Saturday, July 31, 2010


(The Guardian) - Footballers from North Korea, who lost all three of their group games, have been subjected to a six-hour excoriation for “betraying” the communist nation’s ideological struggle, according to reports. North Korea’s football team has been shamed in a six-hour public inquisition and the team’s coach has been accused of “betraying” the reclusive leader’s heir apparent following their failure at the World Cup, according to reports. The entire squad was forced onto a stage at the People’s Palace of Culture and subjected to criticism from Pak Myong-chol, the sports minister, as 400 government officials, students and journalists watched. The players were subjected to a “grand debate” on July 2 because they failed in their “ideological struggle” to succeed in South Africa. The team’s coach, Kim Jong-hun, was reportedly forced to become a builder and has been expelled from the Workers’ Party of Korea. The coach was punished for “betraying” Kim Jong-un - one of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il’s sons and heir apparent. The broadcast of live games had been banned to avoid national embarrassment, but after the spirited 2-1 defeat to Brazil, state television made the Portugal game its first live sports broadcast ever.
The country, in its first World Cup since 1966, lost all three group games – including a 7-0 defeat to Portugal.

Following ideological criticism, the players were then allegedly forced to blame the coach for their defeats. Only two players avoided the inquisition - Japanese-born Jong Tae-se and An Yong-hak, who flew straight to Japan after the tournament. However, media in South Korea said the players got off lightly by North Korean standards.

“In the past, North Korean athletes and coaches who performed badly were sent to prison camps,” a South Korean intelligence source told the Chosun Ilbo newspaper.

When we are under the bodily concept of life, seeing the differences between us, it is often the case that we feel our group, our class of people, our culture or religion, is the best. And when something is against these ideas or conceptions, the five great enemies of peace which inhabit all of us - avarice, ambition, envy, anger, and pride - awake and exert their awful influence.

Because of our bodily conception, we may become proud of who we are, envious of others, and angry over their apparent differences from us. Because of these diverse perceptions, people cannot act in harmony in this material world. To act in harmony and unity, there must be a central focus. Since everyone is actually a spiritual being, a soul within the material body, accepting the body as oneself is an illusion. ... The failure to control our minds and senses is a weakness which creates the internal enemies: our vices, avarice, and misguided ambitions. Everyone may want peace and unity, but if we think we are these bodies, then we think the goal of life is to satisfy our mind and senses. ... So due to competition, there may be much quarreling, fighting, and struggle, all over the same prize or position.

Dr Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Toward World Peace”
“Seeing the Unity Between Us All”

Friday, July 30, 2010


PARIS - A 45-year-old woman has admitted suffocating eight babies immediately after giving birth to them, authorities said, in the latest, and worst, case of infanticide to rock France in recent years. Dominique Cottrez, a resident of the quiet northern village of Villers-au-Tertre, said she hid the bodies in the garden of a previous home and in her current garage from 1989 to 2006 or ‘07, according to authorities. Dominique - a nursing aide - and her husband were arrested Wednesday, after the bodies were discovered. Cottrez was charged with the murder of victims younger than 15, which can bring a life sentence. Her husband, Pierre-Marie Cottrez said he knew nothing about the pregnancies and was freed.

The woman, who has two grown daughters, “explained that she didn’t want more children,” prosecutor Eric Vaillant told journalists. And after a bad experience giving birth to her oldest daughter 22 years ago, Vaillant said, she didn’t want to see a doctor about contraception. He said Cottrez, whose stout figure is believed to have helped her hide her pregnancies, claimed to have been “perfectly aware” that she was pregnant.

“Denial of pregnancy” and infanticide, experts say, are age-old phenomena. The number of infants makes the Cottrez crime “a beyond normal affair,” said Vaillant, the prosecutor. Police began investigating Dominique Cottrez after the new owners of her former home found two bags containing baby skeletons buried in the garden. Cottrez then told authorities that six other corpses were hidden in her garage.
Her daughters, ages 22 and 21, said they support her, speaking in an interview with the local daily, the Voix du Nord. The daughters called her a secretive but “courageous” person who “didn’t complain.” Investigators were still searching for other possible victims in the area, but Cottrez said there were none.

Everywhere we listen to strident voices demanding the “right to choose” an abortion ... and now people get alarmed about what this Frech lady did. What is the real ethic or moral difference between abortion and infanticide? In this godless civilization, it is very difficult to understand that we must open our hearts to God and to love and protect those that the Supreme Lord has given us to care for.

As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (18.61), the Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Krishna is the all-pervading omnipresent Supersoul. ... If we at all want to end the cause of our conditioned life, we must take to the worship of Lord Śrī Krishna, who is present in everyone's heart by His natural affection for all living beings, who are actually the parts and parcels of the Lord. ... And to search out the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we need not go anywhere else, because the Lord is within our hearts. ... When the temples are devoid of activities, the people in general become uninterested in such places, and consequently the mass of people gradually become godless, and a godless civilization is the result. Such a hellish civilization artificially increases the conditions of life, and existence becomes intolerable for everyone.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam”
Purport in Canto 2 - Chapter 2 - Verse 6.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


(CNN) - Nicole Kidman’s nose. Angelina Jolie’s lips. Plastic surgeons say they get these very specific requests regularly and usually oblige. It’s a way for doctor and patient to be on the same page about the desired outcome. But when the patients veer further -- seeking to become a near double for a celebrity, doctors tell CNN they need to draw the line, for ethical reasons and concerns about the patient’s mental health. Last weekend, reality star Kim Kardashian urged one of her Twitter followers not to undergo plastic surgery to try to look like her. “Don’t try 2 b someone else,” she tweeted. In the mini-Twittervention, Kardashian, 29, told the fan that she should not to “change yourself for anybody but yourself.” Last year, Demi Moore used the social media site to try to stop a terminally ill woman who planned to give herself a makeover to look like the actress. The quest to look like celebrities was documented in an MTV series, “I Want a Famous Face,” in which cameras followed young wannabe Doppelganger. Although such drastic requests are uncommon, they do occur. “The quest to look like somebody else is never going to be healthy,” said Dr. Eva Ritvo, psychiatrist and associate professor at the University Of Miami Miller School Of Medicine in Florida.

“Each person should be the best version of themselves, not be another version of somebody else. Each person has unique talents, abilities and appearance - you should maximize that instead of hunting down a desire to look like Angelina Jolie.”
Trying to transform a person’s look to mimic a celebrity is a glaring sign that he or she suffers from low self-esteem or possibly even more complicated mental health problems such as borderline personality disorder or psychosis, Dr Ritvo said.
The pursuit of beauty is healthy as long as it doesn’t morph into an unhealthy obsession such as anorexia, bulimia or body dysmorphic disorder, said the psychiatrist.

“It’s morally wrong to do that - especially when they are young and have low self-esteem - to take advantage and take their money to make them look different,” said Dr. Tony Youn, a plastic surgeon in Michigan. They want to be like the celebrities because they do not value themselves. They don't find love within them and are ignorant that there is an Inexhaustible Source of Love.

Love is a very powerful positive force, which can solve most of the existing and upcoming problems, but the immature and corrupt mankind shuffling between craze and infatuation, can scarcely incubate containers transmitters and receptacles of genuine and dynamic love. Deficient love ends ephemerally and the absence of light of love creates darkness from which evolve the vindictive forms of neglect, hatred, conflict and hostility. ... A tranquil mind automatically submits itself to the tools and forms of righteousness. Unfortunately, this tool of submission can not be sensed by the mundane beings, driven in to the deep gloom. It is a very powerful force in spiritual philosophy and also the simplest way of execution, by which keeping aside individual capability and incapability, knowledge and ignorance, one has to totally commit himself to a beneficial and powerful source, God.

Śrī Prasanna Venkatachariar Chaturvedi Swami
Acarya of Ramanuja Sampradaya
“Yoga and Vedanta as Tools of the Technology of Life for the Modern Society”
“The Power of Love - Power of Submission”

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


ISLAMABAD (AFP) - A passenger plane belonging to the private Airblue service was flying from the southern port city of Karachi when it crashed into the hills near the Pakistani capital while trying to land in rainy and cloudy conditions, killing all 152 passengers and crew on board. The plane crashed in a ball of flames into densely wooded hills above Islamabad during heavy rain and poor visibility, leaving little hope of survivors. Rescue teams were immediately dispatched to the site while army helicopters hovered over the Margalla Hills to look for survivors. Television pictures showed wreckage from the plan and a thick blanket of clouds. Smoke caused by fire could be seen rising from the crash site. Residents of Islamabad saw the plane flying very low just before it crashed. The plane plummeted in a gorge between two hills, enveloped in cloud and some distance from the road, severely hampering rescue efforts and limiting visibility for helicopters hovering overhead, said an AFP correspondent.

Rescue officials said pieces of charred flesh and body parts were littered around the smouldering wreckage, partially buried on a remote hillside. The head of the National Disaster Management Authority, Nadeem Ahmad, said that the difficult terrain and weather were hampering the rescue efforts. Authorities say it will be premature to discuss the causes of the crash without proper investigation. Airblue spokesman Raheel Ahmed said he suspects weather conditions might have caused the crash. Ahmed said the plane had no known technical problems and the pilots had not sent any emergency signals. He added this was the first crash for the private Airblue service, which began operations in 2004. Pakistan declared a day of national mourning and called off a cabinet meeting as Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani “expressed grief” over the “tragic incident” and offered prayers for those who had been killed.

Despite the fact that Airblue is one of Pakistan's most respected airlines, and this country also enjoys a relatively good air safety record, this terrible tragedy has happened. When rescuers walked uphill to reach the site, they only saw body parts. Tragedy may happen at any time, so we should always remember the Holy Names of the Lord and ask for His Grace.

The real problem of life in the material world is to solve the question of birth, death, old age and disease. No one wants to change his birthright, no one wants to meet death, no one wants to be old or invalid, and no one wants diseases. But these problems are solved neither by the grace of any demigod nor by the so-called advancement of material science. ... Śukadeva Gosvāmī said that out of the 8,400,000 species of living entities, the human form of life is rare and valuable, and out of those rare human beings those who are conscious of the material problems are rarer still, and the still more rare persons are those who are conscious of the value of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which contains the messages of the Lord and His pure devotees.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam”
Purport in Canto 2 - Chapter 3 - Verse 2-7.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


TO VOTE ON BULLFIGHTING BAN - Lawmakers in Catalunya will vote on a bullfighting ban this week. The vote on Wednesday comes after animal rights activists collected 180,000 signatures on a petition calling for the assembly to decide on a motion on the ban. Various indications suggest that a majority of the 135 regional lawmakers are in favour of the motion. If approved, the region of Catalunya would be the first region outside of the Canary Islands in Spain to ban bullfighting. The Canary Islands passed a ban in 1991. The motion has sparked controversy throughout Spain with many suggesting that the Catalans are merely on a rampage to ban everything that is Spanish, in order to promote their own identity. Despite the allegations, the Catalan public works minister and regional government spokesman, Joaquim Nadal, stated that the issue would not be used as “an element of confrontation” between Catalunya and the rest of Spain. For many Spanish conservatives and bullfighting aficionados, the proposed ban is an outright slap in the face to the rest of Spain.

Bullfighting also has its history from the dictatorship, when General Francisco Franco promoted bullfighting as a unifying national spectacle. Bullfighting opponents believe that the “sport” creates needless animal suffering and is reprehensible, and outdated. Since thousands of years the symbol of a bull stood for fertility, sovereignty, pride, manhood and potency. Killing a bull in such a humiliating way would suggest a dark shadow exists in the collective psyche of the Spanish folk. Will this anti-bullfighting campaign mark the beginning of a new enlightenment? The animal rights group Prou! has said that if successful in Catalonia, it will take its campaign to end bullfighting to other regions in Spain.

In addition to the bullfights, many Spanish fans, who like seeing the suffering of animals, enjoy other bullfighting events as the Catalan “correbous” (bull running), which consist of - among other things - running after a bull, ignite the bull’s horns, pull the tail of the bull among several participants or chasing a heifer until it ends at the sea.

Activities which lead to heavenly enjoyment are called “punya” (piety) and activities which lead to hellish suffering are called “pāpa” (sin). … Sin is not a constitutional factor of the jiva, but rather takes shelter of the jiva in the conditioned state. Some actions or states (pāpas) are contradictory to the natural qualities (punyas) of the jiva: hatred, lying, cruelty, lust, envy, injustice. Cruelty may be directed towards human beings or animals. If a person acts cruelly towards other men he creates a disturbance to the world. A world devoid of mercy means a world filled with cruelty.

Śrīla Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thākura :
“Śrī Caitanya Śiksamrta

The Nectarean Teaching of Śrī Caitanya
Second Chapter: “Punya karma - Meritorious Action”

Monday, July 26, 2010


SPAIN (CNN) - The world’s first full face transplant recipient appeared in public for the first time Monday. A Spanish man who underwent the world’s first full face transplant appeared before television cameras on Monday, for the first time since his surgery in March. The patient, identified only as Oscar, appeared at a press conference at University Hospital Vall d’Hebron in Barcelona, Spain. In March, the Spanish hospital performed the transplant in an operation that took 24 hours. Oscar, whose face was severely injured in an accident, had undergone nine failed operations before being considered for the transplant. Surgeons transplanted the entire facial skin and muscles, nose, lips, maxilla, palate, all teeth, cheekbones and the mandible through plastic surgery and micro-neurovascular reconstructive surgery techniques, according to the hospital. Speaking just before checking out of hospital, Oscar spoke with considerable difficulty. He could not close his mouth and his face appeared swollen. The man reportedly suffered injuries in a shooting accident five years ago.

A younger woman identified as his sister, whose name was not given to protect the family’s privacy, said her brother looks forward to leading a normal life. The head of the surgical team, Dr. Joan Pere Barret, said Monday that Oscar will need between a year and 18 months of physical therapy and is expected to regain up to 90 percent of his facial functions. He is now being released from the hospital and sent home. He is able to drink liquids and eat soft foods, and has been able to speak for the past two months, the hospital said in a statement. The patient also has regained feeling in most of his face and is partly recovering movement of his muscles. One good sign was that a week after the operation, he had to be shaved because of beard growth.

We, as conditioned souls, we strive hard to maintain this temporary body and other relationships arising from the body, such as beauty, the house, wealth, society, which is not bad, but we forget completely that the whole bodily concept is only temporary, because this material world is itself an illusion, like the mirage in the desert.

Every one of us is searching after real happiness in life, namely eternal life, eternal or unlimited knowledge and unending blissful life. But foolish people who have no knowledge of the substance search after the reality of life in the illusion. This material body does not endure eternally, and everything in relation with this temporary body, such as the wife, children, society and country, also changes along with the change of body. This is called samsāra, or repetition of birth, death, old age and disease. We would like to find a solution for all these problems of life, but we do not know the way. Herein it is suggested that anyone who wants to make an end to these miseries of life, namely repetition of birth, death, disease, and old age, must take to this process of worshiping the Supreme Lord.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam”
Purport in Canto 2 - Chapter 2 - Verse 6.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


KNOWN AS YOCAS (YOGA FOR CANCER SURVIVORS) - Survivors of cancer who participated in the Yoga for Cancer Survivors (YOCAS) program reported improved sleep, better quality of life and less fatigue compared with survivors who underwent standard care monitoring. The program, designed by Dr. Mustian and colleagues, includes breathing exercises, 18 gentle Hatha and restorative yoga postures, and mindfulness exercises or meditation. The YOCAS classes were 75 minutes long, and participants attended twice a week for 4 weeks. Karen Mustian, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of radiation oncology and community and preventive medicine and at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York told journalists that the cancer survivors who participated in the study were enrolled into a specialized program known as YOCAS (Yoga for Cancer Survivors). “We can state that it is possible that gentle Hatha yoga classes and restorative yoga classes might be useful for cancer survivors for helping reduce these side effects, which create impairment in quality of life,” Dr Mustian added.

Scientists have debated the benefits of yoga for years.
Few previous studies have focused on yoga in cancer patients, and much of the research on yoga has lacked a consistency in techniques, which makes it difficult to determine clear benefit. Dr Mustian and colleagues in Rochester developed and trained Yoga Alliance-certified yoga instructors in particular moves from YOCAS. She believes the breathing, postures and mindfulness components of yoga are to credit for the improvements. “It is also possible that the YOCAS program works through many different biological, psychological and social pathways simultaneously,” she said. Her study was paid for through the National Cancer Institute and the Office of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Dr Mustian plans to launch a follow-up study examining a home-based yoga program for survivors, which is still in development.

This new yoga teacher training programs offer certified yoga teachers the opportunity to learn about the limitations imposed by cancer and how to modify poses (asanas) using props and how to integrate specific healing movements for common issues, such as lymphedema, fatigue and osteoporosis.

Some Eastern exercise disciplines relate both, the spiritual aspect and the physical aspect, from the very beginning, and this in many cases is reflected in well-being. This is the case of Hatha Yoga, a practice that emphasizes the rigorous and constant physical effort. This allows a person to be well aware of his body and breathing, and by quieting his mind he can “go towards the present moment, forgetting worries and the ‘I have to do’ things; it trains to start leaving the heavy baggage as the concerns and chores of the daily life are, due to stay living in a world where the material prevails, losing our center and the nature of being,” says yoga teacher Monica Mejía. ... The benefits become tangible when you note that the physical body is lighter and the spirit is in constant reassurance.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may be damaging the fertility of their future sons, a study by Danish scientists said on Tuesday. The researchers found that if mothers had drunk 4.5 or more drinks a week while pregnant, the sperm concentration of their sons - measured about 20 years later - was a third lower than in men who were not exposed to alcohol while in the womb. The study by scientists at the University of Aarhus in Denmark was presented at the conference of European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Rome. A drink was measured as 12 grams of alcohol, equivalent to one 330 ml can of beer, one small (120 ml) glass of wine or one shot (40 ml) of spirits. Unborn sons exposed to high levels of alcohol in the womb could suffer from impaired fertility as adults, researchers claim. While they may not be infertile, they might find it difficult to make their partners pregnant. Study leader, Dr Cecilia Ramlau-Hansen - a researcher from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark- said “We found that if mothers drink alcohol during pregnancy, sperm concentrations in sons will decline.”

Dr Ramlau-Hansen explained that “Our study shows that there is an association between drinking a moderate amount of alcohol during pregnancy and lower sperm concentrations in sons. I can’t say the man will be infertile. But we see this lower sperm concentration at higher levels of alcohol exposure, and we know that it takes more time to make your partner pregnant the lower sperm concentration you have.” Dr Ramlau-Hansen’s team studied 347 sons of almost 12,000 women who had been questioned about their health and lifestyle while pregnant.

In this era of individualism everyone is suffering because of lust and ignorance. Every day we see people without spiritual knowledge try to enjoy the drugs and alcohol, and by doing it they risk themselves and put others at risk. Only the Chant of the Holy Names of God can make that pure love for God and all living beings flourish in the consciousness.

Lust being a perversion of our original, essential nature, cannot possibly be annihilated, suppressed, repressed or even sublimated. But it can be reverted to its original nature by redirecting our loving propensity back to Krishna through the scientific process of devotional service. ... The Supreme Person Krishna, being omnipotent is fully present in His Holy Names. Chanting of the Holy Names therefore connects one immediately with Krishna, who is the supreme pleasure principle. Regular meditation on the Holy Names enables one to experience happiness streaming down from the spiritual dimension. This spiritual pleasure is so satisfying that it soon frees one from the craving for perverted mundane pleasure like drugs, alcohol etc.

Śrīpad Caitanya Caran das (BE E&TC) :
“The Tragedy of Self-Destruction”
“The Spiritual Scientist” - Vol. 1 Issue 16.
Bhaktivedanta Academy for Culture and Education (BACE), Pune