The News Agency of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Opinion

  • How Cow Dung Saved the Children of Miwani
    I was invited to travel to Kisumu on the shores of Lake Victoria, very far from the Kenyan coast on the Indian Ocean. Kisumu was from all the accounts I had heard a pretty disagreeable place. In the early years, I had read in advance of my journey, that apart from the endemic sleeping sickness, bilharzia, malaria and the nasty malarial complication known as "blackwater fever", the climate was sweltering and municipal hygiene primitive.
  • The Logistics of Multi-ISKCON Centres in the Same City
    The 2008 Mayapur GBC annual meeting ratified as official ISKCON policy the presence of multiple ISKCON centres in the same city. Conceived in New Vrindavan, June 2007, at the special GBC meeting for strategic planning, the “urban proliferation proposal” earned unanimous support from the brainstorming GBCs, hungry for greater ISKCON effectiveness.
  • The Myth of the Rising Cost of Food

    The BBC has a feature on “the cost of food“. It shows how almost all types of food are getting more and more expensive. Drastically so!

    What is happening here? Shouldn’t high-tech farming with its nitrogen fertilizers, pesticides and specially bred (often genetically modified) high-yield crop varieties allow humanity to easy feed everyone on the planet?

  • What Price for Freedom?
    We all want our freedoms, but it seems they are not so free. Recent figures reveal that the cost of freeing Iraq and hopefully the rest of us from tyrants and terrorists is well over one trillion dollars and rising. Then there is the grisly cost of casualties, over ninety thousand dead and innumerable others injured.
  • Shiva: The Auspicious One

    Shiva is among the most widely worshiped deities in India. With names such as Mahadeva ("the great god") and Nataraja ("the king of dancers"), he is venerated in ancient holy cities like Benares, where Saivites (as his worshipers are called) devote their lives to him, viewing him as the Supreme Lord.

  • New Satire News Site to be Taken With a Pinch of Hing

    Here at ISKCON News, we take ourselves very seriously. Which is why we're extremely offended by Bhakta Eric Swanger's new online satire of devotee life, The Hing.

    Based on The Onion, a secular site that pokes fun at world news, The Hing was officially launched on February 8, and bills itself as "ISKCON's Finest News Source."

  • The Self at War
    Arjuna is a warrior who feels the call to a more peaceful, non-invasive life. On the verge of a mammoth war he refuses to fight, even though the enemy is an aggressor who must be brought down. Like Arjuna, once we acknowledge the call to a more enlightened life we may also find mundane duties distasteful. Is it possible to attend to such obligations without compromising our higher self? Is it possible to live in the material world without becoming overwhelmed by it?
  • Srila Prabhupada and the Sixth Commandment
    At a recent interreligious conference, I happened to mention that we devotees of Krishna are vegetarian, and in the midst of the discussion, I referred to the Sixth Commandment: "Thou shalt not kill." A prominent Christian scholar, who was part of the discussion, asked what the commandment had to do with vegetarianism.
  • Love Makes the World Go Round ...

    Especially in America and other western countries, Valentine’s Day is a big hit. Americans are predicted to spend an estimated $17 billion dollars on flowers, candy, jewelry, cards and other romantic paraphernalia.

    Ah! What we won’t sacrifice for love. But what does it actually take to have an enduring relationship or a lasting healthy marriage?

  • Understanding the Art and Science of Krishna Consciousness: An Attempt at Reconciliation
    A quick glance at the many ISKCON-related websites tells us much, not least that there are differences of opinion about what Srila Prabhupada taught and different approaches to implementing his teachings. Naturally, we all think that our particular interpretation is "the" correct one, and that the Other is fundamentally errant.
  • UK's Channel 4 Broadcasts Krishna on Christmas Day

    On Christmas Day, thousands of English people got a chance to see a little of Vrindavan Dhama in The Hidden Story of Jesus

    Channel 4 (UK) broadcast this extended documentary about the life of Jesus and how it's  viewed by other faith traditions, including Vaishnavism.

  • What Are We Really Eating?
    We live in a world of enticingly packaged, processed foods where nobody really cares what they’re eating, so long as it looks good. As a child, I remember seeing a guest on a TV chat show say that they were allergic to various products, and therefore had to check the ingredients on everything when they went shopping. “Oh my God!” the host exclaimed in horror. “That must be such a pain! I could never do that!”
  • Lord Rama: Fact or Fiction
    As of late, in the year 2007, the idea of whether Lord Rama exists or not has been called into question, by no less than some of the politicians in India. So it is a wonder how such persons can be accepted as leaders of the people of India who should be concerned with preserving and protecting the culture of the country.
  • Paramatma: God as the Source of Inspiration and Insight

    According to Vedanta [summative Vedic techings], the Supreme Lord expands and accompanies each and every living entity in order to guide his/her activities. This is seen in the form of inspiration or a sudden flash of insight experienced by scientists at the time of discovery, and by poets and artists in different circumstances.

  • Christmas: A Whale of a Time for All But the Animals
    While the news that Japan has announced it has scrapped plans to kill 50 humpback whales on its yearly whale hunt is welcomed by all, there is deafening silence in the mass media about the fate of millions of other animals who are not the subject of intense diplomatic lobbying, and who will, without any fanfare, be put to death to satisfy the palettes of Christmas revelers this year.
  • The Madness of Modern Morality

    When the RSPCA decided yesterday to ignore the protestations of her devotee carers and “put down” the ailing Gangotri (a 13 year-old cow living at Bhaktivedanta Manor) they were moved by compassionate considerations. Their spokesperson said, "We do understand and respect religious beliefs but at the heart of our organization is the belief that animals should not suffer." In their view the pain she felt from “infected sores” was such that the only answer was to kill her by lethal injection, which they duly administered as the horrified devotees looked on.

  • ‘Vegetarianism is Not OK’ Say Some Hindus
    There’s been a kerfuffle in the media in the past few days over the entrance policy for the new Hindu school in Harrow. Various parties have submitted statements to newspapers and been interviewed on the radio. The Krishna-Avanti Hindu School is to be built and run with money from central government and, like the name suggests, its a school for Hindu children.
  • What About Winning the Lotto?
    Timothy Elliot's good luck may have just run out. The 55 year old scratched a Massachusetts state lottery scratch ticket and discovered that he'd won a hefty $1 million lottery prize. But it turns out that Elliott is a convicted bank robber and the terms of his probation quite specifically rain on his parade: he "may not gamble, purchase lottery tickets, or visit an establishment where gaming is conducted..."
  • Experiencing India
    An ad in the NY Times caught my attention. It runs for a full three pages in the Sept 25th issue, touting the glories of India's contributions to the world. There's a bold headline: Experience India In New York, announcing a series of cultural events and conferences. The ad has its token images of sitar players and Bharatnatyam dancers along with pictures of business execs in ties. The ad's real intent is not to introduce Indian culture to the West, but rather to broadcast how India is adapting to Western culture so magnificently.
  • Taking Science on Faith
    Science, we are repeatedly told, is the most reliable form of knowledge about the world because it is based on testable hypotheses. Religion, by contrast, is based on faith. The problem with this neat separation into “non-overlapping magisteria,” as Stephen Jay Gould described science and religion, is that science has its own faith-based belief system.
  • Commentary on 'Priests Fail to Coax Out Suicide Cult'

    "I'm going to die for God. I'll go to paradise where I'll enjoy lots of sex and unlimited alcoholic drink and drugs of all kinds." This kind of thinking was in the heads of the terrorists who hijacked airplanes on September 11, 2001 resulting in thousands of unnecessary deaths of innocents.

  • The Gita on Skid Row

    “My first experience spending time on Skid Row was in 1972 when I stood on street corners chanting Hare Krishna,” Nrsimhananda says. “We used to visit the area once a week and distribute prasadam (spiritual food) to the “less fortunate.” We were outsiders, and so were they. We opted out of the 9-5 rat race; so had they. We slept on the floor; they were asleep on the sidewalk. We liked to get high on chanting the names of God; they had their drug of choice.

  • What We Learn From the Dying

    We don't like to find the word 'death' staring down at us from the wall. If we do, we'll hang it on somebody else, shrouding it behind a screen of medical abbreviations, and then we'll be gone. The word's still there — it follows us, of course, as the moon follows a moving car — but as long as we don't have to keep looking at it, we're 'okay'.

  • Feeding the Real Hunger
    Eating disorders and obesity are reaching epidemic levels in today’s society. In the US some 11 million have anorexia or bulimia, while 25 million suffer from binge eating. Here in the UK obesity causes 30,000 deaths a year and is estimated to cost as much as seven and a half billion pounds each year.
  • Least But Not Last
    I recently heard a woman say, “least but not last.” She meant to say the usual, “last but not least,” but somehow, due to a slip of the lip, or perhaps because of some mild form of dyslexia, she inverted the words in this somewhat humorous way. And this got me thinking about humility, which people sometimes confuse with low self-esteem, thus viewing it as an inferior quality. To think of oneself as “least” is the last thing one would want to do.