Sunday, March 31, 2013


SENDS MESSAGES OF PEACE - Pope Francis celebrated his first Easter Sunday Mass praying for world peace and urging a diplomatic solution to the standoff on the Korean peninsula. Only two weeks after his election, the first pope from the developing world continues to make his mark on the Catholic Church. St. Peter's Square was bedecked with flowers and packed with joyous pilgrims and tourists as Pope Francis celebrated Easter Mass. In his first message to the city and to the world, Francis urged peace for the Middle East and for Israelis and Palestinians to resume negotiations to end a conflict that has lasted too long. "Peace in Iraq," Francis said, "that every act of violence may end, and above all, for dear Syria. ... How much suffering must there still be before a political solution can be found?" The Argentine-born pope also decried terrorism in the war-torn countries of Africa: Mali, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

He appealed for peace in Asia, especially on the Korean Peninsula. May disagreements be overcome, he said, and a renewed spirit of reconciliation grow. Francis' most intense appeal was for what he called a world divided by greed, looking for easy gain, wounded by selfishness. He singled out human trafficking, calling it the most extensive form of slavery in this 21st century. He urged peace for a world torn apart by violence linked to drug trafficking and by the iniquitous exploitation of natural resources. 
In keeping with his humble image, Francis wore simple unadorned vestments and celebrated the Mass alone, without his cardinals. In another contrast with his predecessor, the rituals this holy week have been shorter than in past years. The new pope has struck a chord with his direct language and by referring to himself as the bishop of Rome rather than supreme pontiff.

Pope Francis is taking part in his first Holy Week as pontiff. These days, Christians around the world take part in the celebration of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians flock to churches to celebrate Easter Sunday, praying, singing and rejoicing. The biblical account of the life and passion of Lord Jesus teaches us many things, and one of them is that people like to judge others. The only fault of Lord Jesus Christ was that he was explaining God consciousness. The reward he received for his preaching was the cruel crucifixion. However, he was able to tolerate all these sufferings, showing the world his compassionate heart.

A Krishna conscious person does not sit down idly. He knows that Krishna consciousness is such an important philosophy that it should be distributed. ... A devotee displays great compassion toward conditioned souls. The word kapa means “mercy,” and sindhu means “ocean.” A devotee is an ocean of mercy, and he naturally wants to distribute this mercy. Lord Jesus Christ, for instance, was God conscious, Krishna conscious, but he was not satisfied in keeping this knowledge within himself. Had he continued to live alone in God consciousness, he would not have met crucifixion. But no. Being a devotee and naturally compassionate, he also wanted to take care of others by making them God conscious. Although he was forbidden to preach God consciousness, he continued to do so at the risk of his own life. This is the nature of a devotee.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
"The Path of Perfection"
Chapter Five:
"Determination and Steadiness in Yoga"
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International

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

Friday, March 29, 2013


MODERN MEANING TO ANCIENT BELIEFS Millions of Christians and Jews around the world this week have been performing their respective rituals surrounding Easter and Passover. In America, surveys show fewer people may attend Easter services Sunday and fewer Jews may incorporate the religious aspects of Passover than in years past. But religion scholars say those who don't participate in religious ritual are missing out on part of the human story, and that those who do participate can find modern relevance in sacred events that happened thousands of years ago. 
Much of the ritual that took place for Christians this past week on Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Good Friday was developed to "make alive something which otherwise would just be on the printed page," said Larry Cunningham, a retired professor of theology at Notre Dame University.

But the liturgy and ritual gestures during weekly worship and the services leading up to and including Easter still bring the story to life for an academic like Cunningham. He enjoys how the liturgy expresses different moods and tones from the triumph expressed on Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus Christ's entry into Jerusalem, to the sorrow and lament on Good Friday, when Jesus is crucified. "Then mass on Easter Sunday is an expression joy and rebirth" in celebration of the resurrection of the Lord, he said. But a decreasing number of people will have experienced the emotional liturgy of Holy Week and Easter this year. 
A March survey for the Catholic Knights of Columbus showed 58 % of Americans plan to attend church on Easter Sunday, down from 63 % in 2009. Another survey by LifeWay Research found 41 % of Americans plan to attend an Easter service, while 58 % of those who identified as Christians said they would be in church on Easter.

This year, Christian Easter and Jewish Passover, despite being reckoned by different calendars, coincide in the same week; as they did at the start, when Jesus went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover seder - ritual meals conducted in Jewish homes to commemorate the exodus of Hebrew slaves from Egypt - and the events of the Passion of Christ unfolded. Matthew Brown, author of the article, says that "Millions of Christians and Jews around the world this week have been performing their respective rituals surrounding Easter and Passover, carrying on traditions developed over centuries that religion scholars say still carry meaning today." We should realize that all of these legends, traditions,conceptions of God and forms of worship ultimately refer to the same Supreme God. 

When we look around the world, we cannot deny that there are different types of religions, cultures, and traditions. You have Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, or the French culture, British, Irish, and Chinese. These have been established according to time, place, and people. It also makes the world more beautiful and interesting. They all have something to offer. It is not that we need to think that they are foreign or weird. There is meaning behind their traditions and practices. ... When we come to the spiritual platform of recognizing who we are, such differing external principles are very superficial. These varying customs are no longer considered as items of difference between us. ... Therefore, all cultures around the world can work in harmony to make their contribution to the unity of the world

Dr Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Toward World Peace: Seeing the Unity Between Us All”  -

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

Thursday, March 28, 2013


DEATH RISK IN OLDER PEOPLE' Social isolation is associated with a higher risk of death in older people regardless of whether they consider themselves lonely, research suggests. A study of 6,500 UK men and women aged over 52 found that being isolated from family and friends was linked with a 26% higher death risk over seven years. Whether or not participants felt lonely did not alter the impact of social isolation on health. 
Age UK says cuts to services for older people are compounding the problem. It is not the first time that loneliness and social isolation has been linked with poor health. But researchers wanted to find out if it was the emotional aspect of feeling lonely that was having an impact or the reality of having little social contact.

Those who were socially isolated - that is had little or no contact with friends or family - were more likely to be older and unmarried and have long-standing illnesses limiting their mobility, such as lung disease and arthritis. People who described themselves as feeling lonely were more likely to be female and have a wider range of health conditions, including depression. Both social isolation and feeling lonely were associated with a higher chance of death. But after adjusting for factors such as underlying health conditions, only social isolation remained important. That risk did not change when researchers added in whether or not someone felt lonely in their isolation.
Michelle Mitchell, director general at Age UK, said: "This study shows more clearly than before that being lonely and isolated is not only miserable, it is a real health risk, increasing the risk of early death." She added that cuts to local authority budget cuts may exacerbate the problem of isolation for many older people.

People who are socially isolated are more likely to die prematurely, regardless of their underlying health issues, according to a study of the elderly British population. Study leader Prof Andrew Steptoe from University College London, said: "Social connections can provide emotional support and warmth which is important but they also provide things like advice, making sure people take their medication and provide support in helping them to do things." The findings showed that when mental and physical health conditions were factored out, the lack of social contact continued to lead to early death of many men and women. Every human being should be obliged to his parents, and realizing that he can not pay this debt, should strive to serve them in whatever they need. 

Śrī Krishna said: "My dear father and mother, a man has a debt to pay to his parents, from whom he gets this body which can bestow upon him all the benefits of material existence." ... "This body is produced by the combined efforts of the father and mother. If, after growing up, a son does not try to satisfy his parents by his actions or by an endowment of riches, he is surely punished after death by the superintendent of death and made to eat his own flesh. If a person is able to care for or give protection to old parents, children, the spiritual master, brāhmanas and other dependents, but does not do so, he is considered to be already dead, although he is supposedly breathing."

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
"Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead"
Chapter 44 "Krishna Recovers the Son of His Teacher"
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International

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

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


A DRY, ECO-FRIENDLY FESTIVAL - Film and TV artists are known for hosting and enjoying lavish Holi parties, but this year, celebrities are endorsing dry and eco-friendly colours to combat with the severe drought situation that looms over many parts of Maharashtra. Celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Vikramaditya Motwane, Riteish Deshmukh and others are going all out to promote a dry Holi. Big B took to Twitter to spread the word among his 4,670,000 followers, and posted: "Water shortage in Maharashtra ... and it’s only March. What will happen in summer? Save water! Play a dry Holi!"
Popular host Mini Mathur tweeted: "Please urge everyone you know to enjoy a waterless holi. The mere thought of rain dances in the wake of the water crisis is creepy and tasteless." In fact, singer-actress Suchitra Krishnamurthy said she was invited to a Holi party with bottled water. "I said distribute the bottles in drought-ridden areas instead. I’ve been struck off the guest-list," she added.

Nevertheless, celebrities are doing their bit in saving water. Filmmaker Sanjay Gupta, who hosts a Holi party at his residence every year, has scrapped his plan this year. "Because of the drought in Maharashtra, I am not playing Holi this year. Every year I have a Holi party at my home, but this year there is severe water problem, so this time we have decided not to play Holi. People are saying that play dry Holi but what’s that, I don’t understand. So it’s better not to play," Gupta said here. 
Filmmaker Sudhir Mishra said: "This time on Holi, dont use water. Play Holi without water because there is a drought." For ‘Vicky Donor’ actor Ayushmann Khurrana, efforts to save water are important on this festival. "There is a lot of scarcity of water in Maharashtra. I would only say that we should celebrate Holi without water and save water," he said.

Bollywood stars have joined calls for Mumbai to temper celebrations and reduce water wastage during a riotous Hindu festival this week, as millions of Indians face their worst drought in decades. Holi marks the end of winter and the arrival of spring and revellers who enjoy the “festival of colours” have been urged to cut down on water usage during the festival, which is normally celebrated with wild “rain dances” and the throwing of buckets of water, water-filled balloons and paint. The Holi festival takes place on Wednesday at a time when central parts of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, are reeling under a severe water shortage with no rain due until the monsoon in June.

Holi is a major festival and celebrates the onset of spring, along with good harvests and the fertility of the land. It is celebrated on the day after the full moon in early March. This festival is known best for the way people throw brightly colored powder and water over each other to celebrate the advent of spring. Then they bathe and cleanse themselves after which they distribute sweets amongst friends and relatives. Vibrant processions accompanied by folk songs and dances are also a characteristic of Holi celebrations. Holi is a very popular festival amongst the youth. 
Holi also commemorates the burning to death of Holika, the aunt of Prahlada. Huge bonfires are lit on the eve of Holi for this reason. Holi is celebrated with great vigor in the north, but is hardly celebrated in southern India.

Dr Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Hindu Festivals”

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

Monday, March 25, 2013


SACRED TREES IN INDIA India is widely recognised for the amalgamation of various religions and cultures. India is known as a land of spirituality and people across the world visit the country for spiritual solace. It is a country where you find the essence of religion and spirituality in every state including the age old architectures and temples. On a factual note, people in India especially Hindus are known to pay their respects to the nature, including animals and trees. For example, if you visit the temples of India, you would not be surprised to find the presence of peepal tree, which holds a significant place in the Hindu religion. Worshiping trees is not a strange practice in India.
Few trees are said to be sacred, filled with spiritual powers and sometimes associated to the supreme deities. Trees such as peepal, coconut, bhang and sandalwood are worshiped in many states of India and have high regards in Hindu religion. The sacred trees are famously referred as 'kalpa-vriksha', the following are some of them:

Bael tree, also referred to as 'bilupatre' is associated with 'Lord Shiva', the God of Destroyer. Offering the leaf of this tree to the almighty is said to be very beneficial. Peepal tree is found in almost every temple of India; especially in South India. Peepal tree holds the highest rank among all holy Hindu trees. This tree is associated with Lord Vishnu, and the Puranas says that this tree is home to the Trinity of Gods, the root represents Brahma, the trunk is Vishnu and its leaves represent Shiva. Bamboo tree is associated with Lord Krishna. According to the myths, the flute of Lord Krishna is said to be made of bamboo.
Sandalwood tree is associated with Goddess Paravati because it is believed that she created Lord Ganesha out of sandalwood paste and her sweat. Bhang tree is known to be really auspicious as it brings wealth and prosperity. Abundance of bhang leaves are offered to Lord Shiva during Mahashivratri festival. Coconut tree is used for all auspicious moment of any pooja.

These well known sacred trees - called "Kalpa Vriksha" - hold a significant place in Indian society. Apart from being worshiped, they also have certain medicinal benefits. The author of the article, Vijayalakshmi, explains that the trifoliate leaves of the Bael tree symbolise the functions of the Almighty that is creation, preservation and destruction. Bamboo tree represents Lord Krishna and his flute. The Sandalwood paste is widely used to worship Gods and Goddesses. Bhang tree is always associated with Lord Shiva, and its leaves are also used for making 'prasad'. The worship of trees in India can be traced to the Indus Valley Civilization and the Hymns of the Vedas contain references to sacred trees and plants (like the Tulsi) which are associated with Deities. 

Big shade trees stand as silent symbols of India's spiritual roots. ... Sages dwelt in these forests, living simple and austere lives in search of spiritual perfection. Living with them beneath the trees were their students, who could learn the Vedic truths in perfect natural surroundings, reminded in a thousand ways of the all-pervading presence of God. Because they lived in the forest, the early Vedic teachers attached great importance to trees. Beneath a tree was the correct place for a disciple to receive spiritual instruction from a guru. 
The tree was the symbol of patience and tolerance. They carefully studied and recorded the herbal and medicinal properties of the forest. Some trees gained special significance and poems and prayers were composed about them and the spirits dwelling within 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, March 24, 2013


A HIPSTER’S GUIDE TO HINDUISM Sanjay Patel, 36-year-old pop artist and Pixar veteran (he has been at Pixar since 1996), arrives at the entrance of San Francisco's Asian Art Museum, breathless. His vahana, or vehicle, is a silver mountain bike; his white helmet is festooned with multicolored stickers of bugs and goddesses. The name of the show - Deities, Demons and Dudes with 'Staches - is as quirky and upbeat as the 36-year-old artist himself. It's a lighthearted foil to the museum's exhibition, Maharaja: The Splendor of India's Royal Courts.
Patel, who created the bold banners and graphics for Maharaja, was given this one-room fiefdom to showcase his own career: a varied thali (plate) of the animated arts. "I've known of Sanjay's work for a while," says Qamar Adamjee, the museum's associate curator of South Asian Art. "[Hindu] stories are parts of a living tradition, and change with each retelling," Adamjee observes.

"Sanjay tells these stories with a vibrant visual style - it's so sweet and so charming, yet very respectful. He's inspired by the past, but has reformulated it in the visual language of the present." In Patel's show, and in his illustrated books - The Little Book of Hindu Deities (2006) and Ramayana: Divine Loophole (2010) - he distills the gods and goddesses down to their essentials. Now he wheels through the room, pointing to the cartoon-like images and offering clipped descriptions:
"There's Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, with his cherished stash of sweets; Saraswati, the goddess of learning and music, strumming on a vina; the fearsome Shiva, whose cosmic dance simultaneously creates and destroys the universe." It was while Patel was at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) that representatives from Pixar saw Patel's animated student film, 'Cactus Cooler'. "Pixar loved it, and they recruited me."

The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco is one of the largest museums in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian art. It hosted "Maharaja: The Splendor of India's Royal Courts," where you can "explore the life and times of India's great kings by getting close to the objects they used and the art they commissioned, collected, and loved." In that great exhibition, the artist work of Sanjay Patel is outstanding. Patel didn't grow up enthralled with Hindu imagery, but the seeds were there, said Jeff Greenwald, author of the article. Six years into his Pixar career, he opened an art book and came across paintings from India. "The more I read," he recalls, "the more I was drawn into a world of imagery that had always surrounded me. Before, it was just part of my family's daily routine. Now I saw it in the realm of art."

Much can also be said about the art work that is found within Vedic culture. There are not only ornaments, jewelry, but also a wide variety of painting styles that are used in the worship and display of the forms and pastimes of the Lord. Painting and sculpture are like sciences unto themselves in the way such artists are trained. Nonetheless, any artist has full opportunity to express his or her devotion to God through this art. Thus, such art and expression becomes a means for one's personal spiritual insights, realizations and enlightenment. In this way, there are numerous forms of expression that are used in Hinduism, making it one of the most emotionally rewarding and expressive spiritual paths that you can find.

Dr Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
"Why Be A Hindu"
"The Advantages of the Vedic Path"

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

Saturday, March 23, 2013


LIGHTS FOR EARTH HOUR - Hundreds of millions of people across the globe will turn off their lights for 60 minutes on Saturday night starting at 8:30pm local time in a symbolic show of support for "Earth Hour" campaign against climate change. Many of the world's most iconic attractions, including Sydney Opera House, the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower will take part. "What started as an event in Sydney in 2007 with two million people has now become a tradition across the country and across the world," Dermot O'Gorman, head of WWF - Australia, said. "It's now an organic, people-powered movement... which is fantastic." 
Last year more than 150 countries participated in the event which saw some of the world's most iconic landmarks dim, and this year the movement has spread to Palestine, Tunisia, Suriname and Rwanda. Newcomers to be plunged into darkness, such as the statue of David in Florence.

In Australia, where Earth Hour originated with an appeal to people and businesses to turn off their lights for an hour to raise awareness about carbon pollution, the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge will be among the first sites to participate globally. This year Earth Hour Australia is asking participants to "switch off for good" and move to renewable energy. As part of the push Sydney Opera House will not go dark at 8:30 pm (0930 GMT) but will instead glow a deep green. With restaurant diners eating by candlelight, Outback communities going dark and iconic buildings standing in shadows, O'Gorman believes Earth Hour has played a part in drawing attention to energy use. 
In China, Shanghai's famous Bund will turn off its lights while the Yangtze River bridge will be plunged into darkness. In Japan, daily illuminations of the city's signature Tokyo Tower will be switched off, with visitors able to pedal bicycles to generate power to illuminate an egg-shaped art work.

A number of prominent public buildings across all the world will be plunged into darkness tonight as part of Earth Hour. Millions of people in 7,000 towns and cities across the world will turn out the lights tonight at 8.30pm. Earth Hour is a global initiative which began in Australia in 2007. It aims to highlight the need for action to tackle the world’s environmental challenges, including climate change. Last year hundreds of millions of people in more than 7,000 cities and towns worldwide switched off their lights for one hour to demonstrate their support for the protection of the environment. In addition, there are small actions which we can do every day to save energy and protect the environment.

It is therefore important to strictly separate trash and recycle it as best as you can, to begin his recovery. 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”

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

Friday, March 22, 2013


AFFECT WOMEN, KIDS, HUNGER The global water crisis isn't just about simple supply and demand - it's an issue related to women's rights, global development and preventable deaths. As the world population swells to over 7 billion people, and the demand for fresh water continues to grow with it, global leaders have called for greater innovation, advocacy and solutions, which is why this year’s World Water Day has been dedicated to the theme of “cooperation.” UN Deputy Chief Jan Eliasson said improving access to water would reduce maternal health issues, child mortality and overall poverty, the AP reported. "If we do water and sanitation right, we can have a great improvement on other goals," he said. 
As climate change and political and social unrest take their toll on fresh water supplies, 783 million people lack access to clean or relatively safe water and 37 % of the world's population doesn't have access to toilets, a fact that the UN points to as a further inequity.

"Access to sanitation facilities around the world, more than any other service, provides a window into the vast difference between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots." Catarina de Albuquerque, UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, said in a press release. In Africa alone, women and children spend 40 billion hours annually collecting water. While taking on this backbreaking effort, they're also subjected to harassment and sexual assault along the way in unprotected areas. Water scarcity could cause major food shortages in the foreseeable future, experts have warned. 
Earlier this year, Nestle CEO Paul Bulcke said we're using more than our sustainable supply and that this overuse of fresh water is a serious risk, The Guardian reported: "It is anticipated that there will be up to 30 % shortfalls in global cereal production by 2030 due to water scarcity," he said.

Worldwide water crisis is a sanitation issue. The U.N. estimates that more than one in six people worldwide do not have access to 20-50 liters (5-13 gallons) of safe freshwater a day to ensure their basic needs for drinking, cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene. Besides, diarrhea is the second biggest killer of kids globally - an issue that is completely preventable. Lack of clean water is the primary reason why more than 3,000 children under 5 years of age die every day from diarrhea and other water-related illnesses, the UN reports. Unfortunately, if we do not work together and change our attitude, potable drinking water and access to sanitation crises will increase. 

Nature is one of the manifestations of God; if we mistreat the environment, if we live irresponsibly, in any moment we will be sucked into an abyss. ... The biological well-being 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? The waters of the Earth are the veins of the Lord. We should proceed with absolute compassion and responsibility, because by not taking care of other living beings, our present planet will become a complete desert. Polluted waters cause the leukemia of the ecosystem

House of Wisdom - Casa de la Sabiduría :

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

Thursday, March 21, 2013


INCLUDING SENIOR SYRIAN IMAM An explosion at a mosque in the Syrian capital on Thursday killed at least 42 people, including a senior pro-government Muslim cleric, and wounded 84, the Syrian health ministry said. State television and anti-government activists earlier had reported 15 dead. The television said a "terrorist suicide blast" hit the Iman Mosque in central Damascus, and Mohammed al-Buti, imam of the ancient Ummayyad Mosque, was among the dead. 
"The death toll from the suicide bombing of the Iman Mosque in Damascus is 42 martyrs and 84 wounded," the health ministry said later in a statement. While attacks in the capital during Syria's two-year-long rebellion have become almost commonplace, an attack on a mosque was deeply shocking to both sides in the conflict. It was unclear if the explosion was caused by a car bomb or a mortar shell.

Buti, a government-appointed cleric reviled by the Syrian opposition movement, delivered the official weekly Friday mosque sermons on state television. In one of his televised speeches, Buti described those fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad as 'scum'. He also used his position to call on Syrians to join the armed forces and help Assad defeat his rivals in the rebellion. 
Rebel spokesman Loay Maqdad said units associated with the opposition's Free Syrian Army were not behind the attack. "We in the Free Syrian Army do not take any responsibility for this operation. We do not do these types of suicide bombings and we do not target mosques," he told Al Arabiya television. Video released by Syria's al-Ikhbariya channel showed dozens of limp bodies lying on the bloodied carpet of the mosque, as emergency workers rushed in to give survivors first aid. Mangled limbs lay among the wreckage.

A suicide bombing tore through a mosque in the Syrian capital Thursday, killing a top Sunni Muslim preacher and longtime supporter of President Bashar Assad along with at least 41 other people. More than 80 others were wounded. Mohammad Saed Ramadan al-Bouti, 84, a cleric and religious scholar who appeared often on TV, was delivering a religious lecture at al-Eman Mosque in central Damascus' district of al-Mazraa when a suicide bomber detonated himself from inside the mosque. Suicide bombings blamed on Islamic extremists fighting with the rebels have become common in Syria's 2-year-old civil war. It is crucial to avoid sectarian dogmas and opinions and the unholy tendency to commit violence against others.

There are Eighteen Obstacles in the way of this exquisite consummation of bhava which belongs to Vraja.  ... The Sixth Obstacle has the forms of cruelty and violence. This is the demon Aghasura. It is possible for love to suffer gradual decay by the absence of kindness for all animate beings. This must be so in as much as kindness can never be a different principle from love for Krishna. There is no substantive difference between love for Krishna and kindness to individual souls. ... The Eleventh Obstacle has the form of intra-communal discord.  It is comparable to the wild forest-fire. The disposition bred by narrow sectarianism rendering its victim unable to recognize as Vaishnava one who does to assume the external marks of the theistic community, multiples the obstacles on the path of attainment of the bone fide Guru and the actual companionship of the true devotees.

Śrīla Bhakti Vaibhava Purī Mahārāj:
“Sri Krishna : The Supreme Godhead”
“Chapter 3: The Highest Worship of Sri Krishna”
Bhakti Vigyan Nityananda Book Trust
Śrī Krishna Chaitanya Mission -

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

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


“INTERNATIONAL MEATOUT DAY” - Today is March 20th, or as some people call it ‘International Meatout Day’ which is an international observance helping individuals evolve to a wholesome, compassionate diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains. The purpose is to expose the public to the joys and benefits of a plant-based  diet, while promoting the availability and selection alternatives to meat and dairy in mainstream grocery stores, restaurants, and catering operations. 
Meatout has grown explosively since its inception in 1985 to become the world's largest annual grassroots diet education campaign. Thousands of caring people in all 50 U.S. states and a host of other countries welcome Spring with colorful educational events. These range from simple information tables, exhibits, and cooking demonstrations to elaborate receptions and festivals. Visitors are asked to "kick the meat habit on March 20 (first day of spring).

Several mainstream health advocacy organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, Johns Hopkins University, and the American Heart Association, have since launched their own campaigns to promote consumption of plant-based foods. Today, people are asked to explore a wholesome, nonviolent diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Meatout reflects national trends: Mainstream health advocacy organizations and the official government publication "Dietary Guidelines for Americans" tout plant-based foods. Over 30 million Americans have explored a meat-free diet. 
One in five teens thinks vegetarianism is "cool." National beef and veal consumption have dropped by 25 and 70%, respectively. Major manufacturers and retailers are marketing meat-free and dairy-free meals. Several national fast food chains are offering veggie burgers and several major baseball parks are selling veggie dogs.

International Meatout Day is the world's largest campaign to educate people on the benefits of a plant-based diet, with no animal derived ingredients. Supporters organize many activities, such as festive events, public lectures and wholesome meat-free dinners, cooking demonstrations, food samplings, distributing pamphlets and providing dietary information. All living beings are sentient beings. That makes us alike in the way we feel pain and pleasure. When we choose to avoid meat we are promoting a less violent life for all living beings on this planet. A person with only choose to eat a diet based on plants during the period of his life, can save from a cruel death more than 6,000 animals.

Every day, several times a day, every living being, in whichever part of the world he may be, enjoys a universal ritual - eating. ... The Bhagavad Gita states that foods such as milk products, grains, fruits, and vegetables increase the duration of life and give strength, health, happiness, and satisfaction. Conversely, foods such as, meat, fish and fowl are putrid, decomposed and unclean. They cause numerous hazards to physical health. The Srimad Bhagavatam, the summum bonum of all Vedic literature, states that meat-eating is one of the four pillars of sinful life. Apart from bringing severe sinful reactions, meat-eating also dulls the human intellect thus rendering it incapable of understanding the higher dimensions of life. Therefore real spiritual life, nay real human life, can not begin unless a human being stops killing his younger brothers, innocent animals, just for the satisfaction of his tongue.

Śrīpad Chaitanya Charan das :
"Think Before You Eat"
The Spiritual Scientist - Vol 1 Issue 8

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

Monday, March 18, 2013


The Hindu - Times of India Last week, Mahasivaratri was celebrated with piety and religious fervour at various Saivite shrines in many places of the world. The Chittoor district boasts of over a dozen important temples dedicated to Lord Siva, the prominent one being Srikalahasti, revered as ‘Dakshina Kashi’. As is the age-old practice, several devotees took a holy dip in the Swarnamukhi river and offered prayers with wet clothes at the Srikalahasti temple. Many women preferred to perform ‘Angapradakshinam’ (bodily rolling around the temple). 
The deities of Lord Sri Kalahastheeswara and Goddess Gnana Prasunambika were taken in a colourful procession respectively on ‘Indra Vimanam’ and ‘Chapram’ in the morning and on Nandi and Simha Vahanams in the evening. The famous ‘Lingodbhavam’ was performed at the next day.

Also last week, Siva temples across Visakhapatnam district came alive with teeming devotees offering special prayers for Maha Sivaratri. In the Port City, a gigantic Sivalingam made of 1.08 crore small Sivalingams, set up at the RK Beach drew thousands from all parts of the city and its surrounding areas. The Sivalingam was installed by the TSR Seva Peetham as part its 28th Maha Sivaratri Kumbhabhishekham. Another major attraction was a eight pushpa-lingam (made of flowers) put up at the Viswapriya Function Hall on Beach Road by the Brahma Kumaris. 
The ancient temples of Lord Siva at Draksharamam, Rajahmundry, Pithapuram, Kotipalli, Raali and Samalkot in East Godavari district, Kotilingeswara Swamy temple and Sri Mukhalingam in Srikakulam district, Ramatheertham and Punyagiri in Vizianagaram district and Vysakheswara temple, Appikonda and Lova in the district also saw a large number of devotees gathering to celebrate Sivaratri.

Last week, Maha Sivaratri was observed with religious fervor across all the world with various thousands of devotees thronging many Siva temples since the wee hours. The crowd of devotees swelled towards the evening when special alankaram and poojas were performed. Devotees patiently waited for hours together to have a glimpse of the Lord and also witnessed the alankarams. People offered milk and tender coconuts for the abhishekam. Sivaratri is the most important festival and it is believed that a devotee who sincerely worships Lord Siva on this auspicious day will be absolved of his or her sins. The day is also marked by fasts and prayers to the Lord who is also known as Mrityunjaya - the bestower of the boons of sound health, long life, prosperity, wealth contentment and peace. 

Mahasivaratri is the most important festival dedicated to Lord Siva. This holy day is observed by millions of Hindus all over the world. It is one of Hinduism's most esoteric holy days, when yoga practices, mantras and meditation take the devotee closer to God's essence within the core of himself. Hindus typically fast, maintain silence and stay up all night to perform spiritual practices, such as worshiping, chanting and singing. ... Staying awake through the night is a sacrifice and a break from life's normal routine, a time out of time to be with God within, to reach for the realization of our true, immortal Self. Siva is known as Abhisheka Priya, “He who loves sacred ablutions,” and thus many temples and home shrines have water always dripping on the Sivalinga. On this special night, Sivalingas are bathed with special substances, sometimes several times. Mahasivaratri occurs on the night before the new moon in February/March.

Hinduism TODAY :
“Festivals: Mahasivaratri”
Magazine Web Edition  -  April/May/June 2010

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