"Planet ISKCON" - 56 new articles
There's been a lot of enquiries about forthcoming cookery classes in Melbourne. In a nutshell: there are 2 remaining Kurma classes in Melbourne for 2010.
Hurry to grab the last bookings. Here's the details:
Gopal's Vegetarian Restaurant, Swanston Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Morning Cookery Workshop, Sunday 10 October 2010, Bookings 03 8555 0361.
Gopal's Vegetarian Restaurant, Swanston Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Morning Cookery Workshop, Sunday 28 November 2010, Bookings 03 8555 0361.
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.24.19 - Lord's pastimes of creation are also very significant. They make us remember Lord's enormity & our tininess.
“Regarding the auto accident, just hold a condolence meeting for Raghava das Brahmachari and pray for his soul to Krishna for giving him a good chance for advancement in Krishna Consciousness. Certainly Krishna will give him a good place to take birth where he can again begin in Krishna Consciousness activities. That is sure.” (Shrila [...]
On day 7 of the Retreat, Sacinandana Swami plays excerpts from Srila Prabhupada and explains their meaning in relation to Japa.
Admitting my faults is sincere. Higher level of sincerity is correcting my faults and stop repeating my mistakes.
1. What do you really, really want?
Spiritual advancement, Srimad Bhagavatam and the Krsna consciousness movement are meant for those who are not envious.
Don't complain. Don't blame.
Regarding your question about Yogananda, you write to say that you "received the impression from his autobiography that he was a genuine saint who dedicated his life to serving God.'' But the thing is that you do not actually know what is a genuine saint, and what can you understand about saintly life from reading his autobiography. I may inform you that just recently I visited his so-called asrama retreat, and it was simply a hodge-podge of all nonsense. There was a Buddha statue, a Christ statue, a Gandhi's memorium labeled as "World Peace Memorium'' -- and what world peace he has brought? None. And what does Gandhi have to do with spiritual realization anyway? Gandhi was simply interested to get the Britishers out of India -- what has this to do with self-realization, the prime goal of life? And here and there, there were signs of all sorts, like "Be still and realize I am God'' -- what is this, by becoming silent and still one becomes God?! The stone is silent for millions of years, does that mean it has become God? This is all conglomeration of nonsense ideas. Practically, this Yogananda has no philosophy or authority, he simply drags in Buddha, Jesus Christ, Gandhi, and whoever else he can think to put, so that whatever you like it is in his shop. He is just a good shop keeper. Krishna says -- Give up all nonsense engagements and come here and surrender unto Me! -- that is real philosophy. Krishna says that anyone who is worshiping any demigod, it is all nonsense, and just give it up and come to me. Our philosophy is to worship Radha and Krishna. We don't make any hodge-podge or any compromise. If you like you can accept it, and if you are fortunate you will accept, and be happy, but this hodge-podge nonsense will never help you. Just like we prescribe certain rules and restrictions for our disciples so that they can make real advancement in spiritual life. This Yogananda gives no restrictions or regulative principles to his disciples, and thereby collects all nonsense class of men. But if you put restrictions then not so many men will come, but sincere ones will come, those who are actually sincerely searching after real spiritual life. This Yogananda accepts everything as bona fide, because he simply doesn't know what is bona fide and what is nonsense. So there is no need to waste your time.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Kris -- Los Angeles 13 November, 1968
Due to popular demand, here's more serialising of recipes by my cooking guru, Yamuna Devi! Before attempting to cook any of her recipes, make sure you are aware of the difference between US measures and Australian/metric measures. See below*
Srila Prabhupada gave us this recipe during his 1967 San Francisco classes. In Bengal, bhaji is loosely defined as any fried vegetable, and while this variation has other names, such as eggplant Puki, one thing is constant: it must be served immediately after cooking, piping hot.
To get authentic results, I recommend using fresh ghee; my second choice would be a newcomer on the market – avocado oil. It can be heated to a very high temperature with out smoking, is very delicious, and one of the lowest of all unsaturated fats – actually helping to lower cholesterol in the blood. Olive oil would be the third choice. I like to use baby white or purple eggplants, but large eggplants can be cut into wedges and used as well.
Salting time: 15-30 minutes,
1½ tablespoons turmeric,
Combine the turmeric, salt and water in a bowl. Cut small eggplants in half, or cut larger ones into wedges roughly 2½ inches (6.5 cm) long and 1½ inches (4 cm) wide. Toss the eggplant with the turmeric-salt mixture and set aside for 15-30 minutes.
To remove the watery turmeric marinade, drain the eggplant in a paper towel-lined colander. Pour enough ghee or oil to reach a depth ½ inch (1.5 cm) in a large heavy frying pan and place it over moderately high heat. When it is hot and nearly reaches its smoking point, carefully add a single layer of eggplant pieces. Fry, turning the pieces on all sides, until they assume a rich reddish-brown color and are fork-tender.
Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.
*Note that since Yamuna wrote her recipes using US measurements, the weights are in US with metric in brackets.
More importantly, her tablespoons are US (15ml) whereas Australian/metric tablespoons are 20ml. So if you follow these recipes using metric measures, your tablespoons should be scant.
Similarly, the US cup is 240ml as distinct from the Australian/metric 250ml cup. The same scant measuring should thus apply to Australian/metric cup users.
The teaspoon is a universal 5ml.
SB 02.10.41_Try To Enjoy The Modes Of Material Nature_2001-09-26 Lecture – Srimad Bhagavatam 2.10.41 Try To Enjoy The Modes Of Material Nature 2001-09-26 Radhadesh (external pastimes)
SB 02.10.37-40_Evolution: Where Is The Evidence & The Mechanism_2001-09-25 Lecture – Srimad Bhagavatam 2.10.37-40 Evolution: Where Is The Evidence & The Mechanism 2001-09-25 Radhadesh (evolution)
SB 02.10.36_Our Worshipable Deity…This Body_2001-09-24 Lecture – Srimad Bhagavatam 2.10.36 Our Worshipable Deity…This Body 2001-09-24 Radhadesh
SB 02.10.33_Learn To Listen_2001-09-19 Lecture – Srimad Bhagavatam 2.10.33 Learn To Listen 2001-09-19 Radhadesh
SB 02.10.24_Certainly Doing Nothing At All_2001-09-08 Lecture – Srimad Bhagavatam 2.10.24 Certainly Doing Nothing At All 2001-09-08 Radhadesh
SB 02.10.20_Desire Determines Our Destination_2001-09-03 Lecture – Srimad Bhagavatam 2.10.20 Desire Determines Our Destination 2001-09-03 Radhadesh
SB 02.10.19_The Flavors Of Life_2001-08-29 Lecture – Srimad Bhagavatam 2.10.19 The Flavors Of Life 2001-08-29 Radhadesh
SB 02.10.04_Move To The Nice Neighborhood Of Goloka_2001-08-11 Lecture – Srimad Bhagavatam 2.10.04 Move To The Nice Neighborhood Of Goloka 2001-08-11 Radhadesh
SB 02.09.46_Monkeys&Dinosaurs_2001-08-09 Lecture – Srimad Bhagavatam 2.9.46 Monkeys & Dinosaurs 2001-08-09 Radhadesh (moon landing)
SB 02.09.44_Insulted Animals_2001-08-06 Lecture – Srimad Bhagavatam 2.9.44 Insulted Animals 2001-08-06 Radhadesh
SB 02.07.26_The Defect Of Demoniac Society_2001-03-30 Lecture – Srimad Bhagavatam 2.7.26 The Defect Of Demoniac Society 2001-03-30 Radhadesh
I actually wrote something up to use as a blog post but apparently the draft never saved :(
So, since it has been a while since I posted anything and I need to post something I'm just going to ramble a bit :)
Rati Keli is due in just over a month now. Wow, that is pretty crazy and a little hard to imagine, but never the less it is true. So we've been with house stuff, I'd say we are mostly ready, still some little things to do around the house to prepare but most things are taken care of.
My mom threw a baby shower for Lacie this week, which was great, and helped with a lot of the stuff we needed.
School is going very well, I'm enjoying the papers I've been writing, but no where near satisfied with with them, but it is fun. My papers often keep me up at night pondering philosophical questions. And there's been a number of mornings, especially after late night writing sessions, where the first thought that crosses my mind is some philosophical argument that I've been reading or writing about.
Teaching has also been going well and is lots of fun. Last class I got to read the Rebellion chapter from what is probably my favorite book in all of Western literature, The Brothers Karamozov.
I'll end this little ramble with a nice quote that I came across recently, "The winds of grace are always blowing; all we have to do is raise our sails."
Prahladananda Swami leading a Hare Krishna bhajan.
Download: 2010-07-09 - Bhajan - Prahladananda Swami - Hare Krishna.mp3
Savor some of the fine sweet delicacies on your next visit to Mayapur! A new sweet shop and snack bar is recently opened in the Gada Bhavan by HH Jayapataka Swami.He also named the outlet as “Radha Rasamrta”. Rightly located in the Gada Bhavan, ‘Radha Rasamrta’ will offer great bengali sweet and snack varieties, prepared with pure ingredients in a hygenic manner and offered to Sri Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra. HH Jayapataka Swami blessed that ‘Radha Rasamrta’ will be an added attraction to the visitors to Mayapur.
"Okay professor," I said during break in my Bioethics class. "We're discussing the philosophy of animal rights, sure, but it has to have practical implications. This subject demands that you take a stance." I paused a moment, then challenged, "So what's yours?"
Professor Butchard laughed dryly. "Actually, I find it one of my failings in life to not be a vegetarian,"
"Yeah. It's just not practical. And I like meat." Then he added, "But I've decreased how much I eat."
When class convened again, I raised my hand and declared, "Look, all the arguments that it's okay to eat animals could be defeated in like, 20 seconds." I gave example after example of my own life. "So ultimately, the only reason anyone still eats meat is because it tastes good, and you're conditioned to eat it."
Even the most adamant students against vegetarianism remained quiet after my speech. Even Jake.
The following class, a snag in the logic of the philosopher who was arguing for animal rights caught my attention. After class was dismissed, I approached the professor. I systematically refuted the logic of the philosopher while my professor nodded and prompted me on.
It was weird to argue for the devil.
At the conclusion, the professor only nodded in agreement, and then said, "Hm, e-mail me with more ideas,"
I turned to leave. Jake was sitting there, waiting to speak to the professor. He grinned and raised his hand. A little baffled, I high-fived him. He declared, "That was awesome,"
"Oh whatever!" I laughed and scaled the auditorium stairs. "Of course I'm still a vegetarian."
Then I remembered how Lord Chaitanya as Nimai Pandit used to debate with the most esteemed scholars in all of India - and he would demolish the logic of each and every one. He would argue for one side, then defeat it, then argue again, then defeat it... And in the end, it was to show the world that logic was pretty much word jugglery. Pretty much pointless.
The only logic that works is spiritual logic.
I'm not a vegetarian for health, economic, social, or convenience reasons. I'm a vegetarian because hey, God is compassionate and likes vegetarian food, and I can offer it to Him.
Can't beat that.
"The lover knows much more about absolute good and universal beauty than any logician or theologian, unless the latter, too, be lovers in disguise." - George Santayana
In the modern age Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu preached the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam by practical demonstration. It is easier to penetrate into the topics of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam through the medium of Śrī Caitanya‘s causeless mercy. Therefore a short sketch of His life and precepts is inserted herein to help the reader understand the real merit of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
It is imperative that one learn the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from the person Bhāgavatam. The person Bhāgavatam is one whose very life is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in practice. Since Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Absolute Personality of Godhead, He is both Bhagavān and Bhāgavatam in person and in sound. Therefore His process of approaching the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is practical for all people of the world. It was His wish that the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam be preached in every nook and corner of the world by those who happened to take their birth in India.
What is the true path to happiness for the whole world? His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder of the Hare Krishna Movement, has said that the happiness of mankind is directly connected to the happiness of the cows. He stated “Because the poor animals are always in anxiety, humanity is also put in anxiety by different strains of hot and cold wars.”
These simple, gentle creatures eat only grass and produce nutritious satisfying milk, like a gift from God to the world. And and out of love for the world herself the cow produces more milk than her calf can drink. Even her stool and urine have unlimited agricultural and medicinal uses. We also learn from the saints and sages that she is dear to God Himself.
At New Govardhana, our mission is to show the spiritual and material benefits that result from protecting and caring for the cows. To do this, we want to make New Govardhana a place in the world where everyone can see this demonstrated practically. A place where anyone, regardless of religious persuasion, can experience the peace and satisfaction that comes from personally caring for cows
September 26 2:51 A.M.
From Namamrta by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada:
‘By chanting the holy name one returns home back to Godhead:
“Generally people are not aware of their interest in life—to return home back to Godhead. People do not know of their real home in the spiritual world. In the spiritual world there are many Vaikuntha planets, and the topmost planet is Krishnaloka, Goloka Vrndavana. One should be interested in the information about the general Vaikuntha planets and in particular the planet known as Goloka Vrndavana and should learn the art of going there by the simple method of devotional service beginning with hearing sravanam-kirtanam. This is also confirmed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, one can go to the supreme planet, param-vrajet, simply by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. This is especially meant for the people of this age (kaler-dosa-nidhe). It is the special advantage of the age that simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra one can become purified of all material contamination and return home back to home, back to Godhead. There is no doubt about this.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.29.28)
In the Bhagavad-gita Prabhupada emphasizes going back to Godhead by chanting Hare Krishna in the beginning of the Eighth Chapter. There he repeatedly points out the Hare Krishna mantra as purports to the verses that state whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail. He advises that one cannot expect to chant Hare Krishna all of a sudden at the end of his life, but he should practice it during his life. By constantly thinking of Krishna, it is certain that at the end of our lives we shall have the same bodily constitution as Krishna. One who chants the holy name of the Lord constantly during one’s life can, at the time of death, return home, back to Godhead. At the time of death one is certainly bewildered because his bodily functions are disordered. At that time, even if throughout his life he has practiced chanting the holy name of the Lord, he may not be able to chant the Hare Krishna mantra very distinctly. Nevertheless, he receives all the benefits of chanting the holy name. While the body is fit therefore, why should we not chant the holy name loudly and distinctly? If one does so it is quite possible that even at the time of death he will be properly able to chant the name of the Lord. One who chants the holy name of Lord is guaranteed to return home back to Godhead without a doubt.
As I chant Hare Krishna I am preparing myself for the end. I cannot conceive that my present chanting is bringing me back to Godhead, but I have faith in these statements that it is so. It is the ultimate goal of the chanting. I pray that my chanting may reap this result and I may join Krishna in the spiritual world to go on chanting Hare Krishna forever, glorifying Him and serving Radha-Krishna.
Last night we returned home at 8:30 P.M. from our four-and-a-half-hour journey from the Philadelphia Ratha-yatra. I planned to sleep in late but I could not sleep longer than 1:00 A.M. I got up and chanted. My chanting was a little sleepy because of the lack of sleep, but nevertheless I chanted steadily and accumulated the numbers. I heard the syllables and did not drift to other thoughts. Before 3:00 I had chanted twelve rounds and stopped there. I’m glad I was able to get up early despite the late going to bed.
By chanting Hare Krishna
One Hundred Prabhupada Poems, #40
Prabhupada, far away, coming close
Dear Srila Prabhupada,
Your servant tells
And the soul is commanded by
the Supersoul. Join our movement.
Saved me. Institution grew
He’s always peaceful because
He knows the ultimate conclusion of Vedanta.
You should listen to
You have to work for it
I turned at random to the First Canto, Chapter Twelve, verse 28. “After inquiring about proper self-knowledge from the son of Vyasadeva, who will be a great philosopher, he will renounce all material attachment and achieve a life of fearlessness.”
This is the last verse spoken by the astrologers who were present at the birth of Maharaja Pariksit. They have predicted he will be patient like Bali Maharaja, a staunch devotee of Krishna like Prahlada Maharaja, a follower of the old and experienced men. They say he will be the follower of kings who will be sages. For world peace and for the sake of religion, he will be the chastiser of the upstarts and the quarrelsome. He will be almost as good as Lord Krishna by following in His footsteps. He will be munificent like Lord Siva. He will be the resort of everyone, like the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana. He will be forbearing like the earth and as tolerant as his parents.
Now they conclude by saying that at the end of his life he will receive self-knowledge from Sukadeva Goswami and will renounce all material attachment and achieve fearlessness. This material world is filled with fear. Its prisoners are always fearful as within a prison house. This is called anxiety. Everyone in all species and varieties of life is fearful, either by breaking the laws of nature or without breaking the laws of nature. Liberation or mukti means getting relief from these constant anxieties. This is possible when the anxiety is changed to devotional service of the Lord. Change the quality from matter to spirit.
I am anxious I will not attain Krishna. But I believe He will protect me in material danger. I don’t have to be afraid of this material world. I just have to be concerned that I don’t miss the opportunity to surrender to Him and His pure devotee.
Yesterday we attended the Ratha-yatra and it was a success. It was a big strain, however, in traveling about 240 miles, four and a half hours each way. On the way down there was not much traffic, and for parts of the way Baladeva was speeding over ninety miles an hour. We arrived at the parking lot outside Govinda’s before 11 A.M. At 11:30 A.M. we went to the beginning of the parade site. Then I started meeting devotees. The high part of my day was when I met Sacinandana Maharaja. He told me that he had read Japa Transformations and My Dear Lord Krishna, a book of prayers and that he liked them both very much. This was a thrill to me since he is a leader in the japa-retreat movement and is in Philadelphia now to give a japa retreat for a number of days.
I met with many devotees and had short conversations with them. I sat in a chair and waited for the parade to begin. When it began I rode in a wheelchair pushed by Sastra. Sacinandana Maharaja led the first chanting and I sang along with him and the crowd as the carts moved slowly down the boulevard where the flags of all nations are hanging. The walking was congested and about halfway through the parade I asked to be taken ahead of the parade and brought down to the festival site. When I arrived at the site I took a chair and for several hours I was very busy signing people’s copies of Japa Transformations. I usually wrote inside the name of the person and the words, “May this help you in your chanting.” I met Candrasekhara Maharaja from Brooklyn and Giriraja Swami and Malati and Visakha. Many, many devotees came up to me and had their books signed and sat for a while and had conversations with me. I ate a light lunch from the festival plate. I had about three headaches all day and treated them heavily with medicines to combat them. Each time the headache went down. By four o’clock I wanted to leave the site and excuse myself from the company of Giriraja Maharaja and Ravinda Svarupa Prabhu. We drove back to the parking lot and got into our car and started our long journey back to upstate New York. It gradually got dark. I rode in the back of the van and tried to rest but I could not sleep. Baladeva said it was difficult driving for him compared to the drive down. There was heavy traffic and he said it was “white-knuckle” driving. I sat up in the back of the van and watched the people and the lights in the streets of Hudson toward the end of our journey. It was certainly worth going, but it was an exhausting day. I will not take so many trips south because we are so far up north, and it is a long drive down there.
After the marathon for the last few months in preparing the new Temple room at Hare Krishna Valley, we celebrated the appearance day of Krishna’s beloved consort Srimati Radharani at the Melbourne Temple. My wife, Veda priya, spent most of Tuesday preparing a flower outfit for our Deities of Sri Sri Radha Vallabha, which looked exquisite. We then drove back to the farm to set up for 15 guests who came from another yoga group to stay for a night and use our facilities. They were very impressed with the improvements we have made at Hare Krishna Valley.
We then spent several days weeding the broccolis and cauliflowers in the market garden. The local birds continue to eat the green leaves of the broccolis, and we are trying all sorts of methods to deter them. As it is spring, the beautiful yellow of the native Wattle tree can be seen everywhere around the farm.
We look forward to speaking to you again next week.
Today's Sunday Feast is very special as it is going to be the Youth Sunday! On Youth Sundays, the free vegetarian feast (prasadam) is cooked and served by the youth of the Hare Krishna Toronto community! Today's dinner is going to be very different from our regular Sunday Feasts, so please come!
I awoke at 3am in the Berlin temple. I made a ruckus as I packed my things. I now had my new smaller sized luggage and I silently cheered as it just clamped shut. I had a relieving journey to the airport - a light load and the efficient German underground. I mumbled away at my japa all the while. There were no lines awaiting me at the airport; with a printed boarding pass, I only had to do a baggage drop (weighing 5kg less than usual) and then I was straight into the departure gates.
I sat patiently, chanting my rounds. I watched the passer-bys , each resembling a different combination of the three modes of material nature. There was party girl, still covered in glitter, limping around with a serious leg brace (due to some accident I suppose? I don’t think she had slept a wink since last night); a skinny metro boy, rocking in tight jeans and a saggy T; a couple business men, some “suits” we would say; and then someone out of the ordinary. Was that three strands of kanti mala around that lady’s neck?
The suspected Vaisnava sat next to me and I stayed mostly absorbed in my japa. Finally she pulled out her well worn Bhagavad-gita As It Is and it was confirmed. I still plotted away at my rounds, timing them to finish as the flight departed. A young Korean girl engaged the Mataji in conversation. The Korean girl was a student, heading to Brussels on holiday. “I’m also flying to Brussels” suggested the Mataji and I concurred mentally that we were all on the same flight. I could see the flight times in the corner of my opposing eye, eagerly inspecting it minute by minute.
The gate number came on the board. I instantly went up and took in the number. I passed my neighbours and gave them the courtesy call, “your flight is at gate 64” I said. I marched off, hoping to find a nice spot on the unallocated airline. I sat again, and this time I acknowledged my new devotional travel buddy. With quick introductions I found out that her name was Sudevi and that she was going to be one of my teachers in Radhadesh. She had been waiting all night and by coincidence (ie Krsna’s arrangement) we were on the same flight. We waited a short time, while she told me a little about the year to come, and then boarded into the back of the plane.
We landed safely and timely in Brussels. I marched like a blind man, knowing that I had a sufficiently experienced travel companion. I had already memorized all the station platforms for the journey; whereas Sudevi Mataji knew everything else. Mangala Candrika, the College secretary picked us up from the last stop, at Barvaux. She was not expecting to see Sudevi so they had a cheerful reunion. I jumped in the back seat and we took the short, scenic trip back to the College.
I saw some familiar faces as we came into the drive. I caught a wave from Yoga (from LA) who I had last met at Woodstock. There would be a few boys who had toured with me in Radhadesh, just so that Polish tour nostalgia wasn’t too far from home. I snuck up the long sets of stairs, to the top of the tower, avoiding bumping into too many Vaisnavas on the way. I burst open the door to my room to find Rama, in his constitutional position (Nidra Yoga). I startled him for a warm greeting and I felt that strange happiness which can only be labelled as homeliness (home to me being simply a residence with familiar devotees, otherwise it’s a foreign subject to me).
I talked with Rama as I unpacked and settled. I was living out of a suitcase for more time than I could remember and now it was time to spread my possessions out. I took the ritualistic bath and found a bunch of the boys, who were having a shaving session; Gopinatha, Yoga and Manoj were all there with their cheeky smiles and subtle sense of mischief. I made the flights of stairs back up to the tower, with the accompaniment of Krsna Dasa’s melodic voice, resonating through the foundations (Gurukuli Krsna Dasa, not Mayavadi Krsna Dasa).
I timed my arrival very well (actually it was providence but humorous nonetheless), just in time for Prasadam. There were countless people in the Prasadam tent, all in Radhadesh for the upcoming Radhastami and the new study season. I joined Partha Sarathi at his table and we soon found ourselves aimlessly wandering. We made a few rounds about the Castle courtyard before lodging ourselves in his new place, just above the book store (now you know where to throw stones at 3am in the morning). We enjoyed the six loving exchanges of the Vaisnavas (found in Nectar of Instruction) before I toggled off to the library (my constitutional position for the next three years).
I did the deed of checking my email before locking up for Rama. On the way out I bumped into Gopal Hari Prabhu, a teacher at the College, a PHD student and a participant in one of the Polish tours that I attended. We had a lovely chat on the way back to the Castle, where we parted ways. I dove down the spiral staircase and joined Rama in the Deity kitchen. I assisted Rama in his offering to Radha Gopinatha; Jagannatha, Baladeva, Subadra; and Gaura Nitai. In Berlin, I had really wanted to make something for Jagannatha but just didn’t seem to arrive at the opportunity . Deciding on halava, I had found my preparation was not required in Berlin. Now it seemed that Jagannatha of Radhadesh was beckoning me. Rama flicked on the flame and we batched out a beautiful pot of halava for the Deities. My desires were now fulfilled.
I ended up with some final packing and moving in the room. I looked out the window, trying to induce Partha Sarathi Prabhu to catch my Frisbee. He refused so I went on with my business. Later, I found Rama out in the courtyard, inviting me to a festive dinner in the restaurant. I turned him down for better want of rest but still attempted to pass him the Frisbee. The bakery roof claimed my prize, after a sudden change of wind, and the Frisbee was no more to be seen. It felt good be back, back in the Castle life.
Read original post: [http://maddmonk.wordpress.com/2010/09/26/back-to-belgium]
I got to see the now-famous enthusiasm gap up close and personal last week, and it wasn’t a pretty sight.
The backstory: I help run a global warming campaign called 350.org. In mid-summer, we decided to organize an effort to ask world leaders to put solar panels on the roofs of their residences. It was to be part of the lead-up to a gigantic Global Work Party on Oct. 10 (10-10-10), and a way to give prime ministers and politburos something easy to do in the hope of getting the fight against global warming slowly back on track. One of those crucial leaders is, of course, Barack Obama, who stood by with his arms folded this summer while the Senate punted on climate-change legislation. We thought this might be a good way for him to signal that he was still committed to change, even though he hadn’t managed to pass new laws.
And so we tracked down the solar panels that once had graced the White House roof, way back in the 1970s under Jimmy Carter. After Ronald Reagan took them down, they’d spent the last few decades on the cafeteria roof at Unity College in rural Maine. That college’s president, Mitch Thomashow, immediately offered us a panel to take back to the White House. Better still, he encouraged three of his students to accompany the panel, not to mention allowing the college’s sustainability coordinators to help manage the trip.
And so, on the day after Labor Day, we set off in a biodiesel college van. Solar road trip! Guitars, iPods, excellent snack food, and for company, the rock star of solar panels, all 6 x 3-feet and 140 pounds of her. We pulled into Boston that first night for a rally at Old South Church, where a raucous crowd lined up for the chance to sign the front of the panel, which quickly turned into a giant glass petition. The same thing the next night in New York, and then D.C., with an evening at one of the city’s oldest churches headlined by the Reverend Lennox Yearwood, head of the Hip-Hop Caucus.
It couldn’t have been more fun. Wherever we could, we’d fire up the panel, pour a gallon of water in the top, point it toward the sun, and eight or nine minutes later you’d have steaming hot water coming out the bottom. Thirty-one years old and it worked like a charm -- a vexing reminder that we’ve known how to do this stuff for decades. We just haven’t done it.
That’s what we kept telling reporters as they turned out along the route: If the Obamas will put solar panels back on the White House roof, or on the lawn, or anywhere else where people can see them, it will help get the message across -- the same way that seed sales climbed 30% across the country in the year after Michelle planted her garden.
There was just one nagging concern as we headed south. We still hadn’t heard anything conclusive from the White House. We’d asked them -- for two months -- if they’d accept the old panel as a historical relic returned home, and if they’d commit to installing new ones soon. We’d even found a company, Sungevity, that was eager to provide them free. Indeed, as word of our trip spread, other solar companies kept making the same offer. Still, the White House never really responded, not until Thursday evening around six p.m. when they suddenly agreed to a meeting at nine the next morning.
As you might imagine, we were waiting at the “Southwest Appointment Gate” at 8:45, and eventually someone from the Office of Public Engagement emerged to escort us inside the Executive Office Building. He seated us in what he called “the War Room,” an ornate and massive chamber with a polished table in the middle.
Every window blind was closed. It was a mahogany cave in which we could just make out two environmental bureaucrats sitting at the far end of the table. I won’t mention their names, on the theory that what followed wasn’t really their idea, but orders they were following from someone else. Because what followed was… uncool.
First, they spent a lot of time bragging about all the things the federal government had accomplished environmentally, with special emphasis on the great work they were doing on other federal buildings. One of them returned on several occasions to the topic of a government building in downtown Portland, Oregon, that would soon be fitted with a “green curtain,” by which I think she meant the “extensive vertical garden” on the 18-story Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building with its massive “vegetated fins,” the single largest use of stimulus money in the entire state.
And actually, it’s kind of great. Still, I doubt many people are going to build their own vegetated fins, and anyway I was beginning to despair that nothing could stop the flow of self-praise until one of the three seniors from Unity raised her hand and politely interrupted.
Now, let me say that I already knew Jean Altomare, Amanda Nelson, and Jamie Nemecek were special, but my guess is the bureaucrats hadn’t figured that out. Unity is out in the woods, and these kids were majoring in things like wildlife conservation. They’d never had an encounter like this. It stood to reason that they’d be cowed. But they weren’t.
One after another, respectfully but firmly, they asked a series of tough questions and refused to be filibustered by yet another stream of administration-enhancing data. Here’s what they wanted to know: If the administration was serious about spreading the word on renewable energy, why wouldn’t it do the obvious thing and put solar panels on the White House? When the administrators proudly proffered a clipping from some interior page of the Washington Post about their “greening the government initiative,” Amanda calmly pointed out that none of her neighbors read the Post and that, by contrast, the solar panels had made it onto David Letterman.
To their queries, the bureaucrats refused to provide any answer. At all. One kept smiling in an odd way and saying, “If reporters call and ask us, we will provide our rationale,” but whatever it was, they wouldn’t provide it to us.
It was all a little odd, to say the least. They refused to accept the Carter panel as a historic relic, or even to pose for a picture with the students and the petition they’d brought with them. Asked to do something easy and symbolic to rekindle a little of the joy that had turned out so many of us as volunteers for Obama in 2008, they point blank said no. In a less than overwhelming gesture, they did, however, pass out Xeroxed copies of a 2009 memorandum from Vice President Biden about federal energy policy.
I can tell you exactly what it felt like, because those three students were brave and walked out graciously, heads high and kept their tears back until we got to the sidewalk. And then they didn’t keep them back, because it’s a tough thing to learn for the first time how politics can work.
If you want to know about the much-discussed enthusiasm gap between Democratic and Republican bases, in other words, this was it in action. As Jean Altomare told the New York Times, “We went in without any doubt about the importance of this. They handed us a pamphlet.” And Amanda Nelson added, “I didn’t expect I’d get to shake President Obama’s hand, but it was really shocking to me to find out that they really didn’t seem to care.”
Did I say I was impressed with these young women? I was more than impressed. Nobody I went to Harvard with would have handled it as powerfully as they did (maybe because they weren’t looking for a job in the White House someday). A few hot tears were the right response, followed by getting on with the work.
Our next question, out there on the sidewalk, was how to handle the situation -- which, indeed, we had to do right away, because in today’s blog-speed world, you’re supposed to Put Out a Statement to reporters, not to mention Tweet. So how to play it?
The normal way is to claim some kind of victory: we could have said we had an excellent exchange of views and that the administration had taken seriously our plea. But that would have been lying, and at 350.org, we long ago decided not to do that. The whole premise of our operation, beginning with the number at its core, is that we had better always tell the truth about our actual predicament.
Alternatively, we could have rounded on the administration, and taken our best shot. In fact, it would have been easy enough right then and there for me to chain myself to the White House fence with the panel next to me. It would have gotten some serious press (though not as much as if I’d burned a Quran). And in fact, some of our supporters were counseling that I head for the fence immediately.
We got an email, for instance, from a veteran campaigner I deeply respect who said:
Show Obama you can't be taken for granted, and I predict you will be amazed at the good things that come your way. This is a watershed moment: if they think they can get away with this with you, they'll judge they can get away with more in the future. If you show them they can't get away with it (at the very least without embarrassment), they will come your way more in the future. It's power politics, pure and simple. This is how the game is played. Get their respect!
And I think he was probably right. As he pointed out, Obama was even then on the phone with the mustachioed Florida geezer, the stack of Qurans, and the following of 50 or less. But I couldn’t do it, not then and there. Because… well, because on some level I’m a political wuss.
I couldn’t stand to make that enthusiasm gap any wider, not seven weeks before an election. True, it’s the moment when you have some leverage, but no less true: The other side was running candidate after candidate who literally couldn’t wait to boast about how they didn’t believe in climate change. (Check out R.L. Miller’s highly useful list of "climate zombies.") That’s why we’re deeply engaged in fights this fall like the battle to defeat California’s Prop. 23 and save the state’s landmark climate law. As a group we can’t endorse candidates, but I came home and spent part of the weekend mailing small checks to Senate candidates I admire, men like Paul Hodes from New Hampshire, who have fought hard for serious climate legislation.
And a confession. We’d walked past Obama’s official portrait on the way out and, despite the meeting we’d just had, I couldn’t help but smile at the thought that he was president. I could remember my own enthusiasm from two years ago that had me knocking on doors across New Hampshire. I admired his character and his smarts, and if I admire them a little less now, the residue’s still there.
And so I couldn’t help thinking -- part of me at least -- like this: the White House political team has decided that if they put solar panels up on the roof, Fox News will use that as one more line of attack; that they somehow believe the association with Jimmy Carter is the electoral equivalent of cooties; and that, in the junior high school lunchroom that now comprises our political life, they didn’t want to catch any.
If that’s their thinking, I doubt they’re on the mark. As far as I can tell, the right has a far better understanding of the power of symbols. Witness the furor they’ve kicked up over “the mosque at Ground Zero.” My feeling is: We should use the symbols we’ve got, and few are better than a solar panel. Still, with the current craziness in mind, I was willing to give them a pass. So we just put out a press release saying that we’d failed in our mission and walked away.
At least for now, but not forever, and really not for much longer.
On Oct. 10, we’re having our great global work party, and ever since Obama stiffed us, registrations for its events have been soaring. Last week, with the heads of Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network, I issued a call for ideas about how to mount a campaign of civil disobedience around climate. Not a series of stunts, but a real campaign. At coal plants and drilling sites -- and at the places where our politicians do their work.
Actually, I’ll be surprised if the White House doesn’t put up solar panels within a year. But even if they do, that would just be the barest of beginnings. We’ve run out of spare decades to deal with climate change -- the summer’s events in the Arctic, in Russia, in Pakistan proved that with great clarity. I may be a wuss, but I’m also scientifically literate. We know what we need to do, and we will do it. Enthusiastically.
Bill McKibben is the founder of 350.org and author most recently of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet. He is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College.
Copyright 2010 Bill McKibben
Follow Bill McKibben on Twitter: www.twitter.com/billmckibben
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.24.18 - Stop being enchanted by maya's alluring presents and see the poison inside its flashy packaging.
1969 September 26: "On the whole, the Spiritual Master is an agent of Krishna. But either He is assistant to the gopis or assistant to the cowherds boys, He is on the level of Krishna. That is the verdict of all scriptures."
1969 September 26: "Take a first class temple site; never mind if the rent is little higher. I always remember you for your kind personal service. Krishna will bless you and you will be spiritually very happy."
1970 September 26: "Tennyson may have felt something when he chanted Tennyson, but does anyone else? Does Mr. Ginsberg want to chant Tennyson, Tennyson? But everyone enjoys chanting Krishna. He is the center of everyone and everything."
1970 September 26: "Ginsberg says these words are physical in a frankly physical universe. But this is not true, for actually everything is spiritual. The name Krishna is identical with Krishna. This we must remember."
1972 September 26: "I want to see how the things are going on, and how it is going depends on you. Now I cannot tax my brain so much from such distant place, therefore I am relying completely on you, my trusted senior disciples."
1972 September 26: "So many letters you are sending and still nothing is settled. Take bank mortgage and use it for construction. I just want to see that things are done, that's all."
1974 September 26: "Hanuman Prasad Poddar will give us 25 bighas. So immediately go and see the land, and if suitable then immediately take it. They want to see that the land is used for cow protection. If you can manage this land nicely, they can give more."
1969 September 25: "Dress has to be accepted according to the taste of others and foodstuffs accepted according to the eater's taste. So if you think this kind of dress will attract more people, you can dress yourself in that manner. But our real dress is the tilaka and sikha."
1970 September 25: "It appears they were advised to come to India and join Tirtha Maharaj. It is now clear that my Godbrothers take objection to my being called Prabhupada and on this point they want to poison the whole Society - that is now clear."
1970 September 25: "You will remember I called you not Gargamuni but Gargamoney. Whenever I required some money I approached you and you were kind to pay me immediately. So please continue your capacity in this way. That will please Krsna."
1971 September 25: "Krishna will give you all intelligence how to push on this movement. Now we are giving commentary on the Western philosophers. I never studied philosophy or science but Krishna has given me the intelligence how to defeat their nonsensical proposals."
1971 September 25: "Secure the tape of me reciting Gayatri mantra and hold a fire yajna. Then the devotees should hear the tape individually, privately, through the right ear. They should repeat each word. Then get the threads on their bodies."
1975 September 25: "The District Court has given us the permission 'for as long as the country lasts.' By the grace of Krishna may your country last forever, and may the justice also live a long time and may you go on selling my books. That is my desire."
1975 September 25: "In your country the girls are being exploited. They are taught to be independent so they become playthings for sex. So where is the freedom? I want that they live, man and wife together, chant Hare Krishna and be happy."
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