Gaura Pūrṇimā 523
Five hundred and twenty three years ago, on a full moon night in the month of Govinda, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared in the world, the avatāra descended to deliver Kṛṣṇa prema to the extremely fallen people of this Kali-yuga.
Kirtans, Questions, and Mixed Emotions
The good news: Kirtan, it seems, has finally hit the American mainstream. In the lead story of Wednesday’s New York Times Fashion & Style section, “Yoga Enthusiasts Hear the Call of Kirtan,” Times reporter Sara Eckel gives an overwhelmingly positive – albeit cheeky – glimpse into the practice of meditative call-and-response chanting. Festive, enjoyable, soothing, even relatively inexpensive – kirtan sounds like a pretty good deal in our troubled, stress-filled times.
Touch of the Brajabasi: The Musician
In Vrindavan, I had a policy: don’t give to beggars. I envisioned that if I gave to one, I would be swarmed with beggars from the entire street demanding their share.
So I just didn’t give. I had lived in Vrindavan for over a month and I had not given a single rupee to a single beggar. I had planned to keep it that way.
The Notion of ‘Free Speech’ in ISKCON
Does anyone remember the Telex machine? I guess even the question reveals my age. It’s like asking does anyone remember slide rulers or carbon paper. They are devices of the past. Like Linotype machines, spirit duplicators and pink negative correction fluid, they have all been washed away by the digital tidal wave.
Doubt is the motor of the modern mentality, the indefatigable engine that drives the spirit of our age. Such doubt was honored with an early recognition in the essays of the Renaissance courtier Michel de Montaigne: “We are, I know not how, double within ourselves, with the result that we do not believe what we believe, and we cannot rid ourselves of what we condemn.”
Holidays, Trees, Gardens, Apes and Violins
We made the national news recently as our new calf - whom we’ve named Gangotri - was born. We are all very happy to see her into the world and pray that she will never have to struggle like her namesake. The Guardian supplement did a nice piece with a colour picture.
The Home of the Original GBC Meetings
This is not about the history of ISKCON’s GBC meetings, but of the original GBC that was created way back in the days of Queen Victoria.
The acronym GBC stands for ‘Governing Body Commission’ and was a term created by the British for its top executive body of the Indian Railways. The British-run railways were one of the miracles of Victorian India.
My Encounter With the Art of Perfection
By the time I encountered the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, I was so eager to transcend material existence that I was willing to renounce practically everything for the sake of liberation. So convinced was I that pain and suffering were of the essence of this life that I did not desire to reserve any attachment, even to the highest and best part of it.
Bus Ride to Nowhere
Travelers battling through the Westminster traffic this month are likely to encounter a bleak message emblazoned on buses. “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy life,” is the dubious legend plastered to a number of the vehicles meandering around the nation’s capital. I’m not sure how its authors think we should respond to this call.
Uzbekistan Cops Behave Like the Chand-Kazi
While we were celebrating Sri Nityananda Prabhu’s Festival on Saturday, the police were breaking up a similar festival in another country. The devotees were arrested and their religious paraphernalia confiscated. The country, not surprisingly was Uzbekistan and the city, Samarkand.
What the punctuation in the title indicates:
Quotation marks: Draping the word God in quotation marks indicates that we are first concerned with the signifier, not the signified. (Compare these two sentences: I am interested in God. I am interested in “God.”)
Question mark: The mark of interrogation backstopping “God” points us next to questions concerning the concept or idea of God. What does it mean? Aren’t there many different meanings? Isn’t the meaning often vague or ambiguous?
From DNA to Genome: Is Genome Life?
Cells are the fundamental units of living organisms. Those that function similarly make up the tissue, and a collection of tissues working together forms an organ. A collection of organs makes up the organism. The codes or instructions as to how each cell should function is contained in the nucleus of the cells, as DNA. Units of DNA form genes and the collection of all genes is called the genome.
For a New President: Three Things to Consider
Thousands of years ago, a sage named Narada pointed out three things that are pleasing to God (in a discussion with a group known as the Prachetas, as recounted in India's Bhagavata Purana). The qualities Narada recommended are worthwhile for anyone, but especially would be valuable for a leader to emulate.
News reaches the world that the troubled inhabitants of Lokastan have begun to perish in steadily increasing numbers from a contagion. The disease organism is reportedly so virulent that all exposed fall ill and nearly all the ill die.
My Friend is a Yogi!
When I first joined the Hare Krishnas, the phrase “plain living high thinking” would inevitably make me think of yogis in the Himalaya Mountains who meditate on the Absolute Truth while staying in caves, surviving freezing temperatures without central heating and living on nothing but water and air.
How One Man's Life Changed with an Oath
Along with millions of others, I watched Barack Hussein Obama swear the oath while laying his left hand on the Bible. Not just any Bible in this case, but the self same Bible that Abraham Lincoln used back in 1861.
The Swastika: A Symbol of Goodness or Hate?
When Hitler began using the swastika as the symbol for his Nazi party in the 1920s, he brought about the death not only of millions of innocent people, but also of an innocent symbol. His use of the beloved Hindu religious sign instilled so much hate for it in the Western world that I wonder if its true meaning will ever be reclaimed.
ISKCON's Future: Could a Bi-cameral GBC Help?
It may be that instituting a bicameral system for the GBC could help to continue a healthy and dynamic managerial process for ISKCON into the future; allowing for the preservation of ISKCON's strength and traditions, while facilitating the next generation to take responsibility for expanding the mission.
Can We Ban God from the Presidential Inauguration?
As reported by CNN, a group of atheists and humanists’ organizations are legally challenging Barack Obama's right to make any references to God or religion at his upcoming presidential inauguration ceremony. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washington, D.C., plaintiffs demanded that "so help me God" be not added to the end of Obama's oath of office.
An Essay in Pathology - Part Two
Having a beginning (adi) and end (anta) qualifies all pleasures in the material world. For that reason, one who is actually wise (budha) seeks no enjoyment from them.
It is a fact that in this temporal world we hold not title to, we have no actual possession of, anything we enjoy. Our lease here on happiness is fragile and fleeting.
Diary: Coming Home
During the 1970s, I would get culture shock whenever I went to India. The crowded cities, the heat, the food, the occasional sickness, and the austerities of local travel would painfully remind me that I was a stranger in a foreign land. But as the years passed, my visits became more frequent and I began to feel at home there, especially in places like Vrindavan and Mayapur, where the Lord once performed His transcendental pastimes.
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
Is Darwin’s theory of evolution unquestionable fact? Or should the possibility that an intelligent designer created our world be discussed as an alternative? Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a recent film presented by actor and political speech writer Ben Stein, suggests that it should.
A Dream of Christmas
When we send our children to school obviously we hope that they will be taught the truth. Well, at least some of the time. It seems that painful truths may have to wait, such as the non-existence of Santa Claus. A teacher who recently made the grave error of informing children in her class that Father Christmas was not real found herself out of a job. Parents were furious. “My Joshua came home in tears,” said one distraught mother. “I didn’t know what to say.”
Is the DNA Molecule Life?
Descriptions of DNA and its replication mechanism are commonly given as though they have provided a complete description of the most fundamental processes of life -- a final mechanism, step-by-step breakdown of these life processes into understandable chemical terms. However, this is far from truth.
Memorium: Krishna Kripa Dasi
My wife, Srimati Krishna Kripa Dasi, disappeared on November 30, 2008. A staunch disciple of Srila Prabhupada, she was always enthusiastic and attentive in her service. She loved to read and distribute Srila Prabhupada's books, and was always thinking and planning about the welfare of others.