Tuesday, July 31, 2012


www.usatoday.com India's energy crisis cascaded over half the country Tuesday when three of its regional grids collapsed, leaving 620 million people without government-supplied electricity in one of the world's biggest-ever blackouts. Hundreds of trains stalled across the country and traffic lights went out, causing widespread traffic jams in New Delhi. Electric crematoria stopped operating, some with bodies half burnt, power officials said. Emergency workers rushed generators to coal mines to rescue miners trapped underground. 
The massive power failure - a day after a similar, but smaller - has raised serious concerns about India's outdated infrastructure and the government's inability to meet its huge appetite for energy as the country aspires to become a regional economic superpower. Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde blamed the new crisis on states taking more than their allotted share of electricity. The new power failure affected people across 20 of India's 28 states - more than the entire population of the European Union plus Turkey.

The blackout was unusual in its reach, stretching from the border with Myanmar in the northeast to the Pakistani border about 1,870 miles away. Its impact, however, was softened by Indians' familiarity with frequent blackouts and the widespread use of backup generators for major businesses and key facilities such as hospitals and airports. The outages came just a day after India's northern power grid collapsed for several hours. Indian officials managed to restore power several hours later, but at 1:05 p.m. Tuesday the northern grid collapsed again, said Shailendre Dubey, an official at the Uttar Pradesh Power Corp. in India's largest state. 
About the same time, the eastern grid failed and then the northeastern grid followed, energy officials in those regions said. The grids serve more than half India's population. In West Bengal, express trains and local electric trains were stopped at stations across the state of West Bengal on the eastern grid. Crowds of people thronged the stations, waiting for any transport to take them to their destinations.

About 600 million people lost power in India when the country’s northern and eastern electricity grids failed, crippling the country for a second consecutive day. The outage stopped hundreds of trains in their tracks, darkened traffic lights, shuttered the Delhi Metro and left nearly everyone - the police, water utilities, private businesses and citizens - without electricity. Real prosperity flourishes on the natural gifts of nature, but when society depends on industrial complexes and huge factories, people have no time and no taste for any spiritual pursuits.

Essentially, the more society depends on artificial necessities, the more vulnerable it becomes to artificial crises. Thus, civilization suffers and the economy slows whenever there is not enough oil, gas, electricity, or when the prices of such modern commodities become too high. When there is a loss of oil, gas, and other such necessities, or when there is an electrical blackout, so many activities are forced to stop. So many machines and appliances are but recent inventions, but now we have become so dependent on them that without them we think we can no longer function. Thus, people become trapped ever more deeply in the struggle to earn more money to buy more things that they are convinced they require to live happily and comfortably. In this way, they are tied and enslaved to a system whose goal is profits rather than really benefiting society.

Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
"Economics According to the Dharmic Way"
http://www.stephen-knapp.com  -  http://www.stephenknapp.info/

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

Monday, July 30, 2012


http://ibnlive.in.com - July 30 is International Friendship Day, time to recognise your friends and their contribution to your life. Friendship helps to bring peace and positivity to the globe - a great reason to celebrate! Friendship Day celebrations are held on different dates in different countries of the world. The first World Friendship Day was proposed on 30 July 1958 in Paraguay. On 27 April, 2011, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared 30 July as official International Friendship Day. However, in India, Friendship Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of August. 
Friendship Day was originally proposed by Joyce Hall, the founder of Hallmark cards in 1919, intended to be the first Sunday of August and a day when people celebrated their friendships by sending cards. The first Sunday in August was chosen as the centre of the largest lull between holiday celebrations but it faced consumer resistance, given that it was rather too obviously a commercial gimmick to promote greetings cards.

The International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. The resolution (A/RES/65/275) places particular emphasis on involving young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity. 
The Day is also intended to support the goals and objectives of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace and the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010). To mark the International Day of Friendship the UN encourages governments, international organizations and civil society groups to hold events, activities and initiatives that contribute to the efforts of the international community towards promoting a dialogue among civilizations, solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation.

Today marks the second International Day of Friendship. It was traditionally celebrated on the first Sunday of August each year, but in 2011 the United Nations declared July 30 to be the new International Day of Friendship, a day to strengthen understanding between peoples and cultures. Initially, the date was proposed by the "International Crusade for Friendship", a movement created in Paraguay in 1958. To celebrate, we invite you to remember the pastimes and sing the glories of the best friend of the world: God.

The only friend is Krishna. One should try to raise the consciousness of the conditioned soul to the platform of understanding that Krishna is his actual friend. If one makes friendship with Krishna, one will never be cheated, and he will get all help needed. Arousing this consciousness of the conditioned soul is the greatest service, not posing oneself as a great friend of another living entity. 
The power of friendship is limited. Although one claims to be a friend, he cannot be a friend unlimitedly. There are an unlimited number of living entities, and our resources are limited; therefore we cannot be of any real benefit to the people in general. The best service to the people in general is to awaken them to Krishna consciousness so that they may know that the supreme enjoyer, the supreme proprietor and the supreme friend is Krishna.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa)
Canto 3: The Status Quo
Chapter 27: "Understanding Material Nature"
Verse 4 - http://vedabase.com/en/sb/3/27/4

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

Sunday, July 29, 2012


 www.guardian.co.uk Terrified patients fled from a hospital in western Uganda as soon as news broke that a mysterious illness that killed at least 14 people in the region was Ebola, one of the world's most virulent diseases. Ignatius Besisira, an MP for Buyaga East County in the Kibaale district, said people had at first believed the unexplained deaths were related to witchcraft. "Immediately, when there was confirmation that it was Ebola … patients ran out of Kagadi hospital (where some of the victims had died)," he told the Guardian. "Even the medical officers are very, very frightened," he said. 
Government officials and a World Health Organisation representative confirmed the Ebola outbreak at a news conference in Kampala on Saturday. "Laboratory investigations done at the Uganda Virus Research Institute ... have confirmed that the strange disease reported in Kibaale is indeed Ebola haemorrhagic fever," they said in a joint statement. Health officials said at least 20 people had been infected and of those 14 had died.

"There is no treatment or vaccine against Ebola, which is transmitted by close personal contact and, depending on the strain, can kill up to 90% of those who contract the virus. It has a devastating history in Uganda, where in 2000, at least 425 people were infected, of whom more than half died. The WHO describes Ebola as "a viral haemorrhagic fever and one of the most virulent diseases known to humankind". It says the disease was identified in 1976 in a western equatorial province of Sudan and a nearby region of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo). It takes its name from a river in the DRC. 
Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with the body fluids and tissues of infected persons. It can also be transmitted by handling sick or dead infected wild animals, such as chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and fruit bats. Symptoms include sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes, impaired kidney and liver function and bleeding.

The deadly Ebola virus has killed 14 people in western Uganda this month, health officials said, ending weeks of speculation about the cause of a strange disease that had many people fleeing their homes. Ebola, which manifests itself as a haemorrhagic fever, is highly infectious and kills quickly. It was first reported in 1976 in Congo and is named after the river where it was recognised. Our span of life on earth is very short, and death sorrounds us everyday. However, physical illness with Hari-bhajana is preferred to physical fitness without glorifying the Lord.

Whether in illness or health, a devotee will always pray to Krsna, “My success or failure is up to You.” If he doesn’t get rich, or he doesn’t recover from an illness, he doesn’t blame Krsna. Somebody might say, “Just see, you prayed to Krsna and nothing happened - you didn’t get any money, your health did not improve - there is no Krsna!” But the devotee will simply laugh and say, “No, you don’t understand. Krsna had more important things to do.” The devotee says that, “I have my karma and I don’t expect Krsna to solve all my problems. He is not my servant, I am His servant.” There is a difference. Many people in the world have a hard time understanding suffering, and when they pray to God they expect that suffering, pain, disease and poverty will disappear. When that doesn’t happen they finally say, “There is no God!” ... There are five main subjects that Krsna explains in Bhagavad-gita, and one of these subjects is karma - what is action and what is reaction. Without this knowledge you cannot understand why there is suffering in this world and you will subscribe to the idea that God is very cruel.

Śrīla Bhakti Gaurava Narasingha Maharaja :
"Sri Krsna Janmastami" - "We Want to see Our God Enjoy"
Shri Narasingha Chaitanya Matha

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

Saturday, July 28, 2012


www.thebody.com - At the close of the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C., we stand at a threshold between the past and the future. We can now imagine an AIDS-free world; it's at our doorstep within our reach - but only if we decide to act now - and we must act now. Decisively. Deliberately. Definitively. The End of AIDS: We have heard this phrase many times for the last five days. We have attended hundreds of sessions on the latest scientific HIV research, we have viewed thousands of posters pointing to new tools at our disposal; we have been inspired by numerous plenary speakers, leaders in their fields of research, science, advocacy and policy, who tell us that we are now beginning to turn the tide to on AIDS. But will we? 
Despite the developments serious problems remain. There are approximately 50,000 people who become infected with HIV each year in the United States. This number has remained unchanged for nearly the past ten years. We need to make serious adjustments in our prevention methodologies.

"I charge everyone who attended this Conference to ask this one important question," said Phill Wilson, President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. "Was it all worth it? Was it worth the time, energy and expense to come to Washington for a week or more? When we leave D.C., where do we go from here?" We are done with the sessions and the lessons. Now we must move on and out beyond D.C. and back to our families and our communities, where we must spread the news from AIDS2012. 
The End of AIDS is more than just a declaration: it's a commitment and it's a charge. We must now take the Conference on the road to turn the tide of HIV in our own neighborhoods. And we must do it now. An AIDS-Free Generation is within our reach only if we seize this moment and maximize this opportunity. "Talking is not enough," said Wilson. "We must redouble our commitment to act. This is our charge. And we can prevail." The Black AIDS Institute now demands for implementation of what we learned at this Conference. It's now up to us.

The XIX International AIDS Conference concluded in Washington, DC on Friday after 5 days of hundreds of sessions, programme activities and workshops aimed at bringing forward the latest thinking and developments in the global HIV response. The global effort to combat HIV/AIDS has been one of the great public health achievements of the past decades. However, besides preventive social policy and health care,  we have to offer wise spiritual teachings to put an end the epidemic.

The debates that presently take place concerning the medicines to relieve the effects of AIDS, the help given to those with the illness, the tolerance of society towards its victims, etc, are surely full of goodness, with a sincere desire to help those who are suffering; but it has to be noted that the most important needs are beyond these. The most needed debates are those that bring forth spiritual education, engendering superior values so that the entire world follows good examples so as not to be led into such a fallen position. Those with AIDS are in a situation very difficult to imagine, but they should now be more stimulated to look for God through self-realisation, and to take the sacred mantras that can give them a progressive, positive understanding of their existence. It does not matter is such an understanding comes to them even at their death, because the Vedic understanding takes us beyond the bodily concepts of birth and death. It opens up the doors of our lives to a permanent existence, where there are no more afflictions caused by ignorance and egoism.

Śrīla Bhakti Aloka Paramadvaiti Mahārāja :
"AIDS – The Plague of the Century"
The Vedic Wisdom Online

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

Friday, July 27, 2012


http://online.wsj.com - Airports - famous for long stressful waits and greasy hot dogs on warming rollers - have gone on a health kick. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and San Francisco International Airport both now offer free yoga rooms in terminals. Several airports, including Indianapolis, Cleveland, St. Louis and DFW, have laid out half-mile walking paths through terminals in conjunction with the American Heart Association, hoping to turn "mall walkers" into "terminal walkers." And many are pushing vendors to offer options that are lower in fat and calories - even writing healthy-food requirements into new leases. 
"There is a lot of competition between airports," said Kevin Smith, assistant vice president for terminal management at DFW. "We want to be the healthiest airport in the nation." Of course, travelers may say in airport surveys that they want healthy options, then splurge on unhealthy things when they get to the airport. "Going healthy just isn't an option. It's what passengers are looking for," said Zenola Campbell, vice president of concessions at DFW.

"What passengers want is choice. If I want to, I can go to McDonald's. Or I can stop by Au Bon Pain and pick up yogurt and fruit." Airports can be some of the most-unhealthy places used by millions of people. Running with baggage or seething over canceled flights or airline snafus can contribute to heart attacks. DFW averages nine calls a day for all kinds of medical emergencies, and transports three patients a day to hospitals. The airport had 210 patients with cardiac issues last year. During one big disruption, DFW's Mr. Smith noticed customers doing yoga in a gate area with their own mats. They were stuck for six hours, and decided to make the best of it.  So DFW took an alcove in an out-of-the-way area at the end of Terminal D, in a connector walkway to Terminal B, and created a yoga room. 
The airport supplies mats and one hour-long yoga video that plays on a continuous loop. Big windows look out on a line of planes at Terminal D, but privacy screens keep other travelers from gazing in. Some travelers have used the space for meditation and breathing exercises, airport officials say.

A five hour delay at the airport can cause a traveler's stress level to go through the roof. Now, international airports offer free yoga rooms in terminals for passengers and airline workers who want to exercise some stress away, in an effort to get passengers moving but also to increase revenue.  Hatha-yoga is not a separate system of yoga. It is one of the eight steps of Raja-yoga. Nonetheless, it can be used separately if only for helping keep the body and mind fit and in shape.

Hatha yoga is a system of handling the physical body so that the mind and the nerve system are calmed and quieted. It is primarily a means to prepare oneself for meditation. Hatha yoga is founded on a principle of putting the physical body into a position so that the nerve currents in the physical body get tuned up to a perfect pitch. It is like tuning the strings on a violin; if you tune the violin just right, then each string will be in harmony with the other strings. ... When physical tensions are released through Hatha yoga, mental-emotional tensions are automatically dissolved. This is a great secret and a wonderful tool that you can use every day of your life. Free the mind of thoughts and tensions and you will be more aware, more alive, more serene. As you perform the Hatha yoga asanas, put out of your mind all thoughts relating to your work, family, friends, associates, problems and challenges that normally concern you. Relax. Relax. Relax. Be completely at peace with yourself and fully enjoy this contemplative art.

What Is Hinduism?
Hinduism Today Magazine
Chapter 34: "Hatha Yoga"
"A 24-Posture System of Body Tuning and Preparation for Meditation"

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

Thursday, July 26, 2012


www.guardian.co.uk - I wasn't hugely surprised to see the news from Nasa about unprecedented melting of most of the Greenland ice sheet surface. Much of Greenland has been experiencing record warmth since May, and on the 29th of that month the weather station in the extreme south reached a positively balmy 24.8C, which set a new record May temperature for the country; this is significant because records from several weather stations extend back to the late 19th century. 
The unusually warm conditions prevailed for much of June and into July, with the Danish Meteorological Institute website showing Greenland temperature anomalies about 2-4C higher than the 1961-90 baseline average during these last three months. For every 1C rise in temperature, the resulting effect is to increase the amount of melt by around a third, so we might expect double the climatological "normal" amount of meltwater being produced by the ice sheet during June and July this year.

The Nasa satellite picture of melt covering most of the ice sheet surface on 12 July is dramatic, and several key Greenland scientists have confirmed it is unprecedented in the satellite record going back to the late 1970s. However, Nasa also cites evidence from ice cores at the summit of the ice sheet that suggest similar wholesale melting events occur once every 150 years on average, and the last one was in 1889. If this is this case, the recent melt may be due to natural climate variability, so do we have anything to worry about? 
Even without sustained global warming, the Greenland ice sheet is living on borrowed time. If all the ice sheet melts, sea levels will rise by more than seven meters. Although it will take several thousand years for the ice to melt in its entirety according to current estimates, it is quite possible that the ice sheet could add up to several tens of centimetres to the global sea level by 2100. This would make many coastal communities more vulnerable to flooding and storm surges.

Nasa Satellite observations earlier this month (corroborated by several independent satellite methods and research groups) have revealed a dramatic and unprecedented level of ice melt in Greenland. Scientists say an estimated 97 % of Greenland's ice sheet surface thawed at some point in mid-July. This is really bad news, the human-enhanced global warming have led to more warm air and more warmth clearly means more melting. We must stop releasing greenhouse gases.

The environmental community rightly recognizes global warming as one of the gravest threats to the planet.  The expected consequences include coastal flooding, increases in extreme weather, spreading disease, and mass extinctions.  Yet by focusing entirely on carbon dioxide emissions, major environmental organizations have failed to account for published data showing that other gases are the main culprits behind the global warming we see today. ... Animal agriculture produces more than 100 million tons of methane a year. And this source is on the rise.  About 85% of this methane is produced in the digestive processes of livestock, and while a single cow releases a relatively small amount of methane, the collective effect on the environment of the hundreds of millions of livestock animals worldwide is enormous. ... Simply by going vegetarian we can eliminate one of the major sources of emissions of methane, the greenhouse gas responsible for almost half of the global warming impacting the planet today.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


www.dw.de - For centuries, the Bishnoi have sworn by the preservation of plants and animals. Some have even lost their lives to defend this cause. The “eco-religion” was founded in the 15th century, when a farmer, who is now known as Guru Jambheshwar, retreated after a long drought and formulated 29 tenets according to which the farmers of the Thar Desert region should live their lives. The word bis means 20, whereas noi means nine. The tenets revolve around personal hygiene, basic health, social behavior, the worship of God, biodiversity and good animal husbandry. They include a ban on the felling of green trees.   “To lose one's head is better than to lose a tree,” according to a Bishnoi proverb. 
“The Bishnoi are a caste within the Hindu caste system,” explains Dr Pankaj Jain from the University of Texas. “They are strict vegetarians and do not kill living beings. Nature is holy to them.” However, the lives of the half million or so Bishnois who live in India's western state of Rajasthan are currently under threat due to the fact that the textile industry is polluting India's rivers.

The hundreds of small and medium-sized textile companies in the city of Jodhpur have polluted the Loni River, which is essential for keeping the sacred forest of Khejarli green and allowing the wild animals that are central to the Bishnois' beliefs to graze. “Nothing grows here anymore,” complains Balaram Bishnoi, a farmer from the village of Doli. “The land is dead. I had vegetables, crops and sesame - all kinds of things. Now not even grass grows anymore. The land has dried out completely.” He and several other farmers have filed a suit against the region's textile industry and are currently awaiting a verdict. 
Two centuries ago, at least 364 Bishnois died trying to protect the trees of Khrejarli.  Shivdas Shastri, the village priest, relates the story: “Some 200 years ago, the king ordered the forest to be cleared to build a palace. When the king's men came to fell the trees, the Bishnoi from the surrounding villages protested. 'We will die, but we won't allow the trees to be felled,' they shouted.” 
The villagers live in very close proximity with animals such as deer, antelopes or even peacocks. If hunters kill a fawn's mother, it is nursed by Bishnoi women.

For over half a millennium, the Bishnois have evolved their life-style into a religion that fiercely protects the environment, but today, the textile industry in Rajasthan is menacing their future. They are also in conflict with poachers whose activity is threatening the region's endangered species. However, it is modernization that is most difficult to combat. "It is difficult to stay true to our ideals," says the community's leader Faglu Ramji. "If we see how fast the world develops, we often feel as if we are losers," he says. The examples of ecological activism set by this communities are more effective than many governmental initiatives.

The spiritual, ethical, individual and collective dimensions of human life constitute a continuum, encompassing the whole of the Indic heritage and transcending all segments and fragments. The Vedic, Upanishadic, Jain and Buddhist traditions perceived this and together built an enduring spiritual, intellectual and cultural foundation for an environment-friendly value system and a balanced lifestyle. ... The Sikh, Vaishnava and Bishnoi traditions and numerous other Bhakti denominations in mediaeval India - which give spiritual joy, comfort and guidance to millions of people in India and abroad - are fine examples. The Indic environmental ethos declares that all aspects and phenomena of nature belong together and are bound in a physical as well as metaphysical relationship, and views life as a gift of togetherness and of mutual accommodation and assistance in a universe teeming with interdependent constituent.

RH. E. Dr Laxmi Mall Singhvi :
Former President of the World Congress on Human Rights
“The East is green” - August 1996.

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


www.smh.com.au - The young man sits nearly naked in a small concrete room, a thick, heavy chain fastened around his ankle and bolted to the wall. Flies swarm around a wound on his wrist where shackles have rubbed the skin raw. His own waste has pooled in the corner, turning the dirt floor into a pungent mud. This is no jail, however, and 23-year-old Jalaludin has committed no crime. 
The Mia Ali Baba shrine in east Afghanistan is a holy place and, those who care for it say, spending 40 days here will, God willing, free Jalaludin from his personal prison: mental illness. For 300 years, the shrine keepers here have taken in the mentally ill. They say they are upholding the legacy of their ancestor whom the shrine honours, a holy man by the name of Ali Baba known in this area outside Jalalabad for caring for the mentally ill when they were shunned by others. “This is an obligation for my family but it is also an honour,” said Mia Subadar, one of the shrine's guardians. “Since I have been here, hundreds … have come here and become healthy.”

Shrines such as Mia Ali Baba are frowned upon by healthcare professionals and critics, who say they are ineffective and that those who run them prey on vulnerable people's religion and superstitions to make a profit. But in Afghanistan, racked by poverty and decades of war, many do not have access to basic healthcare, let alone facilities for the mentally ill. With the government saying that more than 60 per cent of Afghans suffer psychological disorders from anxiety to depression that leaves a huge void to fill. Those sent here are chained to the walls of the small, windowless rooms. They are fed only water, black pepper and bread. They are not allowed to bathe anything except their faces, hands and feet. Speaking with others is prohibited. If a shrine keeper decides their situation is improving, they may be unchained for a few minutes so they can pray, walk outside or visit a proper bathroom. Mohammad Sadeq, 40, said he did not know specifically what was wrong with him, but he had wild mood swings. “I am a normal person but whenever I come out of the house in my village, the children start shouting 'Look at the crazy man' and they throw stones at me,” he said.

In Jalabad, Afghanistan, it is believed locally that 40 days in chains and with a restricted diet at the 300-year old shrine can cure the mentally ill and those possessed by spirits.  Healthcare professionals consider these Afghan shrines are ineffective but in this impoverished country many do not have access to treatment for the mentally ill or even to basic healthcare, so frustrated families often turn to places like Mia Ali Baba, hoping for a miracle. The prescription is drastic. In Kali-yuga almost all men are asuric, or demoniac and the propensity for mercy is almost nil.

We have to become activists of the good. There is so much garbage, so much cruelty that has to stop. ... Let us put aside all selfish interests. Consciousness is to serve others, and you have to sacrifice something of your own for others’ well-being; many people are suffering in this world. You have the power of change. We want that everyone becomes conscious and teaches by his own example.  We think that the duty of the humanity is to search the truth and to practice it. ... We believe that all people, who have certain knowledge, wealth or some other distinguishing capacity, should be conscious about their personal conduct and be disposed to utilize their advantages to protect and serve those less fortunate.  We believe that mercy, purity, honesty and austerity are the fundamental pillars to build a free, sane and just society. A conscious person should meditate a lot on this truth and try to practice it in his daily life.

Śrīla Bhakti Aloka Paramadvaiti Mahārāja :
“Conscience - even if it pains”

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

Monday, July 23, 2012


www.rt.com - Asia’s prolific black market in animal parts is pushing elephant, tiger and rhino populations to extinction at an unbridled rate, reports WWF. Exotic animal parts are highly valued in the region,coveted for their supposed curative properties. In a report released on Monday, the WWF cited record killings of animals in Africa and 23 countries in both Africa and Asia where the animal parts were bartered for trade. The document will be presented at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Geneva this week. 
Vietnam, Laos and Mozambique are the countries that do the least in the fight against animal killings, according to the report. "Last year had the largest number of elephants poached in Africa on record," said Wendy Elliott, WWF Global Species program manager in an interview. She added that “there is a growing involvement of organized crime in the trade,” alluding to the multiple seizures of elephant ivory of more than 800kg in Africa. The document said that Vietnam was a major destination for animal parts poached in Africa, as well as China and Thailand.

The WWF accused the countries of not doing enough to crack down on the thriving black market trade of endangered species and thus proliferating African poaching. "It is time for Vietnam to face the fact that its illegal consumption of rhino horn is driving the widespread poaching of endangered rhinos in Africa," said WWF's global species program manager, Elizabeth McLellan. The report traced the rhino horn trade back to South Africa, which it branded as the epicenter for rhino poaching with a record 448 killed in the country in 2011. 
This year could be worse as 262 rhinos had already reportedly been poached from January to June. The WWF criticized a Thai law that allows the trade of domesticated elephant ivory, saying that it was almost indistinguishable from African ivory.The report signaled that the rapidly diminishing tiger population was of special concern. Separately, members of WWF Spain on Saturday voted overwhelmingly to remove the Spanish King as their honorary president, after it emerged he had visited Botswana this year to hunt elephants.

Many Asian cultures highly prize elephant ivory and rhino horns for the decorative and supposed medicinal properties. Conservationists say conspicuous consumption from a growing middle class in Vietnam is opening a new market in the illegal wildlife trade and driving the catastrophic poaching of rhino horns in South Africa. The WWF conservation group underlined that China along with Thailand are the world’s worst offenders in the black market of elephant ivory. Forest and wild animals means the entire world. We are also part of that forest and must respect every life there.

The life of a rishi, a holy person, is meant to be one of self-control and penance, through diet, simple living, renunciation of belongings and meditation. The rishi must live in a place which is apart from the bustle and passion of worldly life, a place pervaded with the presence of God - this is tapovan, the forest of penance. If one wished to meet with such advanced souls one had to go to the forest where their ashrams, or hermitages, could be found. ... The presence of these sages also guaranteed the protection of the forest. No animal or tree could be harmed near where they lived. Even kings who violated the sanctity of the area by hunting could be punished. Nowadays it is necessary to establish sanctuaries by force of law and keep them under constant guard against poachers and vandals, but previously the mere presence of holy persons ensured the safety of all around them.

Ranchor Prime (Śripad Ranchor Dasa) :
“Hinduism & Ecology”
Chapter Two: “The World Forest”
Friends of Vrindavan (FOV) - WWF

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

Sunday, July 22, 2012


www.washingtonpost.com - Communal violence is grinding on in western Myanmar six weeks after the government declared a state of emergency there, and Muslim Rohingyas are increasingly being hit with targeted attacks that have included killings, rape and physical abuse, Amnesty International said. A government spokesman for coastal Rakhine state, which was engulfed by a wave of bloody unrest in June, called the allegations made Friday groundless and biased. Amnesty’s claims are “totally opposite of what is happening on the ground,” spokesman Win Myaing said, adding that the region was calm. Also Friday, the new U.S. ambassador to Myanmar announced a donation of $3 million in food aid to northern areas of the country affected by fighting between government troops and ethnic militias. Amnesty International accused both security forces and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists of carrying out new attacks against Rohingyas, who are seen as foreigners by the ethnic majority and denied citizenship by the government because it considers them illegal settlers from neighboring Bangladesh.

After a series of isolated killings starting in late May that left victims on both sides, bloody skirmishes quickly spread across much of Myanmar’s coastal Rakhine state. The government declared a state of emergency June 10, deploying troops to quell the unrest and protect both mosques and monasteries. Authorities said at least 78 people were killed and thousands of homes were burned down or destroyed - with the damage roughly split evenly between Buddhists and Muslims. The worst of the violence subsided late last month, but communal violence has ground on. Now, Amnesty said, it is being directed mostly at the Rohingya population. Iran urged the United Nations to take action to protect the Rohingyas. “We believe that ethnic and religious cleansing against Muslims under whatever pretext is unjustifiable and inexcusable under international law, and the United Nations must take urgent measures” to protect the Rohingyas by calling on Myanmar’s government to end its “crackdown,” Iran’s U.N. ambassador, Mohammad Khazaee, said in a letter Friday to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Communal violence has increased in Myanmar, and attacks are mostly being directed at the Rohingya population. The U.N. estimates that 800,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar today. Thousands attempt to flee every year to Bangladesh, Malaysia and elsewhere in the region to escape a life of abuse that rights groups say includes forced labour, violence against women and restrictions on movement, marriage and reproduction. Amnesty International called on Myanmar to accept the Rohingya as citizens. We should see our real identity, beyond the body, to accept everyone as part of our family.

In spiritual training, perhaps the single most important point to understand is that you are not your body. You are the soul within it. The soul is completely transcendental to the body, and does not come under the same designations that we give to the body. It does not belong to a certain family name or ethnic group. The soul is not Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, etc. It is also not American, Indian, Russian, Chinese, Pakistani, or anything else. According to the Upanishads it is also not happy, sad, frustrated or content, nor does it imagine anything but what it ought to imagine. It does not take birth, grow, change or die. ... There is a saying that anything that is temporary or changes is not the eternal truth. We have to go beyond what is temporary to get a glimpse of what is real and true. And the soul exists in that field of eternity that is completely beyond the mind, body and senses.

Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
"Thirty-one Days to Salvation on the Vedic Path"
"Day Twelve: You Are Not Your Body"
http://www.stephen-knapp.com  -  http://www.stephenknapp.info/

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

Saturday, July 21, 2012


www.washingtonpost.com - In a sign of Russian authorities’ determination to clamp down on dissent, a court extended for six months on Friday the detention of three punk rockers who had staged a protest performance in a cathedral. 
The three young women were among a group of five mask-wearing singers known as Pussy Riot who took to the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in February and chanted what they described as a punk prayer. 
In it, they called on divine intervention to drive then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin from office two weeks before his election as president.  The women - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23, Maria Alekhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29 - were arrested shortly afterward.  
Prosecutors said they needed more time to investigate and asked for an extension until January. By then the women will have been behind bars for a total of 10 months, accused of blasphemy and offending Orthodox believers. They are being held on hooliganism charges, which can bring up to seven years in jail.

The court action came just after the Russian parliament passed a series of quickly written laws this month aimed at curbing protest by imposing hefty fines for slander, allowing government limits on the Internet and forcing human rights and election-monitoring organizations, among other groups that receive foreign funds, to register as foreign agents.News of the prolonged detention quickly dominated Twitter and other social media and was met by disbelief and outrage. 
Although the Russian Orthodox Church has supported the rockers’ prosecution, the charges have angered many here, believers and non-believers alike, who say the women may be guilty of disorderly conduct but should not be in jail.
Influential cultural figures have signed petitions in their defence, and fund-raising concerts for them have been held around the world. Amnesty International has described them as prisoners of conscience and, after the latest court ruling, called for their immediate release.

A Moscow court’s decision to detain the members of the all-girl Russian punk band “Pussy Riot” for another 6 months has sparked a new wave of public outrage.  The trio of female punk group, who face up to seven years in jail, derided President Vladimir Putin in a protest in Moscow's main cathedral, have been held in pre-trial detention since March in what their lawyers called a show trial dictated by the Kremlin. There are two ways of bringing the opposition under control. One is by logic and philosophy, the other is by force.

... Thus the saintly persons became very anxious for the safety of the people in general. The conclusion is that even though saintly persons have no business in political affairs, they are always compassionate upon the people in general. Thus even though they are always aloof from society, out of mercy and compassion they consider how the citizens can peacefully execute their rituals and follow the rules and regulations of varnāśrama-dharma. That was the concern of these sages. 
In this age of Kali, everything is disturbed. Therefore saintly persons should take to the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra, as recommended in the śāstras: harer nāma harer nāma / harer nāmaiva kevalam /kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva / nāsty eva gatir anyathā [Adi 17.21] Both for spiritual and material prosperity, everyone should devotedly chant the Hare Krishna mantra.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāna)
Canto 4: "Creation of the Fourth Order"
Chapter 14: "The Story of King Vena"
Verse 37 - Bhaktivedanta VedaBase

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"