martes, 15 de febrero de 2011

Sri Nandanandana dasa: Descriptions of the Spiritual World, By Stephen Knapp



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  1. Vraja Kishor, JP: Curing Low Self-Esteem
  2. Sri Nandanandana dasa: Descriptions of the Spiritual World, By Stephen Knapp
  3. H.G. Sankarshan das Adhikari, USA: Tuesday 15 February 2011--The Supreme Perfection of Our Existence--and--Is There Any Reason for Hope?
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  39. Subhavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: A Valentine's day Ekadasi - The curse because of Cupid!
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  50. Toronto Sankirtan Team, CA: Nityananda Special - Monthly Sankirtan Festival Sat, Feb 19th
  51. Ananda Subramanian, Iowa, USA: Happy St Valentine's Day
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  53. Vraja Kishor, JP: Spiritual Significance of Valentine’s Day
  54. Rupa Madhurya das, TX, USA: Lecture - Mukunda Datta das - SB 10.1.43 - Spiritual Advancement
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Vraja Kishor, JP: Curing Low Self-Esteem

Self Esteem

Image by Editor B via Flickr

I believe there are two angles on getting rid of low self-esteem: (1) mundane, replacing it with high self-esteem, (2) spiritual, replacing it with humility. In either case I feel it is essential to clearly understand the CAUSE of the low self-esteem. Depending on the exact nature of the cause, the exact flavor of the low esteem will vary, and thus also the exact nature of the treatment.

In the broadest sense, though, we might generalize that of the three modes of nature – clarity, energy, inertia – low self esteem might most often result from blockage to energy and increase of inertia. Therefore a generally good way to combat self esteem is to reduce the mode of inertia – this means to get BETTER sleep, which usually does not mean more sleep. Better rest makes the mode of inertia function usefully. To sleep well one must remove dirtiness, clutter and disorganization from ones living and sleeping environment. One must also injest non-inertial foods (no alcohols, or meats, etc). Then one will sleep much better. Also to sleep better one requires the mode of energy to be at peace. This means that one has to have a sense that one’s activities throughout the day have come to sufficient fruit. So setting small, attainable and satisfying “to do” lists each day, and checking them off… this will set the mode of energy at ease. When the mode of inertia is not dirty and when the mode of energy is fulfilled – one sleeps soundly and this solves 75% of all mental problems, like low self-esteem.

When these modes are balanced nicely as in the above example, the mode of clarity can really step forward and shine, and one can then REALLY solve the low self esteem problem. The mode of clarity allows us to see things as they really are. So when interia and energy are put to good use, clarity steps forward and shows us that our faults and shortcomings are… in PERSPECTIVE… just faults and shortcomings, and not overwhelming negativities.

Krishna Holding Mount Govardhan ca. 1790 Color...

Image via Wikipedia

Consequent with this treatment – which is material in nature – you should also apply a spiritual treatment: which is to focus your heart on the all-attractive and all-enchanting Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna. Doing so will show you, gradually, and ever-increasingly, that you have an eternal intimate and significant relationship with that delightful being. This is the ultimate and absolute cure for low self esteem – for one who is intimately related to a being as wonderful and sweet as Sri Krsna can not be worthy of scorn or loathing in any way shape or form.

Focusing the heart upon Sri Krsna is most readily accomplished by nama-sankirtana, which means to sing Krsna’s names in a group of like-minded people. There are other supportive methods such as chanting these names one ones own, and listening to / reading about the glories of Krsna’s form, qualities, and activities.

The most superexcellent mantra for this is:

Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

Krsne matir astu!


 
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Sri Nandanandana dasa: Descriptions of the Spiritual World, By Stephen Knapp

The spiritual world is not a myth, although it may certainly be a mystery to those without sufficient knowledge or experience. Many traditions, religions or cultures from around the world tell of another world, the afterlife or a heavenly or spiritual abode. But many of them do not say much about it, but only give hints as to its real nature, leaving the rest up to one’s imagination. The Vedic texts, however, have many descriptions of what the spiritual world is like, in fact more than you will find anywhere else. So we will take a few of these to get a good idea of the conditions there. In fact, such Puranas as the Bhagavata, Vishnu, Garuda, and others explain many of the Lord’s pastimes and expansions as they are found in the spiritual world as well as the activities that He and His devotees display within this material creation.

The Chaitanya-caritamrita by Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has some important verses that summarize what many of the Vedic texts describe, and explain the nature of the spiritual world. In the Adi-lila portion of his book, Chapter Five, we find that the spiritual sky is called Vaikuntha, which means where there is no anxiety. It is all-pervading, infinite, and the supreme abode. It is filled with innumerable spiritual planets, each of which is a residence of one of the unlimited expansions of the Supreme Being. The highest planet is called Krishnaloka, which is the residence of Lord Krishna Himself, the source of all other expansions of God. It is divided into the divisions of Dvaraka, Mathura, and Gokula. All of these divisions also appear on earth where the Supreme Being comes to display His pastimes. Gokula, also called Vraja and Vrindavana, is the highest of all. These abodes that appear on earth are expansions of the supreme spiritual atmosphere and nondifferent in quality to the places in the spiritual world.

Lord Krishna expands into many forms, beginning with His form as Sri Baladeva, also called Balarama, who is considered Lord Krishna’s brother. It is by the energy of Lord Baladeva that the spiritual world exists.

In the Madhya-lila section of the Chaitanya-caritamrita (21.55-57), the spiritual planets are described as larger than we can imagine, larger than any material universe. Each planet is also made of spiritual bliss. All of the inhabitants are associates of the Supreme Lord. And, in Chapter 20 (257-258), the spiritual world is referred to as the abode of the pastimes of the eternal spiritual energy.

There are also many verses in the Brahma-samhita which describe the nature and activities of the spiritual realm. In verse 29, for example, we find that the Lord engages in many playful pastimes. He is not some old man sitting high in the sky in a chair trying to manage everything while overlooking the material creation. Instead, we find that Lord Krishna is engaged in playfully tending the cows with his many friends, or engaged in dancing, having a picnic, teasing His relatives, or sporting with friends in the abodes built with spiritual gems and surrounded by millions of wish-fulfilling trees. He is served with great reverence and affection by thousands of goddesses of fortune. In verse 2, it states that Gokula, the supreme abode and planet, appears like a lotus flower with a thousand petals.

Life there is eternal, as is everything else in the spiritual world, and full of bliss and knowledge. It is full of pure devotees who have unlimited facility for their loving service to the Supreme Being. There are beautiful homes and gardens, with ample vegetables, flowers, and jewels. Each person is full with all beauty, wealth, strength, fame, knowledge, and bliss. They also wear the most beautiful of clothes, and fly in wondrous planes around the spiritual planets. All walking is a dance, and all speech is a song. The water is nectar and the land is touchstone.

In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Third Canto, Fifteenth Chapter, there is the following description of the kingdom of God: “In the spiritual sky there are spiritual planets known as Vaikunthas, which are the residence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His pure devotees and are worshiped by the residents of all the material planets. In the Vaikuntha planets all the residents are similar in form to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They all engage in devotional service to the Lord without desires for sense gratification.

“In the Vaikuntha planets is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the original person and who can be understood through the Vedic literature. He is full of the uncontaminated mode of goodness, with no place for passion or ignorance. He contributes religious progress for the devotees.

“In those Vaikuntha planets there are many forests which are very auspicious. In those forests the trees are desire trees [trees that fulfill all desires], and in all seasons they are filled with flowers and fruits because everything in the Vaikuntha planets is spiritual and personal.

“In the Vaikuntha planets the inhabitants fly in their airplanes, accompanied by their wives and consorts, and eternally sing of the character and activities of the Lord, which are always devoid of all inauspicious qualities. While singing the glories of the Lord, they deride even the presence of the blossoming madhavi flowers, which are fragrant and laden with honey. When the king of bees hums in a high pitch, singing the glories of the Lord, there is a temporary lull in the noise of the pigeon, the cuckoo, the crane, the chakravaka, the swan, the parrot, the partridge, and the peacock. Such transcendental birds stop their own singing simply to hear the glories of the Lord. Although the flowering plants like the mandara, kunda, kurabaka, utpala, champaka, arna, punnaga, nagakesara, bakula, lily, and parijata are full of transcendental fragrance, they are still conscious of the austerities performed by tulasi, for tulasi is given special preference by the Lord, who garlands Himself with tulasi leaves.

“The inhabitants of Vaikuntha travel in their airplanes made of lapis lazuli, emerald, and gold. Although crowded by their consorts, who have large hips and beautifully smiling faces, they cannot be stimulated to passion by their mirth and beautiful charms. The ladies in the Vaikuntha planets are as beautiful as the goddess of fortune herself. Such transcendentally beautiful ladies, their hands playing with lotuses and their leg bangles tinkling, are sometimes seen sweeping the marble walls, which are bedecked at intervals with golden borders, in order to receive the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

“The goddesses of fortune worship the Lord in their own gardens by offering tulasi leaves on the coral-paved banks of transcendental reservoirs of water. While offering worship to the Lord, they can see on the water the reflection of their beautiful faces with raised noses, and it appears that they have become more beautiful because of the Lord’s kissing their faces.

“It is very much regrettable that unfortunate people do not discuss the description of the Vaikuntha planets but engage in topics which are unworthy to hear and which bewilder one’s intelligence. Those who give up the topics of Vaikuntha and take to talk of the material world are thrown into the darkest region of ignorance.”

The Vedic texts further describe that in the center of all the spiritual Vaikuntha planets is the planet known as xe “Krishnaloka” Krishnaloka or “Goloka Vrindavana” Goloka Vrindavana, which is the personal abode of the original Supreme Personality of God, Sri Krishna. Krishna enjoys His transcendental bliss in multiple forms on that planet, and all the opulences of the Vaikuntha planets are found there. This planet is shaped like a lotus flower and many kinds of pastimes are taking place on each leaf of that lotus, as described in Brahma-samhita, verses two and four: “The superexcellent station of Krishna, which is known as “Gokula” Gokula, has thousands of petals and a corolla like that of a lotus sprouted from a part of His infinitary aspect, the whorl of the leaves being the actual abode of Krishna. The whorl of that eternal realm, Gokula, is the hexagonal abode of Krishna. Its petals are the abodes of gopis [friends] who are part and parcel of Krishna to whom they are most lovingly devoted and are similar in essence. The petals shine beautifully like so many walls. The extended leaves of that lotus are the garden-like dhama, or spiritual abode, of Sri Radhika, the most beloved of Krishna.”

In this way we can understand that the spiritual realm is not some form of nothingness, as some people may imagine. It is further described that there are millions of Vaikuntha planets, each with a form or expansion of the Supreme Being who resides on it. Each resident of the spiritual world goes to whichever planet has the form of God to which he or she is most attracted. Each Vaikuntha planet is self-effulgent, and many millions of times brighter than the sun. Material time and the modes of nature have no influence in the spiritual realm. There is no birth, death, old age, or disease, and no past, present, or future. Time is conspicuous by its absence. Everything, including the homes, trees, animals, and plants, are all eternal. It is full of beauty and bliss.

The Lord is like a blazing fire and the spiritual entities are like sparks of that fire who engage in unlimited varieties of service for the Lord’s enjoyment. Since the Lord is also the source of all pleasure and happiness, when the living entities come into contact with the Supreme, they also feel a happiness which far supersedes any pleasure they could feel through contact with the material energy. Because the innumerable spiritual entities are engaged in serving and pleasing the Lord in this way, which is their natural, constitutional, spiritual position, they also feel a bliss that knows no bounds. They feel that there could be nothing better that they could do, or would want to do. Thus, they all feel perfectly situated.

Why does the Lord create the spiritual sparks, or the innumerable living entities? Because He is the source of both the unlimited and limited potencies. The Lord is only complete when He displays all of His energies. The unlimited spiritual potency is exhibited by the spiritual world. The limited energy is exhibited in the material cosmos. And the marginal potency, which are the living beings, can be in either the material or spiritual energy, depending on their consciousness.

To exhibit His omnipotency, the Supreme exhibits all of His energies. In this way, the Lord is the source of all potencies, including all pleasure potencies for which all living entities are hankering. When they come in contact with the Lord through the service attitude for pleasing Him, they are also full of all pleasure and happiness, in the same way that a spark becomes bright again when in contact with the blazing fire. Because the Lord is the reservoir of all pleasure, and He also enjoys spiritual ecstasies, there are the living beings who also give Him happiness and provide the means for many pastimes in which there are varieties of pleasurable exchanges between them. The living beings provide the means for the Lord’s variegated activities. Without the spiritual entities, the Lord would remain inactive, although He is complete in Himself. However, merely by looking at all the activity within the material creation we can see that there are unlimited activities. Thus, we can get a clue as to how much more active is the spiritual realm. We can plainly see that we are not alone. So, it is illogical to think that there are no activities in the spiritual realm, or that it is merely some inactive void or Great White Light.

In this way, we can begin to understand that the spiritual world is simply for the transcendental loving relationships and recreational activities that expand the happiness and love of all, without the limitations found within material existence. Besides, what is the meaning of the word “lord” if there is no one to overlord? Similarly, a king without subjects has no meaning. Thus, the spirit souls are the complimentary side of the Supreme Being, and are His parts and parcels. So it is natural that there are reciprocal feelings of love between the infinitesimal living beings and the infinite Supreme Being. This form of love between the Supreme and His spiritual parts and parcels is the ultimate loving relationship. Every other form of love is but a dim reflection.

When the living beings display their pure spiritual tendencies to serve the Lord, they become liberated souls in the spiritual world. However, they have independence to act spiritually or materially. When they wish to pursue their limited desires for material enjoyment to satisfy themselves, then they take up existence in the material creation and acquire a physical body so they can chase after the idea of gratifying their minds and senses. The pleasure of the mind and senses is merely an idea because it is based on the mood of the mind and the level of reality that the materially conditioned soul accepts as his life and drama. The senses alone, being lumps of matter, or parts of an animated and temporary material body, cannot in themselves feel happiness. They only feel sensations which the mind then interprets as being either agreeable and wanted, or disagreeable and unwanted. Such sensations are then merely interpreted by the mind, which then accepts such sensations and situations as happiness or unhappiness. In other words, it has the reality of a dream. In a dream one finds himself affected by various levels of his imagination, or memories of past bodily experiences, until he wakes up. Then he remembers his real and present situation. That is why spiritual realization is also called a spiritual awakening when a person awakens to one’s actual position as a spiritual being, beyond the material body and all its limitations. This realization also makes it clear that he or she ultimately belongs to the spiritual realm and needs to follow the process by which one can attain entrance into the spiritual world.

As it is further described, the Vaikuntha planets of the spiritual world float in the Brahman effulgence. Some call this the Great White Light or void. Merging into this Brahman is for those who prefer to exist in a spiritual vacuum, floating in an eternal sky without any form or activities. For this reason, it is considered an incomplete level of spiritual realization and existence.

“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.” (Chaitanya-caritamrita, Adi-Lila, 2.5)

The Brahma-samhita (5.40) similarly describes the Brahman as being emanated from the body of Lord Krishna: “I worship Govinda [Krishna], the primeval Lord, whose effulgence is the source of the nondifferential Brahman mentioned in the Upanishads, being differentiated from the mundane universe, and appears as indivisible, infinite, and limitless truth.”

Herein we can understand that the Brahman effulgence, or the Great White Light in the spiritual sky, is nothing but the bodily rays coming from the Supreme Being, Sri Krishna. It is within those bodily rays that the unlimited Vaikuntha planets float, and into which the innumerable impersonalist philosophers merge who have attained liberation from material existence and who think there is no Supreme Being. However, such liberated souls who merge into the Brahman have no spiritual form or body, but remain only as a spiritual spark without any activity, floating in the Vaikuntha sky.

The Upanishads, focusing on describing the nonmaterial aspects of the Supreme and spiritual truth, especially put emphasis on the great, impersonal Brahman effulgence. The Mundaka Upanishad (2.2.10-12) provides additional insight into the nature of the Brahman: “In the spiritual realm, beyond the material covering, is the unlimited Brahman effulgence, which is free from material contamination. That effulgent white light is understood by transcendentalists to be the light of all lights. In that realm there is no need of sunshine, moonshine, fire or electricity for illumination. Indeed, whatever illumination appears in the material world is only a reflection of that supreme illumination. That Brahman is in front and in back, in the north, south, east and west, and also overhead and below. In other words, that supreme Brahman effulgence spreads throughout both the material and spiritual skies.”

The above verses mean two things: First, the very word Brahman, being the bodily rays of the Supreme Being, and being an effulgence which must come from a source, means that the Brahman cannot exist without its source. Therefore, by implication, the Brahman means the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Secondly, the rays and spiritual force of the Brahman also pervades the material creation. It is in a corner of this Brahman in which the material creation manifests like a cloud. Within that cloud the necessary transformations take place in order to create the material elements, planets, universes, and innumerable living beings. However, between the material universes and the brilliant effulgence of the Brahman is what is called the Virajanadi or Brahmaloka. It is like a river, also called the Viraja River, which is the separation between the spiritual world and the material world. It is within the confines of the cloudy Viraja River that the material manifestation takes place.

The millions of universes in the material creation float on the waters of the Viraja River. On one side of this river are the material universes, and on the other are the spiritual Vaikuntha planets which float within the Brahman effulgence. The Viraja River is a marginal position between the material and spiritual realms, and is thus not under the control of the material energy. That is why those persons who merge into the Viraja River are considered to have escaped material existence, yet have still not quite entered the real spiritual worlds.

In this way, the Viraja River is also a shelter for those living beings who are disgusted with material life and who become successful in a religious or philosophical discipline that is bereft of true spiritual knowledge. For example, the goal of Buddhists is to reach nirvana in the Great White Light or Clear Void. This void is found in the existence in the Viraja River, which is outside of the material worlds, but still not in the spiritual realm. It is in between. Therein they deny the variegatedness of material existence as well as that of spiritual existence. Thus, if they wish to leave material life yet still have no true understanding of spiritual life, or life on the Vaikuntha planets, it is into this area in which they merge, if they are successful. Without knowledge or the practice of life in the spiritual world, they cannot go beyond this Viraja area. Thus, it is to our advantage to study what is the spiritual realm and how to follow the process best to attain it, as described in the Vedic literature. That is the means of becoming truly free from the limited material existence within this cosmic creation, which was created for the materially conditioned souls who prefer to attempt to satisfy all of their material desires. That is also why it is best to continue to hear about and familiarize ourselves with the deeper and blissful aspects of the spiritual world, such as with additional descriptions as follows:

“Vrindavana-dhama is a place of ever-increasing joy. Flowers and fruits of all seasons grow there, and that transcendental land is full of the sweet sound of various birds. All directions resound with the humming of bumblebees, and it is served with cool breezes and the waters of the Yamuna River. Vrindavana is decorated with wish-fulfilling trees wound with creepers and beautiful flowers. Its divine beauty is ornamented with the pollen of red, blue and white lotuses. The ground is made of jewels whose dazzling glory is equal to a myriad of suns rising in the sky at one time. On that ground is a garden of desire trees, which always shower divine love. In that garden is a jeweled temple whose pinnacle is made of rubies. It is decorated with various jewels, so it remains brilliantly effulgent through all seasons of the year. The temple is beautified with bright-colored canopies, glittering with various gems, and endowed with ruby-decorated coverings and jeweled gateways and arches. Its splendor is equal to millions of suns, and it is eternally free from the six waves of material miseries. In that temple there is a great golden throne inlaid with many jewels. In this way one should meditate on the divine realm of the Supreme Lord, Sri Vrindavana-dhama.” (Gautamiya Tantra 4)

“I worship that transcendental seat, known as Svetadvipa where as loving consorts the Lakshmis, in their unalloyed spiritual essence, practice the amorous service of the Supreme Lord Krishna as their only lover; where every tree is a transcendental purpose-tree; where the soil is the purpose-gem, water is nectar, every word is a song, every gait is a dance, the flute is the favorite attendant, effulgence is full of transcendental bliss and the supreme spiritual entities are all enjoyable and tasty, where numberless milch-cows always emit transcendental oceans of milk; where there is eternal existence of transcendental time, who is ever present and without past or future and hence is not subject to the quality of passing away even for the duration of half a moment. That realm is known as Goloka only to a very few self-realized souls in this world.” (Brahma-samhita, 56)


 
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H.G. Sankarshan das Adhikari, USA: Tuesday 15 February 2011--The Supreme Perfection of Our Existence--and--Is There Any Reason for Hope?

A daily broadcast of the Ultimate Self Realization Course(tm) Tuesday 15 February 2011 The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna, and His eternal consort, Srimati Radharani are enjoying transcendental pastimes in the topmost planet of the spiritual world, Sri Goloka Vrindavan. They are beckoning us to rejoin them. Our Mission: To help everyone awaken their original Krishna consciousness, which is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. Such a global awakening will, in one stroke, solve all the problems of the world society bringing in a new era of unprecedented peace and prosperity for all. May that day, which the world so desperately needs, come very soon. We request you to participate in this mission by reviving your dormant Krishna consciousness and assisting us in spreading this science all over the world. Dedicated with love to ISKCON Founder-Acharya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, our beloved spiritual master, and to you, our dear readers. Today's Thought: The Supreme Perfection of Our Existence Uploaded from Bhaktivedanta Ashram--Austin, Texas USA Why ignorantly suffer, wasting valuable time trying to be something that you are not, when you can instead live in your all-blissful all-cognizant identity as the eternal servant of the original source of all existence, the Supreme Personality of Godhead? To come to this perfectional stage of being is real intelligence, which goes far, far beyond the so-called intelligence of the empirical scientists and the mental gymnasts. Sankarshan Das Adhikari Blissful Hare Krishna Devotees http://www.backtohome.com/images/blissful_hare_krishnas.jpg Answers According to the Vedic Version: Question: Is There Any Reason for Hope? Your Grace, I want very badly to somehow get back home to God despite my ignorance and confusion (and endless questions). I fully understand that this will never happen without the help of the Holy Master. But, you know, it seems that I've spent my whole lifetime TRYING to grasp the Lord's will, and yet miserably failing to do so. I must have read the Gita at least several hundred times trying my best to understand the Lord's instructions to little avail. Now I'm 57 years old, physically-disabled, and in poor health. I can't imagine that I have much more time in this miserable life. I've tried so hard, Your Grace, and failed so many times. Honestly, is there any reason for hope? Please, Oh God, please illuminate my worthless mind. Srila Gurudeva, I am out of options. Even though I'm unworthy, please help me; I fall at Your Lotus Feet. Sincerely, A.K. Answer: There Is Unlimited Hope. There is unlimited hope, so don't despair. You can now become completely perfect. If you will simply sincerely beg Lord Krishna that you can fully surrender to Him, from within as the Supersoul and externally through the transparent via medium of the bona fide spiritual master, He will give you all good guidance for becoming fully perfect in this lifetime so that you can go back to home, back to Godhead when you leave your present body. Sankarshan Das Adhikari Transcendental Resources: Receive the Special Blessings of Krishna Now you too can render the greatest service to the suffering humanity and attract the all-auspicious blessings of Lord Sri Krishna upon yourself and your family by assisting our mission. Lectures and Kirtans in Audio and Video: Link to High Definition Videos Link to Over 1,000 Lecture Audios Lecture-Travel Schedule for 2011 http://www.ultimateselfrealization.com/schedule Have Questions or Need Further Guidance? Check out the resources at: http://www.ultimateselfrealization.com or write Sankarshan Das Adhikari at: sda@backtohome.com Get your copy today of the world's greatest self-realization guide book, Bhagavad-gita As It Is available at: http://www.ultimateselfrealization.com/store Know someone who could benefit from this? Forward it to them. Searchable archives of all of course material: http://www.sda-archives.com Receive Thought for the Day as an RSS feed: http://www.backtohome.com/rss.htm Unsubscribe or change your email address Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Daily_Thought Copyright 2005-2011 by Ultimate Self Realization.Com Distribution of this material is encouraged. Simply we request you to acknowledge where it is coming from with a link to our sign up page: http://www.backtohome.com Our records indicate that at requested to be enrolled to receive e-mails from the Ultimate Self Realization Course at: This request was made on: From the following IP address:

 
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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Today's Darsana

15/02/11

Here is today's darsana.

Chota Gaura Nitai and Srila Prabhupada have a fresh look and distinct facial expressions thanks to Rasa Nandini Mataji's artistic strokes.

 
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Devadeva Mirel, Alachua, USA: Playing Outside : Are You ReMARTHAble?

 

Oh Crafters, Cake Decorators and Such! Here is a contest for those of you with the finesse to out-Martha Martha. Ms. Stewart is having a contest. The reward is a big car! Now is the time to get rewarded for your attention to detail, fine motor skills and cute ideas. Yup, that means I’m excluded. But you! Now you are clever.

Click to get in on Martha’s action!


Tagged: cake decorating, contest, craft, martha stewart
 
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Sri Prahlad, AU: What are the Benefits of Kirtan?

Note from Sri Prahlada

January has been a wonderful month for kirtan in Sydney. On the 22nd and 23rd, we had a 40 hour kirtan celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Hare Krishna community in Sydney and Australia. One of the highlights was a performance by Swamis from Satyananda Yoga at Mangrove Mountain. Another highlight was the kirtans performed by Gaura Vani and his USA based group As Kindred Spirits. They are currently on tour in Australia and I had the fortune of attending each of the group’s six concerts in Sydney. I have a particular affection for these kirtan musicians as lead singer Gaura Vani and bass player Shree Shyam and I all went to school together in 1980s at an ashram in Vrindavan India.

In January we also had the opportunity to share kirtan on the Lily World stage for each of the two days of the ‘Big Day Out’ in Sydney. It was a different environment to that of a peaceful Yoga School, so we kept the tempo more upbeat. Despite the 40+ degree heat, hundreds of people danced in front of the stage. After the second day, I asked two girls who had been dancing ecstatically in front of the stage how they liked the kirtan. They replied they had never experienced anything so wonderful and blissful as kirtan. They said that although it was over 40 degrees, they had goose bumps all over the bodies from the chanting!

So, just what happens to people in kirtan? This is the focus of this issue of Kirtan Magic, covered in our feature article entitled “What are the Benefits of Kirtan?”. Please enjoy and feel free to get involved by commenting below, and of course I hope to meet you soon at one of our upcoming kirtan events!

With affection,
Om & Prem
Sri Prahlada

What are the Benefits of Kirtan?

Recently, I was asked to explain the benefits of kirtan to the owner of a yoga school who was considering organizing a kirtan concert. My response was that in kirtan people experience:

• Inner peace
• Happiness
• Opening of the heart with feelings of love and compassion
• Connection with the Divine and other kirtan participants
• On occasion, goose bumps and tears as the heart jumps with joy

I then offered that there were three authorities from which to understand the benefits of kirtan:

1. Personal experience
2. Academic research findings
3. The authority of Vedic-yoga texts.

Personal experience

Most kirtan authorities share that the benefits of kirtan cannot be explained in words, it has to be experienced in order to be understood. How do you explain the taste of a mango to someone who has never tasted these fruits? You can intellectualise over the taste by saying its something like a cross between a peach, pineapple, and an orange, but until a person tastes a mango, they can never really know it’s flavour. The same is with the experience of kirtan – you have to experience it to know what it is. Sacinandana Swami put it eloquently when he wrote: “Words can show us the direction in which to look for the kirtan-experience, but only when you sit down, move towards your inner space, and then sing out, will you start to know what kirtan really is. Because at that time your soul will rise up and start to dance…”

Another thing is that different people will experience kirtan differently. Some people might immediately love it, like meeting a long lost friend or returning home after a long time away. Others might take a little while to get used to an unfamiliar experience. Additionally, kirtan can often sound raw and unpolished. Hence, some might find the mango a little green – immature and therefore unpalatable. But in India, people love green mangos (eaten with salt and chilli powder pickled) as much as they love ripe mangos. They can also discern between different varieties of mangos – some are sweeter and others have a slightly bitter taste, others stringy, and others are more or less firm. Similarly, a kirtan connoisseur can discern and appreciate different varieties and flavours of kirtan.

My personal experience of kirtan is that when the lead chanter and the group participants are sincere and sing from the heart with devotion – there is nothing in the world that has the power to move and uplift me like kirtan. When I look back on my life, my happiest, most blissful moments, were all in kirtan.

Academic research findings

In the past several years, with the increasing awareness and appreciation of kirtan in the Western yoga community, it has also come to attract the attention of academic researchers. In the USA, Black and Vaugn made kirtan the focus of their Masters theses (respectively in music and psychology), while Cooke made it the focus of her PhD in music. Each of these qualitative studies involved interviews with kirtan participants. Interestingly, three similar themes emerged relating to the benefits of kirtan. In each study it was found that kirtan:

1. Induces a powerful sense of connection with the Divine.
2. Induces trance like meditative states of altered consciousness, including feeling of spiritual upliftment that last long after the kirtan event has concluded.
3. Opens the heart, allowing greater connection and community amongst other kirtan participants, even those of diverse backgrounds and traditions.

The teachings of the Vedic-yoga texts

Interestingly, study of the Vedic-yoga texts reveals similar themes, but describes the benefits of kirtan at a deeper level. This is a level that is not consciously perceptible to the senses. My analysis of the Vedic-yoga texts unveils five themes:

1. The first benefit is that kirtan chanting destroys negativity. The Yoga Sutras (1.27-31) state that chanting om destroys “disease, procrastination, laziness, doubt, pain, nervousness, and lamentation”. According to the Vedic-yoga tradition, such negative conditions as disease, and mental distress are the result of deeper negative psychological impressions from unwholesome actions performed even in previous lifetimes – bad karma. Therefore, the more important benefit of kirtan is that it destroys the seeds of negativity waiting to sprout as the result of negative karma from previous lifetimes. In this regard, the Brhad-vishnu Purana goes as far as saying that chanting one holy name destroys more negative karma than a person is able to commit. It is natural that when a person is free from the burden of negativity they will be peaceful and happy. This leads us to…

2. The second benefit is that it awakens blissfulness or natural joy within the heart. Arjuna declares in the Bhakgavad-gita (11.36), “the world becomes joyful upon hearing your name”.

3. The third benefit of kirtan is that it is easy to perform. The Skanda Purana states that chanting the name of Hari (a name of the Divine which means one who takes away all distress) just once, guarantees liberation. Because it is easy, it is also described as the most practical method for attaining spiritual perfection, particularly in this age, hence…

4. The fourth benefit is that it is described as the topmost spiritual process. The Srimad Bhagavatam describes kirtan as the “ultimate spiritual practice” (6.3.22) and as the “doubtless and fearless way of success” (2.1.11) in any endeavour – spiritual or material. Similarly, Bhagavad-gita (10.25) describes it as the topmost form of sacrifice.

5. Finally, the fifth benefit of kirtan is that it creates Divine connection, which is the greatest of all benefits. This connection transpires both as the experience of Divine presence and as the awakening loving affection. Regarding the experience of Divine presence, Krishna tells Narada in the Padma Purana; “My dear Narada, actually I do not reside in my abode, Vaikuntha, nor do I reside in the heart of the yogis, but I reside in that place where devotees sing my holy names”.

The loving affection that awakens in the heart during kirtan is mutual both for the chanter and the Divine. The chanter comes to love the Divine, as Arjuna tells Krishna in in the Bhagavad-gita (10.25) that when people hear Your name “everyone becomes attached to you”. Likewise, the Divine comes to loves the chanter ever more. In this regard Krishna declares in the Adi Purana, “When a person chants My name, whether out of devotion or indifference, then the chanters name will remain forever in My heart. I will never forget such a soul”.

So you can see, the benefits of kirtan described in the Vedic-yoga texts is similar to those people explain from their personal experience, but it goes further by describing benefits at a level that is beyond the purview of our limited sensory perception.

For example, while people describe that kirtan relieves distress and induces a state of peace. The Vedic-yoga texts reveal, however, that the effects of kirtan destroy negative karma even from previous lives that is yet un-manifest.

Similarly, while people describe a felt sense of spiritual connection. The yoga texts reveal that this connection is mutual and reciprocated by the Divine, who “will never forget” the name of the person who chants the holy name.

The teachings of Chaitanya

Chaitanya is the personality who 500 years ago, revolutionised spirituality in India by promoting kirtan as the easiest and most practical path to enlightenment. He wrote eight stanzas of spiritual instruction called the Shikshastakam. The first of these stanzas summarises the teachings of the Vedic-yoga texts by describing seven benefits to chanting similar those described above. These are that kirtan:

1. Cleanses the heart of all sinful impressions and desires
2. Destroys all suffering by ending the cycle of birth and death
3. Awakens all auspiciousness and good fortune
4. Reveals knowledge of ones true spiritual nature and relationship with the Divine
5. Awakens the highest bliss
6. Delivers the nectar of immortality
7. Allows one to share the highest Divine love by purifying one of all selfish desires for personal pleasure.

Conclusion

In conclusion, analysis of people’s personal experience as well as the Vedic-yoga teachings reveals that kirtan offers wonderful material, emotional, and spiritual benefits – for body, mind, and spirit. Sometimes kirtan is compared to India’s legendary kalpa-vrksa “wish-tree”, which can grant wishes. So why limit our comparison of kirtan to a mango which must be experienced to know its flavour? A wish-tree can deliver pineapples, coconuts, and anything else you might desire.

What benefits have you gained from kirtan? What are your most memorable kirtan moments? Please visit our blog to share your experiences!

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For more kirtan articles, music samples & downloads, event news, and short films and other kirtan resources visit http://www.sriprahlada.com and become a member of Sri Prahlada’s Kirtan Community for FREE. Aside from instant access to a lot of fantastic kirtan resources, you will also receive Sri Prahlada’s e-newsletters with news, realizations, and experiences with kirtan.

 
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ISKCON Toronto, Canada: "Winning Over Inner Space" - A Mind-Opening Seminar by Rohini Priya das

A special seminar, conducted by Rohini Priya das, will be held on the evening of Tuesday, February 15th, 2011 from 7pm to 9pm at the Toronto Hare Krishna temple. Rohini Priya das graduated as a doctor of Medicine from Mumbai university and decided to dedicate his life to the practice of sharing bhakti-yoga.

For the last 15 years he has not only been practicing Krishna consciousness but has been actively distributing the message of the Bhagavad-gita to thousands of engineering , medical students and other professionals all over India. He is currently serving as the Vice President at ISKCON Chowpatty in Mumbai.

The seminar will be focused on "Winning Over Inner Space" and will be focused on, among other things:
  • Taking a closer look at the world around us.
  • Three life-defining questions
  • 10 key lessons
The seminar is free to attend, but RSVPs are requested. Please click here to officially register for the seminar.

 
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ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Lord Varaha's Appearance Day

Tomorrow, February 15th marks the appearance anniversary of Varaha avatar (Lord Krishna's boar incarnation). As described in the Srimad Bhagavatam, Lord Krishna assumed this form of a gigantic boar to lift the drowning planet Earth from the cosmic ocean with his tusks.


A demonic personality had thrown the planet Earth from her orbit into this ocean but the Lord came, as a boar, and saved the Earth.
More information about the appearance of Varaha avatar can be found here; below is a summary of the pastime written by Urmila devi dasi:
“In Vedic cosmology, planets are conscious persons. The planet Earth once fell into the universal water when demonic persons disturbed her orbit by drilling for oil and upsetting her balance. Celestial beings, called devas, who control the universe in service to Krishna, wanted Earth to be rescued.

Responding to their desire, the Lord came to save her. He assumed the form of a splendid, gigantic boar (Varaha), dove to the bottom of the universal ocean, picked up Earth, and gently carried her on His tusks to the water’s surface. As He did so, a great demon challenged Him.

Lord Varaha then carefully placed fearful Earth on the water and gave her the ability to float. A fight between the Lord and the demon ensued within the great ocean. After defeating the demon, Lord Varaha returned to the spiritual sky.”
 
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ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Join Us for Nityananda's Appearance Day this Wednesday!

One of the sweetest festivals of the year falls on Wednesday, February 16th! A warm invitation goes out to you and your family to join us as we celebrate the advent (appearance) of Lord Nityananda this Wednesday evening, starting at 6pm.


Lord Nityananda (also known as Nityananda Prabhu, Nitai, Nityananda Balarama) appeared as Lord Chaitanya’s principal associate for spreading the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord. He especially spread the holy name of the Lord throughout Bengal. He is considered an incarnation of Lord Balarama.

This festival is a special one for ISKCON Toronto and often features very sweet, intimate and spiritually-soaked festivities! We are very excited to announce that joining us for the festival will be HG Rohini Priya das who has been visiting Toronto since last week.

The whole festival will be based on the translation of the seventh verse of the Nityanandastaka, "I worship Lord Nityananda, the limitless root of the tree of devotional service. He traveled on every path, dancing, singing the names of Lord Hari, and describing His glories. Without considering His own interests, He was merciful to the people, and He cast upon them His merciful sidelong glance."

Devotees are encouraged to come to the program wearing the colour blue, the colour commonly associated with Lord Nityananda! The program will be as follows (subject to change):

6:00pm to 6:30pm - Kirtan (Arati)
6:30pm to 6:40pm - Welcome & Announcements
6:40pm to 7:25pm - Class by HG Rohini Priya das
7:25pm to 7:30pm - Launch of Toronto Krishna Internet Radio
7:30pm to 8:00pm - Special Audience-Interactive Presentation
8:00pm to 8:30pm - Kirtan (Arati)
8:30pm - Vegetarian Feast (Prasadam)
 
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ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Temple Clean-Up This Friday! Come Clean Your Hearts by Cleaning Our Beautiful Temple!

The monthly CDM (Ceto Darpanam Marjana) project entails organized cleaning of the temple as a group. This time around, the maha clean-up will feature a special group of Bhakti Vriksha devotees, led by HG Rupanuga das. They will be joining all of us as we get ready to make our temple room shine! A warm invitation goes out to all of you to attend as we encourage you to join these amazing devotees during the clean-up.

Afterwards, we will all sit down over pizza, made by the new "Pizza King" of ISKCON Toronto - Jaya Caitanya, and will able to hear the experiences of Bhakti Vriksha devotees! Everyone is welcome to ask any questions to our dear Rupanuga prabhu who will be there for you!

The schedule will be as follows:
7:00pm to 9:00pm - Maha clean-up of the temple room
9:00pm to 9:30pm - Special pizza party and nectar-filled conversations

Here is a quote by Srila Prabhupada, that hopefully will inspire you:
"Everything within the temple should be kept very, very neat and clean. And the more you keep the temple neat and clean, you will be neat and clean within your heart. And then your understanding will be very easy. We cannot understand Krsna because our heart is piled up with many garbages. That we have to cleanse."
-- Srila Prabhupada Melbourne, May 22, 1975

Please come out and bring your family and friends for this unforgettable experience!
 
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Subhavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: Date Night!

Today on Valentine's day, we are bombarded with all sorts of messages of "Love". I have completed the official posts for my dad (Subhavilasa) today, so here goes mine...

Some husbands will take their wives out for dinner and dancing, so I threw in the towel and got off to a head start ten days ago and took my wife out for dinner, dancing and a concert. Of course without the kids!

So before I get into all the details, first a bit of background. According to me this is our 9th Valentine's day and according to my wife it is our 10th since she counts the "date" we had on Valentine's before we got married. So for what my wife considers our first Valentine's day we went to a devotees house followed by Chinese food. For what I consider our first Valentine's day, we were in ISKCON Toronto for Lord Nityananda's appearance day. Today on our 10th Valentine's day together we are have an exciting time... we just sat down after a busy day of work and feeding the kids and putting them down for the night.

So can you blame us for wanting to let our hair down and leaving the kids with our parents and going out for dinner and dancing. Gyrating to some Bollywood music and eating some tamas food sound like fun to some, but not really my cup of tea...Gokul Tea that is. 

So instead we went to a concert arranged by Gaura-Shakti and it made for a fabulous date night....complete with dinner and dancing. It had a mixture  of kirtan, laughter and  fulfilling association. Thanks to Maharaj, the devotees  and Gaura-Shakti it was not only fun but also spirtually ulifting. 

In a grahasta life it is important to keep Krishna at the centre and it is not always easy to keep it fresh, fun, different and off the daily routine. What a wonderful idea and great experience that will hopefully be repeated...

So I "borrowed" a few pics from our "Date Night" a.k.a. Gaura-Shakti's "Evening of Bhakti"  from Rishi Kumar's album.

Happy Valentine's Day! May we all LOVE Radha Gopinatha eternally!

~ Indresh
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ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Deity Darshan: Sunday, February 13, 2011


 
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Australian News: More on ISKCON Vs McDonalds

In the coming week, ISKCON’s panel of lawyers will be filing a case in court to protest against the opening of the big American franchise in the Jumbo Commercial Centre.

“ISKCON is an international organisation which respects and reveres the cow. Any harm to a cow is not tolerated, and certainly not its slaughter. McDonald’s, on the other hand, promotes cow slaughter and together with its prominent visual representation directly opposite the ISKCON temple, the restaurant will show disrespect to Lord Krishna, who will be worshipped within the close proximity of 100 metres,” said Ajay Chaitanya, President of ISKCON, Mauritius, during a peaceful demonstration next to McDonald’s at 5pm to 7pm, on Wednesday.

He added that Hare Krishna Land hosts a number of important facilities for the Mauritian public and that it is also a site for a new temple and spiritual village.

“It is not the smell, as some people may think, that disturbs us. It is the close proximity of McDonald’s. Moreover, when we are talking of proximity, we are not referring to the temple which already exists in Phoenix but the land on the opposite side of Jumbo Commercial Centre on which we are planning to develop a spiritual village,” said the President.

Ten years ago, McDonald’s applied for a licence from the Municipality of Quatres-Bornes to open its doors at Toys R Us. On grounds of religious sensitivity, ISKCON had objected and McDonald’s was refused a permit. ISKCON deplores the fact that this time, without informing it, Mc Donald’s had obtained a permit from the Municipality of Vacoas-Phoenix to operate right in front of its shrine.

Srinjaya Das, the secretary of ISKCON, confirmed that the movement has filed a case at the CCID on Wednesday and the Independent Broadcasting Association against a private radio for its disturbing remarks which they feel would incite racial hatred. He also revealed that a panel of voluntary lawyers is working on filing a case against McDonald’s by the end of this week. Moreover, ISCKON has already contacted the head office of McDonald’s to protest at the opening of one of its franchise next to the Hare Krishna Land.

Click here to see the story at www.defimedia.info

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Love Is Around the Corner

Toronto, Ontario

With Valentine's Day coming up I was asked to speak about love at a yoga centre. I opened up with a brief narration about the life of Valentinus, a resident of Rome, who was imprisoned for his Christian beliefs. While in jail the jail keeper developed an affinity for Valentinus and then introduced his daughter to him. The woman was blind. Valentinus and her fell in love. As the story is told, her eyesight had returned miraculously. His trial proceeded and he was given an option, either he believe in the Romans' gods and be freed or keep his Christian convictions and die. Valentinus decided to keep his affirmed beliefs and hence he was prematurely reincarnated. He died being in love with his wife and with God.

The talk kept rolling as the topic of love/lust is so intriguing for people. At question time a hand went up and one of the attendees expressed her sexual orientation as bi-sexual. The person wanted to know the Krishna Conscious stance on such an orientation and was relieved about two points as I addressed the topic.

First of all, I mentioned that the Krishna Conscious movement is underway to make a statement about its position on same gender relationship. Secondly, our founder and guru, Srila Prabhupada was accepting of anyone who demonstrated interest in devotion regardless of gender orientation. He always encouraged devotional activities and that that needed increasing whereas sexual activity, even heterosexual, is to be reduced for superior engagement. The idea is to reach the transcendental platform and to place less importance on physical romance. Through the process of bhakti one becomes content to love the Divine Spirit, Krishna, as one's eternal companion. No partnership can claim eternality.

The woman responded with happy tears.

10 KM

 
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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Feathers and Kids

Mississuaga, Ontario

The day was complete, so complete. Of course, I walked and that was before 4 AM. Then morning sadhana followed - a subtle regimentation of mantra-listening/reciting, then worship and dance. And dance I did later in the day. It was native dance. I had seen native Pow Wows in my life, but few. The largest of its kind is a massive annual convergence of First Nations People from across Canada in Toronto and I was there. What their dance has in common with Krishna might sound surprising. For a rehearsal of "8 Verses", which are the written illuminations of mantra master, Chaitanya, I incorporated native dance to the third verse addressing humility, tolerance, respect and fortitude - virtues that are universal to all.

One of our actors, Savya Sacin, donned a rented chief's costume. He looked like a real chief with feathers and all. I offered a short demonstration to him on native dance, an insert after the third verse. I consider myself fortunate. What swami gets the chance to show dance steps that are outside of one's own cultural realm?

In truth, I find native dance to be very pure, wholesome, passionate and folk-like, unlike the licentious stuff of today. Anyways, the rehearsals for this new skit allowed me the creative outlet I sometimes need.

The crown of the day was a birthday party for three kids in our community. Bless their innocent hearts! It's a monk's obligation to be there for them. They are the flowers of the universe.

7 KM

 
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Australian News: Update: ISKCON Vs McDonalds

Update – ISKCON vs McDonalds

PRESS COMMUNIQUE
11 February 2011

ISKCON’S ACTIONS RELATIVE TO THE MC DONALDS ISSUE

ISKCON wishes to inform the public that it is taking a number of steps to address the proposed opening of a McDonald’s restaurant in the immediate vicinity of Hare Krishna Land as well as issues consequential to our public stance of the matter.

APPLICATION FOR AN INJUNCTION

ISKCON has applied to the Supreme Court for an injunction against the opening of a McDonald restaurant in the immediate vicinity of Hare Krishna Land where ISKCON has a number of facilities including its main temple and a learning centre.

ISKCON does not wish to enter into a debate about anybody’s value system as we believe it to be a matter of individual choice, but we certainly believe that the respect of all legitimate religious beliefs is critical to our hard earned national harmony. The plural nature of the Mauritian society confers upon every citizen a duty of diligence towards the sensitivities of his neighbour.

ISKCON wishes to remind the public that it has no business in taking a view on the operations of the McDonald franchise in Mauritius or against individuals who choose to eat beef. On the other hand it views with serious concern that McDonalds chooses to operate less than 50 metres away from where it preaches cow protection, a sacrosanct pillar of its belief system. We wish to assure the public that we are in no way against business enterprise or economic development, but McDonalds total disregard for our religious conviction is way above our tolerance threshold leaving us no choice but to take legal action.
LEGAL ACTION AGAINST RADIO ONE FOR OFFENSIVE BROADCASTING

ISKCON has initiated legal action with the support of other Hindu organisations against Radio One for a radio programme entitled les Pirates de la Radio broadcast on Monday 31 Jan 2011. We consider the show totally inappropriate, offensive, blasphemous, irresponsible, and even provocative.

Our guru has been gratuitously derided as well as Hindu prayers and mantras. The nature of the act is offensive and opens the flood gates to the undermining of religious practice in all its forms and faiths risking gravest impacts on racial harmony.

CIVIL ACTION AGAINST RADIO ONE
The same radio show has caused prejudice to our organisation and to its members. It also contains grave allegations which are completely unfounded. We will initiate civil proceedings against the perpetrators in due course.

FORMAL PROTEST SENT TO HEAD OFFICE OF THE MCDONALD FRANCHISE
We have sent a formal protest to McDonald’s head quarters and they have responded promising to revert once they have looked into the matter. McDonald has been known to uphold its responsibility to the societies in which it operates and we are hopeful that they will take a positive stance on the matter.
ISKCON RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS THE MAURITIAN PUBLIC

All our initiatives are guided by an unflinching attention to remain level headed. We are taking all precautions to explain our position to representatives of other faiths and are comforted by their understanding and support. We wish to reassure Mauritians of all faiths that we have spared no effort to contain the passion and potential tension that this situation could set off. We are also taking necessary steps to ensure that our position is not distorted or misinterpreted as being racial or radical. Ours is an endeavour based on deep rooted religious belief and social values like mutual respect. We respect the values of others and expect the same in return.

We would have chosen to manage the issue away from public attention but we feel that there is a need to keep at check the propensity of certain individuals to act irresponsibly. As the law provides for the protection of citizens and the pre-emption of irresponsible acts that could potentially have grave ramifications, we have been left with no choice but to take necessary steps.

We do encourage vegetarianism, but have never looked down or undermined any religion, culture or the culinary habit of any Mauritian. We have not prone segregation as certain opinion writers and cartoonists tend to suggest. Our temple and places of worship are opened to all as they have always been since inception. Our devotees come from a wide variety of races and cultural background all around the world. We trust the wisdom of the Mauritian public to place our view in the right context as has been expressed by our different communications and derive only those conclusions that have been intended.

We thank you all for your understanding.

Click here to visit the ISKCON Mauritius web site

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Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Varahadeva is no ordinary hog

One should not consider the Lord to have the body of an ordinary boar. He can assume any form, and He possesses all such forms eternally. It is from Him that all other forms have emanated. This boar form is not to be considered the form of an ordinary hog; His body is actually full of yajna, or worshipful offerings. Yajna (sacrifices) are offered to Visnu. Yajna means the body of Visnu. His body is not material; therefore He should not be taken to be an ordinary boar. SB 3:18:20. purport

For Varaha-dvadasi (upcoming)

 
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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 221

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

EXPLANATION OF THE TEXT:

At present I am working on an autobiographical project. The writing of this project goes slow, and I cannot write enough to print it every day. Therefore, I am posting daily a book called Every Day, Just Write. A book by that title was printed many years ago but it was heavily edited. I am now posting the unedited edition, which is fresh reading, and I am confident my readers will like it. So please note that this journal is telling of things that happened in 1996, and it is not a journal of my present day’s activities. Presently I am quietly writing my autobiographical text, and when it is finished I will print it.

Every Day, Just Write, Volume I: Welcome Home to the One Big Book of Your Life

November 21, 1996

December is coming and many devotees in ISKCON will participate in active book distribution on a marathon scale. I’ll be here staying in this room and going out daily to the shed to write and read Bhagavad-gita and once a week speaking at the temple, and so on. I won’t feel guilty about this. By reading and preaching I also participate. Others may criticize me, but I won’t be disturbed by that, especially by imagining they are criticizing me, “He still get headaches?” Do what you can.

Gradually reading more. Through December, if I continue to get days clear of headaches, I’ll read more. This doesn’t mean simply turning more pages quickly and “finishing” chapters. Read them carefully, consider, for example what the Nagapatnis say to Lord Krishna, how they praise Him as supreme source of all. And what Krishna says Himself in Bhagavad-gita.

Don’t be pretentious. Does that mean when you let your hand move quickly and create a drawing, that you shouldn’t welcome and honor that drawing and color it and show it to others? No you can, you should do that. But don’t pretend or imply it’s great “naïve” art or art at all.

Silent.

Words. Do I no longer trust the process of free writing? Do I not want to “sully” or ruin the pages of my quiet diary with silly talk and experiment in words? Do I fear if I let go it will not look KC? Will that destroy and image I want to project of the simple saintly life? Consider it.

What’s the difference between sober control of mind (beat you head a hundred times with shoe and broom) and a pretentious restraint? What’s the line between right restraint and suppression which builds up and isn’t really doing the job? Writing here to discover this by sometimes exploring, expressing so we can say, “Oh this is excess.” Don’t just play it safe always.

Tiskit a taskit. But the old Ella Fitzgerald allusions come pouring in. It’s like switching the tape recorder on to “radio” and riding the tuner dial, picking up sounds from the world. No profit in that I say. Stay away from news reports and worldly music. Yes, stay on the spectrum or wavelength of KC that reaches you from sastra and from your careful listening to intelligence and direction that may come from Supersoul and the spiritual master in the heart. Srila Prabhupada is in his nitya-lila, aprakata form. I have to tune in to him. That’s the advantage of this quiet life in Geaglum. At least that’s a possibility and writing can help.

Still I don’t forbid your tapping into unconsciousness sometimes and telling “all” as it comes in. Maybe, however, we are shifting to a different way of writing, from the all hell breaks loose. You may lose that taste naturally for mundane association and words.

Write and accumulate. Don’t be afraid it won’t look good, won’t fall into pre-conceived image of diary or life here.

They say a mail pack will arrive today. M. reached the courier’s rep in Northern Ireland. They say one package has reached London, and when they get it they will come here but they don’t know how to get here.

M. put the van in winter shed. The back tires skidded so a small group of men assembled and pushed it in. Now he’s getting ready for his trip. Wish him well and pray to Krishna to protect him.

We read about an hour in stories of Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji. Realized we can’t specifically apply his teachings that he gave over a hundred years ago in a different place and to people then. For that we turn to Srila Prabhupada. But Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji’s emphasis remains with us—his absorption in genuine bhajana, austerity, and how that was required before one could talk of Radha-Krishna. Many examples of his life and words. Hypocrites he exposed.

3:45 A.M.

Don’t trust the mind says Rsabhadeva, and Srila Prabhupada lectures on it. Example is Lord Siva who chased after Mohini. How does this apply to my writing down what passes through the mind to the teaching of Natalie Goldberg regarding wild mind? She says, trust the mind, is all you have and “Don’t think,” “Don’t get logical.” Somehow I accept it, and I don’t see it as contradictory to follow these two different lines of thought. My contention is that I have fully accepted KC or at least have accepted it as my foundation so that I notice when I’m not KC and I change it, correct it. But I may have to fight the mechanical, merely official acceptance of KC as our religion, our dogma. Therefore, I want to know what is actually going on in my mind. A person might be so out of touch with himself that he assumes he’s a first class devotee. He assumes he has no errant thoughts or that they are not dangerous or that they are too dangerous to even consider. He keeps a lid on the Pandora’s box of his self. He suppresses it but then it explodes. So I regularly let off steam by letting the mind babble. And often this produces significant data. You start saying, “Actually I want ice cream and a pretty girl.” Then you look at that and say, “What’s this?” And you reason with it in turn it back.

Letting the devil have his due for a while is something I do regularly, as writing practice and a kind of therapy. It is truthful too. I have to learn how to control it. It is part of the large subject of controlling the mind. Controlling a horse, for example, is done not by always holding back on the reins full force. You have to let him go sometimes, give him his head, let him go fully, even spur him on. And when you don’t want that speed, when you need to show the horse who is boss, you pull in the reins. Let him go and pulling in. It’s an art and learned by practice. The mind can learn to cooperate with you, can be supple, flexible and go a long distance under your control, as you let him run… This is the theory I go by. Haribol.

Srila Prabhupada says turn the mind to Krishna, to His lotus feet in the temple. Always look at the lotus feet of Krishna and Balarama. Don’t be in a hurry to see His face. This is the way to use the mind in Krishna’s service. Chant Hare Krishna, it’s the best way in this age. Alas, while chanting I go on thinking, conjuring, dozing, hallucinating, and so forth, lazy and passionate and uncontrolled. Beg that mind, bring it back under control of the higher self, especially while you are chanting. When writing I say Krishna, Krishna and I tell what I read and I tell the little life of a devotee.

Express gratitude and other things in the life of a would-be sadhaka.

 
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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Poem, February 14th

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

He considered his writing
freely and his quiet life
and asked if it was alright.
He left it as a question
open without a conclusion.
No, actually he concluded
it was alright to be his
natural self and push on
with an epic work like
Mark Twain’s Autobiography.
Remembering Srila Prabhupada
not in a stuffed museum
way but begging memories of
how he actually was,
how you sincerely made
full dandavats before him
(seated behind his low desk)
and in your mind surrendered
to whatever he wanted you
to do.
Believing he was
pure and empowered and your
ruler, so he had the right to
tell you what to do.
You worked within limits,
he saw through you and
didn’t ask for the impossible,
knowing you were like a
little bird on the lawn
mainly trying to avoid
being eaten by the cat.
Traveling for him with
a message tied to your foot.

 
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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: P.S. 8 Great Kills

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

The first thing I remember learning in class was that all human beings need food, clothing and shelter. Ms. Williams wrote the words on the blackboard with chalk. One day she also wrote the word FORGET in big letters and then drew many arrows pointing at it. She was annoyed with us for forgetting our assignments. After writing the word she later pulled the world map over that section of the blackboard. Only on the last day of the year did she lift up the world map and the word FORGET with all the arrows was still there. We all had a laugh at that. I remember the first day of school. It was raining when school let out. My mother was waiting for me with a raincoat and two umbrellas. I didn’t know the way home by myself, and she barely knew it herself. She walked me home and continued to meet me after school for a few days until my sister and I both knew the way. Soon I knew all the parts of Great Kills and could get there by myself.

 
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David Haslam, UK: Leprechaun Song (you are a soul)

This is a smart video from Parasharam Das and the food for all team. I guarantee it will make you laugh: Leprechaun Song

 
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Sutapa das, BV Manor, UK: Tolerate happiness?

As our Air India Flight 002 descended on Heathrow airport, the pilot welcomed us to London, announced the local time, and finally revealed the weather was ‘overcast’. Surprise surprise! A verse from Bhagavad-gita came to mind, comparing feelings of happiness and distress to the constant changes of season. Just as winter comes and goes, reappearing the following year, the fluctuations of happiness and distress are just as temporary, meaning one should tolerate them and remain equipoised. I paused to think... the spiritualist has to tolerate happiness. That sounds strange. OK, you tolerate insult and criticism, reversals in the world, misfortunes of life – but why would you have to tolerate happiness? Is that feeling of happiness not the very essence of our existence?

On my recent trip to India I went to purchase some cloth for the monks back home. I came across one wholesaler and asked the cost for 60 metres of cloth, at which the shopkeeper assertively replied “5000 rupees.” My internal calculator immediately began crunching the numbers and I realized he was asking for something in the region of £70. That’s dirt cheap I thought! It would probably cost triple that price in London! I was about to dive into my pocket and enthusiastically seal the deal when I remembered the golden rule of shopping in India – the actual price is usually around half the price they quote initially. As I haggled and debated, threatening to take my custom elsewhere, the shopkeeper relented and came down to 3000 rupees. Good deal! Although the first price seemed amazing, there was room for much better.

Similarly, as one takes to the path of spirituality, various forms of material happiness and pleasure entice one on the way. Such temptations, in the form of fame, adoration, material opulence and feelings of superiority, can attract our attention and indulge our minds. However, one must tolerate such allurements, sincerely striving on for the real fruits of spirituality, knowing such temporal delights to be miniscule in comparison to the spiritual happiness derived from the development of pure consciousness. Whilst our intrinsic nature is to be fully happy, that happiness is spiritual happiness. Forms of material happiness which present themselves in front of us must be tolerated, lest we grab the shadow and miss the substance.

 
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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Radha-vallabha dasa asks what the standard of worship should be for Gaura Nitai deities presiding over our restaurants’ kitchens

 
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Devadeva Mirel, Alachua, USA: HumanMade : Chocolate + Cinnamon

Yesterday my son and I had a little conversation about his future. He loves the baby. So much. Like super-kissy face-mmmuh-mmmuh-mmmuh-kind of love. This boy is a sweetie and I think he will one day, in the much distant future, make an excellent parent. I think this boy will have many babies of his own.

Not to worry. The boy already has a career path picked out, he told me. I was excited to hear what kind of job my very active-upside down-brown curly headed sweetie pie had in mind.

“I want to make cinnamon!”

Oh. Okay. I still don’t understand. Plantation owner? Cinnamon CSA? Cinna-Mill?

My hope was that he would own a bakery. We’ve been watching some Cake Boss together. The boy told me he wants to be “The Cinnamon Boss.” Okay.

Inspired by this future Cinnamon Tycoon, I added some of the barky spice to my Sunday baking. I love chili and chocolate together and figured cinnamon and chocolate was a pretty relative pairing. And, I was right.

These chocolate / cinnamon gluten free cookies were not so great on the first day, so I threw out the recipe that I concocted. Ooops! By the second day they gained moisture and turned into a respectable gluten free cookie. Cocoa powder, cinnamon, butter, rice flour, vanilla, milk. That's all I can really remember.

Taste of Zanzibar : I added a couple of teaspoons of powdered cinnamon to an already delicious brownie recipe.

 

 

 

 

 


Tagged: brunch, chocolate, dessert, eggless baking, gluten free, vegetarian
 
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H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: LORD NITYANANDA PRABHU

Article By His Grace Hiranya-garbha Prabhu Click here to watch added pictures LORD NITYANANDA PRABHU Lord Nityananda is the eternal associate of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Rarely is the name Nimai (Caitanya Mahaprabhu) taken without that of Nitai (Lord Nityananda). Mahaprabhu cannot be approached or understood without the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu, [...]

 
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Madhava Ghosh dasa, New Vrndavan, USA: U.S. Military Sees Great Value in Distributed Renewable Energy

Link to article here


Filed under: Cows and Environment
 
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Devadeva Mirel, Alachua, USA: HumanMade : Monogram Baby Pants

You are my sunshine!

 

Mohini did it again! More handmade lovelies for The Cutest Baby In The World (aka The Hungriest Baby In The World, The Strongest Baby In The World, The Saddest Baby In The World, etc.).

This time Mohini sewed up a pair of elastic waist pants with a monogramed butt. How very!

Enjoy these detailed pics and stay tuned for the unveiling of Mohini’s soon to be happening Etsy shop!

"b" is for "bindu," not "butt"

 

detail: pant cuff

 

Bindu! Ready for some clothes...


Tagged: baby pants, crafting, design, homemade, human made, natural fiber, sewing, waldorf
 
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Subhavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: Resisting Cupid's Power

Picture
The empowered deva Cupid, who enchants all living entities and makes them do whatever he wants. Without receiving the mercy of Guru and Krishna one cannot resist his power.

According to the Amara-kosha dictionary Kamadeva, lust personified, has five names:
kandarpa darpako ‘nanga kamah pancha-sharaih smarah
1) Kandarpa, 'he who is very beautiful'
2) Darpaka, ‘he who prevents future events’
3) Ananga, ‘he who has no physical body’
4) Kama, ‘lust personified’
5) Pancha-sharaih, ‘he who holds five arrows’
 
Kandarpa: In the tenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita (BG 10:28.) Lord Sri Krishna says, prajanash casmi kandarpah; “Of causes for procreation, I am Kandarpa”. The word Kandarpa also means “very beautiful”. Kandarpa appeared as Lord Krishna’s son Pradyumna in Dwarka.
 
Darpaka: This name indicates that Cupid can perceive what is to take place and prevent it from happening. Specifically, he tries to impede pure spiritual activity by alluring one’s mind and forcibly engaging one in material sense enjoyment.

Ananga:
Once, when Cupid disturbed the meditation of Lord Shiva, the powerful deva burned him to ashes. Still, Shiva gave Cupid the benediction that he would act in the world even without a physical body - like a ghost.

Kama:
In Bhagavad Gita BG 7:11.) Lord Sri Krishna says, dharmaviruddho bhuteshu kamo’smi: “I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles.”

Pancha-sharaih: The five arrows with which Cupid pierces the mind of the living entities are taste, touch, sound, smell, and sight.

Without receiving the mercy of Guru and Krishna one cannot resist Cupid's power.

Thus we must always be at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada and Radha Krishna!  
Picture
Notice any similarities with the Valentine's day cupid mass marketed today?
 
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Dandavats.com: Vrinda Kunda Festival Schedule

By Deena Bandhu das

In Celebration of the 8th Anniversary of Vrinda Kunda Temple Opening, we have made an ecstatic schedule of parikramas and festivals from Feb 15 to Mar 4th. This year Mayapur festival is late, so Vrindavan Festival will be very hot

 
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Dandavats.com: ISKCON Kanpur Ratha Yatra was celebrated in a very gorgeous way

By Madhavendu das

Rath was very nicely decorated in Phulbagh Chauraha. Before the beginning of the pared H. H. Bhakti Purushottam Maharaj explained the significance of Ratha Yatra and also quoting from ancient Vedic literature told that how Ratha Yatra is the oldest festival celebrated on the earth

 
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Matsyavatara das (ACBSP), Italy: About religious freedom By Matsyavatara Dasa (Marco Ferrini)


On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 18

-Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, consciousness and religion; this right includes freedom to change one's religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest one's religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.-

Article 19

-Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.-

In the last days we were ashamed to hear about the disrespectful behaviour resulted in barbarous acts against Christians, mostly in Countries of Muslim tradition, that caused the death of many people. By witnessing so many frequent episodes of violence, with regards to religious intolerance, more than ever today we feel the moral need to remark a fundamental concept for the human welfare society, to favour its ethical and spiritual development: the importance to respect one’s freedom to seek a religious belief as a civil way of living. Everyone has the right – women and men at the same level – to freedom of thought and expression of one’s own belief or religion. We make a strong and clear claim first of all to our conscience and to the sensitive people who spend time to listen, in order to reject any form of violence and whether possible to promote, to defend and value the respect for practising any form of religion, not only by granting to each individual the possibility to choose in one’s own private life which religion to follow and how. Furthermore to grant the faculty to become a follower of that particular beleif, self-guarding the right to become a witness of that faith, to convey and spread the message in the society we live in, with full respect for the others and for the basic values of living together in a civil society.
Episodes of violence claimed in the name of religion, with the aim to repress a faith different from the one accepted by the majority of the population, appear to us as heavy as those offences made towards us, against our own religious values that attain to our person, because such acts of violence are by far contrary to the essential freedom of every human being.
By repressing the rispectful expression of one’s belief, we deny the principle of religious freedom in itself, which is a fundamental part of a wider concept of individual freedom. As a matter of fact if we lack the freedom to practise spiritual values, what other kind of freedom could we ever talk about?
Freedom on the political and social level without the respect for a religious freedom, that attains to the more intimate and deeper instances of each human being, is considered neither real freedom nor justice. As History may very well teach us, where there is no justice there can never be peace and freedom.
Besides the kind of belief it may concern, each religious fundamentalism is an attack to freedom and to spiritual realization, the same as every exasperated laicizing of spiritual values is an attack to the expression of freedom, of one’s own way of being, feeling and projecting life in accordance to an evolutive and creative purpose.
For this reason, if we really want a better human world, it is essential, today more than ever, to become witnesses and leaders of an authentic expression of religion on the basis of a rightful freedom.
 
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Dandavats.com: Festival of India & Ratha Yatra parade in Miami!

Nancy Schreier: The Festival of India is coming to Miami! A huge two day festival along with a Ratha Yatra Parade

 
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Dandavats.com: Nityananda Trayodasi Seminar at ISKCON Vrindavan by HH Subhag Swami

Lakshman (das) Vrindavan (IN): On the Holy occasion of Nityananda trayodasi (Appearance day of Lord Nityananda) there will be three days seminar given by HH Subhag Swami Maharaj. The seminar will be held at ISKCON Vrindavan

 
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Dandavats.com: Bhaktivedanta College Radhadesh: A Jewel of Radhadesh Retires

Bhaktivedanta College: A Jewel of Radhadesh Retires: Jaya Krsna's 'Goodbye Evening' His retirement from the college is not full retirement from his managerial service, as he remains on board of trustees and will spend up to two months a year at the college. We all knew that with his enthusiasm he would not stop just yet

 
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Dandavats.com: The Weekend Warriors in Luxemburg

Bhaktivedanta College: The Weekend Warriors hit the streets again, but this time they ventured to another country. All in a days work. Luxemburg was the target

 
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Dandavats.com: “Nectar of Srimad-Bhagavatam” launched

Vidvan Gauranga Das: In the late 1960s, while Srila Prabhupada was translating and commenting on his monumental edition of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, he conceived of writing a book which would contain the essential teachings of the Bhagavatam as he was not sure how long he would remain manifest on this planet

 
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Dandavats.com: Krishna…Krishna…

Nayanpriya Krishna das: O’ Krishna...dear Krishna, merciful Krishna...powerful Krishna, now Krishna...then Krishna, before Krishna...after Krishna, give Krishna...perceive Krishna, adore Krishna...love Krishna, preach Krishna... chant Krishna, root Krishna....source Krishna, speak Krishna...hear Krishna, think Krishna... breath Krishna, please Krishna...delight Krishna, read Krishna...write Krishna...

 
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 February 14: "Dressing up as hippies to increase book distribution - this should be stopped. But under special circumstances you may dress like respectable ladies and gentlemen to distribute my literatures - but even this program should not become widespread."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973

 
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Subhavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: A Valentine's day Ekadasi - The curse because of Cupid!

It is astonishing that Bhaimi Ekadasi falls during Valentine's period and this year right on Valentine's day. If you read the narration below you will see how the curse was directly related to Cupid's arrows.

Also for us Canadians the hellish conditions of ice and cold are also applicable :)
So now it is a must read...
Picture
It is said that if one observes upavasa on this day then one receives entrance to Visnu's abode, even though one has not performed the other vratas of the year.

The following are the glories of Jaya or Bhaimi ekadasi as found the Bhavishya-uttara Purana. Yudhisthira Maharaj said, "Oh Lord of the lords, Sri Krishna, all glories unto You! Oh Master of the universe, You alone are the source of the four types of living entities -  those born from eggs, those born from perspiration, those born from seeds and those born from embryos. You alone are the root cause of all, Oh Lord, and therefore You are the creator, maintainer and destroyer.

"My Lord, You have so kindly explained to me the auspicious day known as Sat-tila Ekadasi, which occurs during the dark fortnight (krishna paksha) of the month of Magha (January - February). Now please explain to me the Ekadasi that occurs in the light fortnight (shukla or Gaura paksha) of this month. By what name is it known, and what is the process for observing it? Who is the presiding Deity that is to be worshipped on this sublime day, which is so very dear to You?

Lord Sri Krishna replied, "Oh Yudhisthira, I shall gladly tell you about the Ekadasi that occurs during the light half of this month of Magha. This Ekadasi obliterates all kinds of sinful reactions and demoniac influences that may be affecting the spirit soul. It is known as Jaya Ekadasi, and the fortunate soul who observes a fast on this sacred day is relieved of the great burden of ghostly existence. Thus there is no better Ekadasi than this, for it truly bestows freedom from birth and death. It is to be honoured very carefully and diligently. So I ask you to listen to Me very attentively, Oh Pandava, as I explain a wonderful historic episode regarding this Ekadasi, an episode that I have already related in the Padma Purana.

"Long, long ago in the heavenly planets, Lord Indra ruled his celestial kingdom very nicely, and all the devas living there were very happy and content. In Nandana Forest, which was beautifully graced with parijata flowers, Indra drank ambrosia whenever he liked and enjoyed the service of fifty million celestial maidens, the Apsaras, who danced in ecstasy for his pleasure. "

"Many singers, led by Pushpadanta, sang in sweet voices beyond compare. Chitrasena, Indra's chief musician was there in the company of his wife Malini and his handsome son Malyavan. An Apsara named Pushpavati became very much attracted to Malyavan; indeed Cupid's sharp arrows pierced the core of her heart. Her beautiful body and complexion, along with the enchanting movements of her eyebrows, captivated Malayavan. "Oh King, listen as I describe the splendid beauty of Pushpavati: She has incomparably graceful arms with which to embrace a man like a fine silken noose; her face resembles the Moon; her lotus eyes reached almost to her lovely ears, which were adorned with wonderful and costly ear-rings; her thin, ornamented neck looked like a conch, having three lines; her waist was very slender, the size of a fist; her hips were broad, and her thighs like the trunks of banana trees; her naturally beautiful features were complemented by gorgeous ornaments and garments; her breasts were highly raised emphasizing her prime of youth; and to look upon her feet was to behold newly grown red lotuses."

"Seeing Pushpavati in all her heavenly beauty, Malyavan was bewitched at once. They had come with the other performers to please Lord Indra by singing and dancing enchantingly, but because they had become so enamored of each other, pierced through the heart by the arrows of Cupid, lust personified, they were utterly unable to sing or dance properly before the lord and master of the heavenly realms. Their pronunciation was wrong and their rhythm careless. Lord Indra understood the source of the errors at once. Offended at the discord in the musical performance, he became very angry and screamed, "You useless fools! You pretend to sing for me while in a stupour of infatuation with each other! You are mocking me! I curse you both to suffer henceforth as pisahas (hobgoblins). As husband and wife, go to the earthly regions and reap the reactions of your offenses."

"Struck dumb by these harsh words, Malyavan and Pushpavati at once became morose and fell from the beautiful Nandana Forest in the kingdom of heaven to a Himalayan peak here on planet Earth. Immeasurably distressed, and their celestial intelligence vastly diminished by the effects of lord Indra’s fierce curse, they lost their sense of taste and smell, and even their sense of touch. It was so cold and miserable high on the Himalayan wastes of snow and ice that they could not even enjoy the oblivion of sleep."

"Roaming aimlessly hither and thither in those harsh altitudes, Malyavan and Pushpavati suffered more and more, from one moment to the next. Even though they were situated in a cave, because of the snowfall and cold their teeth chattered ceaselessly, and their hair stood on end because of their fright and bewilderment. "In this utterly desperate situation, Malyavan said to Pushpavati, 'What abominable sins did we commit to have to suffer in these pisacha bodies, in this impossible environment? This is absolutely hellish! Though hell is very ferocious, the suffering we are undergoing here is even more abominable. Therefore it is abundantly clear that one should never commit sins".

"And so the forlorn lovers trudged onward in the snow and ice. By their great good fortune, however, it so happened that very day was the all auspicious Jaya Ekadasi, the Ekadasi of the light fortnight of the month of Magha. Because of their misery they neglected to drink any water, kill any game, or even eat whatever fruits and leaves were available at that altitude, they unknowingly observed Ekadasi by fasting completely from all food and drink. Sunk in misery Malyavan and Pushpavati collapsed beneath a Pipal tree and did not even try to get up. The Sun had set by that time."

"The night was even colder and more miserable than the day. They shivered in the frigid snowfall as their teeth chattered in unison, and when they became numb, they embraced just to keep warm. Locked in each other’s arms, they could enjoy neither sleep nor sex. Thus they suffered through the whole night under the powerful curse of the deva Indra."  “Still, Oh Yudhisthira, by the mercy of the fast they had by chance observed on Jaya Ekadasi, and because they had remained awake all night, they were blessed. Please hear what happened on the next day. As Dwadasi dawned, Malyavan and Pushpavati had given up their demoniac forms and were once again beautiful heavenly beings wearing lustrous ornaments and exquisite garments. As they both looked at each other in amazement, a celestial airplane arrived on the spot for them. A chorus of heavenly denizens sang their praises as the reformed couple stepped into the beautiful aircraft and proceeded directly to the heavenly regions, buoyed up by the good wishes of everyone. Soon Malyavan and Pushpavati arrived at Amaravati, Lord Indra’s capital city, and then they immediately went before their lord (Indradev) and offered him their cheerful obeisances. "

“Lord Indra was astonished to see that they had been transformed, restored to their original status and forms so soon after he had cursed them to suffer as demons far, far below his celestial kingdom. Indradev ask of them, ‘What extraordinary meritorious deeds have you performed so that you could give up your pisacha bodies so quickly after I cursed you? Who released you from my irresistible curse?" “MalyavAn replied, ‘Oh lord, it was by the extreme mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna and also by the powerful influence of the Jaya Ekadasi, that we were released from our suffering condition as pisachas. This is the truth, Oh master: Because we executed devotional service to Lord Vishnu (even performed unknowingly – by ajnata sukriti) by observing the day most dear to Him, we have happily been restored to our former status.”

“Indradev then said, ‘Because you served the Supreme Lord Sri Keshava by observing Ekadasi, you have become worshippable even by me, and I can see that you are now completely purified of sin. Whosoever engages in devotional service to Lord Sri Hari or Lord Shiva becomes praiseworthy and worshippable even by me. Of this there is no doubt.’ Lord Indradev then gave Malyavan and Pushpavati free rein to enjoy each other and wander about his heavenly planet as they wished."

“Therefore, Oh Maharaj Yudhisthira, one should strictly observe a fast on the sacred day of Lord Hari, especially on this Jaya Ekadasi, which frees one from the sin of killing even a twice born brahmin. A great soul who observes this fast with full faith and devotion has in effect given all kinds of charity, performed all kinds of sacrifice, and bathed in all the Holy places of pilgrimage. Fasting on Jaya Ekadasi qualifies one to reside in Vaikuntha and enjoy unending happiness for billions of yugas – indeed, forever as the soul is eternal. Oh great king, Lord Sri Krishna continued, one who even hears or reads these wonderful glories of Jaya Ekadasi achieves the blessed merit attained by performing an Agnistoma fire sacrifice, during which the hymns from the Sama-veda are recited.”

This narration of Jaya Ekadasi originally found in Bhavishya-uttara Purana is compiled from "Ekadasi: The Day of Lord Hari" by HH Krishna Balaram Swami. Bhaktivedanta Institute Press.

 
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Akrura das, Gita Coaching: MOTIVATION

Sometimes people tell me they are not inspired to chant or to do anything else they know is beneficial. Or they say for some reason they are not able to do it.

I ask them, "Would you do it if I would give you 1,000 euro."

Many say - yes.

So for 1,000 euro, they can do it. Otherwise, they can't.

What about you?

What about 10,000 euro? Or 100,000 euro?

 
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1967 February 14 : "I have postponed your journey. Your absence is not advisable while I am not there. I think the ship Jaladuta must be reaching New York by this time. Please take care of the bill of Lading for clearing the Mrdangas."
Letters :: 1967

 
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1969 February 14 : "Medicine is not the remedial measure. Ultimately we have to depend on the mercy of Krishna. So we should chant regularly, pray and if required, consult some approved physician."
Letters :: 1969

 
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1970 February 14 : "The Spiritual Sky is far away, but you just try to do it. Wherever Rathayatra is performed, it is not different from the Spiritual Sky."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1970

 
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 February 14: "So as GBC you must see that the highest standards are maintained throughout all the centers. That is our first business."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972

 
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 February 14: "GBC men should not dictate very much. Temple presidents should be more managerial, more individual. If we lose individuality what is the point?"
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972

 
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 February 14: "In this and other matters you have to manage. You have to instruct others so they will not resent - if they resent, how things can be managed?"
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972

 
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 February 14 : "Reach a conclusion amongst yourselves and then present it for my sanction. In this way I will be free to concentrate on my translation of Srimad Bhagavatam."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973

 
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 February 14 : "There is no need for us to directly attack these charlatans but simply by this distribution of books the sunlight of Krishna consciousness will prevail."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973

 
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Toronto Sankirtan Team, CA: Ceto Darpan Marjanam - Monthly Temple Cleanup!

CDM (Ceto Darpanam Marjana) is the project that entails organized cleaning of the temple as a group.

Which group, you may be wondering?

Well, this time around, the maha clean-up will feature a special group of Bhakti Vriksha devotees, led by HG Rupanuga das. They will be joining all of us as we get ready to make our temple room shine! A warm invitation goes out to all of you to attend as we encourage you to join these amazing devotees during the clean-up.

Afterwards, we will all sit down over pizza, made by the new "Pizza King" of ISKCON Toronto - Jaya Caitanya, and will able to hear the experiences of Bhakti Vriksha devotees! Everyone is welcome to ask any questions to our dear Rupanuga prabhu who will be there for you!

The schedule will be as follows:
7:00pm to 9:00pm - Maha clean-up of the temple room
9:00pm to 9:30pm - Special pizza party and nectar-filled conversations

Here is a quote by Srila Prabnhupada, that hopefully will inspire you:
"Everything within the temple should be kept very, very neat and clean. And the more you keep the temple neat and clean, you will be neat and clean within your heart. And then your understanding will be very easy. We cannot understand Krsna because our heart is piled up with many garbages. That we have to cleanse."
-- Srila Prabhupada Melbourne, May 22, 1975

Please come out and bring your family and friends for this unforgettable experience!


Last month we also celebrated our 1st Anniversary of CDM. Here is a video prepared by Keshav Prabhu, that captures all the cleaning fun we had!

 
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Toronto Sankirtan Team, CA: Nityananda Special - Monthly Sankirtan Festival Sat, Feb 19th


This coming saturday, Feb 19th, marks our 21st Monthly Sankirtan Festival (MSF).

To celebrate the appearance day of Lord Nityananda, our goal is to have 5 teams going out to distribute 108 books, one for each name of Lord Gauranga chanted by Lord Nityananda.

Please come along, there is more service for you than you can think of! Help pack books, prepare prasad for distribution, drive devotees, chant along the harinama party or distribute books.

Please email toronto.sankirtan@gmail.com for more information.

Schedule:-
4:30am Mangal Arti, Japa
7:45am Bhagavatam Class
9:15-10:00 am Building the Mood - Training & Goals
11:00am-2:00pm Street Sankirtan
2:00pm Maha-Harinama
2:30pm Lunch Prasad at the temple


Please dress WARMER than you think you'll need to (it's still cold - bring gloves and caps along).

 
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Ananda Subramanian, Iowa, USA: Happy St Valentine's Day

When Lord Jesus left this world, His word spread across the lands and people took notice. His glories were spread through story telling. The speculation is that this story telling manifested itself as the “Gospels” of Jesus. The New Testament, today, has four Gospels (although it is reported there were more). The four Gospels are Mathew, Mark, Luke and John and all of them tell a story of Jesus in its unique ways.

Immediately after Jesus’s departure, perhaps in a span of 50-100 years, people took up to Jesus’s teachings devoutly and dedicated their lives to him in a sincere and ardent way. This uprising in consciousness resulted in a movement of sorts where the “early followers of Jesus” started to preach the mission of Jesus, helping the poor (especially the Gentiles) and enriching their faith upon the Father in Heaven. This movement brought about hope and inner strength among the common man. This uprising, of course, was despised by the Roman kings and they wanted to quash the movement. Now, keep in mind, there was no such thing as “Christianity” at that time…it was simply faithful followers of Jesus who transformed their lives and wanted to help others. This selfless service to mankind was seen in a negative light by the Roman kings. The Romans started to harass and murder Jesus followers, especially the serious ones. These killings, in fact, helped spread the message even more as the news of the martyrs spread long and wide and made the common man to take notice.

These martyrs were the true heroes and followers of Jesus Christ. Without their dedication and selfless love for Jesus, Christianity (although it is my opinion that the Christian practice today is not what the early followers propagated) would not exist. Although Lord Jesus initiated this movement, it was carried and sustained by these unsung soldiers of faith who then turned to martyrs.

One such martyr, it is believed, is St Valentine. Although there is no one commonly accepted theory of St Valentine, still the one thing that is commonly accepted is that he sacrificed his life for his love for Jesus Christ by helping the poor and spreading Jesus’s message. St Valentine, like others, was a selfless hero who preached the true “Gospel” of the science of “love of God” through service and giving.

Today is Valentine’s Day and we should spare a thought for St Valentine and his message as taught by Jesus Christ. The greatest commandment Jesus Christ taught and apparently propagated by His early followers were

Love Thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy mind” and

Love thy neighbor as thyself

– Gospel of Mathew ch 22 text 37 & 39

These two commandments laid the foundation for what was supposed to be a “pure” religion of God. Unfortunately, like many others, the influence of Kali has distorted Jesus’s teachings. However, on this day, while many are rejoicing partaking in sensual desires in the name of St Valentine, let us pray to follow in his footsteps by desiring to Love God unconditionally and desiring to help our neighbors (including our four-legged friends, plants and aquatics) invoke their own relationship with God.

Happy St Valentine’s Day!

Hare Krishna

 
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Australian News: Living in Mayapur

Welcome to Living in Mayapur. A collection of realisations and experiences

“This is not a parikram blog, it is not a tourism blog. It is just some accounts of a real person’s life in Mayapur; how being surrounded with devotees in the holy Dham, influences thoughts, behavior and realizations.

We hope it will enthuse you to also spend some time in Sridham Mayapur physically or virtually on Mayapur.TV”

Click here to go to the Living in Mayapur Blog

Click here to see Mayapur.tv

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Vraja Kishor, JP: Spiritual Significance of Valentine’s Day

Early 20th century Valentine's Day card, showi...

Image via Wikipedia

On Valentines day, the custom is to give away your heart.

We fill heart shaped boxes with chocolates and give them to people – and we give other pink, red, heart-colored gifts to people. Valentines Day is about giving away our hearts.

The first stage of progress on the path of devotional spirituality (bhakti-yoga) is “shradha.” Literally, this word means giving your heart.

Taking a heart shaped box of chocolates and giving it to someone is a great illustration of shradha… giving ones heart. We don’t just give our heart to everyone and anyone. We give it to special people. To people we trust. Giving one’s heart to someone or something is an act of faith. The trust and faith is that this person who now has your heart in their hands will not reject it, will not break it, will care for it.

How do you “care for” a heart? The heart is full of desires. To care for a heart means to fulfill it’s desires.

What is the most essential of all your heart’s desires?

Love.

The heart’s deepest and truest desire is to be filled to overflowing with love. We give our hearts to people in whom we have developed the faith, hope and trust to treat our hearts properly, filling them with affection and love, and thus bringing us true happiness.

The first step on the path of devotion is the Valentines act, to give your heart.

There are people who practice devotion not as an ordinary day to day routine but as a spiritual adventure. These people want to give their heart to everyone and everything without restraint, but doing so is very painful unless one knows the perfect recipient of the “valentine.”

The perfect recipient is the heart of all hearts. The soul of all souls.

The perfect recipient is the all-attractive one. He with no false-ego, no selfish lusts. He who is the source of all love.

The heart of all hearts is the perfect person to give a valentines to. Giving to him automatically gives to all hearts, with bliss not pain because the heart of all hearts is also the source of all love. The most tender and careful of all lovers.

Sri Govinda. Sri Krsna.

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare.
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.


 
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Rupa Madhurya das, TX, USA: Lecture - Mukunda Datta das - SB 10.1.43 - Spiritual Advancement

Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 10, Chapter 1, Text 43 about "Spiritual Advancement" given by Mukunda Datta das.  This lecture was given just prior to the start of the New Year's Eve 24hr kirtan.

Dallas, TX
2010-12-31

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.1.43

jyotir yathaivodaka-parthiveshv adah
samira-veganugatam vibhavyate
evam sva-maya-raciteshv asau puman
guneshu raganugato vimuhyati

TRANSLATION

When the luminaries in the sky, such as the moon, the sun and the stars, are reflected in liquids like oil or water, they appear to be of different shapes -- sometimes round, sometimes long, and so on -- because of the movements of the wind. Similarly, when the living entity, the soul, is absorbed in materialistic thoughts, he accepts various manifestations as his own identity because of ignorance. In other words, one is bewildered by mental concoctions because of agitation from the material modes of nature.

PURPORT

This verse gives a very good example by which to understand the different positions of the eternal spiritual soul in the material world and how the soul takes on different bodies (dehantara-praptih). The moon is stationary and is one, but when it is reflected in water or oil, it appears to take different shapes because of the movements of the wind. Similarly, the soul is the eternal servant of Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but when put into the material modes of nature, it takes different bodies, sometimes as a demigod, sometimes a man, a dog, a tree and so on. By the influence of maya, the illusory potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the living entity thinks that he is this person, that person, American, Indian, cat, dog, tree or whatever. This is called maya. When one is freed from this bewilderment and understands that the soul does not belong to any shape of this material world, one is situated on the spiritual platform (brahma-bhuta).

This realization is sometimes explained as nirakara, or formlessness. This formlessness, however, does not mean that the soul has no form. The soul has form, but the external, agitating form he has acquired because of material contamination is false. Similarly, God is also described as nirakara, which means that God has no material form but is sac-cid-ananda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1]. The living entity is part and parcel of the supreme sac-cid-ananda-vigraha, but his material forms are temporary, or illusory. Both the living entity and the Supreme Lord have original, spiritual forms (sac-cid-ananda-vigraha), but the Lord, the Supreme, does not change His form. The Lord appears as He is, whereas the living entity appears because material nature forces him to accept different forms. When the living entity receives these different forms, he identifies with them, and not with his original, spiritual form. As soon as the living entity returns to his original, spiritual form and understanding, he immediately surrenders to the supreme form, the Personality of Godhead. This is explained in Bhagavad-gita (7.19). Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate. When the living entity, after many, many births in different forms, returns to his original form of Krishna consciousness, he immediately surrenders unto the lotus feet of the supreme form, Krishna. This is liberation. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (18.54):

brahma-bhutah prasannatma
na socati na kankshati
samah sarveshu bhuteshu
mad-bhaktim labhate param

"One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me." Surrender unto the supreme form is the result of bhakti. This bhakti, or understanding of one's own position, is the complete liberation. As long as one is under an impersonal understanding of the Absolute Truth, he is not in pure knowledge, but must still struggle for pure knowledge. Kleso 'dhikataras tesham avyaktasakta-cetasam (Bg. 12.5). Although one may be spiritually advanced, if one is attached to the impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth one must still work very hard, as indicated by the words kleso 'dhikatarah, which mean "greater suffering." A devotee, however, easily attains his original position as a spiritual form and understands the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His original form.

Krishna Himself explains the forms of the living entities in the Second Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, where He clearly says to Arjuna that He, Arjuna and all other living entities, who were previously in their original forms, are separate individual identities. They were individuals in the past, they are now situated in individuality, and in the future they will all continue to maintain their individual forms. The only difference is that the conditioned living entity appears in various material forms, whereas Krishna appears in His original, spiritual form. Unfortunately, those who are not advanced in spiritual knowledge think that Krishna is like one of them and that His form is like their material forms. Avajananti mam mudha manushim tanum asritam (Bg. 9.11). Krishna is never puffed up by material knowledge and is therefore called acyuta, whereas the living entities fall down and are agitated by material nature. This is the difference between the Supreme Lord and the living entities.

In this connection it is to be noted that Vasudeva, who was situated in a transcendental position, advised Kamsa not to commit further sinful activities. Kamsa, a representative of the demons, was always ready to kill Krishna, or God, whereas Vasudeva represents a transcendentally situated person to whom Krishna is born (Vasudeva is the son of Vasudeva). Vasudeva wanted his brother-in-law Kamsa to refrain from the sinful act of killing his sister, since the result of being agitated by material nature would be that Kamsa would have to accept a body in which to suffer again and again. Elsewhere in Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.5.4), Rishabhadeva also says:

na sadhu manye yata atmano 'yam
asann api klesada asa dehah

As long as the living entity is entangled in the fruitive activities of so-called happiness and distress, he will receive a particular type of body in which to endure the three kinds of suffering due to material nature (tri-tapa-yantrana). An intelligent person, therefore, must free himself from the influence of the three modes of material nature and revive his original, spiritual body by engaging in the service of the Supreme Person, Krishna. As long as one is materially attached, one must accept the process of birth, death, old age and disease. One is therefore advised that an intelligent person, instead of being entangled in so-called good and bad fruitive activities, should engage his life in advancing in Krishna consciousness so that instead of accepting another material body (tyaktva deham punar janma naiti [Bg. 4.9]), he will return home, back to Godhead.


Download: 2010-12-31 - 01 - 24hr Kirtan - Mukunda Datta das - Lecture SB 10.1.43 - Spiritual Advancement.mp3
 
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Bharatavarsa.net: Book distribution seminar: the symptom of love

What is the symptom of love? The symptom, the prime symptom, most important symptom of love is that the devotee wants to see that his Lord's name, fame, etc. become widespread. He wants to see that "My Lord's name be known everywhere." This is love. If I love somebody, I want to see that his glories are spread all over the world. And Krsna also says in the Bhagavad-gita, na ca tasmat manusyesu kascit me priya-krttamah, anyone who preaches His glory, nobody is dearer to Him than that person.

Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.6 -- New Vrindaban, September 5, 1972

 
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Book Distribution News: the symptom of love

What is the symptom of love? The symptom, the prime symptom, most important symptom of love is that the devotee wants to see that his Lord's name, fame, etc. become widespread. He wants to see that "My Lord's name be known everywhere." This is love. If I love somebody, I want to see that his glories are spread all over the world. And Krsna also says in the Bhagavad-gita, na ca tasmat manusyesu kascit me priya-krttamah, anyone who preaches His glory, nobody is dearer to Him than that person.

Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.6 -- New Vrindaban, September 5, 1972

 
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Gouranga TV: Dasarath Dasa kirtana

Dasarath Dasa kirtana

 
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Australian News: Hare Krishnas Feature in Superbowl report (NZ)

“Imagine how good the after match meals would be”

By Dean Butler for 3news.co.nz

Superbowl 45 has been and gone and for me the big winners were The Black Eyed Peas and Slash!

Only in America could the half time entertainment get more exposure than the game itself… maybe at U2’s next gig they could have a grid iron game as the support act!

What I like most about him though is his Rats Tail, and hopefully that will send a message out to all Rat’s Tailers everywhere that you can have a shoelace attached to the back of your head and still be an excellent rugby player.

I say we contact the Hare Krishna’s immediately and get them into it… okay, they may turn out to be total rubbish but imagine how good the after match meals would be. They could even do the haka with Tambourines… ka mate! Ka mate! Hare! Hare! I can hear it now. Go The All Oranges!

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