----- Original Message -----From: FeedBlitzTo:Sent: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 7:54 AMSubject: Planet ISKCON - 25 new articles
"Planet ISKCON" - 25 new articles
- H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 173
- H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Free Write
- Australian News: Srila Narayana Maharaj enters Samadhi
- Subhavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: O' Merciful Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the One who delivers His devotees...
- ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Christmas Lunch 2010
- ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Today's Darsana
- Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: nobody is satisfied; neither I am satisfied
- Japa Group: Japa Poem
- H.H. Prahladananda Swami: Lecture – SB 6.2.23 Fly On The Throne 12-28-2010
- Madhava Ghosh dasa, New Vrndavan, USA: North Dakota Farmer
- ISKCON Toronto, Canada: ISKCON News Features a Story About Local Devotees
- Akrura das, Gita Coaching: BETTER
- Ananda Subramanian, Iowa, USA: "tooth" breaking discovery
- ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Deity Darshan: Sunday, December 26, 2010
- David Haslam, UK: The cost of commercialism on Christmas
- H.H. Sivarama Swami: Danda-krt asks for our view on the following instructive story and whether we agree with it
- Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: The Bhakti Sastri Classroom
- Bhakti Lata, Alachua, USA: Timeless Moment
- Vrndavana Vinodini dd, Toronto, Canada: Lessons Series: Promises to Oneself
- Japa Group: We Cannot Follow Such Philosophies
- Gouranga TV: Hanumatpresaka Swami – Bhagavad Gita – ISKCON Barcelona
- H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: Quote Of Guru Maharaja
- H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: Preview : Srila Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj – Retreat Sunshine Coast – Australia – 14-18 April 2011
- Rupa Madhurya das, TX, USA: Lecture - Radhanath Swami - Yoga and Ecology
- H.H. Sivarama Swami
- More Recent Articles
- Search Planet ISKCON
- Prior Mailing Archive
I woke up at 6:30 A.M. this morning doing all right. I’m using Ben-Gay ointment on my chest in the morning and at nighttime, and it’s helping me. But my legs are still very weak, and I can’t walk well. Moreover, I’m sleepy and can’t seem to get enough sleep. I tried chanting and chanted twelve rounds up to 9:30 A.M., then stopped. My mind has been daydreaming out of my control. I have been daydreaming plots of criminal TV shows. It makes me unable to concentrate on writing something for the journal. My japa is automatic and mechanical. But I’m hopeful that after a few days I’ll recover my normal condition. So for now be content with just chanting mechanically and not trying to write special sections in the journal such as Prabhupada Smaranam or the other sections. Maybe later this afternoon I’ll be able to write something like a free write and use some of it for entertaining reading in the journal.
The terrific snowstorm has stopped. The air is clear now and there’s room for snowblowing. Saci-suta is out in his snowblowing machine clearing the driveway. Our car is parked in front of our house, and just now he’s blowing behind it so that we’ll be able to get out too. So all the snow disaster will be overcome by today, and Baladeva will be able to drive the car to the stores (at least I think he will be able to).
Saci-suta came and read to me from the Krishna Book at breakfast. He read how Krishna finished up affairs in Mathura after killing Kamsa. Krishna replaced Ugrasena on the throne and then told His father that now he would have to return to Gokula without Him. Krishna said that He would return home soon also, but first He had to satisfy His father and mother, who for so many years had to suffer without the association of their Son. He would also have to work with political affairs of Mathura and undergo His own education as a brahmana in the gurukula of Sandipani Muni. There are some of the reasons why Krishna did not return immediately to Goloka and why He created the great calamity for the residents of Vrndavana by being in separation from them for what turned out to be many years. We do not realize the full patheticness of the scene at the time of their parting because Krishna says He will be back soon. But we who have read the Krishna –lila already know that it is a very pathetic moment when Krishna is sending Nanda back to Vrndavana without Him. He will bring gifts and utensils and ornaments and clothing as gifts to the residents of Vrndavana, but he will be without Krishna. He will cry and they will cry ceaselessly. They will be very disappointed with Nanda Maharaja for not coming back with Krishna. How could he do such a thing to someone, but it was beyond his power; it was Krishna’s desire, and he had to abide by it. Krishna and Balarama would then go to Sandipani Muni’s school and display brilliance of scholarship by learning a complete subject in one day and being a master of that subject by the end of the day.
It’s good that this snow has stopped so early and that Saci is able to dig us all out. He said he couldn’t start work until it stopped snowing, and he thought that might not occur until the evening and he’d have to work in the dark. But now it’s not even 10:00 A.M. and he’s fully at work, and the paths are being cleared. As for me, it doesn’t make much personal difference because I can’t go out of the house anyway. My feet are too weak to walk. Although maybe I could do it after all, maybe I could walk a little with my steel roller. I’ll ask Baladeva what he thinks. There don’t seem to be any big snowstorms occurring in Vrndavana. Just that big snowstorm/rainstorm/hailstorm that was caused by Indra when he made a devastation at Govardhana Hill. That was a terrible storm, but it was mostly rain and Krishna protected them by holding up Govardhana Hill like an umbrella. We have had our own “Govardhana storm,” and it’s only lasting overnight because now Indra has stopped storming and Krishna’s workers are snowblowing the roads back to normal.
I’m a little like still being in the hospital. In the hospital I couldn’t do anything but lay in bed; here at home I can only sit in a chair. In the hospital I wasn’t able to concentrate on writing, and here I seem to have the same condition, not being able to be inspired to write except a little bit that gets read to me at dinnertimes. I will ask my friend from England if he can read to me some more from Aindra’s book, and if I dare, I may be able to write some comment on that.
It would be nice if I could write a poem about Krishna. I could write one that said how He looked when He entered the wrestling arena. He was dressed in beautiful clothes, not like someone who was going to throw Himself on the ground and undergo dirty fighting, but He was dressed up like a dancer. And when He fought, He didn’t soil His clothes but exerted Himself and yet remained beautiful-looking, while Canura got smashed to a bloody death. That is the difference between Krishna and an ordinary being, especially when the ordinary being dares to physically fight with Krishna.
You go through the day slowly when you’re recuperating. But you yearn to write as much as possible. You look for subjects to write about. The big outer thing here is the snowstorm. It is commendable how our little group cleared our area so well. It looks like a fortress of snow, it’s so high in all the areas where we didn’t clean. The inner thing that is happening is our reading of Aindra’s book. We are coming to appreciate it more as he writes straight about the possibilities of attaining parakiya-rasa in this lifetime, his defense of Prabhupada’s books, and his saying that it is possible even for devotees of ISKCON to reach the highest stage. This is a good counterreaction to the sometimes very sharp criticisms of those who are misleaders.
My room is very comfortable. Baladeva has been taking good care of me. I need help in getting to bed and getting up in the morning. He applies Vick’s VapoRub to my chest and back and in the morning helps me bathe and dress, which I can’t do by myself. When they asked him in the hospital what his occupation was, he said that he had been my caretaker for ten years. Now Kaulini-mataji is becoming a hospice-caretaker. She has already practiced some, and she is leaving here in two weeks to spend two months in Vrndavana under Sugata-devi-dasi, the head hospice teacher, to learn more how to do it and to actually practice it. Hospice caretaking is different than normal caretaking. In hospice caretaking, you treat only those patients who are going to live only a short time, either three months more, or, according to other facilities, six months more. But you don’t care for other people. It is frontline service in caretaking. Those devotees like Giriraja Swami who organized this hospice in Vrndavana are to be commended for their clear thinking and compassion. Those who don’t have normal families can now expect ISKCON to take care of them in their last months and surround them with auspicious items of consciousness for passing away. It is a very important thing.
For those who need it, hospice care is even more important than going on parikrama in the holy dhama. Factually they are not able to go on parikrama. Narotthama sings in some of his verses that parikrama is not important and that it is a waste of time. He says the important thing is to chant and hear about Krishna in any place in the world. Any place becomes Vrndavana if you practice Krishna consciousness there. This is, of course, countered by other statements which stress the importance of the dust of Vrndavana and the importance of just living there and associating with the Vrajavasis. But even Rupa Goswami, who is a prime Vrajavasi, states in his verse that if you cannot go to the holy dhama then it is just as good to think about it in your mind. A statement like this from Rupa Goswami is a solace for those who cannot go or are not inclined to go to the holy dhama. It gives them some hope that Krishna is available everywhere. And with the erection of ISKCON dhamas in different parts of the world, there are sprouting up prabhu-datta-desas, or places that are worshipable even though they are in big cities, which are materialistic. Prabhupada used to say that service and residence in his temples antwhere in the world was as good as living in Vrndavana or Mayapura.
Back to Bhakti website reports Srila Narayana Maharaj leaves his body
Dear Devotees and dear Friends,
please accept our dandavats pranams and receive heartly blessings from Srila Gurudeva. All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga and all glories to Sri Sri Radha Vinode Bihariji.
Today, Sri Krsna Navami Tithi, the 29th of December, on the most auspicious day of the appearance of nitylila pravista om vishnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vaman Gosvami Maharaja, our most beloved Gurudeva, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayan Gosvami Maharaja has entered the eternal pastimes of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna at 03.00 AM in Sri Jagannath Ksetra Dham, the transcendental residence of Sri Jagannath Deva, Sri Baladeva and Srimati Subhadra.
We are making arrangements to bring Srila Gurudeva’s transcendental body to Sri Navadvip Dham and place it in Samadhi.
Subhavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: O' Merciful Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the One who delivers His devotees...We were just heard the sad news from a few hours ago...
We are travelling and were making plans for the next stop and when we heard the news and were silent...
At a difficult time for this Vaishnava community, all we can do is pray for them and to Guru and Gauranga.
Prayers to the Merciful Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
svardhunyash charu-tire sphuritam ati-brihat-kurma-prishthabha-gatram
ramyaramavritam san-mani-kanaka-mahasadma-sanghaih paritam
shri-vrindatavy-abhinnam tri-jagad-anupamam shri-navadvipam ide
"I praise that holy dham, Navadvipa, which, being entirely nondifferent from Shri Vrindavana, is completely different from the material world consisting of the three planetary systems. It is situated on the gorgeous banks of the Ganges covered by beautiful groves and gardens appearing in form like the back of a gigantic turtle. Situated there are many great palatial houses made of gold bedecked with brilliant jewels, where Krishna-sankirtana is always being performed in the mellow of ecstatic love."
caitanyam kanaka-dyutim nija-janaih samsevyamanam bhaje
"I worship Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is being served by all His devotees and associates; whose hair is bound with strings of pearls; on whose moonlike face is the nectar of His gentle smile. His beautiful golden body is covered with lovely garments and various shining ornaments. He is so charming, being absorbed as He is in the enjoyment of sweet mellows in dancing, and is more splendid in His dress than even Cupid himself."
yad advaitam brahmopanishadi tad apy asya tanu-bha
ya atmantaryami purusha iti so 'syamsha-vibhavaha
shad-aishvaryaih purno ya iha bhagavan sa svayam ayam
na chaitanyat krishnaj jagati para-tattvam param iha
"What the Upanishads describe as the impersonal Brahman is but the effulgence of His body, and the Lord known as the Supersoul is but His localized plenary portion. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna Himself, full with six opulences. He is the Absolute Truth, and no other truth is greater than or equal to Him." (Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 1.3)
anarpita-charim chirat karunayavatirnah kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasam sva-bhakti-shriyam
sada hridaya-kandare sphuratu vah shacinandanaha
"May that Lord, who is known as the son of Srimati Shacidevi, be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold. He has appeared in the age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation ever offered before: the most sublime and radiant spiritual knowledge of the mellow taste of His service." (Cc. Adi, 1.4.)
radha krishna-pranaya-vikritir hladini-shaktir asmad
ekatmanav api bhuvi pura deha-bhedam gatau tau
chaitanyakhyam prakatam adhuna tad-dvayam chaikyam aptam
radha-bhava-dyuti-suvalitam naumi krishna-svarupam
"The loving affairs of Sri Radha and Krishna are transcendental manifestations of the Lord's internal pleasure-giving potency. Although Radha and Krishna are one in Their identity, They have separated Themselves eternally. Now these two transcendental identities have again united in the form of Sri Krishna Caitanya. I bow down to Him, who has manifested Himself with the sentiment and complexion of Shrimati Radharani although He is Krishna Himself." (Cc.Adi,1.5)
shri-radhayah pranaya-mahima kidrisho vanayaiva-
svadyo yenadbhuta-madhurima kidrisho va madiyaha
saukhyam chasya mad-anubhavatah kidrisham veti lobhat
tad-bhavadhyah samajani shachi-garbha-sindhau harinduhu
"Desiring to understand the glory of Radharani's love, the wonderful qualities in Him that she alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness She feels when She realizes the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord Hari, richly endowed with Her emotions, appears from the womb of Srimati Shachidevi, as the moon appears from the ocean." (Cc. Adi. 1.6)
dheyeyam sada paribhava-ghnam abhishta-doham
tirthaspadam shiva-virinchi-mutam sharanyam
vande mahapurusha te charanaravindam
"O Supreme Personality of Godhead, O protector of the surrendered souls, You are now playing the role of Your own devotee, and Your lotus feet are the only object of perpetual meditation for the pure living entities. They destroy the material existence of the living entity. They are the fulfiller of all desires, the abode of all holy places, worshipable even by Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, the shelter of all that exists, the destroyer of the troubles of Your devotees and the only boat for crossing over the ocean of material existence. Therefore I offer my obeisances unto Your lotus feet." (Bhagavatam 11.5.33)
dharmishtha arya-vachasa yadagad aranyam
maya-mrigam dayitayepsitam anvadhavad
vande mahapurusha te charanaravindam
"O Mahaprabhu, You have given up the goddess of fortune (Lakshmi, Your wife), whose glance is desired by the great demigods, and who is the most difficult attachment to renounce. In order to keep the word of some brahmana's curse, You have gone to the forest. Thus to show Your great mercy to the helpless living entities who are following maya--the illusory energy--You have chased after them to give them Your own devotional service. Therefore I offer my humble obeisances unto Your lotus feet." (Bhagavatam 11.5.34)
"I bow down to Lord Krishna, who appears as a devotee (Lord Caitanya), as His personal expansion (Sri Nityananda), His incarnation (Sri Advaita), His devotee (Sri Srivasa), and His energy (Sri Gadadhara), and who is the source of strength for the devotees." (Cc.Adi.1.14)
caitanya-chandraya namo namas te
"Obeisances unto Him, Sri Caitanya-chandra, the giver of the mellow of the highest love of Godhead, who is the embodiment of blissful pastimes, and who is so beautiful, having a dazzling luster, like gold." (Chaitanya-chandramrita)
namne gaura-tvise namaha
"O most munificent incarnation! You are Krishna Himself appearing as Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You have assumed the golden color of Srimati Radharani, and You are widely distributing pure love of Krishna. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You." (Cc.Madhya. 19.53)
Last Saturday we had our traditional Christmas Lunch in the Temple's courtyard.
Once again our local Mother Yasoda, i.e. Acintya Rupa Mataji and her dedicated team were sweating away in the kitchen to come up with some excellent preparations for the pleasure of the assembled devotees.
Amongst other things 'au menu' was lasagna, chips, yummy salad, herb-bread and for dessert, ice cream, mixed-fruits cake and vanilla slice.
By now we all know that Acintya Rupa makes the best vanilla slices;
her fame is spread all over the 3 worlds for that!
We remember last year's Christmas gathering as if it was yesterday;
time flies when you are having fun at Melbourne Mahaprabhu Mandir.
Here's the slideshow of this year's lunch.
A buzz of excitement prevails at the temple today:
Jayapataka Swami will be accepting and sanctifying the vows of 17 initiates for first and second initiations in what promises to be a sensational fire sacrifice this morning.
Even the Deities seem to have a glow of anticipation in Their eyes, awaiting this mega event of blessings.
Here's the slideshow.
...we are constitutionally servant, we must remain a servant, not try falsely to become master. But by experience we see that by giving service to so many things, nobody is satisfied; neither I am satisfied. For example, again let us go to the family life. A man has served the family with heart and soul throughout the whole life, and when he is old man, if he asks permission from his wife, "My dear wife, now I have served so much. Let me take sannyasa now," the wife will never give permission. She will say, "What you have done? I have got to do so many things. Your, this son is not yet settled up; this daughter is not yet married. How you can take sannyasa? So you cannot do." So actually, he is the servant of the wife, but he is thinking, "I am master of the family." This is called maya. And any religious system on the platform of this false understanding is also cheating.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.3 -- Caracas, February 24, 1975
Reading transcendental literature
about the pastimes of Lord Caitanya
and Radha-Krishna, enhances my
japa and carries me away from
a distracted state of mind.
I chant while thinking of the
ecstatic chanting of Mahaprabhu
and of the gopis and gopas
of Vraja. I should always
stay immersed in such readings
as it keeps my japa pure.
There are so many subjects
for worrying about, and they
put you in an anxious state.
But when you are thinking
of Radha-Krishna and uttering
Their names you approach
the spiritual world.
From Bhajan Kutir #483
Lecture – Srimad Bhagavatam 6.2.23 Fly On The Throne 12-28-2010 Los Angeles (Spiritual Master)
(I am from North Dakota originally so people send me ND stuff)
The North Dakota Department of government offices claimed a small Bismarck farmer was not paying proper wages to his help, and sent an agent out to investigate him.
ND Govt employee: I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them.
Farmer: Well, there’s my farm hand who’s been with me for 3 years. I pay him $200 a week plus free room and board.
Then there’s the mentally challenged worker. He works about 18 hours every day and does about 90% of all the work around here. He makes about $10 per week, pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every Saturday night so he can cope with life. He also sleeps with my wife occasionally.
ND Govt employee: That’s the guy I want to talk to…the mentally challenged one.
Farmer: That would be me.
Filed under: Jokes
ISKCON News has written a beautiful article about a local Toronto devotee family! The article features the story of Bhaktimati devi dasi and her family. It is a heart-warming story of how a few quiet devotees in Russia performed amazing acts of kindness and service during a time of need. Click here to read the article!
It is better do do something - imperfect, than nothing - perfect.
The above picture may re-write the origins of man defined as per the Evolutionary Theory. Yet another discovery to show the fallible nature of man made theories. We collect evidence here and there and conclude based on our linear thought process. The fact is we will never know based on physical evidence if man existed 200,000 years or 400,000 years. Everything is a speculation. Honestly, speculation should be presented and studied as speculation and not as "facts" or "truths". Therefore in Srimad Bhagavatam there are no "speculations". According to Srimad Bhagavat Puran, human beings existed for millions of years in repeated births and deaths in cyclical eras. We either accept this "truth" or "reject" it - no question of physical-evidence based research followed by speculative interpretation.
Below is the story on the recent find.
Israeli archaeologists said Monday they may have found the earliest evidence yet for the existence of modern man, and if so, it could upset theories of the origin of humans.
A Tel Aviv University team excavating a cave in central Israel said teeth found in the cave are about 400,000 years old and resemble those of other remains of modern man, known scientifically as Homo sapiens, found in Israel. The earliest Homo sapiens remains found until now are half as old.
"It's very exciting to come to this conclusion," said archaeologist Avi Gopher, whose team examined the teeth with X-rays and CT scans and dated them according to the layers of earth where they were found. He stressed that further research is needed to solidify the claim. If it does, he says, "this changes the whole picture of evolution."
The accepted scientific theory is that Homo sapiens originated in Africa and migrated out of the continent. Gopher said if the remains are definitively linked to modern human's ancestors, it could mean that modern man in fact originated in what is now Israel.
Sir Paul Mellars, a prehistory expert at Cambridge University, said the study is reputable, and the find is "important" because remains from that critical time period are scarce, but it is premature to say the remains are human. "Based on the evidence they've cited, it's a very tenuous and frankly rather remote possibility," Mellars said. He said the remains are more likely related to modern man's ancient relatives, the Neanderthals.
According to today's accepted scientific theories, modern humans and Neanderthals stemmed from a common ancestor who lived in Africa about 700,000 years ago. One group of descendants migrated to Europe and developed into Neanderthals, later becoming extinct. Another group stayed in Africa and evolved into Homo sapiens — modern humans.
Teeth are often unreliable indicators of origin, and analyses of skull remains would more definitively identify the species found in the Israeli cave, Mellars said. Gopher, the Israeli archaeologist, said he is confident his team will find skulls and bones as they continue their dig. The prehistoric Qesem cave was discovered in 2000, and excavations began in 2004. Researchers Gopher, Ran Barkai and Israel Hershkowitz published their study in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
The original link
So we have had the largest Christian celebration Christmas the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth but for me there is some what a sadness as the message of hope, love and sacrifice is lost replaced by selfish commercialism, drunkenness and gift giving. From TV and Radio to conversations with work colleges and friends non talked [...]
H.H. Sivarama Swami: Danda-krt asks for our view on the following instructive story and whether we agree with it
They won’t let me in. In short should people in an unclean state be allowed in the temple?
They Won’t Let Me In
It was a beautiful Sunday morning. People were filling the temple to its full capacity! As they entered, each were given a bulletin filled with announcements, arcana rates, rates for different pujas.
At the end of the line stood an older man. His clothes were filthy and you could tell that he had not bathed in days. His face was covered with whiskers, for he had not shaved for a very long time. When he reached the main door, he removed his tattered old cap in respect. His hair was long, dirty, and a tangled mess. He had no shoes on his feet, and wore only soiled black socks to cover the sores upon his feet. The gatekeeper looked at him turning up his nose at the old man and said, “Uh, I’m sorry sir, but I’m afraid we can’t let you in. You will distract the congregation and we don’t allow anyone to disrupt our service. I’m afraid you’ll have to leave.”
The old man looked down at himself and with a puzzled look on his face, he placed his old brown hat back upon his head and turned to leave. He was sad as he loved to hear the devotees sing praises to the Lord. He carried in his pocket a small worn out Gita and loved to see if someone preached a passage from Gita that he had underlined. But he was respectful, and didn’t want to cause any commotion, so he hung down his head and walked back down the steps of the big temple.
He sat down on the brick wall near the edge and strained to listen through closed doors and windows to the mantras going on in the temple. Oh how he wished he could be inside with all the others.
A few minutes had passed by when all of a sudden a younger man came up behind him and sat down near him. He asked the old man what he was doing? He answered, “I was going to go to have darshan of the Lord today, but they thought I was too filthy, my clothes too old and worn, and they were afraid I would disrupt their service. Sorry, I didn’t introduce myself. My name is Gangaram.” The two men shook hands, and Gangaram couldn’t help but notice that this man had long hair. He was very handsome and had a different look. He could feel the smell of cows on him. He had bare feet, now covered with dust and dirt.
The stranger touched Gangaram’s shoulder, and said: “Sir, don’t feel bad because they won’t let you in. My name is Krishna, and I’ve been trying to get into this same temple for years — they won’t let me in either.”
Our Bhakti Sastri course started late, in the year of 2010. It was interesting to note that Bhaktivedanta College classrooms were scattered all over the property of Radhadesh. We were to do our course in the “Main Classroom” but the smell of fresh paint had many of the students woozy. It seemed that the sense of smell was going to be the main cause of havoc for our course throughout the whole of its entirety.
I found it very ironic that we were not utilizing the “Bhakti Sastri Classroom” for the beginning of the course. We seemed to do all courses besides Bhakti Sastri in the “Bhakti Sastri Classroom”. We were not even stationed in a classroom but instead were in the “Community Hall” due to other courses (non-Bhakti Sastri related) going on in the “Bhakti Sastri Classroom” and the “Main Classroom” being too smelly.
Eventually, of course, after a good period, we were finally doing our Bhakti Sastri in the “Bhakti Sastri classroom”. It felt right; it felt like the Dharma, the intrinsic nature, of the classroom was being fully utilized. We were comfortable. Of course, after class, we soon decided that, because it was a classroom, we could use the “Bhakti Sastri Classroom” for study related matters. These study related matters became less study related (most likely due to the discovery of flying internet in the classroom) and less Bhakti Sastri related (considering that was the course that was being studied in the class).
Soon enough, as the winter months rolled in, there was a new battle. I deemed it the battle between the “Warm Club” and the “Cold Club”, while others may have claimed it to be a battle for fresh air over stale air. People persistently needed to air out the room, letting the cold winter breeze rush in and set its toll on the classroom. Those from the warmer climates (Australians for example) were not so accustomed to this newly acquired temperature, despite our shared love of fresh air. We battled long and hard, sometimes submitting to the opposition, to keep the “Bhakti Sastri Classroom” warm, and for the most of it we were rather comfortable.
All seemed to fair well for us, in our “Bhakti Sastri Classroom”, some now opting to wear a couple extra chaddars (and even a shirt) so the cold became a waning problem. But something else had arisen, something more sinister even than the cold. It started off almost as a scented whisper. It soon became apparent that something smelled funny in the “Bhakti Sastri Classroom”. At first it seemed to be simply the staling of the room. Later it was attributed to the lunch hour, where guests would utilize the room (much to our objection) and failed to clean their luncheon remains. Both of these were good theories at first but they soon lost weight in explaining that strange smell.
Finally there were objections. The class relocated to the “Main Classroom”. The “Bhakti Sastri Classroom” ceased to even be a classroom at all. Indeed most (despite those whose nostrils were less tapered) had abandoned all association with the “Bhakti Sastri Classroom” and we sadly had to deal with the consequences and compromises. Many students lost track of their emails, somehow found more time to study and even visited the library (a long neglected structure). The reception now became an internet café, whereas before we could lock these net users away, behind the door now used to lock away the bad smell.
There were attempts to rectify the situation. Some students, residents and well-wishers infiltrated the “Bhakti Sastri Classroom”. They searched high and low, in the lengthy depths of the classroom, trying to find the source of the now putrid smell. The cupboards were emptied, the pot plants examined and there was no trace of the source in the depths of the room. Eventually it was deemed that the smell was coming from under the floorboards.
The rumour was out: there was a dead animal (most likely a rat) under the “Bhakti Sastri Classroom” floorboards. With the rumours came a new name for the classroom: the “Smelly Room” – no longer a classroom and no longer anything to do with Bhakti Sastri.
Winter in Radhadesh meant a few changes; the cold set in, the snow was down and eating was done indoors. Previously, we would line up outside, before the “Prasadam Tent” but now we were lining up in the corridor, which was shared by the “Smelly Room”. At first it was fine, then it was just tolerable but finally something had to be done. Towels were shoved under the doorway and the room was aired out at selected times of the day. Most of us were glad this didn’t happen in the busy season; it was embarrassing to have guests experience the stench we all now learned to live with.
The rumours intensified. One student was asked by a Bhakta why the room smelled. The student gave the typical answer we all now had ingrained in our mind: “there is a dead rat under the floorboards”. The Bhakta later told the student: “there is no dead rat under the floorboards”. What? How did he have access under the floorboards? If there was no rat, what was making the smell? Whatever it was, we thought, it must be under the floorboards. What did he know that we didn’t? What was stashed under the floorboards that no one was to know about? All sorts of theories were developed, some logical and some mystical. Was there murder afoot in the Castle?
The rumours intensified and the plots became more elaborate. There was a list of suspects and a list suggested victims. It was now Cludo De Castle; who, where and with what?
Finally the Bhakti Sastri course finished and indeed the Bhaktivedanta College semester came to a close. Students scattered across the countryside and the world for their respective Christmas holidays. Those who were left were off in the snow fields, too preoccupied to care about what was happening with the “Smelly Room”. It became a folk tale, old history, a legend. It was a long memory, implanted somewhere in the back of our minds. We would think no more of it…until one day.
I walked past the once “Smelly Room”. There was some staleness but there was not anymore a whaling smell of grief. Had our rotting corpse finally merged back with the earth? Had someone done something unknown under the floorboards or was it something else entirely? I continued on my way, trying to think nothing of it, hoping that the answer would come soon enough.
A week later I was in the reception, doing my business (business that was once done in the “Bhakti Sastri Classroom”). “Did you hear about the Bhakti Sastri Classroom?” our trusty receptionist said. “No I did not?” I replied in curiosity. Of course I had heard so much about this classroom, indeed spreading a lot of my own propaganda about it, but perhaps she knew something new. “They were going to rip the floorboards up, searching for a dead rat” she said; this I knew. She continued: “but that wasn’t the source of the smell.” “Oh it wasn’t?” I dabbed in, now intrigued. “No” she laughed, “it was a bag of vegetables, sitting behind the door.” “Are you serious?” I said in a startle, but the strange theory seemed to make sense. We looked long and hard but we failed to look under our nose (although, ironically, we were searching for a smell). We flung the door open so many times, in disgust, searching for things we thought were far out of sight but we simply had to prod nearer to home. I tied it all together in my mind. So much of it made sense now but there were still some details that needed to be explained. I decided to ponder over it until I came to a solid conclusion.
I spread the rumour within the Castle walls but I held off information to the outside world until I had the full story. This morning I was wandering by the sink, washing a plate after Prasadam, when the subject came up again. “Did you hear about the Bhakti Sastri room?” again, another obvious question with some subtle indications. I played along. “It was a bag of Brussels sprouts” he finally added. Now it made perfect sense!
Brassica oleracea, of the Gemmifera group, what is best known as: Brussels sprouts. They’re a high source of Vitamin A and a bunch of other goodies; a most unpopular addition to the dinner table, in the eyes of the children; and a perfect sense of wafting, putrid smells, if left over time in a bag. Had it been an animal it would have went from scentless to insanity in a matter of a day but this strange smell took a week or so to fully manifest. Indeed the first initial smell was very much like that of old vegetables, lacking the fleshy hint that most Hare Krsnas seemed to be allergic to. All this and the obvious fact that the capital city of Belgium is “Brussels” had me convinced that this was the culprit.
The case was closed and is now available for everyone’s examination. I hope this information is helpful for you all and can aid us in avoiding another catastrophe of this kind. Please circle this article to all who it may concern. Please remember that Brussels sprouts may be good to feed your children (although that will be highly contested by the children themselves) but it should not be left in a bag unattended. If anyone is interested, we are planning to conduct a Brussels sprout awareness group here in Radhadesh, for future safety measures. Please also note that all names were excluded from this article to protect the innocent.
Read original post: [http://maddmonk.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/the-bhakti-sastri-classroom]
I sit here in the corridor of a thousand pillars in the Ramanatha temple here in Rameshvaram, South India. I overlook a great pond which is filled with lotus pads and lotuses. A platform extends out over the pond, and high up on the ledge men toss down metal buckets into the water over and over and over again and reel them up expertly. Then they splash that holy water onto the heads of swarms of eager pilgrims.
This is only one stop in the maze of 22 holy wells within the temple complex, and one is supposed to visit each one and receive the holy water.
It's like a spiritual Splash Mountain.
I remember when my own journey of the bathing ceremony carried me to this place two days ago. I had whirled onto the raised platform in a little river of chaos, wet and exhilarated. But when water poured over my head and I looked around, I felt as though I had entered a sphere of peace.
It's odd to be back here two days later as an observer. I feel like one of the columns here, watching and watching, very, very still. I have begun to see the moods of the variety of pilgrims who come - most people are rushed and a little frantic, some with creased eyebrows, some demanding water.
Every so often a group of devotees will come, smiling from ear to ear, chanting Hare Krishna, sometimes arms upraised or palms folded. Ha! A crowd of devotees just arrived, grinning and jumping, chanting "Haribol! Haribol! Haribol!" They are so happy, so in bliss! And when they received the water on their heads, they all dashed off and cried out "JAI!!!"
These moments transcend time. The breeze sweeps around this pond and through these columns in great, cool swathes. Upon closer inspection, the columns are pockmarked with graffitti. I see names, numbers, dates... actually, the pillar in front of me has a faded heart with two names inside scrawled in Telugu. Like every other place in the world such as monuments, buildings, trees, or even bathroom stalls and picnic tables, people want to leave a mark that will live on long after they're gone.
Isn't that the nature of the soul, to be eternal? It is so painful to die. We all want to live on forever.
But the truth is, we are all like someone in this river of pilgrims who come to receive their splash of water. Our time here is just for one fleeting minute. And some of us arrive with arms upraised or palms folded, smiling, chanting the Lord's name, and maybe that's all I can ask of this life.
That time of year is almost upon us...the beginning of the New Year. It appears to be one of the few times that society in general takes a quick breather to take a look back and reflect upon the year that's passed by. Remarks like, "I can't believe it's gone by so fast," fill the air and there is a sense of disbelief and awe.
It's also the time when New Year's resolutions get thrown around. "This year I'm going to do x, y and z," are easily proclaimed and are even more quickly forgotten. As someone who has broken countless promises to herself, it saddens me. Why do I not take myself seriously?
As a child, and even now, my favorite book of all time has to be the Mahabharata. It has it all- intrigue, comedy, friendship, romance, drama and so much more. If I had to pick my favorite tragic hero in this great story, it would have to be Karna.
A striking incident that happened in Karna's life explains why. When Karna was born, he was adorned with a protective armor and earrings. It was said that it would always protect him and he would never die if he didn't take it off. Knowing this, Lord Indra (the father of Arjuna), schemed to part Karna with these protective features. Knowing that Karna had a weakness for brahmanas and that he had vowed he would always give whatever someone asked of him, Indra disguised himself as a brahmana. Receiving Indra, disguised as a brahamana, very nicely and serving him, Karna asked him what he could do for him. Indra at that time asked for his armor and earrings. Karna explained what these ornaments meant but Indra was insistent. Without hesitation, Karna cut off these ornaments from his body and laid it at Indra's feet and thus satisfied him.
That's how important it was for Karna to keep his vow. It meant so much to him, that he was willing to do whatever it took to keep it. Such was the character of Karna, what to speak of so many other exalted personalities in the Mahabharata and in our Gaudiya Vaisnava lineage.
In my opinion, this is the greatest strength of character- to keep promises to oneself. I know that I have argued on several occasions that it's easier to keep promises to others because they will catch me if I hesitate or break them, but it's just an excuse. We are always held accountable by the Supersoul. Krsna is watching everything we are doing and he is watching every time I break a promise I've made to myself.
I too would like to imbibe the genuine meaning of what vow actually means. The great soberness and heaviness that comes attached with it is something I am fearful of but I am actually the fool if I think that it isn't possible to accomplish. The entire Guru parampara is there, just waiting to help if I ask for it. As HH Bhaktimarga Swami once said during an initiation ceremony, "You have joined the strong, so you have no excuse to be weak."
I'm done with being weak. I want to become strong.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes strongly against those who don’t follow the Vaisnava siddhanta, the Absolute Truth. We cannot follow such philosophies and chant offenselessly. Bhaktivinoda Thakura cuts with a sharp sword all philosophies which criticize the srutis.
From Viraha Bhavan #170
H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: Preview : Srila Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj – Retreat Sunshine Coast – Australia – 14-18 April 2011
Please Click On The Picture To Watch The Enlarged Vision Sent by : “Physio Excellence”
Radhanath Swami speaking at the University of Texas in Dallas on the topic "Yoga and Ecology".
For a person who is suffering in the fire of countless miseries and who desires to cross the insurmountable ocean of material existence, there is no suitable boat except that of cultivating devotion to the transcendental taste for the narrations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s pastimes.
- Srila Prabhupada
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