The News Agency of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Opinion

  • Becoming a Survivor of Technology

    Millvina Dean died on Sunday, May 31, 2009. CNN.com reports that Dean, who was 97 years old, was the last known Titanic survivor. The Titanic sank in the North Atlantic in the early hours April 15, 1912 after striking an iceberg.

    I question whether in fact Ms. Dean was the last survivor.

    Yes, Ms. Dean may have been the last person alive who traveled on that fateful maiden voyage of the Titanic. However, she was not the last survivor in the sense that there are countless remaining victims of the Titanic. I refer to victims who are trapped in a co-dependent and abusive relationship with technology, a relationship which is epitomized by the history of the Titanic. Hopefully one day these victims will become survivors.

  • The Conservation of Intrinsic Nature
    I am an eighteen-year-old college student on the verge of starting my adult life. And as American capitalist culture never lets me forget, central to adulthood is the career I choose. Everything I have been taught in school has been entirely in preparation for this choice. The various pressures are seemingly insurmountable- whether they are parental, financial, or personal.
  • A Voice in the Public Debate
    Something old or something new, this question lies at the center of a friendly rivalry between me and my friends from England. Americans loves firsts. The first automobile, the first airplane flight, the first man on the moon, America is a nation built on firsts. England on the other hand is a country that revels in maintaining the old. St. Michael’s Tower in Oxford dates from 1040.
  • “Avatar” Descending

    A number of Sanskrit words familiar to all Kṛṣṇa devotees have become incorporated into Standard English. “Karma,” “mantra,” “yoga,” “avatar”—all grace the pages of current dictionaries, and show up in contemporary writings innocent of any italics, the ID statutorily pinned on foreign words. These words belong.

    Among them, “avatar” shines most radiantly in the spotlights of popular attention. Just last week The New York Times took note: “Fan Fever is Rising for Debut of ‘Avatar.’”

  • Mom, Spiritual Economics and Bhakti-yoga

    You are standing outside a burning building. The flames and smoke are getting denser, but there is still one way to enter the building. Trapped inside it are the following beings:

    1. Your beloved mother.
    2. A Nobel-prize-winning scientist that is close to discovering a cure for cancer.
    3. A highly intelligent ape that may unlock the secrets of the missing link.
  • Doctors of Happiness
    The latest findings of Dr. Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard psychology professor both funny and smart, derived from assiduous research into (human) happiness, have revealed to him an important truth that will already be familiar to students of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam.
  • To Boldly Go Where We’ve All Gone Before

    Star Trek, the franchise that never dies, has, like the vampire, returned among us, this time in a clever “prequel” to the original ’60s space opera TV series. In this, the eleventh of the series-spawned feature films, Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the other starship Enterprise voyagers appear as “sexy young cadets,” as David Hajdu describes them in his illuminating op-ed piece on the “Star Trek” phenomenon in last Sunday’s Times.

  • The Social Role of Cows
    Throughout history many traditional societies have centered on a particular animal, and the relations the people develop with that animal influence the values of the whole society. We think of the role of buffalo in shaping the lives and values of the Native Americans of the Plains. Similarly, we think of the Laplanders and their reindeer, or even the New England whaling villagers and the whales.
  • Gaura Vani & As Kindred Spirits Break Through With New Release
    It’s not very often that an ISKCON-produced album of kirtan, India’s ancient practice of call and response chanting, makes a real impact on the general public. ISKCON founder Srila Prabhupada’s original 1966 LP did it, getting airplay on the hippy beat radio stations and drawing many to Krishna consciousness.
  • Krishna Lunch, The ISKCON Constitution and the Apostrophe
    You don’t have to read Stillson Judah’s 1974 study, “Hare Krishna and the Counter Culture,” cover to cover to have some idea of the place in American society occupied by the Hare Krishnas in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Hare Krishna Movement was then self-promoted as, “The Positive Alternative.” An alternative to the drug culture prominent among the young, yes, and perhaps an even more far out alternative to the mainstream world of their parents.
  • ISKCON’s ‘Global Reputation’
    ISKCON is banned in Singapore, cherished in South Africa, tolerated in the USA, allowed in Indonesia, secretive in China, loved in India, underground in the Middle East, registered in Pakistan, valued in Brazil, present in Bangladesh, esteemed in Guyana, new in Korea, accepted in Canada, recognized in Malaysia, valued in Australia, established in Russia, permitted in Japan, honored in Nigeria, treasured in Italy, heard in Germany, and appreciated in the UK.
  • Shock and Awe Avatāra
    It is the summer of 1983. A jury in Orange County, California—that bastion of “traditional American values,” that home to Disneyland and the pioneering mega-church Crystal Cathedral—a jury stares at a large poster. Faces register shock and awe. They behold the astonishing Narasiṁha, the avatāra with the body of a man and the head of a lion, sitting before a shattered pillar.
  • Aristotle, the Somali Pirates and Yoga

    6th Street and 23th Avenue, it’s clearly the most patriotic intersection in town. A star-spangled red, white, and blue painted building on one corner, and diagonally opposite an intrusively large signboard that continually boasts inspirational sayings. The latest edition of the signboard reads, “America 3, Pirates 0.”

  • The Hare Krishna Movement’s Unknown Soldier
    Although I was born the eldest son to a career US Army officer who served during two wars, and attended a well known military academy with over two centuries of tradition, I never really understood all the pomp and circumstance evoked by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. That is…until now.
  • Looking Good

    I was studying religion in graduate school. I was into the counterculture; I owned a real pea coat; my hair was, well, longish; my friends were, by and large, hippies. Most of the religion department took me for a real hippie. But my friends didn’t mistake me for one of them: I was, after all, in graduate school. It was one of my “hippie” buddies who took me to a Hare Krishna temple, and that led, to my everlasting surprise, to my next fashion change. I joined the Hare Krishnas: I wrapped myself in a dhotī; shaved my head, leaving the tuft of hair called a śikhā on the back, and showed up one day like that at the Department of Religion.

  • It’s the End of the World As We Know It -- And I Feel Fine

    Could the end of the world finally be upon us? New Age authors and conspiracy theorists would certainly have us believe so, determined not to be thwarted yet again. This time the apocalypse comes to us courtesy of a supposed ancient Mayan prophecy that the world will end on December 21st, 2012. And boy is it popular. A quick search on Amazon.com pulls up over a dozen books on the subject, all written within the last three years.

  • Organised Religion: Devil’s Work or Divine Necessity?
    For thousands of years, whenever saintly people have searched for a good spot to live, they’ve chosen places of tranquility, far removed from the noise and clamor of the town. In a quiet place, undisturbed by distraction or temptation, surrounded by the beauty of nature, they’ve said their prayers, studied their scriptures, and engaged in meditation.
  • An Inadvertent Footnote to the End of Civilization

    Ever thought much about footnotes? As a practicing lawyer I have nightmares about them! Footnotes have the power to illuminate or damn any argument. The American College Dictionary defines a footnote as follows: a note or comment at the foot of a page, referring to a specific part of the text on the page. I don’t mean to get into splitting hairs, but as a lawyer I can’t help myself. The Compact Oxford English Dictionary defines a footnote slightly different as: an additional piece of information printed at the bottom of a page.

  • Are You Game?

    Pep Sands used to say that the jump ball at the start of every basketball match is the most important play of the entire game. Pep was our high school basketball coach. His reasoning was that whichever team hustled enough to win the tip showed that they wanted the game more than the other team. Not a bad philosophy for anyone facing challenges or jumping on opportunities, even Vaishnavas.

  • Finding Ways to Support Cow Protection
    A report by the European Environment Agency reveals that for the first time in human history more people are living in towns and cities than in rural areas. Europe is one of the most urbanised regions, with around 75% of its population living in urban areas. This phenomenon is being mirrored around the world.
  • Gurus, Pundits, and the Lottery

    Once confined to the mystic spirituality of India, terms such as guru and pundit are now chic designations all over the world. Consider this headline from the UK news source Telegraph.co.uk published during last year’s U.S. presidential campaign, “The 50 Most Influential US Political Pundits.” The article begins, “Among those who help Americans decide are the ubiquitous political pundits who help drive the national conversation and shape public opinion.”

  • Lord Caitanya and the Renaissance of Devotion (Part 2)
    Kṛṣṇa’s appearance as Lord Caitanya is really Kṛṣṇa’s own tribute and testament to the overwhelming attractiveness of pure devotional service and, especially, of His pure devotee. Moreover, when Kṛṣṇa assumes the features of His own greatest devotee, He has, in fact, a particular devotee in mind: His highest and most intimate devotee. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
  • Chemical Evolution: A Molecular Concept of Life

    The idea of the primitive reducing atmosphere has received strong and serious criticisms from scientists of various disciplines. Their arguments suggest overwhelming drawbacks in the conjecture. Available data from geology, geophysicists and geochemistry argue strongly against this idea.

  • For Atheists and Theists Alike: Time as God
    As a blogger on a metropolitan newspaper's religious blog page, I find that some of my references to a higher power or supreme being are met with ridicule or scorn by those readers who profess faith in atheistic views. This is certainly not surprising.
  • Lord Caitanya and the Renaissance of Devotion (Part 1)
    India in the fifteenth century was underwent a renaissance almost the opposite of the European one; scholars have called it the “bhakti renaissance,” a great rebirth of devotion to God. The preeminent figure of this powerful religious upsurge was Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.