jueves, 25 de noviembre de 2010

H.H. Prahladananda Swami: Lecture – Book Distribution Meeting, What Is Our Feeling 2005-01-09


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  1. Akrura das, Gita Coaching: WE ALL NEED AN EDUCATION IN THE OBVIOUS
  2. H.H. Prahladananda Swami: Lecture – Book Distribution Meeting, Everything Is Interesting 1993-01-02
  3. H.H. Prahladananda Swami: Lecture – Book Distribution Meeting, What Is Our Feeling 2005-01-09
  4. H.H. Prahladananda Swami: Lecture – Book Distribution Marathon Festival 1996-01-02
  5. Devadeva Mirel, Alachua, USA: Homemade Asian Dumpling Wrapper SOS
  6. Akrura das, Gita Coaching: THE TOPMOST EMPATHY
  7. Akrura das, Gita Coaching: ONE SHOULD FEEL
  8. Caitanya Mangala, CA, USA: Festival of the Holy Name: 24 Hour Kirtan Schedule
  9. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Today's Darsana
  10. Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Srila Prabhupada drops a bombshell
  11. Japa Group: Please Join The Japa Group
  12. Kurma dasa, AU: Sad Day on Sesame Street
  13. Caitanya Mangala, CA, USA: Festival of the Holy Name: Audio Recordings From Nights 3 & 4
  14. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 142
  15. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: One Hundred Prabhupada Poems
  16. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Reflections in Old Age
  17. Subhavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: Srila Prabhupada's Lotus Feet on my head!
  18. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Mind is Dovetailed
  19. Devadeva Mirel, Alachua, USA: Happy Thanksgiving! Eggless Pumpkin Pie Recipe
  20. Rupa Madhurya das, TX, USA: KuliMela 2006 - One Way - Converts Tale
  21. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Nagy Arnold István asks about Nanda-village started by H.H. B.A. Narayana Swami
  22. Madhava Ghosh dasa, New Vrndavan, USA: Amazing Late Bloomers
  23. Kaunteya das, Mayapura: Stockholm harinam videos
  24. Kaunteya das, Mayapura: Anti-prajalpa Sunday Harinam
  25. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  26. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  27. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  28. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  29. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  30. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  31. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  32. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  33. Hari Sauri das, Mayapura, IN: Purnacandra Goswami’s departure and coma
  34. H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: Srila Prabhupada Reflections – Part Two
  35. Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: Opening The Kimono On Climate Change
  36. Gouranga TV: Vishnujana Swami kirtan
  37. H.H. Sivarama Swami
  38. More Recent Articles
  39. Search Planet ISKCON
  40. Prior Mailing Archive


This is a video clip featuring Mark Levy, the author of Accidental Genius, a book on freewriting.
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H.H. Prahladananda Swami: Lecture – Book Distribution Meeting, Everything Is Interesting 1993-01-02

Lecture – Book Distribution Meeting, Everything Is Interesting 1993-01-02 Radhadesh
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H.H. Prahladananda Swami: Lecture – Book Distribution Meeting, What Is Our Feeling 2005-01-09

Lecture – Book Distribution Meeting, What Is Our Feeling 2005-01-09 Melbourne
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H.H. Prahladananda Swami: Lecture – Book Distribution Marathon Festival 1996-01-02

Lecture – Book Distribution Marathon Festival 1996-01-02 Radhadesh
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Devadeva Mirel, Alachua, USA: Homemade Asian Dumpling Wrapper SOS

Continuing my quest to make a good homemade dumpling wrapper, I tried out a rice flour / semolina flour combo. Meh. The result was kind of heavy. Should I have used AP flour instead of semolina? Is there a difference between regular rice flour and the flour I have read about called “glutinous rice flour”? Can somebody help? There is not much info online about making wrappers from scratch, especially eggless. I have tried all white flour. Half white and half semolina. And now half rice and half semolina. Anyone? Help? Please? I know I will not get the same consistency as store bought since I have no interest in adding all the scary stuff, but please. Someone. Help me get closer to homemade dumpling perfection.
The filling: baked seitan, raw spinach, fresh ginger

Have you seen him? The search for Won Ton Animal Chin. Map to the skater's homes. Okay. I have an associative won ton disorder.

My kids were satisfied. But I wasn't.

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Akrura das, Gita Coaching: THE TOPMOST EMPATHY

Everyone should be unhappy to see others in distress and happy to see others happy.

Atmavat sarva-bhutesu: ONE SHOULD FEEL the happiness and distress of others as his own.

- Srila Prabhupada
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Akrura das, Gita Coaching: ONE SHOULD FEEL

ONE SHOULD FEEL happy only by experiencing the happiness of the Supreme Lord.

ONE SHOULD FEEL grateful to the Supreme Personality of Godhead for having obtained such a nice human form of body, and one should properly utilize it.

Everyone should be unhappy to see others in distress and happy to see others happy. Atmavat sarva-bhutesu: ONE SHOULD FEEL the happiness and distress of others as his own.

With devotion ONE SHOULD FEEL, "God is great, and I am very small. Therefore my duty is to offer my prayers to the Lord." Only on this basis can one understand and render service to the Lord.

These are good signs in chanting the holy name of the Lord. In ecstasy, ONE SHOULD FEEL the entire world to be vacant without the presence of Govinda.

Offering all one's activities to the Lord, ONE SHOULD FEEL desire, anger, and pride only with regard to Him.

- Srila Prabhupada
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Caitanya Mangala, CA, USA: Festival of the Holy Name: 24 Hour Kirtan Schedule

Hare Krishna!
Here’s the schedule for the Festival of the Holy Name:
FRIDAY, November 26th 2010:
9:00 AM – Bada Haridas Dasa
10:00 AM – Acyutananda Dasa
10:30 AM – Gaura Sakti Dasa
11:00 AM – Bhakti-lata Dasi
11:30 AM – Anapayini Dasi
12:00 PM – Chakrini Dasi
1:00 PM – Sughosh Dasa
1:45 PM – Jagannath-kirtan Dasa
2:30 PM – Purusartha Dasa
3:00 PM – Madhava Dasa (Alachua)
3:30 PM – Sarvatma Dasa
4:30 PM – Karnamrita Dasi
5:15 PM – Chaytanya Nitai Dasi
6:00 PM – Radhika Dasi
7:00 PM – Madhava Dasa (Switzerland)
8:00 PM – The Mayapuris
SATURDAY, November 27th 2010:
9:00 AM – Karnamrita Dasi
9:45 AM – Nagaraja Dasa
10:30 AM – Mahatma Dasa
11:00 AM – Lilananda Dasa
11:30 AM – Radhika-ramana Dasa
12:00 PM – Bhadra Dasa
12:30 PM – Ladies bhajan group (Rucira Dasi, Parijata Dasi, Vrindavanesvari Dasi, and others)
2:00 PM – The Mayapuris
3:00 PM – Ananta Vrindavan Dasa
4:00 PM – Manu Dasa
5:00 PM – Chakrini Dasi
6:00 PM – Bada Haridas Dasa
7:00 PM – Madhava Dasa (Switzerland)

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Today's Darsana

Day-4 of the Book Marathon;
the Sankirtan Army is out again reclaiming back those souls who have forgotten their real identity.

It is for the pleasure of SS Radha Ballabha, SS Gaura Nitai and SS Jaganatha Baladeva and Sudhadra Mayi that we endeavour to attract Their eternal parts and parcels to Their temple and appreciate Their amazing darsana.

Here's the
slideshow to enthuse all of us to be merciful and in turn obtain the mercy of the Deities.
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Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Srila Prabhupada drops a bombshell

Nara Narayana das remembers: In 1969 after many false starts of trying to get a temple in Los Angeles, Prabhupada... we were meeting in garages for we would set up in a garage, have kirtan there and then go. We had no temple at all. Prabhupadaiwe got Prabhupada an apartment on Hayward Street which is up sort of...??? in the Jewish section of New Fairfax area. So he had a very nice apartment, very pleasant and upstairs and during that time was when the first Gita came out, the one that was edited by Raya Rama and there were some questions about it and Prabhupada had been in correspondence with Hayagriva who was living in New Vrindavan. And Hayagriva mentioned something about thinking he might want to get married and Prabhupad had told him "Well you are 27, better to get married before 30 if you gonna get married because after 30 marriage is not so pleasurable, to get married after 30 and so that was pretty much the end of it and then he called Hayagriva to come from New Vrindavan which in those days traveling at that expense was sort of big thing because we had no money. Hayagriva showed up and we wereito talk about the Gita and various other subjects. So we were all upstairs in Hayward Street, I was also there few of us maybe 8 others were sitting, Prabhupada was sitting, we are all sitting next to Prabhupada in a rowiand Shama dasi who was one of the early devotees from San Francisco, very marvelous somewhat eccentric charming lady, unfortunately she passed away a year ago at Ratha yatra but a very charming eccentric lady but very devoted, she was typing out the Nectar of Devotion, so if you read the Nectar of Devotion Shama dasi typed it, transcribed it. I used to read over her shoulder while she was transcribing before it was even published, anyway she was there and she was a really good cook so she was cooking and we were thinking, "How nice, Shama dasi has cooked for us here, and Prabhupada is tasting and relishing and we are all tasting and relishing very nice subjis." And Hayagriva is... and Prabhupada turns to Hayagriva and says pointedly but somewhat offhand, "Well, do you like the prasadam?" And Hayagriva is a very intense guy, very quiet, if you read his books like Vrindavan Days or Hare Krishna Explosion you see a panoramic full color view of Hayagriva,but meeting him he wasn't like that at all he was just ihe would sit there and scowl most of the time and talk rather rough, you know and he said, "Yeah, yes its good yes." So Prabhupada looked him and smiled urbanely and said "Being able to cook nicely" he said "is the first qualification of a wife." And Hayagriva nearly started choking on his food staring at Shama dasi. Shama dasi's hands were trembling, she nearly dropped the pot of prasadam and I was sitting there with my mouth open as was everybody else. Everyone was staring at Srila Prabhupada and all of a sudden it dawned on us that not only this was a bombshell that had just been dropped but nobody including them had any inkling of it, so that was there you know. And Hayagriva gradually recovered his composure. Shama Dasi was blushing through her gopi makeup and everybody was totally astonished, but Prabhupada had said "The first qualification of a wife is that she can cook nicely." So from that point onward I began to realize that the home art of cooking is the key to Krishna consciousness life, family life etc. A woman who is a devotee but pulls out frozen dinners made by Stalfars??? is not quite spreading the movement in a way that will be remembered by her grandchildren.
>From Memories of Srila Prabhupada DVD #48
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Japa Group: Please Join The Japa Group

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



Rasa Rasika dasa
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Kurma dasa, AU: Sad Day on Sesame Street

For all of my US readers enjoying their Thanksgiving holiday...
sad day:
Thanksgiving dinner’s sad and thankless Christmas dinner’s dark and blue When you stop and try to see it From the turkey’s point of view.
Sunday dinner isn’t sunny Easter feasts are just bad luck When you see it from the viewpoint Of a chicken or a duck.
Oh how I once loved tuna salad Pork and lobsters, lamb chops too ‘Til I stopped and looked at dinner From the dinner’s point of view.
– Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends
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Caitanya Mangala, CA, USA: Festival of the Holy Name: Audio Recordings From Nights 3 & 4

Festival of the Holy Name!
From Night 3, November 22nd:
Link to an audio recording of Radhika dasi leading kirtan at Radha Govinda Mandir, Alachua, Florida.

From Night 4, November 23rd.

Link to an audio recording of Madhava dasa leading kirtan outside the homes of Govinda Syer and Tosan Krishna prabhus in Alachua, Florida.
Thanks to Govinda Cordua for posting the recordings.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 142

3:13 A.M.
Sri Harinama Cintamani spoken by Srila Haridasa Thakura to Lord Caitanya and written by Bhaktivinoda Thakura:
Excerpt #10: Accept things favorable to chanting.
“One must accept everything favorable to performing devotional service and at the same time reject all unfavorable things. He must seek out the association of devotees and utilize his life in constant chanting and remembering of the Lord’s holy name. He must forgo all other religious practices and pious activities, and never worship any other person. Nor may he think others to be independent from the Supreme Lord. One who always chants the holy name and serves the devotees will surely obtain love for Lord Krishna.”
“Srila Haridasa Thakura again placed his head on the Lord’s lotus feet. Weeping, he begged the Lord that he might develop attachment for the holy name. One who is blessed with love and devotion and takes pleasure in serving Srila Haridasa Thakura’s lotus feet will find this book, Harinama Cintamani, as valuable as life itself.” Accepting things favorable to chanting and avoiding things unfavorable is the first item in saranagati, or surrender. Constant chanting means it must be done often and regularly. Srila Prabhupada had given us a minimum of sixteen rounds, but he said that we should do sixteen rounds on the beads and innumerable rounds off the beads. A devotee comes to the point where he is either chanting or telling people how to practice the chanting in their own lives. He does not act unfavorably (anything that would be an obstruction or a disruption to the life of chanting). He does not follow a different religion. In Bhagavad-gita Krishna says, “Give up all the types of religion and just surrender to Me; don’t be afraid of this exclusivity, I will protect you.” All the demigods are actually servants of Krishna, but they should never be worshiped independently of Him. They are part and parcel of His entourage, and He is the Supreme Master. Ekale isvara krishna, ara saba bhrtya [Cc. Adi 5.142]. Lord Caitanya is the only Master, and everyone else is His servant.The Harinama-cintamani is a dramatic dialogue, and we see Haridasa Thakura interacting personally with Lord Caitanya as they speak. As in the case of Lord Caitanya’s discussion with  Ramananda Raya, Lord Caitanya allows Ramananda Raya to do the answering, and Lord Caitanya does the questioning. Here Haridasa Thakura also does the teaching, but realizes that he is just a puppet and that Lord Caitanya is speaking through him. He is willing to do this in the service attitude. In this mood Haridasa Thakura speaks up in praise of the Harinama-cintamani treatise and says one who takes pleasure in the book is very fortunate. It is actually Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura who says this, as he is the mouthpiece for the dialogue. He realizes that Harinama-cintamani is valuable as life himself, because it is discussion between Haridasa Thakura and Lord Caitanya, and there can be no higher platform about discussion about the holy names except between those two personalities.
I woke up sometime after 1:00 A.M. without pain and got up to chant. My preventative medicine, taken early in the morning, seems to be working. I chanted at a good pace with main attention on the accumulation of the rounds. But I was also thoughtful and did not rush through the holy names in a mechanical way but savored the meaning and tried to do it seriously. Devotional service is a serious matter, and we always have to practice it soberly and deeply. It can not be just glossed over or done in a superficial way. I was trying to go deep today and be aware that I was practicing the most valuable thing.
Be careful to always act
favorably to the life of
a chanter and avoid
things and people which
are unfavorable to japa
and kirtana. A devotee
must seek out other devotees
and constantly practice
in their company.
It can also be done alone.
One should not follow
other religions, like
demigod worship or
impersonalism or
sectarian practice.
I’m glad to be reading
Harinama-cintamani and safe in
the expert guidance of
Bhaktivinoda Thakura who assures us
the dialogue between
Haridasa Thakura and Lord Caitanya is as
valuable as life itself.
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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: One Hundred Prabhupada Poems

Prabhupada has entered my heart. I am glad to say that and to welcome him here. He did this long ago, in 1966. Today I am enunciating it once again. Welcome, spiritual master. Please take a seat above me. Please take a cup of water. Please take everything, and use it as you like. Once I was with you when you visited a flat in Calcutta. You noticed a little doll on a shelf. It was the Air India man who bows obsequiously to all customers. You said, “Who is that? Vivekenanda?”
Those homes you visited didn’t warmly receive you. They were not your disciples. They had respect for you, but they weren’t giving you their whole life. We disci­ples want you to come into us and rule. We may still be unruly, but we want to correct that. Thank you for coming and being our spiritual master.
He speaks strongly every time. Listen to him. It may be something very basic like the Bhagavatam, Narada and Angira, telling Citraketu that all human relation­ships are fleeting and therefore are untrue. The true self is the soul within. So you are repeating the com­mentators like Visvanatha Cakravarti, Madhvacarya and the others and quoting the Bhagavad-gita verses, and I am listening to this and getting immense profit. It’s not like I know it already. Thank you for presenting Krishna consciousness in this way.
He will not be forgotten. It is testimony that the BBT Archives produces every word they find by you, Srila Prabhupada, and put it in durable hard-bound books and sell thousands. I want those books and the time to read them always.
And many memoirs and partial biographies are writ­ten by your disciples. I want them too. I want to be with Prabhupada and his disciples and help the remem­brance of Srila Prabhupada to go on and increase. My help isn’t necessary, but it’s for my benefit that I enlist in the project of making sure we don’t forget him. Start with myself. Go back again to the Second Avenue storefront in your mind, remember him. You’ll get bet­ter at it. You were afraid of him, you bowed before him and you meant it. You offered your life to him and carried out his instructions to the best of your ability. I see him standing over me smiling, sitting across from me thoughtfully. I take his instruction and leave the room. I am still a young man. He lives forever some­where, and I can resume being with him—no truly, it has never been broken.
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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Reflections in Old Age

Krishna has individual love for each of
His creatures. They don’t merge into Him.
They keep their identities. But they
can live with Him and share His
They can choose to be a part and try
to make it on their own. By
this they suffer in the modes
of nature in a painful
material body and mind.
It’s best to serve Him, chant
His names, tell others about
His glories.
I wait to realize Him in
truth, grow to love
of Krishna. It’s done
by regular daily sadhana,
a routine of service.
Taking the austerity of preaching and studying,
perform a worship according
to your capacity.
Be regular and sturdy
even as you grow older.
Write and even report
on what’s happening.
Paraphrase the scriptures
and tell your little life.
Now I’ve added “writing sessions” and “days end scribble”
a kichiri of mind-life, taking roughly as it occurs without careful
composition but trying to
be truthful, to the bone.
The world’s a sad and tragic
place with quarrel and
violence on the rise. In
Kali-yuga we can’t expect
there will be peace and
kindness. It’s the worst age
with only a little time in which to create
a golden age before the
catastrophes begin. And God
Himself takes part in
slaughtering the demons.
I’m just one minute creature,
too old and lazy to do
much to create the golden age.
If I can only keep my flame
upraised and burning,
keep writing and chanting
and display loving kindness
and compassion for
the people I meet…
He may recognize me and
engage me in loving
service. Let me not
fade out but grow
in these remaining years.
Watch me talk of
Prabhupada on the Ustream
and recite poems about his life.
His life…our attempt
to follow.
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Subhavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: Srila Prabhupada's Lotus Feet on my head!

One of my sweetest memories was when our spirtual master, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada visited his servant's house in 1976. This was Srila Prabhupada's 2nd visit to our house, which was on 22 Medina Crescent in Scarborough (in  Ontario, Canada). There were serveral GBC men, sanyasis and about 100 devotees and invited friends. Srila Prabhupada entered the main door followed by my myself and my wife, Ashalata devi dasi with most devotees still outside in the front yard and some inside the living room.

Srila Prabhupada sat down on a chair at the entrance and I started washing Srila Prabhupada's Lotus Feet. Ashalata was near the chair and kept talking to Srila Prabhupada. Ashalata kept talking and talking and I kept washing and washing. Then I took Srila Prabhupada's feet and started to dry them on my head!!! (of course I had some more hair in those days). Srila Prabhupada and Ashalata kept talking and after a few minutes of Srila Prabhupada's feet on my head, in the tone of a loving father Srila Prabhupada patted me on the head and said in hindi "Bas Kaar" (enough). 

I will never forget this sweetness, his words and his show of love and affection. Srila Prabhupada I am thankful to you for keeping me under you lotus feet and pray that you keep me there always. 

You let me wash your feet in our home and also at temples in Toronto, Chicago and Vrindavan. I do not know why you gave me this mercy again and again but it has kept me awash in your movement all these years...
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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Mind is Dovetailed

Free Write

I turned at random to Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 3, Chapter 28, text 36: “Thus situated in the highest transcendental stage, the mind ceases from all material reaction and becomes situated in its own glory, transcendental to all material conceptions of happiness and distress. At that time the yogi realizes the truth of his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He discovers that pleasure and pain as well as their interactions, which he attributed to his own self, are actually due to the false ego, which is a product of ignorance.”
When the mind is dovetailed to act according to the desire of the Lord, one has attained the transcendental stage. The desire to lord it over material nature is the cause of ignorance, and when that desire is completely extinguished and the desires are dovetailed with those of the Supreme Lord, one has reached the perfectional stage. Realization necessarily indicates individuality. In the perfectional, liberated stage, there is actual realization. The living entity keeps his individuality; oneness means that he realizes happiness in the happiness of the Supreme Lord. One, this means that he realizes his happiness and happiness of the Supreme Lord. In the Supreme Lord there is nothing but happiness. The Lord is by nature full of transcendental happiness. In the liberated stage one with the Supreme Lord means that one has no realization other than happiness. But the individual still exists.
Lord Brahma returned to earth after being away for only a moment of his time. He was amazed to see all the boys and calves playing freely although he had kidnapped them and put them to sleep in a cave. While he beheld the boys with incredulity, Krishna showed him something even more wonderful. He transformed all the boys and cows into full Vishnu forms. Each Vishnu form was four-handed and fully decorated with all the symbols of the original Vishnu. Each one was effulgent and smiling and their combined auras dazzled the atmosphere. Brahma tried to mystify Krishna with his mystic potency, but his potency was now diminished by Krishna. Not only were Vishnu forms emanating from Krishna’s body, but every creature in existence, including the other demigods and all the creature in existence. Brahma was perplexed and could not understand what he was seeing. Krishna took compassion on Brahma, and He stopped manifesting other potencies. Brahma appeared to awaken from almost dead state and began to open his eyes with great perplexity. He saw all around him the beautiful sight of Vrindavana. He saw Krishna was a small boy with a lump of food in His hand, just as he had seen Him a year ago. Immediately Brahma rubbed his eyes and made full dandavats before Krishna. He cried tears of joy recalling the activities of Krishna. After repeating obeisances for a long time he stood up and seeing Lord before him, he, trembling, began to offer prayers with great respect and humility.
The Bhagavatam states that when a person of lesser power tries to mystify a person of greater power, his power appears ludicrous. Snow is bright in the daytime, but has no shining capacity at night. Glowworms shine at night but have no significance at daylight. Brahma’s power was like that in the presence of Krishna.
Brahma saved himself by his repentant attitude and acknowledgment of Krishna’s actual position. He proceeded to speak beautiful praises of Krishna in Vrindavana. In the end of Brihad-Bhagavatamrta when Sanatana Goswami wants to fully glorify Krishna he uses many verses by Lord Brahma from the fourteenth chapter of the Tenth Canto, spoken at this time of Brahma’s awakened realization of who Krishna is, and this is the evidence that they are exalted prayers, full of realization.
I can’t write prayers of lord Brahma in my journal or in writing sessions. They too long and elaborate. You can just mention that Brahma expects to be forgiven because he is, after all, a servant of the Lord. And he aspires for a next birth in Vrindavana in service to Krishna, rather than being a powerful Brahma, He is prepared to accept any birth, even as grass or shrubbery. Krishna does not make much response to Lord Brahma’s beautiful philosophical prayers. He appears to be eager to return to His Vrindavana lila and lord Brahma is aware of this. Lord Brahma returns to his position in Brahmaloka, which is not a intimate as Krishna’s pastimes in Vrindavana, but it is still an important service. There is a nice painting of tall Brahma bending at a waist in the Krishna book before a little child Krishna, before His small feet, and holding a morsel of food in His hands. Krishna looks so vulnerable, but Brahma has proven to Him that He is the Supreme, Narayana, the cause of all causes.
The sky is gray and appears to be cold. We have a good squirrelproof bird feeder in the side-yard and birds fly in between the bars. Cardinal, sparrows, titmice, and many other kinds of the small birds are flying in and out. Fatter, doves pick on the small seeds on the ground. The birds don’t fight but maneuver for food. Now that we have began this service for the birds we are obliged to continue it through the winter. They will want to come, and we will offer them food.
Day’s end scribble:
On recent days we had been harassed on our walks by Krishna-kumari’s kids, little Yogi, big Rama, their sister and a couple of other kids. It started gradually with calling us names, then Baladeva called Yogi “a blond-haired monkey with a red shirt.” Yogi started creeping up behind us and threatening and yelling at us. The others joined in. Baladeva taunted: “Monkey! Monkey!” And yogi called back “Chunki, chunki!” Baladeva grabbed a big twig and threatened them. But several of them grabbed at it and yelled “Come on! We are not afraid of you.” It is getting more rowdy. The last time I was out I had to cut the walk short to only two laps, because they were getting too annoying. Baladeva says today we should just completely ignore them. We can try that but I’m afraid it has gone so far, they will reach out and grab our bodies. We do not want to get rough with them, get them to cry, but that is a tempting possibility. They would run home to their mummy and daddy and then there may be trouble. We will try ignoring them first. Just shake them off if they grab us.
I did some writing this morning on Lord Brahma’s prayers to Lord Krishna, after Lord Brahma steals the calves and boys, and Krishna expands in many forms. I did not write much on the actual prayers of Lord Brahma. This “scribble” is not for careful exegesis on the Krishna book. Lord Krishna didn’t punish Lord Brahma. He created His own pastime of giving mercy to the mothers and cows of Vrindavana. He bewildered Lord Brahma.
In eight minutes I’ll get my yogurt. I think I will get prior notice of my death so I can prepare myself. But it is possible I will get no notice at all. I should keep the mahamatra close to me and be ready to chant and throw myself at Krishna’s feet expressing full willingness of surrender for Him to place me wherever He wants. But pray for a good situation, for finishing your Krishna consciousness. You can prepare yourself and ask for faith. Ask Him to take you to a good place and ask forgiveness for your wrongs and shortcomings.
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Devadeva Mirel, Alachua, USA: Happy Thanksgiving! Eggless Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Happy Thanksgiving!
Remember my pumpkin pie post? Well, there’s been a recipe request, so here it is.
As for the crust, you can do a regular pie crust, homemade graham or nut crust or some kind of pre-made store bought. My current fave is the laminated crust, which I blogged about here. Super flaky. Like me.
Pumpkin Pie Recipe
(This is not the best recipe because the measurements are not exact…but it should work out ;)
1) Slice in half one small baking pumpkin, like kabocha squash. De-seed, place flesh down on parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 375 for about 40 minutes or until you can insert a knife through it. Baking pumpkin can be done a day ahead.
2) Cool and remove flesh. Puree.
3) Mix together pumpkin (food processor works well) with 1/4 cup arrowroot or cornstarch, 1 can evaporated milk, 2 cup sucanat, pinch of salt, 1.5 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tspn nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ginger, pinch cloves, pinch ground cardamom (optional).
4) Pour into your pie crust, bake in oven preheated to 400 degrees. Reduce heat to 350 when pie is in oven. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven, cool.
This recipe will make two tiny 9 inch pies (aluminum tins) or one large 9 inch pie.
I admit, this is not the best recipe in terms of exactness. I really just go off of a recipe, even for baking. You can substitute the evap. milk for sweetened condensed (reduce sugar) or milk or cream. Or coconut milk. About 1-3/4 cup. If you don’t have sucanat, you can use brown sugar or evaporated cane or turbinado or just whatever granulated sugar you normally use.

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Rupa Madhurya das, TX, USA: KuliMela 2006 - One Way - Converts Tale

One Way performing the song "Converts Tale" at KuliMela 2006 held at New Vrindavan.
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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Nagy Arnold István asks about Nanda-village started by H.H. B.A. Narayana Swami

And why it separated from ISKCON and is it and it’s practitioners bonafide.
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Madhava Ghosh dasa, New Vrndavan, USA: Amazing Late Bloomers

From Newsweek magazine, check out number 5.
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Kaunteya das, Mayapura: Stockholm harinam videos

By the way, you can see the joyous chanting and dancing (around the
innovative "wagon" of Gaura Nitai and Jagannath, Subhadra & Baladeva
described in the previous post) and the reaction of the crowd here:
And here:
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Kaunteya das, Mayapura: Anti-prajalpa Sunday Harinam

OK, the title is a bit cheeky, but the idea is that it's a fact that after
the evening Sunday feast there might be a tendency to less-than-essential
talk and for the program to end in a bit of a slow way.
So Udaranga Mataji Prabhu from Stockholm devised and implemented an addition
to the Sunday program: after the prasadam everyone in harinam!
She created a "wagon" for her Gaura Nitai Deities (in the photo, she is
pushing it) by fitting a removable altar (originally bought from a
bathroom-furniture shop) on a wheeled baby stroller.
The whole thing smoothly goes around the large block in 30-40 minutes with
devotees surrounding it and chanting and the locals apparently have grown
familiar and even fond of the weekly procession.
Your servant, Kaunteya das
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1968 November 24: "You describe that you are seeing more and more how Krishna is your friend and this is very nice. The more one understands that Krishna is my friend and my duty is to serve my Dearest Friend, the more one can know that he is advancing in Krishna Consciousness."Prabhupada Letters :: 1968
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1968 November 24: "It has given me great satisfaction to see how the London center is progressing so nicely. All six of my disciples who I sent to London are very sincere servants of Krishna and you simply remember to continue in this way and your activities will continue to bring nice results."Prabhupada Letters :: 1968
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1968 November 24: "Your description of progress in kirtana is encouraging. As we sincerely try to improve our chanting for the pleasure of Krishna, Krishna reciprocates and we feel our greatest pleasure which is devotional service to the Lord. So continue, this method is very nice and approved by me."Prabhupada Letters :: 1968
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1970 November 24: "In your letter you say 'I am now prepared to give up all self-created designations and work only as your servant.' That is the real position; that is our real identification. All other identifications are false or temporary. This attitude will lead to success in Krishna Consciousness."Prabhupada Letters :: 1970
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1970 November 24: "Any intelligent man can immediately appreciate the qualities of a genuine devotee. Because the devotee is always truthful, therefore everyone feels confident about what he may say or do under any condition."Prabhupada Letters :: 1970
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 November 24: "We can challenge any nonsense philosophy. It is your task to find them out and expose them. You must become very convinced yourself of our philosophy and then your preaching will act."Prabhupada Letters :: 1971
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 November 24: "Keep the old system strong. Keep it always gorgeously alive, but do not change the principle. Don't change from this to that. That is your American disease that you always want to change everything."Prabhupada Letters :: 1974
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 November 24: "A husking machine will husk rice whether in heaven or in hell. So wherever Krishna desires we will preach this movement. Everywhere this movement is accepted, so please keep me informed what is the progress there."Prabhupada Letters :: 1974
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Hari Sauri das, Mayapura, IN: Purnacandra Goswami’s departure and coma

On September 15th HH Purnacandra Goswami Maharaja was hospitalized with internal bleeding, and from October 19th he was in coma. On the 4th of November, 22:25 PM Moscow time HH Purnacandra Goswami passed away. It is a great loss for the entire ISKCON community.
Please see http://www.dandavats.com/?p=8985 for a condolence statement from the GBC.
This has caused some consternation for the devotees, not only due to the loss of his wonderful association but also due to the circumstances of his illness and coma.
Srila Prabhupada was well known for having said that when a person dies in a coma, it is indicative of sinful life. A person who is greatly sinful is made to wait in a comatose state until the Yamadutas can figure his punishment and next birth. When it is decided, he is then moved to his next destination (dies).
A famous example he used was Winston Churchill.
One of the first lectures I ever heard Srila Prabhupada give in person was in Sydney in early April 1972. I was a young, newly immigrated Brit. It was quite a shock to hear Srila Prabhupada describe Winston Churchill as a ‘big demon‘ because in England he was a national hero, the savior of the British and the world. Srila Prabhupada cited the fact that Churchill died in a coma as evidence of his demonic activities.
It was a revelation to me which at the time I accepted simply because Srila Prabhupada said it was so. Later on when I heard about the criminal bombing of Dresden
(a ‘Churchillian gesture‘ according to one news report I read on the topic;
the prior knowledge Churchill had about the bombing of Pearl Harbor
and the deliberate starvation of millions of Bengalis in the 1943 politically created ‘famine’
I understood Srila Prabhupada was perfectly right.
The recent passing of our dear Godbrother Purnacandra Goswami after spending 16 days in a coma naturally gave rise to some questions about comas and their cause and effect. One such question I received was from my Godbrother Prthu prabhu:
“As for Churchill dying in Coma as evidence of his demonic activities, I heard that statement many times as well.
But how about Purnachandra Maharaja dying in Coma ? I don’t think the least offensively and believe he was a great soul.
However how do we explain when somebody raises the question as for Churchill`s coma in regard to Purnachandra Maharaja`s situation?”
This question was also asked by several other devotees including Vinata mataji:
“However, I wanted to ask you about coma. There is something you are telling about it in one of your seminars ‘Srila Prabhupada the Living Bhagavatam’. Explaining about Prabhupada’s comments on coma, Churchill his coma,  and the understanding of his demoniac mentality (Churchillian gesture). Could you please explain how to understand Purnacandra Goswami’s passing away? He was certainly not a demon but an advanced devotee. Please help me to clear the fog.”
We cannot judge a devotee’s position against that of the karmis. In the same way that the work a devotee does, although it may appear to be the same as the karmis, is of a different quality and produces a different result, similarly although a devotee may appear to suffer old age or disease just like a karmi, the quality is different and the result is different.
A karmi is suffering due to past reactions. Even after suffering, they remain entangled in their material activities and thus continue in the web of material existence with no way out.
A devotee however, is always under the protection of the Lord. Even if he has to undergo some tribulation due to past karmic activity, once the result has been experienced, there is no continuance and the reactions are finished.
This has been nicely explained by HH Hrdayananda Goswami in his commentary in SB about prarabdha karma. I won’t quote the whole purport here since it is quite long-you can read it yourself- but here is a relevant comment:
SB 10.88.8
“Although a Vaisnava’s happiness and distress are felt as pleasure and pain, just like ordinary karmic reactions, they are different in a significant sense. Material happiness and distress, arising from karma, leave a subtle residue — the seed of future entanglement. Such enjoyment and suffering tend toward degradation and increase the danger of falling into hellish oblivion. Happiness and distress generated from the Supreme Lord’s desires, however, leave no trace after their immediate purpose has been served. Moreover, the Vaisnava who enjoys such reciprocation with the Lord is in no danger of falling down into nescience.” [end quote]
We also find the following famous verse in SB:
SB 10.14.8
tat te ‘nukampam su-samiksamano
bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam
hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak
“My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim.”
The purport to this verse is that if someone has dedicated their life to the service of the Lord, even if they have to suffer some tribulation, they are guaranteed to remain at the lotus feet of the Lord and nothing can check their progress back home, back to Godhead.
Now another consideration is that as a guru Purnacandra Maharaja was taking on the sinful reactions of his disciples. So sometimes that causes problems. In 1974 Srila Prabhupada was severely ill, so much so that his servants thought he may leave. Some how he pulled through and this letter was written by one of his disciples describing the illness:
From: Pancadravida to Jayadvaita – September 1 1974
“Mahamsa Swami recently returned from Vrndavana where he was summoned by Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada had just ended a seven day fast when Mahamsa Swami arrived, and now he is beginning to eat again. His Divine Grace had been very ill. Mahamsa Swami described Srila Prabhupada as being very white, and for the first time He looked very old. His Divine Grace was very weak, and when He talked it was very slowly, one word at a time, and that in a soft whisper. Prabhupada said that this was not a normal illness, but was caused by 90% of His disciples not following the devotional principles. Therefore, Srila Prabhupada had said that he requested 24-hour continuous kirtans to purify the devotees. He had refused to take any medicine, and repeated that samkirtan was the only cure.”
In a conversation with Brahma Tirtha das in 1972 (when he was still Bob Cohen), later published as the book “Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers”
Srila Prabhupada commented on this function of the guru in absorbing the sinful reactions of his disciples:
PQPA 6: The Perfect Devotee
Syamasundara: One time you said that sometimes you feel sickness or pain due to the sinful activities of your devotees. Can sometimes disease be due to that? Caused by that?
Srila Prabhupada: You see, Krsna says:
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah
[Bg. 18.66]
“I will deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” So Krsna is so powerful that He can immediately take up all the sins of others and immediately make them right. But when a living entity plays the part on behalf of Krsna, he also takes the responsibility for the sinful activities of his devotees. Therefore to become a guru is not an easy task. You see? He has to take all the poisons and absorb them. So sometimes — because he is not Krsna — sometimes there is some trouble. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu has forbidden, “Don’t make many sisyas, many disciples.” But for preaching work we have to accept many disciples — for expanding preaching — even if we suffer. That’s a fact. The spiritual master has to take the responsibility for all the sinful activities of his disciples. Therefore to make many disciples is a risky job unless one is able to assimilate all the sins.
vancha-kalpa-tarubhyas ca
krpa-sindhubhya eva ca
patitanam pavanebhyo
vaisnavebhyo namo namah
["I offer my respectful obeisances unto all the Vaisnava devotees of the Lord. They are just like desire trees who can fulfill the desires of everyone, and they are full of compassion for the fallen conditioned souls."] He takes responsibility for all the fallen souls. That idea is also in the Bible. Jesus Christ took all the sinful reactions of the people and sacrificed his life. That is the responsibility of a spiritual master. Because Krsna is Krsna, He is apapa-viddha — He cannot be attacked by sinful reactions. But a living entity is sometimes subjected to their influence because he is so small. Big fire, small fire. If you put some big thing in a small fire, the fire itself may be extinguished. But in a big fire, whatever you put in is all right. The big fire can consume anything.
Bob: Christ’s suffering was of that nature?
Srila Prabhupada: Mm-m?
Bob: Was Christ’s suffering –
Srila Prabhupada: That I have already explained. He took the sinful reactions of all the people. Therefore he suffered.
Bob: I see.
Srila Prabhupada: He said — that is in the Bible — that he took all the sinful reactions of the people and sacrificed his life. But these Christian people have made it a law for Christ to suffer while they do all nonsense. [Bob gives a short laugh.] Such great fools they are! They have let Jesus Christ make a contract for taking all their sinful reactions so they can go on with all nonsense. That is their religion. Christ was so magnanimous that he took all their sins and suffered, but that does not induce them to stop all these sins. They have not come to that sense. They have taken it very easily. “Let Lord Jesus Christ suffer, and we’ll do all nonsense.” Is it not?
Bob: It is so.
Srila Prabhupada: They should have been ashamed: “Lord Jesus Christ suffered for us, but we are continuing the sinful activities.” He told everyone, “Thou shalt not kill,” but they are indulging in killing, thinking, “Lord Jesus Christ will excuse us and take all the sinful reactions.” This is going on. We should be very much cautious: “For my sinful actions my spiritual master will suffer, so I’ll not commit even a pinch of sinful activities.” That is the duty of the disciple. After initiation, all sinful reaction is finished. Now if he again commits sinful activities, his spiritual master has to suffer. A disciple should be sympathetic and consider this. “For my sinful activities, my spiritual master will suffer.” If the spiritual master is attacked by some disease, it is due to the sinful activities of others. “Don’t make many disciples.” But we do it because we are preaching. Never mind — let us suffer — still we shall accept them. Therefore your question was — when I suffer is it due to my past misdeeds? Was it not? That is my misdeed — that I accepted some disciples who are nonsense. That is my misdeed.
Bob: This happens on occasions?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. This is sure to happen because we are accepting so many men. It is the duty of the disciples to be cautious. “My spiritual master has saved me. I should not put him again into suffering.” When the spiritual master is in suffering, Krsna saves him. Krsna thinks, “Oh, he has taken so much responsibility for delivering a fallen person.” So Krsna is there.
kaunteya pratijanihi
na me bhaktah pranasyati
[Bg. 9.31]
["O son of Kunti, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes."]
Because the spiritual master takes the risk on account of Krsna.
Bob: Your suffering is not the same kind of pain…
Srila Prabhupada: No, it is not due to karma. The pain is there sometimes, so that the disciples may know, “Due to our sinful activities, our spiritual master is suffering.”
Bob: You look very well now.
Srila Prabhupada: I am always well… in the sense that even if there is suffering, I know Krsna will protect me. But this suffering is not due to my sinful activities.
Bob: But let us say when I — in the town I live in, I take boiled water because some of the water has disease in it. Now, why should I drink boiled water if I have been good enough not to get a disease? Then I may drink any water. And if I have been not acting properly. then I shall get disease anyway.
Srila Prabhupada: So long as you are in the material world, you cannot neglect physical laws. Suppose you go to a jungle and there is a tiger. It is known that it will attack you, so why should you voluntarily go and be attacked? It is not that a devotee should take physical risk so long as he has a physical body. It is not a challenge to the physical laws: “I have become a devotee. I challenge everything.” That is foolishness.
anasaktasya visayan
yatharham upayunjatah
nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe
yuktam vairagyam ucyate
(Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.255)
The devotee is advised to accept the necessities of life without attachment. He’ll take boiled water, but if boiled water is not available, does it mean he will not drink water? If it is not available, he will drink ordinary water. We take Krsna prasada, but while touring, sometimes we have to take some food in a hotel. Because one is a devotee, should he think, “I will not take any foodstuffs from the hotel. I shall starve”? If I starve, then I will be weak and will not be able to preach.” [end quote]
I think from these references you can see clearly that the apparent suffering or disease undergone by a devotee is not the same as a sinful demon like Winston Churchill who was responsible for killing many hundreds of thousands of people. His coma was indicative of his sinful life, but Purnacandra Maharaja was freed of all sins due to his constant engagement in devotional service. It may appear from the outside that he was undergoing some karmic reactions, but internally you can be sure that he was fully under the shelter of guru and Krsna, and therefore his destination was all-auspicious.
There is no question of Yamaraja having any jurisdiction over a devotee.
In this regard I will repeat an incident I heard from Badrinarayan prabhu several weeks ago when he was giving class at the Mumbai GBC meetings (I may not get the exact wording of the conversation but the essence is accurate):
In the San Diego temple there was a gentleman called Mr. Prakash. He was a reserved type of person who would come regularly to the temple feasts but never really showed a lot of enthusiasm. He was from a Saivaite background.
One day he had a severe heart attack and was rushed to hospital. During the surgery he almost passed away on four occasions. It was touch and go and he slipped into a coma. He remained that way for several weeks after.
Badrinaryana was requested by his wife to please visit her husband even though he was in a coma and pray for him. Badri prabhu dutifully obliged and several times went to his bedside and read from shastra and chanted to the unconscious Mr. Prakash.
One day Badri got a call from Mrs. Prakash saying “Please come quickly to the hospital. My husband has come out of the coma but he only wants to speak to you.”
Badri went there to find some relatives and hospital staff gathered around his bedside. When he saw Badri he began to speak. “Badri, four times they came, four times they came!”
The relatives present thought he was talking about them. “Yes, we came several times but you were in a coma!”
Mr. Prakash shook his head to indicate that was not what he was talking about. “No. Badri, four times they came!”
So then the hospital staff said, “Yes, we almost lost you four times! You were in a coma but somehow we saved you.”
Again he shook his head. “No. Badri, four times they came!”
Badri started to realize what he was referring to. “Who came prabhu? The Visnuduttas?
“No, it was the bad people [Yamaduttas]! They came the first time to take me away. But I told them ‘I am simply dependent on Lord Krsna.’ So they went away.”
“Then they came a second time. Again I told them, ‘Do whatever you must, but I am simply depending on Lord Krsna.’ Again they went away.”
“Then they came the third time, and told me they would take me away. I told them again, ‘You do whatever you must do, but I am dependent on Lord Krsna.’ Again they left.”
“Then they came a fourth time. But this time some of the good people came (Visnuduttas). When the bad people saw them they said ‘OK, we have no jurisdiction here’ and they left. Then I came out of my coma.”
He called Badri close and told him, “Badri, before I was not serious. But now, 100%!”
Mr. Prakash recovered and became one of the most enthusiastic and humble servants at the temple.
From this you can understand that what is happening during coma is completely different for a devotee than a karmi. Mr. Prakash was not initiated but he had some sense of dependence on Lord Krsna, so Krsna gave him the chance to increase his attachment.
One other story I heard from a very senior godsister. In the late 80s or early 90s, she contracted HIV. She became extremely ill and fell into a coma. It looked like she would leave at any time. The devotees from New Vrindaban came to visit her in hospital and were chanting. She told me that during her coma she was not aware of anything. She had no perception of anyone around her or her surroundings. But when the devotees chanted, she heard the holy names and that brought her out of her coma.
When she recovered, she went to visit New Vrndavana. She was just about to leave and go back to New York and went to offer her obeisances to Srila Prabhupada. As she did so, she heard Srila Prabhupada say to her very clearly, “Do not leave here.” So she didn’t. She stayed, and took up enthusiastic preaching again. And here she still is 20 years later.
The conclusion is that a coma is not an impediment to devotional life; indeed it can be a further impetus. Service to Krsna is transcendental and a person who render service to the Lord is also transcendental no matter what the external conditions of the body, mind and intellect are. A devotee’s life is always glorious, having been spent in the eternal service of Lord Krsna’s lotus feet.
They are protected always by Srimati Radharani and a great devotee like Purnacandra Maharaja,
who gave his life in devotion, executing the highest order of Lord Caitanya to preach the sankirtana movement is always exalted and glorious.
Your humble servant,
Hari-sauri dasa
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H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: Srila Prabhupada Reflections – Part Two

Saturday Morning, 10 Jan 2010, South African Retreat, Drakensberg. Transcription : Haripriya Dasi, Bhaktin Ramola Editing : Ramananda Raya Dasa Bhajan and kirtan: 1. suddha-bhakata carana-renu bhajana-anukula bhakata-seva parama-siddhi prema-latikara mula 2. madhava-tithi bhakti-janani jatane palana kori krishna-basati basati boli parama adare bori 3. gaura amara je-saba sthane koralo brahmana range se-saba stana heribo ami [...]
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Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: Opening The Kimono On Climate Change

In an economic and political environment where progress on global warming seems to have ground to a halt, climate change advocates in America are wondering how to move forward. A Republican-controlled House surely spells doom for climate change legislation and other measures that could stimulate the green economy. But those who support taking action on climate change should not be discouraged. Around the world there are already hundreds, and probably thousands, of collaborations occurring; everyone from scientists to school children are mobilizing to do something about carbon emissions. And the most forward-looking political leaders recognize that amplifying these grassroots energies could be our best short-term hope for meaningful action.
Already a leader in addressing climate change, the British Columbia government recently lit a fire under Canadian software developers by open sourcing hundreds of its best climate datasets and asking for innovative Web-based and mobile apps that could raise awareness of climate change and inspire action. As an incentive, the government put up $40,000 in prize money.
One of the winning apps allows helps students mange their carbon footprints. Users can track their bathing, eating, transportation and entertainment habits, and the app spits out an impact statement with annualized kg of CO2 equivalents generated. Another app aimed at small and medium size businesses, enables business owners to measure their company's emissions and then benchmark their score against peers in industry.
Executives with the B.C. Ministry of Citizen Services tell us that collaborations like these provide a low-cost way to tap new ideas and skills in pursuit of the government's climate goals. In fact, the initiative cost BC taxpayers very little. The government contributed its data. Private sector partners contributed the funds for the prize money. Software coders and local businesses provided their labor and ingenuity. And none of the initiatives spurred on by the contest require new rules or new legislation to move forward.
Should other governments be following BC's lead?
To be sure, most climate change experts generally agree that the surest way to accelerate action on climate change boils down to simple economics: if you want discourage carbon intensive activities, make pursuing them more expensive. Putting a price on carbon (through a cap and trade system or a straightforward carbon tax), for example, would help usher in a new mind-set among consumers, investors, farmers, innovators and entrepreneurs that in time will make a big difference. Make people and businesses pay the full environmental costs of what they produce and consume and suddenly every investment and purchasing decision made in retail stores, financial markets and small and large companies around the world would be made in pursuit of the least-cost low-carbon option.
Weaving carbon emissions into every business decisions would drive innovation and deployment of clean technologies to a whole new level, and make investments in energy efficiency much more attractive. Industries would need to invent and adopt new technologies that boost efficiency to limit their emissions. And consumers would curtail their own carbon footprints as the prices they pay for things like air travel and exotic fruits begin to reflect their true costs to the planet.
However, while it is true that centrally managed taxes, credits and incentives provide important levers for steering society toward low-carbon solutions, these are not the only levers. And while Congress is unlikely to take action, there is no shortage of valuable initiatives that can both help us better understand the causes and consequences of climate change and marshal the knowledge and talent required to advance sensible solutions. In fact, everyone - including climate skeptics - stands to benefit from initiatives that, like the BC apps contest, make information that was once inaccessible and hard to understand available to policymakers and the broader public.
Today, insufficient information about which economic activities--and, by extension, which communities, companies and nations--are contributing most to climate change undermines society's ability to target remedial actions and assign responsibility for correcting damaging behaviors. The right amount of transparency in such cases can change perceptions, reveal new factors that alter the stakes, or compel other participants to accept the need for and legitimacy of new regulations.
Getting our hands on comparable CO2 emission data for all industrial facilities and other human activities such as logging, fishing or mining, would be a goldmine for scientists, policy-makers, environmentalists, investors and ordinary citizens. Even better would be the ability to measure the impact of those activities on our climate in the same way companies apply financial metrics to their investment decisions to understand the bottom line impact.
We're not there yet. But over the past few years, a cornucopia of initiatives has emerged to make climate change information more accessible to the public and key institutions, including the investment community, regulators, and government purchasing organizations. Whether mapping the world's oil spills, simulating the effects of sea-level rises, tracking mammals on the verge of extinction or showing national per capita CO₂ emissions, the initiatives tend to emphasize the use of bold visual formats help communicate complex phenomena in a way that both scientists and laymen can easily grasp.
Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA), for example, maps the CO2 emissions of over 50,000 power plants and 4,000 power companies across the world. The data for current and planned installations is easily accessible through a Google Map on the project's website as well as through an API. "Our role is to translate" says CARMA's lead researcher, David Wheeler. "We take reams of data which are available out there and translate them into an easily accessible format. There are few other institutions that have the incentive to do this - most scientists don't as it doesn't affect their publication records, and policy people are either too busy or not sufficiently technical to do the work." CARMA's work is particularly important as the energy sector is the single largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, at around 65% of the world total.
The power of the platform became apparent one day when Wheeler received a call from a friend at the World Bank inquiring about a plant being built in Mmamabula, Botswana. It turned out that the installation would be a major polluter, which piqued Wheeler's interest - what else is the World Bank funding? Scrolling over to India he found plans for another coal plant, the Tata Ultra Mega, which ultimately would become one of the biggest emitters of CO2 in the world. Wheeler's finding led to a large campaign by the not-for-profit Environmental Defense Fund to institute stricter standards at the World Bank. The following year new legislation was put in place to limit the types of projects that would be eligible for funding.
The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) targets people with lots of money and enormous influence on the companies in which they invest. Institutional investors--the big mutual and pension funds--are a critical audience in the effort to accelerate business action on climate change. After all, they pretty much own the economy. Paul Dickinson, the organization's founder, has calculated that access to capital will become a powerful lever for encouraging companies to reduce carbon once a critical mass of investors and lenders starts attaching risk premiums to companies with climate liabilities and those without sound carbon management plans. The CDP aims to speed the transition by helping the investment community better understand how companies are positioned in relation to the risks and commercial opportunities associated with the transition to a low-carbon economy.
CDP's analysis is based on information it receives from some 2500 private and public organizations, including many of the largest corporations in the world. Less altruistic operators might have chosen to keep the data proprietary and make money by selling access to institutional subscribers. But Dickson thinks the public value of exposing the data to a broader audience exceeds the commercial potential. "Our goal is to apply the intelligence of the world to the climate change problem. Anyone that wants to look at the data can go to the website and download it."
Scientists are getting on board too. Greg Asner and Carlos Souza, two scientists at the forefront of forest science, are now working with Google to gather petabytes of historical and present satellite imagery. This information will help uncover the location and rates of deforestation around the world and allow colleagues to pitch in on research that will determine the links with climate change.
The evidence accumulated to date is already having an impact. We now know, for example, that emissions from tropical deforestation are comparable to the emissions of all of the European Union, and greater than those of all the cars, trucks, planes, ships and trains on the planet. And thanks to the work of economists such as Nicholas Stern, we also know that protecting the world's standing forests is one of the most cost-effective ways to cut carbon emissions and mitigate climate change.
Of course climate deniers, and those who see the world's attempt to control climate change as a threat to their business interests, aren't necessarily interested in the truth. They will continue to unleash their armies of lobbyists to water down policy, spread bogus science, and block innovations that might threaten their business models. But the best way to counter back-room lobbying and misinformation is not to hunker down as some climate scientists have in the wake of the climategate scandal, but to foster greater transparency and open debate around the risks of not acting now.
Tim Palmer, a climate scientist at the University of Oxford whose current work focuses on quantifying and managing the uncertainties surrounding climate change, suggests that everyone concerned by the climate change issue, particularly those who are skeptical, ask themselves exactly how large the probability of serious climate change should be before we should start cutting emissions? 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 50%? "Considered this way," says Palmer "it's clear that the black and white dichotomy between the 'climate believers' versus 'climate skeptics' is indeed a false one."4 And if you happen to be one of those people who believe that action is merited today, there is no point waiting for the political gridlock gripping the country to recede. Thanks to Web, we have the most powerful platform ever for people to learn about climate change, inform others and self-organize.
Follow Anthony Williams on Twitter: www.twitter.com/adw_tweets
Follow Don Tapscott on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dtapscott
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