Wednesday, August 31, 2011


NJ Today - Today several events around the world are carrying out to celebrate the closing of the Breastfeeding Month.  August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month in many parts and from Aug. 1 to 7 was World Breastfeeding Week (WBW). Research suggests that breastfeeding is a key modifiable factor for disease for both mother and infants. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention report that Ohio’s 2010 breastfeeding initiation rate of 64.8 percent ranks 42nd in the nation-we can do better. This year’s WBW theme is Breastfeeding- Takin’ it to the streets! and the motto is Breastfeeding Rocks! Both the theme and motto focus on the need to use all available communication strategies to educate and inform citizens and institutions about their role in promoting and supporting breastfeeding. While the choice to breastfeeding is a personal one, communities should inform and support mothers’ decision to breastfeed her baby.

Cultural acceptance of breastfeeding as the normal way to feed a baby ensures that social policy supports mothers who make that choice. Returning our communities back into a breastfeeding-supportive culture will take efforts by educational institutions, hospitals, businesses, and even legal support. “The more our society accepts breastfeeding as the normal, natural way to feed a baby the healthier and better off we will be as a nation, state, and community,” said Kathy Boersma, RN, Community Action Health Services Director. “In light of the monetary and life saving benefits of breastfeeding, all elements of the community, must cooperate and support breastfeeding. Ultimately, our whole society benefits from having healthier mothers, babies and children when breastfeeding is promoted, protected and supported.”

Research shows that increasing exclusive breastfeeding rates can result in reduced risk of pediatric overweight, decreased incidence of infectious diseases and protection against obesity and other chronic diseases.  Hospitals have opportunities to implement practices in labor, delivery, postpartum care and discharge planning that can protect, promote and support breastfeeding and improve the success rate among women who want to breastfeed.  The topic of Breastfeeding remembers us when Krishna had just learned how to walk and was playing the pastime of being hungry.

In Krishna lila we find that, one day, there were no servants in Nanda Maharaja’s house. So mother Yasoda went herself to churn butter from the milk. While she was churning the milk, the young child Krishna came to her. He said, “O mother, stop churning, I am hungry. Give me milk!” ... Yasoda was charmed and put the child on her lap to breastfeed Him, but at that very instant, the milk on the stove started to boil over. So, Yasoda said to Gopala, “Get down, the milk is boiling.” But Krishna’s appetite had not been appeased and He did not want to get down. He said, “Give me more milk.” Yasoda thrust Krishna down and ran to the stove.  Krishna became very angry because of this and wanted to break the pot containing the yogurt, but He was at the same time afraid of His mother. So, with a small stone, He silently struck the pot until the pot broke and all the curd spilled onto the floor. Then, seeing other pots hanging from the ceiling, He climbed onto the mortar and broke all the pots.

Śrīla Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Mahārāja :
“Suddha Bhakti, the Path of Pure Devotion”
Part 3: “Prayojana - The Fulfillment of Devotion”
Mandala Publishing Group 2000.
San Francisco, CA 94103 USA
Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math -

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


(CNN) - The wife of fugitive Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, three of his children and some of his grandchildren arrived in Algeria on Monday morning, Algerian diplomats said.  Mourad Benmehidi, the Algerian ambassador to the United Nations, said he relayed the news to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier Monday.  Benmehidi said his country granted entrance to Gadhafi’s wife, Safia, his daughter, Aisha, sons Hannibal and Mohamed and their children on “humanitarian grounds.”  The ambassador said he did not know whether Moammar Gadhafi was expected to seek entry into Algeria and claimed none of the Gadhafis were subject to U.N. Security Council sanctions.  News on Monday of the Gadhafi relatives’ departure from Libya came the same day that a senior rebel commander reported that Khamis Gadhafi, a son of the Libyan leader and military commander in his regime, had been killed Sunday night in a battle with rebel forces between the villages of Tarunah and Bani Walid in northwest Libya.

The information minister in the rebels’ interim government says, “We are determined to arrest and try the whole Gadhafi family, including Gadhafi himself.”  The departure of some of his family members is one of the strongest signs yet that the longtime leader has lost his grip on the country.  Gadhafi’s children have played important roles in Libya.  Hannibal headed the maritime transport company, Mohammed headed the national Olympic committee and Aisha, a lawyer, helped defend Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in the trial that led to his hanging.  The rebels had previously speculated that Gadhafi could be trying to reach Algeria or Libya’s southern neighbor Chad, both countries with which his government had close ties.

Libyan rebels are demanding that Algeria return Moammar Gadhafi’s wife and three of his children for trial.  Gadhafi’s wife, daughter Aisha and sons Hannibal and Mohammed fled Libya and entered Algeria yesterday. Gadhafi and several of his other sons remain at large.  Gadhafi appears to be on his way to defeat but he is not there yet.  When Saddam Hussein was captured, he was hiding in a hole in the ground, alone and without an army. Gadhafi is still fighting and posing challenges. The war is not over.  The desire to keep fighting of these leaders makes them to forget the number of innocents - women and children - who suffer in these conflicts.

There are so many problems of war in this world. As Prabhupada said, they made a League of Nations after World War One, and they made a United Nations after World War Two. But has there ever been a time without wars? Prabhupada said that the pinprick in the whole system is so simple: We are forgetting that Krishna is in the center.  And even among devotees, due to material nature, because we are living in material existence, there is the propensity to argue, to disagree, to fight, to form positions and defend our positions, to criticize, to find fault, to undermine people. This has been going on in every religion, including our own, throughout history as well as today. These problems arise and are perpetuated when there is selfishness.  But if we can just maintain our focus on keeping Krishna at the center, this propensity will naturally diminish.

Śrīla Radhanath Swami Mahārāja :
“Thoughts For The New Year”
January 2010, Bhaktivedanta Manor England  -

Monday, August 29, 2011


AFTER ENDING ANTI-CORRUPTION FAST - Indian anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare has spent a night in hospital after ending a 12-day hunger strike in the capital, Delhi.  Doctors say Mr Hazare’s condition is stable and he is on a liquid diet.  Mr Hazare, 74, broke his fast after MPs expressed support for proposed changes to anti-corruption legislation.  Indians have been angered by a string of corruption scandals and Mr Hazare’s campaign received widespread support and a great deal of media coverage.  Mr Hazare is expected to rest and undergo check-ups for two days.  Doctors at the private hospital in a Delhi suburb say he is “dehydrated and exhausted” and will be given solid food gradually.  Mr Hazare’s campaign to strengthen an anti-corruption bill has received widespread support, with tens of thousands of people attending protests across the country.

The Indian government has been rocked by recent corruption scandals including an alleged telecoms bribery scam that may have cost the country $39bn (£23bn), suspected financial malpractice linked to the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games and accusation that homes for war widows were diverted to civil servants.  Critics of the government say the scandals point to a pervasive culture of corruption in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s administration.  A recent survey said corruption in Asia’s third largest economy had cost billions of dollars and threatened to derail growth.  Anna Hazare’s supporters want an anti-graft body to have sweeping investigative powers over virtually every level of government, including the prime minister.

Seventy-four-year-old Anna Hazare ended his 12-day hunger strike Sunday after parliament agreed to some of his demands for tougher anti-corruption legislation.  Hazare’s “fast to death” united millions of Indians against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government.  Despite the government agreed to lay the groundwork for a more robust anti-corruption law, Hazare said his struggle is not over, and he will not back down from his fight for reforms.  When rogues and cheaters are elected to office, taking advantage of their situation and position, enjoy life by living off the high taxes taken from the citizens.

Just as it is difficult not to taste honey or poison placed on the tongue, similarly, it is difficult for one handling the ruler’s money to refrain from tasting it in at least small quantities.  Just as it is not possible to know when the fish moving in water drink water, similarly, it is difficult to find out when officers employed in the execution of works misappropriate money.  Even the path of birds flying in the sky can be found out but not the ways of officers who hide their intentions. ... (The cowherds) if given wages in the form of milk and ghee act to the detriment of calves.  He who is responsible for loss of revenue shall be deemed to have eaten the ruler’s property.  He who doubles the revenue eats up the people’s property.  He who causes expenditure equal to the revenue eats up the labour of workmen.  The pure shall not be corrupted, as water by poison.  Sometimes it may not be possible to find a cure for the corrupted.

Chanakya Pandita - (Indian politician and writer, 350 BC 75 BC)
“Maxims of Chanakya” - “Maxims from Arthasastra - Corruption”
Written by V. K. Subramanian - Shakti Malik, Abhinav Publications
E-37, Hauz Khas, New Delhi - 2000

Sunday, August 28, 2011


New York (Reuters) - A vegetarian lawyer has sued Chipotle Mexican Grill for selling a bean dish that contains pork. The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, accuses the national fast food chain of duping the public into believing its pinto beans are vegetarian.  The plaintiff Kevin Shenkman “reasonably assumed Defendant’s ‘Pinto Beans’ were not prepared with and did not contain bacon and/or pork since there were no representations made to the contrary,” the complaint said.  In-store menus made no mention of meat in the beans. And when Shenkman asked, Chipotle servers told him that the beans did not contain bacon or pork, the suit said.  
“Throughout our 18-year history, our pinto beans have always been made with bacon, and we have not described them as being vegetarian,” said Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold.  He said a better option for vegetarian customers was the black beans, which are labeled as vegetarian on the restaurant’s menus and website.

To avoid any confusion, the company plans to roll out new menu boards that highlight the use of bacon in the pinto beans, Arnold said.  Shenkman, who is Jewish and a vegetarian, sued on behalf of a class of California customers who, like him, cannot eat pork because of “ethical, religious, moral, cultural, philosophical or health-related” concerns, according to the complaint.  The lawsuit alleges fraud and false advertising and requests unspecified damages, a corrective advertising campaign and an apology to class members.  This lawsuit is similar to the one against McDonald’s for its “natural flavored” fries - the additive is actually bovine meat.  The fast-food chain was sued by a Hindu and paid $10 million to several Hindu institutions.

A California lawyer is suing Chipotle Mexican Grill over the bacon in the restaurant’s pinto beans.  The plaintiff, Kevin Shenkman, is both Jewish and vegetarian, so the presence of pork in the beans is doubly offensive to him.  The average consumer probably wouldn’t expect to find pork in the beans, and these revelations probably wouldn’t matter to them.  However, they do matter to those with dietary restrictions, such as Jews and vegetarians.  The regulative principle of no meat eating is meant to promote the quality of mercy in a persons life.  Mercy is one of the four pillars of dharma (virtues).

We should learn how to feel.  To love. We will be loved this way also and we will feel happy.  Be more sensitive, so others will do well to us.  Let's be kind to our younger brothers, and so we will be living in a big family and our hearts will get great benefit from it.  Love others as yourself.  If we are the children of the same Mother Earth, Mother Nature and of the Supreme Lord, then how can we deny our smaller siblings, the little animals, their right to live just as we claim it for ourselves.  We are all maintained by the Creator, thru Mother Earth.  We should feel gratitude for her and manifest compassion for those that need our help.  That will provide us with happiness and peace.  Who doesn’t consume neither meat nor eggs can understand what is compassion toward the other living beings.  While we put meat and blood on our plates we won’t be able to find peace in our lives.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Mexico City - In what Mexican officials have called an “act of terror,” a half dozen gunmen burst into a casino in Mexico’s industrial capital of Monterrey Thursday, sprayed the place with gasoline, and started a fire in the bingo section, killing at least 53 people.  Speaking to Monterrey’s leading newspaper El Norte, Nuevo León Gov. Rodrigo Medina said that at least 53 people had been killed in the attack, making it the bloodiest attack suffered by this prosperous city, which has been rocked by spiraling drug violence in the last year. Monterrey is the capital of Nuevo León state.  Officials said they expected the death toll to continue to climb in what appeared to be an attack linked to warring drug cartels, although there was no immediate information linking the massacre to drug traffickers. Up to 80 people were in the casino when it was attacked.

“Six hooded gunmen came in, shouting obscenities and firing their guns,” said a person at the scene who asked not to be named. “They drenched the place with gasoline. People were running as the place went up in flames. Those who stayed behind burned to death.”  Videos of the Casino Royale by local news channels showed a grim scene of rescue workers dragging bodies out by their feet as billowing clouds of black smoke came out of the building. One fireman appeared to be attempting rescues from a crane. The entrance to the casino was charred black and a sign reading “Royale” stood beside it.  The massacre in the Casino Royale in an upper-middle-class area of the city was the second such attack on an entertainment center in the past two months in Monterrey. The attack on the casino, located on one of Monterrey’s main avenues, took place at about 3:30 p.m. when six men drove up in two cars, officials said.
Armed men burst into a casino in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey and set a fire that killed at least 53 people and injured several others.  The attack at the Casino Royale, was the worst massacre since a crackdown on drug gangs by the authorities and infighting among the gangs exploded more than five years ago.  Casinos, growing in number across the country, have also emerged lately as targets of extortion, violence and money laundering.  Kali-yuga resides in four places: brothels, liquor shops, slaughterhouses and gambling casinos.  There, greed, lust, pride, and violence are perceived.

King Pariksit, in disciplining the Personification of Kali, submitted to his earnest plea and granted him five places for his residence, irreligion to flourish. These are namely gambling, liquor and all other stimulants, illicit sexual intercourse, violence (brutal killing of defenseless creatures) and gold (money used in the service of the Lord properly does not fall into this category). The practice of gambling breeds dishonesty, drinking of intoxicants and taking of stimulants lead to loss of austerities. ... Hence those desiring their highest welfare should not indulge in any of these sinful activities at all, especially the religious minded person. A King and spiritual leader or ‘guru’ should shun all such activities from a distance. Such indulgence in irreligion will only deteriorate the character of the individual and all his so called preaching will be of no avail.

Śrīla Bhakti Promode Puri Mahārāja :
“Essence of Pure Devotion”
Part V -  “Preaching and Self-Practice”
Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library -

Friday, August 26, 2011


(Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel topped the Forbes list of the world’s most powerful women, which is dominated by politicians, businesswomen and leaders in media and entertainment.  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who came close to defeating President Obama when he sought the Democratic nomination in 2008, was second, followed by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.  “Our list reflects the diverse and dynamic paths to power for women today, whether leading a nation or setting the agenda on critical issues of our time,” said Moira Forbes, president & publisher of ForbesWoman, said in a statement.  Eight heads of state and 29 CEOs made Forbes’ roster of the 100 most powerful women released on Wednesday. They have an average age of 54 and collectively control $30 trillion. Twenty two are single.  U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, who last year held the top spot, dropped to No. 8 in the current ranking.

“Across their multiple spheres of influence, these women have achieved power through connectivity, the ability to build a community around the organizations they oversee, the countries they lead, the causes they champion and their personal brands,” Forbes added.  Merkel was cited as the head of the one real global economy in Europe. Clinton was lauded for deftly dealing with Middle East revolutions and WikiLeaks revelations in her second year on the job, while Rousseff made history as the first woman to lead Latin America’s largest economic power.  Rounding out the top five were the CEO of PepsiCo U.S. Indra Nooyi, who oversees the $60 billion food and beverage empire, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who was credited with preparing the booming social network’s IPO that could bring in as much as $100 billion.  Lady Gaga and The New York Times’ recently appointed executive editor, Jill Abramson, came in at No. 11 and 12.

Every year, Forbes releases a list of the world’s most powerful woman, influential in everything from politics to technology to culture.  Forbes said women on the list achieved power not only through money and might, but, thanks to social media, through reach and influence.  These women bring a fresh look at power and they are politicians, CEOs, bankers, cultural icons, billionaires and entrepreneurs.  Among the many societies in the world, ancient Vedic culture is one that has most revered and protected women.   There is a Vedic saying, “Where the women are happy, there will be prosperity.”

There are many civilizations in the world where respect for women and their role in society are prominent, and others where regard for them and their status should be improved. Yet the level of civility along with moral and spiritual standards in a society can often be perceived by the respect and regard it gives for its women. Not that it glorifies them for their sexuality and then gives them all the freedom men want so they can be exploited and taken advantage of, but that they are regarded in a way that allows them to live in honor for their importance in society with respect and protection, and given the opportunity to reach their real potential in life. … The Vedic tradition has held a high regard for the qualities of women, and has retained the greatest respect within its tradition as seen in the honor it gives for the Goddess, who is portrayed as the feminine embodiment of important qualities and powers.

Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Women in Vedic Culture”  -

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Pucallpa, Peru (BNO NEWS) - A powerful but deep earthquake struck the Amazon in northern Peru on Wednesday afternoon, seismologists said, injuring several people.  The 7.0-magnitude earthquake at 12.46 p.m. local time (1746 GMT) was centered about 44 kilometers (27 miles) east of Contamana, a town in the Loreto Region in northeastern Peru. It struck about 149 kilometers (92 miles) deep, making it a fairly deep earthquake, according to the Geophysical Institute of Peru.  The United States Geological Survey (USGS), which also measured the earthquake at 7.0 on the Richter scale, estimated that some 40,000 people may have felt strong shaking, while 572,000 people may have felt moderate shaking.  In the Brazilian town of Cruzeiro do Sul, about 135 miles (220 kilometers) northeast of Pucallpa the quake hit hard and buildings trembled.

A spokesperson for the National Civil Defense Institute confirmed two people sustained minor injuries when they fell off the roof of a home in the Perené District in Junin when the earthquake struck. One home also collapsed in Perené District, causing no casualties.  The state-run Andina news agency added that 18 children were also injured in Jauja province as a result of panic caused by the earthquake. None of their injuries were believed to be serious.  In August 2007, at least 514 people were killed and more than 1,000 others were injured when a massive 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck the central coast of Peru, generating a small tsunami which flooded some areas.  But Peru’s most catastrophic earthquake happened in May 1970 when a powerful 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck about 36 kilometers (22 miles) off the coast of northwestern Peru, killing at least 66,794 people. More than 50,000 others were injured.

Yesterday, a strong but deep earthquake shook a sparsely populated jungle region in northern Peru, near Brazil’s border. There were no reports of damage or serious injuries.  The quake had a magnitude of 7.0 and was centered 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of the jungle city of Pucallpa.  It was felt mildly in the capital, Lima, but in Pucallpa, buildings shook, trees swayed, and people headed out into the street.  Peru is among the world’s most seismically active countries.  The Vedic texts contain prescriptions and proscriptions to guide us in our actions, if we do not follow them, reactions will come.

All the great spiritual and religious traditions of the world warn us that we are answerable to God for all our actions. ... According to the International Society for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), there were three times as many great natural disasters in the 1990s as in the 1960s, while disaster costs increased more than nine-fold in the same period. The deaths from natural disasters have increased from 53,000 in 1990 to 83,000 in 2003.  Therefore for the intelligent, the reality of karma is not difficult to see. We can never break the law; we can only break ourselves against the law. A stubborn fool who jumps from the top of a hundred-story building can imagine that there is no law of gravity ? but only till he hits the ground. Similarly we can go on with our godless sinful ways, imagining that there are no karmic laws ? but only till the karmic reactions hit us as tsunamis or terrorism or wars or ecological disasters or in some other way.

Śrīpad Caitanya Caran das (BE E&TC) :
“When Nature Boomerangs” 

“The Spiritual Scientist” - Vol. 3 Issue 13. 
Bhaktivedanta Academy for Culture and Education (BACE), Pune

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Washington (AFP / CNN) - A third of the world - about 2.2 billion people - live in nations where restrictions on religion have substantially increased, according to a study just released by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.  The study also shows increasing polarization: intolerant countries are growing more hostile to religious freedom, while tolerant countries are growing more accommodating. Brian Grim, the primary researcher, explains, “When you have one set of restrictions in place, then it’s easier to add on.”  The report culled data from 198 countries and territories from 2006 through 2009. Egypt, France, Algeria, Uganda and Malaysia were among the countries with the greatest increases in governmental religious restrictions; among those with the greatest easing of restrictions were Greece, Togo, Nicaragua, Republic of Macedonia and Guinea-Bissau. North Korea, one of the most repressive regimes, could not be included in the report for lack of reliable data.

The report also measured social hostility toward religious groups. Although religious freedom is scarcest in the Middle East and North Africa, Europe was found to have the largest proportion of countries with increased social hostilities related to religion. Muslims and Christians were reported to have suffered the most harassment based on their religion. Jews, representing less than one percent of the world’s people, were harassed in 75 countries.  Overall, about 70 percent of the world lives in nations with significant religious repression - a figure that matched that of a similar study Pew undertook two years ago. But the nations in which religious repression is increasing tend to be populous, the study’s authors noted.

Religious tolerance is in retreat and religious violence and abuse are growing globally.  More than 2.2 billion people of the world’s total population of 6.9 billion, live in countries where either government restrictions on religion or social hostilities involving religion rose substantially.  In general, these countries already had high or very high levels of restrictions or hostilities towards religions, according to a new study.   Krishna and Srimad-Bhagavatam teach us that tolerance is necessary not only to know that we are different from the body and mind, but also to see others as our sisters and brothers.

Q:- What are the favourable situations for chanting the name of the Lord ?
A:- At first we shall be freed from enviousness to the Vaishnavas because it causes misfortune in this material world as well as in the transcendental world. This material world is the testing place. We find here only sorrow. Tolerance, feeling insignificant and praising others are helpful for chanting the Lord’s name.

Q:-What quality should we possess to serve the Lord ?
A:- The things that are favourable in the line of serving the Lord are tolerance, feeling insignificant and praising others. Unless one has tolerance, one can not have strong faith in the Lord. Tolerance is the ornament of a Vaishnava. One can not praise another person unless one feels oneself to be inferior. So these are the attributes helpful in the line of serving the Lord.

Śrīla Bhakti Vaibhava Purī Mahārāj:
“A Brief History of Sri Srimad B.V. Puri Goswami Maharaj”
“Questions and Answers”
Śrī Krishna Chaitanya Mission -

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


(CNN) - The U.N. on Monday called for reconciliation in the newly-established Republic of South Sudan after fighting reportedly left at least 600 dead and at least 26,000 cattle stolen.  The Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General, Hilde F. Johnson urged restraint Monday after fighting between the Murle and Lou Nuer communities in Jonglei State, killed at least 600 and left more than 750 wounded.  Clashes broke out early Thursday morning and lasted through the day, South Sudan authorities reported.  The U.N. on Friday dispatched an assessment and verification team to two of the conflict areas.  The team found 28 casualties at one site and 30 at another along with a number of huts burned to the ground, said Aleem Siddique, spokesman for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. 

The violence occurred when members of the Murle tribe attacked villages of the Lou Nuer, Siddique said.  Though the violence had largely stopped, reconciliation efforts were needed to maintain the peace, he said.  “Peaceful dialogue is the primary means for reconciliation, and the tribal leaders need to sit down and work out their differences.”  Between January and the end of June 2011, nearly 2,400 people had died in 330 clashes across South Sudan, according to a July U.N. report.  Most of these casualties resulted from cattle rustling incidents in Jonglei State's Pibor County.  Cattle rustling is a main source of insecurity in South Sudan as cows represent wealth and social status, and are used as “blood money” or compensation and payment of dowries.  Sticks and spears have historically been used to carry out rustling and the violent disputes it often causes.  However, the proliferation of small arms changed the nature of this practice, making raiding far more deadly.

The United Nations says tribal fighting in South Sudan's Jonglei state has killed at least 600 people since Thursday.  The U.N. mission said there are reports that at least 750 others have been injured.  The fighting stems from a cattle and land dispute between the Murle tribe and the Lou-Nuer tribe and this new retaliatory attack has raised fears of ethnic instability on the deeply impoverished country.  The U.N. said that the cycle of violence must stop, and called for reconciliation efforts.  Unless people understand that we are inseparably connected, whether they are poor or rich, there will be always fight for land, riches and women.

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. ... Unless and until the eternal relationship of the people is known to them and they realize that they cannot exist and be happy without the Godhead, Who is All-Bliss, the natural inclination of the people towards the Godhead and diversion of their attention from the material aspects of life cannot be effected.

Śrīla Bhakti Dayita Madhava Mahārāja :
“Realistic Solution for Diverse Humanity”
Speech at a ‘Spiritual Summit Conference’ - 1968 Calcutta.
Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math -

Monday, August 22, 2011


DEVOTION, RITUALS AND CELEBRATIONS - While hundreds of Govinda groups will build pyramids and break dahi handis on Monday, families celebrated Janmashtami, the occasion of Lord Krishna’s birth, with their own festive rituals at homes and in temples at midnight on Sunday.  Sri Krishna Janmashtami, also known as Sri Krishna Jayanti, Gokulashtami and Krishnashtami, marks the birthday of Lord Krishna.  Krishna’s arrival in the world is celebrated as with enthusiasm and fervour by his devotees.  In Ghatkopar, the six-member Shah family had hidden an idol of Baal Gopal (baby Krishna), which they brought out at midnight, bathed in milk and honey, and dressed in new clothes.  “In keeping with tradition, each of us rocked the cradle in which baby Krishna was kept,” said Khushali Shah, 24, a freelance interior designer. “My nephews also enacted the scene of the Lord’s childhood attempts to steal butter and curd from earthen pots.”

Nita Kotak, 40, prepared for Janmashtami for a week. “We made prasad from coriander seeds, sugar and dry coconut, to give to our neighbours and friends at the temple at midnight,” said Kotak who recited hymns on Krishna at her local Panvel temple on Sunday night, and will observe a fast on Monday. “The fast is traditionally observed to mark the Lord’s birth.”  
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the festival celebrates teachings of Lord Krishna - discipline, knowledge and selfless action - which are timeless.  “May the festival inspire us towards a work ethic based on right conduct and bring success and prosperity to all,” he said.  
Vice President Hamid Ansari greeted the people on Janmashtami and hoped that the auspicious occasion brought amity, harmony, prosperity and happiness in the people’s lives.  “I extend my heartiest greetings and good wishes to the people of our country on the auspicious occasion of Janmashtami”, he said in a message.

With elaborately decorated cradles to mark the birth of Lord Krishna, Janmashtami celebrations began in all India with much gaiety.  The birth of Krishna is celebrated with gusto in many Hindu households.  But temples have their own special rituals for the day.  There is joy and celebrations amongst the devotees of Lord Krishna, for whom no effort seems enough when it comes to serving the Lord.  The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, Hari in His original form, appeared as Visnu so that His father and mother could understand that their son was the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Thereafter, at the auspicious time for the appearance of the Lord, the entire universe was surcharged with all the qualities of goodness, beauty and peace. The constellation Rohinī appeared, as did stars like Aśvinī. The sun, the moon and the other stars and planets were very peaceful. All directions appeared extremely pleasing, and the beautiful stars twinkled in the cloudless sky. Decorated with towns, villages, mines and pasturing grounds, the earth seemed all-auspicious. ... Vasudeva then saw the newborn child, who had very wonderful lotuslike eyes and who bore in His four hands the four weapons śańkha, cakra, gadā and padma. On His chest was the mark of Śrīvatsa and on His neck the brilliant Kaustubha gem. Dressed in yellow, His body blackish like a dense cloud, His scattered hair fully grown, and His helmet and earrings sparkling uncommonly with the valuable gem Vaidūrya, the child, decorated with a brilliant belt, armlets, bangles and other ornaments, appeared very wonderful.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
Śrīmad Bhāgavatam - Canto 10: “The Summum Bonum”
Chapter 3: “The Birth of Lord Krishna”
Verses 1-2, 9-10 - Bhaktivedanta VedaBase

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Baghdad (AP) - Al Qaeda in Iraq has vowed to carry out “100 attacks” across the country, starting in the middle of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, to exact revenge for the death of Osama bin Laden.  The terror group’s statement was released on militant websites late Friday. It said the attacks will avenge bin Laden, who was killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan in May, and other slain senior al Qaeda leaders.  “By God’s will, the campaign starts in the middle of the fasting month (of Ramadan) and ends by God’s will after 100 attacks exactly,” it said. The statement said the campaign would include “varied attacks, including raids, martyrdom operations (suicide attacks), roadside bombs, silenced guns and snipers, in all cities, rural areas and provinces” across Iraq.  Monday marked the middle of Ramadan.

On that day, a wave of crushing attacks swept across Iraq - from the northern city of Mosul to the southern Shiite heartland. At least 70 people died in suicide bombings, roadside bombs and shootings in what was Iraq’s deadliest day this year.  Al Qaeda did not explicitly claim responsibility for those attacks in Friday’s statement, but the chaos is widely believed to be the work of al Qaeda in Iraq.  A little over a year ago, U.S. and Iraqi officials said the deaths of al Qaeda in Iraq’s two top leaders in a raid had dealt a severe blow to the organization. The group has suffered from a drop in funding and just two weeks ago was calling on former members to come back to the fold, a sign of its diminished status.  But Monday’s violence suggests that al Qaeda in Iraq has the ability to resurrect itself and still carry out vicious attacks.

The al-Qaida militant group in Iraq announced a campaign of 100 attacks across the country, starting from the middle of holy Muslim month of Ramadan to take revenge for the death of its former leader Osama bin Laden.  “The campaign started in the middle of the fasting month of Ramadan (middle of August) and, if God wills, will end after exactly 100 attacks,” they said in a statement posted on an Islamic website.  Self-defense and fighting for the just cause forms an important part of the righteous duty, but revenge is not sanctioned in Hindu religion.  Desire for vengeance only lead to the destruction of the worlds.

We are all for establishing peace in the world, for that is a state of Dharma, but some violence may be necessary to preserve Dharma from violent forces, to bring about peace, as we have seen from the past. This does not mean we use violence that is based on ego, or a political agenda, or for revenge. But it is for the defense and protection of Dharma. This was the reason for the Kurukshetra War, which lead to the speaking of the Bhagavad-gita by Lord Krishna to His friend and warrior Arjuna.  In this way, Arjuna understood that the purpose of acting as a warrior was to preserve the moral and religious principles as held and presented in Sanatana-dharma. But part of that included the destruction of the asuric or demoniac elements that were determined to ruin society by neglecting or even demolishing and annihilating the great spiritual lifestyle as found in Sanatana-dharma, the great Vedic culture.

Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Crimes Against India And the Need to
Protect its Ancient Vedic Traditions”
“The Purpose of Defending Dharma”  -

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Paris (AFP) - Former Olympic pole-vault champion Pierre Quinon has committed suicide at the age of 49, the French Athletics Federation announced on Thursday.  The news was confirmed by family members.  Quinon’s hour of golden glory came at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, a year after he broke the world record with a leap of 5.82m.  He retired in 1992 and entered the restaurant business in the south of France, and had also been involved in preparations for the 2015 World Masters Athletics in Lyon.  Quinon was part of a golden generation of French pole-vaulters coached by Jean-Claude Perrin that included Thierry Vigneron and he reached the summit when he smashed the world record with 5.82 metres at Cologne in 1982.  That mark lasted just four days before Vigneron went one centimetre higher, but it was Quinon who took gold at the Los Angeles Games ahead of Mike Tully of the United States with Vigneron settling for the bronze.

Among other major achievements during the professional career of the French athlete, we have a silver medal at the 1984 European Indoor Championships, where again, he finished just behind traditional rival, Vigneron. On his sad demise, the world athletics body, the French athletics federation and spectators of the vaulter world around mourned the loss. He was indeed a great champion and a greater player.  It was the first time that a Frenchman had won Olympic gold in the pole vault and represented the peak of his career with injuries spoiling his form in later years before he finally retired in 1992 and entered the restaurant business in the south of France, and had also been involved in preparations for the 2015 World Masters Athletics in Lyon. A police inquiry has been opened into the circumstances of his death.

Former Olympic pole-vault champion Pierre Quinon has committed suicide at the age of 49, the French Athletics Federation announced.  Quinon’s hour of golden glory came at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, a year after he broke the world record with a leap of 5.82m.  Sources of Athletics Federation said Quiñones "suffered from depression" and was on medication.  A confused, frustrated man cannot get relief by committing suicide because suicide will simply lead him to take birth in the lower species of life or to remain a ghost, unable to attain a gross material body.

The reason for depression may be different for each person, and there are a variety of causes. ... And what is worse, if the depression is not remedied, then it can escalate to feelings of suicide.  When a person in despair feels that all of their basic defenses are broken and there is no one to turn to, nor can they find a comforting voice to console or support them, then they may conclude that there is no way out but through death.  If their cry for help is not heard or seems to be ignored, or if they do not know where to find help, then suicide may be considered as a last resort.  But it must be understood that suicide is never the end.  And suicide, and the state of mind that one has to compel one to commit suicide, is never a way for progressing into the next realm.  Death is never the final act.  It only opens the door to additional challenges that must be met or endured, depending on how one leaves their body.

Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Curing Depression with Spirituality”  -

Friday, August 19, 2011


Madrid (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI lamented Friday what he called modern society’s “amnesia” about God as he traveled to a famed Spanish monastery on the second day of his four-day visit for the church’s world youth festival.  Several hundred young nuns cheered, waved flags and performed the “wave” at El Escorial monastery as they waited for Benedict inside a courtyard of the 16th-century complex, a UNESCO world heritage site.  Benedict told them their decisions to dedicate their lives to their faith was a potent message in today’s increasingly secular world.  “This is all the more important today when we see a certain eclipse of God taking place, a kind of amnesia which albeit not an outright rejection of Christianity is nonetheless a denial of the treasure of our faith, a denial that could lead to the loss of our deepest identity,” he said.

As he arrived Thursday, Benedict offered words of encouragement to young people facing precarious futures because of the economic crisis, calling for policy makers to take ethical considerations that look out for the common good into account when formulating economic policy.  Benedict’s main priority as pope has been to try to reawaken Christianity in places like Spain, a once staunchly Catholic country that has drifted far from its pious roots.  He has traveled here three times as pope, an indication that he views it as the key battleground as he tries to remind Europe of its Christian heritage and the place he believes God should still have in everyday life.  Later Friday, he will have lunch with a dozen young volunteers of World Youth Day.

Pope Benedict XVI has said modern society is suffering “amnesia” about God on the second day of his four-day visit to Madrid for World Youth Day events.  Benedict denounced the profit-at-all-cost mentality that he says is behind Europe’s current economic crisis and said morals and ethics must play a greater role in formulating economic policy in the future.  Addressing the nuns, Benedict said “In a world of relativism and mediocrity, we need that radicalism to which your consecration, as a way of belonging to the God who is loved above all things, bears witness.”  Unless one practices celibacy, advancement in spiritual life is very difficult.

Celibacy is such an important part of Vedic education that the Sanskrit word for student is brahmacari (“celibate”).  The pressure to give up celibacy begins, of course, in adolescence, the most dangerous age and often the turning point of one’s life.  Young adults need guidance before and during the teenage years to recognize and follow the right path.  Celibacy trains adolescents for self-restraint, whether they stay single or get married.  It develops their inner strength, self-control, and good character.  It also fosters good health and a fine memory.  Without celibacy we can never realize that we are spirit soul, distinct from the body.  Sex reinforces the illusion that we are these bodies.  Sexual attraction and its extensions in family and society are the main knots that bind us to material identification. Vedic education aims to free the child from these knots so the adolescent can act on the spiritual plane.

Śrīmati Urmila devi dasi :
“Teens and Celibacy”