Monday, December 31, 2012


PREACH LOVE, COEXISTENCE AND PEACE - Morocco owes its image of a modern Muslim nation to Sufism, a spiritual and tolerant Islamic tradition that goes back to the first generations of Muslims who, for centuries, has supported religious cohesion, social and cultural Moroccan society. Sufism provides answers to some of the most complex problems facing the contemporary Muslim world, where youth comprise the majority of the population. Sufism attracts more young Moroccans because of its tolerance, due to the easy interpretation that gives to the Qur’an, its rejection of fanaticism and its embrace of modernity. 
Sufism balanced lifestyle that allows them to enjoy arts, music and love without having to abandon their spiritual or religious obligations. Sufi orders organize regular gatherings to pray, chant and debate timely topics of social and political, from the protection of the environment and social charity to the fight against drugs and the threat of terrorism. 

In addition, focusing on the universal values that Islam shares with Christianity and Judaism (as the pursuit of happiness, the love of the family, tolerance of racial and religious differences and the promotion of peace) Sufi gatherings inspire young people to engage in interfaith dialogue. Sufis distance themselves from fundamentalists (who see Islam strict and Utopian emulation of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions), with particular emphasis on the adaptation of community concerns and priorities of the modern time. Sufis neither condemn unveiled women nor do they censor the distractions of our time. For them, the difference between virtue and vice is the intent, not appearances. 
People get together to sing Sufi poetry, the primordial essence of the human being, the virtues of simplicity and the healing gifts of Sufi saints such as Sidi Abderrahman Majdub, Sidi Ahmed Tijani, and Sidi Bouabid Charki, spiritual masters revered for having attained spiritual union with God during their earthly lives.

Most Moroccans, young or old, practice one form of Sufism or another. “In addition to Moroccans, thousands of young people in Europe, America and Africa flock to sacred music festivals organized every summer by Sufi movements throughout Morocco, to sing and celebrate their enthusiasm for life and their commitment to the universal values of peace. The scene at these festivals completely refutes the kind of image that extremists seek to convey to Muslim youth. It is this fusion of Sufism and modernity that produces a unique aesthetic experience, which is attractive to Moroccan youth who reject extremism and uphold values of a shared humanity,” explains Said Temsamani, author of this article, who is a Moroccan political observer and consultant. Hinduism can be considered a living link between the ancient teachings of Islamic Sufism, Christian Gnosticism and Jewish Kabbalah.

Hindu sages have always considered different religions as divergent aspects of the same truth. The sages of the modern era, too, have repeatedly prompted us to create a liaison between the East and the West, to achieve the best possible results without compromising the essential and basic principles. Hinduism has thus carried forth the tradition of the early tribal religions, when tolerance of other religions was astonishingly high as compared with the organized religions of the later period. ... There is reason to believe that all religions have an internal bonding. Even as there are many differences, there are also amazing similarities. The Kabbalah sect of Judaism, the Sufism of Islam, and the Gnosticism of Christianity share a lot in common with Hinduism. Perhaps there is a divine purpose, both in the diversity and unity of faiths.

Dr. Hiro Badlani :
“Hinduism - Path of the Ancient Wisdom”
Chapter 55: “Hinduism and Interfaith”
“The Future Trends in Our World”

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

Sunday, December 30, 2012


PILGRIMS IN SOUTHWEST PAKISTAN - At least 20 Shiite Muslim pilgrims were killed when a car bomb destroyed three buses in southwest Pakistan. The attack comes as security forces searched for the killers of 21 kidnapped troops in the troubled northwest. The remotely-triggered bomb hit a convoy of three buses carrying about 180 pilgrims to Iran and set one of the buses ablaze in Mastung district, they said. “At least 20 people have been killed and 25 injured,” said Tufail Baluch, a senior district government official. “All of them were Shiite pilgrims.” Most of those killed were burnt to death, he said. 
“The bomb was planted in a car. The condition of some of the injured is critical.” The injured included four women and some children but medics were having trouble identifying the dead bodies, many of which were burnt beyond recognition, said Akbar Harifal, a top official in the area. 

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing at Mastung, some 30 kilometres south of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province. Investigators recovered broken parts of a car and were investigating the possible involvement of a suicide bomber. The province has become an increasing flashpoint for sectarian violence between Pakistan's majority Sunni Muslims and minority Shiites - a fifth of the country's 180 million people. Baluchistan is also rife with Islamist militancy and home to a regional insurgency which began in 2004. 
The insurgents demand political autonomy and a greater share of profits from oil and gas resources. It was the country's second mass killing to be reported in less than a day while security forces were hunting the killers of 21 security personnel whose bodies were discovered not far from outside Peshawar where they had been kidnapped by the Pakistani Taliban

A car bomb exploded on Sunday near a convoy of buses taking Shia pilgrims to Iran, killing 20 people and wounding 25, officials said. Witnesses said the blast occurred as the three buses were overtaking a car about 60 kilometres west of Quetta, site of many sectarian attacks, near the Iranian border. The injured included women and some children but medics were having trouble identifying the bodies, many of which were burnt beyond recognition, said authorities. New York-based Human Rights Watch has noted more than 320 Shias killed this year in Pakistan and said attacks due sectarian violence are on the rise. Religious intolerance should always be avoided, it is the source of hatred and sectarian violence against other manifestations of faith toward God.

Two factors that keep the world from being united is the presumption of racial superiority, and the desire to conquer and convert. ... Thus, they create hell on earth rather than being able to bring in the Kingdom of God, as some of them say they can. ... Dharmists (those who follow Sanatana-dharma, the Vedic path) often welcome other religions, as in the way we have seen so many that have settled in India and made it their home, such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, the Parsis, Jews, Zoroastrians, Sikhs, Baha’i, etc. ... Intolerance kills.  So, we can see the liberality, kindness and openness of Dharmists, yet in any Muslim country, they allow but one religion to flourish, and any other religion must practice undercover, or they are persecuted and driven out or even thrown into prison, just as we are seeing many Hindus and Christians being driven out of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, etc..

Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Why All Religions Are Not the Same”  -

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

Saturday, December 29, 2012


IN CHINA YOU COULD GET SUED - Visit your parents. That's an order. So says China, whose national legislature on Friday amended its law on the elderly to require that adult children visit their aged parents “often” - or risk being sued by them. The amendment does not specify how frequently such visits should occur. State media say the new clause will allow elderly parents who feel neglected by their children to take them to court. The move comes as reports abound of elderly parents being abandoned or ignored by their children. 
A rapidly developing China is facing increasing difficulty in caring for its aging population. Three decades of market reforms have accelerated the breakup of the traditional extended family in China, and there are few affordable alternatives, such as retirement or care homes, for the elderly or others unable to live on their own. State media reported that a grandmother in her 90s in the prosperous eastern province of Jiangsu had been forced by her son to live in a pig pen for two years. 

News outlets frequently carry stories about other parents being abused or neglected, or of children seeking control of their elderly parents' assets without their knowledge. The expansion of China's elderly population is being fueled both by an increase in life expectancy - from 41 to 73 over five decades - and by family planning policies that limit most families to a single child. Rapid aging poses serious threats to the country's social and economic stability, as the burden of supporting the growing number of elderly passes to a proportionately shrinking working population and the social safety net remains weak. The rapid pace of development in China has damaged the traditional extended family in China. 
An eighth of the population of China is over the age of 60, and more than half of them live alone. Their children often leave home to work in the major industrial centres. The dislocation of families has been exacerbated by China's one-child policy and a dramatic advance in life expectancy. China has nearly 167 million people aged over 60, and one million above 80.

China has passed a law requiring adult children to visit their elderly parents regularly or risk being sued. The law does not specify how frequently such visits should occur, but warns that neglect could risk court action. Reports suggest a growing number of elderly Chinese have been abandoned or neglected by their offspring. Newspapers are full of such stories, or of tales of children trying to seize their parents' assets, or of old people dying unnoticed in their homes. Unfortunately, in many places around the world, it has become a "nomal" behaviour that children put their parents in storage places called 'retirement homes' and take them Christmas candy or a gift for birthday once a year, while the medical and pharmaceutical system keep all the savings of the elderly.

A father creates the illusion that when his child grows up he will cooperate, but that goes! When children reach the age of thirteen or fourteen years, they say: “my father is old; this moron does not understand anything.” The children spend their nights in clubs and the father is concerned, then the child suddenly gets all high on marijuana, all drugged and the father says, “son, what have you been doing?” And he answered: “father, get out of here, leave me alone.” And when the father says: “I am the authority here,” he says, “ well, so until then, stay you well.” They leave the house and cruelly abandon their parents ... “And now even my children have gone, they are not grateful, the last child told me why didn't you go to a nursing home and give the house to them.” ... That's the story of all men in this world and for that reason they need your compassion, they need you make them to be close to Krishna, to give them mercy; this is something worthwhile, something that can make you deserve the mercy Krishna.

Śrīla Bhakti Aloka Paramadvaiti Mahārāja :
“Class of Sankirtan - December Marathon”

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

Friday, December 28, 2012


MIDWEST AND NORTHEAST US - Winter weather complicated travel for many Americans on Wednesday - and left six dead in weather-related accidents, and even forced one NBA team to take the rare step of postponing a game due to the conditions. Six people, including two young children, have died in weather-related incidents since Tuesday. A 1-year-old and 2-year-old child were killed in a car accident in Arkansas, an official with the state's department of emergency said. Tommy Jackson also said a man was killed in his home in Saline County by a falling tree.
Snow totals in parts of Indiana ranged from 6 to 12 inches, CNN affiliate WRTV in Indianapolis reported. About 350 snowplows were clearing roads throughout the city. “It's pretty bad. You get a lot of drifting out there. That's what's killing us, mainly,” said plow driver David White. The Indiana Pacers said their game against the Chicago Bulls was rescheduled due to severe weather in Indianapolis. No makeup date was announced. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told residents they should avoid nonessential travel. New York State Police said long sections of Interstate 84 and the Taconic State Parkway were closed for several hours while crews cleared snow. Wind was causing major delays at airports, including Philadelphia International Airport. At one point, it had delays of more than four hours, the longest setbacks in the country, the Federal Aviation Administration said. Several other airports in the Northeast experienced delays of more than two hours on Wednesday. CNN meteorologist Alexandra Steele said wind was the primary problem.
As many people tried to get home, others were surveying the results of the storms that began in the Midwest and surged east. A white Christmas is rare for Little Rock, Arkansas, but a powerful winter storm took it to a new level: The 9 inches that fell broke a December 25 snowfall record that stood for 86 years. In areas where the storm has passed, officials were assessing the damage.

Heavy snow and strong winds battered the north-eastern United States Thursday, intensifying post-Christmas travel woes. More than 2,750 flights have been cancelled since Tuesday as the huge storm wreaked havoc from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes. It has so far claimed at least nine people dead and many without power. Hundreds of flights were cancelled and people were warned to stay home rather than brave the strong winds, freezing temperatures and treacherous roads. The National Weather service warned of “dangerous travel conditions due to snow and ice covered roads” and said the weight of ice and snow could knock down power lines and trees. When human beings don't follow basic principles of morality and spirituality, there are reactions and those reactions come in various forms.

It is a misperception that the West has almost all that it needs. All of us have probably heard about devastating hurricane and storms. ... If we look at the overall situation of nature in America, it is at times quite furious, and there are times when throughout the year, for many months, one is just not able to go out of the house because of heavy snowfall. This may not happen in all parts of America and it certainly does not happen in those parts of America which we see in television or movies. But it does happen in real America.  ... If you look at the world today, it’s not just the matter of India or the West, everywhere we are seeing, because people are not living according to the principles of morality and spirituality.  Because people are not performing sacrifices, that’s why the natural supplies are increasingly being destructed.

Śrīpad Chaitanya Charan das :
“The Spiritual Scientist”
“How is the Western world Having its Necessities
Despite Not Performing any Sacrifices?”

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

Thursday, December 27, 2012


WORLD HOUSEHOLDERS' YOGA CONVENTION - The Yoga Institute, oldest organized centre of Yoga in the world, celebrates the completion of 94 years in Mumbai. On the occasion of its 94th foundation day celebrations, the institute held The World Householders' Yoga convention 2012 December 25 and December 26, 2012 at the Yoga Institute in Santa Cruz East, Mumbai. The panel discussions including leading personalities from the fields of medicine, education, corporate, and media were on three topics - yoga as education for life, life style management and yoga in healthcare management and yoga guide to living life. 
The experience centre facilitating programs like Samattvam (means a balanced state of mind) is intended to give householders a chance to know the physical as well as the subtle (mental, emotional and spiritual) effects of Yoga.

The convention emphasized on recent case studies, sharing insights on ailments like cancer and complications arising due to diabetes and cardiac disorder. It also highlighted a few yogic exercises and sattvic food that can successfully control the various physical and mental ailments. Addressing the need of individuals today, Smt. Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra, director of institute, said, “The key objective of the Convention is to propagate a simplified form of yoga for the common man and woman. 
As Patanjali, the compiler of the yoga sutras, emphasizes on control of the mind which is done on the intellectual as well as emotional level, we want to help each individual in the world to feel true relaxation of body and mind and learn how simple yoga practices helps in gaining clarity of mind and strength of character.” She explains that “Householder Yoga is a simplified form of Yoga for the common man and woman as we believe that a householder does not require the extreme stretch of Hatha Yoga practices.”

Continuing the legacy of Shri Yogendraji, founder of the institute or the heart of modern Yoga renaissance 94 years later, the institute through World Householders' Yoga Convention desires to facilitate an individual to experience the physical, mental and spiritual effects of Yoga and how it can change an individual's life. The two day event included exhibition about the pioneering research done by The Yoga Institute in fields such as Therapeutic Yoga, Yoga Indology and Yoga Education.  The event was graced by the presence of famous personalities like Padma Vibhushan Awardee, Santoor Maestro, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, well-known actor, Anupam Kher, and popular singer, Sukhwinder Singh. Yoga is a science which involves a harmonious blending of the body and mind, aiming toward the highest levels of efficiency in all spheres of activities.

Yoga is basically a system that involves the training of body, mind, and spirit; it is a very integrated program. Often in modern athletic training, the body is exercised but the mind is not attended to. Conversely, in religious or spiritual courses, the physical part is ignored. The ancient concept of yoga recognizes that through a healthy body alone, a healthy mind might be cultivated. A mind, too, needs vigilant supervision and guidance, lest it go astray in a vicious direction. The mind must be fixated to the highest and noblest thoughts of virtuous conduct. Thus, man is groomed to attain excellence in all fields of life. Physical, mental, and spiritual aspects are very methodically coordinated to yield the best possible results. It is the highest stage of development when a person attains spirituality through yoga. One learns to become stabilized in the absolute bliss of the Divine, so he may radiate the beauty and goodness around.

Dr. Hiro Badlani :
“Hinduism - Path of the Ancient Wisdom”
Chapter 45: “Yoga: Union with the Divine”

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

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


TURN A BLIND EYE TO SEXUAL OFFENSES - A brutal crime shocks the nation, but even as public discontent grows, our 'leaders' waffle and play the blame game. But we can’t pin all the blame on our self-serving politicians - it’s us, Indian citizens, which have allowed regressive ideas and criminal behaviour to flourish. As the year ended, the nation was shaken to its core by the brutal rape of a young woman. The barbaric incident and the shocking details of the torture inflicted by the six depraved criminals may have left us distraught, but are we willing to change things? And where do we start? The system may have failed, as many say, but blaming the government solely would be futile - the rot goes deep into our society. 
Our police system, largely unchanged since the colonial days, is still based on the concept of protecting the ruling classes, through brutality and fear. Ask any youth - especially a woman - of their experience with the men in khaki, and the recollection will probably make them shudder. 

The police may not have been around to protect the woman (whose injuries are so severe that she might never lead a normal life even if she survives) but was ready to attack peaceful protestors gathered in central Delhi - a VIP area reserved for our nation’s ruling classes. The police clamped down on protests, kicking and beating even old women and children. And then, how can we forget rape laws and the outdated justice system, which often puts the victim on trial. Blaming the rape on the woman, claiming she had ‘provoked’ a rapist, and subjecting her to unimaginably regressive tests and questioning is just unspeakably cruel. This is not what a civilised society does. And then there is the not-so-insignificant issue that most sexual assault gets fobbed off as ‘eve-teasing’ or ‘molestation’, terms that minimize the horror of sex crimes. 
But can we expect a transformation? Not till we change. Safe in their Delhi fortresses, surrounded by armed guards, and living a life of luxury at the taxpayer’s expense, it’s unlikely our politicians will want any change in the system, as that would only reduce their grip over our nation. So, change must come from society, but sadly, the rot in the government emanates from the decay in Indian society.

The author of the article, Vaibhav Sharma, a freelance writer, gives many daily events of social embarrassment, such these “Many women participating in the peaceful protests at India Gate reported being pawed at and groped by drunken men - who were ostensibly there in support for a safe nation?” … “When miscreants attend a rally calling for justice for a rape victim, and take advantage of the crowds to sexually assault women.” And he asks, “Is that what we have become?” As the morality of humanity declined through the ages, the need for proper rulers - those who always protect Dharma keeping the subjects happy and driving away the evil doers - become increasingly evident.

Time and again the Mahabharata and other Vedic texts stress that a ruler must be able to protect and care for the citizens. ... “Having thus arranged all the affairs (of) his (government), he shall zealously and carefully protect his subjects. That (monarch) whose subjects are carried off by robbers (Dasyu) from his kingdom, while they loudly call (for help), and he and his servants are quietly looking on, is a dead and not a living (king). ... “A king should protect his subjects just as a pregnant woman nurtures the foetus in her womb.” (Mb.12.56.44) In this way, as a pregnant woman sacrifices her own interests for the sake of the child in her womb, so also a king should be able to give up his own interests to address the needs of the citizens. “Just as a father helps his son rise over a crisis, so also a king should deliver his subjects from difficulties.” (Bhagavata Purana 11.17.45).

Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Purpose and Function of Government
According to Mahabharata”  -

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

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Agencies - Today Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus around the world. People are celebrating Christmas in ways both spiritual and secular. Here's a look at some of the ways the holiday is being marked around the globe. Thousands of Christians from the over the world packed Manger Square in Bethlehem Monday to celebrate the birth of Jesus in the ancient West Bank town where he was born. For their Palestinian hosts, this holiday season was an especially joyous one, with the hardships of the Israeli occupation that so often clouded previous Christmas Eve celebrations eased by the United Nations' recent recognition of an independent state of Palestine. 
Festivities led up to the Midnight Mass at St. Catherine's Church, next to the Church of the Nativity, built over the grotto where tradition says Jesus was born. Hundreds of people greeted Twal in Manger Square, outside the Church of Nativity, with children dressed in holiday finery or in Santa costumes, and marching bands playing in the streets. 

In the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI lit a Christmas peace candle set on the windowsill of his private studio. Pilgrims, tourists and Romans gathered below in St. Peter's Square for the inauguration Monday evening of a Nativity scene and cheered when the flame was lit. Later, the pope led Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, prayed that Israelis and Palestinians live in peace and freedom, and asked the faithful to pray for strife-torn Syria as well as Lebanon and Iraq. In Iraq, Christians gathered for services with tight security, including at Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation church. 
Winners of Spain's cherished Christmas lottery celebrated Saturday in more than a dozen locations where lucky tickets were sold, a moment of uplift for a country enduring another brutal year of economic hardship. It is an annual tradition in Thailand - elephants dressed as Santa Claus on parade, handing out toys to school children. In Mexico, Santa takes a human form, going for a swim with the fishes, delighting children at a zoo or the streets.

Christmas is being celebrated around the world, with Christians exchanging gifts and greetings to mark the traditional date of the birth of Jesus Christ. Wherever Christians live around the world, the routines of daily life are coming to a stop as people pause to celebrate Christmas, sometimes in unique ways. While thousands of pilgrims are gathered in Manger Square in the Palestinian town of Bethlehem, the town where Jesus is said to have been born, others go to pray at various ceremonies and Christmas church services in their local churches. However, many people around the world enjoy the celebration just shopping, going to family reunions or wearing Santa Claus costumes, eating, drinking and sharing gifts.

Jesus is a consciousness of God. Of pure delivery to the Lord. Therefore he is a master to these days,  because he has delivered something eternal. ... Thus, remembering Jesus, we also remember all the genuine gurus who have illuminated us on our way, as all form a same family dedicated to bring us to God. ... Let’s hope that on the day of Jesus, more than one soul remember him and not give most attention to the ridiculous Father Christmas. It is a great sadness to see how this day, which should be so sacred for the Christians, has become more and more profane each year. Who will give a present to Jesus? Who will sing to him on his altar? Just a few people are doing it! But we shouldn’t be surprised; this is the effect of Kali yuga. Well the devotees of Krishna, they certainly do celebrate and sing your glories in your divine and wonderful eternal and progressive immortality. Jay, Merry Christmas!

Śrīla Atulananda Ācārya :
“Jesus and His Message of Universal Love”
“Merry Christmas in Krishna Consciousness”
Santiago, Chile - 22 Dec 2005

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

Monday, December 24, 2012


HealthDay News - Many children with food allergies may be bullied at school - sometimes with potentially dangerous threats to their physical health. A new study, of 251 families at a New York City allergy clinic, found that about one-third of kids said they'd been bullied specifically because of their food allergy. 
The bullying usually happened at school and often took the form of teasing. Some children said classmates threatened them with the food to which they were allergic - waving it in front of them, throwing it at them or saying they would sneak it into their other food. “With food allergies, that kind of bullying does carry a theoretical physical risk,” said Dr. Jay Lieberman, from University of Tennessee Health Science Center, in Memphis. Food allergy symptoms can range from hives, swollen lips and stomach pain to potentially life-threatening reactions where children can't breathe and their blood pressure plummets.

In the USA, an estimated 4 % to 5 % of kids younger than 18 have a food allergy, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. A handful of foods, including peanuts, cow's milk, eggs and fish, account for most. Because parents of food-allergic kids are usually vigilant about avoiding the culprit foods, severe allergic reactions are fortunately rare, said Dr. Eyal Shemesh. Both Shemesh and Lieberman said it's important for parents, schools and doctors to be aware that food allergies can make kids a target for bullying. The study is reported online Dec. 24 and in the January 2013 print issue of Pediatrics. 
This new study, Lieberman said, went a step further by asking kids about their quality of life - including their emotional well-being and how they were getting along at school. It turned out that children who were bullied reported a lower quality of life than their food-allergic peers who were not targeted.

Children could get stigmatized at school, when classmates have to avoid bringing peanuts and peanut butter to school. Peanuts, even in small amounts, can cause a serious allergic reaction. And simple skin contact with a peanut product can trigger a rash. Education about food allergies - for kids and adults - could help. Experts say that kids doing the bullying do not understand how serious food allergies are, so it's possible that if they get more education about this, some cases of bullying may stop. “What really affects these children's lives is everything that surrounds the allergy - the food avoidance, the anxiety,” said professor Shemesh. And bullying, apparently, can be part of the “everything” that surrounds kids' food allergies.  Every day a child is bullied at school or online. Say NO to bullying!

The alarming rise of bullying in the schools ... inspired me to address bullying with an educationally-based yoga program during the school-day curriculum to teach ahimsa - nonviolence to self and others. ... There is a huge need for this type of education for kids. With the constant advancement in technology, kids and teens are continually bombarded with external stimuli. ... Students of all ages love yoga. It is fun and very relaxing. The CK system teaches children how to balance their lives and how to communicate effectively. Students do not ask for asanas (yoga postures); they do ask for relaxation, concentration or conflict resolution scenarios. It is the lifestyle of yoga that sparks their interest. Yoga is an enjoyable way to learn self-reflection, introspection, and relaxation, which most children greatly appreciate. It helps them to counterbalance their reaction to the busy world they live in.

Ms Dee Marie, MA :
“Bullying Can Be Stopped With Yoga”
CK - Calming Kids - Creating a Non-Violent World  -

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

Sunday, December 23, 2012


CELEBRATION OF CHRISTMAS? - Before you say that Christmas is celebrated only on 25 December just wait for a while and think, is Christmas just celebrated on one day? The answer is No! Many of us celebrate Christmas for a day or two but do you know that Christmas is a 12-day-celebration? Twelve days of Christmas begins on December 25 and ends just before Epiphany that falls on January 5th or 6th. Epiphany is a Christian feast that is marked to celebrate the 'shining forth' or revelation of God to the whole humankind.  
First Day: In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the great feast that is also known as 'Nativity of our Lord' starts on the Christmas Eve that is 25th of December. The first day of Christmas signifies the Nativity of Christ. Nativity of Jesus, the Adoration of the Shepherds of Bethlehem and the arrival of the Magi all mark the first day of Christmas. Second Day: The second day is referred to as the Synaxis of the Holy Theotokos. It also commemorates the role of Virgin Mary in the incarnation of Jesus' mother. 

Third Day: Third day of the Nativity is also called as feast day of the Protodeacon and the Protomartyr Saint Stephan. Fourth day: 29th of December or the fourth day of Christmas is referred to as the Orthodox Feast of the Holy Innocents. Fifth and sixth day: The after feast of Nativity continues till 31st of December. These days are also known as the Apodosis or leave-taking of the nativity. 
Seventh day: According to the Russian Icon of the Theophany, there was another feast of the Lord on January 1st. This feast is known as Circumcision of the Lord. It is also believed that on the same day Saint Basil also had feast with the common men. And thus the services celebrated on the day are also called as Divine Liturgy of the Saint Basil. Eighth to Eleventh days: January 2nd begins with the Forefeast of the Theophany that lasts for 3 days. Twelfth day: The day is also known as 'Paramony' or the 'Great Blessing of Water' which marks the day when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in Jordan River. After this comes Epiphany day, also called The Day of the Kings.

The Twelve days of Christmas are significant as they include the birth of Jesus Christ, his childhood events, and his journey to Baptism. As regards the last day of Christmas celebration, Apoorva Srivastav, author of the article, reports that this twelfth day is a day of fasting. She explains that according Christian mythology the Lord has given order to his people to observe strict fast and not eat until the first star is seen at the night.  After the twelfth day comes Epiphany, normally on January 6, which marks the day when a group of Kings or Magi (Casper, Melchior and Balthazar), as related in the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, arrived to worship and bring three gifts to the baby Jesus after following a star in the heavens.

We are approaching a very significant date for most people in this world, Christmas. This is a special moment for meetings, joys, gifts, so many feelings that may not commonly occur at other times of year.  ... Christmas means celebrating the advent of a pure and enlightened soul, which descends from the spiritual plane for the sole purpose of spreading among us a message of spiritual love, and then to fulfill its specific mission, returns to his eternal home next to Supreme Being. ... Try to really celebrate Christmas ... and instead of thinking of receive we can want to give; but not to give material elements, but to what Christ and all the great teachers have given us - and what they still continue giving - a message and example of how to mold our lives according to the will of the Supreme.  To the extent that we can assimilate and share these valuable insights, we can strictly say that we are truly celebrating Christmas.

Śrīpad Bhakti Vedanta Padmanabha Mahārāja :
Cierra Tus Ojos y Mira - “Christmas Meditation”

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

Saturday, December 22, 2012


PARDON TO FORMER BUTLER - Pope Benedict made a surprise pre-Christmas visit to the jail holding his former butler on Saturday and pardoned him for stealing and leaking documents that alleged corruption in the Holy See. The pope and Paolo Gabriele spent about 15 minutes together before Gabriele was freed and allowed to return to his family in their Vatican apartment, a Vatican spokesman said. Gabriele was convicted of aggravated theft on October 6 in a case that shone unwelcome publicity on the Vatican and had been serving an 18-month sentence in a jail cell in the city state's police headquarters. 
Gabriele was arrested in May after Vatican police found many documents in his possession that had been stolen from the pope's office. The former butler gave them to the media in what mushroomed into an embarrassing scandal for Benedict's pontificate that became known as “Vatileaks”.

Gabriele told investigators he had leaked the documents because he saw “evil and corruption everywhere in the Church” and that information was being hidden from the pope. The Vatican said the pope had also pardoned a second Vatican employee, Claudio Sciarpelletti, who was convicted in a separate trial of helping Gabriele and given a two month suspended sentence. Gabriele will no longer be able to work in the Vatican but will be helped to find a job and start a new life outside its walls together with his family, the Vatican said. The documents Gabriele leaked triggered one of the biggest crises of Pope Benedict's papacy when they emerged in a muckraking expose by an Italian journalist earlier this year. 
The case was all the more embarrassing for the Vatican because it came at a time when it was trying to limit the reputational fallout from a series of scandals involving sexual abuse of minors by clerics around the world as well as from mismanagement at its bank.

The Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI has pardoned Paolo Gabriele, his former butler who was convicted of leaking sensitive documents that alleged corruption in the Holy See. In one of the most dramatic betrayals of trust in Vatican history, Gabriele, who served the pope his meals and helped him dress, photocopied some documents the pope had marked “to be destroyed”. The Vatican's presiding judge decided to cut his sentence from three years to 18 months. “This was a paternal gesture towards a person with whom the pope shared his daily life for several years,” Father Federico Lombardi, a spokesman, said. “This is a happy ending in this Christmas season,” he said. Forgiveness is a virtue. It is a transcendental quality which belongs to godly men endowed with divine nature.

Different personalities become beautiful by possessing different qualities. Cānakya Pandita says that the cuckoo bird, although very black, is beautiful because of its sweet voice. Similarly, a woman becomes beautiful by her chastity and faithfulness to her husband, and an ugly person becomes beautiful when he becomes a learned scholar. In the same way, brāhmanas, ksatriyas, vaiśyas and śūdras become beautiful by their qualities. Brāhmanas are beautiful when they are forgiving, ksatriyas when they are heroic and never retreat from fighting, vaiśyas when they enrich cultural activities and protect cows, and śūdras when they are faithful in the discharge of duties pleasing to their masters. Thus everyone becomes beautiful by his special qualities. And the special quality of the brāhmana, as described here, is forgiveness.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 9.15.40 - Canto 9: “Liberation”
Chapter 15: “Paraśurāma, the Lord's Warrior Incarnation”
Verse 40 - Bhaktivedanta VedaBase Network

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

Friday, December 21, 2012


18TH CENTURY VEGETARIAN EVANGELIST - The Beefsteak chapel hardly sounds like a place where vegetarians would be welcome, but more than 200 years ago, this tiny chapel in Salford was the British birthplace of the meat-free diet. In an even greater twist, the cleric who preached the moral virtues of vegetarianism was the Reverend William Cowherd. His Beefsteak Chapel was the country's first vegetarian church. Cowherd, born almost 250 years ago on Sunday 16 December, demanded his congregation eat a meat-free diet. At this time the poor would eat the cheapest meat. This meant a diet featuring a great deal of offal - sometimes stomach or intestines. 
Cowherd believed that God inhabited every animal and as such it was a sin to eat meat. His followers - aptly named Cowherdites - went on to form the Vegetarian Society. The health effects of a meat-free diet were unknown and many feared they would be catastrophic. 

A fellow minister of Cowherd, Robert Hindmarsh, blamed deaths among Cowherd's followers on their meat-free diet. Much of Cowherd's novel social outlook appears to have been influenced by 18th Century Swedish theologian Emanuel Swedenborg. Abstinence from meat became part of the church's creed. Cowherd told his congregation it was a sin to eat meat and it could make them behave aggressively. The Vegetarian Society quotes him saying: “If God had meant us to eat meat, then it would have come to us in edible form as is the ripened fruit.” In a city like Manchester, with people removed from daily, rural reminders of animals being slaughtered for food, intellectuals for the first time began to debate the ethics of eating animals. 
After Cowherd's death in 1816, Joseph Brotherton became the Beefsteak Chapel's minister and continued his mission. Along with other Cowherdites, Brotherton helped form the Vegetarian Society in 1847.

Reverend William Cowherd and some other ministers in England were influenced by the 18th Century Swedish theologian Emanuel Swedenborg who believed that everything in the physical world had a spiritual value. Cowherd's chapel became a working class institution in Salford. Beyond being a place of worship, it was a school, a science academy, a library and had its own printing press. The Vegetarian Society had its own gentleman's club in Manchester city centre. There were more vegetarian restaurants in Victorian Manchester than there are today. According to Dr Samantha Calvert, who has researched the vegetarian movement, in the early days vegetarians were catered for by temperance hotels and dining rooms. At the beginning of religions, vegetarianism was essential. In order to make our minds pure, almost all religion advocate that at least a few days, you adhere to a vegetarian diet.

Gurudev often quoted from the Biblical scriptures when discussing vegetarianism as the natural diet for human beings. He referred, for example, to Genesis 1:29 in the Bible, where God says, “Behold, I have given you every herb-bearing seed which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree in which are fruits; for you it shall be as meat.” He also quoted the Dead Sea Scrolls, which contain some of the teachings on meat eating from the time of Jesus: “And the flesh of slain beasts in a person's body will become his own tomb. For I tell you truly, he who kills, kills himself, and whosoever eats the flesh of slain beasts eats the body of death.” And he alluded to St. Paul, too, who said in his letters to the Romans, “It is good not to eat flesh ...” (Romans 14:2). Additionally, Gurudev had the opportunity to read some of the works of fourteenth-century Christian saints from manuscripts housed in the library of the Order of the Cross, in England. He said that almost every one of them recommended eating pure vegetarian food and abstaining from liquor.

Steven J. Rosen (Satyaraja das) :
“Food for the Soul”
“Vegetarianism and Yoga Traditions”
“We Are What We Eat”, Rev. Sandra Kumari de Sachy

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