint of the dog.

The Lord is equal to everyone. The different bodily forms we possess are due to the personal desires of living entities.

Kirtanananda, Hayagriva, and Umapati, before they became Krishna devotees, went to India in search of spirituality. It was at the very same time Srila Prabhupada was traveling by boat to the USA. They visited different ashrams and found that the so-called sadhus, despite their philosophy, were all addicted to marijuana, something they had experienced and rejected as being insubstantial. Thus they were disillusioned. When they returned, their friends induced them to meet Srila Prabhupada, and when they did, they became so happy to find that the genuine spirituality they had searched for in India, had come to them.

The devotees who met Srila Prabhupada made great spiritual benefit for three reasons.

1. They got the association of a pure devotee

2. They got to hear the chanting of the holy name and the sacred scriptures.

3. They got Krishna prasadam, prepared by Srila Prabhupada himself.

An animal will defend its own territory, but humans will try to control more land than they require.

Srila Prabhupada said to be a brahmacari a [celibate monk] in the age of Kali is the greatest austerity.

Brahmacarya [celibacy] is for self-purification.

We came because we all had some realization that the material world is a miserable place. So we should remember that and strive to progress.

A wife in the beginning is candramukhi (moon-faced [soothing]) later on suryamukhi (sun-faced [blazing]), then jvalamukhi (fire-faced [firey]), and then you become antarmukhi (one who faces within).

One who is only dedicated to preaching should take sannyasa [the renounced order of life].

Janananda Swami:

Our eyes are meant to see Lord Jagannatha, but sometimes we are so distracted, looking here and there, that even when Jagannatha is on His cart, we do not see Him.

So many ways people get the Lord's mercy at the festival, pulling the cart, seeing the Deity, hearing the kirtana, taking prasadam.

In 1970, in front of many hippies, Prabhupada told them, "All of you who have seen Lord Jagannatha will go back to Godhead next life."

This Ratha-yatra festival is a very important part of our preaching. Once Srila Prabhupada said that by Ratha-yatra and book distribution we will conquer the world.

Prataparuda Maharaja offered Ramananda Raya that he could resign with a pension that was greater his salary. Comment by Dhruva, "Everyone wants that." Response: Every can get that by surrendering completely to Lord Caitanya. You can get a pension beyond what you can imagine.

King Prataparudra was astounded to see the bliss of the devotees in kirtana. This is not ordinary sankirtana, explained Svarupa Damodara. This is prema sankirtana. It comes from Goloka Vrindavana.

Last year there were four djembes and only one mrdanga in the Paris Ratha-yatra kirtana. The mrdanga is considered Balarama and also an incarnation of Krishna's flute. The djembe has no such spiritual standing. It is not part of Lord Caitanya's original sankirtana party, although anything can be used in the Lord's service. If the djembe is used it should serve the mrdanga and not control it.

The whole process of Krishna consciousness is to change our identity into that of a humble servant of the Lord.

Prataparudra Maharaja got the Lord's mercy by sweeping the street before Lord Jagannatha, by serving the Lord's devotees, by his determination, and by following the devotees' instruction to read "Gopi Gita" to Lord Caitanya in the garden.

At the Ratha-yatra, don't walk along the side, like a tourist, looking at the sites, or gossiping with your friends the whole way. Try to enter into the mood of the pastime.

We are chanting Hare Krishna, but we are not trying to apply the varnasrama dharma. Some places varnasrama is a dirty word. But we should try to understand it and apply it as far as we can. We should not criticize people for their imperfection.

Now there are cigarettes without nicotine. You can still enjoying smoking but not experience the nicotine. It is like the near beer.

More kirtana is required. Much more kirtana. Because we are not satisfied by doing kirtana, we still seek happiness in other things. Whatever our situation, if we do more kirtana, we will become more purified and become happy.

Lust is seeing ourselves in the center and seeing everyone is relationship with ourselves for our enjoyment.

When Jayapataka Maharaja was learning Bengali, he was practicing with a farmer working his field around Mayapur. He asked the farmer if he had ever been to Calcutta. The farmer said once. Jayapataka Maharaja asked why only once. The farmer said, "I will never go to that sinful city again. I saw a man holding hands with a woman in public there. I will never go to that sinful city again." That was back in 1971.

India is second only to the United States in for cow slaughter. Although cow slaughter is banned in Gujarat, they ship thousands of cows to Mumbai for slaughter.

In Kansas, there was legislation making a course on safe sex mandatory. One headmistress refused to be forced to teach a course on safe sex instead of a course on no sex. She took the issue to the courts and won. That was ten or fifteen years ago.

There are two kinds of ruci (taste). If you are just attached to the good musical arrangement of the kirtana, that is only the first kind of ruci. We have to come to the second type of ruci, attachment to the name of the Lord.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura said that only those who attend the kirtana will be successful in Kali-yuga.

September 17 to October 3 is the World Holy Name festival.

We have become so lazy because of these MP3 players. One devotee told me, "Better I hear the chanting from the lips of a pure devotee, so I play Prabhupada chanting, and then I can do what I like."

One of the best harinamas I did was in a village called Loche [in France] on its market day. We had fifteen devotees, many who had never gone on harinama before. We got off to a slow start. The car wouldn't start at the gate. Then it started to rain, more heavily than ever I had seen in Europe. We decided to go out anyway. It was raining so hard, in two minutes I was soaked, even through my raincoat.

George Harrison said, "What really convinced me about you was I saw you chanting on Oxford Street in the snow, getting arrested, in the sun, in the cold, in the rain, etc. I understood you had to be really sincere."

One couple becoming interested in Krishna consciousness was taking an advertising course at a college in England. The professor showed a video on techniques of expert advertising. The best example showing all the techniques at once was the devotees doing harinama. The professor pointed out different features like color, sound, originality, and smiling, and concluded the devotees had every single aspect of expert advertising. "Look at the reaction, every single person on the street was affected by it."

I did harinama for a week in north England, only to towns that the devotees said we had not done harinama in forty years. The results were outstanding. The people were very positive although they had never seen the chanting in their town before.

You can walk down Oxford Street wearing a dhoti and fifty to a hundred thousand people will think of Krishna. When they see a book distributor wearing western clothes, they will not think of Krishna unless they talk to him.

I have never seen the response being as good as it is now. Now people really do not care how you dress, whether you have purple hair or whatever. Now the police even protect us.

One vendor stored up his rotten vegetables for a whole week and would throw them at us and hurl insults. Once his wife was there. She said, "We are Christians. We cannot treat people like that, whatever they do."

Finally she convinced him. She said they should come and meet the devotees, and they would see they are good people. As so they did. The devotees were very forgiving, and would bring presents to the man. The man then began to save up his best produce and give it to the devotees. He began to come to the temple. One time Srila Prabhupada was there, and the man and his wife got initiated.

Dina Sarana Mataji [GBC, on Bhaktivinoda Thakura's disappearance day]:

Because of his amazing ability to write volumes of literature about Vaishnava philosophy and his ability to preach extensively the message of Lord Caitanya, people could understand Bhaktivinoda Thakura was an eternal associate of Lord Caitanya.

He was very humble and charitable.

He taught that we should always glorify the Lord, and that is the only way we can control the mind. To do this we must give up all pride. We must consider ourselves powerless. We have to become completely tolerant and free from all kinds of violence, both gross and subtle.

We have to learn how to defeat opposing philosophies without becoming disrespectful.

Now people are killing thousands of sharks a day. They claim they are protecting people from being killed, but perhaps only one person a year is killed by a shark. So who are the real killers?

Because of lack of respect for others we have so many problems in this movement.

Once, as a result of our interfaith preaching, one woman decided she wanted to move in the temple. She dressed very loudly and spoke very loudly. She thought she was a guru that no one recognized. No one wanted her to move into the temple. The GBC felt we should accommodate her, but neither the temple president nor anyone else wanted her in the temple. I suggested maybe if someone agrees to take care of her, then it would be alright, but no one wanted to take care of her, so I had to do that. She came with so much paraphernalia she had to have her own room and it just barely all fit in. I went to see her with anxiety in my heart. I had no clue of how to deal with the situation. She was sitting on an elaborate seat, and she gave me a cushion at her feet, and she talked and talked. I felt more and more powerless in this situation. It seemed to me Krishna was having a good time manifesting as this lady whose lifestyle was completely agitating all our minds. So I said, "Yes, you are a guru because there is something I can learn from you." When I said that, she stopped speaking and began to listen to me. She dressed more conservatively, stopped being so loud, and began chanting Hare Krishna.

Not everyone who chants Hare Krishna is in the disciplic succession. The greatness of Bhaktivinoda Thakura is that his voluminous writings followed the Vaishnava siddhanta.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura predicted three things:

(1) One person would come and spread the teachings of Lord Caitanya all over the world.

(2) Residents of Russia, the USA, Germany, and other countries will get together with mrdanga and karatalas, in the streets of their cities and chant the holy name of the Lord.

(3) White people would come to Bengal, and sit with the locals and chant Hare Krishna.

Some people argue that if Lord Caitanya, Srila Prabhupada, or Lord Jesus Christ were personally present they would follow, but that is not the case. If you do not have the mentality to recognize and to follow their representatives even now, if they were personally present, you would not recognize or follow them.

I never would have met Srila Prabhupada personally, but I happened to be in India because my husband who was previously brahmacari for five years decided he wanted to return to that position and sent me to Vrindavana to be a widow for the rest of my life at age twenty-four. Thus I saw Prabhupada in India and got to talk with him for an hour.

Everything is in Srila Prabhupada's books.

Some people claim that Srila Prabhupada did not give us everything, but they are just making propaganda to advance their own cause, and to do so they are criticizing a great acarya, so we can understand what is their actual position.

Even if your guru deviates, if you are sincere, you will remain steady on the path, by Krishna's grace.

Gopaswami Prabhu [Prabhupada disciple, resident of New Mayapur, France, lives in a mud hut, he personally constructed, with his wife, and has constructed a larger hut as well, demonstrating the practicality of Srila Prabhupada's principle of simple living and high thinking.]

Srila Prabhupada had a meeting with the mayor of Paris. The history behind that is that the ambassador of India arrived almost the same time as Srila Prabhupada, but the city officials had not arranged to greet him. The devotees gave the ambassador one of the two garlands they had for Srila Prabhupada and had a kirtana to greet him. The city officials offered to do something in return for the devotees, and they asked that Srila Prabhupada meet the mayor. Prabhupada spoke about the responsibility of the leader in human society as described in the scripture. Prabhupada liked very much the city. He said Paris was most beautiful. The devotees took him to the most famous places.

The history of the castle of New Mayapur is it was a boon from the French king to a warrior who helped defeat the English in the 13th century. It was destroyed and then rebuilt in the nineteenth century by the family of that warrior. The last heir lost his money gambling and had to sell it. It went through different people until 1950 when an idealistic soldier bought it to be part of a city of happiness and brotherhood he wanted to create. He bought up or constructed about 20 or 30 houses as part of that project, including a theatre, but ultimately the man became old and could not fulfill his dream. Srila Prabhupada was shown several unsatisfactory properties one day until the evening when he saw the New Mayapur castle and property, which he selected as just being suitable for the devotees. The owner and Srila Prabhupada got on well, and a cash payment for a certain amount was immediately agreed on. Originally Srila Prabhupada called the property New Bahulavan, after one of the twelve forests of Vrindavana, but when he saw the beauty of the Gaura Nitai deities the devotees installed there, he renamed it New Mayapur. Srila Prabhupada liked the relaxing atmosphere there.

The Lord's pastimes are not only inconceivable to the mind and intelligence but wonderful to the heart.

If you are intimately related with someone, you are always interested all the activities of the person not just some of them.Srila Prabhupada explains if we understand the Lord's greatness as far as his relationship with the creation is concerned, it will increase our faith in Him.

It understandable that we can appreciate the speaking of the Lord from His transcendental position because we are actually part of the Lord Himself.

The Lord is a true friend because He never gives up on us.Although scientists value logic and reason, to say the harmonious universe arose as a result of an explosion of a chunk having an unknown origin is not so logical or reasonable.

There is a process to go from one planet to another, which described in Brhad-bhagavatamriWhere can we find statements like those in Bhagavad-gita, where the Lord in our heart, comes out and speaks to us?If we keep our humility, appreciation of the ecstatic chanting of Hare Krishna, and faith in the realizations of Srila Prabhupada, then Krishna will not let us get carried away by the illusory energy.Krishna's darsana (vision of the Lord) begins with the chanting of the holy name which Load Caitanya and Lord Nityananda are giving for just the price of one's faith.

Prithu Prabhu:

Once I had this exchange with Srila Prabhupada:

Q (by me): What about your internal life?

A (by Srila Prabhupada): That you do not require.

Q: But we would like to know about your internal life?

A: [More loudly and emphatically.] That you do not require.

Srila Prabhupada said spiritual life is common sense, but common sense not so common.

To reinitiate a disciple whose guru is not hopelessly entangled in sense gratification is an offense.

No one can die, even a demoniac person, unless Krishna sanctions it.

If we are suffering, we sowed the seed of that suffering in the past. Every cruel deed will follow us for years.

The more we take, the more is taken from us. The more we give, then more we get.

Song lyrics: "The more we take, the less we have to give. The more hearts we break, the less we want to live. "

Forgiveness is very difficult unless we can understand through transcendental knowledge that we were just getting the reaction from our past activities. The person who causes us trouble is just the immediate cause.

One day we are perpetrator, the next we are victim. This is the cycle of karma.

We have to rise to the platform of transcendental knowledge.

A third of our life is beyond our control as it up to God, a third of our life is beyond our control as it is up to other people who we do not have control over. A third we have control over but so much of the time we are bewildered by vacillations of mind which really make no sense. So there is very little we have in our control, so we must be careful to do positive actions for our spiritual development.

We must be holy in mind, body, and soul. Not that we are holy in thought and eat like a pig.

Q: Life and death are not in our control . . .

A: Yes. But that does not mean you can eat like a pig if you have liver problems.

Chant a fixed number of rounds and gradually you will be able to understand the Bhagavatam.

We have to understand we are idiots, and idiots cannot understand. So we have to follow the instructions of the spiritual master, and then we will become pure, and we can understand perfectly.

This material world is a potato peeling machine. By bumping together, we become purified. It is a painful process, but we chose to come here.

Either you turn to Krishna, or you get beaten up by Krishna's material energy.

Q: Why did God gives us independence?

A: We have always been independent. That is our nature. There is not a why to it.

Krishna is creating a great drama. There are different roles. You can choose to some extent.

One disciple of Srila Prabhupada began, "Sometimes when I am in maya . . . " Srila Prabhupada stopped him, and said, "You are always in maya, but sometimes you fall into Krishna."

A pure devotee sees everything is being done by Krishna.

George Harrison stayed in my home in Vrindavan. I asked, "George how much money did you make since Christmas." He said, "Ninety days, ninety million." I asked him how he felt about it. He said, "For every dollar, there is an equal amount of pain, misery, and anxiety." I was shocked. I asked him why the anxiety. "I am aware at every moment my life can end like happened to John Lennon." I explained that no one can kill you unless Krishna lets them. Even demons cannot die, unless Krishna sanctions it, what to speak of those like you and I who chant Hare Krishna."

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said, "Everything is minutely controlled at every moment by Krishna." If at every moment we see that, that is Krishna consciousness. We have to be in the present. The past is useless, except that we can learn from it. The future is a mystery. Nobody knows about it. Only Krishna knows.

Vedanta-sutra explains how we sleep. Krishna removes all the things we are thinking about. We fall into a trance. Krishna puts us on His heart. That is the deep sleep phase. That is why we feel so good after our sleep. Without Krishna we cannot even sleep. Even an animal cannot sleep without Krishna.

We have nothing to do with the body except that we are conscious of it.

What happens when Prithu das scratches his nose. He feels this discomfort. He desires to scratch, and Krishna understands that, and moves the material energy so his arm moves to scratch.

There is much more pain in this material body than pleasure so it is a bad deal.

In an Indian village in the 1500s, at noon every bird in the village died. They asked the local guru, who thought for a moment, and said it Krishna's mercy. The next week at exactly the same time, all the dogs died. Again they asked the guru, he thought for a moment, and replied that it was Krishna's mercy. The people were dissatisfied, but what could they do? The next week all the fires went out in the village. Again the guru said it was Krishna's mercy. The people were really upset. Some thought the guru was bogus and wanted him removed. The next week the Moslems came, after sacking all the nearby villages. They had killed the men, raped the women, destroyed property, etc. When the Moslems got to the village, the leader saw no fires were burning, no dogs were barking, and no birds were chirping. He decided it was a trap and so he and his men skipped that village. When the guru was consulted, he explained it was Krishna's mercy.

I talked to a nuclear scientist who did not believe in God. I told him, "You cannot prove scientifically that God does not exist. Why do you not believe in God?" He asked why I believed in God. I said I had set of experiences that could not be explained in any other way. He said that he had not had such experiences. I said, "I feel sorry for you, and I wish that someday you might experience God knocking on the door."

The bishop of St. Patrick's said the day after the 9/11 crisis, the, "I do not know where God was in New York yesterday." That means he is fool. Krishna was right there in the heart of all those involved. He is even in the heart of the Dalai Lama, when he says, "I see no need for God."

Krishna can interact at every moment with each living entity individually.

Prithu Prabhu sang a beautiful song with the refrain, "Reign in me again."

Bhaktivinoda Thakura said to remove the demons from our heart.

For the last three weeks of Srila Prabhupada manifest appearance in this world, Prithu Prabhu sang for him six hours a day.

The doctor told us at the end, "None of you could tolerate the pain in Prabhupada's body." Physically he died of kidney failure. The doctor said he would have to go on dialysis twice a week to live. Srila Prabhupada said that he did not want that. He took it that it was Krishna's indication his life was over.

In everything moving and not moving, there is nothing but Krishna, that is Krishna conscious.

Prabhupada liked to hear what everyone had to say because he realized that Krishna could speak through anyone. Once, after hearing everyone's opinion, he said, "Nothing makes sense." Later he told what was clearly the best course of action, explaining that Krishna had told him what to do.

Once Sivananda and myself asked Srila Prabhupada this question, "The Bhagavatam said those who are chanting the names bathed in all the rivers in India in previous lives. Did we live in India in our previous lives?" Prabhupada laughed, "It may be." Then he became grave and said, "Actually I created your good fortune."

Without Prabhupada in the west, there would be no chanting of Hare Krishna, elaborate deity worship, or prasadam. He wrote more than Shakespeare in the little time he had.

How can we perceive Krishna in the distress of death unless we learn to perceive Krishna in the smaller distresses throughout our lives.

We have to learn to love what is. We have an argument with reality. And as long as we do, we have to live in the material world.

Frank Sinatra said, "I do it my way." Jesus Christ said, "Let Thy will done."

My father always said, "If you don't hear, you have to feel." Either we hear from Krishna, or we get beat up by the material energy.

Q: Is it important that we go to the sacred rivers now?

A: Our temples are also pilgrimage places.

Once Jaya Tirtha and I thought our temple in Frankfort was too big for us, and we wanted to sell it. We expressed our desire to Srila Prabhupada. He was incensed and said with great force, "Even if a child is born deaf and blind, does it mean you kill it? No you don't kill it, you develop it."

Why do we dress Gaura and Nitai the same? Lord Caitanya wears yellow, and Nitai wears blue. Do Radha and Krishna wear the same thing? No! We just get cloths from these Muslim garment makers and accept them without thinking.

It is important we have relationships among the devotees. If you have friends here, where will you go? If you have friends elsewhere, then you will go elsewhere.

Joke: In heaven, they decided to go on a vacation. Someone proposed Bethlehem, Mary said, "Last time I went there, I could not get a room."

Another proposed Jerusalem, Jesus said, "I had such a bad experience there." Another suggested Rome. The holy spirit was ecstatic, saying, "Great, Rome! I have never been there."

In Christianity, originally it was understood that the saving event was "loving God with our heart, body, and soul," which we can agree with. Later Paul changed the saving event to "Jesus Christ dying on the cross."

Ramakanta Prabhu [the PAMHO.NET Sysop, who steadily gives weekday evening classes in Zurich]:

A child does not smoke or drink, but by association, one learns these habits. Similarly, Krishna awards the former yogi good association, so he can progress spiritually.

The spiritual world is pure, and we must be purified to go there. The impurity is the desire for sense gratification.

Just come here, chant Hare Krishna, hear Bhagavad-gita, take prasadam, and do some service for Krishna.

Because Srila Prabhupada promised by following his instructions, we will go to Krishna, we can count on that. Just has Krishna fulfilled Narada's blessing that Kuvera's sons see Krishna, Krishna will fulfill Srila Prabhupada's promise to us.

We are meant to serve Krishna. When we reject this, we still serve, but we serve maya (illusion), and ultimately we give pain to Krishna. But we cannot be happy giving pain to Krishna.

A child does not have to ask his parents for his necessities like food and clothing, but the parents automatically provide them. Similarly Krishna takes care of our necessities of his devotional service.

Q: Why does Krishna come in different incarnations?
A: Just for fun. Why is He blue? Why is He a cowherd boy? These are all His pastimes for His enjoyment.

Lilasuka Prabhu:

Krishna takes away our excessive attachments, and Krishna carries what we lack in the form of devotional qualities.

Ways we can benefit from suffering: Krishna gives us experiences so we can get rid of our anarthas [unwanted qualities]:

If we lose our job, we have more time to inquire about the truth.

If people cause us trouble, it can help us to become detached.

In general, suffering must result in purification to be beneficial.

I have been secretary of the GBC for eight years, and I never talk about it. That is probably why I have been secretary of the GBC for so long.

Our karma must come back to us, but for devotees the other devotees perform us the service of delivering these reactions. If you have a healthy attitude to your suffering, it is more purifying.

Suffering can help us come to the point of being equal in happiness and distress, seeing both as Krishna's mercy. If we are unable to see our suffering is Krishna's mercy, it will decrease our faith.

Our anarthas are like a layer of mud at the bottom of a glass. The water seems clear until you stir it up, and then you see how dirty it is.

One hippy-like person was cleaning his relative's attic and found one of Srila Prabhupada's books. He read that the Hare Krishna maha-mantra was a very powerful sound vibration from the spiritual world. He decided to try and sat in yoga position and chanted loudly and carefully, "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare." Nothing seemed to happen, so he tried again. It was not clear that anything was happening so he set the book aside. The next day, he went for an excursion in the Belgian countryside and happened to come across Radhadesh. He was attracted by what he saw, and he never left. That was thirty years ago.

Citta, subconscious, is more subtle than buddhi, intelligence. It contains all kinds of impressions and anarthas, unwanted things, produced from a selfish conception of life. The buddhi accesses impressions in the citta and uses them to discriminate. The transcendentalists get from the scriptures better knowledge by which to discriminate for the benefit of the soul.

When an experienced driver drives a car, his mind interacts directly with the citta, and the buddhi doesn't really act.

We learn to not take this material world very seriously.

Tolerate. Chant Hare Krishna. Take prasadam. Cultivate detachment.

Absorb the mind in Krishna's activities.

When I was a five-year-old kid, I had a toothache. Then my friend came to play with me, and I was so absorbed in play I completely forgot my toothache. After my friend left, the toothache came back. This is just a material example. Imagine how powerful it is if we absorb our minds in Krishna!

Even chanting in the namabhasa (clearing stage) destroys all our karma.

One does not have to be especially intelligent and study all the scriptures because Krishna gives buddhi (intelligence) to those who please Him by their service.

For one who remembers Lord Caitanya, very difficult things become easy, and if one forgets Lord Caitanya, very easy things become difficult. (Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 14.1).

When we enjoy in this world, we generally enjoy at the cost of others, therefore there is some negative reaction.

The conditioned soul is generally a zombie, identifying with the mind and body and absorbed in such impressions and interactions based on them.

Krishna-kripa das:

Additional thoughts on dealing with suffering:

1. There is one English saying, that gives some advice, "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going." Suffering can motive us to apply ourselves more to our spiritual practice.

2. To deal with a devotee's problem, Srila Prabhupada once recommended to a devotee that he stand in front of the deity, and say, "Dear Sir: This is the problem." Krishna would take care.

3. We should not be disturbed that we encounter misery in this world:

a. because it is a prison house.

b. because Krishna certifies it is a place of misery: Bhagavad-gita 8.15 and 9.33.

c. the illusory suffering conditions are simply creations of the mind, and therefore, we should fix the mind on Krishna, as the Avanti brahmana concludes. (Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 11).

-----

"Even if born of a lowly family, a person who follows the Ratha-yatra car when the Deities pass in front or from behind will surely be elevated to the position of achieving equal opulence with Vishnu." (Bhavisya Purana, quoted in Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 9).

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1965 August 16 : "At about 12 noon it is raining heavily and the ship is stopped moving occasionally sounding the siren. There is constant sounds of thunderbolt. At 3 p.m. the ship turned and we are now in the Ceylon water."
Prabhupada Journal :: 1965

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1969 August 16 : "Regarding persons who have been throwing the I-Ching, this cannot go on in our temples. This must be strictly prohibited. Unless one agrees to follow all of our principles, they may not be allowed to live in our temple."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1969

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1970 August 16 : "Our different centers are only meant for organizing a group of pure devotees so that neophyte visitors may take example from them and thus become attached to Krsna consciousness."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1970

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 August 16 : "So now you have got the right Spiritual Master, and the process I've given you, so now it is up to you. If you really want to achieve the goal then become very serious and do not be distracted by anything false."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 August 16 : "I want that you all my advanced disciples become very bold preachers. If you simply convert the leaders of your country to our philosophy, then the whole world will follow and be saved from ruin."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 August 16 : "My plan is to come to the Radha Damodara Temple for Kartik Varta and I will lecture daily in the courtyard on the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu for the benefit of the devotees."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 August 16: "The attempt should be made to raise subscriptions. You can collect Rs. 20,000/- monthly if you organize it properly. Everyone will pay. They can also pay in goods such as rice and dahl."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 August 16: "Do not name it as you suggested, but Hare Krishna Restaurant. That should be the name. All foods should be offered and distributed to the customers and sankirtan playing in mild voice."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 August 16: "Constant changing is not good. Even if there is some fault in management it should be corrected, not changed. Yes, you remain there permanently and manage very nicely. That will please me."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1965 August 15:
"In the morning I woke up and felt a little better but I felt no hunger. Took only a glass of lemon sikanjie but the head dizziness is continuing. The captain advised me to take more solid food."
Jaladuta Journal :: 1965

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1967 August 15: "Those who take Krishna's advent as ordinary are great fools. If one can simply understand the transcendental nature of this event, he becomes immediately liberated. For the last two days I am taking part in the cooking; so this is proof positive of improvement in my health."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1967

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1969 August 15: "We are giving direct contact with Krishna, the Reservoir of all pleasure. A little sample exhibited during Ratha Yatra was very much appreciated by the public. Our administration may be not very perfect, but the fact is that as soon as one is in contact with Krishna, he will be happy."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1969

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1969 August 15: "We cannot demand from Krishna to know about Him. When you actually learn to serve Him, He reveals Himself. Knowledge means to know Him, and success means to please Him. And how Krishna is pleased, that can be known through the transparent medium of His confidential servant."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1969

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 August 15: "The children of our devotees may live with their parents perpetually. Any family engaged in Krishna's service is living not in this material world. Such a home is considered as Vaikuntha. That is the verdict of Bhaktivinode Thakura."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 August 15: "A faithful devotee offers to Krishna with love and service, Krishna accepts them very gladly. So Krishna's gladness and the devotee's love and sincerity, they are taken into consideration."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 August 15: "So you continue this system of preaching village to village by increasing the number of Sankirtana parties, it will be appreciated by Guru Gauranga. Do it nicely, you are a fit person, Krishna will bless you."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1975 August 15: "Regarding your feeling yourself as unqualified, whatever you can do, then do it, but you should try your best for Krishna. This is important. Ultimately everything is depending on Lord Krishna. You just have to always remember this."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1975

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Japa Group: I Uttered The Names In A Clear Flow


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

From Bhajan Kutir #41
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Giridhari das, Brasilia, Brazil: Preaching in the Brazilian Outback

There is an annual "transcultural" event in Brazil called "Movement for Life" (Movimento Pela Vida), which presents the public with a mix of science, art and spirituality aimed at increased wellness and higher consciousness. The event took place over this last weekend13-15th of August.

As in other years, this 11th edition of the event took place in the small town of Taquaruçu. Taquaruçu is in the State of Tocantins, a less well-known and sparsely populated State in Brazil which has, even to this day, a tribe of cannibals who will kill any white man who dares enter their forest! It’s a bit like a Brazilian “Outback”.

Since 2007 I have been receiving annual invitations, all expenses paid, to participate in the event. It's a nice opportunity to share Krishna consciousness, in a place where Vaishnavas are practically unheard of. In the event, it's normal to find that most of the people there have never chanted Hare Krishna, or even heard of it! A great chance to render some transcendental pioneering service to Srila Prabhupada.

This year I was the first to "bless" the event. All the representatives from the different religions offer some kind of blessing in the opening, and this year they called me first. Better yet, I was able to arrange with the organizers to close the opening ceremony with a kirtan. I was there alone and had nobody to play any percussion while I played the harmonium and sang, so I invited a "shaman" lady to play her shaman drum with me. It was the only percussion instrument there! But it worked, by the grace of the Holy Names. By the end, the whole crowd of some 150 people were up, joyfully dancing and singing the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

On Saturday I had two events. The first was a lecture, “Karma: what is it and how to get rid of it.” The small room was crowded and I spoke at length about the situation of the soul in the material world and the techniques of karma yoga, jnana-yoga and bhakti-yoga to release the soul from its entanglement. The MVP is all very simple, using a state college for its events. The audience is very diverse, from local youths to spiritual seekers visiting from other parts of Brazil.

The second event was a one-hour kirtan in a section where they held “therapies” of various types (quantum therapy, reiki, apometry, etc.). It was super sweet to spend an hour in kirtan with a diverse group of people entering deeply into the chanting of the holy names. In this kirtan we didn't even have the shamanic drum to accompany the chanting, just my harmonium.

The next day I conducted a “Mantra Workshop.” The crowd filled the small room again and we spent 90 minutes singing and talking about important mantras of our tradition! It was very inspiring. At the beginning I asked how many of the participants had heard the word “kirtan” before … nobody! By the end, all were “initiated” in the kirtan of the holy names and it seems they liked it very much!

I dragged a suitcase full of books, CDs and beads to all the events and managed to sell various transcendental items by the grace of the Lord.

One of the highlights of staying at Taquaruçu is my place to practice japa in the early morning – a rock suspended over the beautiful valley where Taquaruçu is situated. It is worth the hard climb of 15 minutes or so to spend an hour there in contemplation of the holy names, seeing the sun rise and illuminate the valley and town below.


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Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Punishment for not chanting

When I was child, I was not desiring to take medicine, but my parents desired. That desire should be forced. Similarly, this Hare Krsna mantra, if actually the state is serious to do the best desirable thing, they should make a law that anyone who is not chanting sixteen rounds, he will be hanged! Then everyone must chant: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna -- the whole world. (laughter)

>>> Ref. VedaBase => John Stuart Mill

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Sita-pati dasa, AU: Real Intelligent Design

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

One popular strategy of (so-called) "Intelligent Design" advocates is to produce examples that they say prove that biological life forms must be top-down designed, rather than emergent from simple principles.

These examples show the unmistakable intervention of some supernatural power they claim.

Dawkins and other evolutionary biologists do not accept that these examples disprove the evolution of life forms over time in response to environmental pressures and opportunities. Dawkins says that when our ingenuity is unable to divine the evolutionary path taken by a particular adaptation, "so much the worse for our ingenuity" [1].

I put "so-called" in parentheses before the identifier "Intelligent Design" advocates because the Vedic worldview would see occurrences of anomalies in biological design, that which cannot be explained by the normal operation of the universe according to simple fundamental principles (dharma), as evidence of bad (unintelligent) design.

According to the Vedic version:

And yet everything that is created does not rest in Me. Behold My mystic opulence! Although I am the maintainer of all living entities and although I am everywhere, I am not a part of this cosmic manifestation, for My Self is the very source of creation.

- Bhagavad-gita 9.5

In his purport to this verse, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains further (my emphasis added in bold):

The Lord says that everything is resting on Him (mat-sthani sarva-bhutani). This should not be misunderstood. The Lord is not directly concerned with the maintenance and sustenance of this material manifestation. Sometimes we see a picture of Atlas holding the globe on his shoulders; he seems to be very tired, holding this great earthly planet. Such an image should not be entertained in connection with Krishna's upholding this created universe. He says that although everything is resting on Him, He is aloof. The planetary systems are floating in space, and this space is the energy of the Supreme Lord. But He is different from space. He is differently situated. Therefore the Lord says, "Although they are situated on My inconceivable energy, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead I am aloof from them." This is the inconceivable opulence of the Lord.

In the Nirukti Vedic dictionary it is said, yujyate 'nena durghateshu karyeshu: "The Supreme Lord is performing inconceivably wonderful pastimes, displaying His energy." His person is full of different potent energies, and His determination is itself actual fact. In this way the Personality of Godhead is to be understood. We may think of doing something, but there are so many impediments, and sometimes it is not possible to do as we like. But when Krishna wants to do something, simply by His willing, everything is performed so perfectly that one cannot imagine how it is being done. The Lord explains this fact: although He is the maintainer and sustainer of the entire material manifestation, He does not touch this material manifestation. Simply by His supreme will, everything is created, everything is sustained, everything is maintained, and everything is annihilated. There is no difference between His mind and Himself (as there is a difference between ourselves and our present material mind) because He is absolute spirit. Simultaneously the Lord is present in everything; yet the common man cannot understand how He is also present personally. He is different from this material manifestation, yet everything is resting on Him. This is explained here as yogam aisvaram, the mystic power of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

So the universe is not a poorly designed, high maintenance creation, requiring supernatural intervention to keep it running, according to both Dawkins and the Vedic worldview. It is a perfectly integrated autonomous system. You will not find a telling lick of touch-up paint somewhere, no lick-and-stick patchwork, no smoking gun indicating a last minute divine intervention to get a particularly tricky piece of biology to work. In fact, Vedic worldview-subscribers would probably become atheists out of disappointment if such a thing did turn up - what kind of imperfect design would that be?

No, according to the Vedic worldview, and to Dawkins, it's all working perfectly and automatically- and that's real Intelligent Design. Krishna can hit a hole in one from a trillion years away using nothing but a space-time continuum and a handful of cosmic constants.

Congruence on this point with Dawkins: 100%
Congruence on this point with "Intelligent Design" advocates: 0

[1] River out of Eden, Richard Dawkins

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Bharatavarsa.net: Book distribution seminar: A Saintly Boy

In Russia a thirteen-year-old received one of Srila Prabhupada books, became attracted to the philosophy, and went to the temple and loved everything. The devotees gave him beads and more books.

He became more interested and became a devotee. But he knew his parents wouldn't approve, so he secretly continued his Krsna consciousness.

He heard about a three-day festival a few hundred miles from Moscow. He really wanted to go, so he told his parents that he was going camping with a friend. He had all of Prabhupada's books hidden in his room, but if he went away they might come into his room and find them. So he locked them in a chest. They gave him permission to go, and he went to the festival confident that there would be no problem.

However, when he returned there was no one home, and he found that the lock on the chest had been broken. Now he was nervous.

His father later asked him, "Why didn't you tell us about these books? All this time we didn't know what you were up to, but when you left we decided to find out what it was. We opened the chest and found your books. We were shocked to find so many books. Then we decided to find out what these books were about, so we read and read and read. Both of us were happy to find these treasure-houses of knowledge. Why didn't you tell us about this?

The boy was surprised and happy. He said, "I thought you would not approve."

The father embraced him and said, "Not only do we approve but we want to know more." Then he said to his wife, "We're so fortunate to have a saint as a son."

They became devotees. (Text D:3377186) -------------------------------------------

------- End of Forwarded Message ------

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Book Distribution News: A Saintly Boy

In Russia a thirteen-year-old received one of Srila Prabhupada books, became attracted to the philosophy, and went to the temple and loved everything. The devotees gave him beads and more books.

He became more interested and became a devotee. But he knew his parents wouldn't approve, so he secretly continued his Krsna consciousness.

He heard about a three-day festival a few hundred miles from Moscow. He really wanted to go, so he told his parents that he was going camping with a friend. He had all of Prabhupada's books hidden in his room, but if he went away they might come into his room and find them. So he locked them in a chest. They gave him permission to go, and he went to the festival confident that there would be no problem.

However, when he returned there was no one home, and he found that the lock on the chest had been broken. Now he was nervous.

His father later asked him, "Why didn't you tell us about these books? All this time we didn't know what you were up to, but when you left we decided to find out what it was. We opened the chest and found your books. We were shocked to find so many books. Then we decided to find out what these books were about, so we read and read and read. Both of us were happy to find these treasure-houses of knowledge. Why didn't you tell us about this?

The boy was surprised and happy. He said, "I thought you would not approve."

The father embraced him and said, "Not only do we approve but we want to know more." Then he said to his wife, "We're so fortunate to have a saint as a son."

They became devotees. (Text D:3377186) -------------------------------------------

------- End of Forwarded Message ------

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ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Jhulan Yatra: August 19th - 24th!

The Hare Krishna Temple will be observing the Jhulan Yatra festival every morning from August 19th until August 24th (last day of Jhulan Yatra and Lord Balarama's Appearance Day).

This festival commemorates the swing (Jhulan) pastime of Radha and Krishna. Every morning at 7:00 am following Deity Greetings, the small deities of Sri Sri Radha Krishna will come off the altar and be placed on a decorated swing. Please feel free to join us in celebrating this festival and get a rare chance to personally swing their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Krishna!

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Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: A Journey Across to Poland: [P19] Winding Down Woodstock (2010)

Monday 2nd, August 2010.

The final kirtana from the night before had ended at around midnight. The devotees were all commenting that it was a little shorter this year. I was totally content, because my other years on the tour I had not even made the final kirtana. The devotees edged their ways towards the buses, hoping to go home to catch some shut eye. There were also a lot of young, stout devotees (site crew) who were breaking down the festival amongst us. I looked around and couldn't see any of the VIPs. I quickly realized this was not the place I was supposed to be. "Let's go Radheya" I said, and with that we left.

We walked across the field of Krsna's Village of Peace, which was now virtually deserted. We made our way into the designated area for the devotees, on the opposite side of the village as the stage (which was where the buses were going to arrive). I found Dhira Mata and asked her if she still had a couple free seats in her ride back to the Green school. We helped her a little to pack up the containers for the VIP Prasadam, from yesterday's lunch, and then stayed close by in case she wanted to leave abruptly.

My plan was falling together so smoothly. I had secured a lift home so now I could loiter with the Swamis and other VIPs. They were not too hard to spot, sitting in a circle nearby. Radheya and I joined in the gathering, along with Govinda Dev and some of the other youth. HH Indradyumna Swami and BB Govinda Maharaja were both rather satisfied with the results of the festival. They were now relaxed and in a joking mood. The laughs went on, one after another, as we conjured up and recycled jokes.

The talk turned back to Gaura Hari's birthday. "Happy birthday" said some of the party, in a jolly tone. I spoiled the fun by mentioning that, technically, it was no longer his birthday. My suggestion seemed to be ignored by the majority of the party. BB Govinda Maharaja was more interested in seeing Gaura "do a jig." Gaura complied and there were cheers from the group as he danced an Irish jig.

The scene was starting to die fast and the jolly Sadhus were thinking of ways to kick back up the fun. "Who's hungry?" came a suggestion from the group. There were some hesitant answers but finally it was decided that they wanted some of the Food For Life Prasadam. Govinda Dev and some others rushed off to fetch the plates. I casually reminded the group that they would probably prefer some bread, cheese and butter back at the base. They calculated the suggestion for a moment and seemed to agree. "Cancel those plates" came an order. I looked around, seeing only senior devotees and dumb struck bhaktas. I was the only candidate who could stop the incoming plates. I knew there wasn't much time.

I jumped to my feet and squelched my foot in a plate behind me (someone had left it there from earlier it seemed). I looked back and tried to pretend it didn't happen. "Did you just sit in that plate or Prasadam?" came the voice of Indradyumna Swami. I tried to explain it away but now everyone was convinced I had sat in it (or they pretended simply for the fun of teasing me). I ignored them and started to run after the Prasadam fetchers. "Wait! Stop! Come back!" came the calls of BB Govinda Maharaja. I knew it was too late to stop the Food For Life plates from coming if I stopped but I knew I had to comply to his order. I ran back to the edge of the group. "Do a jig!" ordered BB Govinda Maharaja. I kicked my heals out and did a few moves, much to the laughter of the group, and then ran off again.

I met the Prasadam fetchers about half a jig's time after they had packed three plates full of Prasadam. Either way, they were so enthusiastic that I doubt I could have stopped them. I came back, followed by three plates of Prasadam. All of a sudden, the now rather rowdy group of Sadhus were keen to take the plates. HH Indradyumna Swami started handing out papadams while the others started digging into the halava.

I think there were the equivalent of about three mouth fulls taken from each plate when the group started remembering my previous suggestions. "How do we get rid of these plates of Prasadam?" asked Indradyumna Swami. BB Govinda Maharaja was quick to the call. He grabbed Indradyumna Swami's plate and held it up in the air. "I have Indradyumna Swami's plate of Prasadam, which he actually ate off! Who wants it?!" he said in a sarcastic tone. Hands quickly came and the plate was gone. BB Govinda Maharaja then deliberately put a spoon into one plate and fed Indradyumna Swami a portion, auctioning it off again. Then, just for fun, BB Govinda Maharaja held up Indradyumna Swami's bottle of water. "I have a bottle of water!" he said in his strong American accent, "who wants it?!"

With that, they all stood up. "Quick, everyone do a jig!" called BB Govinda Maharaja. Everyone began to kick their heals and laugh. The VIPs piled into the van and were off. We rounded up our driver and hopped into our own transport, not too far behind them. We arrived at the Green school first, because the VIPs made a detour to the local supermarket on the way back. Radheya and I entered the cafeteria and began to arrange a suitable sitting place for everyone. I turned on the kettle and found the bags of herbal tea and honey, while Radheya found the bread and the butter. Caturatma Prabhu was first to arrive, with a great bag of ice creams. Soon the whole crew was there, minus HH Indradyumna Swami (who must have decided to rest). Radheya and I served, which was a blissful experience and then soon joined in the fun. BB Govinda Maharaja was putting salt on everyone's bread, insisting if they tried to resist.

I was just sitting down with a cup of ginger tea and then Sri Prahlada caught our attention. We held up our ice-cream cups for a toast. Everyone made a Woodstock wish to Krsna, cashing in our credits for the yajna. Mostly there were wishes that we could all come together next year, some making some more philosophical requests and others even wishing this great pastime would go on forever. It finally came to my Woodstock wish. I felt there was enough said on the sentimental and spiritual side of things so I just made a simply request, "I just want some honey to put it in my tea" I said, faking an innocent tone. The honey was passed up from the other end of the table, as everyone was laughing, and BB Govinda Maharaja stuffed the spoon straight in my mouth. The wishes went on until everyone in the room had a say, even bystanders, speaking in their native languages. The meeting dispersed and everyone went their separate ways.

Radheya and I stayed up, washing the great stock of Woodstock dust out of our clothing. We were singing, chatting and carrying on in the bathrooms, squelching away at our greyed garments. The water ran with a murky colour for a few minutes until the last of the holy dust was washed away. We showered and then made our ways to bed. Madhava's melody was resonating in my mind, the only sane element left, and it lulled me once again into a long, deep sleep.

We awoke late in the day. I started to read some sastra, grabbing my mind before it was off in the clouds. Soon the cooks came into the Gymnasium and asked, "who wants to serve the feast?" I came out and checked the kitchen. I decided to serve the drink so I dragged it out to the cafeteria and started pouring cups.

Someone left me a box that read "Krsna Balarama Mandir" and they told me to distribute it. I was feeling great separation as I distributed the Maha Prasadam from Vrndavana. It was from the sweet store in the Mandir, one of my most favourite stops in the Dham. The incident reminded me of a story.

One time I was paying my obeisances to Srila Prabhupada murti, in Vrndavana, and my left eye made a great big twitch. I was worried, because I was in the Dham and this was an inauspicious omen. I quickly decided to speculate a way to resurrect the situation. I instantly thought of the purifying properties of Prasadam. I went to the Mandir's sweet store and asked to buy a burfi. They told me that I couldn't buy such a small portion so I told them to sell me the minimum. Soon I had a whole box of burfis and I figured that even better than eating all this Prasadam would be distributing it to the residents of the Dham (although I'm sure I could have taken on the challenge by myself). I indiscriminately distributed and laughed at myself, knowing that I fell for Krsna's plan to bestow his mercy upon me, just over something seemingly insignificant like an eye twitch. Now I had the privilege of distributing yet again, this time to the Vaisnavas of Polish tour.

I checked my emails for the first time since Woodstock. The world was going around as per usual. I received a Skype call from Gaura Hari. He was already back in London and back at work. He had arrived home before I had even woken up. Collin also came over and said his goodbyes; and so it was, everyone was heading home again until next year.

Caturatma Prabhu found Radheya and I outside, and asked me if I wanted to serve Gurudeva lunch. Radheya thought he was talking to him so he answered and we both decided we could do the task together. We went into Gurudeva's room and served him lunch Prasadam. I looked around and there was only a handful of the VIPs left. It was nice to see them all jubilant, after a successful Woodstock festival. I left and Radheya went back in for a private darsana.

In the evening, we were back in Gurudeva's room to serve out an ice-cream party. At the end, we were ordered to finish off the leftovers. When we were all done, Radheya and I decided to go for a late japa walk, so we could finish some rounds and work off the sugar from the ice-cream feast. Off we went, into the night, making our way to the Red school. The town was quiet, now that Woodstock was over. We passed only a drunk, left over from the carnage. At first, we were a little worried but then we realized that he was friendly. He bowed down, seeing my saffron cloth, and begged for blessings. He figured I was a sannyasi. At first I hesitated, trying to be humble, but then he approached again. "I bless you with the Bhakti that I have not yet acquired" I said, and gestured my hand over his head. He was pleased and then he stumbled off. All of a sudden it began to rain, so we took shelter under a storefront.

 

Tuesday 3rd, August 2010. The rain wouldn't stop. We were stuck under a tiny shelter for a couple hours and the water was sprinkling us from the sides. We decided to run down the street and luckily found a larger store front. We appreciated the dry place and sheltered there for the time being. A police car was passing, every few minutes, eyeing us out every time. We chanted some rounds, laughed a lot and joked our way through the early morning. Finally the sun was coming up so we decided we would simply run back in the rain. We arrived back at the Green school, just as the last VIPs were leaving. We marched our way into bed and caught our much needed sleep.

We woke, packed, took some Prasadam and hopped on the bus. I caught some wireless in the bus and sent off my last emails. A lot of people on cyberspace thought I was leaving the tour, right after Woodstock, so I had to remind everyone that I was going to be in Poland for another solid couple of weeks. We drove to the Red school, filling up a couple more seats, and then we were off, back to Siemysl.

We stopped at the usual petrol station, for a leg stretch, toilet break and junk food stash. The devotees crowded the store and the parking lot as well. We took the time to visit our friends on the other buses. We had been in a different base for the whole Woodstock yajna so it felt like we hadn't seen all our friends in a long time. Cidananda gifted us with some cheese sandwiches for our trip and we made an abrupt exit, shouting "the bus is leaving!"

We returned to our coastal base. I looked at all the devotees bustling in. "Oh no, our room!" I cried. I had Radheya check on the luggage as I checked our room. Like everyone on tour, it's first in, best dressed. Our room was one of the best and closest to Maharaja. We also kept it the cleanest and had mostly English speakers in there. The room was locked and everyone was crowded outside, in a jungle of suitcases. I quickly made up a list (making me look official) and booked people into slots of floor space, making sure we didn't overbook the room or leave anybody out (which is a delicate art). Once everything was settled I checked that everyone was comfortable.

We had a new crew for the end of the tour. We had lost a few boys - Govinda (from Mayapur), Gopal (from Berlin), Govinda Dev and Nila (from Sweden); but we had also gained a few more - Govinda (from Scotland, now the only Govinda), Caitanya Vallabha, Krsna Das and Cidananda had joined us from upstairs. I could tell that, with this crew, we were going to have a load of fun. The Woodstock yajna was officially over but the adventure of tour was still lingering on.

 

[http://maddmonk.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/p19-winding-down-woodstock-2010]


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Australian News: Time and Again

By Mathuresa Dasa

Back to Godhead July/August 2010

Being God, Krishna has no work to do and simply enjoys in His original abode, while His expansions and energies, such as time, take care of the material creation.

As working men and women we typically leave home in the early morning and spend eight or nine hours on the job. Life at work sustains life at home. Official dealings at work contrast with family intimacies at home. However diffuse and overlapping the boundaries between the two, our work persons differ from our home persons.

Krishna, the supreme person, has no work to do. He is always home in His own abode, an expansive, eternal, and endlessly varied estate beyond the material world known as Goloka Vrindavana. Krishna fills His home life as we fill ours, with His loving friends and favorite belongings. Our own proclivity for home life derives from His original personality, because as minute individual souls we come from Him and from His transcendental abode. Since Krishna is partial to cows and to the Tulasi tree, His pristine abode has a wealth of both. Goloka means "abode of cows," and Vrindavana means "forest of Tulasi” (Vrinda being another name for Tulasi). The forests, rivers, streams, hills, mountains, fields, and village dwellings of Goloka Vrindavana are an eternal setting for the blissful recreations of Lord Krishna and His confidential devotees.

With no work to do, Krishna is under no obligation to create our temporary material world. He does so out of kindness to provide material estates for those of us who prefer to live independent of Him, or to have the illusion of doing so. Krishna entrusts the work of creation to His expansion Lord Maha-Vishnu, who is Krishna's original "work person." Unlike our own work persons, Maha-Vishnu, while an expansion of Krishna's personality, is also an individual with distinct initiative and identity. He works on His own, leaving Krishna, the original home person, unbothered. This ability of Krishna’s to expand without leaving home, entrusting work to His individual expansions without so much as a thought to the stereotypical functions of God-as-puppeteer, is a unique and essential feature of the Supreme Being.

Read the rest at: Krishna.com

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 42

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3:45 A.M.

From Namamrta (The Nectar of the Holy Name) by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada:

“The Chanting of Hare Krishna is the elevator by which we can immediately come to the platform of
bhakti-yoga:

“If one practices jnana-yoga and thinks that he has attained the ultimate, he is mistaken. He has to make further progress. If we are on a staircase and have to reach the top floor, which is the 100th floor, we are mistaken if we think we have arrived when we are on the 30th floor. As stated before, the whole yoga system may be likened to a staircase connecting or linking us to God. In order to attain the ultimate, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we must go to the highest platform, and that is bhakti-yoga.

“But why walk up all these steps if we have a chance to take an elevator? By means of an elevator, we can reach the top in the matter of seconds. Bhakti-yoga is this elevator, the direct process by which we can reach the top in the matter of seconds. We can go step by step, following all the other yoga systems or we can go directly. Since in the age of Kali people have short life spans and are always disturbed and anxious, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, by His causeless mercy, has given us the elevator by which we can come immediately to the platform of bhakti-yoga. The direct means is the chanting of Hare Krishna, and that is the special gift of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

—The Path of Perfection

This is the same analogy that Therese of Liseux gives, the elevator. She says the elevator is love. Lord Caitanya says the elevator is the chanting of Hare Krishna. I should be very grateful I have this means to lift me so quickly to Krishna. It would not be possible for me to go through all the intricate steps. I am fallen, but I am picked up by the elevator. All I have to do is chant regularly, and I will go up to the top. I must have faith in this process and push the button for the elevator and chant my japa every day. And I must have faith that I am going up.

This morning I woke with the alarm at two o'clock and began chanting. I have chanted twelve rounds. It seemed a little slow and heavy-lidded in the eyes and mechanical. But I was moving in numerical strength, and Krishna was counting the bhakti. I was doing the process which is recommended for this age and which is the fastest way. It requires firm faith and determination. Although it is an automatic lift, we have to stay awake and fervently chant as we rise. Otherwise we are just going through the motions, and we cannot reach the top in essence. I pray that I can spend my time of ascent in the best way, with alert chanting, the mind not wandering to other things and the senses alert in hearing the syllables.

Rising quickly, but you
can't be simply an
unconscious bundle. You have
to be awake and coherent,
paying attention to the mantras
as you rise. Otherwise it is a
dumb show and you do not
actually go up. Pinch your
self to stay awake—count the
mantras with devotion.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Defense of the Guru

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Prabhupada Smaranam

Here is Srila Prabhupada gesturing with a clenched fist like a fighter. He often preached with what was attributed to his spiritual master as his "chopping technique." That is, he would pugnaciously speak against the enemies of Krishna, striking them down with fists of logic. He once said he knew the art of "karate," how to strike an opponent's weakness. One might expect a stereotype of a saintly person always being nonviolent and presenting himself with folded palms—and often Prabhupada presented himself this way—but he also had a fighting spirit and wanted his disciples to follow and use arguments against the enemies of dharma.

Rascals who spoke against God and who misinterpreted Bhagavad-gita met the fire of Prabhupada's aggressive argumentation. He did not care if someone was put off by his attack, he had to defend the good name of Krishna and His pure devotee.

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Okanagan Okay!

Kelowna, British Columbia

I`m in the heart of the Okanagan Valley, the heart of BC fruit-land keeping myself open for the miracles of the day. I`m here with our acting troupe for a devotional performance of kirtan chanting and drama, `Lonely People`.

The venue was Okanagan College Theatre. There was not an overwhelming turn out but the quality of people made the show all worth while.

And so what was the miracle... Nothing extraordinary but a small occurance that you could not classify as cooincidence. With us came Gillian, a volunteer sound person for this weeks performances. She appears happy to talke a week off from work from selling tires (as she hopes to get into studying medicine) and agreed to hit all our sound cues with appropriate volume levels.

She was only given an hour to learn everything from the script and use a CD which we found had cues mixed up - a difficult task. At practice time enough mistakes were there, and yours truly was convinced that flaws would haunt us at performance time. I prayed.

Patiently, Gillian applied herself and a perfect job was rendered.

That was the miracle. It was enough to reinforce faith. it wasn't an extraordinary situation, but you felt that an extra hand had entered in backstage to help the situation - a hand that could not be seen but sensed. It happened in the night and perhaps because the bulk of our crew which was Goura, Nitai and I were faithful to sadhana in the early morning. Yes, we trekked Byrne Creek trail in Burnaby before leaving for Kelowna, chanting on our beads and sticking to this principle.

The only deviation was Nitai, who left the path for a bit - to explore - or as Goura put it, ``He`s having his Tarzan moment`` to which I responded, `He`s only 18...``

``Right, Maharaj,`` said Goura.

``Okay!" I thought.

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

It Was Sweet!

Kelowna, British Columbia

I walked by the new golf course at Black Mountain. Formerly the location was a ranch which bred buffalo, a cross-breed of buffalo with domestic cattle, a first in Canada. The sidewalk I tread on was rather close to the perfect golf grass. A ball whizzed by the head at a speed I couldn`t see but hear. It was just a little reminder that anything could happen at any moment.

I contemplated that I wish to move with the same speed in my spiritual life. In my mind`s resolve I thought, ``Ìt doesn`t usually work that way.``

I met an elderly man from Delhi, Jagadish. He spotted my swami clothes and was curious. I trekked further on and was halted by a voice that said ``Hello!`` It came from a new and beautiful home on Large Ave. A man trailed down the driveway to say, ``You are the main guy in Toronto... I used to eat at your restaurant all the time.``

``I`m one of the guys, Hare Krishna!`` and a conversation ensued. This confirmed, ``When you are out, people will come about``.

Evening brought us to the downtown at a hotspot for pedestrian, tourists and free spirits. The place is called ``The Sails`` and we took to the grass as our seating. We plopped ourselves down for the old grassroots Hare Krishna thing including chanting with drums. A circle of hippies nearby were puffing at ganja. A number of them eventually came to our circle for an experience of another kind.

I found it rather compatible - us and them. Now we were one, enwrapped in the mantra. There was no problem communicating with them. Our language was kindness.

Nitai Priya made a remark, ``It was like Prabhupada (our guru) at Tompkins Square Park in New York.`` She was referring to the humble beginnings of Hare Krishna taking root in the sixties.

Yes it was and it was very sweet.

9 KM

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Monday, August 9th, 2010

There's the Blackberry and Then There's the Real Thing

Burnaby, British Columbia

I trekked along Marine Drive with beads in my right hand. I glanced over to the left to see something that always cheers me up. August is blackberry season. These deeply dark and rich juicy offerings of nature hang from their spiky stems demonstrating no limit to their generosity.

Tempted like crazy, my left hand stretched itself to reach one of those sweet and slightly tart berries. Then another and another. No feast transpired. I held myself back which I was proud of and knowing of their plentiful nature, I could pick up some more further down the sidewalk.

"Berries are a pigrim's delight - a privilege", I thought putting away any trace of guilt of greed. "Besides, they are free. Who wouldn't indulge under such circumstances? when walking Ireland two summers ago, these little guys came to my aid. They provided me the energy I needed."

And while all these wranglings went on in my mind and I outstretched once more with the left hand, I had a hard look at that hand. I flashed back to the summer of '74 at the Krishna communal farm near Moundsville, West Virginia, when I saw the graceful hands of our guru, Srila Prabhupada, playing on kartals (hand cymbals). He played in the most awesome way, totally skillful and artistic, not the usual one, two, three beat. He went rather fancy with the two cymbals releasing certain fingers at certain intervals of playing. His fingers were long and appeared divinely agile. It was the occasion of my second diksha (initiation) when a person is approved to taking to brahminical tasks. I was transfixed on the movement of his hands and now here at the blackberry bush I had come to recall that fine moment of a perfect vision. It was an inspiring moment.

I know many people who speak the glories of the blackberry gadget that you hold in your hand for communication. I will gladly stick with my juicy edible ones and stay with simplicity hoping for great moments.

4 KM

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Prayers to Krishna and Poem in Prose Book

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1.
Praying to Krishna in last days of
Bhaktitirtha Swami. I was the only
one he would talk to on the phone.
I said, How are you doing? He
said, It is full of pain but very close
to Prabhupada. They did
not stay in Gita Nagari as
he wanted them. There were
too many differences.

Pray to Krishna. I was writing
that book, Write and Die
and put in many words
from different layers
of my consciousness, trying
to find Krishna in the chaos
under a microscope. Krishna is beautiful
with yellow dress, and Radha
in red with blue shawl.
Praying to Krishna
in 16 rounds of maha-mantra.

2.
Here’s the poem from the prose book:
"We have many things to do. You fill a
calendar with appointments, big boy.
Phone a friend and ask him to buy you
a pair of pants because you've been
peeing in your pants
and as a traveler you don't have enough

dry pants. “Sure," he says. You are visiting his
house next week. Today you are visiting
the house of an artist.

"They took my strings away," lamented Bird,
So many bad blows as he destroyed himself.

Musicians gradually wised up and later generations,
but how can you make decent
money playing hip? Who'll give donations
to pure devotees?

Throw out all references but the
Bhagavatam so you'll be safe at
death. ‘Latch onto His names
said the advice-giver.
I write down in my pad but couldn't
follow. The attempt. At least the attempt,
I figured, was in my favor, like chanting
Hare Krishna when you're scared
of death."

3.
A period of incontinence, he
put it in the poem because it
was happening. Charlie Parker
playing with violins, he destroyed
himself with heroin. I say
throw out all references, but
the Bhagavatam but I have
to put the naked life in.
At least the attempt
was in my favor, like
chanting Hare Krishna at death.
You wanted an original
work. So you told
of your phone calls
to the Spiritual Warrior.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Inspired by the Saints

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Healing House

Martin Murphy, Bob's high school teacher, phoned Swami Rupa two months after he received the Swami's letter and copy of Entering the Life of Prayer. He asked for a meeting.

"I've gone through considerable changes since I read your book," he said "I'm on my summer vacation and I took two months on a reading marathon. I've been reading books by and about the saints you mentioned. Teresa of Avila and Therese of Liseux."

"What effect did they have on you?" asked Swami Rupa.

"I've completely given up my agnostic position," said Martin. "I've returned to my original faith or rather I've entered a new dimension of spirituality that's pretty intense."

"I'm glad to hear," said the Swami. "Could you tell me about it?"

"I'm very inspired by Therese of Liseux’s Little Way of approaching God. She compares it to reaching God by taking the elevator instead of walking up all the steps of a building. "You just see yourself very tiny and insignificant, incapable of doing anything on your own and you surrender to Jesus. Through his mercy he picks you up."

"Yes, she's wonderful," said Swami Rupa. "She entered the convent at fourteen years old and had to survive harsh conditions of living. She sacrificed her suffering as an offering to God. She got sick and died at twenty-five years of age. She wanted to go to the kingdom of God and from that position pray and bless the people of the world.”

"Can you accept Therese and Christ as a Hare Krishna person?" Martin asked.

"Yes," said Swami Rupa. "

In a Bhagavad-gita purport while writing about Krishna and the incarnations who come to the earth, Prabhupada says, "It is not a fact that the Lord appears only on Indian soil. He can manifest Himself anywhere and everywhere He desires to appear…But the mission is the same—to lead people to God consciousness and obedience to the principles of religion. Sometimes He descends personally and sometimes He sends His bona-fide representative in the form of His son or servant."

"Teresa of Avila emphasizes prayer," said Martin. "She said there is no religion without prayer. And for her prayer is engaging in conversation with God."

"Yes," said Swami Rupa. "Saint Therese of Liseux compared herself to a sparrow and Saint Teresa of Avila to an eagle. Teresa of Avila is the great mystic who had visions and spoke to Christ, and Saint Therese of Liseux said she couldn't fly so high but remained on the ground adoring the eagle."

"But in her own way Therese of Liseux is just as great for making God so accessible to common people" said Martin. "Her Little Way was a completely new and easy way to love God. Just give Him your love through all your little acts you perform in the day. I'm chanting the rosary again on beads, and I still feel influenced by Krishna consciousness. The concept that you have to follow religious principles and avoid sin or your religion is hypocrisy makes real sense to me. So I'm following no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no intoxication and no gambling."

"That makes you a Vaisnava," said Swami Rupa. "I was with Prabhupada in Europe in 1974 and he said the Christian religion was very nice if they would just stop eating meat and if they would chant the names of God."

"And I still read the Bhagavad-gita, and I chant a couple of rounds of the maha-mantra every day. I figure it can't hurt me. I don't know if that makes me an authorized Christian, but I like it. And it's what made me come back to praying in Christianity. Saint Therese of Liseux kept a copy of the Gospel over her heart and I do too. I read from it regularly."

"You sound like you're doing well," said Swami Rupa.

Swami Rupa and Martin spent some time talking of saints and religious practices. Martin appreciated the intensity of Entering the Life of Prayer and the open confession of struggle to reach the goal. Swami Rupa had no intention of trying to persuade Martin to give up Christianity and take to Krishna consciousness, but the talk of saints stimulated his own emotions and he began speaking of the Six Gosvamis and of the saintly persons associated with Lord Caitanya. And he spoke of Radha-Krishna. Martin didn't seem to mind, and it was a pleasant ecumenical exchange.

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Australian News: The Syamantaka Jewel: A Janmashtami play @ Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha, Sydney

This years Janmastami Play is the Syamantaka Jewel. The very last paragraph of chapter 57 in Krsna: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Srila Prabhupada says – “This story of the Syamantaka jewel is very significant. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said that anyone who hears the story of the Syamantaka jewel or describes it or simply remembers it will be free from all kinds of defamation and the reactions of all impious activities and thus will attain the highest perfectional condition of peace.”

So put the dates in your diary and visit the Facebook page.

Location North Sydney Temple
SHYAMANTAKA JEWEL PLAY

Part I: 4th of September at 6pm,
Part II 5th of September at 7:30pm

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Ananda Subramanian, Iowa, USA: Modern science-statistical opinion-reality

"In medicine we say 'Never say never and never say always,' because funny things happen. All you can do is give a statistical opinion," said Sikora, dean of the School of Medicine at Buckingham University, in central England.

Of course...anything beyond statistics is deemed funny. The doctors who we think can save our lives are simply basing it on statistical significance. In other words, at the most fundamental level, it is assumed that human bodies are designed the same across all individuals and therefore, through statistical generalization, they assume that all human bodies contract a disease in a similar fashion or react to a medicine in a similar fashion. The doctors will not be able to identify or rectify differences in the fist instant. Only after further complications, do they change the course of action.

Yet, as a common man, we dont think twice before seeking the statistical version of the doctor and put our whole lives in their hands. Our culture today has been brainwashed to the extent to think that the doctor must be correct. Practically, no one questions the words of a doctor. The more specialized the doctor, the more power he can weild.

While all the time, the doctor is simply giving a statistical generalized research based feedback to my specific idiosyncratic problem. If you are lucky you fall within the statistical generalization, if you are unlucky, God save your soul!

To simply put, if we remove all layers of complexities and look at this, the bare truth is the doctor albeit with a statistical research based opinion (better equipped) does not know anything more about my problem than I do.

We both are operating on the platform of HOPE!

The doctor is hoping that the medicine will react the way it should based on statistical research, and the patient is hoping the doctor got it right this time!!

Yet, somehow, the scientists and researchers manage to pull this HOPE off as highly advanced and scientific knowledge. In comparison, you believers of God are simply wasting time "HOPING" to be saved.

Actually, this is true in all spheres or branches of modern science. Everything is a statistical generalization without any use at the individual level.

Modern science generalizes reality and operates on the hope that their version of reality is real.

I prefer the "as it is" version of Prabhupada and operate on that!

Hare Krishna.

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: HH Niranjana Swami speaks at the Community meeting at the renovation of four apartments in Krsna Valley (Eng/Hung)

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: HH Kesava Bharati Maharaja speaks at the Community meeting at the renovation of four apartments in Krsna Valley (Eng/Hung)

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Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: Making Green Convenient

From our friends at the Institute for Sustainable Living

A convenient choice is most commonly defined as one which saves us time and effort.

It could be argued that adopting environmentally friendly behaviours requires forgoing some convenience. Just looking at some of these behaviours, versus their less sustainable alternatives. Cycling versus driving. Composting versus putting everything in the rubbish bin. Turning off appliances at the wall versus leaving them on standby. Each of these greener options quite clearly require more investment of time and effort, however small the difference.

In a society where we are increasingly "time-poor" (or are increasingly told so anyway), the task for those promoting sustainability requires overcoming the barrier of perceived inconvenience. How important is convenience? Reviewing research related to "cognitive effort", Garbarino and Edell report that "a consistent finding is that humans have limited cognitive resources and allocate them judiciously". In order to avoid being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of decisions we are required to make every day, and the myriad choices available, we are attracted to things which reduce the amount of mental effort required. This is one reason why we develop habits, as a shortcut to having to make a new decision every time we encounter the same need. Garbarino and Edell also found that "it is clear that people are willing to forgo some benefits to conserve cognitive effort". This explains, for instance, why we are willing to buy convenience snacks which we know are less healthy for us.

The effort required to make the decision itself also has an effect on the perceived desirability of our choices. The study by Garbarino and Edell found that, when faced with a choice between two products, the effort required to evaluate a product created a negative emotion towards that choice, even though the attributes of the choices were the same. People were also willing to pay more for the product which was easier to evaluate. This has important implications for many aspects of promoting sustainable choices, such as labeling. When we are asking people to buy the most environmentally friendly product, if it is hard work for them to identify its environmental benefits they are not going to view it positively.

Another demonstration of the importance of convenience is the effect of the "default option". Studies have found that we will often accept the choice which is presented as the standard option, rather than make the effort to consider the alternatives. Among the most interesting of these was a study of a German town where green energy was offered as the default option, resulting in 94% of people continuing to purchase it, in contrast with single-digit uptake in towns where non-renewable energy was the standard offer.

The stiff competition which convenience provides for sustainability promoters raises an interesting question. Are we best to attempt to convince people to reduce the emphasis they place on convenience, or should we direct our efforts to making green options more convenient? The former option would require a re-framing of the value which we place on certain behaviours. Cycling, for instance, would struggle to compete with driving on the convenience stakes for many people (although traffic congestion in many cities is fast tipping this balance). However, the benefits in terms of wellbeing, cost and environmental impact offer an opportunity to put a strong case for cycling – a case so strong that the trade-off in terms of convenience may seem worth it. On the other hand, some people are likely to drive a harder bargain when it comes to giving up convenience. So making cycling more convenient is also effort well spent. Better cycling tracks, facilities and information would all reduce the perceived trade-off of time and effort.

Therefore, the answer to the question of whether to attempt to influence the importance people place on convenience, or simply to match the convenience of less eco-friendly options appears to be "both". Although the addiction to convenience has arguably caused us to become disengaged from the realities of production, there is strong evidence that humans are pre-disposed to seek options which minimise our time and effort. In other words, a need for convenience is here to stay, so we can either fight it, or meet it.

The quest to make sustainable options more convenient would benefit from an awareness of the key elements of convenience. Interestingly, nearly all discussions of convenience are centred around marketing to consumers. However, it is possible to apply many of the principles to other types of behaviour which are not necessarily related to purchasing. One useful model which outlines the elements of convenience is presented in Understanding Service Convenience. The model describes 5 types of convenience:

  • Decision convenience – how easy it is to make a decision about the product or service.
  • Access convenience – the perceived time and effort required to initiate service delivery
  • Transaction convenience – perceived time and effort to secure the right to use the service
  • Benefit convenience – perceived time and effort expenditures to experience the service's core benefits (such as the travel time required to experience the convenience benefit)
  • Post-benefit convenience – the time and effort to re-contact the seller after the initial purchase (e.g. for returns or repairs)

Understanding and incorporating these elements of convenience may go some way towards making eco-friendly options a more convenient choice, and reducing yet another barrier to the uptake of a more sustainable lifestyle.

Awake provides psychology-based services to support the development of sustainable behaviour in individuals, groups and organisations. Visit www.awake.com.au for more info

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Sita-pati dasa, AU: Dawkins, Dungeons and Dragons, and Vedic metaphysics

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

(W)aged against Dennett, Dawkins and Wilson, are an alliance of creationists, religious fundamentalists, church-goers and rightwing politicians, as well as a rump of scientists who include the US biologist Richard Lewontin, the UK academic Steve Rose, of the Open University, and Stephen Jay Gould, the late palaeontologist and science populariser... Hostilities can be traced to the publication of Wilson's theory of sociobiology 30 years ago. In it, Wilson argues that the make-up of society has a strong genetic component, a controversial notion to say the least.

- "Great minds united in an ungodly trio", Guardian UK

Come on, how can anyone in ISKCON seriously join a crusade against this? This stuff is old school HK smackdown - pure gold!

Hippie: "Surfing is so spiritual, man"
Dawkins: "No it's not - it's an extended phenotype, in other words: sex life."
Classic music appreciator: "Well Bach's music is definitely spiritual"
Dawkins: "Nope, sex life."

According to Dawkins (and Vedic fundamentalists) human society is based on sex life - all material human activities (and most so-called spiritual ones) are genetically (ie: "sex life" in the contemporary Vedic lexicon) based.

The extended phenotype is Dawkins principle contribution to evolutionary science. It is the idea that genes, in their "struggle" for survival, not only influence the biological tissue of the organism, but also its behaviour. It's kind of obvious when you think about it, but the implications are profound.

Non-Vedic-worldview subscribers are very disturbed when the material world, including human society, are reduced to mere genetic ("material" in the Vedic lexicon) status. However, this meshes perfectly with the Vedic worldview's relative assessment of this world. We have a desire to be more than that, because ultimately we are. But I'm sorry, according to both Dawkins and the Vedas, this world is a deterministic one, and we are largely spectators of the interplay of genes as they move through different survival machines.

Once in the body (collection of genes) of a dog, you are forced to live and act as a dog. Humans are another case of this among millions, nay billions of species - not an exception.

The Vedic worldview does offer that humans have the potential to aspire to more than this however, as Dawkins confirms in The Selfish Gene:

So far, I have not talked much about man in particular, though I have not deliberately excluded him either. Part of the reason I have used the term 'survival machine' is that 'animal' would have left out plants and, in some people's minds, humans. The arguments I have put forward should, prima facie, apply to any evolved being. If a species is to be excepted, it must be for good particular reasons. Are there any good reasons for supposing our own species to be unique? I believe the answer is yes.

- Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene

This brings Richard in short shrift to a discussion of the "God meme":

Consider the idea of God. We do not know how it arose in the meme pool.

- Richard Dawkins, ibid

Richard Dawkins' views on God and religion are another huge motivation for the crusade against him. I would like to point out at this point the very first point that A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, our spokesman for the Vedic worldview, makes in his Srimad Bhagavatam commentary:

The conception of God and the conception of Absolute Truth are not on the same level.

- A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Srimad Bhagavatam Introduction

Richard Dawkins has not commented extensively, or even at all to my knowledge, on the Vedic worldview, especially its metaphysic. I know how Richard responds to generic religious tradition, or religions with which he is not familiar. He would say something along the lines of: "Well, I could say that you have to believe in the Jabberwocky of the mountain." I know this from studying his public debates, and from debating students of his books.

Dawkins has dealt a significant (some would say fatal) blow to much of Western religion (most of which actually has its roots in the Middle East) and its philosophy. While discussing with students of his thinking I found that they would often cast my presentations of the Vedic world view as another religion in the same vein, and then tilt away with great vigour using the same arguments and lines of reasoning that Dawkins has so effectively used to demolish the rational and empirical underpinnings of Western faith.

However, in doing that they missed the opportunity to discover something unique and valuable in the Vedic worldview. You see, I myself found the Western religious traditions to be lacking in empirical and intellectual rigour, well before Professor Dawkins was on my radar screen. That is not to say that I find them without value, and I know that Professor Dawkins recognises great value within them as well, although we might differ on exactly which aspects of them we find valuable.

In the Vedic world view, however, we find a metaphysic without comparison - one which easily accommodates Dawkins' empirical analysis, agrees with it, and encapsulates it within a wider metaphysical perspective.

Don't get me wrong - the Vedic tradition and its religious aspect are full of "Jabberwockies", and not just one God, but 33 million of them for Dawkins to tilt at if he wishes. But behind that, carried within that cultural covering, is an incredible metaphysical system. It is impossible to know with certainty the precise historical path that lead to its arrival to us today, wonderfully encapsulated in a rich, colourful cultural package - and I totally appreciate the cultural aspects of it, replete as they are with Dungeons and Dragon-type imagery, complete with magic-thread-wearing spell-casters summoning demons from fire. For someone who has a soft spot for the odd Amon Amarth video, and who once considered the Dungeon Masters Guide as essential reading, the Srimad Bhagavatam was really a no-brainer (the web version doesn't hold a candle in this respect to the printed version, with its Devanagari script and amazing pictures).

However, the cultural context and background of the Bhagavatam should not distract us from or blind us to the metaphysical system that it presents. The trappings of Vedic culture, a human culture subject to the same analysis as any human culture, should not eclipse or obscure the unique value that is to be found in the Vedic metaphysical philosophy, laid out in the Upanishads, and summarised in the Vedanta-sutra (and its "natural" - read then-culturally relevant - commentary the Srimad Bhagavatam), and the Bhagavad-gita (also known as the Gitopanisad for its Upanishadic synthesis).

There are plenty of Jabberwockies for Dawkins and his students to invoke and tilt at in the Vedic tradition, but this misses the point.

At its core, empirically the Vedic metaphysical system agrees with Dawkins' observations and conclusions, and provides additional information.

Again, my point is not to prove or even assert the factual nature of either Dawkins' or the Vedic worldview, merely to point out points of congruence.

So to return to the original point: on Wilson's initial barrage that started the war with the religious right - the idea that human society is majorly a product of the deterministic laws of material nature, I call 100% congruence.

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Japa Group: Make It Easier To Chant


A devotee can very peacefully chant the holy name of the Lord by behaving more humbly than the grass, being tolerant like a tree and offering respects to everyone, without expecting honor from anyone else. Such qualifications make it easier to chant the holy name of the Lord.

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Gouranga TV: Sacinandana Swami – Hare Krishna – Vilasgarh 2009

Sacinandana Swami – Hare Krishna- Vilasgarh 2009

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H.H. Sivarama Swami

Lord Krsna is especially inclined to the brahmana devotees. Lord Krsna is also called brahmanya-deva, which means that He is worshiped by the brahmanas. Therefore it is understood that a devotee who is fully surrendered unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead has already acquired the position of a brahmana. Without becoming a brahmana, one cannot approach the Supreme Brahman, Lord Krsna.

- Srila Prabhupada

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