Sunday, February 28, 2010

CHILE EARTHQUAKE: TOLL RISES TO 300

MASSIVE EARTHQUAKE STRUCK CHILE,
AT LEAST 300 PEOPLE & MILLIONS AFFECTED
(AP - Times) - Rescue teams have begun to search for survivors after one of the largest earthquakes on record killed at least 300 people in Chile and sent giant waves roaring across the Pacific Ocean. In an address to the nation, President Michelle Bachelet said two million Chileans had been affected by the 8.8-magnitude earthquake, however after touring the worst-hit areas by plane, she found it hard to spell out the magnitude of the disaster. "The power of nature has again struck our country," Ms Bachelet said, declaring six of Chile's 15 regions "catastrophe zones" in the aftermath of the quake, which was one of the world's most powerful earthquakes in a century. An estimated 1.5 million homes were damaged, highways were sliced to pieces, bridges imploded and buildings collapsed as the earthquake struck the South American nation of 16 million people just before dawn on Saturday about 200 miles southwest of the capital Santiago. The US Geological Survey said it had recorded more than 51 aftershocks ranging from 4.9 to 6.9 since the quake.

In Concepcion, a city of 670,000 people 70 miles southwest of the quake's epicentre, hundreds of people spent the night outside in tents and make-shift shelters, fearful of the aftershocks. The city's old houses made of adobe appeared to have borne the brunt of the damage, but a 15-storey apartment block also collapsed, likely killing or trapping many people inside. The European Union said it would provide three million euros in immediate assistance. Unlike Haiti, struck by a devastating earthquake last month, Chile is one of Latin America's wealthiest countries. US President Barack Obama said America “will be there” if Chile asks for rescue and recovery help, however Ms Bachelet said her government has not asked for assistance from other countries.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
When a person is advanced in spiritual consciousness or Krishna consciousness, he naturally becomes very sympathetic toward all living entities suffering in the material world. Naturally such an advanced person thinks of the suffering of the people in general. ... If one is actually sympathetic to fallen, suffering humanity, he should try to elevate people from material consciousness to spiritual consciousness. ... If one is at all sympathetic or able to do good to others, he should endeavor to raise people to Krishna consciousness. In this way everyone advances spiritually by the grace of the Lord.


Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam”
Purport in Canto 5 - Chapter 8 - Verses 9 - 10.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

EARTHQUAKES HITS JAPAN AND CHILE - 122 DEAD

EARTHQUAKES STRUCK OKINAWAN COAST IN JAPAN
& CENTRAL REGION OF CHILE, AT LEAST 122 ARE KILLED
Ag. ANSA - REUTERS - A strong earthquake hit Japan's southern island of Okinawa early on Saturday and Japan's weather agency issued a tsunami warning for up to 2 meters, but this was later lifted and there were no reports of major damage. This 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck Japan's Ryukyu Islands early Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. It struck at 2031 GMT, 84km (52 miles) east of Naha, on the island of Okinawa, 29km (18 miles) below the seabed, Reuters news agency reports. Japan's Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami advisory for the Okinawa Islands to evacuate from the seashore. But today, an even stronger quake with a magnitude of 8.8 struck the central region of Chile, at about 6:34 GMT. The epicentre was fixed at 91km north-east of Conception and 317 km south-west of the capital Santiago.

This massive magnitude-8.8 earthquake struck south-central Chile early on Saturday, reportedly killing at least 122 people, triggering a tsunami and rattling buildings in the capital Santiago. President Bachelet said the death toll could rise. Local media reported that buildings had been damaged in Santiago, located about 320 km north of the epicentre. Telephone and power lines were down, making a quick damage assessment difficult in the early morning darkness. The television showed collapsed highway overpasses and buildings in south Santiago and Concepcion. As many as 11 aftershocks, some of magnitude 6.0 or higher, continued to strike the region throughout the morning. A tsunami alarm has been launched. Strong waves could hit the coast of Chile, Peru and Ecuador. Japan and Chile are both countries with a long history of earthquakes.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
You must repeat the Namam of Krishna. ... In this human life don't waste one minute without sankirtan. One minute. Always you must engage. Utilize your time, utilize your maximum time in the service of the Lord. Because life is not real. It is not real. Now it is - what will happen after a second or minute we cannot say. Because always there are dangers. We can be happy if we conquer the dangers, if we can subdue the dangers. How can you? If you say Krishna Nama, if you repeat Krishna Nama then all your dangers will go away. So always you repeat Krishna Nama.



Śrīla Bhakti Vaibhava Purī Mahārāj :
Lecture: “Navada Bhakti”
Slovenia, summer 1998.

Śrī Krishna Chaitanya Mission.


Friday, February 26, 2010

SPANISH SENATE APPROVES NEW ABORTION LAW

SPAIN PASSED NEW LAW EASING RESTRICTIONS
ON ABORTION SAYING IT IS A WOMAN'S RIGHT
MADRID - Spain's Senate has approved the country's new abortion bill, which gives girls who are 16 and 17 the right to have abortions without parental consent, and allows the procedure without restrictions up to 14 weeks. For girls under the age of 16, the law states they must inform at least one parent or guardian of their desire to have an abortion, unless they can prove this would put them in physical danger, said the new law, which will go into effect in four months. The Popular Party accused the Socialist Government for wanting to “do away with the family, one of the pillars of Spanish society” and for “leaving life unprotected.” Ironically, during his remarks at the World Congress against the death penalty in Geneva, Spanish President Rodriguez Zapatero, who supports abortion, said, “Nobody has the right to take the life of another human being - absolutely nobody.” The bill wipes away the threat of imprisonment and declares abortion to be a woman's right, bringing this traditionally Roman Catholic country in line with its more secular neighbors in Europe. On the other hand, the Bishops’ Conference of Spain expressed their firm rejection of the new law, calling it a “serious step backward” in the protection of the unborn.” The bishops announced a “Day for the Family” throughout Spain and expressed their support for the demonstrations called by Pro-life groups against the law, on March 7.

“The protection of the fundamental right to life is an essential obligation of those in authority. The inclusion of abortion among the instruments necessary for health care is in itself a grave falsity. Medicine is supposed to prevent illness or cure it. Pregnancy will never be an illness, even though it might entail complications to one’s health, be unplanned or even the result of violence. For this reason, abortion is never healing, it is always killing,” the bishops concluded.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Abortion brings a very negative karma. The child in the womb is a soul, a living being destined for a human body. This is true from the moment of conception. ... Legalizing abortion has not at all decreased the number of unwanted children in the world, or the number of mistreated children. In fact, easily available birth control and abortion has gone along with an increase in illegitimate and battered children. Women who have abortions are often damaged psychologically and/or physically. Pregnancy is not just the result of sex. It is also the result of Divine Will.


“Current Issues: Abortion”
http://www.veda.harekrsna.cz/bhaktiyoga/issues.htm

Thursday, February 25, 2010

ITALY: OIL SPILL THREATENS ECOLOGICAL DISASTER

OIL SPILL BY SABOTEURS IN ITALY
FLOWS INTO PO RIVER, SAYS WWF
ROME (ANSA) - An oil spill that fouled a small river in northern Italy reached the Po River on Wednesday, with officials warning of an ecological disaster as they scrambled to contain the sludge before it contaminated Italy's longest and most important river. This oil spill began early on Tuesday when someone broke into the plant near Monza, now an oil depot, and opened the taps, Italian news reports said. Milan regional officials said the cause was certainly sabotage at a former refinery turned oil depot, since the cisterns were opened and the oil allowed to flow unimpeded into a tributary, the Lambro River near Monza. The cisterns "were opened by someone who was familiar with the plant and knew how to operate them," said authorities. Officials believed 2.5 million liters (660,000 gallons) had poured out. Barriers were set up in the Lambro in an effort to stop the slick from spreading, but they were overcome by a “tide of unstoppable oil”, according to the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

Lombardy officials insisted that there was no risk to people or to drinking water, but said agriculture was at risk, with farmers relying on the Po to irrigate their crops, this Po river crosses the country from Piedmont in the west, across Turin and Ferrara before emptying into the Adriatic sea. Environmentalists warned that several water and bird species were at risk from the spill, since the area is rich in bird and other wildlife. But even after the spill is cleaned up the impact will last as the Po river valley is the most important agricultural region in Italy, and the Po is used extensively for irrigation, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature noted.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Our present environmental crisis is in essence a spiritual crisis. ... Inhibitions to the exploitation of nature vanished as the Church took the “spirits” out of the trees, mountains, and seas. ... It made nature man's monopoly. This materialist paradigm has dominated the modern world for last few centuries. The current deplorable condition demands a spiritual response. ... One of the measures that could help a great deal to fulfill this need is to regenerate and rejuvenate basic values of Hindu culture and propagate them.


Śrīla Bhakti Vedanta Tripurari Mahārāja :
“Ancient Wisdom for Modern Ignorance”
Published in 1994 by Clarion Call Pub.
http://www.hinduwisdom.info/Nature_Worship.htm


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

WHALING GROUP PROPOSES COMPROMISE

WHALING PLAN TO ALLOW HUNTS IN RETURN
FOR REDUCING THE NUMBER OF ANIMALS KILLED
WASHINGTON (AFP) - An ad hoc group within the International Whaling Commission suggested yesterday that the board condone commercial whaling for the first time in nearly 30 years in exchange for reducing the number of whales killed each year. The draft plan aims to break a deadlock between countries that favor whaling and those that oppose it. Only three countries - Japan, Norway, and Iceland - still hunt whales, though they have the support of dozens of other members of the IWC. The proposal would allow Japan to continue its hunt of the mammals on a quota basis, while suspending its hunts for the purposes of “research”. The proposal comes days after Australia threatened to take Japan to the International Criminal Court if it does not stop whaling in the Southern Ocean. Japan has described the Australian threat as “unfortunate” and rejected suggestions its current hunt is illegal. Japan kills hundreds of whales each year on the grounds that it is “scientific whaling,” a permissible practice under IWC rules. Environmentalists described the plan as a “disaster for whales” and a return to the bad old days of free-for-all whale hunting.

The IWC proposal said its aim was to reduce the number of whales culled under the scientific loophole which it admits has led to an increase rather than a reduction in the number of whales killed since the moratorium was put into place in 1986. In 1990, 300 whales were hunted annually for commercial or scientific purposes. In the past five years almost 2,000 whales were killed each year.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Narada told Parvata Muni: “Daily he (the hunter) used to kill big animals. ... Now he is feeling for the destruction of small animals, of small creatures. Even ants or any small creature maybe walking or moving on the ground.” … So, this is ahimsa. “How could he get this knowledge?” Then they said: “Lord Krishna has given that knowledge.” … Parvata Muni said: “It is a blessings of you, oh Narada, your blessings. ... He has no sympathy, nothing. But now he could get that sympathy by your grace.” It is only the Namam, Divine Name can change them, if the Divine Name is in the proper process obtained from a realized soul.


“Śrīla Bhakti Vaibhava Purī Mahārāj :
“Narada Muni and the cruel hunter”
Lecture in Ljubljana, Slovenia - 26.6.1999.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ARGENTINA AND BRITAIN DISPUTE OVER MALVINAS

ARGENTINA SAYS WINS REGIONAL SUPPORT
IN FALKLANDS ROW, TENSIONS COULD RISE
MEXICO (Reuters) - Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said Latin American leaders backed her objections to oil exploration in the British-controlled Falkland Islands as drilling of the first well began on Monday. Argentina, which has claimed the South Atlantic islands known as the Malvinas in Spanish since Britain established rule in the 19th century, invaded them in 1982. After a two-month war, it was forced to withdraw, but still claims the archipelago and says oil exploration by Britain's Desire Petroleum is a breach of sovereignty. Mexican President Felipe Calderon said in the closed-door meetings the group had approved a document supporting Argentina in the territorial dispute. Venezuelan Hugo Chavez addressed Britain's Queen Elizabeth directly on his weekly television program, telling her to return the Falklands to Argentina. He repeated his demand late on Sunday when he arrived in Mexico for the summit. “We support unconditionally the Argentine government and the Argentine people in their complaints,” Chavez told reporters at the airport. “That sea and that land belong to Argentina and to Latin America.”

Escalating the dispute, Argentina formally objected to British-led drilling plans near the islands, and said it would require all ships from the Falklands to obtain permits to dock in Argentina. While the Falklands are not an oil producer and have no proven reserves, oil companies are betting offshore fields may hold billions of recoverable barrels of oil. Desire Petroleum said it broke ground at a well on its offshore prospect, which could contain up to 400 million barrels,
or perhaps the exploration will recover nothing. Some analysts doubt the diplomatic bluster will have much effect until the size of the oil deposit is determined.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Śrīla Prabhupāda said we must teach all over the world that Lord Krishna is the Owner and the Supreme Enjoyer. The sense of ownership is extremely dangerous since it confuses us in our relationship with God. When we believe to be the owners of something, we believe to be the enjoyers of that, for this reason to believe that something belongs to me is a great illusion; nothing is ours, not even our own body, that to say of others, or the things related to the body, such as children, family, money, facilities, etc.. Krishna often repeats in the Bhagavad-Gita that we must understand that nothing is ours, everything belongs to Him.


Śrīla Atulananda Ācārya :
“Sense of Ownership”
“Words of Gurudeva”
http://www.atulanandadas.cl/


Monday, February 22, 2010

'SMOKE-FREE TAIWAN' TO TAKE EFFECT ON MOVIE

LIGHTING UP TO BE OUT FROM MOVIES IN TAIWAN
TOBACCO TO BE INCLUDED IN FILM RATING SCHEME
TAIPEI (AFP) - Taiwan is planning to change its movie rating system to take account of characters who smoke, the government said Saturday, as part of a bid to reduce the number of youngsters taking up the habit. The Department of Health wants to make tobacco use one of the criteria for deciding what age rating to give a film, a move that could mean some animated movies are out of bounds for children. “Smoking (in movies) has a much worse impact on health than sex and violence,” the department said in a statement posted on its website. It cited a popular Japanese cartoon series, “One Piece”, where the main characters smoke frequently, providing “a bad example for children”. Taiwan has looked to tighten anti-smoking rules in recent years. The island banned smoking in all indoor public places in early 2009. It has also outlawed all cigarette advertisement and imposed a “health tax” on cigarettes, a move the health department credits with helping to cut smoking by 10 percent. Lung cancer has long been a leading cause of death in Taiwan, which has about five million smokers out of a total population of 23 million, according to government figures.

With the new Tobacco Hazard Prevention and Control Act which took effect on Jan 11 2009, smoking in Taipei is now banned at bus stops, train station platforms, pubs and restaurants, while at Taipei Zoo it'll be no puffing when visiting the pandas because at some outdoor areas, such as children’s playgrounds, amusement parks and zoos will also be illegal to smoke. The new act also stipulates that owners of establishments that sell cigarettes, including convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants and betel nut stands, may not actively market or display tobacco-related ads.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Does a person die without smoking? No. It is an anartha. One becomes habituated to smoking due to bad association: sangat sanjayate kamah. Because of bad association one learns how to smoke, how to gamble, how to eat meat, and how to take intoxicants. In America the government is spending millions of dollars to stop this intoxication habit among the young people. But the government does not know how to stop it. Here is the remedy: Krsna consciousness. It is practical. Anyone who seriously takes up the process of Krsna consciousness can immediately give up all bad habits, including intoxication.


Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“Dharma: The Way of Transcendence”
Chapter 13:
Escaping the Clutches of Harmful Desires”

Sunday, February 21, 2010

TIGER WOODS PUBLICLY CONFESS "SEX ADDICTION"

GOLFER TIGER WOODS ADMITS MARITAL
INFIDELITY AND SUFFERING SEX ADDICTION
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Golfer Tiger Woods made his first public appearance on Friday since revelations of repeated marital infidelity mired him in controversy in November. In his public statement, the superstar golfer never explicitly identified the reason he was receiving therapy or detailed the type of treatment he was receiving. "For 45 days from the end of December to early February, I was in inpatient therapy receiving guidance for the issues I'm facing. I have a long way to go. But I've taken my first steps in the right direction," Woods said. Speaking Friday in a live televised apology for his multiple extra-marital affairs with cocktail waitresses, nightclub hostesses and a porn film actress, Woods said he had already received 45 days of "guidance" at a clinic. He referred to "repeated irresponsible behavior," saying, "I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated." Woods's admission that he is undergoing therapy after having adulterous affairs has focused attention on the issue of sex addiction, a condition some experts say is becoming much more common. The planet's best golfer is far from the first celebrity to go into sex rehab, but he's probably the biggest and his case has helped thrust the idea of sex addiction as a serious disease into the spotlight. But sex addiction is a controversial concept not currently recognized as an official diagnosis, because there is no universal test to prove someone has a problem beyond just a habit.

Prominent athletes, politicians and actors have publicly blamed sex addiction for their actions. Following Tiger Wood's confession about several infidelities, some therapists argue whether sex addiction is a real disorder or not. "Sexual addiction, in the true sense of a diagnosis, is a real disorder," family Therapist Larry Curry said. But others disagree. Dr. Howard Markman, at the University of Denver believes the term "sexual addiction" is just an excuse for poor behavior.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Maya has many activities, and in the material world her strongest shackle is the female. Of course in actuality we are neither male nor female-for these designations refer only to the outer dress, the body. We are all actually Krishna's servants. In conditioned life, however, we are shackled by the iron chains, which take the form of beautiful women. Thus every male is bound by sex life, and therefore when one attempts to gain liberation from the material clutches, he must first learn to control the sex urge. Unrestricted sex puts one fully in the clutches of illusion.


Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“The Teachings of Lord Chaitanya”
“Introduction”
http://vedabase.net/tlc/introduction/en

Saturday, February 20, 2010

LAZARUS SYNDROME: 'CORPSE' COMES BACK TO LIFE

WOMAN WAS NOT ACTUALLY DEAD COMES BACK
TO LIFE IN COLOMBIAN FUNERAL PARLOR
BOGOTA - Funeral workers were surprised to notice a woman's corpse breathing, several hours after she was pronounced dead in a Cali hospital, reported Colombian media on Wednesday. Funeral home workers in the Colombian city of Cali got the shock of a lifetime when an apparently dead 45-year-old woman, Noelia Serna, suddenly started breathing and moving as they prepared her for burial. Local media said the women had been declared clinically dead at a medical facility Tuesday after having been hospitalized in serious condition with a neurological condition a day earlier. The woman had been rushed to the Rafeal Uribe Uribe clinic on Monday for emergency treatment for complications related to multiple sclerosis. After suffering organ failure, and following several attempts at resuscitation by doctors, she was pronounced dead the following day. "The instruments the patient was connected to gave no blood pressure or heart rate readings," said Miguel Angel Saavedra, a doctor at the clinic where the woman was treated. Medical staff at the facility signed the women's death certificate and her body was transferred to a funeral home to be prepared for burial. But, in a case of what physicians call "Lazarus Syndrome," the woman was not actually dead. "When they were going to apply formaldehyde, the patient began to breathe again and make movements," doctor Saavedra explained. Hours later, after the woman's body had been taken to a funeral home, the hospital received a telephone call saying that the she was in fact breathing and moving.

Doctors identified the case as Lazarus Syndrome - a spontaneous return of circulation in the body after clinical death - one of only 38 cases ever recorded. After the ordeal Noelia Serna was returned to the hospital where she is currently receiving treatment for her condition in an intensive care unit, said hospital director Luis Rendon. Her relatives have found no explanation, so they said it has been a kind of “miracle”.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
And then, by the grace of the higher world, when they take us in there, we wonderfully have some experience of the transcendental world. It is by their grace, by their mercy, not as a matter of right. ... “I can say very easily, give up everything you have. What do you have? Nothing. Your experience and the wealth you have, janma mrtyu jara vyadhi, birth, death, old age and disease - all will pass, they will leave you. They will disappoint you in the next moment. So, you have nothing. Give up the attraction for the present environment. Come, jump desperately to come near Me, and I shall give you shelter. You will be compensated amply.” This is the call of Krishna in Bhagavad-gita.


Śrīla Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Mahārāja :

“Follow the Angels - The Path of Dedication”
Part Three: “Progress by Grace of the Higher”
Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library - www.bvml.org/SBRSM/

Friday, February 19, 2010

UGANDA CLERIC SHOWS GAY PORN FILM

UGANDAN ANTI-GAY PASTOR AIRS
GAY PORN IN CHURCH TO EDUCATE
NAIROBI (guardian.co.uk) - An anti-gay clergyman in Uganda has screened gay pornography during a church service in Kampala yesterday, in an attempt to gain support for proposed anti-homosexuality laws. "We are in the process of legislation and we have to educate ourselves about what homosexuals do," Pastor Martin Ssempa told the BBC. He screened same-sex pornography in a church to try to bolster support for proposed anti-homosexuality legislation. He told the BBC's Network Africa programme: "In Africa, what you do in your bedroom affects our clan, it affects our tribe, it affects our nation." While Ssempa represents the extreme end of widely held homophobic views in Uganda, he does carry strong influence. On his website he describes himself as "consultant to the government of Uganda". Although gay sex is already illegal in Uganda, they have whipped up public sentiment by insisting that tougher measures are needed to punish homosexuals who they say are "recruiting" children at schools. The action of this Ugandan pastor has been condemned by gay rights groups. In Kenya, where anti-gay sentiment is also strong, the gay support group Ishtar said that by showing pornography Ssempa was trying to imply that being gay was "just about sex".

The legislation calls for life imprisonment for anyone caught having gay sex, with the death penalty for repeat offenders or those with HIV. But the proposals have generated much opposition abroad, with the governments of Britain, the US and Canada, all significant donors to Uganda, leading the condemnation. Uganda has been widely criticised for even contemplating the bill, with US President Barack Obama calling it "odious". The pressure appears to have worked. President Yoweri Museveni has tried to distance himself from the bill, telling parliament that the international response had made it a foreign policy issue.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
The homosexuality topic is specifically complex, because it deals with a condition that may be the result of several previous lives, it can come as a mental problem, hormones or even a physical problem. It is a phenomenon that’s been present in human culture from the time of the old Vedic scriptures. ... We should understand that the ones that have problems with drugs, material attachments, homosexuality and so on, can solve their problems by coming in touch with the all merciful Maha mantra Hare Krishna, and by the association of the devotees. For this reason we open temples all over the world; to help people.


Śrīla Bhakti Aloka Paramadvaiti Mahārāja :

“Homosexuality” (chat 23 September 2002)
http://www.vaisnavi.org/v2/chat/homosexuality.php

Thursday, February 18, 2010

BBC BROADCASTER ARRESTED OVER MERCY-KILLING

BBC TV PRESENTER RAY GOSLING ARRESTED
ON SUSPICION OF MERCY KILLING OF LOVER
LONDON (Reuters) - The broadcaster Ray Gosling, who confessed in a television programme to the mercy killing of a lover, was released on police bail today after being questioned for a day and a half on suspicion of murder, his lawyer said. Yesterday, Police had arrested a BBC broadcaster Ray Gosling on suspicion of murder after the 70-year-old confessed on television to killing a gay former lover who was in the advanced stages of AIDS. He was arrested after he told viewers of the BBC's Inside Out program that he had used a pillow to suffocate an unidentified young man who he claimed was dying in hospital. He said he had agreed to smother the man, who had AIDS, if his suffering became too intense. Gosling said his friend had been in hospital in “terrible pain” when a doctor told him nothing more could be done. He said he asked the doctor to leave them alone and then “I picked up the pillow and smothered him until he was dead.” "The doctor came back and I said: 'He's gone.' Nothing more was ever said. "When you love someone, it is difficult to see them suffer." In a BBC radio interview, the broadcaster had said he was not worried by the prospect of a police investigation. “I don't do worry,” he said. “I did what I did from my heart.” He said the incident happened in “the early period of AIDS”. He had come to an agreement with the man, who he described as “my bit on the side”, that Gosling would end his life if the pain became too much. Gosling yesterday said he would refuse to divulge details of the victim and when and where the killing took place. He said that keeping his silence was part of the “pact” he had with the victim. He also claimed he had the tacit consent of a doctor.

Gosling said he had met other people who were facing a similar dilemma. Dozens of terminally ill Britons have travelled to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, where assisted suicide is legal, and killed themselves with the help of friends or family members. In Britain, assisted suicide is still a criminal offence, and those opposed to give seriously ill people the right to die legally, say changing the law could leave very sick people vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous relatives.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
The dilemma surrounding euthanasia has much to do with misunderstanding the purpose of human life, a misperception that causes many to feel either that human life should be preserved at all costs or that it is merciful to end the lives of those who can no longer enjoy materially. However, when we realize that human life is not intended for the pursuit of temporal enjoyment and conduct ourselves accordingly, all concerned will be better prepared for death. ... Euthanasia (from the Greek) means a “good death”. What is a good death? Scripture says that in spite of circumstances, if at the time of death one remembers God, then one’s life and death are successful: “ante nārāyana-smriti”.


Śrīla Bhakti Vedanta Tripurari Mahārāja :
“Death and Dharma” - Śrī Caitanya Sanga - Vol. X, No. 9 - 2008
“Dynamic Orthodoxy” - Śrī Caitanya Sanga - Vol. XI, No. 3 - 2009
http://www.swami.org/pages/sanga/

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

CIGARS & PIPES NO SAFER THAN CIGARETTES

SMOKING CIGARS & PIPES LEAD TO COPD
AND
HARM LUNG FUNCTION, STUDY FINDS
WebMD Health News - Switching from cigarettes to cigars or pipes isn’t going to do your lungs any favors. A new study suggests that pipe and cigar smoking may be more harmful than thought. Researchers say cigarette smoking has declined in recent years, and pipe and cigar smoking have increased, partly because of a misperception that pipes and cigars are safer than cigarettes. But the study shows that pipe and cigar smoking damages lung function in a manner similar to cigarettes and is associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is a progressive disease that causes damage to the airways and makes it more difficult to breathe. It is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Alternative forms of smoking, such as pipes and cigars, cause the same changes in the lungs that lead to COPD, said researchers. In the new study, they evaluated participants lung function and cotinine levels. Cotinine is a byproduct of nicotine and is detected in the urine.

The results showed those participants who did not smoke cigarettes but did smoke cigars or pipes were twice as likely as never smokers to have decreased lung function. “Smoke, whether from cigarette, pipe, or cigar, will result in absorption of one of the most addictive chemicals known, nicotine, and will produce measurable lung damage,” researchers said. “Some pipe and cigar smokers say they do not inhale, or inhale less, than cigarette smokers. The elevated cotinine levels in the current study, however, belie this notion and provide a biological measure of nicotine exposure,” they added.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Many people are also addicted to bad habits such as smoking, chewing pan (Betel leaf), eating fish and meat, and drinking alcohol. Thus the practice of their spiritual lives is obstructed. ... If one does not give up these things, he cannot derive happiness from devotional service. ... A person who smokes tobacco becomes addicted to and controlled by it. He will then even dare to commit sinful activities. ... It is certainly difficult for them to become followers of Srila Rupa Gosvami.



Śrīla Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thākura :
“Activities Unfavorable to Devotional Service”

“Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava”. Vol 2 : ‘Abhidheya’.

Compiled by Śrīpad Sundarānanda Vidyāvinoda.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

BELGIUM REPORTS HEAD-ON RAIL COLLISION

BRUSSELS TRAINS CRASH HEAD-ON, COST 25 LIVES
AND MANY INJURED AT BELGIAN DEADLY TRAIN CRASH
HALLE, Belgium (Reuters) - At least 18 people died and 162 were hurt when two trains collided in Halle on Monday, a government spokeswoman said. Two commuter trains crashed head-on near Brussels during the morning rush hour on Monday, killing at least 25 people. The trains collided in snowy conditions at the village of Buizingen, near Halle, 15 km (9 miles) southwest of the Belgian capital, causing the cancellation of services to France and Britain. Some passengers were still trapped inside one wrecked carriage in freezing temperatures several hours after the disaster, which occurred at about 8:30 a.m. Apparently, one of the trains, a local service from Leuven, had gone past a red light and plowed into an express train bound for Liege running about 10 minutes late. However, train operator SNCB said it was too early to speculate about the cause of the accident. It said between 250 and 300 people were traveling in the two trains at the time. The two trains were crushed against each other, their ends suspended in the air. Overhead power lines were badly damaged. The crash took place during morning rush hour when people were on their way to work.

The injured were being treated at a sports center near the scene of the accident. Fifty-five of the injured were taken to 14 separate hospitals in and around Brussels, while more than a hundred others had minor injuries. The crash caused disruption to parts of the wider rail network in northern Europe. Eurostar said its services between Brussels and Britain would remain suspended all day on Tuesday. It would operate a reduced service between Britain and Lille in France.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
There is no person in this world who doesn't fear. If you want to be fearless you must worship Krishna. You must serve Krishna. You must repeat the Namam of Krishna. And he will give you happiness. He will destroy all your calamities. He will destroy all your sufferings. He will destroy everything not wanted to you. So you repeat always, in day and night, in the summer, in the rainy season, in the cold season. Always. In day always. In night always. … Utilize your time, utilize your maximum time in the service of the Lord. … Because always there are dangers.


Śrīla Bhakti Vaibhava Purī Mahārāj :
Lecture: “Navada Bhakti”
Slovenia, summer 1998.
Śrī Krishna Chaitanya Mission.


Monday, February 15, 2010

CHINESE NEW YEAR 2010

SUNDAY, FEB 14, CHINESE NEW YEAR 2010
CHINESE ZODIAC: THE YEAR OF THE TIGER
BEIJING (Sun) - Millions of Chinese visited families and sent text messages to friends on Sunday, the first day of the Year of the Tiger, with a traditional love of wordplay taking on a political twist in some telephone text greetings. Streets were quiet on New Year's Day, as Chinese gathered at home to eat foods whose names are homonyms for words associated with prosperity, fortune and long life. The Chinese New Year does not follow the western calendar and the fist day of the Chinese lunar New Year can be any day between late Jan and mid-Feb. It is said that the Chinese Zodiac which designates the lunar New Year cycle was introduced by Emperor Huang Ti in 2600 BC. Thus the year 2010 on the western calendar is the Chinese lunar year 4708. By tradition, there is a Spring festival that lasts 7 to 15 days to start the new year. The biggest event is on the New Year eve. All members of a family try come together, no matter how far away they are, to have dinner and the Spring Festival together to celebrate the New Year. Dishes are often the best of the year a family can prepare. In old China, people do not have much money to buy good foods and they would save money throughout the year and then prepare the best for the big dinner. Pork, chicken, fish and soy products are often seen on the dinner table. There can be 10 to 15 dishes on a table. The holiday starts from that dinner.

Nowadays most people often watch TV after dinner. In old days, older people go to sleep early and children stay up all night playing. On the first day of the Chinese New year, people often stay home. On the second day some people like newly wed couples may go visit the wives' families. And on the third day, most people - often times family members go together visit relatives and friends. In poor areas of old China, people might simply bring with them a few pounds of white cane sugar, which was a good gift at that time. In return, the hosting families will give visitors particularly young children a little paper money wrapped in red paper.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
China is one of the oldest countries in the world. During the period of Bharata War (Kuruksetra), Vagadatta of Pragyotispur joined the Kurus and we find that the Chinese people sided with Vagadatta, the king of Pragyotispur. It is also found that Vagadatta was present in Yudhisthira's court with many Kirāt, Chin, and other soldiers. The connection between China and India was of a very ancient standing, and we find in “The Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan” - written by Lt. Col. James Todd (1822) - that the genealogists of China and Tartary declare themselves to be the descendants of Āyu, son of the Hindu king Purūravā.


“The Rig Vedic Culture and the Indus Civilization”
Vedic Connections – Ancient Vedic World
http://www.veda.harekrsna.cz/connections/Eastern-Asia.php

Sunday, February 14, 2010

JYOTI: THE TWO-FOOT TEENAGER

JYOTI AMGE FROM INDIA IS
THE TINIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD
(The News Chronicle) - Jyoti only weighs 5.25 kgs and she is 1 foot, 11 inches tall ... so she is dubbed the “world’s tiniest girl.” Jyoti was born on December 16, 1993 in India. She is turning 17 this year, but she still looks smaller than her neighbor’s baby. Doctors believe Jyoti is a pituitary dwarf but have never been able to pinpoint her condition. Such dwarfism is caused when the body fails to produce enough growth hormone. Specialists have told her she will remain the same size for the rest of her life. “When I was three I realised that I was different to the rest of the kids,” she said. “I thought that everyone was bigger and I should get bigger too.” Despite her size she insists on living as normal a life as possible in her home town of Nagpur in India. “When I first went to school everyone was so big I used to get scared but I'm okay now, I like it. I have a different desk and chair that were made for me ... I'm a normal student.”

Jyoti attends high school with her classmates, who she says don't treat her any differently. She has her own mini grey uniform and school bag and even a tiny desk, made especially for her. Although she looks so much different from other normal people, Jyoti appears to be not so bothered with her unique condition. Her body is tiny but her dreams are as big as those of her friends. Weighing 12lb - only 9lb more than her weight at birth, Jyoti dreams of becoming an actress. She is also like any other teenage girl. “I have a huge collection of dresses. I like to shop for more. Everyone in my family gets things for me ... I love make-up and like dressing up like beautiful models. I would like to be an actress when I grow up. My dream is to do films, she explains.”

Jyoti has already had a taste of fame in a pop video for Indian star Mika Singh. In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, she said, “I am proud of being the smallest girl. I love all the attention I get. I'm not scared of being small, and I don't regret being small.” She added, “I am sure there are many people in this world who are dwarfs like me. I'm just the same as other people. I eat like you, dream like you. I don't feel any different.” Kishanji Amge, her father, said, “I can’t separate myself from her even for a single day. I love her very much. She makes me proud. Lots of gurus come to see and bless her. They pray for her happiness and long life.” Jyoti is to be featured in Channel 4's Bodyshock series, which goes out 2day.



WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Our situations in this world are liable to change like fogs and mists. ... This external body will be changed and also our present situations. But we have got a transcendental frame. As soon as we will learn that the transcendental frame is working in us, this mortal coil will cease to trouble. ... The soul is wrapped by the gross and subtle material bodies. They are meant for the use of the soul for a certain period. ... But the soul is the real entity. ... The material things will change. This change sometimes gives us facilities and sometimes hinders our progress. But the soul does not change and cannot be destroyed.


Śrīla Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thākura Prabhupāda :
“The Correct Angle of Vision”
Conversation with Major Rana N. J. Bahadur
Originally published in “The Harmonist” (Vol. XXXI, No.21 - 1935)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

HAPPY MAHA SHIVRATRI 2010!

YESTERDAY PEOPLE IN INDIA PAID OBEISANCE
TO LORD SHIVA ON OCCASION OF SHIVARATRI
LUDHIANA (Times) - Yesterday, people in India were celebrating the auspicious festival “Maha Shivaratri”. The Shivratri Festival or the “The Night of Lord Shiva” is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva, one of the deities of the Hindu Trinity. Shivaratri falls on the moonless 14th night of the new moon in the Hindu month of Phalgun, which corresponds to the month of February - March in English Calendar. Celebrating the festival of Shivaratri devotees observe day and night fast and perform ritual worship of the Shivalingam to appease Lord Shiva. Right since early morning, people started gathering in the city’s temples. Police were on high alert outside major temples to avert any mishap. In major city temples including Sangla Shivala, Durga Mata Mandir and Dandi Swami, police and traffic personnel were appointed so that traffic jams or stampedes caused by a huge number of devotees coming to the temple could be avoided. Mangalore city which has a judicious mix of Shiivas and Vaishnavas celebrate the Mahashivarathri with religious gaiety and traditional pomp. The main event happens at Kudroli Gokarnanatha Kshetra where the huge Shivalingam consecrated by the reformer saint Narayanaguru swamiji of the 20th century.

People offered fruits and milk, paid obeisance and offered prayers to the deity at the shrines. The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael (Bilva) leaves to the Lord Shiva, all day fasting and an all night long vigil. According to Puranas, this is the favourite day of Lord Shiva. After creation was complete, Parvati asked Lord Shiva which rituals pleased him the most. The Lord replied that this night of the new moon, during the month of Maagha, is his most favourite day. Parvati repeated these words to her friends, from whom the word spread over all creation.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Once upon a time, the cowherd men of Vrindavan, headed by Nanda Maharaja, desired to go to Ambikavana to observe the Shivaratri ceremony ... which is especially observed by the Śaivites, or devotees of Lord Śiva. Sometimes the Vaishnavas also observe this ceremony because they accept Lord Śiva as the foremost Vaishnava. ... They very devotedly began to worship the deity of Lord Śiva and Ambikā (or Durgā) ... After reaching Ambikāvana, the cowherd men of Vrindāvana first bathed themselves in the river Sarasvatī. ... After taking a bath, they worshiped the deities and then distributed charity in the holy places.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“Krishna Book” - Chapter 34.
“Vidyādhara Liberated and the Demon Śankhāsura Killed”

Friday, February 12, 2010

CHINESE COURT DENIES APPEAL BY JAILED ACTIVIST

BEIJING COURT REJECTS APPEAL AND UPHOLDS
INITIAL SENTENCE OF DISSIDENT LIU XIAOBO
BEIJING (Xinhua) - A court in Beijing denied an appeal by one of China’s best-known democracy advocates on Thursday and upheld his 11-year prison sentence, human rights activists said. The Higher People's Court of Beijing rejected Liu Xiaobo's appeal and upheld the first trial's verdict of agitation aimed at subverting the government. Beijing's First Intermediate People's Court sentenced Liu to 11 years in prison on Dec. 25, 2009. "Liu's verdict is sound on legal basis and factual proof," said Prof. Gao Mingxuan, president of the International Association of Penal Law China Branch. Although freedom of expression is an extremely important right of Chinese citizens and protected by China's Constitution and laws, Gao said citizens could not exercise the right without any restrictions whatsoever. According to China's Constitution, Chinese citizens' exercise of their freedoms and rights should not infringe upon the interests of the state, of society, or the collective, or upon the lawful freedoms and rights of other citizens. Gao said that freedom of expression may be subject to certain lawful restrictions necessary for the respect of the rights or reputations of others and the protection of national security and public order. He said Liu had published a number of articles which exceeded the boundaries of freedom of expression. Liu had spread anti-government rumors and slanders, and had organized and persuaded other people to join activities aimed at overturning the current government, Gao said, adding that his conduct was dangerous to the country.

According to the Court, Liu spread his agitation through the Internet by using the network's speed and its ability to grab vast public attention. He also organized and induced others to sign the petition, which has been widely linked to, republished and browsed on the Internet. Liu's wife, Liu Xia, said she was not surprised by the court decision. She said the only thing her husband said inside the court during the appeal hearing was "I am innocent." Liu co-wrote "Charter 08," an unusually direct appeal to China's authorities calling for expanded political freedoms and the end to Communist Party dominance. More than 300 people, including some of the country's top intellectuals, signed it before it was made public in December 2008.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
To determine the root-cause of unrest we ought first to determine the meaning of the self. I strongly believe, that ignorance of our real-self is the cause of unrest, discord and anxiety. ... It has already been stated that differences in the individuals are unavoidable as they are conscious units. Now the problem is to find a common ground and interest for the solution of these differences. A sense of common interest can be fostered among individuals, if they know that they are inter-connected, are parts of one Organic System and are the sons and daughters of one Father.


Śrīla Bhakti Dayita Madhava Mahārāja :
“Realistic Solution for Diverse Humanity”
Speech at a ‘Spiritual Summit Conference’ - 1968 Calcutta.
http://www.sreecgmath.org/scgmtimes/scgmsbdm.php

Thursday, February 11, 2010

FAMOUS FRENCH PHILOSOPHER FALLS FOR HOAX

PHILOSOPHER BERNARD HENRI-LÉVY
CAUGHT OUT BY A LITERARY PRANK
PARIS (AP) - The celebrity French philosopher Bernard Henri-Lévy—he of the unbuttoned white shirts and coiffed hair—has backed up the arguments in his latest book, "On War in Philosophy", by citing the work of a fake philosopher. In arguing that Imanuel Kant was a madman, Henri-Lévy quoted from the lectures of Jean-Baptiste Botul—the creation of the journalist Frédéric Pagès. Botul has a rabid following—which recognizes that he’s not real—and debates his metaphysics of flab and his ideas on cheese, sausages, women’s breasts, and the transport of valises in the 1930s. In "De la Guerre en Philosophie", Levy cited a quotation from a book ostensibly written by Jean-Baptiste Botul, a fictional creation of journalist Frederic Pages. The gaffe, which was revealed by the Web site of Le Nouvel Observateur newsweekly this week, sparked a storm of Internet posts poking fun at Levy, France's superstar intellectual par excellence. Lévy quotes the fine insights of a French writer named Jean-Baptise Botul on the 18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant. But Botul, it turns out, is not a real person — he's a fictional character created five years ago by Frédéric Pagès, a journalist at the French satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné. Using Botul as a pseudonym, Pagès published a verbose book on Kant in 1999, which was intended to be a playful dig at French intellectuals.

Levy himself acknowledged his mistake, owning up to the error with lighthearted grace. "I learned today through the Internet ... it was a hoax," he told Canal Plus television on Monday. Levy congratulated Pages, saying he had long found his 1999 book "La Vie Sexuelle d'Emmanuel Kant" (The Sexual Life of Emmanuel Kant) — penned under the pseudonym Botul — "marvelous." "Vive Frederic Botul, vive Frederic Pages," Levy concluded, mixing up the names of the journalist and his creation. Levy, with his trademark wind-swept hairstyle, perma-tan and starched white shirt left largely unbuttoned, is an instantly recognizable public figure. He is known as much for his jet-setting lifestyle as for his work.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Almost everyone, including scientists, religionists and philosophers, are engaged in a noble search for truth. Yet, what is truth and how do we find it? ... Let us ask the question, “What is real knowledge?” The most generally accepted method of receiving knowledge is by direct perception, pratyaksa. Although often used in scientific quests, this method is subject to the four defects from which all mankind suffers: bhrama, pramāda, karanāpātava and vipralipsā. That is, all humans are subject to illusion, have imperfect senses, make mistakes and have a tendency to cheat.


Śrīpad Bhakti Bhāvana Vishnu Mahārāja :
Krsna Talk 90: In Search of Truth
http://www.gosai.com/krishna-talk/90-in-search-of-truth.html