Sunday, July 31, 2011

SOMALI WOMEN FLEEING FAMINE PREYED ON BY RAPISTS

KENYA’S REFUGEES: A PERILOUS
JOURNEY FOR FOOD AND FREEDOM
Dadaab, Kenya (AP) - Refugee Barwago Mohamud huddles silently beneath a few blankets stretched over sticks at night, fearing for her life after a neighbor was raped, and a naked woman who had been kidnapped and gang-raped for three days in front of her terrified children was delivered to the medical tent next door.  Only a few hundred feet away stands a newly built camp with a police station, toilet blocks and schools. Neat thornbush fences in the camp separate residential areas for families to move into. But all the facilities are empty. The Kenyan government is refusing to open the new refugee Ifo 2 camp, Dadaab, saying the desperate Somali refugees flowing into the country are a security risk.  But for the women and children who fled war and famine and are now forced to build their shelters farther and farther away from the center of the camps, the extension would be a refuge from the armed men who prowl the bush at night.

Some may be deserters from Somali forces across the border; others are Kenyan bandits who rob and gang-rape the stream of refugees fleeing the famine in Somalia.  The contrast between the squalid, insecure outskirts of the sprawling camp and the empty, silent facilities shows how regional politics can interfere with aid efforts, causing millions of dollars to be wasted and leaving women and children vulnerable to attack.  Mohamud and eight other women and girls share their rickety shelter on the outskirts of Dadaab, a camp designed for 90,000 people which now houses around 440,000 refugees. Almost all are from war-ravaged Somalia. Some have been here for more than 20 years, when the country first collapsed into anarchy. But now more than 1,000 are arriving daily, fleeing fighting or hunger.

After many families have made the long, perilous journey from Somalia to the refugee camps in Kenya, they are not yet safe. Research shows that women are often attacked when they leave their families to go to the bathroom or gather firewood.  The International Rescue Committee has recorded a spike in rapes and attempted rape. Since the beginning of June, they have had double the number of attacks reported from January-May.  More and more women are coming forward who have been raped but the vast majority of rapes go unreported.  Lust of the flesh along with cruelty and violence are demoniac propensities.  

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
The heart disease of every Jiva is Lust (Kama). An enslaved Jiva cannot conquer Kama by his own capacity. We become victims of Kama (passion) when we become averse to Sri Krishna. This punishment has been inflicted upon those, who, being the eternal servants of Sri Krishna, are reluctant to serve Him. If the root cause of passion is not eradicated, how can we conquer Kama? When we become averse to Sri Krishna and want to enjoy Maya, Maya immediately envelops us and we get false egos relating to subtle and gross bodies. As such we are passing through cycles of births since time immemorial and burning in the conflagration of births and deaths and threefold affliction. The only way of getting emancipation from worldly suffering is total unconditional surrender to the Lotus Feet of Sri Krishna.

Śrīla Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Mahārāja :
“Desire for Money, Woman, Name and Fame”
www.sreecgmath.org  -  http://bvml.org/SBBTM/dfmwnaf.html

Saturday, July 30, 2011

JOHN STOTT, EVANGELIST AND THEOLOGIAN DIES

EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN LEADERS PAY 
TRIBUTE TO THEOLOGIAN JOHN STOTT
Christian Post - Evangelical Christian leaders from around the world are mourning the death of evangelical figure John Stott, who died Wednesday at the age of 90.  Stott, known for shaping 20th century evangelicalism through his writing and preaching, died 3:15 p.m. in his retirement home at St. Barnabas College, located 30 miles away from London. He was surrounded by his longtime secretary Frances Whitehead and close friends who read Scriptures and listened to Handel’s “Messiah” when he passed.  An Anglican theologian from the U.K., Stott was the chief architect of the 1974 Lausanne Covenant and the author of over 50 Christian books in which he took complex theology and explained it in a way lay people could understand.  One of his most popular books was Basic Christianity (1958), which has been translated into more than 60 languages, according to Christian book publisher InterVarsity Press.

He has also influenced millions of Christians through other well-known titles including Christ the Controversialist (1970), Issues Facing Christians Today (1984) and the one he always considered his best: The Cross of Christ (1986).  In 2005, Stott was featured in TIME magazine as one of the world’s “100 Most Influential People.”  Despite his wide influence on the evangelical faith, many fondly knew him as “Uncle John.”  When news broke of his death, evangelical leaders immediately posted statements to mourn and honor Stott as a beloved mentor and one of the greatest evangelical thinkers of his time.  John Stott, remained single and his achievements could partly be attributed to his celibacy, which he saw as a “gift,” but he believed, “the gift of singleness is more a vocation than an empowerment,” as he was quoted in Singles at the Crossroads.

World-renowned evangelist and Biblical scholar John Stott died Wednesday in London.  The English Anglican leader is revered for his ministry life. The world famous evangelist, the Rev. Billy Graham, described him as “the most respected clergyman in the world today.”  Among his greatest legacies is the building of solid foundations for evangelical Christians to proclaim of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures, and also building bridges of Christian unity.  All living entities are sons of Krishna, and therefore it is important the philosophy of oneness in religious consciousness in order to serve Krishna, the original supreme father.  

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
When we are on the material platform, there are different types of religions - Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and so on. These are instituted for a particular time, a particular country or a particular person. Consequently there are differences. Christian principles are different from Hindu principles, and Hindu principles are different from Muslim and Buddhist principles. These may be considered on the material platform, but when we come to the platform of transcendental devotional service, there are no such considerations. The transcendental service of the Lord (sādhana-bhakti) is above these principles. The world is anxious for religious unity, and that common platform can be achieved in transcendental devotional service. This is the verdict of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. When one becomes a Vaishnava, he becomes transcendental to all these limited considerations.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“Śrī Caitanya Caritāmrita Madhya” - “Madhya-līlā”  
Chapter 25: “How All the Residents of Vārānasī Became Vaishnavas”
Verse 121 - Bhaktivedanta VedaBase

Friday, July 29, 2011

EATING HOT DOG RISKY AS SMOKING CIGARETTE

INDIANAPOLIS BILLBOARD WARNS
HOT DOGS ARE AS RISKY AS CIGARETTES
 
http://www.thirdage.com - According to a new billboard created by the Cancer Project of the group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), eating a hot dog is just as risky as smoking a cigarette, The Washington Post reports. The billboard [seen to the right] currently stands near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where 1.1 million hot dogs were served last year.  The billboard was created by the group to inform consumers of the risks it believes are associated with eating processed meats. The group is a nonprofit organization that encourages an all-plant diet to prevent and treat disease.  Susan Levin, a registered dietitian and PCRM’s director of nutrition education, told The Post that hot dogs and all other processed meats should come with a warning label, like cigarettes do, to warn consumers of the health risks. 

According to Time Magazine, the group used a report from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund to reach the conclusion that eating processed meat is as risky as smoking cigarettes. According to the report, people who ate 3.5 ounces of processed meat a day had a 36 percent greater chance of developing colon cancer.  Another study cited by the group, from the National Institutes of Health and AARP, found that eating processed meat raises a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer.  The American Meat Institute, a trade association run by the meat and poultry industry, disagrees with PCRM, and while some studies claim processed meat can be consumed safely, in moderation of course, the World Cancer Research Fund recommends avoiding processed meats altogether.  The group targeted hot dogs because of the large amount consumed at this time of the year: July is National Hot Dog Month.


Race fans who attend the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - and residents who live near the track - are being warned of a link between hot dogs and cancer.  A billboard on West 16th Street shows hot dogs inside of a cigarette pack. “Hot dogs can wreck your health,” it reads. The cigarette package has a picture of a skull and crossbones.  The American Institute for Cancer research says one 50-gram piece of processed meat - such as a hot dog - increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 21 %.  Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society.  Eating meat always brings bad reactions.  

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Real happiness is a state of consciousness.  Real peace is not what somebody tells you, real peace is something that has to be experienced and realized within yourself. And the Supreme Absolute Truth descends in this world to reveal to us again and again how to achieve real peace. It is simple. Every religious system every religious path that is actually authorized teaches how to clean your heart, how to purify your mind, how to see your true eternal self in the mirror of your consciousness. First thing is we have to stop throwing dirt in our mind by our activities. We should live according to ethical, moral principles. We should live in a spirit of service to others rather than exploitation of others. ... No meat eating, the laws of Karma - what you do others will come upon you. Every action brings an equal corresponding reaction. That’s the law of nature. Whether you believe it or not it is the law and it will act.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

CHINA COUPLE SELLS 3 KIDS TO PLAY ONLINE GAMES

CHINESE PARENTS SELL CHILDREN
TO PAY FOR VIDEO GAME ADDICTION
http://news.asiaone.com - Gaming addiction is bad, but this is downright wrong.  A Chinese couple, Li Lin and Li Juan, is being accused of apparently selling all three of their children in order to pay for playing video games at internet cafes, according to the southern Chinese paper Sanxiang City News. ABC News Radio, who picked up the story, reported that the couple, both of whom were under 21, met in an Internet cafe in 2001.  According to Game Politics, things began to go bad in 2009, when they decided they would sell their second child, a girl, for $500. When that worked, they allegedly went back to see what they could get for their first child, a boy.  He brought in $4,600 (30,000 RMB).  So, according to ABC, when the couple had their third child, they repeated the process, again raking in another $4,600.  The sales came to light when the father’s mother finally turned them in. According to Sanxiang City News, the parents claimed they didn’t know they were breaking the law.

The couple was turned in after Li Lin, the father, told his mother what happened. She took them to the police, where they apparently showed no remorse.  The parents are young and naive, so when asked about their nefarious deeds, they stated that they were unaware what they were doing is illegal. “We didn’t want to raise them,” they said. “We just want to sell them for some money.”  The couple met in an Internet cafe in 2007, and shortly after meeting quickly consummated the relationship and moved in together, spending most of their time playing video games in Internet cafes.  Shortly after their first child was born in 2008, they left it at home and traveled 30km to play video games.  One study showed that as many as 1 in 10 children are at risk to become video game addicts.

A young couple in Dongguan city, China, have been arrested for selling their three children to pay for their online gaming addiction.  The children were sold for 63,000 yuan.  The couple was turned over to the authorities by Li Lin’s mother, who found out what was happening to her grandchildren.  The youngsters reportedly did not know that they had broken the law.  When asked if they missed the children, they replied: “We don’t want to raise them; we just want to sell them for some money.”  In the Mahabharata, Vidura said, “Gambling is the foundation of all sin, and leads one to hellish life.  I know that gambling is the root of all evil.”  

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Again we must regret that gambling in the world is allowed.  We can see that the places where these games are practiced are surrounded by an undesirable atmosphere.  You can feel the greed, lust, pride, which prevails in them, euphoria, blindness and sordid indifference that dominates.  We have forgotten that the goal of human life is to awaken the love of God.  It is to purify the heart and create a real atmosphere of peace, wisdom and brotherhood.  The task is great, as also great are the means we have received with this birth.  We can feel within us that we aspire to something great.  Something we can not find in this world. ... Our spiritual master therefore has banned gambling, considering it as a source of corruption, folly and illusion.  He said that the man who avoids them develops truth and learns how to live the reality it truly deserves.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

TROPICAL STORM KILLS MORE THAN 20 IN PHILIPPINES

PHILIPPINES REELS 24 DEAD, 9 MISSING
AFTER DEADLY TROPICAL STORM NOCK-TEN
www.bbc.co.uk - More than 20 people have been killed and tens of thousands have fled their homes after a tropical storm battered the Philippines for a third day.  The tropical storm Nock-Ten caused floods and landslides across the island of Luzon.  Power supplies were cut off in many areas on Tuesday, dozens of flights and ferries were cancelled, and schools and offices were closed. Forecasters say the storm should pass into the South China Sea on Thursday.  The storm hit Camarines Norte province earlier in the week with gusts of 56mph (90km/h).  A disaster-response official described it as the province’s worst flooding in five years.  Regional civil defence chief Rafaelito Alejandro said at least 20 people had died in Bicol region - most of whom had been buried in landslides.  He said floodwaters in many areas had now begun to recede.

The Associated Press news agency reported that other fatalities included a mother who was bitten by a poisonous snake that was swept into her home by a flashflood near the Albay provincial capital of Legazpi.  Officials fear that the death toll could rise, and many of the dead are likely to be fishermen who were out at sea when the storm hit.  Schools and offices began to reopen on Wednesday in Manila, as the storm’s path passed well north of the capital.  The Philippines is regularly hit by powerful storms during the typhoon season. Nock-Ten, named after a bird from Laos, is the tenth storm of the season.  Workers removed toppled trees, rocks and other debris blocking roads and firefighters hosed away mud from the streets.  Many domestic flights were canceled and about 1,600 ferry passengers stranded.

Heavy rains and floods battered the northeastern Philippines for a third day Wednesday as the death toll from a slow-moving storm rose to at least 24 with 9 others missing.  Waist-deep floodwaters swamped the houses of about half a million people, nearly half of the population of eastern Albay province, after Tropical Storm Nock-ten set off pounding rains since Monday and sent residents to seek shelter in churches and village halls.  Ordinary conditioned souls are always full of anxieties and material tribulations, but the devotees are forgetful of the miseries of material existence, since they always engage in the topics of the Lord.  

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
There are multifarious miseries in material existence - those pertaining to the body and the mind, those imposed by other living entities and those imposed by natural disturbances. But a sādhu is not disturbed by such miserable conditions because his mind is always filled with Krishna consciousness, and thus he does not like to talk about anything but the activities of the Lord. Mahārāja Ambarīsha did not speak of anything but the pastimes of the Lord. Vacāmsi vaikuntha-gunānuvarnane (Bhāg. 9.4.18).  He engaged his words only in glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  Sādhus are always interested in hearing about the activities of the Lord or His devotees. Since they are filled with Krishna consciousness, they are forgetful of the material miseries.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam” - Canto 3: “The Status Quo”  
Chapter 25: “The Glories of Devotional Service”
Verse 23 - Bhaktivedanta VedaBase

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

‘DEAD’ MAN FOUND ALIVE, AFTER 21 HOURS IN MORGUE

SOUTH AFRICAN ‘DEAD’ MAN
WAKES UP ALIVE IN MORGUE
Eastern Cape (AP) - Workers at a South African mortuary got the shock of their lives Sunday when a man presumed dead by his family woke up screaming nearly a day later in a refrigerated morgue.  The man, who is in 60s but does not want to be publicly identified, lost consciousness after suffering an asthma attack over the weekend, according to Sizwe Kupelo, spokesman for the Eastern Cape Health Department.  His family reportedly thought he had died and called a private mortuary company rather than paramedics collect the body.  The man then spent 21 hours in a refrigerated morgue, surrounded corpses. Upon awakening because of the freezing temperature he started to scream.  “Two workers heard screaming from the refrigerators,” Kupelo told ABC News. “They thought it was a ghost and they ran for their lives.” 

The attendants returned with the entire mortuary team where as group they decided to open up the refrigerator. They discovered the confused, scared and cold man shivering in the morgue and immediately called an ambulance. After being placed under observation for six hours, doctors declared him stable and sent him home.  Kupelo says he will return for a check-up later this week.  “The temperature in the refrigerator is designed to keep corpses from decomposing,” he says. “So you can imagine it’s definitely not appropriate for a live person.”  As amusing as the story is, Kupelo says the underlying issue is very serious. The government has gone public with this case to warn people that only trained health officials should declare people dead.  “At the village I bet the rumor is going around that a ghost is amongst the villagers,” says Kupelo. “There will probably be family members that will refuse to stay the night with him now.”

A South African man who was presumed dead has woken up in a rural village mortuary over the weekend, screaming to be let out.  After spending 21 hours inside the morgue, his screams were heard; however, terrified attendants believed the screams to be a ghost and fled from the mortuary.  After the man suffered an asthma attack, he was presumed dead by family members and a local undertaker in a rural village in the Eastern Cape.  There is no person in this world who doesn't fear.  If you want to be fearless you must worship Krishna.  He is the Refuge (Ashraya) of jivas (individual souls) who are afraid of birth and death.  

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
One material mind prays to another material mind (both of whom are being eternally and equally afflicted by three kinds of miseries) for relief or help. Its prayers are but hankerings after enjoyment and are always caused by want, fear and anxiety ... whereas the spiritual mind never prays for daily bread, any sort of material relief, worldly prosperity, a life devoid of all miseries, a life in heaven dipped in celestial bliss or a peaceful existence in the kingdom of God.  He has no such prayer, but is ever suppliant before the Supreme Lord and insists on the continuity of his loving service which is never at an end.  As soon as he perceives the wicked and inimical activities of the material mind, he supplicates thus before a Vaishnava who has no want, fear or terrors of birth and death and is powerful enough to deliver all spiritual minds from the clutch of the material mind.

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thākura Prabhupāda :
“Vaishnavism Real & Apparent”
“The Supplications of the Spiritual Mind”
http://www.bvml.org/SBSST/index.htm
http://www.bvml.org/SBSST/vraa.htm

Monday, July 25, 2011

NORWAY’S WORST MASS SHOOTING

NORWAY’S PM LEADS MEMORIAL
SERVICE TO 93 PEOPLE KILLED IN ATTACKS
voanews - Norway’s prime minister has led a memorial service in Oslo for the 93 people so far confirmed killed on Friday by a Norwegian gunman and bomber who had expressed anti-government and anti-Muslim rants on the internet.  Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg addressed hundreds of mourners gathered at Oslo Cathedral Sunday, telling them that Norway has suffered a “national tragedy” in which the victims were known to many people, including himself.  Norwegian King Harald and Queen Sonja also attended the service.  Outside, tearful Norwegians laid flowers and candles in tribute to those killed in a mass shooting on the southern island of Utoeya and an earlier car bombing in Oslo’s government district. Norway’s NRK television said a person wounded in the shooting died Sunday, raising the death toll on Utoeya to 86. The car bomb killed seven people.

Police say 32-year old Anders Behring Breivik surrendered as soon as they reached the island and later confessed to both attacks, but his lawyer says the suspect denies committing any crime.  Breivik is suspected of setting off the fertilizer bomb that heavily damaged the prime minister’s office building, before traveling to Utoeya and firing at participants in a youth camp organized by the ruling Labor Party.  Police say Breivik claims to have acted alone, despite some witnesses on the island saying there was a second gunman. Breivik published a 1,500-page manifesto on the Internet just before the first attack. In it, he rants against what he calls the Islamisation of Europe through Muslim immigration. He also vows to take revenge against European liberal elites whom he accuses of betraying their Christian heritage by promoting multiculturalism.

Norway mourned a pair of horrific terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of at least 93 people who were killed Friday in a Downtown Oslo bomb attack and a shooting rampage at a youth summer camp.  Anders Behring Breivik, 32 years old, who confessed to killing nearly 100 people, believes his actions were “atrocious” but necessary to bring about a “revolution” in Norwegian society.   He regarded himself as a successor to the medieval Knights Templar, trying to overthrow governments tolerant of Islam.  Analysts say that the anti-immigrant reaction that has swept across Europe in recent years, could generate unexpectedly violence.  

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Few institutions wear the mask of interfaith fraternity to cover their unpleasant faces before the society. These shows and hidden agenda have fogged up the zeal, diligence and sacrifice of real members. ... Proclamation of beliefs and installation of centres have multiplied and constructed religious consciousness and also divided and destructed the society.  Unfortunately peace mechanisms have lesser analytical approach and action, when compared with their foes. ... In spite of reinterpretation of passages and new trend of concord, inter faith pursuit is slow, for it needs a high level transformation in the whole society and no doubt our present activities will nourish that goal.  More than the scriptures, ideals and prophets, we have to focus the need of dialogue directly with the concerned institutions, society and people. We should realize that showing rules before somebody who deliberately differs in deeds is lunacy.

Śrīla S.A.R. Prasanna Venkatachariar Chaturvedi Swamy :
Acarya de la Ramanuja Sampradaya
“International Conference on Interfaith” - “Issues in Interfaith”
“Culture, Philosophy, Literature and Religion” 2009, Mumbai, India.
http://saranagathi.org/blogs/members/chaturvedi
http://www.sriramanujamissiontrust.org

Sunday, July 24, 2011

GREENPEACE STRIPTEASES FOR A CAUSE

HUNDREDS STRIP TO CHALLENGE
NIKE AND ADIDAS TO DETOX
www.greenpeace.org - Today more than 600 brave people took their clothes off and dance in public for a cause.  This happened outside Adidas and Nike highstreet stores in 29 cities in 10 countries - to challenge the sportswear leaders to eliminate hazardous chemical releases from their supply chain and products.  At exactly 11:00am CET in 29 cities around the globe, teams of dancers, including Greenpeace activists, supporters and Nike and Adidas fans who signed up online, simultaneously performed a choreographed striptease, taking off their clothes to reveal the message Detox.  It’s not every day you see lots of people dressed in sportswear outside a shop suddenly start dancing and then strip down to their underwear, or their birthday suit!  For Nike and Adidas the message should be unmistakable though: When you strip back all the marketing hype, the naked truth is revealed - Adidas and Nike are playing on the same team as toxic polluters.

This action is part of our Detox campaign calling on Adidas and Nike to eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals from across their entire supply chain and products. A year-long Greenpeace investigation into toxic water pollution in China found links between a number of major clothing brands, including Adidas and Nike, and suppliers in China who were found to be discharging persistent and bioaccumulative hormone disruptors into Chinese rivers.  The findings from the research provide a snapshot of the kind of toxic chemicals that are being released by the textile industry into waterways all over the world, and are indicative of a much wider problem that is having serious and far-reaching consequences for people and wildlife.  As industry frontrunners, major sportswear brands have a responsibility to show leadership and clean up their acts. Adidas and Nike must lead the textile industry towards a world free from toxic water pollution.

An environmental organization staged a mass striptease to show their protest against the use of hazardous chemicals in sportswear apparel.  As part of its “Detox” campaign, Greenpeace led an event - synchronized in 14 other countries and 29 cities around the world - attended by volunteers who called for Nike and Adidas to lead the elimination of hazardous chemicals from its supply chains and products.  With the proliferation of plastics, synthetic materials along with many mass consumer goods, air and water pollution threat to humanity since a long time, and it is time that large companies become aware of it.  

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
With the proliferation of automobiles, air pollution threatens humanity; the industrial revolution has brought air and water pollution, truck farming with it's pesticides and chemical fertilizers has introduced innumerable poisons into our food system, advances in physics have brought about the nuclear threat and possible holocaust, appliances and other modern amenities (time saving devices) have inadvertently spawned drunkenness and obesity and with urbanization the breakdown of morals, ethics and mental stability. ... The various evolving theories of the scientists are constantly changing as they scramble to adjust these theories, all of which are filled with speculation. These theories can never be perfect because the scientists themselves are imperfect and subject to the four human defects. With our limited knowledge, tiny brains, limited experience and resources we cannot hope to understand the unlimited.

Śrīpad Bhakti Bhāvana Vishnu Mahārāja :
“Has Science Failed Us?” - “Thesis”
Sri Narasingha Chaitanya Ashram
http://www.gosai.com/  -  http://vedicsciences.net/articles/failure-of-science.html
 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

UNDERWATER WALL OFF THE KONKAN COAST IN INDIA

8000-YEAR-OLD ADVANCED
CIVILISATION IN KONKAN COAST?
India - Did the Konkan coast from Shrivardhan in Raigad to Vengurla in Sindhudurga host a human habitat around 8000 years ago? Did that population have well-developed engineering skills? Was there a unique Konkan culture in existence in 6000BC?  A new archaeological discovery, below sea level along the Konkan coast, could give answers to these questions. And explorers say the answer could well be a big ‘Yes!’  Researchers have found a wall-like structure that is 24 kilometres long, 2.7 metres tall, and around 2.5 metres wide. The structure shows uniformity in its construction.  “The structure is not continuous throughout the 225 kilometres from Shrivardhan to Raigad, but it is uniform,” said Dr Ashok Marathe, professor, department of archaeology, Postgraduate and Research Institute, Deccan College, Pune.

“It has been found three metres below the present sea level. It has been constructed on the ancient sand beach, which was taken as the base for the construction. Considering the uniformity of the structure, it was obvious that the structure is man-made and not natural.”  Marathe added that, the uniformity also shows that the people who built it belong to the same culture from Shrivardhan to Vengurla.  According to him, the sea was away from its present coastline in 6000 BC and this wall could have been an effort to prevent the sea water from coming inside the human habitat.  The discovery has raised a number of questions.  How were these huge stones of Laterite and Deccan Trap variety transported to the coast?  What exactly was the purpose behind building the wall?  If the date of the walls is true then is it from around the same time as the Indus Valley Civilisation?  Why has there been no mention of this civilisation till now?

The remains of an advanced ancient civilization - one stretch of underwater wall - have been discovered off the Konkan Coast, western India.  Archaeologists along with scientists from underwater excavation projects have pointed that the submergence of the mythical city of Dwarka, founded by Lord Krishna in the sea provided a clear indication that in the last 3,600 years, the sea level along the Gujarat coast had risen by as much as 30 feet and that it was continuing to rise.  Many evidences were revealed about the ancient submerged city, so it is not surprising that new evidences of underwater settlements are coming to light.  

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Krishna therefore decided to construct a formidable fort where no two-legged animal, either man or demon, could enter. He decided to keep His relatives there so that He would then be free to fight the enemy. It appears that formerly Dvārakā was also part of the kingdom of Mathurā. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is stated that Krishna constructed the fort in the midst of the sea. Remnants of the fort Krishna constructed still exist in the Bay of Dvārakā.  Krishna first of all constructed a very strong wall covering ninety-six square miles, and the wall itself was within the sea. It was certainly wonderful and was planned and constructed by Visvakarmā. No ordinary architect could construct such a fort within the sea, but an architect like Visvakarmā, who is considered to be the engineer among the demigods, can execute such wonderful craftsmanship anywhere in the universe.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead”
Chapter Fifty:  “Krishna Erects the Dvārakā Fort”
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase

Friday, July 22, 2011

SHEIKH’S SAND GRAFFITI VISIBLE FROM SPACE

BILLIONAIRE CARVES HIS NAME
IN SAND VISIBLE FROM SPACE
Yahoo! News - Here’s a big idea: Writing your name in the sand so large that it can be seen from space. Of course, you’re much better position to carry off this sort of vanity project if you’re Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Ahyan, a super-rich Arab sheikh who is the president of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates. He also happens to own an island - an ideal canvas for what is essentially the world’s largest self-referential graffiti tag.  The letters were crafted by a crew who worked for weeks to create them. The inscription measures half a mile high and two miles long - and the letters are dug so deep that they form waterways. The writing won’t be immediately washed away, but even Hamad - whose fortune is only surpassed by his monarchial rival in the region, Saudi King Abdullah - can only defy the elements for so long.

Did we mention his name can be seen from outer space?  Hamad, according to Forbes, is a guy who lives large. A member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, the man known as the Rainbow Sheikh owns 200 cars that are stored in a giant pyramid. (What, you use a garage?) Forbes also noted that Hamad also hand-built a motor home in the shape of a giant globe “one-millionth the size of the Earth.”  It should also be noted that the 63-year-old sheikh also has deep pockets when it comes to philanthropy. But don’t worry about thanking him - it seems he’s come up with a perfectly good way to give himself a shout-out.  A member of the Abu Dhabi Ruling Family, Hamad had workmen create the letters by digging waterways that absorb the encroaching tide on Al Futaisi Island, The Sun reports.

Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Ahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi's ruling family, has lots of money to spend and he does it.  Now the sheikh has had his name carved in sand on an island that he owns.  His name is made with letters so large that they actually are visible from outer space. His name "HAMAD" measures 1,000 meters high and extend a couple of miles wide on Al Futaisi Island, which also happens to be the sheikh's private property.   Those who are puffed up with vanity of their wealth, power or erudition become more attached to this material world.  Even, pride and vanity are the worst enemy for the devotee of Krishna.  

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Anarthas are varied and numerous. They arise from pious as well as impious acts within the realm of karma. They also arise from within the culture of Krishna bhakti, for when as a result of Krishna bhakti one develops good qualities, fame and fortune may also come. If one then mistakes these things for being worthy of cultivation, one tends to the weed as opposed to the bhakti creeper itself. Finally, anarthas also arise from offenses. Such sins of the soul are most detrimental. The root of all anarthas, however, lies in false pride, pratistha. In this regard, Thakura Bhaktivinoda cites the following verse from Hari-bhakti-vilasa in his ‘Bhajana-rahasya’: “After renouncing all anarthas, pride, their root, may still remain. One should avoid this pratistha, as if it were sewage in one’s drain”. (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 20.370).

Śrīla Bhakti Vedanta Tripurari Mahārāja :
Harmonist - “Nama Sankirtana: The Universal Panacea?”
http://harmonist.us/2009/09/nama-sankirtana-the-universal-panacea/

Thursday, July 21, 2011

LEOPARD TERRORIZES VILLAGE IN INDIA

LEOPARD MAULS 11 IN FIERCE FIGHT
AT INDIAN VILLAGE BEFORE DYING
Kolkata, India (AP) - A snarling leopard mauled 11 people in an Indian village and terrorized wildlife officials trying to drive it away before it was tranquilized and died of injuries from the fierce showdown.  Forestry officials were forced to flee, dive for cover and even climb up on a jeep to escape the adult, male leopard’s attacks in West Bengal state.  At one point, the big cat leapt through the air, fangs bared, and tackled a man, clutching him in its giant paws as it knocked him off the wall he was standing on.  The wildlife officials - wearing protective helmets and carrying batons and tranquilizer guns - had hoped to drive the cat into a nearby wildlife sanctuary after it wandered into the village near Siliguri, about 600 kilometres from Kolkata.  But the leopard stood its ground, crouching on a wall, hissing and attacking those who came near.

It injured six villagers, a policeman and four forest guards before being hit with a tranquilizer gun Tuesday. The people are recovering from their injuries, mostly swipes from the cat’s claws.  Forest official Dharma Dev Rai says villagers used knives, stones and batons to beat back the cat.  The cat died within hours after the showdown, and a post mortem is being conducted.  Leopards are protected in India, though more are straying into villages for food.  “It was spotted near a house in the morning by villagers who raised an alarm, and this startled the leopard. With the villagers trying to chase it, it tried to flee and injured five villagers in the process. Then, the leopard took shelter in an abandoned house,” Kanchan Banerjee, forest ranger of the Sukna Wildlife Range, told The Hindu on the phone.

A leopard has mauled 11 people in an Indian village and terrorised wildlife officials trying to drive it away.  The leopard strayed into the village area and attacked several villagers, including at least four guards, before being caught by forest officials.  he leopard, which suffered injuries caused by knives and batons, died later in the evening at a veterinary center.  It is just very sad to see how huge Companies and International Corporations have taken over areas belonging to wild animals' natural habitats and it make locals people from villages stay near the sanctuaries - whose boundaries are not clearly fixed - in order to have jobs with them.  

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Up to the last century India was covered with thick forest land. However, everything changed when the British government set up the Indian Forestry Department to exploit the forests. From the beginning of the nineteenth century Britain had systematically felled large areas of virgin Indian forests mainly to meet the ever-expanding needs of her ship-building industry. From 1853 the arrival of the railway in India required further vast amounts of timber for sleepers and for fuelling locomotives.  ... To meet the Empire’s needs, during the nineteenth century the forests were gradually nationalised. In essence these laws meant that much of India’s forests were taken out of the hands of the local people. Villagers were denied rights of access to what had always been theirs. Because the basic connection between the village and its forests has been broken, the tradition of caring for trees, of respecting and even worshipping them, has fallen into disuse.

Ranchor Prime (Śripad Ranchor Dasa) :
“Hinduism & Ecology” Chapter Two: “The World Forest”
Friends of Vrindavan (FOV) - WWF
http://www.fov.org.uk/hinduism/02.html

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WHO, WHAT, WHY: WHAT IS A FAMINE?

FAMINE TO BE OFFICIALLY
DECLARED IN SOUTHERN SOMALIA
http://www.bbc.co.uk - The United Nations has declared a famine in two regions of southern Somalia, as it suffers the worst drought in more than half a century. When does mass starvation turn into a famine?  Aid agencies and international organisations call it the f-word.  Famine means people are starving on a massive scale, aid organisations do not use it lightly to describe a humanitarian crisis.  Most major aid agencies - the FAO, the WFP, the UN’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network, Save the Children UK, CARE International, the European Commission Joint Research Centre and Oxfam - only describe a crisis as a famine when the situation on the ground reaches level five on the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) system. This means:  at least 20% of the population has access to fewer than 2,100 kilocalories of food a day; acute malnutrition in more than 30% of children; two deaths per 10,000 people, or four child deaths per 10,000 children every day.

It is usually up to governments to declare a famine.  But in the case of Somalia, the UN stepped in because of the lack of central government.  The classification system was created by the UN in 2005 to objectively classify need to help allocate resources. It uses information from surveys conducted by the UN and other agencies on the ground.  Calling a famine helps raise awareness of the crisis - and it can help raise emergency funds.  Using the f-word gives a very strong message to donors and politicians.  It brings in publicity and puts it on the news agenda and this word “famine” gives us an idea of the level of human suffering.

Regions of Somalia worst-hit by drought are now officially in famine conditions.  But Aid agencies exercise prudence when they use the word “famine”, because it is politically contentious, and governments also shy away from using it.  If it is at level four, it is a huge crisis. If it is at level five [officially a famine], it is a massive crisis.  However, for those who are starving, whether or not their plight is a famine or an emergency makes little difference.  We should support the good things and combat the bad things of this material world with the spiritual help that the maha mantra gives us.  

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
If this world can cause us very great misery and suffering, it means that Krishna can cause us very great good fortune and happiness, because joy is greater than suffering and good fortune is more than misfortune.  Good triumphs over evil, then we must have that kind of positive conviction because that is the reality.  We see that there is hungry everywhere and some people have to make an abortion or kill others for this reason.  If you do a scientific study will conclude that there is plenty of food, enough to feed at least three times the population of the earth.  At least three times of the world’s population can be satisfied.  There is no shortage of food, on the contrary, there is plenty.  In reality, the good is there to conquer the evil or misfortune. We have to use the good, we must resort to the good.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

FUKUSHIMA CATTLE UNDER SHIPMENT BAN

JAPAN BANS FUKUSHIMA  
BEEF SHIPMENTS OVER RADIATION
Tokyo (AFP) - Japan on Tuesday suspended cattle shipments from Fukushima prefecture on fears of radiation-tainted beef in the country’s meat distribution chain, four months after a nuclear accident in the region.  Around 650 beef cattle, including more than 500 from Fukushima alone, are thought to have been contaminated with radioactive caesium from hay they were fed before being sent to meat processing facilities across Japan since late March.  Beef from the cattle was shipped to most of Japan’s 47 prefectures and some of the meat is thought to have already been consumed.  Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Tuesday apologized before parliament for the issue. Hay stored outside is thought to have been contaminated by radioactive materials spewed by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in the weeks after it was hit by reactor meltdowns following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

In the latest food scare associated with the disaster, cows from farms outside the 20-kilometre (12-mile) Fukushima nuclear no-go zone were found to have eaten contaminated hay, raising fears that fallout reached a wider area than thought.  On Monday, Fukushima officials said they detected up to 157,000 becquerels of radioactive caesium per kilogram in straw used at some farms - about 520 times the government-designated limit.  The government has sought to reassure the public that there is no immediate health threat from eating standard quantities of the beef.  Japan has not set up a centralized system to check vegetables and meat for radiation, relying instead on testing carried out by local authorities.  Agriculture minister Michihiko Kano said Tuesday that his ministry would carry out checks across the country on rice straw for beef cattle.

Japan on Tuesday suspended cattle shipments from Fukushima prefecture on fears of radiation-tainted beef in the country's meat distribution chain.  The fears have spread as more cows from farms in the Fukushima region were found to have been trucked across the country after eating contaminated straw.  Revelations that contaminated food has reached markets have again raised food safety fears after radioactive materials were found in many goods including green vegetables, tea, milk and fish.  Despite such hardships they are still generating animal slaughter. When do they stop this chain of suffering?  

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
“Only man has a soul ... animals are simply ‘chemical reactions’”.  Accepting this twisted doctrine, truly unspeakable horrors are committed to millions of other living entities daily.  For the sake of the satisfaction of the tongue, animals are routinely slaughtered.  For the sake of vanity, for the sake of smelling pretty, animals are tortured in laboratories to test the lethal dosages of colognes and perfumes.  For the sake of fashion, animals are killed just for their fur or skin.  In the Buddhist scripture, the Dhammapada (129-130), the Buddha says, “All beings fear death and pain, life is dear to all; therefore the wise man will not kill or cause anything to be killed.”  And in the Hindu scriptures, the Padma Purana proclaims, “Ahimsa paramo dharma”: Non-violence to other living entities (ahimsa) is the highest (paramo) duty (dharma).

Śripad Yajnavalkya Dasa :
“Defending Dharma”  -  Chapter One:  “The Basis”
http://www.stephen-knapp.com/defending_dharma.htm