domingo, 16 de octubre de 2011

Australian News: Diwali with Sri Prahlada & Carmella Baynie – coming sooner than you think



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"Planet ISKCON" - 48 new articles

  1. Australian News: Diwali with Sri Prahlada & Carmella Baynie – coming sooner than you think
  2. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Today's Darsana
  3. Sita-pati dasa, AU: The Appearance of Radha Kunda
  4. Australian News: More Mayapuris in kirtan on video – the perfection of the eyes and ears
  5. Karnamrita das, NC, USA: Ring Around the Rosie: We all Fall Down/Rise Up
  6. Japa Group: Nectar Of The Holy Name
  7. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Nanda Mandir Prabhu
  8. Agnideva das (Adam Helfer), Washington, USA: Occupy Philadelphia: Occupy Wall Street underdogs
  9. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami (Ret.): Poem for October 16
  10. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami (Ret.): Selected Writings
  11. Toronto Sankirtan Team, CA: Looking for a home
  12. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  13. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  14. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  15. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  16. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  17. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  18. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  19. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  20. Bhakta Chris, New York, USA: A Revolution In Consciousness?
  21. Haricharana das, Indonesia: Walk Harinam~Segara Beach - Padang Galak...
  22. Madhava Ghosh dasa, New Vrndavan, USA: Devotee Brothers Use Sports to Build Community and Keep Youth Fit
  23. Australian News: Mayapuris Rock the Sydney Kuli Catch-up
  24. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Bn Georgina asks why devotees showed her a wrong attitude upon her temple visit and about chanting the Nrsimha kavaca
  25. ISKCON Malaysia: A Special Day with the Young Ones
  26. ISKCON Desire Tree: Vaishnava Calender - Srila Narottam Dasa Thakura -Disappearance
  27. H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: Vaishnava Etiquette (1) Mauritius Lectures
  28. ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Kartik Bhagavatam Classes - LIVE!
  29. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Today's Darsana
  30. Philadelphia 2011 Ratha Yatra Report to Srila Prabhupada
  31. Japa Group: Bring The Mind To The Chanting
  32. H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 5, Chapter 3, Text 20.
  33. Spiritual Scientist: Lust & Love – What's the Difference?
  34. Spiritual Scientist: How Do Saints Help Others?
  35. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Vedavyasa Priya Swami
  36. Gouranga TV: Radhanath Swami The Essense of Religions
  37. Spiritual Scientist: Why Irrational Shopping?
  38. Spiritual Scientist: The Power of Divine Sound
  39. Spiritual Scientist: Isn't Spirituality Impractical?
  40. Spiritual Scientist: Go Beyond Fear
  41. Spiritual Scientist: Raaz Agle Janam Ka
  42. Spiritual Scientist: Your Inbuilt Security System
  43. Spiritual Scientist: Can Spirituality solve World Problems?
  44. Spiritual Scientist: Why Natural Calamities?
  45. Spiritual Scientist: Is Karma practically relevant?
  46. Spiritual Scientist: How to choose the Right Path?
  47. Spiritual Scientist: Why to Approach God?
  48. H.G. Sankarshan das Adhikari, USA: Sunday 16 October 2011--I Never Came Back to the World of Misery--and--When to Abandon Material Activities?
  49. More Recent Articles
  50. Search Planet ISKCON
  51. Prior Mailing Archive

Australian News: Diwali with Sri Prahlada & Carmella Baynie – coming sooner than you think

Diwali Festival of Lights with Sri Prahlada and Carmella Bay
By Vara Nayaka  |  View on Facebook
When: Oct 27, 2011 (7:00pm - 9:00pm)

Where: 1/40 Hall Street Bondi Beach NSW 2026; Jois Yoga Bondi

» View map
Celebrate Diwali Festival of Lights with Sri Prahlada

early bird
at the door

Contact/ Bookings: (02)8094 9231

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Today's Darsana


"By such childhood pastimes as this He is drowning the inhabitants of Gokula in pools of ecstasy, and is revealing to those devotees who are absorbed in knowledge of His supreme majesty and opulence that He is only conquered by devotees whose pure love is imbues with intimacy and is free from all conceptions of awe and reverence.

With great love I again offer my obeisances to Lord Damodara hundreds and hundreds of times."

(Sri Damodarastakam)

With great love we again and again relish the wonderful darsana of Sri Damodara.

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Sita-pati dasa, AU: The Appearance of Radha Kunda

This Saturday, the Appearance of Radha Kunda. Sherwood Scout Hall, 14 Young St, Graceville, 5pm - 7pm. Entry free, all welcome.

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Australian News: More Mayapuris in kirtan on video – the perfection of the eyes and ears

Click on the video below and be astounded at the Mayapuris and their activities. After performing an entire kirtan concert Vish, Kish and Bali jumped off the stage and into the crowd and this is what they did next:

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Karnamrita das, NC, USA: Ring Around the Rosie: We all Fall Down/Rise Up

Earth in Hands
Self-realization in a circle
what goes up
must come down
within the Spring leaf
the Autumn falling power
Vedic Cosmology
champions cyclical time
linear time's a modern illusion
after the light, darkness
begetting again the light
yesterday's gain
today's forfeiture.

read more

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Japa Group: Nectar Of The Holy Name

Hare Krsna my dear devotees, this is a very nice prayer by Srila Haridasa Thakur taken from the Harinama Cintamani. I hope you appreciate that.

Srila Haridasa Thakur's attachment to the holy name:

"My dear Lord, my consciousness is thoroughly mundane. Though I mouth the names of the Lord, I am too unfortunate to experience their transcendental touchstone qualities. O Lord! I beg You to please appear as the holy name and dance on my tongue. I fall at Your lotus feet and pray: if You like, You can keep me in this material world or place me in the spiritual sky. Whatever desire is Yours, You are free to fulfill, but please let me taste the divine nectar of Krsna's holy name. You have descended amongst the conditioned souls to distribute the holy name, so kindly also consider me, an insignificant jiva. I am a fallen soul and You are the savior of the fallen. Let this be our eternal relationship. O Savior! On the strength of this relationship, I am begging from You the nectar of the holy name."

I wish you have a great week of chanting and realisations.

your servant,

Aruna devi
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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Nanda Mandir Prabhu

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.23 - Krsna & Balarama come to relieve the burden of earth and to uphold religious practice (yada yada hi dharmasya...).

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Agnideva das (Adam Helfer), Washington, USA: Occupy Philadelphia: Occupy Wall Street underdogs

Steady and Growing, Occupy Philadelphia will not be overshadowed by its East Coast counterparts.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami (Ret.): Poem for October 16

4:28  A.M.   Poem for October 16   The talks are now on the level of spontaneous loving service to the Lord. Ramananda Raya said, "Service as exchanged by master and servant is the highest perfection." Lord Caitanya requested him to go a step further. Ramananda Raya said, "Loving service to Krishna revealed in fraternity [...]

Poem for October 16 is a post from: EVERY DAY

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami (Ret.): Selected Writings

From Prabhupada Meditations, Volume III "Old-time Kirtanas" "Recently at Gita-nagari we held an old time kirtana. First we listened to a 1966 kirtana held by Prabhupada. I pointed out that Prabhupada sang only one tune and kept a steady beat for half an hour. Then we tried it. It produced a wonderful feeling, and we [...]

Selected Writings is a post from: EVERY DAY

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Toronto Sankirtan Team, CA: Looking for a home

I was at the corner of Yonge and College, one of the busy intersections in Toronto, and most people were simply zooming past me. That's when a young girl with a smoke in her hand, stopped and turned back to look at what I had. She was really young so I wasn't sure what to say. But I stuck with the basics and showed her the Bhakti Yoga. I had just read a beautiful note by Vijaya Prabhu about the 'Dos and Don't of Book distribution' where Prabhupada explained that he wanted everyone to see pictures in his books as it would make them more curious. So I started to show her pictures and then requested her to take the book. All the while I was talking she kept appreciating the book but was looking at me with an empty stare and I could not quiet make out what it meant. When I requested her donation, she simply said 'I am homeless'. I had a complete loss of words as the words just pierced my heart with shock. Gathering my wits I asked her oh, so do you believe in love or look for it. She gave a most definite yes and so I requested her to give me even a coin if she had it. She put a hand in her jacket and pulled out a begging coffee cup and gave me a coin that she had collected from begging. I gave her the book but could not check my emotions as she walked away. A quick look at some statistics showed that over 5000 homeless people in just the most affluent and industrial city in Canada. Actually who has a home in this material world, we were all living in homeless situations even when inside an apartment/house with what seems like a family. Had it not been for Srila Prabhupada's powerful books and the magnanimous shelter of devotees, we would also be lost in the smoke screen of maya, wandering aimlessly through this life. Just like that little girl walking up and down the street with a smoke.

Srila Prabhupaa Lecture SB 6.1.25 Jul 1975 : Sanatana-dharma means when the sanätana-jiva, living entity, tries go to back home... That is our real home. Here it is not home. We have taken America as home. How long it is your home, sir? Say, fifty years, hundred years, that's all. Not this kind of home. So that home is eternal. That is called, therefore, sanätana.
Source : If you include homeless people in Toronto's correctional facilities, provincially run Violence Against Women shelters, and health care facilities, there were an estimated 5,086 homeless people in Toronto on the night of April 15, 2009, almost unchanged from the estimate in April 2006.
CBC News : Survey counts 5,052 homeless in Toronto

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1967 October 16: "Kirtanananda has not rightly understood Krishna Consciousness philosophy. He has been attacked by maya; he is a victim. We shall pray to Krishna for his recovery but we cannot allow him to speak on my behalf."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1967

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1967 October 16: "Why are you disturbing the whole situation in my absence? You have not understood Krishna properly, please therefore do not misrepresent me. If you love me please do not talk but chant in solitary place - anywhere you like."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1967

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1968 October 16: "The Ravana class want Sita without Rama and therefore havoc. We want to perfect everything with Krishna Consciousness. Our policy is without Krishna, everything is zero. But zero by the side of Krishna, then it is 10, 1,000, 1,000,000."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1968

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1968 October 16: "In future we can open centers in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Fiji, Bangkok, Sydney, New Zealand, and all neighboring islands. And Hawaii will be our center for spreading Krishna Consciousness in the Pacific."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1968

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1968 October 16: "I have come here on the order of my Spiritual Master, I am nonentity; there is no credit for me, all the credit goes to my Spiritual Master. He has arranged everything, and I am simply to abide by His order."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1968

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 October 16: "Somehow or other on account of their previous pious activities, they have come to Krishna Consciousness. So amongst ourselves we should treat one another very sympathetically so that our missionary activities may go on unhampered."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 October 16: "I hope the Deity worship is going on very nicely; dress, flowers, ornaments, arati, cleanliness, foodstuffs, all of them must be regular, accompanied by kirtana, street sankirtana, distribution of literature, etc."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 October 16: "As soon as the older boys can read Sanskrit and English, they should read our books, such as Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Their attention will be always in Krsna consciousness. That will save them from the clutches of maya."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973

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Bhakta Chris, New York, USA: A Revolution In Consciousness?

By Chris Fici for ISKCON News on 12 Oct 2011
Occupy Wall Street demonstrators carry a "false idol" to New York's Zuccotti Square
I was recently having lunch with a few of the ministers and pastors from our Interfaith community here in New York`s the East Village, and I was struck by how our conversation turned, like the force of a magnet, towards the practical matters of feeding and caring for the increasing number of homeless and destitute who were appearing in the Village.

I felt a certain disquietude as I listened. I didn't feel comfortable joining in their interest, and as I explored that discomfort, I returned to the disconnection still lingering in my heart between a bridge unmade.

My own compulsion to understand truth had previously lead from me the realm of social justice and activism to the realm of the spirit, and since that transition, I have been struggling to reconcile within my heart the bridge between these two worlds. 

As I began exploring my feelings surrounding that lunch, another layer of truth hit me like a ton of bricks. The headlines I read turned towards a unique gathering in downtown Manhattan, which we all know now as the "Occupy Wall Street" protests.

In the past few weeks, I have been doing a dance in my mind and heart over how I feel towards this unlikely and unprecedented turn of events. I have gone from being quite eager to go down there and join them in their strange and colorful carnival, and I have also felt an equally strong desire to keep my distance.

Other monks in our ashram are feeling the same way, teetering between feelings of solidarity and skepticism, encouragement and discouragement. Yet it's something we can't ignore, not only because it's right down the street, but because it is speaking to a voice we know we all share.

Stop what you are doing for a moment and go to this website which is philosophically and practically linked to the protests on Wall Street:

What do you feel when you read some of these people's accounts? I feel the pain of my own parents' financial troubles. I feel the pain of so many people from the wasted city of Detroit, where I grew up and honed my roots. I feel the pain of people just like me, just like you, who have found that precepts of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", as guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence, are a cruel joke laid upon them.

I look at many of the young people saddled with college and credit-card debt and I also feel gratitude for my current shelter as a monk, which has allowed me to keep a certain space from being plunged into that kind of angst, an angst which is visceral and existential all at once. I can literally say that "there but for the grace of God go I."

Most of all I feel that there are people who are done with being stuck with the survival of the fittest. Those camped out at Zuccotti Park near Wall Street are but the spearhead of what appears the emergence of a new zeitgeist, of a potential movement moving across lines of race (though not necessarily class), which is done with what Naomi Klein calls "The Shock Doctrine", or disaster capitalism.

The 99% are people who are sick of being manipulated and exploited by the 1% who, by all appearances on the surface and underneath, are rigging the system and benefiting beyond any sense of means and decency by a dependence on the inherent shocks and chaos programmed into the system itself.

In her book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Klein writes of the 1% and one of their "spiritual" preceptors Milton Friedman:

"This desire for godlike powers of total creation is precisely why free-market idealogues are so drawn to crises and disasters. Non-apocalyptic reality is simply not hospitable to their ambitions. For thirty-five years, what has animated Friedman's counterrevolution is an attraction to a kind of freedom and possibility available only in times of cataclysmic change-when people, with their stubborn habits and insistent demands, are blasted out of the way-moments when democracy seems a practical impossibility."

This is clearly a movement which is making the attempt to push back, to assert an essential need for decency, integrity, justice, and humanity. They are articulating a voice for so many of the voiceless. The desire of their heart is so sincere, and this is what is attracting so many of us to consider and even directly support their activism.

Yet, despite all these obvious truths, I still struggle to join my body, mind, and heart with their own. This is largely because I am a head-space person, and I am becoming more conscious of the "limits of my empathy", as articulated quite nicely in a recent NY Times op-ed by David Brooks, but the bridge between these considerations and actual action is also still unmade, and is the great conflict of my inner spiritual life at the moment.

There are practical considerations in any case. As monks, our distance from the world insures the space and freedom to cultivate the deeper spiritual reality which underlies and actualizes all potential solutions to the problems of this world. This distance allows a proper perspective and vision.

I can't help but relate to the similar struggle the great Catholic writer Thomas Merton also felt in trying to understand the bridge between his concerns for social justice and spiritual truth. He was careful to avoid the kind of zeal that warps sincerity, and which turns this sincerity into the violence of pride. From his 1962 essay The Seasons of Celebration he defines the zealot as an individual:

"who 'loses himself' in his cause in such a way that he can no longer 'find himself' at all. Yet paradoxically this 'loss' of himself is not the salutary self-forgetfulness commanded by Christ. It is rather an immersion in hos own wilfulness conceived as the will of an abstract, non-personal force; the force of a project or program. He is, in other words, alienated by the violence of his own enthusiasm: and by that very violence he tends to produce the same kind of alienation in others."

There is, of course, a fear in getting involved, of getting too drawn in when we are already in our ashram stretched to the max is so many ways. There is also a fear and hesitation based on simply not being familiar, on the ground, with the protestors, with who they are, what they are feeling, what they are experiencing. The only to this cure is a careful engagement on our part, to a sharing of our presence which also keeps us free from the winds of the chaotic and unformed aspects of this movement.

What the Occupy Wall Street movement needs, and what it is yearning for, is something more than a band-aid solution. They must solve the questions of leadership, policy, momentum, and a deeper integrity which will resonate with the mainstream. They must solve the question of how they are going to become truly transcendent.

Where do we come in to help them do this? Humbly of course, at first, not pretending to be the soothsayers who will guide them to victory, but as their servants trying to make them aware that they are on the cusp of a potential revolution in consciousness. We want them to understand truly what it means to come in like a needle, and out like a plow.

It is my own personal conviction that, as devotees and caretakers of Srila Prabhupada's mission, that we cannot live in a vacuum. We must offer, in some way, our presence, our association, our wisdom, our lifestyle, our love, friendship, and support. I ask for your blessings and your own prayers that we can perhaps all do this with courage and without naivety.

Bhakta Chris Fici is a monk in the Bhaktivedanta Ashram at The Bhakti Center, New York City

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Haricharana das, Indonesia: Walk Harinam~Segara Beach - Padang Galak...

Walk Harinam~Segara Beach - Padang Galak Beach

varaḿ deva mokṣaḿ na mokṣāvadhiḿ  
na canyaḿ vṛṇe 'haḿ vareṣād apīha 
idaḿ te vapur nātha gopāla-bālaḿ 
sadā me manasy āvirāstāḿ kim anyaih

O Lord, although You are able to give all kinds of benedictions, I do not pray to You for the boon of impersonal liberation, nor the highest liberation of eternal life in Vaikuntha, nor any other boon (which may be obtained by executing the nine processes of bhakti). O Lord, I simply wish that this form of Yours as Bala Gopala in Vrndavana may ever be manifest in my heart, for what is the use to me of any other boon besides this?

idaḿ te mukhāmbhojam atyanta-nīlair 
vṛtaḿ kuntalaiḥ snigdha-raktaiś ca gopyā 
muhuś cumbitaḿ bimba-raktādharaḿ me 
manasy āvirāstām alaḿ lakṣa-lābhaih

O Lord, Your lotus face, which is encircled by locks of soft black hair tinged with red, is kissed again and again by mother Yasoda, and Your lips are reddish like the bimba fruit. May this beautiful vision of Your lotus face be ever manifest in my heart. Thousands and thousands of other benedictions are of no use to me.

namo deva dāmodarānanta viṣṇo 
prasīda prabho duḥkha-jālābdhi-magnam 
kṛpā-dṛṣṭi-vṛṣṭyāti-dīnaḿ batānu 
gṛhāṇeṣa mām ajñam edhy akṣi-dṛśyah

O Supreme Godhead, I offer my obeisances unto YouO Damodara! O Ananta! O Vishnu! O master! O my Lord, be pleased upon me. By showering Your glance of mercy upon me, deliver this poor ignorant fool who is immersed in an ocean of worldly sorrows, and become visible to my eyes.


Every living being is anxious for full freedom because that is his transcendental nature. And this freedom is obtained only through the transcendental service of the Lord. Illusioned by the external energy, everyone thinks that he is free, but actually he is bound up by the laws of nature. A conditioned soul cannot freely move from one place to another even on this earth, and what to speak of one planet to another. But a full-fledged free soul like Nārada, always engaged in chanting the Lord's glory, is free to move not only on earth but also in any part of the universe, as well as in any part of the spiritual sky. We can just imagine the extent and unlimitedness of his freedom, which is as good as that of the Supreme Lord. There is no reason or obligation for his traveling, and no one can stop him from his free movement. Similarly, the transcendental system of devotional service is also free. It may or may not develop in a particular person even after he undergoes all the detailed formulas. Similarly, the association of the devotee is also free. One may be fortunate to have it, or one may not have it even after thousands of endeavors. Therefore, in all spheres of devotional service, freedom is the main pivot. Without freedom there is no execution of devotional service. The freedom surrendered to the Lord does not mean that the devotee becomes dependent in every respect. To surrender unto the Lord through the transparent medium of the spiritual master is to attain complete freedom of life.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa) 1.6.37

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Madhava Ghosh dasa, New Vrndavan, USA: Devotee Brothers Use Sports to Build Community and Keep Youth Fit

By by Madhava Smullen on 30 Sep 2011


Raghu and his wife Yamuna outside the Alachua temple

In Alachua, Florida—home to North America's biggest ISKCON community—two second generation devotee brothers have found that sports can be a healthy part of a balanced Krishna conscious lifestyle.

Samba Zaldivar, 36, and Raghunath Zaldivar, 31, have played soccer for many years and have found it a good way to keep the "temple of the body" fit, as well as to build community and contribute positively to the development of the next generation of ISKCON youth.

Raghunath, a father of two, has served as a P.E. teacher in the local charter school for nine years, where a large percentage of the students are devotees.

He began playing soccer while at the Gurukula day school in Gita Nagari, Pennsylvania in 1986 and '87, and when he moved to Alachua the following year, began playing in the city's local recreational soccer league.

At twelve years old, his talent was spotted, and he was picked to play for a select team by the US Youth Soccer Association, traveling to cities throughout Florida to play other all-star teams until he was seventeen. At the same time, Raghunath—known to his friends as Raghu—made the varsity team at his high school, Santa Fe, and became its all-time leading scorer with 62 goals, a record he still holds.

"I had some really cool experiences there," he says. "There was a whole bunch of devotee kids on the team. Once while we were on the bus, some of the other kids starting asking us what the Hare Krishna mantra was, and when we told them, they wanted to chant it. The next thing we knew, the whole bus was roaring out the Hare Krishna mantra!"

After high school, Raghu received a scholarship to play for Carson-Newman, a Baptist liberal arts college in Tennessee. Traveling to neighboring states such as Kentucky, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Alabama while playing for its soccer team, he established strong bonds with his fellow players and introduced many of them to Krishna consciousness too.

"They'd see me chanting japa, and would have many questions about it," he says.

Graduating from Carson-Newman in 2002 with a degree in communications, and a minor in psychology, Raghu didn't have to wait long to find a job. Upon moving back to Alachua, he was contacted by the head of the local charter school who asked him if he'd be interested in applying for the position of P.E. teacher. He did, got the job, and now, nine years later, he hasn't looked back.

"I love my job," he says. "I teach 165 students right now, about half of whom are devotees, from Kindergarten through eighth grade. We do warm-up exercises, stretches, the Presidential Challenge Physical Fitness program, rock-climbing, and tons of games—American football, soccer, and many games that I made up and the kids gave crazy names. There's Raghuball, which they love—it's a combination of Capture the Flag and Dodgeball—and Death Lane, which is also a type of Dodgeball. In this country right now, we have a big problem with childhood inactivity, obesity and heart disease—so many kids just stay inside and watch TV and play videogames all the time. Our philosophy is to make sure the kids have a really good time and learn to enjoy physical activity, so that they have a positive outlook on it throughout their lives."

Raghu also seeks to give youth a positive experience of Krishna consciousness, and has contributed to his community by organizing a mentoring program and other schemes in the past. Recently, however, he has managed to combine sports and Krishna consciousness for a wonderfully unique offering to the youth of ISKCON Alachua.

Coach Raghu (back row, third from the left) with teachers and P.E. students from Alachua charter school

"When I was going to Carson-Newman, a Christian college, I noticed a lot of churches doing something called lock-ins for their youth," he says. "Because kids love getting together and staying up all night, they created a supervised facility for them to do that, with plenty of activities that would have a positive influence. So I decided to do the same."

Every year, in October or November, Raghu rents the gym at the Alachua Recreation Center, and organizes a spectacular lock-in for thirteen to eighteen year olds from the local ISKCON community. The teenagers stay up all night from 8pm until 8am, playing sports such as soccer, Basketball, Raghuball, and a gurukula favorite called Dadhi Bandha.

Prasadam is provided for them throughout the night, and mixed in with this healthy, supervised fun are many Krishna conscious activities. Various devotee speakers from the community make presentations on Srila Prabhupada, the Bhagavad-gita, the Holy Name, and even local preaching efforts such as Gainesville's Krishna House.

"They absolutely love it," Raghu says. "As soon as one lock-in ends, we get kids asking us when the next one is for the rest of the year!"

Raghu's brother Samba, who has also played soccer since high school, also uses sports to create a positive social and fitness experience for the local Hare Krishna youth, but in a slightly different way—he has his own soccer team.

"Back in 1996, when I was twenty-two, we started a team called The Pandavas, after the heroes of the Mahabharata," he says. "Eighteen out of the twenty-two players were devotees, who would come out and play with shaved heads and sikhas. The community would show up to our games playing mridangas and kartalas. It was crazy."

Although the Pandavas only lasted two seasons, in 2004, Samba decided to start a new team of second generation devotees. While the number of devotee players has sometimes fallen, today, there are fourteen amongst the twenty team members of "Real Alachua."

"What's special about it is that I also used to teach P.E. at the New Raman Reti school on our ISKCON property years ago, and now many of the kids I taught have grown up and are my team-mates," says Samba. "The team chemistry is great, because we all know each other so well."

Affiliated with the Gainesville Regional Soccer League (GRSL), Real Alachua has won six League championships and five tournament championships, and remains one of the top teams.

"If you look at our roster now, it's full of names like Govinda, Krishna, Balarama, Mathura, and Uddhava," Samba says. "That's pretty awesome!"

Describing his team as keeping devotee kids engaged in a healthy, clean way, Samba adds, "Apart from me and my brother, who is also on the team, many of the others are between the ages of eighteen and twenty. So sometimes I'll find myself coaching them. If they loose their temper, for instance, I encourage them to relax and remind them that it's just a game."

Raghu, whose priorities are bringing his children up in Krishna consciousness, contributing to his community, and doing Deity worship both at home and at the temple, agrees.

"In sports, as in life, we must remember to play the game, but not be attached to the results, as Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita," he explains. "Sports are good for your body's health, and can be a positive recreational activity; and I think playing them is fine as long as we always remember not to take them too seriously and loose focus of what's really important in life—Krishna."

Filed under: Sports
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Australian News: Mayapuris Rock the Sydney Kuli Catch-up

Tonight the Mayapuris once again lived up to their reputation of the kings and Queens of Kirtan Rock. They shook the house and blew the dust from our minds and hears. Look at these photos and see what happens when you let the young Tigers of Kirtan loose at your temple.

From Mayapuris at Sydney Kuli Catch-Up 16 October 2011, posted by Antony Brennan on 10/16/2011 (63 items)

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Bn Georgina asks why devotees showed her a wrong attitude upon her temple visit and about chanting the Nrsimha kavaca

Jiggy Nayee asks about IVF treatment, Bn Julianna about accepting a guru and David Garvin about how many strands of neck beads to wear.

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ISKCON Malaysia: A Special Day with the Young Ones



Thank God It's Friday (TGIF) is the first thing that comes to my mind, waking up on a Friday morning. As for most us, this is like the Heaven on Earth day, since it is the last day of the working week, unless you are some crazy workaholic.


Now we have the most SPECIAL inspiration; the Food For Life Malaysia and Bramacharis team organises FFL and Sastra Dana programs mostly at schools on Fridays. Of course some programs are also organised on other days of the week. So on 14 October 2011, a joyful event was organised at SRK(T) Thamboosamy Pillai, Sentul. For Simheswara, Rasa Parayana prabhus, it was bringing back time in memories, as it was their hometown!


Malaysian timing or Indian timing? NO WAY, when it comes to school programs. Everything has to be punctual. The event commenced at 10.00 am with Siva Caitanya prabhu guiding the school children to sing the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. Ha, this is interesting! We had Rasa Parayana prabhu playing the kartal and Santi Vardhana Caitanya prabhu dancing on the stage, teaching them how to sway their body to the left and right and saying Haribol!  Vallabhi mataji was also guiding the kids to chant. Good coordination ah? The children were having so much fun! All you can see is smiles and laughters! They were very enthused (Yes, better response than a Sunday feast program, haha). Soon after, they had a competition between boys and girls; as to who sang louder, correctly with proper coordination. They had to listen to Siva Caitanya prabhu singing and follow the dance steps of Santi Vardhana Caitanya prabhu. With eyes closed, you can tell, the girls obviously followed better (I am not being a feminist here, haha). Later, they also had volunteers from the students, to chant the Maha Mantra and rest to follow!


Santi Vardhana Caitanya prabhu gave a brief speech on Krishna Consciousness and Bhagavad Gita. When he asked "Who Krishna Spoke the Bhagavad Gita to?" Some of the kids answered "Indians!!!" haha! One boy got it right, he said loudly "Aaaaarrrrrjjuuuunaaaaa!" It was then time for Book Distribution! BBT Malaysia is very systematic, where books were given according to their age category which includes colouring books, children books, some simple reading philosophical books and we also had books for the teachers. Srila Prabhupada ki! Jai!


Santi Vardhana Caitanya and Siva Caitanya prabhus presented the books to the school teachers and kids. They were all so so so happy to receive the books and I personally saw some children going through them which was very encouraging.


Meanwhile the rest of the team were preparing prasadam packets for the kids! And Guess What's special? It is Malaysians all time favourite NASI LEMAK preparation, with corn jelly and lime drink to quench the thirst of the noon heat!! These were prepared by our Masterchef Malaysia Mayapur Chandra prabhu and team.


After having prasadam, some teachers took the opportunity to learn more about Krishna Consciousness, they were speaking to Simheswara, Santi Vardhana and Siva Caitanya prabhus. They had many interesting questions and they personally were happy and thanked the team to have such encouraging, spiritually enlightening and wonderful program which benefits not only the kids but also the teachers themselves. In total: 26 Krishna Story Hard Bound and 309 small and medium size literatures and 350 prasadam packets distributed. P/S: Let me tell you, Children are so much fun.

And if you had a crazy week, consider taking leave on a Friday, because this is not only a spiritual program, it is stress relief, fun, exciting and very satisfying at heart. In summary: YOU WILL LOVE IT! We also need more volunteers to assist the FFL Malaysia team; it would be wonderful if you could give a hand. The more the merrier! Come on! BOY, I wish I was in school again!

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ISKCON Desire Tree: Vaishnava Calender - Srila Narottam Dasa Thakura -Disappearance

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H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: Vaishnava Etiquette (1) Mauritius Lectures

THE FOLLOWING SEMINAR LECTURE WAS GIVEN BY HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CARU SWAMI IN MAURITIUS 24 MARCH 2011. Transcription : Her Grace Rasa-Mandali Dasi Editing : Her Grace Hemavati Radhika Dasi Audio reference : click here Pictures : click here The first thing today is because it is a seminar there may be a need to [...]

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ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Kartik Bhagavatam Classes - LIVE!

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Today's Darsana


"His eyes are filled with fear, and the necklace of pearls around His neck, which is marked with three lines like a conch shell, is shaking because of His quick breathing due to crying. To this Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, whose belly is bound not with ropes but with His mother's pure love, I offer my humble obeisances."

(Sri Damodarastakam)

Here is the darsana of Sri Damodara on this beautiful Sunday of the month of Kartika.

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By Jahnava devi dasi

"The most enlivening feature of Ratha Yatra for me is the energetic, creative, and responsible participation of so many of our congregation members who fantastically organized everything from the fleet of children's Ratha Yatra carts in the parade to the various workshops on yoga, meditation, and kirtan at the festival sites." --Ravindra Svarupa prabhu

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Japa Group: Bring The Mind To The Chanting

Today I read a very nice quote from Sacinandana Swami about how the mind is always running away from the Mantra....this happens to most of us during Japa - the solution is very simple.
"The mind always wants to run away from the holy name, and thus we have to practice again and again to bring the mind to the chanting." Sacinandana Swami
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H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 5, Chapter 3, Text 20.

THE FOLLOWING LECTURE ON SRIMAD-BHAGAVATAM CANTO 5 CHAPTER 3 TEXT 20 WAS GIVEN BY HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CARU SWAMI ON 1 AUGUST 2011 IN ISKCON RADHADESH, BELGIUM. Transcription : Her Grace Shyama Mohini Dasi & Ramananda Raya Dasa Editwork : Her Grace Hemavati Radhika Dasi His Holiness Bhakti Caru Swami sings Jaya Radha Madhava followed [...]

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Spiritual Scientist: Lust & Love – What's the Difference?

Question: What is the difference between lust and love?

Answer: The difference is huge, but is hardly understood. Mistaking lust to be love can be said to be the essential tragedy of modern society. Lust sees the other person as an object for one's own enjoyment, whereas love sees the other person as a person to be served and pleased. The sixteenth century devotional classic Chaitanya Charitamrita compares love to gold and lust to copper. If copper is gold-coated, the uninformed mistake it to be gold. Similarly, if lust is covered with smiles, flatteries and gifts, the undiscriminating mistake it to be love.

Lust originates from the fundamental ignorance of our own identity. When we mistake ourselves to be physical bodies, whether male or female, we naturally come under the control of bodily drives for lusty pleasures. Lust creates within us a hunger for matter, which we struggle to fulfill by exploiting another person's body for our pleasure.  But lusty pleasures are treacherously anticlimactic; fantasies cherished for years fizzle out in minutes. So, when relationships are formed based on lust, as happens often in so-called "love" marriages, those relationships are soon wrecked by the selfishness inherent in lust.

True love begins with a clear understanding of our spiritual identity. The Bhagavad-gita describes that we are spiritual beings, beloved parts of the Supreme All-Attractive Being, Krishna. In our pure state, we innately love Krishna and delight eternally in that eternal love. When Krishna – the source and pivot of all love – is at the center of our heart and life, then we naturally love all living beings, for we see them as beloved children of our Lord. When our relationships are thus divinely-centered, then we can relish and share true love.

But when we turn away from Krishna, we forget our spiritual identity and misidentify with our temporary bodily coverings. That misidentification perverts our natural love for Krishna into an unnatural lust for matter. Often this perversion sabotages our intelligence so thoroughly that we start mistaking carnal lust to be natural and spiritual love to be unnatural. Only when we come in touch with saints who have transformed their lust into love can we recognize and remedy our unnatural predicament. Lust being a perversion of our original, essential nature, can be reverted to love for Krishna through the scientific process of mantra meditation. Krishna being omnipotent is fully present in His Holy Names like the Hare Krishna mahamantra. Meditatively chanting the Holy Names therefore connects us immediately with Krishna, who is love personified and so awakens our divine love. By saintly association and mantra meditation, we can transform lust into love and thus reclaim our original life of endless love.

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Spiritual Scientist: How Do Saints Help Others?

Question: The Indian culture, like most traditional cultures, recommends associating with saints. How does such association practically help us?

Answer: The German poet Goethe said, "Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be." Most of us have a tendency to focus on people's faults and stick labels like "lazy", "short-tempered" and "immoral" on them. When we harp on people's faults, we force them into a defensive, justifying mode. This distracts them from doing the deep internal work that can bring out their divine potential.

In marked contrast, saints help bring out the good in others, for they know everyone to be potentially divine. Let's see two saints in action.

Once, the great saint Ramanujacharya (ca. 1017 to 1137), while in the sacred town of Srirangam, came across a young man Dhanur das, who was completely infatuated by a society girl and was fanning her in public. In those days, such behavior was scandalous, and people were condemning him for his shamelessness, but he was oblivious to their criticisms. Seeing him as a pure soul temporarily covered by illusion, Ramanujacharya politely asked him why he was so attracted to that woman. Dhanur das replied passionately, "I have never seen eyes as beautiful as hers." Appreciating his earnest love for beauty, Ramanujacharya challenged him, "What would you do if I showed you eyes far more beautiful than these?" Dhanur das promptly replied, "I would devote myself to the person with those eyes." Ramanujacharya took him to the magnificent temple of Lord Ranganath and showed him the beautiful deity form there. By Ramanujacharya's sincerer prayers, the Lord revealed the supreme beauty of his eyes to Dhanur das. Mesmerized by that divine beauty, Dhanur das fell in love with the Lord and went on to become a saintly devotee.

Srila Prabhupada went to America during the 1960s, the period of the counterculture. At that time, thousands of youths were becoming "hippies", seeking "to go high", to have spiritual experiences, by taking drugs. Srila Prabhupada did not decry them for being useless addicts as the American mainstream was doing, but he compassionately fanned the spark of spiritual interest that they had. He lovingly explained to them how mantra chanting – and not drugs – would enable them to "stay high forever", to rise to a high, fulfilling, lasting state of constant spiritual experiences. Encouraged and guided by him, many of his students have become internationally respected spiritual leaders, selflessly sharing God's love with one and all.

Thus, saints help bring out our latent divine qualities and so their association should be cherished as a precious blessing and a glorious opportunity.

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Vedavyasa Priya Swami

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.22 - The Vaishnava devotee does not violate the order of the Lord.

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Gouranga TV: Radhanath Swami The Essense of Religions

Radhanath Swami speaking on the topic “The Essense of Religions” at a Unitarian Church. Dallas, TX 2010-10-09

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Spiritual Scientist: Why Irrational Shopping?

Question: When shopping, why do many intelligent people suddenly become almost irrational and purchase dozens of unnecessary and even unwanted things?

Answer: The Bhagavad-gita (2.62-63) describes the psychological cause of such irrational behavior:

"Dwelling on sense objects causes lust to catch on fire.
Lust produces anger, born of unfulfilled desire.
Anger breeds confusion and bewilders memory,
Causing lost intelligence and endless misery."

Let's understand this verse through the analogy of a snowball.

Through catchy sponsorship tags, jazzy billboards and dazzling TV commercials, the advertising industry brings consumer products in front of our senses again and again. And almost all of them try to catch our attention by depicting the female form at various imagination-triggering levels of dressing or undressing.

John enters a supermarket and his senses are immediately bombarded by sights, smells and sounds of lifestyle products, products that are not on his shopping list. Contemplation on those stimuli creates in his mind a small pebble of desire, lust. As the pebble keeps rolling down in his mind, the initial "That's nice" feeling soon becomes an irresistible "I want it" craving. Then a sudden wave of fury "Who can stop me from getting it?" sweeps across his mind. The resulting confusion sabotages his memory of his recent resolution to not spend needlessly. With the memory knocked down, the emotional snowball then crushes the intelligence, thus wrecking the last defense against irrationality.

Purchasing an extra product might not appear such a serious problem, but what if it becomes an addiction?

And the emotional snowball principle can be exploited for far greater kinds of irrationality. By seducing gullible young men with promises of virgins in paradise, vested interests convert them into suicide bombers.

To avoid being overpowered by such irrational emotions, we need to avoid contemplating on temptations. But that's easier said than done. Why? Because we live in a state of perpetual mental dissatisfaction that impels us to seek and experience external objects as potential sources of pleasure. The only way to avoid mental dissatisfaction is to discover a satisfying object of thought.

The Vedic tradition reveals God to be Krishna, the supremely beautiful, supremely powerful, supremely wealthy, supremely wise, supremely peaceful, supremely famous person. Due to his all-attractive, all-loving nature, Krishna is the most satisfying object of thought. And the easiest and best way to think about Krishna is by chanting his holy names like the Hare Krishna mahamantra. By cultivating the practice of regular chanting, we can make thoughts aboutKrishnaour default thoughts and thus experience constant internal satisfaction. Then, whether we are shopping or doing any other activity, instead of being crushed by the emotional snowball, we can crush it in its formative stage – while it is still a pebble.

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Spiritual Scientist: The Power of Divine Sound

Question: In the Vedic tradition, there seems to be a lot of emphasis on spiritual sound vibrations, on hearing from a spiritual master. Why this emphasis?

Answer: Sonic technology is central to the Vedic program of spiritual redemption. That's why the Vedanta-sutra, the condensed conclusion of all Vedic wisdom, culminates in the aphorism: anavrittih shabdat "The uncovering of pure consciousness occurs by divine sound."

The Vedic texts explain that all of us are afflicted by spiritual amnesia. As spiritual beings, we are eternal and indestructible. But due to forgetting our spiritual identity, we live in anxiety and fear caused by the fragility and mortality of our material bodies. As parts of God, we are intrinsically joyful like him, but due to having forgotten our internal connection with him, we struggle for paltry pleasures in the external world. Overall, our spiritual forgetfulness causes us to be shackled by trivial desires and fears, thus making us live far below our potentials.

The guru is like an expert doctor who can cure our spiritual amnesia. When the guru is himself a devotee dedicated to the service of the Lord and when he repeats the message of God as given in the scriptures, then his words of wisdom have a special spiritual potency. Those words, called as shabda brahma (God manifested as sound vibration), penetrate all the material coverings on the soul, thus reviving one's spiritual memory. Thus the words of the guru stand in marked contrast to all other ordinary words, which simply get incorporated into and increase the layers of forgetfulness that cover the soul.

 As we have been living in spiritual forgetfulness for many, many lifetimes, reviving our spiritual memory may take some time, just as curing a chronic disease may take some time. But the result we get on being cured – becoming free from the limitations of our bodies and minds and rejoicing in the life of freedom and love that is our original nature – is well-worth the effort and the patience

The unleashing power of divine sound is illustrated in the Ramayana, which, in addition to describing real events that took place in remote history, also demonstrates timeless, universal truths. In the Ramayana, the simian-hero, Hanuman, plays a relatively minor role till being spiritually aroused by the words of wisdom of the veteran-warrior, Jambavan, who acts like a spiritual mentor. Thereafter Hanuman's profile changes dramatically, and he does astounding feats in the service of Rama. Similarly, whatever be our achievements – minor or major – before we hear the words of wisdom from a guru, all those achievements will pale into insignificance as we rise to new levels of fulfillment and accomplishment in our real life of devotional service to the Lord and all his children.

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Spiritual Scientist: Isn't Spirituality Impractical?

Question: In our fast-paced modern life, isn't spirituality impractical?

Answer: Not at all.

No matter how fast-paced our life becomes, the practical purpose of all our activities always remains happiness. Spirituality reveals to us the best form of happiness, a happiness that can never be taken away from us. The Vedic texts explain that as souls, we all have an eternal loving relationship with the all-attractive Supreme Lord. In loving and serving God, we can relish supreme and everlasting happiness; the more we love God, the happier we become.

Love for God is sometimes thought of as impractical because it directs our vision to the other world, the eternal spiritual world beyond the temporary material world. But this other-worldly goal does not make us impractical; rather, it builds the most solid foundation for living practically in this world. Just as when we switch on the master switch in a house, all the lights in the house automatically turn on, similarly, when we awaken our love for God, our love for all living beings automatically awakens. We realize that all of us are brothers and sisters in the one universal family of God. When we love all living beings, we no longer desire to exploit or manipulate them for our selfish interests. Instead, our love for God inspires us to love and serve each other. This creates a culture of warmth, trust and service, which makes practical life joyful. This contrasts sharply with the modern culture of alienation, suspicion and exploitation, which makes practical life joyless.

When we follow a genuine spiritual path, even in its early stages, it activates our latent spiritual perception. We intuitively realize that God is our greatest well-wisher and is in charge of our lives. So we understand that whatever happens in our life is sanctioned by him and is for our ultimate good, even if it seems all wrong to us. Without this realization of God's benevolent orchestration of our life, the seemingly chaotic events of life often become impractical and impossible to manage. But equipped with divine vision, we no longer feel life to be an impractical, losing battle against a hostile world. Rather, we recognize difficulties as concealed opportunities for practical growth.

We may still fear, "All these benefits sound great, but is following a spiritual path to get these benefits practical?" Why not? All we have to do is associate with saintly people, study books of wisdom like the Bhagavad-Gita and chant the holy names of God like the Hare Krishna mahamantra. Thus the path is practical and easy and the results too are practical and beneficial. So let's rid ourselves of this misconception that spirituality is impractical.

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Spiritual Scientist: Go Beyond Fear

Question: Can spirituality help one to become free from anxiety and fear?

Answer: Surely.

To understand how, let's begin with a thought exercise.

Suppose you are walking on a lonely street late at night. Suddenly you see a hefty, suspicious-looking person charging toward you. Just as fear starts creeping up your spine, you notice an armed policeman standing on guard nearby. Immediately your fear disappears.

Like in the above story, all of us are on a journey through the street of life. At any moment, problems – financial, familial, social, educational, professional, physical – may charge upon us. These problems – even their very thoughts – trigger fear within us. But if we are able to see the Lord always by our side, ready to protect us whenever required, then our fears will subside. The Bhagavad-gita (5.29) describes that the Lord is always present in our hearts, but we need to refine our devotional vision to perceive his presence there. Two quick and effective ways to feel God's protective presence are praying to him and chanting his holy names.

Another way to overcome fear is by illumining ourselves with spiritual wisdom. When we enter a dark room, we imagine various dangers within it and so feel fearful. But when we turn on the light, we see our fears to be baseless. Similarly, when we are spiritually uninformed, life is like a dark room for us and so we often imagine things going wrong in the future and make ourselves fearful.  When we turn on the light of divine wisdom in our own hearts, we understand our own spiritual identity as eternal souls who are forever beyond destruction. This understanding of our core invincibility enables us to dismiss most of our fears as the baseless imaginations of our paranoid minds.

Ultimately, courage comes not by the mere absence of fear, but by absorption in a cause that takes us beyond fear. When we are inspired by a great cause, a cause far greater than ourselves, our fears about protecting our own petty concerns evaporate. The greatest of all causes is the selfless devotional service of the Lord. Why? Because the Lord is the greatest well wisher of all living beings, and so, by serving his will, we can do the greatest good to one and all – including, of course, our own selves. A shining example of fearlessness through absorption in sharing God's love with the world is Srila Prabhupada. At the age of 69, when most people fear going across a street alone, Srila Prabhupada went across the oceans to America, alone and penniless. Within eleven short years, he built 108 temples, wrote over 70 books, and circumnavigated the globe 14 times on lecture-tours and inspired millions of people toward a wisdom-based life of fearlessness.

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Spiritual Scientist: Raaz Agle Janam Ka

Question: What is the spiritual perspective on the recent popular serial Raaz Pichhle Janam Ka (The Secret of Previous Life)?

Answer: The serial brought the much-neglected topic of reincarnation to the forefront of the public mind. That, in and of itself, is a significant and positive development. For too long has reincarnation been relegated to the realm of a sectarian, sentimental and religious belief. Reincarnation is not just a Hindu or Buddhist belief; verses confirming it can be found in all the great religions of the world including Christianity, Islam and Judaism, as is persuasively presented in several well-researched books including ISKCON scholar Steven Rosen's landmark book The Reincarnation Controversy.

Even in science, bold researchers like Dr Ian Stevenson have accumulated strong evidence supporting reincarnation. That's why both in the east and the west, books on reincarnation are becoming increasingly popular. The serial Raaz Pichhle Janam Ka was an example of this phenomenon.

One problem with such popular renditions is that they often romanticize and sensationalize reincarnation, thus distracting people from its serious implications. Many people fancifully imagine about their past life and some even try out past-life regressions. No doubt, such regressions can give factually accurate information about the person's past life. No doubt, they can free people from phobias caused by past-life traumas. But they can do nothing to save us from future traumas – in this life and the next. We still have to undergo the trauma of old age, disease and death in this very life. And as souls who will take another body in our future life, we will have to undergo these traumas again and again. Unless we try to understand Raaz Agle Janam Ka (The Secret of the Next Life).

This secret is clearly explained in the Bhagavad-gita (8.4-5) in terms of the law of last thought.  Whatever is our last thought while dying becomes the template on which our next body is built. So an intelligent person chooses to think, at the time of death, of God and of one's eternal relationship with him. Thus one can gain an eternal spiritual body in God's kingdom, where one goes beyond all bodily traumas.  But we can't think of God at the time of death without practice; our last thought will generally be about our deepest attachment be it wealth, estate, spouse, children or whatever. Therefore, we need to practice thinking of God during our life by chanting his holy names like the Hare Krishna mantra. Then we can reclaim our lost eternal life, which is the highest benefit of the knowledge of reincarnation.

The serial tries to illuminate the past; the Gita illuminates the future. It's for us to pick the raaz that matters most to us.

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Spiritual Scientist: Your Inbuilt Security System

Question: Nowadays some people advise that feelings of guilt are just primitive cultural hangovers that stop us from enjoying life fully. Are they correct? Is guilt harmful?

Answer: Those who give such advice are harmful.

We feel a sense of guilt whenever we act against our conscience. Our conscience – the internal voice that inspires us to do good and to avoid bad – is a great gift from God. Let's see how.

When we feel feverish, that feeling helps us know that dangerous germs are overcoming our immune system. Similarly, when we feel guilty, that feeling helps us know that self-defeating desires are overcoming our intelligence. If the fever is neglected or suppressed, then the germs may cause a complete health breakdown. Similarly, if the guilt is neglected or suppressed, then the self-defeating desires may cause a complete emotional and physical breakdown.

For example, in the current internet age, even small children have easy, unguarded access to sexually explicit images. Looking at obscene images may be initially pleasurable, but it soon gives rise to dangerous drives that may lead to abuse of one's own and others' bodies, as also to infection by deadly diseases. When children are mis-educated to neglect the guilt – the  pinch of conscience – they feel on doing wrong things, these poor children become stripped of their inbuilt defense systems and soon become overpowered by devastating habits.

Of course, guilt can make people feel worthless and helpless – and indeed guilt is used by some fire and brimstone fundamentalists to scare people into conforming to their own notions of religion. But such self-seeking misuse of guilt by some people shouldn't blind us to its indispensable use. Guilt – and the conscience that produces it – is ultimately meant to connect us with the universal principles that govern all human behavior and interactions. These principles, as explained in the God-given scriptures like the Bhagavad-gita, elevate our conscience from being culturally-determined to being divinely-determined. Then we can discriminate right from wrong based on not just our socio-cultural values but on time-tested universal principles.

When our conscience is thus alert, our guilt not only saves us from the suffering coming from self-damaging choices, but also points us to the happiness coming from self-strengthening choices. For example, a person with a healthy conscience will avoid visually exploiting other people's bodies and feeling guilty and dissatisfied thereafter, but will instead visually feast on the all-attractive form of God manifested as the Deity and feel purified and satisfied. Similarly, in all our quests for happiness, our guilt and conscience can redirect us from temporary, unfulfilling surrogates to eternal, supremely fulfilling originals.

Therefore, instead of trying to get rid of the feeling of guilt, let's get rid of the actions that cause that feeling.

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Spiritual Scientist: Can Spirituality solve World Problems?

Question: Can spirituality solve the real problems of the world like starvation?

Answer: Why not?

Let's analyze the root cause and the real solution of starvation.

Self-restraint: Many, if not most, of the people who starve today would be able to earn sufficiently to feed themselves and their families if only they were not addicted to self-destructive indulgences. So their starvation problem cannot be sustainably solved without freeing them from their addictions. How can they be freed from their addictions? The exhaustively-researched Oxford publication,  entitled Handbook of Religion and Health, documents that adopting religious principles helps addicts to free themselves and also that the religiously committed are less likely to succumb to bad habits.

Compassion: The world is plagued not by a shortage of food, but by a shortage of compassion. Hundreds of tons of food is either thrown into the ocean or allowed to rot in the warehouses due to the vested interests of the powers-that-be. Frances Moore Lappé points out in her well-researched book on African famines, Food First, that the famines were caused or worsened because much of the best land was being misused for production of cash export crops.

How can we increase compassion and decrease greed among people? By imparting them a spiritual vision of life. When a wealthy person is God-conscious, his compassion is not restricted to an occasional act of charity; rather his whole life becomes dedicated to helping the deprived in every possible way – materially and spiritually. When the head of state is spiritually enlightened, he cares for all the citizens like his own children – not due to political expediency, but due to spiritual love. He creates the necessary socio-economic structures to provide proper gainful employment for all of them in normal situations and adequate relief during emergencies.

Henry David Thoreau pointed out, "For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil, there is one striking at its root." Striking at the root of starvation means promoting spiritual well being both among the have-nots so that they don't dissipate their scarce resources in self-destructive indulgences and among the haves so that they don't squander their abundant resources in revelry.

The easiest and best way of promoting spiritual well being is by empowering people to understand and experience the inner satisfaction that comes from studying philosophical masterpieces like the Bhagavad-gita and by chanting the holy names of God like the Hare Krishna mahamantra. Thus propagation of pure spiritual education and culture, as is done by ISKCON, strikes at the root cause of all suffering, thus addressing pressing social problems like starvation.

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Spiritual Scientist: Why Natural Calamities?

Question: Why are we undergoing so many natural calamities like swine flu, droughts, floods, cyclones, earthquakes, hurricanes etc?

Answer: These calamities raise a fundamental question: is the anger of nature chaotic, hitting us as helpless victims? Or is there a pattern underlying this apparent madness?

According to the Vedic scriptures, all forms of sufferings are results of our own karma, our own choices of right or wrong actions. We may wonder: what wrong choices have we made to warrant so many natural calamities as reactions? Those wrong choices are animal slaughter and abortion. These two activities, though rampant in our society, are declared monstrously criminal in the cosmic penal system. Why? From God's viewpoint, these two activities are brutal; His more powerful children – humans – are ruthlessly and systematically slaughtering His weaker children – animals and infants. And the main reason for this ghastly massacre is often the selfish hedonistic desire for the enjoyment of the tongue and the genitals. Especially despicable is the slaughter of cows. The cow is like our mother because she nourishes us with her milk. And we "scientifically advanced cultured moderns" erect factories of death to murder our bovine mothers. Not only that, nowadays human mothers, who according to poets are supposed to be "the embodiments of selfless love", murder their own children without letting them see the light of the day.

The Bhagavad-gita (4.17) declares that the system of karma is too complex for us to discover a one-to-one correspondence between action and reaction. Nonetheless, we can discern overall patterns that confirm karmic correlations. The last century – especially the second part – witnessed an unparalleled increase in animal slaughter and abortion due to the rising of factory farming and the legalization of abortion. During this period, natural calamities have also increased enormously. For example, according to the International Society for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), there were three times as many great natural disasters in the 1990s as in the 1960s, while disaster costs increased more than nine-fold in the same period.

Of course, not all the people killed in natural disasters may have necessarily committed animal slaughter or abortion; they succumbed to their own specific bad karma, whatever it may have been. Such disasters are examples of mass karma, during which, in addition to every individual suffering his or her own karmic reaction, the mass of people living in predominantly sinful areas undergo a shared reaction for their common misdeeds.

Thus, the overall pattern in nature's response is not difficult to see. Isn't it time for us to learn the lesson and scrupulously avoid bad karma by giving up illicit sex and meat eating, which are the root causes of abortion and animal slaughter?

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Spiritual Scientist: Is Karma practically relevant?

Question: Do philosophical concepts like karma have any practical relevance in today's world?

Answer: Certainly. Let's see how.

Imagine a city with an entrance notice: "Welcome. There is no police force in this city; please follow the laws." How many people will follow the laws? Very few, if any.

Today's world has become like that no police city. The law enforcement system is known to be weak and corrupt. Consequently, people think, "If I am just clever enough, influential enough or cunning enough, then I can do whatever I want and I can get away with it." Moreover, due to the prevailing godless educational system, most people no longer understand that they are accountable to God for their actions. That's why more and more people are becoming immoral and even criminal. In India, for instance, as per the National Crime Records Bureau, incidences of crime since the early days of independence has gone up by more than 5 times. The western countries fare no better, with the UK recording an average of more than 2 violent attacks every minute (a very high figure for such a small country) and the US having the highest imprisonment rate in the world.

So, if we want people to return to morality, we need to educate them of the divine law of karma, which holds them accountable for all of their actions. As is rightly said, fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, just like for a child, fear of the parent is generally the main impetus for study. How many of us have been chastised by our parents and forced to study? Almost everyone, sometime or the other. At that time, we didn't find it pleasant, but later on we appreciate our parents for what they did. For most people, fear is an essential, even indispensable, impetus for duty.

That's why, if there is no proper understanding of the law of karma and the fear of the karmic reactions, most people will have no impetus to live with moral integrity.

Of course, fear of God is only the beginning of wisdom; love of God is the culmination. When love for God activates our innate ethical and spiritual value system, based on the understanding that God is our greatest well wisher, then we willingly desist from immoral behavior and persist in moral behavior. But obviously, we cannot attain the culmination of wisdom without even beginning the journey. Hence karmic knowledge has to be the basis of morality and so is supremely relevant in today's world.

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Spiritual Scientist: How to choose the Right Path?

Question: Among the many spiritual paths, how can we know the right path?

Answer: Let's first understand the criterion to categorize and evaluate various paths. Then the right path will become self-evident.

Various religious paths can be placed into three basic categories:

Exclusivism: Followers of exclusivist paths claim that their way is the only exclusive way to God. They further claim that all those who don't accept their path are destined to go to hell – forever. Religious exclusivism sometimes degenerates into fundamentalist violence. This further puts off intelligent people, who are already skeptical of the claim to exclusivism. After all, if God is unlimited, why should the path to him be limited? Why should one particular religion have monopoly on the path to him?

Pluralism: Pluralism is the notion that there are many paths to God. Nowadays, this notion is sometimes expanded to say that there are as many paths to God as there are people. While this notion seems to promote religious tolerance, it often breeds spiritual impotence. A religion can be compared to a university meant to train students in knowledge and love of God. The claim to exclusivism is like the claim of that one's own medical college is the only college that can produce doctors. This is obviously a fanatical and fallacious claim. However, the claim to pluralism is like the even more fallacious claim that every building everywhere is a medical college.

Inclusivism: Inclusivism explains that there are not many paths, but basically one path that includes many levels. The levels on the path correspond to the progressively higher motives with which people approach God: fear, desire, duty and love. (Please see the previous article, "Why to approach God?")

A medical college's level can be assessed by observing the caliber of its graduates and the progress of its students toward that caliber. Similarly, the level of a religious path can be assessed by observing the caliber of its mature practitioners and the progress of its budding practitioners toward that caliber.

What caliber should we look for among mature practitioners of a spiritual path?

Systematic, profound knowledge of God that answers all the fundamental questions of life and establishes God as the essence and goal of existence.

Deep inner love for God that expresses itself by:

Constant longing to worship God, chant his holy names, and relish his message of love.

Care and concern for all living beings – humans and nonhumans – seeing them all as family members in God's universal family.

Detachment from godless, materialistic indulgences like illicit sex and intoxication.

When we see these characteristics in the practitioners of a path, we can confidently infer that path to be the right path.

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Spiritual Scientist: Why to Approach God?

Question: Most people pray to God only to get their own desires fulfilled. Is such self-serving worship ok?

Answer: The motives with which people approach God can be categorized into four major levels:

Fear: Some people fear, "If I disobey God, then He may punish me for my wrongdoings. So better let me go to His temple and pacify Him by my worship." This sort of worship is certainly better than atheism, but it is based on a very negative conception of God as a stern judge, a cosmic punisher.

Desire: Some people reason, "There are so many things I want; if I pray to God, perhaps He will give them to me." Here the conception of God is more positive, as a potent desire-fulfiller. Still the relationship with God is highly utilitarian based on give-and-take rather than love. Srila Prabhupada, the founder-acharya of ISKCON, would say that if we go to God to ask for bread, then that shows our love for bread, not our love for God.

Duty: Some people reason, "God has already given me so much: life, body, health, food, clothing, shelter. It is my duty to go periodically to His temple and thank Him." Here the relationship is somewhat steady, being based on gratitude for what has already been given and not on greed for what one wants to receive. Still, over time, duty can become a burden. Moreover, the focus in this level is still on what God has done for me, not on God Himself.

Love: This is the purest level of approaching God, where a devotee feels, "My dear Lord, you are the supreme object of my love; I have loved so many things and people, but it was all in vain. Now I simply want to love you and to be loved by you eternally. Just as a parent takes care of the child without the child having to ask his parents, similarly, I know that you will take care of me and so I will not ask you for anything material. I will accept whatever is your plan for me and keep serving you no matter what happens in my life." It is only this pure love that can satisfy our hearts fully, for love is the innermost need of our hearts.

The real purpose of coming to God is not to have our desires fulfilled, but to have our desires purified so that we can offer pure love to God, and relish his unlimited love in return. So, irrespective of our present level, all of us can aspire to rise to the level of pure love. And that noble aspiration can be swiftly achieved by associating with those devotees who love God purely.

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H.G. Sankarshan das Adhikari, USA: Sunday 16 October 2011--I Never Came Back to the World of Misery--and--When to Abandon Material Activities?

A daily broadcast of the Ultimate Self Realization Course Sunday 16 October 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. (Click on photo to see a larger image.) 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. For Transcendental Association Connect With Other Members of this Course. Join this Conference: Help Popularize Our Message By Liking Today's Thought on Facebook: Today's Thought: I Never Came Back to the World of Misery Uploaded from Kaliningrad, Russia Back in 1965 when I was a college student I couldn't stand the material world that I had been born into. It was way too miserable for me, unacceptably unpalatable. Since I intuitively understood that fate could not be so cruel to leave me stranded forever in a world like this, I began earnestly searching for a way to access the beautiful, blissful world that I knew must be on the other side of reality. I encountered many teachings that claimed to be the way to get there, and I tried their methods. But much to my disappointment, nothing liberated me. After three years of painful searching I was still stuck in the muck of miserable material existence. But one fateful evening in fall of 1968 in Denver, Colorado USA my arduous search bore the sweetest of all fruits. A friend of mine named Patrick Dolan handed me the key to open the door to that amazing transcendental world. He taught me an amazing mantra, which possesses unlimited potency for delivering those who chant it sincerely to the highest realm of existence: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare I gladly took the key and learned how to pass through the door to the blissful side of reality. And I never came back to the world of misery. Sankarshan Das Adhikari Flying the Hare Krishna Mantra Airplane 14 October 2011--K aliningrad, Russia Answers by Citing the Vedic Version: Question: When to Abandon Material Activities? Gurudeva, I am every day reading your Thought for the Day. I am really inspired with by it and would like to become enlightened by following your principles. I got a doubt after reading your response for the question, Should I give up material studies?. How can we be successful in both spiritual and materialistic life? Don't we have to abandon our materialistic activities at some point of our life and concentrate more on spiritual life? Also when should we give up such activities? Your sincere follower, Malini Answer: Retire at 50 or As Soon As It's Practical For earning a livelihood material studies when necessary should not be given up. But in the Vedic culture activities of material livelihood are meant to be given up by the time we become 50 so that we can devote all of our time and energy to spiritual pursuits. In the modern world, if it is not possible to retire by 50, we should do it as soon as it becomes practical after 50. 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 Have Questions or Need Further Guidance? Check out the resources at: or write Sankarshan Das Adhikari at: Get your copy today of the world's greatest self-realization guide book, Bhagavad-gita As It Is available at: Know someone who could benefit from this? Forward it to them. Searchable archives of all of course material: Receive Thought for the Day as an RSS feed: Unsubscribe or change your email address Follow us on Twitter: Thought for the Day on Facebook: 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: 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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