Monday, May 31, 2010

WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY CELEBRATED TODAY

ANTI-SMOKING CAMPAIGN EVERY YEAR
ON MAY 31: WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY
NEW YORK - The observance, on 31st May each year, is meant to bring attention to the growing use of tobacco and its deadly effects, this event was established in nineteen eighty-seven. This year, special attention is being given to the harmful effects of tobacco marketing to women and girls. The WHO says the tobacco industry has increasingly directed its marketing campaigns at women and girls. Women currently represent about twenty percent of smokers. But tobacco use among girls is increasing. The WHO estimates that tobacco use caused one hundred million deaths in the twentieth century. If current rates continue, that number could reach one billion in this century. Events are planned in a number of countries to mark World No Tobacco Day. Many of the events are aimed at persuading people, especially the young, not to start smoking. Others aim to educate people about the many health benefits of quitting.

Demonstrations and public marches with vivid banners, educational programs and campaigns are launched in different parts of the world to discourage people from using tobacco in any form. According to a recent WHO report both men and women need “full information about the sex-specific effects of tobacco use.” This year the World Health Organization is highlighting the adverse effects of the tobacco industry targeting women and young girls. On World No Tobacco Day 2010, and throughout the following year, the WHO will encourage governments to pay particular attention to protecting women from the tobacco companies’ attempts to lure them into lifetimes of nicotine dependence. By responding to the WHO’s call, governments can reduce the number of fatal and crippling heart attacks, strokes, cancers and respiratory diseases that have become increasingly prevalent among women.


This year, WHO is aimed at protecting women and seeks to make men more aware and avoid smoking around those who live and work with: women and children. It is necessary to educate women about the advertising strategies of the tobacco industry trying to convince them about smoking, thus preventing them from being victims of this dreadful vice.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Narottama dasa Thakura sings, “Alas, I have given up the association of Krsna's devotees because I wanted to enjoy illusory material happiness. In this way I have become entangled in the network of karma.” Here Narottama uses the word sat-sanga, meaning “association with devotees of Krsna.” Sat-sanga can be found in the Krsna consciousness movement, where one can hear the Srimad-Bhagavatam, chant Hare Krsna, and practice how to become pure. Just the opposite is asat-sanga, bad association, which leads one to intoxication, illicit sex, drinking, and so many other sinful practices. The advertisers are asat-sanga: “Come on, smoke Kool cigarettes and make your brain cool.” The rascals!


Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“Dharma - The Way of Transcendence”
Chapter 10: “The Sword of Remembrance”

Sunday, May 30, 2010

DEADLY STORM HITS CENTRAL AMERICA

POWERFUL TROPICAL STORM STRIKES
GUATEMALA, MEXICO AND EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA (CNN) - Tropical Depression Agatha unleashed torrential rains over Guatemala, southeast Mexico and much of El Salvador, triggering flash floods and mudslides. A powerful tropical storm has struck Guatemala, bringing torrential rains that have added to the disruption caused by an erupting volcano. Agatha, the season's first tropical storm, has killed at least 12 people and left 11 people missing, as rain, mudslides and floods forced more than 3,000 people to flee their homes, officials have said. Four children were buried in a landslide outside Guatemala City, and four adults were killed in the capital itself. Another two children and two adults were killed when a boulder, dislodged by heavy rains, crushed a house in the department of Quetzaltenango. Guatemala is already under a 15-day state of calamity because of the eruption on Thursday of the Pacaya volcano, which killed at least three people and at least 1,800 people were already evacuated to shelters.

The volcano had shut down the capital's international airport. The torrential rains are complicating efforts to clear up ash from the Pacaya Volcano, which began erupting on Thursday, covering Guatemala City with ash and forcing the closure of the capital's international airport. Agatha - the first named storm of the Pacific Hurricane season - is expected to dump at least 75cm of rain on Guatemala, as well as El Salvador and southeastern Mexico. According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, the storm was moving northeast about 5 mph (7 kph) and was forecast to weaken as it moved farther inland over high terrain in Central America. Tropical storm winds extended outward up to 80 miles (130 km) primarily over water to the southeast of the center, the center added.



Floods caused by tropical storm "Agatha" produce flooding, landslides that destroyed houses and blocked traffic on roads. The terrible force of nature is one of the clearest signs of this age of Kali, therefore we should reflect on the reasons behind such natural disasters.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Natural calamities are a display of an awesome power immensely and fearfully greater than the human. They jolt us out of our complacent routines and force us to think about the supernatural: Why do such natural disasters occur? ... All the great spiritual and religious traditions of the world warn us that we are answerable to God for all our actions. Known as the law of karma, this universal, infallible law of action-reaction gives all of us our due pleasures and pains as per our actions, right or wrong. ... We can protect ourselves from our past misdeeds by re-harmonizing ourselves with God. This can be very easily and effectively done by adopting the non-sectarian universal meditation on the Holy Names of God, especially the maha-mantra Hare Krishna.


Caitanya Caran das (BE E&TC) :
“When Nature Boomerangs”
The Spiritual Scientist - Vol. 3 - Issue 13
Bhaktivedanta Academy for Culture and Education (BACE), Pune
http://thespiritualscientist.com/

Saturday, May 29, 2010

80 DEAD IN ATTACKS ON PAKISTAN MOSQUES

TWO MOSQUES USED BY MINORITY AHMADI SECT
ATTACKED WITH GUNS, GRENADES AND SUICIDE VESTS
ISLAMABAD (latimes.com) - Taliban militants with assault rifles, suicide vests and grenades attacked a pair of mosques of a minority religious sect in eastern Pakistan, killing at least 82 people and taking a number of worshippers hostage before being overcome by police. They attacked two mosques in Lahore belonging to a minority sect, at the time there were thousands of worshipers inside. The coordinated attacks illustrate the vulnerability of groups considered outside the mainstream of Pakistani society. The Ahmadi sect is one of the country's most beleaguered minority groups. Numbering about 4 million, they consider themselves Muslims but believe their late-19th century founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was a prophet of God. That is heresy for most Muslims, who believe Muhammad was the last prophet. Ahmadis suffer severe discrimination in Pakistan and are legally barred from calling themselves Muslims.

The attacks occurred during Friday prayers as Ahmadis filled two of the sect's mosques in the neighborhoods of Model Town and Garhi Shahu. In both cases, militants were able to easily get inside the mosques, where they opened fire with guns and threw grenades at terrified worshipers. At the Garhi Shahu mosque, two of the attackers detonated suicide vests in the main hall. At least 91 people were injured. The Punjabi Taliban, a wing of the Pakistani Taliban comprising several Punjabi extremist groups, claimed responsibility for the attacks. Punjab is Pakistan's wealthiest and largest province, but it is rife with violent sectarian groups that prey on religious minorities such as Ahmadis, Christians and Shiite Muslims. The extremist groups, operate freely throughout Punjab province.


This is one the worst terrorist attack during Friday prayers of the Ahmadiyya sect, one of the most relentlessly persecuted communities in Pakistan by the pressure of orthodox Muslim groups. When will people understand that minority religious sects are also part of the universal brotherhood of men and they share the common fatherhood of God?


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
The great reformers will always assert that they have come not to destroy the old law, but to fulfill it. Valmiki, Vyasa, Plato, Jesus, Mohamed, Confucius and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu assert this fact, either expressly or by their conduct. ... They all hunted after the Great Spirit, the unconditioned Soul of the Universe. They could not but get an insight into it. Their words and expressions were different, but their import is the same. ... The true critic is a generous judge, devoid of prejudices and party spirit, that great enemy of truth, will always baffle the attempt of the enquirer and will make him believe that Absolute Truth is nowhere except in his old religious book.

Śrīla Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Mahārāja :
“Ocean of Nectar” - Introduction
http://bvml.org/SBRSM/books/index.html

Friday, May 28, 2010

LATEST SUICIDE RAISES CONCERN OVER CHINESE FACTORY LIFE

ABUSIVE FOXCONN EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES
ARE INVESTIGATED AFTER 10th SUICIDE THIS YEAR
PEKIN (News Asia-Pacific) - A spate of suicides by employees of an electronics giant in China has fuelled concern about the pressures of factory life and the emotional vulnerability of young employees. Taiwanese-owned Foxconn is one of the world's largest contract electronics manufacturers and is thought to supply Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard among others. The company makes products like the Mac mini, the iPod, the iPad, and the iPhone for Apple and motherboards for Intel and Zoostorm. Police confirmed that a young man with knife wounds had fallen from a building at one of the firm's plants in Shenzhen, China, on Friday. Another employee died after falling from a building earlier last week, but police have yet to confirm the cause of her death, but experts say that overcrowding and long hours adding to workplace stress, are the reasons. Foxconn has expressed sorrow over the ten deaths, all involving workers aged between 18 and 24, and two suicide attempts.

The company blamed personal issues such as romantic troubles, family problems and loneliness, but has called in experts for advice on preventing further deaths. While stressing that the causes of each death would be complex, he added: "These young workers have to work 10 or 11 hours a day and are under extreme pressure to produce products under very intensive conditions. Once they get off production line they live in cramped dormitories, often with strangers, and they are getting insufficient days off. They're away from their families and other support networks. It can be difficult for them. This is not just Foxconn; this is the way the vast majority of factories operate across China." Foxconn's rival “Huawei”, also saw several suicides between 2006 and 2008; in this company, six employees reportedly killed themselves. Suicide clusters, often involving young people, have occurred in many countries.


The recurrence of such sorry incidents throws a spotlight on the companies' tough labour practices, especially during peak production times. Deplorable working conditions in any production-line assembly, cause depression and emotional problems, leading young workers to commit suicide. We need to develop taste for the devotional service of the Lord.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
At the present moment human society is overly influenced by the mode of passion, and consequently people are engaged in working in big factories. They forget how distressful it is to live in such places. In Bhagavad-gītā such activities are described as “ugra-karma”, that is, distressful activities. Those who utilize the energies of the worker are called capitalists, and those who actually perform the work are called laborers. In actuality they are both capitalists, and the workers are in the modes of passion and ignorance. The result is that there is always a distressful situation.


Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam”

Purport in Canto 4 - Chapter 29 - Verse 28.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

2-YEAR-OLD BOY SMOKES 40 CIGARETTES A DAY

INDONESIAN TODDLER ADDICTED TO
SMOKING CIGARETTES, 2 PACKS A DAY
TimesNewsline.com - It is sad but true that an Indonesia toddler boy is addicted to cigarettes and smokes 40 cigarettes a day. The kid, named Ardi Rizal, is just a two-year-old boy, but is already engaged in smoking habit. A disturbing video featuring the boy puffing casually on a cigarette is causing a firestorm online. Rizal, who lives in a fishing village Musi Banyuasin, Indonesia, was given his first cigarette when he was 18 months by his 30-year-old father, Mohammed. Now the toddler smoker has developed a disturbing two-pack-a-day habit, which is actually equivalent to 40 cigarettes a day. Rizal, who weighs more than 25 kilograms, smokes a particular brand and his habit costs his parents more than US$5 a day. The overweight kid finds it almost impossible to run with other kids and uses a toy truck to get around, according to New York Daily News. "He's totally addicted. If he doesn't get cigarettes, he gets angry and screams and batters his head against the wall. He tells me he feels dizzy and sick," said Rizal’s 26-year-old mother Diana. Shockingly his father, a fishmonger, seemed unconcerned with his kid’s disturbing habit. "He cries and throws tantrums when we don't let him smoke. He's addicted," said Mohammed.

In the video making the rounds online, Rizal puffs away. The footage posted by Britain's Sun newspaper on its website shows the kid reclining with a cigarette in his mouth. He blows smoke rings, and then draws back deeply on the cigarette; he doesn’t even cough. At one point the kid is even shown turning the cigarette around like he is going to stick the burning tip on his tongue. Seeing their child smoke like a pro may be not worrisome for Rizal’s parents today, but they seemingly are blinded and unalarmed of what this means to his health. This is completely insane for parents to let their kid do this crazy thing. Their child’s lighting up habit is going to be something they will be regretting someday.


Sadly, the attachment to smoking exhibited by this child, reminds us that at death, a person always thinks of that subject matter in which he has been engrossed during his life; and if it is any material attachment or a vice, he can not easily get rid of such material bondage and wants to continue indulging his senses and enjoying it through the new body.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
At the time of death a materialist thinks of his wife and children. He is absorbed in thinking of how they will live and who will take care of them after he leaves. ... Therefore by practicing the mystic yoga system one must become detached from bodily relationships. ... The secret of success in practicing yoga is to become free from bodily attachments. Śrīla Narottama dāsa Thākura says, deha-smriti nāhi yāra, samsāra-bandhana kāhāń tāra: one whose practice has freed him from the anxieties of bodily needs is no longer in conditional life. Such a person is freed from conditional bondage. A person in Krishna consciousness must fully discharge his devotional duties without material attachment. Then his liberation is guaranteed.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam”

Purport in Canto 5 - Chapter 19 - Verse 14
.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

AUSTRALIAN BABY LIVES AFTER STROLLER HIT BY TRAIN

BABY SURVIVES AFTER TRAIN HITS PRAM
AT MELBOURNE RAILWAY STATION ... AGAIN!
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - For the second time in less than a year, a miraculous survival as a pram rolls into the path of an oncoming Melbourne train. A 15-month-old boy escaped with just a few cuts and bruises on Wednesday after a train struck his stroller, which rolled onto the tracks when the child's grandmother looked away for just a moment. Security camera footage shows the stroller rolling over the edge of the platform just as the train pulls into the station. The stroller was pushed a short distance down the tracks before the train came to a halt in front of horrified witnesses. The dramatic escape comes just seven months after another baby in the southern city of Melbourne survived a train striking his stroller, which had also rolled onto the tracks. “It's absolutely amazing that this child isn't more injured than what he is, given the circumstances of the accident ... It would appear, amazingly, that it's nothing more than a couple of grazes and a big fright”, paramedic Kate Jessop said.

The baby and his 3-year-old brother were being cared for by their grandmother. She told officials she saw the stroller on the platform, looked away for a moment, and turned back to see it on the track, Jessop said. Officials have not released the name of the grandmother, and paramedics said she was too distraught to talk. The boy was in stable condition at Royal Children's Hospital. He suffered some minor facial bruising and grazes to his head, but otherwise appeared fine, Jessop said. In October, a 6-month-old baby survived after his stroller rolled onto the tracks when his mother let go for an instant. Security footage of that escape showed the stroller plunging off a station platform as the commuter train pulls in, and his mother's desperate lunge to grab it. The baby only received a bump on the head.

Here you can watch a video of this accident:




Platforms seem to slope towards the tracks at an angle that could make an unsecured pram roll forwards, so something ought to be done on the railway station platforms to avoid happening again. At the same time, parent need to be more vigilant and also recognize that all protection can only be found at the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, the Father of everyone.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
The whole world is in the Lords belly. So, He is the mother. As the mother carries the child in her womb, the Lord Krishna carries the whole world in his body, in his mouth. ... So He is the mother, and the father and all protection, is the father. So like that, a devotee who has submitted to the Lord: sarva-dharmān parityajya / mām ekam śaranam vraja - Gita says, “Give up all you religions and dharmas and surrender to Me”. Surrender means: “Oh Lord, I am yours. I have surrendered to you my body, my mind, my friends, my relations, my kitten, kids, my wealth. Whatever is mine is yours. I have nothing mine. This body also yours, my cloth also yours, the flower garland is yours, chair is yours, everything is yours. I know you, nothing else.”


Śrīla Bhakti Vaibhava Purī Mahārāj :
Lecture given at Ljubljana, Slovenia,
on June 26, 1999.
Śrī Krishna Chaitanya Mission
http://www.bvml.org/SBVPGM/


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

RED-FACED SARAH FERGUSON ISSUES AN APOLOGY

DUCHESS OF YORK SARAH FERGUSON
APOLOGISES FOR LETTING PEOPLE DOWN
LONDON - The News of the World scored big with its sting against Sarah Ferguson, who appears a sad and pathetic figure as she names her price: 500,000 pounds. The Duchess of York was caught so red-handed that she made no attempt to spin her way out of the mess, merely saying she was sorry for the serious lapse in judgment and is in a stressful financial situation. Sarah Ferguson was the victim of a sting operation last week when the News of the World filmed her asking for $40,000 in cash as a down payment and a further $700,000 by wire transfer on a deal to introduce an undercover reporter to her ex-husband, U.K. trade envoy Prince Andrew. She told the reporter, who was posing as a businessman: "Look after me and I'll look after you ... you'll get it back tenfold. I can open any door you want." The Duchess, who rents a room in Royal Lodge, the prince's private residence near Windsor Castle, feels she can no longer live under the same roof after trying to sell access to him. In the aftermath of the scandal, Sarah flew to Los Angeles to collect a Variety Award for her charity work.

The duchess, 50, apologized for her “serious lack of judgment” after she was caught telling a News of the World reporter, posing as a business tycoon, that she would “open doors” to her ex-husband if the reporter handed over a $40,000 down payment on the half-million pound payoff. “I very deeply regret the situation and the embarrassment caused,” she said. “It is true that my financial situation is under stress. However, that is no excuse for a serious lapse in judgment, and I am very sorry that this has happened.” She added that the Duke of York “was not aware or involved in any of the discussions that occurred.” Prince Andrew, a UK trade envoy, “categorically” denied knowing about a meeting in which his ex-wife allegedly offered a reporter access to him for cash.


Sarah Ferguson has won some admiration for his charity work and their ability to solve their own financial problems, but this new act of selling influence is regarded as an unpleasant embarrassment she caused the Royal family. Different situations lead us to act well or evil. Mind is not a good counselor, we need a spiritual guide.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
The mind can never sit idle. It will either create a hell out of heaven or a heaven out of hell. It is like drift-wood floating on the ebb and flow of good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice. ... The things one now regards as fixed, shall, one by one, detach themselves, like ripe fruits, from one's experience and fall. The wind shall blow them, none knows whither the landscape, the figures, Calcutta, London, New York, the Royal Throne, the Presidential Chair - are facts as fugitive as any institution past or any whiff of mist or smoke, and so is the society and so the world. ... The proverb goes, “Today king, tomorrow nothing.”


Śrīla Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thākura Prabhupāda :
“Vaishnavism Real & Apparent”
Chapter: “Two Minds - Material and Spiritual”
http://www.bvml.org/SBSST/index.htm

Monday, May 24, 2010

FOSTER PARENTS MAKE A DIFFERENCE

CARE FOR ALL OUR CHILDREN:
FOSTER PARENTS CHANGE LIVES
NEW YORK - May is National Foster Care Month - a time when many people around the world turn their attention to the children and youth in foster care, and honor foster families, relative caregivers, volunteers and professionals who work with them. Foster parents provide safe homes for thousands of children. Foster home care is a safe, temporary placement providing 24-hour-a-day substitute care for children. In Oklahoma, thousands of children each year are placed by the court, for various reasons, in state custody through the Department of Human Services. Children in the system range in age from birth to age 18 and are all races, cultures and religions. Each child has a story to tell. They have many strengths - and many needs. They may be physically, mentally or emotionally challenged. They may have suffered from physical, sexual or mental abuse, or been neglected by their caregiver. They may have a parent in jail. Dawn Cheshier and her husband, Ron, have two foster children, five adopted children and one biological child, ranging from ages 11 to 15.

Their children go to three different schools and participate in extracurricular youth groups, sports programs and community activities. Dawn said that many people are hesitant to become foster parents because they’re afraid of forming emotional attachments to a child they might not have long-term. Yet, it shouldn’t be a barrier to providing a home and stability to children in need. “It’s worth it,” she said. It was a natural step for Cheshier to become a foster parent because she, too, grew up in foster care. My foster mother inspired me,” Cheshier said. “She made a difference in my life.” You also have the power to do something: Support children in foster care. Say thank you to a foster parent you know. Find out more about foster care at www.fostercaremonth.org.


Contribute during National Foster Care Month is an opportunity to change the perception that children in foster care are the responsibility of someone else. They are our children, too. Their well-being depends on the willingness of our entire community to care for and about them. We must not forget that we all belong to God's family.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
So long as people do not understand that they are inseparably connected, and until the activities of the people are God-centered, mere sentimentalism or fictitious ideas will not be able to foster real love amongst individuals. If we know that the infliction of harm to other animate beings is detrimental to our own interest and will bring harm in return, we will not be encouraged to harm any individual, nay even any sentient being of the world. If we can love the Absolute Whole, I mean the Godhead, we cannot have the impetus to injure any of His parts. So, according to me or the teaching of Lord Gauranga, Divine Love is the best solution of all the problems of the worlds.


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

Sunday, May 23, 2010

CHRISTIAN CHURCH CELEBRATES PENTECOST

PENTECOST SUNDAY CELEBRATES THE
DESCENT OF HOLY SPIRIT ON THE APOSTLES
masterzico.com - Today is Whit Sunday for many Christians. Pentecost “the fiftieth day” is one of the prominent feasts in the Christian liturgical year commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ and launched the Church. The feast is also called Whitsun, Whitsunday, Whit Sunday, or Whitsuntide, especially in the United Kingdom. Pentecost is celebrated seven weeks (50 days or “Pentecost” in Greek) after Easter Sunday, hence its name. The term “Whit” derives from “white.” Whitsunday was a day set aside for baptisms, and the newly immersed typically wore white. The book of the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1-4), narrates this event: “On the day of Pentecost, all the Lord’s followers were together in one place. Suddenly, there was a noise from heaven like the sound of a mighty wind. It filled the house where they were meeting. Then they saw what looked like fiery tongues moving in all directions, and a tongue came and settled on each person there. The Holy Spirit took control of everyone, and they began speaking whatever languages the Spirit let them speak.”

Pentecost is historically and symbolically related to the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot, which commemorates God giving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai fifty days after the Exodus. Among Christians, Pentecost commemorates when fifty days after Jesus’ return to His Father in heaven, He sent the Spirit to His disciples. Therefore, the Holy Spirit has a very special role in the building of God’s reign on earth. This is precisely why Jesus promised His disciples that He would send the Spirit to guide them in their mission of proclaiming the Gospel to all the ends of the earth. For Christians, the Holy Spirit serves as comforter and paraclete - He gives strength and consolation in times of trials and difficulties.


One Christian Pentecost's prayer says: “O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, and console me. I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me”. This pledge to submit oneself reminds us to the last portion of Bhagavad-gītā (18.66): “Just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.”


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Father Emmanuel: In our religion, we have the Trinity: the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. We believe we can know the name of God only by revelation from the Son of God. Jesus Christ revealed the name of the father, and therefore we take the name Christ as the revealed name of God.
Srila Prabhupada: Actually, it doesn't matter - Krishna or Christ - the name is the same. The main point is to follow the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures that recommend chanting the name of God in this age. The easiest way is to chant the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Rama and Krishna are names of God, and Hare is the energy of God. So when we chant the maha-mantra, we address God together with His energy.



Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“The Science of Self Realization”
Chapter IV - “Understanding Krsna and Christ”
“Krishna, Christos, Christ”

Saturday, May 22, 2010

US 13-YEAR-OLD 'IN EVEREST RECORD'

CALIFORNIA BOY, 13, BECOMES
YOUNGEST PERSON TO CLIMB EVEREST
BEIJING (AP) - A 13-year-old American boy became the youngest climber to reach the top of Mount Everest on Saturday, surpassing the previous record set by a 16-year-old Nepalese. Jordan Romero called his mother by satellite phone from the summit of the world's highest mountain, 29,035 feet (8,850 meters) above sea level. He is now one climb away from his quest to conquer the highest peaks on all seven continents. “He says, 'Mom, I'm calling you from the top of the world,'“ Leigh Anne Drake told The Associated Press from California, where she had watched her son's progress on a GPS tracker online. “There were lots of tears and 'I love you! I love you!'“ Drake said. “I just told him to get his butt back home.” The teenager with long curly hair - who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa when he was 9 years old - says he was inspired by a painting in his school hallway of the seven continents' highest summits. “Every step I take is finally toward the biggest goal of my life, to stand on top of the world,” Jordan said earlier on his blog.

Jordan's climbing team reached the peak hours earlier than expected. At the summit, Jordan left behind his lucky rabbit's foot and planted some seeds that a Buddhist monk at a local monastery had given him for luck on his journey, Bailey said. Then he took the satellite phone and called his mom. Jordan continues the recent trend of young adventurers. Earlier this month, 16-year-old Australian Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail around the globe solo, nonstop and unassisted. Thousands lined Sydney Harbor to cheer as she cruised past the finish line in her pink yacht. And in January, 17-year-old Johnny Collinson of Utah became the youngest person to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents.


In the same way as in being successful in reaching the highest mountain's top, any spiritual practitioner does not reach Krishna only by his own efforts. If one becomes greatly fortunate, he receives the creeper of devotion from the spiritual master and by his constant efforts, and the grace of the Lord, he start to undertake devotional service to Krishna.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
By the mercy of both the spiritual master and the Supreme Lord, he (the spiritual practitioner) receives the creeper of devotion which is initial faith in devotional practices. The spiritual practitioner installs this creeper of devotion in budding stage in the core of his heart and waters it by the process of hearing and chanting, doing the work of a transcendental gardener. The mercy of Sri Guru coming into play, the creeper sprouts and slowly growing traverses the boundary of the material universe into the spiritual Vaikuntha planets and on reaching there, with renewed efforts, the creeper rises over to reach the Lotus feet of Sri Krishna in Goloka Vrndavana.


Śrīla Bhakti Promode Puri Mahārāja :
“Essence Of Pure Devotion - Bhakti Siddhanta Sara”
Part II – “Guru Tattva”
http://bvml.org/SBPPG/index.htm

Friday, May 21, 2010

CYCLONE LAILA KILLS 27 IN SOUTHERN INDIA

HEAVY RAINS AND STRONG WINDS
DISRUPT LIFE IN ANDHRA PRADESH
NEW DELHI (BBC News) - Coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh which bore the brunt of cyclone Laila received an average of about two inches of rainfall per hour, according to data collected by a NASA satellite. At least 27 people have died over the last two days as a powerful cyclone caused widespread havoc across the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Cyclone Laila toppled power lines and landslides and heavy rains stalled transport networks around the state. The storm is now weakening and is reported to be moving east to neighbouring Orissa state but officials say it can still cause more damage. More than 50,000 people were evacuated as the storm closed in. Cyclone Laila made landfall in coastal Andhra Pradesh on Thursday, plunging the area into darkness and battering it with heavy rains and strong winds. Winds of 100km/h (60mph) uprooted trees and electricity poles and massive waves lashed the coast.

Andhra Pradesh disaster management commissioner T. Radha said more than 70,000 people evacuated ahead of the storm had been told to stay in shelters until Friday evening. Radha told AFP that at least 17 people had died in storm-related accidents across the state. Television footage showed cars smashed by fallen trees, huts missing their thatched roofs, people clearing debris left by the wind and rains, flooded roads and marooned villages. The heavy rains and strong winds damaged mango, banana and lime crops, with conservative estimates putting the losses at two billion rupees (41 million dollars.) Officials say at least 55 fishermen are reported missing. The army and navy are on high alert. It is the worst storm to hit Andhra Pradesh in 14 years. In 1977, more than 10,000 people were killed when a cyclone hit Andhra Pradesh.

People are suffering from the strong beating of Mother Nature, and as we are living in the plane of ignorance and error, we can not understand what purpose lies behind a climate natural phenomenon. To grasp its meaning, we should give up our local interests and identify ourselves with the plane of the Universal Absolute's interest.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Only Krishna knows what purpose is served by the grass bending in the wind to this side, not that. ... The universal meaning of every event and incident, even the movement of a piece of straw, is all-purposeful and all-meaningful to the Absolute. It all contributes to the absolute satisfaction of Krishna. But that reading is not possible for the superficial jīvas. ... We may interpret in our own way the reason for an earthquake, a storm, or anything, but that reading is from our local interest - the real meaning is hidden. This is maya, and on the basis of that we are performing so many activities. All our interpretations are from the plane of local interest, so give it up!


Śrīla Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Mahārāja :
“Hearing to See” - “The Plane of Ignorance and Error”
Published in Centenary Anthology (Navadvipa: 1995)
Rays of The Harmonist No. 13 Karttika 2003.
Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library - www.bvml.org/SBRSM/