Saturday, March 31, 2012

TODAY WE CELEBRATE EARTH HOUR

THREE WAYS TO A GREENER
PLANET DURING EARTH HOUR
http://technorati.com - There’s one common action you can take with nearly 2 billion people on March 31st at 8:30PM in your local time zone: turn off the lights. What began with the World Wildlife Foundation in Australia in 2007 has now grown to a global eco campaign that will reach individuals, families, businesses and governments when they commit to make greener choices on a daily basis.  There at least three ways you can make a difference to protect the planet: Get Involved: First, take the pledge by visiting the site. Then after you join the community via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, you can spread the word by inviting your friends, posting to your Facebook wall, tweeting your Earth Hour messages by using the hashtag #EarthHour in all your Earth Hour tweets (“@earthhour I’m switching off the lights for #earthhour”) and consider joining a MeetUp group. 

Get Children Involved: To celebrate Earth Hour, Dr. Seuss’ legendary character The Lorax will turn his moustache green for a whole day on March 31st. According to The Lorax, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not,” so now is your chance to do something.  You can learn and apply the list of Green Tips The Lorax has for Earth Hour. Go Beyond Earth Hour: Use any number of “How-to’ Guides. Consider becoming an Earth Hour Organizer. Plan to participate in the City Challenge next year. And for those leaders in companies and corporations, become an Earth Hour partner for the future.  What Will You Do? More importantly, make smarter choices on a daily basis for a sustainable future by knowing your carbon footprint and lowering it, reducing energy use at home and on the road, purchasing energy efficient products, minimizing water use, and switching to renewable energy whenever possible.

“Earth Hour” is taking place today (March 31).  According to the WWF, the mission of Earth Hour is to “Dare the World to Save the Planet”. The international effort to switched off lights for an hour to signal climate change concerns is already happening in many parts of the world.  Many people support this powerful global message about environmental awareness, but there are also many other small actions we can do to to save energy and protect the environment.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US? 
The ancient Vedic scriptures and the life style of India, provided protection and appreciation to Mother Nature. ... No more unnecessary trips in cars. Let us use bikes whenever possible. Walk more. Do not pollute the air for petty reasons. Make less use of plastic things. It is preferable to make wooden toys for children and educate them to feel and love nature, teaching them about Mother Nature and Father Krishna. Participate actively in civic services such as planting trees in public places, provision of drinking water to passengers, cleaning of soiled areas, recycling of waste, protection against abuse of animals, etc. We should see the power of God manifested in everything, and then act with the utmost responsibility and care. Even a faucet that is leaking must be closed. We should save energy.

Śrīla Bhakti Aloka Paramadvaiti Mahārāja :
“Ecology and Meditation”
“Body Mind and Soul in Harmony with Nature”
“The Environment”
http://www.bhaktipedia.org/espanol/
http://bhaktipedia.org/espanol/index.php?n=paramadvaiti_ba.ecologia_y_meditacion_09

Friday, March 30, 2012

LIFE ON BILLIONS OF PLANETS? COULD BE

STUDY ESTIMATES BILLIONS OF
‘HABITABLE’ MILKY WAY PLANETS
www.pcmag.com - Scientists have eagerly been searching for just one habitable planet beyond Earth, but could there actually be billions? According to new research from the European Southern Observatory’s High Accuracy Radical velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS), there are a number of rocky planets not much larger than Earth located in the “habitable zone” around faint red stars. There could be tens of billions of these planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone, HARPS said today, and about 100 in the Sun’s immediate vicinity. Red dwarf stars are the most common star in the Milky Way, and the HARPS team has been looking for exoplanets in their orbit. Specifically, they examined 102 red dwarf stars for a six-year period. They discovered nine super-Earths, or planets that are one to 10 times the size of Earth, including two inside the habitable zone.

“Our new observations with HARPS mean that about 40 percent of all red dwarf stars have a super-Earth orbiting in the habitable zone where liquid water can exist on the surface of the planet,” Xavier Bonfils with France’s Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers de Grenoble and leader of the team, said in a statement. “Because red dwarfs are so common - there are about 160 billion of them in the Milky Way - this leads us to the astonishing result that there are tens of billions of these planets in our galaxy alone.”  In August, data gathered from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) suggested the possibility of flowing water on the Red Planet during the warmest months of the year. One of the planets identified is known as Gliese 667 Cc. It’s more than four times heavier than Earth, but has the right conditions for the existence of liquid water.

There could be many billions of planets not much bigger than Earth circling faint stars in our galaxy, says an international team of astronomers. The team works with the high-precision Harps instrument. The estimate for the number of “super-Earths” is based on detections already made and then extrapolated to include the Milky Way’s population of so-called red dwarf stars. Vedic scriptures explain that in the material world there are countless universes and planets and there is life in all of them.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US? 
In modern so-called scientific society the idea is very prevalent that there is no life on other planets but that only on this earth do living entities with intelligence and scientific knowledge exist. The Vedic literatures, however, do not accept this foolish theory. The followers of Vedic wisdom are fully aware of various planets inhabited by varieties of living entities such as the demigods, the sages, the Pitās, the Gandharvas, the Pannagas, the Kinnaras, the Cāranas, the Siddhas and the Apsarās. The Vedas give information that in all planets - not only within this material sky but also in the spiritual sky - there are varieties of living entities. ... In the material world, distinctive features are manifested in different types of bodies in the various planets. We have full information from the Vedic literature that in each and every planet, both material and spiritual, there are living entities of varied intelligence.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 3.20.35-36
Canto 4: “Creation of the Fourth Order”
Chapter 20: “Lord Vishnu’s Appearance
in the Sacrificial Arena of Mahārāja Prithu”
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase

Thursday, March 29, 2012

UKRAINE RAPE SCANDAL VICTIM DIES

18-YEAR-OLD VICTIM OF GRISLY
GANG-RAPE DIES IN UKRAINE
www.bbc.co.uk - An eighteen-year-old Ukrainian woman has died in hospital, weeks after a brutal sexual assault that prompted a campaign against political corruption. Oksana Makar was attacked in the southern city of Mykolayiv on 8 March by three men who raped her and tried to strangle her before setting her alight. Three men were arrested, but two - whose parents had political connections - were released without charge. They have since been re-arrested, after the case prompted a national outcry. Interior ministry spokesman Volodymyr Polischuk told a news conference on Thursday that all three men, aged 22 to 24, now faced charges of rape and murder. He said they could face life sentences in jail. Ms Makar lost consciousness after her attackers abandoned her at a construction site and set fire to her. She was eventually found the next morning by a stranger and taken to hospital in Mykolayiv with 55% burns.

She was transferred to a specialist unit in the eastern city of Donetsk because of the severity of her burns and damage to her lungs. As the fire stripped off 55 per cent of her skin, surgeons had to amputate one of her arms and both her feet as they tried and eventually failed to keep her alive.  Doctors at the hospital’s burns centre said her heart had stopped because of bleeding in her lungs and she died after repeated attempts to resuscitate her. Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko has stated that the parents of two of the suspects are former government officials in the Mykolayiv area. Ukrainian media have shown footage of one of the three suspects describing to police how Ms Makar was attacked in a flat in the city and then wrapped in a blanket and left in a pit. The Kiev Post described the attack as “one of Ukraine’s most heinous crimes in recent years”.

Oksana Makar, an 18-year-old Ukranian woman died today, two weeks after her grisly rape set off protests across the country against corruption and favoritism toward the wealthy.  Her murder has prompted Ukrainian society to confront what have become known as “bigwig crimes” - offences committed by the children of public officials and, at times, by officials themselves.  As a rule, they are either given a suspended sentence or escape punishment entirely.  The law must be one, and it should be applied to everyone.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US? 
“The Yamadūtas continued: ‘Since there are many different karmīs, or workers, there may be different judges or rulers to give them justice, but just as one central emperor controls different departmental rulers, there must be one supreme controller to guide all the judges’.” In governmental management there may be departmental officials to give justice to different persons, but the law must be one, and that central law must control everyone. The Yamadūtas could not imagine that two judges would give two different verdicts in the same case, and therefore they wanted to know who the central judge is. ... This was a puzzling situation that the Yamadūtas wanted Yamarāja to clarify.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 6.3.6
Canto 6: “Prescribed Duties for Mankind”
Chapter 3: “Yamarāja Instructs His Messengers”
Verse 6 - Bhaktivedanta VedaBase


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

POPE’S VISITS: AN EFFORT TO REINVIGORATE FAITH

POPE LEFT MEXICO ARRIVES IN CUBA
ON MISSION TO RENEW THE FAITH
http://timesleader.com - Pope Benedict XVI followed in the footsteps of his predecessor’s groundbreaking trip to Cuba on Monday, hoping to renew the faith in Latin America’s least Catholic country. Cuban President Raul Castro came to the airport in the eastern city of Santiago to welcome Benedict, just days after the pope declared the island’s Marxist system outdated. Unlike in Mexico, where multitudes showed up to greet the pope at the airport, normal citizens were kept away from Cuba’s tightly controlled arrival ceremony. The pontiff was scheduled to rally tens of thousands of believers at an outdoor Mass in the colonial city’s main square on a blue-and-white platform crowned by graceful arches in the shape of a papal miter. Then he was to spend the night beside the shrine of Cuba’s patron saint, the Virgin of Charity of Cobre.

Benedict’s three-day stay in Cuba will inevitably spark comparisons to John Paul II’s historic 1998 tour, when Fidel Castro traded his army fatigues for a suit and tie to greet the pope at Havana’s airport and where John Paul uttered the now-famous words: “May Cuba, with all its magnificent potential, open itself up to the world, and may the world open itself up to Cuba.” But with his first trip to Mexico, Benedict appeared to lay to rest the impression that he is a distant, cold pontiff who can never compete with the charisma and personal connection forged by his predecessor. The welcome is likely to be less fervent in Cuba, where only about 10 percent of the people are practicing Catholics. Still, the government is helping bring out crowds by laying on special transportation and giving residents a paid day off to attend the Mass in Santiago, and another on Wednesday in the capital.

After four busy days in Mexico, Pope Benedict XVI is in Cuba.  Cuba's single-party, Communist government never outlawed religion, but it expelled priests and closed religious schools after Fidel Castro's takeover of Cuba in 1959.  With the collapse of communism around the world, economic hardships at home, and the gentle nudging of the Vatican, restraints on religion have eased. Still, while most Cubans say they're Catholic, very few practice their faith. But what is Faith (Sraddha)?

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US? 
Sraddha is of two kinds: (1) Laukik, conventions and (2) Sastriya, born of real understanding of the esoteric meanings of the scriptures. Laukik Sraddha, leaning towards Karma, Jnana and Yoga, is faltering. The positive feature of Sraddha is an antecedent, to devotion by consecrating fruits of action to the Supreme Lord Vishnu. The faith is strengthened gradually by the association with Sadhus of Bhakti cult. Sastriya Sraddha is expressed itself as (a) Saranagati, self surrender, (b) unconcerned in lesser gain (c) relishing interest in hearing and chanting about the Lord, (d) extraordinary reverence for spiritual objects such as Vaishnavas, Brahmins, Mahaprasad, Sri Murties and Govind Nam. Sraddha or faith is a mental attitude and hence is not a part of Bhakti which consists of devotional activities.

Śrīla Bhakti Vaibhava Purī Mahārāj:
“Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu”
Śrī Krishna Chaitanya Mission
Sri Bhaki Bigyan Nityananda Book Trust
http://srilapurimaharaja.org/
http://www.purimaharaj.com/GuruMaharaj.htm

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

SMOKING ‘FACTOR’ FOR SCHIZOPHRENIA

SMOKING IS AN ‘IMPORTANT’
RISK FACTOR FOR SCHIZOPHRENIA
www.dailymail.co.uk - Smoking should be considered an ‘important’ risk factor for schizophrenia, and the more you smoke, the worse it is, say researchers. Professor Boris Quednow, from the University Hospital of Psychiatry in Switzerland, led new research suggesting smoking increases the impact of schizophrenia genes. Healthy smokers carrying a certain gene variant responded to an ‘acoustic stimuli’ test in the same way as individuals suffering from the serious mental disorder. The effect also appeared to be stronger the more a person smoked. The study involved more than 1,800 participants who underwent a simple test which involves listening to a sequence of similar clicks. Brainwave measurements show that most people suppress other, irrelevant, stimuli while processing the sounds. However patients with schizophrenia appear to lack this filtering mechanism. As a result their brains are thought to be inundated with too much information.

Psychiatrically healthy people carrying variants of the gene TCF4 that increased the risk of schizophrenia also displayed poorer acoustic filtering, the study found. However, smoking appeared to amplify the effect, resulting in greater deficits. The findings are published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Prof Quednow said: ‘Smoking alters the impact of the TCF4 gene on acoustic stimulus filtering. Therefore, smoking might also increase the impact of particular genes on the risk of schizophrenia. ‘Smoking should... be considered as an important cofactor for the risk of schizophrenia in future studies.’ People with schizophrenia frequently smoke, the researchers pointed out. A combination of the click test and genetic and smoking data could be used to diagnose schizophrenia more rapidly and define new patient sub-groups, said Dr Quednow.

Prof Boris Quednow of the University Hospital of Psychiatry in Switzerland led new research suggesting smoking increases the impact of schizophrenia genes. Healthy smokers carrying the gene variants responded to an “acoustic stimuli” test in the same way as individuals suffering from the serious mental disorder. The effect appeared to be stronger the more a person smoked, so smoking should be considered an “important” risk factor for schizophrenia. Why not try to quit smoking?

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US? 
“Vedic knowledge is supremely merciful” ... The majority of human beings are not able to suddenly give up material sense gratification, even though they understand from Vedic literature that such sense gratification causes a pernicious future effect.  We have practical experience in the Western countries that when the government informed the citizens that smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer, most people were unable to give up their smoking habit.  Therefore, the Vedic literature prescribes a gradual process of purification in which the conditioned soul learns to offer the results of his material activities to the Supreme Lord, thus spiritualizing those activities.

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, Canto 11: “General History”
Chapter 3: “Liberation from the Illusory Energy”- Verse 46.
Purports by the humble servants of
HDG A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
New Gokula - Brazil, March, 1982.
http://srimadbhagavatam.com/sb/11/en


Monday, March 26, 2012

CHILE STRUCK BY 7.2 MAGNITUDE QUAKE

EARTHQUAKE HITS CHILE
NO REPORT OF DEATHS
Santiago, Chile (AP) -  A magnitude-7.2 earthquake struck central Chile on Sunday night, prompting authorities to urge evacuations for a long stretch of the coast as a precaution against a tsunami. There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage.  The quake struck 20 miles north-northwest of Talca, where residents said it lasted about a minute and was the strongest they had felt since the city was rocked hard by the huge quake that devastated central Chile two years ago. The U.S. Geological Survey initially said the quake had occurred offshore. People reacted with alarm in Constitution, whose coastal downtown was partly obliterated by the tsunami caused by the 2010 quake. Panic struck in other cities, with people running out of skyscrapers and many places were left partly or totally without electrical power. Phone service collapsed due to heavy traffic.

With the memory of the February 2010 quake still seared in their memories, many Chileans were visibly shaken up. Residents in Chile’s capital, Santiago, fled their homes as the tremor rattled television sets, kitchen cabinets and tables, and a mayor in the town of Parral in south-central Chile told local radio a 74-year-old woman died of a heart attack due to the quake. There were no reports of serious casualties. Residents living near shore were warned to head for higher ground, although the quake struck after nightfall, making evacuations more difficult. The Chilean navy’s hydrographic and oceanographic service said the quake wasn’t the type to provoke a tsunami, but the national emergency office maintained its evacuation order nevertheless. The USGS said the epicenter was 134 miles south of Santiago, Chile’s capital. It was 19 miles deep.

A magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck central Chile Sunday night, the strongest and longest that many people said they had felt since a huge quake devastated the area two years ago.  There were no reports of major damage or deaths due to quake-related accidents. It was the second earthquake in recent days registered in Chile, and the fourth in the last week along with the quakes which hit Oaxaca and Guerrero in Mexico and San Juan in Argentina. Our exploitation on Mother Earth has many consequences.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US? 
Bhumi is an expansion of the feminine divinity of the absolute truth. That is why they call her Mother Earth. She is the consort of Sri Varaha dev, the presiding deity of this entire earth planet is his consort. And just as we learnt that we approach Krishna through Sri Radha, on a practical level we have to approach Krishna through Radha in her expansions as well. In living in this world, we approach Krishna, on a spiritual level through Sri Radha, through our bhakti, but also by respect and living in harmony with Bhumi devi. Ravana wanted to exploit Sita. Bhumi is Sita. Human kind is plundering, exploiting, and raping our own mother, Mother Earth, who is providing all nourishments, all facilities for our lives. It is from a spiritual perspective, highly offensive. From a material perspective, it is suicidal.

Śrīla Radhanath Swami Mahārāja :
“The Real Significance of Bhumi Puja”
Lecture at Govardhan Farm, Wada - 2nd October 2009
http://www.radhanathmaharaj.net/node/80
http://www.radhanath-swami.net/  -  http://radhanathswami.info

Sunday, March 25, 2012

MISSION CONTINUES TO GET WAR CRIMINAL KONY

AFRICAN UNION BEEFS UP
FORCES TO HUNT JOSEPH KONY
www.heraldsun.com.au - The mission to catch the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army was launched in South Sudan and will last until Kony is caught, UN and African Union officials said at a joint news conference in Uganda. The announcement comes the same month an internet campaign by the US-based advocacy group Invisible Children sought to make Kony “famous” so that policymakers would make it a priority to remove him. The YouTube video has been viewed more than 100 million times. Abou Moussa, head of the UN’s office in Central Africa, said international interest in Kony had spurred regional efforts to eliminate the LRA which is responsible for 2600 civilian deaths since 2008, according to the AU. Its stated aim is to turn Uganda into a theocracy.  The hunt for Kony has primarily been carried out by troops from Uganda, who received a boost last year when US President deployed 100 US troops to help in the mission.  American soldiers are now based in Uganda, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Congo.

The LRA is thought to have only 200 to 300 soldiers. The group has forced many children to become child soldiers and porters, and women and girls to become sex slaves. The AU mission will comprise troops from Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Congo - all countries where Kony’s reign of terror has been felt. The AU’s most prominent military mission is in Somalia, where 17,700 troops - primarily from Uganda, Kenya and Burundi - are fighting al-Shabab Islamic militants. The force has made strong gains over the last year, pushing insurgents out of the capital. The AU’s new focus on Kony dovetails with the Ugandan military’s stance that catching or killing Kony would mean the end of the LRA. His forces were ousted from Ugandan territory in 2005.  Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He is believed to be hiding in the Central African Republic.

The African Union plans to deploy 5,000 troops to hunt down Joseph Kony, the notorious leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army.  Kony and the LRA have been terrorizing Uganda and neighbouring nations, for more than two decades. He is accused of recruiting children to use them as soldiers and sex slaves and of slicing off ears, noses and limbs of his victims. A celebrity-backed video helped make Kony’s crimes more widely known. In this age of Kali, by decreasing the mercy, cruelty increases.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US? 
In Kali-yuga, due to the increase of the modes of passion and ignorance, almost all men are asuric, or demoniac; therefore they are very much fond of eating flesh, and for this end they maintain various kinds of animal slaughterhouses. In this age of Kali the propensity for mercy is almost nil. Consequently there is always fighting and wars between men and nations. Men do not understand that because they unrestrictedly kill so many animals, they also must be slaughtered like animals in big wars. ... Sometimes during war, soldiers keep their enemies in concentration camps and kill them in very cruel ways. These are reactions brought about by unrestricted animal-killing in the slaughterhouse and by hunters in the forest. Proud, demoniac persons do not know the laws of nature, or the laws of God.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“Śrīmad Bhāgavatam” - Canto 4: “Creation of the Fourth Order”
Chapter 26: “King Purañjana Goes to the Forest to Hunt,
and His Queen Becomes Angry” - Verse 5
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International

Saturday, March 24, 2012

‘I KILLED MY SON TO TAKE REVENGE ON HIS FATHER’

ARGENTINA: MOTHER KILLS HER CHILD
TO TAKE REVENGE ON HER EX-HUSBAND
www.buenosairesherald.com - The prosecutor investigating the death of a 6-year-old boy found murdered in a gated community - a private neighborhood outside Buenos Aires City - in the Buenos Aires province, said that he was “almost certain” that the mother was the perpetrator of the crime. He also confirmed that in February the mother’s ex-husband had reported her for wanting to kill her own children. According to the husband, the mother of the young boy, who lived in the San Eliseo gated community, had wanted to “give them sleeping pills and tie a rope around their necks and strangle them to death.” Public prosecutor in President Perón Leandro Heredia also stated that the mother had been put under two psychological tests which determined that she was “fit to declare, although it’s recommended she go under psychiatric watch because it is possible she may try to hurt herself or commit suicide.”

Public prosecutor confirmed that according to the autopsy, the child had water in his lungs and he died of a cardio-respiratory attack, with evidence showing he resisted the attack.  The woman accused of choking her six year old son to death, a Brazilian native Adriana Cruz, aged 41, bluntly said “I killed him to take revenge on his father,” while addressing reporters as she was taken into custody in La Plata, Buenos Aires province’s capital. Judge Juan Pablo Massi said that the lead suspect should be confined to a prison with psychiatric assistance. Yesterday, La Plata’s Judiciary officially ordered the arrest of Cruz and charged her with “first-degree murder”. Carlos Vázquez, the father of the six-year-old found dead, is also under investigation. The judge now wants to look further in a complaint filed by Carlos Vázquez months earlier. “in which he states Adriana Cruz has threatened the life of the minors before, making him fear for the life of his children,” the judge said.

In the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, a Brazilian woman of 41, Adriana Cruz, who publicly admitted to killing her six years to get back at her ex-husband now must undergo psychiatric interviews to determine their mental state, however, the Court held that, in principle, “she is attributable” because there are “plenty of evidence” against her and that the penalty she could receive would be of “imprisonment or life imprisonment.” We must eradicate the impetus of taking revenge and injure others.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US? 
Indian saints have classified the nature of human beings in three broad groups - ‘Sattvika’, ‘Rajasika’ and ‘Tamasika’.  ‘Sattvika’ people are wise, sincere, generous and non violent.  As such they have an altruistic mentality and render disinterested (non-motivated) service.  ‘Rajasika’ people are egoists.  However they are active and do good to others with the motive of getting a return of their actions for self-aggrandizement.  They won’t tolerate harm to themselves.  They have got the spirit of taking revenge.  ‘Tamasika’ people are indolent, out and out egoists and of violent temper. ... If we know that the infliction of harm to other animate beings is detrimental to our own interest and will bring harm in return, we will not be encouraged to harm any individual, nay even any sentient being of the world.

Śrīla Bhakti Dayita Madhava Mahārāja :
“Realistic Solution for Diverse Humanity”
Speech at a ‘Spiritual Summit Conference’ - 1968 Calcutta.
Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math  -  www.sreecgmath.org
http://www.sreecgmath.org/scgmtimes/scgmsbdm.php

Friday, March 23, 2012

WORLD WATER DAY 2012

MAKING WORLD WATER DAY
LET US PROTECT WATER RESOURCES
www.voanews.com - The United Nations has designated March 22nd World Water Day to focus attention on the importance of fresh, clean water and to advocate for the sustainable management of fresh water resources.  This year’s theme is “Water and Food Security.” Almost one billion people - one seventh of the world’s population - suffer from chronic hunger, a crisis that could intensify as global population grows.  More than 70 percent of the water used globally goes towards agriculture - with totals reaching more than 90 percent in many developing countries.  Our ability to increase food production will require sufficient available water and the tools to predict its availability so that people can grow food when and where they need it.  Seven billion people live on this planet, with another 2 billion predicted by 2050.  Each one of us daily drinks two to four liters of water, but we consume much more as part of the food we eat.  It takes around 1,500 liters of water to produce a kilo of wheat – ten times that for a kilo of beef.

Women and girls produce 60-80 percent of food in developing countries, and also typically bear primary responsibility for meeting their families’ water needs.  It is critical that they be involved in addressing the water challenges in their communities. As urban populations and economies increase, so do water demands for cities and industry, leaving less for agriculture.  Competition is increasing.  Stiffer competition for water can mean less water for smallholder farmers, fishers and herders who cannot make a living without it. Food security is critically dependent on a sufficient supply of clean water.  We must make it a priority to reduce water pollution.  We must develop more efficient irrigation practices, eliminate leakage, and ensure water storage and distribution functions properly. We also need to protect the purity of water resources and wetland systems that support fisheries, which provide a significant source of protein to two-and-a-half billion people in developing countries.

Yesterday, March 22 marks World Water Day and this year’s theme is “Water and Food Security.” Communities and governments should work towards meeting the basic needs of their people to attain food security. We need to work to both increase supply through better water resources management and reduce demand for water by employing more efficient irrigation technology. We must work together - individuals, communities, and governments.  Water scarcity is a global challenge, but the solutions are often local.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US? 
The rivers are our brothers and quench our thirst.  The air has priceless value.  We all share the same breath – the beast, the tree, man; all breathe the same air, and it shares its essence with the life that it sustains.  The freshness of the air, the force of the waters, the mighty pine tree, every grain of sand at the beach, every drop of dew in the forest, the sap that runs through the trees, even the sound of the insects sustain and soothe the lives of humankind on this planet.  The biological wellbeing of our earth and the future of mankind are being ruined by the materialistic vision of society. The rivers are contaminated by technological industry and plant animal agro-industry. All of a sudden water will become more precious than gold.  What use will our gold be to us if we don’t have water? Who will drink a glass of liquid gold?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

DSK CANCELS BRUSSELS SPEECH AFTER PROTESTS

VIAGRA-FUELLED STRAUSS-KAHN
TOOK PART IN ORGY SAYS MADAME
www.dailymail.co.uk - A Viagra-fuelled Dominique Strauss-Kahn took part in a seedy orgy in the basement of a Paris restaurant, it has been claimed. The disgraced banker is alleged to have had sex with a young woman for 30 minutes - as five other men looked on and pleasured themselves. Brothel keepers Dominique Alderweirel, also known as Dodo La Saumure, and his partner Béatrice Legrain made their claims in an interview in today’s Spanish edition of Vanity Fair. The couple, who reportedly run a string of sex establishments in Belgium, said the ‘erotic’ party took place after lunch at L’Aventure restaurant on March 6, 2009. Béatrice, dubbed a madame, said: ‘The party lasted in total for an hour and a half. Dominique Strauss-Kahn had taken Viagra.  I have in my head the image of DSK, dressed only in a white shirt. ‘He had lowered his trousers and maintained four sexual relations in a row with the girl, who was on all fours just metres from us.’

Strauss-Kahn has been engulfed in a tide of sex scandals since he was arrested for trying to rape a New York hotel chambermaid in May 2011.  When those charges were dropped and he returned to France only to face similar accusations of sexually abusing a young French writer. When those allegations were also dropped, he was then confronted with more claims he used prostitutes supplied by a Lille vice network. And he now faces a further investigation in France over an unfolding prostitution and corruption scandal. The revelations come as Strauss-Kahn cancelled plans to speak at a European Parliament debate next week, after MEPs said it would be ‘indecent’ for him to appear. Strauss-Kahn’s withdrawal followed a protest by Socialist MEPs, who wrote to Parliament president Martin Schulz to say that it would be ‘indecent’.  Schulz had been ‘concerned’ after also receiving ‘lots of letters’ from members of the public. Earlier this month, Strauss-Kahn was heckled at a speaking engagement in Cambridge University.

The shamed former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief, Strauss-Kahn, 62, canceled an appearance at a European Parliament debate on the global economic and financial crisis following an outcry by deputies.  This is not the first time that DSK is facing an uphill battle to participate in conferences.  Once considered a favorite for the French presidency, he has been dogged by sex scandals in the US and France that have destroyed his political career. We must control the sex drive.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US? 
We should always remember Nrsimhadeva. Nrsimhadeva kills Hiranyakasipu. Who is Hiranyakasipu? “Hiranya” means wealth and “kasipu” means bed - sexual desire. So “Hiranyakasipu” means “those who have desire for wealth and sex; and also for name and fame”. Such persons cannot get Krishna. So, Hiranyakasipu is within us. Externally, we may see a demon, but that demon is also residing within ourselves. That demon should be killed! Then you can go to Krishna. There is also one-pointed, causeless, eternal devotion residing within our real selves. That is called “Prahlada”. There is Prahlada, Nrsimha Bhagavan and bhakti.  Nrsimha Bhagavan will remove all ulterior motives from our hearts. He will kill Hiranyakasipu and enhance Prahlada.

Śrīla Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Mahārāja :
“Golden Saying” - 1/19
Published on May 31, 2002
http://www.sreecgmath.org


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

EGYPT’S COPTIC POPE BURIED, CHRISTIANS ANXIOUS

COPTIC POPE’S DEATH ADDS TO
FEARS IN EGYPT’S TIME OF TRANSITION
Cairo (Kareem Fahim) - A tearful crowd of thousands that included members of Egypt’s emerging political class attended a funeral service Tuesday for Pope Shenouda III, who spent four decades as the popular and charismatic leader of the country’s Coptic Orthodox Church. During a two-hour morning ceremony, with prayers read in Arabic and Coptic, the pope, dressed in an embroidered robe in a white, open coffin, was remembered as a “wise captain” who built bridges to Muslims and other Christian denominations as he spread the church’s influence around the world. The death Saturday of the only pope many Egyptian Copts had ever known underscored feelings of unease many Christians have about the tumult of Egypt’s political transition since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak. By the early evening, there were scenes of pandemonium as thousands of people mobbed a van carrying Shenouda to his burial site, in a monastery in northern Egypt.

Red-faced military policemen wrestled mourners carrying the pope’s portraits as they strained for a last glimpse through the dark windows of the white van. The grief seemed only to compound the long-held complaints about discrimination which since Mr. Mubarak’s departure have been replaced by deeper fears that Islamist parties could further marginalize the minority Christian population if they try to fashion Egypt into a more observant Muslim state.  Sally Toma, a psychiatrist and leftist activist who is a Copt, said she hoped for a younger pope, and one more ready to embrace changes, including on the question of divorce, which the church prohibits. “Pope Shenouda was lovable and funny and witty and very educated. He was also an army man, a man of discipline. I guess it’s difficult to question discipline,” she said.

Pope Shenouda III, an giant figure for 40 years at the helm of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, died Saturday at age 88.  His body was laid to rest on Tuesday in a monastery after a moving funeral Mass at a Cairo cathedral attended by tens of thousands.  His death brought fears among Christians about the political rise of Islamists in this mainly Muslim and conservative Arab nation. Beyond the cultural differences, we are branches of the same spiritual tree which has God at its roots.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US? 
Even if Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, etc., all keep their own ideology, legends, and traditions, we should realize that all of these legends and conceptions of God and forms of worship ultimately refer to the same Supreme God and lesser demigods, although they may be called by different names according to present day variations in region and culture. In other words, all these doctrines and faiths are simply outgrowths of the original religion and worship of the one Supreme Deity that spread throughout the world many thousands of years ago from the same basic source, and which is now expressed through the many various cultural differences in the world.  Therefore, no matter what religion we may consider ourselves, we are all a part of the same family.

Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Death of the Aryan Invasion Theory”
http://www.stephen-knapp.com
http://www.stephen-knapp.com/death_of_the_aryan_invasion_theory.htm

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

YOUR MIND ON MEDITATION: LESS WANDERING, MORE DOING

MEDITATION: “PERFECT PRACTICE” FOR
THOSE WITH ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER
www.latimes.com/health - The brains of experienced meditators appear to be fitter, more disciplined and more “on task” than do the brains of those trying out meditation for the first time. And the differences between the two groups are evident not only during meditation, when brain scans detect a pattern of better control over the wandering mind among experienced meditators, but when the mind is allowed to wander freely. Those insights emerge from a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which looked at two groups: highly experienced meditators and meditation novices, and compared the operations of the “Default Mode Network” - a newly identified cluster of brain regions that go to work when our brains appear to be “offline.” “I think it’s safe to say this is brain-training at work,” says Yale University psychiatrist Judson Brewer, who conducted the study with psychologists from Yale, the University of Oregon and Columbia University. 

By the definition of the latest study, mental control was defined as the ability to keep two key nodes of the default mode network from becoming active during meditation. The posterior cingulate cortex and the medial prefrontal cortex appear to be hubs of the brain’s “neutral” setting-areas that come alive when we are not engaged in a task that requires more specialized attention and let our minds wander.  Why would mental control over our daydreams make us more healthy? It turns out that having a well-functioning default mode network - one that lets us explore ourselves and our lives but doesn’t intrude into our efforts to concentrate when that’s what’s needed - is critical to mental health.  Those of us who daydream more often are more likely to be depressed - either because we get caught in a cycle of rumination or because depressed people have poorer concentration (which comes first isn’t clear).

From this study, more evidence emerges that meditation strengthens the brain. By comparing brain scans of experienced meditators' brains and brains of those who try to meditate for the first time, there emerges a pattern of greater control over the mind that wanders among experienced meditators. In addition, meditation not only helps the brain, this technique together with prayer are spiritual practices which allow us to reconnect with our own essence.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US? 
It is believed that the sages from the ancient time of the Indus-Saraswati civilization practiced both yoga and meditation. ... Modern medicine has endorsed the beneficial effects of many of these meditation techniques in countering the harmful effects of stress on the human system.  Many leading medical authorities now recognize that through the practice of meditation and yoga, one can regulate heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital phenomenon, hitherto considered as beyond the influence of voluntary control. ... There are even reports of brain changes, as observed by MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) techniques, after meditation.  Scientists have discovered palpable thickening of some critical areas of the brain cortex in monks who perform meditation over prolonged periods.

Dr. Hiro Badlani:
“Hinduism - Path of the Ancient Wisdom”
Chapter 14 - “Consciousness: Cosmic Intelligence of the Divine”
Chapter 44 - “Meditation: The Spiritual Practice”
http://hinduismpath.com/

Monday, March 19, 2012

STUDY SAYS FASTING MAY HELP PROTECT BRAIN

FASTING CAN HELP PROTECT AGAINST
BRAIN DISEASES, SCIENTISTS SAY
United Kingdom (The Guardian) - Researchers at the National Institute on Ageing in Baltimore said they had found evidence which shows that periods of stopping virtually all food intake for one or two days a week could protect the brain against some of the worst effects of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other ailments. “Reducing your calorie intake could help your brain, but doing so by cutting your intake of food is not likely to be the best method of triggering this protection. It is likely to be better to go on intermittent bouts of fasting, in which you eat hardly anything at all, and then have periods when you eat as much as you want,” said Professor Mark Mattson, head of the institute’s laboratory of neurosciences.  Cutting daily food intake to around 500 calories - which amounts to little more than a few vegetables and some tea - for two days out of seven had clear beneficial effects in their studies, claimed Mattson, who is also professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Scientists have known for some time that a low-calorie diet is a recipe for longer life. Rats and mice reared on restricted amounts of food increase their lifespan by up to 40%!  A similar effect has been noted in humans. But Mattson and his team have taken this notion further. They argue that starving yourself occasionally can stave off not just ill-health and early death but delay the onset of conditions affecting the brain, including strokes. “The cells of the brain are put under mild stress that is analogous to the effects of exercise on muscle cells,” said Mattson. “The overall effect is beneficial.” This model has been worked out using studies of fasting on humans and the resulting impact on their general health – even sufferers from asthma have shown benefits, said Mattson - and from experiments on the impact on the brains of animals affected by the rodent equivalent of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

If you want a smarter brain and a shapelier profile, fasting on alternate days might not be such a bad idea after all. Fasting for regular periods could help protect the brain against degenerative illnesses, according to US scientists. They claim that giving up almost all food for one or two days a week can counteract impact of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.  Vaishnavas respect special moments for fasting and perform devotional service, such as on Ekadasi.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US? 
Ekadasi is considered to be the favourite day of Krishna, when devotees refrain from material activities. ... As we approach the full moon and the new moon, the watery portion of our bodies is enhanced by the movement of the earth, the moon and the sun, and thereby the enjoying spirit is also developed. So, fasting is necessary to meet with that external movement of nature. Fasting can save us from that peculiar reaction. ... Also, from the spiritual perspective, Krishna Himself also feels more necessity for enjoyment, and when Krishna feels more necessity, the devotees have a greater chance to offer service. ... So, the first reason is to please Krishna and the secondary reason is that by fasting, we can make our body dry and so our enjoying spirit will be lessened.

Śrīla Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Mahārāja :
“Ekadasi” - http://bvml.org/SBRSM/ekadasi.html
http://bvml.org/SBRSM/index.htm
http://bvml.org/SBRSM/books/