Tuesday, January 31, 2012


(CNN) - The number of people confirmed injured in an earthquake in Peru rose to 145, civil defense officials in the South American nation said Tuesday. The number of homes damaged or destroyed rose to 277, they said. Civil defense officials have been distributing tents to families whose houses were affected by the quake early Monday morning, they said Tuesday. The magnitude 6.3 quake hit about 15 kilometers (9 miles) southeast of Ica, at a depth of 39.2 kilometers (24.4 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It affected power in the region, but as of Tuesday, it had been restored in the districts of Parcona, Tinguina, Ocucaje and Ica, officials said. While residents remain jittery, there were no known fatalities on Monday, Civil Defense officials said. Most of the injured had gone home by Tuesday morning, although six remain in hospitals, they said.

Among the damaged buildings was the Cathedral of Ica, which had already been damaged in a 2007 earthquake. The jolt caused people to flee their homes in Ica, the port of Pisco, and the towns of Palpa, Nasca and Canete. Dozens of Ica residents spent the night in parks and gardens fearing aftershocks. The quake epicentre depth was 24 miles, according to the USGS. The reading was based on the open-ended Moment Magnitude scale used by US seismologists, which measures the area of the fault that ruptured and the total energy released. Peru is in the “Pacific Ring of Fire,” which is the site of 85 per cent of global seismic activity. A 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck the same region in October, leveling dozens of buildings and leaving some homeless. In 2007, an 8.0-magnitude quake struck southwestern Peru, killing more than 500 people and injuring more than 1,000.

At least 145 people were injured and about 300 homes were damaged after a 6.2-degree earthquake shook Peru early Monday morning. Most people were injured when they fled their homes in panic, or when they were struck by collapsing walls.  Lot of residents spent the night in parks and streets due to fears of possible aftershocks. Despite the occasional upheavals, the Earth is the foundation and support of everything; its mountains are compared to the bones of the Lord’s universal form.

The Earth exhibits qualities that can easily remind us of the Lord’s qualities. ... The Earth is tolerant and continues to support us even though we abuse her by drilling for oil and strip-mining her body, and by spilling the blood of her children upon her in war. In a similar way, Krishna continues to be the friend of all living beings, even those who blaspheme Him and try to cause Him pain. ... The Earth can sometimes change her face from that of a benign solid object to one of sudden anger in the form of quakes and volcanoes. Similarly, Krishna’s face, normally graced with a sweet, gentle smile, can sometimes show loving anger, such as when His incarnation Balarama caused an earthquake in ancient Delhi to bring the rulers there to their senses.

Śrīmati Urmila devi dasi :
“Earth: A Meditation” - March/April 2010

Monday, January 30, 2012


http://www.voanews.com - The latest international effort to revive the Middle East peace process has run into trouble. Israeli and Palestinian leaders are blaming each other after five rounds of exploratory talks this month in Jordan hit an impasse.  The aim of the talks is to revive direct peace negotiations that have been deadlocked for three years. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel did not offer detailed proposals on the future borders of a Palestinian state.  In remarks published by the Palestinian news agency, Abbas accused Israel of defying international guidelines for peace and foiling the talks. His comments were echoed by Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad.  “It is time to recognize the failings of this process.  It has failed and the process is in bad need of serious direction,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed a finger at the Palestinians. He told the Israeli Cabinet the Palestinians refused to even discuss Israel’s security needs. Netanyahu said the signs are not very good, but he hopes that the Palestinians “will come to their senses” and return to the negotiating table. The United States and European Union have also urged the Palestinians to continue the talks, saying negotiations with Israel are the only way to achieve a two-state solution and peace. President Abbas says he will make a final decision on whether or not to continue the exploratory talks after consulting with the Arab League later this week. For the past month, the sides have held Jordanian-mediated exploratory talks at the urging of the Quartet of international Mideast mediators - the U.S., the U.N., the E.U. and Russia.

The Israeli and Palestinian leaders blamed each other for the impasse in newly launched peace efforts. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of spoiling the low-level talks, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Palestinians “refused to even discuss” Israeli security needs. The goal of the talks has been to resume formal peace negotiations, with the aim of forging an agreement this year. We are running after peace, but without the association of sadhus it is just an illusory peace.

Those who are going down and down, going to hell and those who are ignorant, he doesn’t know what the life is. They think life is only to eat and drink and sleep and mate. No. No. Life is not like that. Life is to know the Supreme Lord, see the Supreme Lord, hear the Supreme Lord, sing the glories of the Lord, sing the glories of the sage. Then you will be happy. Then you will be satisfied. Then you can enjoy peace. Peace cannot be enjoyed without the association of a sadhu. Without the blessings of the sadhu, without the blessings of the sage we cannot enjoy peace, we cannot enjoy happiness. Only if you will be repeating of Divine Name you could become happy. All throughout the life you will be happy. You will be happy. If we hear one, we are chanting so many times namam, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna.

Śrīla Bhakti Vaibhava Purī Mahārāj:
Lecture at Pula, Croatia on July 2, 1999
Śrī Krishna Chaitanya Mission - http://www.purimaharaj.com/

Sunday, January 29, 2012


www.coloradoan.com - Is there a special cause that is close to your heart? Perhaps it is fighting cancer, helping children, protecting the environment or advocating for animals.
Maybe there is an event that has touched you personally or one about which you feel very passionate. Examples could range from commemorating the tragedy of 9/11 to honoring someone you care about on Memorial Day. Have you ever considered using your running abilities to support a cause that is important to you? There are many opportunities to participate in events that support a variety of organizations. Running for a cause is a great way to stay motivated and it adds another dimension to your personal running goals. Several causes have huge events every year with a variety of ways to support the organization and participate. Breast cancer research is one of the biggest with races of various lengths as well as multi-day events all around the country.

There are races that benefit abused children, veterans, at-risk youth, animals, environmental causes, disease research and many more organizations doing great work.  There also are races that commemorate meaningful events. One example is the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, which is a tribute to the victims, family members and survivors of the bombing and supports the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. The Bolder Boulder is held every year on Memorial Day and you can run in memory or honor of someone. There are a variety of races all around the country honoring the victims and heroes of 9/11. Perhaps you would enjoy participating in one of the many Fourth of July races and celebrating our country’s independence and freedoms.  A few of the large organizations even have programs that will help you train for an event while also fundraising for a cause.

More than 20,000 packed downtown West Palm Beach for the 21st annual Susan G. Komen South Florida Race USA, for the Cure on Saturday morning in the USA. If there is a cause or event about which you care, there is likely a way you can combine your running with getting involved and helping. What a great opportunity to do something good for yourself while at the same time helping a worthy cause!  One of the greatest services to others is the Sankirtan movement to rescue people from this mortal world.

Śrīla Rupa Goswami, Sanatana, Raghunatha, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, etc., are gopis who have come for sankirtan, to preach. Then we can see that when a gopi or a manjari comes to this world, it is to accomplish this task. Sankirtan is what Mahaprabhu Himself is doing in this world. With great longing He wants to embrace all souls and he leaves all His interests when He takes sannyasi to save the others.  Krishna also says in Bhagavad Gita Chapter 12 verses 6-7 that He immediately saves us if we serve Him. ... That is sankirtan. Sankirtan means total and immediate relief for oneself and for others. ... Śrīla Prabhupada insisted so much that we should preach. All his faith was put into seva and preaching, and of course in the Nama chanting and the adoration of the Deities.

Śrīla Atulananda Ācārya :
“The Moon Mahaprabhu Gauracandra”
Chat with Guru Atulananda - 16 of March 2003

Saturday, January 28, 2012


www.bbc.co.uk - New evidence has emerged that supporters of the former Libyan leader, Col Gaddafi, have been tortured while in detention. The BBC has been told by inmates at a jail in Misrata that they were beaten, whipped and given electric shocks. The head of the city’s military council has dismissed the allegations. United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay has called on Libya’s transitional government to take full control of all prisons. The allegations come exactly 100 days after Col Gaddafi’s violent death at the hands of former rebels. Earlier this week the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said it was suspending its work in one Misrata detention centre because of an alarming rise in torture cases. The BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse managed to get access to that prison. Inmates told him they had been subjected to prolonged beatings and were whipped with electric cables.

International human rights groups have said such incidents are widespread in Libya. “The torture is being carried out by officially recognised military and security entities as well as by a multitude of armed militias operating outside any legal framework,” a spokesman for London-based Amnesty International said on Friday. The people running the Misrata detention centre are aware of inmates being taken away to be tortured, but were powerless to stop it. Many detention centres are controlled by militias unaccountable to the government.  The UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay, expressed concern about the treatment of prisoners, but especially sub-Saharan Africans who the militias assume to have been fighting for Col Gaddafi. “There’s torture, extrajudicial executions, rape of both men and women,” she told the AP news agency.

Three months after the killing of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, concerns are mounting about the torture of prisoners held by Libyan militiamen. “Patients were brought to us in the middle of interrogation for medical care, in order to make them fit for more interrogation. When you patch people up and then they get taken back to be tortured again in the same evening, you become part of the process,” said Medecins Sans Frontieres’ director. Rape, torture and murder must be stopped in this world.

Everyone wants to be happy and live in peace, but how can this be peace when so many other entities suffer from the most painful experiments in so-called scientific laboratories? ... This does not include the widespread torture of people by people. Political prisoners are often tortured by rulers or their military to keep people in line with the particular agenda of the regime. Some leaders have such a mentality that they enjoy keeping their subjects in a miserable condition. Or there is torture and fighting of people for being of a different religion. This type of thing goes on much more than we think, and has been going on for hundreds of years. ... These reactions affect many millions of people every day around the world, and it is nothing more than the workings of nature as it reflects the consciousness of the people who inhabit this world.

Dr Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Karma of the Nation”

Friday, January 27, 2012


www.voanews.com - India celebrated its 63rd Republic Day Thursday with a parade showcasing its military and air power, and its rich and diverse cultural heritage. In New Delhi, India displayed missiles that can carry nuclear warheads, while fighter jets, long-range aircraft and helicopters flew overhead. Thousands of people turned up at Rajpath (King’s Avenue) to watch the colourful parade amid tight security. India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and military officials laid wreaths at a memorial for those who gave their lives to defend the nation. Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, in the country on an official visit, was the guest of honor. Some 25,000 security personnel guarded the Indian capital against possible attacks from militant groups. Security was also stepped up in Indian-controlled Kashmir. India’s Republic Day commemorates the adoption of a democratic constitution on January 26, 1950.

 On Thursday morning, Delhi resembled a fortress with a multi-layered security ring in place at Rajpath, where President Pratibha Patil unfurled the Indian flag and took the salute of marching contingents, news agency Press Trust of India reported. Officials said 160 closed-circuit cameras were installed between Rajpath and Red Fort, the route of the parade. Anti-aircraft guns were placed at several places and helicopters hovered over the parade route. At the parade, the army displayed its tanks and missile launchers. The nuclear capable Agni-IV missile with a range of 3,000km (1,864 miles), was cheered by the public, reporters said. Smaller parades have also been held in the state capitals.  It is informed that 40,000 policemen were keeping vigil in the financial capital, Mumbai, which has seen several high-profile militant attacks in recent years.

India has celebrated its 63rd Republic Day showing off its latest weapons, even tanks and missile launchers, at a military parade in the capital, Delhi. Thousands of people attended the parade. Hundreds of soldiers marched and more than 25,000 policemen and paramilitary forces guarded the streets. Smaller parades were also held in the state capitals. In India there is still the wonderful cultural heritage of Vedic knowledge, the one who studies and practices it gradually increased his spiritual enlightenment.

Thus whoever takes birth in the land of Bhārata-varsha attains all the facilities of life. He may take advantage of all these facilities for both material and spiritual advancement and thus make his life successful. After attaining the goal of life, one may distribute his knowledge and experience all over the world for humanitarian purposes. In other words, one who takes birth in the land of Bhārata-varsha by virtue of his past pious activities gets full facility to develop the human form of life. ... In this verse the word lakshita-lakshanām indicates that the human body attained in Bhārata-varsha is very auspicious.  Vedic culture is full of knowledge, and a person born in India can fully take advantage of Vedic cultural knowledge and the cultural system known as varnāśrama-dharma.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
Śrīmad Bhāgavatam - Canto 4: “Creation of the Fourth Order”  
Chapter 25: “The Descriptions of the Characteristics of King Purañjana”
Verse 13 - Bhaktivedanta VedaBase

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Ganzi, China (Reuters) - Ethnic tension simmered in remote corners of China’s southwestern Sichuan province on Thursday after security forces fired on demonstrators in a series of deadly clashes that Tibet’s government in exile condemned as “gruesome”. The flareups were perhaps the bloodiest spate of Tibetan-linked violence in China since early 2008, when riots and protests erupted in Tibet’s capital, Lhasa, and spread to other restive regions in China’s western border regions including Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu provinces.  Lobsang Sangay, the prime minister of Tibet’s government in exile in Dharamsala in India, denounced the shooting by police on hundreds of Tibetan protesters in western Sichuan this week that he said had killed six and injured more than 60. The protests have become violent in recent weeks.

On Tuesday, at least one Tibetan was killed in a clash in Seda County, known as Serthar in Tibetan, when police opened fire on protesters, leaving the town square “covered in blood” and tear-gas canisters, according to the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet. Another group, Free Tibet, said at least two Tibetans had been killed and many wounded during protests in Seda. Calls to the Seda public security bureau went unanswered. Two Tibetans were shot dead by police on Monday in a separate protest in Luhuo Township, known as Drango or Draggo to Tibetans, also in the mountainous western reaches of Sichuan province, according to Tibetan rights groups and observers.  On the other hand, China will remain “resolute in maintaining normal social order,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a Jan. 24 statement.

China police opened fire on a crowd of protesters in a Tibetan region during a clash. At least two Tibetans were killed and several wounded. Another case of the longstanding underlying ethnic tensions between Tibetan communities - some of whom have called for the return of the Dalai Lama - and Han Chinese authorities whom they accuse of stifling Tibetan traditions, religious freedoms and their unique way of life.  We must abandon hatred, and adopt the way of love and respect to all beings.

The purpose of any true spiritual path is to raise our consciousness to the point of allowing us to directly perceive the spiritual dimension. Being spiritual means to recognize one’s spiritual identity and practically see the transcendental essence of all others. It also means to see that we are all parts and parcels of God and to respect each other in that light. ... The point is that the more spiritual we become, the more we can perceive that which is spiritual. As we develop and grow in this way, the questions about spiritual life are no longer a mystery to solve, but become a reality to experience. It becomes a practical part of our lives. ... The Vedic system is practically non-denominational. It is not for any one culture or ethnic group. It is for all of humanity and is called Sanatana-dharma.

Dr Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Yoga and How to Get Started”

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Albany, N.Y. (AP) - Health and environmental groups rallied at the Capitol on Monday to call for a legislative ban on hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells, saying no amount of regulation can adequately safeguard water supplies from contamination. “Fracking is the most important environmental issue this state has faced in the past 100 years,” Sen. Tony Avella, sponsor of a bill to ban hydraulic fracturing, said at the rally in the Legislative Office Building next to the Capitol. “There is no possible regulation or series of regulations that can stop the one incident that pollutes our water supply for 1,000 years.” Organizers said about 600 people from around the state traveled to Albany and registered to lobby state lawmakers for various bills related to the practice known as fracking, which stimulates gas production by injecting wells with millions of gallons of chemically treated water to fracture shale.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has refused to consider new shale gas wells since 2008, when it began an environmental impact review of fracking. Industry groups, who point to a decadeslong history of safe gas drilling in New York, have said the regulations proposed by the DEC are so strict they would effectively shut down shale gas development in the state because of the high cost of compliance. The rally featured chants of “No fracking way” and signs calling for “Renewable energy now.” A group of residents from Middlefield in Otsego County held a banner supporting a “home rule” bill, which clarifies the right of towns to enact zoning ordinances that prohibit fracking and discourage industry-funded lawsuits against such bans. Middlefield is fighting a lawsuit against its local fracking ban.

Health and environmental groups calling for a legislative ban on hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells have rallied in Albany (USA). The technology known as “fracking” stimulates gas production by using chemically treated water to fracture shale with the tremendous risk of contamination to the drinking water supply and the entire ecosystem.  We must start urgent action in awakening consciousness and ending the dangerous and self-destructive habit of exploiting our natural resources.

Nature is one of the manifestations of God; if we mistreat the environment, if we live irresponsibly, in any moment we will be sucked into an abyss. God is in each tree, each plant. The waters of the Earth are the veins of the Lord. We should proceed with absolute compassion and responsibility, because by not taking care of other living beings, our present planet will become a complete desert. Polluted waters cause the leukemia of the ecosystem. Mother Earth heals you, she allows you to build houses, sustains you, gives you drinkable water; that is our dear Mother Earth. ... All the elements created by the Lord are different representations of His powers, and the combination of all the components produces food for us, the conscious beings.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


www.goal.com -The girlfriend of AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng has revealed that the player’s injury woes of late could be down to the amount of sex the couple have. The club confirmed recently that the player will be out of action for up to a month due to amuscular problem. However, Melissa Satta, a model, TV presenter and actress, has stated that Boateng’s poor injuryrecord is the result of their bedroom antics. “The reason why he [Kevin-Prince Boateng] is always injured is because we have sex seven to 10 times a week,” the 25-year-old told Vanity Fair. “I hate foreplay, I want to get straight to the point,” she added. “My favourite position is on top so I can take control.” Milan are yet to speak out in regards to Satta’s comments although the Rossoneri did release an official statement on their website to validate the injury.

Boateng, whose fellow countrymen begin their the African Cup of Nations participation early next week, injured himself during last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Inter and is a doubt for the Champions League date with Arsenal due to a muscle strain. A statement from the Rossoneri read: “Boateng has sustained a muscular lesion in his left thigh and the estimated time of recovery is around four weeks, unless there are complications.”  But his girlfriend has claimed his antics in bed may be the cause of his constant injury. The 24-year-old will likely be sidelined for Milan’s next eight games, including their Champions League Last-16 home leg against Arsenal on February 15. Boss Massimiliano Allegri has set his sights on the attacking player’s return for his side’s domestic encounter against Juventus on February 26.

The former Ghana international player is currently sidelined for a month with a thigh injury, but his model girlfriend, Melissa Satta revealed the real reason behind his ailment: too much sex.  The club has not commented on his girlfriend's “medical evaluation”, but surely he doesn't mind not being able to play for a month because he will have more time to enlarge his lesion peril. People having a primitive mentality based on the desire to enjoy money, sex and social prestige are called “bhukti-kāmī”.

In the various species of life there are various facilities for material sense gratification. Different species are distinguished by differently formed senses, such as the genitals, nostrils, tongue, ears and eyes. Pigeons, for example, are given the facility for almost unlimited sex. Bears have an ample opportunity for sleeping. Tigers and lions exhibit the propensities for fighting and meat-eating, horses are distinguished by their legs for swift running, vultures and eagles have keen eyesight, and so on. The human being is distinguished by his large brain, which is meant for understanding God. ... The Lord facilitates sense gratification (mātrā-prasiddhaye) so that the living entities will gradually understand the futility of trying to enjoy without Him.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Śrīla Hrdayananda dasa Goswami
Śrīmad Bhāgavatam - Canto 11: “General History”
Chapter 3: “Liberation from the Illusory Energy”
Verse 3 - Bhaktivedanta VedaBase

Monday, January 23, 2012


www.mirror.co.uk - Celebrations for the Year of the Dragon begin today and last for 15 days.  Millions of ethnic Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese across Asia have rung in the New Year of the Dragon with fireworks, feasting and family reunions.  From Beijing to Bangkok and Seoul to Singapore, people hoping for good luck in the New Year visited temples and lit incense, setting off fireworks and watched street performances of lion and dragon dances. In London, Chinese New Year will officially be marked on January 29 with a parade and a performance in Trafalgar Square. Among the 100-strong performers will feature Shanghai Song and Dance Troupe and the National Music Orchestra of Jilin Province.  For many, the Lunar New Year is the biggest family reunion of the year for which people endured hours of cramped travel on trains and buses to get home.

In ancient times the dragon was a symbol reserved for the Chinese emperor, and it is considered to be the most auspicious and powerful of the 12 signs of the zodiac, one associated with high energy and prosperity. It’s also the only mythical creature in the Chinese astrological stable that includes horses, rats and pigs. This year is considered especially auspicious because it is the year of the water dragon, something that happens once every 60 years.  “The dragon is a symbol of power and superior control,” says Stephen Chu, president of the Mississauga Chinese Business Association, west of Toronto. “It’s not evil. The dragon is a good symbol.” It also represents change and mobility. “Dragons seem to be a change year, and usually from bad to good,” says Paul Ng, a feng shui master in Richmond Hill, Ont., north of Toronto.

Chinese New Year celebrations have begun throughout the world.  Colorful parades and spectacular fireworks usher in the Year of Dragon, which symbolizes courage and prosperity. According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of Dragon comes after the Year of Rabbit and is followed by the Year of Snake. In the Rig Veda, there is a description of the battle between Lord Indra, the king of heaven, and an asura named Vrtra who had taken the form of a mighty Dragon and stole all the water in the world for himself.

I will declare the manly deeds of Indra, the first that he achieved, the Thunder wielder. He slew the Dragon, then disclosed the waters, and cleft the channels of the mountain torrents. Like lowing kine in rapid flow descending the waters glided downward to the ocean.  Impetuous as a bull, he (Indra) chose the Soma and in three sacred beakers drank the juices. Maghavan (Indra) grasped the thunder for his weapon, and smote to death this firstborn of the dragons. ...  When Indra and the Dragon strove in battle, Maghavan gained the victory for ever. ... The waters bear off Vrtra's nameless body: the foe of Indra sank to during darkness.  Guarded by Ahi (Vrtra) ... the waters stayed like kine held by the robber.  But when he (Indra) had smitten Vrtra, opened the cave wherein the floods had been imprisoned.

“The Hymns of the Rigveda”
Book I - Hymn XXXII - “Indra”
Translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
2nd edition, Kotagiri (Nilgiri) 1896

Sunday, January 22, 2012


(CNN) - Some 518 days after she first set off alone in her sailboat, 16-year-old Laura Dekker glided into a Caribbean port on Saturday to complete her historic, and controversial, voyage around the globe.  The Dutch citizen arrived in Sint Maarten around 3 p.m. (2 p.m. ET).  While other teens have made similar sea voyages - some of them without stopping, as Dekker did - the Dutch girl unofficially appears to be the youngest to do so sailing alone. In 2010, Australian Jessica Watson finished a non-stop, unassisted solo circumnavigation days before her 17th birthday. Her route was less than 21,600 orthodromic (or, in the same direction for a great circle) nautical miles, which is the length of the equator and the distance generally used for round-the-world sailing records. Dekker states on her website that she traversed about 27,000 nautical miles on her own solo voyage aboard her 38-foot yacht, which she has dubbed Guppy.

The teenager made a trip with stops that sound like a skim through a travel magazine: the Canary Islands, Panama, the Galapagos Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Bora Bora, Australia, South Africa and now, St. Maarten, from which she set out on Jan. 20, 2011.  She had altered her route and headed around South Africa toward Sint Maarten to avoid pirates.  The trip almost didn’t happen - not because of problems at sea, but rather due to a high-profile legal fight by Dutch authorities to prevent the teen from setting sail, for her own safety.  In October 2009, a Dutch court ruled the girl couldn’t sail around the world because she was not considered experienced enough to do so. But it left the door open for a future trip, deciding that she could depart if she fulfilled certain requirements the court had established for her.  Laura did what the authorities require, and she finally arrived in St. Maarten after struggling against high seas and heavy winds.

Laura Dekker, 16, arrived in the island of Sint Maarten after her voyage around the globe.  She was at sea or in port for 518 days and traversed 27,000 nautical miles.  “There were moments where I was like, ‘What the hell am I doing out here?’ but I never wanted to stop,” she said. “It’s a dream, and I wanted to do it.”  She also fought against Dutch authorities who didn’t want her to sail. Tapah (austerity) and Acāpalam (determination) are good for everyone because in the end our efforts are rewarded.

“To serve the spiritual master the disciple should learn cleanliness, austerity, tolerance, silence, study of Vedic knowledge, simplicity, celibacy, nonviolence, and equanimity in the face of material dualities such as heat and cold, happiness and distress.” Tapah, or “austerity,” means that despite the irrational impulses of the mind, one should remain fixed in executing his proper duty in life. Specifically, one must control burning anger and the urge for wanton sex life. If a human being does not control the impulses of lust, anger and greed, he loses his power to understand his actual situation. Human life is a golden opportunity to solve the overwhelming problems of birth, death, old age and disease. ... One must remain in his prescribed duty and not become impatient or unregulated due to the waves of lust, anger and greed.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Śrīla Hrdayananda dasa Goswami

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam - Canto 11: “General History”
Chapter 3: “Liberation from the Illusory Energy”
Verse 24 - Bhaktivedanta VedaBase

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Blantyre, Malawi (AP) - It’s been 18 years since the late dictator Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s “indecency in dress” laws were repealed in Malawi, but mobs of men and boys in the largely conservative southern African country have recently been publicly stripping women of their miniskirts and pants.  Friday, hundreds of outraged girls and women, among them prominent politicians, protested the attacks while wearing pants or miniskirts and T-shirts emblazoned with such slogans as: “Real men don’t harass women.” “Some of us have spent our entire life fighting for the freedom of women,” Vice President Ms Joyce Banda told the protesters. “It’s shocking some men want to take us back to bondage,” she added.  The attacks took on such importance that President Bingu wa Mutharika went on state television and radio on the eve of the protest to assure women they were free to wear what they want.

The president ordered police to arrest anyone who attacks women wearing pants or miniskirts. He said in a local language, Chichewa. “I will not allow anyone to wake up and go on the streets and start undressing women and girls wearing trousers because that is criminal.” During Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s 1963-1994 dictatorship, women in Malawi were banned from wearing pants and short skirts. Banda lost power in the country’s first multiparty election in 1994 and he died three years later. While Banda is gone, strains of conservatism remain in the impoverished, largely rural nation. Some of the street vendors who have attacked women in recent days claimed it was un-Malawian to dress in miniskirts and pants. Some said it was a sign of loose morals or prostitution. The protesters were wearing pants, miniskirts and leggings in a show of solidarity as they gathered to condemn the attacks.

Malawian women protested about attacks on women for wearing trousers. Some women were beaten and stripped by vendors on the streets for wearing pants, leggings and miniskirts, instead of dresses. They accused women of defying cultural norms and attacked them claiming they did not follow the tradition.  Women have also been attacked for wearing trousers in Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Puritanical mentality is based on external materialistic issues, not on spiritual considerations.

If we truly believe, even theoretically, that we “are not this body,” then why do we care whether our bodily duties are “higher” or “lower” than someone else’s?  Such things are temporary, external, and don’t touch the real self. ... Most difficulties with understanding the position of women can be solved if we understand that all of us have two duties: material and spiritual.  The spiritual duties, the nine processes of devotional service, are equally available to every human being regardless of age, gender, race, intelligence, health, etc. etc. ... Why not just accept the body we have for this life, and work with it so as to please Krishna and make our life peaceful, so that we can concentrate our time and energy on what’s truly important-loving and remembering Krishna.

Śrīmati Urmila devi dasi :
“Prabhupada's Views on Women”

Friday, January 20, 2012


www.bbc.co.uk - Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has demanded renewed talks about the future of the islands - which Argentina calls Las Malvinas.  But Mr Cameron told MPs they would stay British for as long as the islanders wanted, and Argentina’s demands for that to change were “like colonialism”.  The issue was discussed at a National Security Council meeting on Tuesday.  This year is the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War, which was prompted by an Argentinian invasion of the islands. Most Falkland Islanders wish to retain British sovereignty and 14 June is marked as Liberation Day in the capital, Port Stanley.  Argentine leaders have reacted with fury after UK Prime Minister David Cameron accused Argentina of “colonialism” for continuing to claim sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.  “It’s totally offensive, especially coming from Great Britain,” Argentine Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo said.

President Fernandez has repeatedly requested talks on the islands’ future and accused the UK of “arrogance” for refusing to negotiate.  She has accused Britain of “taking Argentine resources” from the islands and the waters around them.  Tensions have risen in recent years over oil exploration around the Falklands.  In December, the Mercosur grouping of countries, which includes Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay, announced that it would ban ships sailing under the Falkland Islands flag from docking at their ports.  The islands were discussed on Wednesday during a visit by UK Foreign Minister William Hague to Brazil. Mr Hague knows that “Brazil and other South American nations support Argentine sovereignty over the Malvinas and that we support the UN resolutions calling on Argentina and Britain to discuss the issue,” Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota told reporters.

British PM Cameron has accused Argentina of “colonialism” for continuing to claim sovereignty over the Falkland Islands. In response, Argentine Foreign Minister Timerman said Great Britain was a country “synonymous with colonialism”. Little remains of colonialism and Great Britain, an empire in decline, decides to re-write history.   The sayings of politicians try to historical “re-arranging the furniture”.  This cheating tendency is called vipralipsa, ‘the desire to deceive.’

This is called samsāra-dāvānala. Even in ordinary transactions between two people, there is invariably cheating because the conditioned soul is defective in four ways - he is illusioned, he commits mistakes, his knowledge is imperfect, and he has a propensity to cheat. Unless one is liberated from material conditioning, these four defects must be there. Consequently every man has a cheating propensity, which is employed in business or money transactions. ... A philosopher accuses an economist of being a cheater, and an economist may accuse a philosopher of being a cheater when he comes in contact with money. In any case, this is the condition of material life.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
Śrīmad Bhāgavatam - Canto 5: “The Creative Impetus”
Chapter 14: “The Material World as the Great Forest of Enjoyment”
Verse 26 - Bhaktivedanta VedaBase

Thursday, January 19, 2012


www.smh.com.au - Global warming threatens China’s march to prosperity by cutting crops, shrinking rivers and unleashing more droughts and floods, says the government’s latest assessment of climate change, projecting big shifts in how the nation feeds itself.  The warnings are carried in the government’s “Second National Assessment Report on Climate Change,” which sums up advancing scientific knowledge about the consequences and costs of global warming for China - the world’s second biggest economy and the biggest emitter of greenhouse gas pollution.  Global warming fed by greenhouse gases from industry, transport and shifting land-use poses a long-term threat to China’s prosperity, health and food output, says the report.  Water, either too much or too little, lies at the heart of how that warming could trip up China’s budding prosperity.

 With China’s economy likely to rival the United States’ in size in coming decades, that will trigger wider consequences. “China faces extremely grim ecological and environmental conditions under the impact of continued global warming and changes to China’s regional environment,” says the 710-page report, officially published late last year but released for public sale only recently.  Even so, China’s rising emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from burning fossil fuels, will begin to fall off only after about 2030, with big falls only after mid-century, says the report.  Assuming no measures to counter global warming, grain output in the world’s most populous nation could fall from 5 to 20 percent by 2050, depending on whether a “fertilisation effect” from more carbon dioxide in the air offsets losses, says the report.

China, with 1.34 billion people, already emits a quarter of the world’s CO2, with the United States the world’s second largest greenhouse gas emitter.  As the temperatures continue to rise, the negative consequences of climate change on agriculture will be increasingly serious. Without effective measures in response, by the latter part of the 21st century, climate change could still constitute a threat to the world’s food security. We are living in one of the most precarious situations of humanity.

Today we see the condition of the world. Never before in history has the world been in a more dangerous situation. We have made progress through technology and science. We have cured diseases such as small pox. We made vaccinations for polio and breakthrough in open heart surgeries to keep people living after major heart attacks. These are good things. But at the same time, what are we doing on the other side. We are creating other diseases due to pollution and other unnatural styles. … And with all the toxic chemicals in the soil, in the ocean, in the rivers and in the air, if you look at it realistically the world is in a hopeless state. Politicians don’t want to tell you and we don’t want to hear about it, because we are just caught up in our petty pursuance of fulfilling our greed. It is a big problem.

Śrīla Radhanath Swami Mahārāja :
“The Real Significance of Bhumi Puja”
Lecture at Govardhan Farm, Wada - 2nd October 2009
http://www.radhanath-swami.net/  -  http://radhanathswami.info/