Friday, August 29, 2014


ON CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH AUTISM With the sound of music, we have no trouble locating music therapist Lakshmi Mohan’s second-floor house at R.A. Puram. We walk into a bhajan session. As we stand there and listen to the soothing sounds, Lakshmi suddenly lifts her voice and rolls her eyes so as to draw a restless student’s attention. Ten-year-old Anirudh, the student, comes and sits on her lap and begins to meddle with a rhythm instrument. This is not the usual music class where the teacher sings and students repeat after her. 
For 45 minutes, Lakshmi only sings bhajans and the children come just to listen to her. It’s a different kind of after-school activity for these children, who have autism spectrum disorder. They come twice or thrice a week to Lakshmi to listen to the bhajans. For 12 years now, Lakshmi has shown that bhajans can have therapeutic benefits for children with autism.

Last week, eleven of her students performed at the finals of Bakthaswara Bhajan Competition in Bharthiya Vidya Bhavan, where they rendered bhajans for half an hour. On Saturday, her class shifts to Besant Nagar at the facility of the Lotus Foundation, to which she is attached. Here, it is a larger group where students and parents sit together to listen to bhajans. 
Lakshmi, who has also authored books on autism, plans to do a thesis on the improvement her students have shown. But, for now, her parents will vouch for the therapeutic effect bhajans have on their children. “My son hardly sits quietly for a minute. But, at last week’s performance, he sat for 15 minutes,” said a father. Another parent Shoba Kannan said, “It de-stresses and over a period of time, it transforms the inner soul.”

This article, written by Liffy Thomas, shows the marvelous after-school activity done by the music therapist Lakshmi Mohan that benefits children with autism. She gives bhajan classes at her home and in Besant Nagar, a bigger place, which is open for both the children who have autism spectrum disorder and their parents. Moreover, all of them can receive therapeutic benefits of the bhajan. “All my children may not speak, but they love, enjoy and respond to music,” says Lakshmi, bringing an udukkai (a drum used in folk music and prayers in South India) down from the shelf. “Making these children face the stage is a huge challenge and this is the fifth year that we are performing,” she says. Some of these children can sing individually but it takes a lot of practice for them to sing as a group. “Performing as a group needs harmony and a lot of finishing,” she says. Lakshmi’s first task is to make students sit in the lotus position. “I am particular they listen to music sitting in a structured position,” she explains. Vaishnavas Saints from the past and modern devotees of God have rendered the service of offering melodious bhajans for the pleasure of the Lord. These Bhajans or holy songs are still repeated by devotees and are constitutional part of Indian society. No need to be a sadhu, a religious person, not even be familiar with Vedic philosophy to feel ecstatic by listening the spiritual tunes of the bhajans and feel your heart melts with love for God. (Editor's note).

Devotion is one-point attention fixed on the Supreme Lord, without any distraction. The effect of all our previous actions (karmas) of many births gets dissolved with devotion. When such persons (true saints) form a congregation and do kirtan together (sing hymns, or bhajans) in praise of God, they could swim across the ocean of the world and cross over to the other side successfully. ... A number of devotional saints entranced the followers during this period, with their spiritual songs, or bhajans, which have become extant in Hindu society. Even today people render these devotional songs with great passion and feeling. ... Singing devotional songs became the most prolific style of propagating the message of the Hindu religion. For more than five thousand years, places of worship have been steeped in the deep melody and enraptured tunes of chanting the Vedic prayers (mantras), devotional songs (bhajans), and chorus singing (kirtan).

Dr. Hiro Badlani :
“Hinduism - Path of the Ancient Wisdom”
Chapter 35: “Srimad Bhagavtam
Continued Spiritual Teachings”

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


BIRTH DAY OF VARAHA INCARNATION - Varaha Jayanti celebration approaches. This year, Varaha Jayanti is celebrated on 28th August, Thursday. This festivity is dedicated to Lord Varaha, another incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who was born to destroy evils. On this day, devotees perform bhajans and observe fasts in order to please Lord Varaha. Lord Varaha is the third incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Worshipping Lord Varaha on this day brings wealth, fortune and happiness to the devotee. Varaha Jayanti Story: Diti gave birth to two demons.
Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakshayapu were born with terrific powers. At the time of their birth, the entire universe was terrified. Earth shook, huge tides aroused in the oceans and stars moved upside down. The scenario of the three worlds was in itself terrifying. Soon, both brothers grew up with strong and huge built.

Both of them performed tough austerities and were able to please Lord Brahma. They asked for limitless powers and that no one should be able to defeat them in any war. Lord Brahma granted them the wish and went back to heaven. Both of them became powerful and started troubling people of all the three worlds to prove their strengths. After acquiring the three worlds, Hiranyaksha dragged the Earth into the bottom of the sea. To end his terror and free the Earth from evil, Shri Vishnu took the form of Varaha, half-boar-half-human. 
Varaha got earth free from abyss of the deep Garbhodaka ocean by holding it with his tusks, and restored the planet earth in its correct position in space. After completing his task, and restore the Earth in a safe place, Varaha and Hiranyaksha fought each other for a long time and then Hiranyaksha was killed by Lord Vishnu.

Tomorrow, 28th August 2014 (Thursday) is Varaha Jayanti. It is the birth anniversary of Varaha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. As per the Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu is the preserver and protector of the universe. He protects us from various dangers and evil powers. It is explained in the Vishnu Purana that whenever Dharma or law and order is endangered, Shri Vishnu will incarnate to eradicate the darkness and win over the evil powers. Varaha is the third incarnation of Lord Vishnu during Satya Yuga that appeared to rescue Earth from Demon Hiranyakasha. Special Puja is organized in Lord Vishnu temples on the occasion of Varaha Jayanti. Among the rituals to observe during this festivity, we can mention that devotees should observe fast throughout the day and organize a Jagran (a way of worship throughout night) reciting stories of various manifestations of Lord Vishnu overnight. Devotees who observe fast on Varaha Jayanti normally establish a deity of Lord Varaha in a kalash (a sacred waterpot), followed by doing Visarjan (immersion of a deity in the water). Once the puja is done the deity is donated to any Brahman or Acharya. It is believed that worshipping Lord Varaha gets one rid of all the problems in life and brings good fortune and happiness. Nowadays, huge industries are drilling the ocean for oil, but they do not care about the imbalance they are creating in the subterranean depths. In order to satisfy their excessive ambition for money, they are putting our Mother Earth in great dangers, just as the demon Hiranyaksha did millions of year ago. We must always remember that when the Lord's creation is in danger, He himself appears to punish the wicked and put things in their proper locations. (Editor's note).

When Brahmaji saw the earth submerged in the water, he thought for a long time about how it could be rescued. [...] Even after much effort, Brahmaji was not able to think of any solution. At last, he took shelter of the Supreme Lord Visnu. While Brahmaji was still deep in thought, a small boar the size of the tip of a thumb manifested from his nose. But the most surprising thing is that the small boar expanded in front of Brahmaji and within moments, filled the sky and assumed a form as big as an elephant.  [...] The omnipotent Sri Hari enlivened Brahma and the other highly elevated brahmanas by again roaring with His uncommon voice. The sound of His roar was so sweet that it destroyed all the miseries of the hearer. [...] The Lord of all sacrifices penetrated the water with His hooves, and in the depths of the Rasatala ocean, He saw the earth lying there as it was carried by Him in his stomach during the time of devastation. Lord Varaha lifted the earth on His tusks and appeared very splendid.

Śrīla Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Mahārāja :
“Dasavatara - The Ten Manifestations of God”
Chapter 3: “Varaha Avatara (The Boar Incarnation)”
Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math -

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


STANISLAVSKY'S STUDIOS (1st part) - After seeing the effects of yoga on his students, Konstantin Stanislavsky (Russian actor and theater director) quickly started using it even more: in actors' trainings in the Second Studio (which was established in 1916) and the Opera Studio (founded in 1918), and for the work of the actors in the MAT (Moscow Art Theatre). Stanislavsky's notebooks from 1919-1920 contain many notes on the application of Hatha Yoga, together with Swedish gymnastics, exercises on rhythm and voice training in his classes.
The most detailed connection between Stanislavsky's system and yoga is found in notes to the classes with the MAT artists (1919). Rose Whyman, a British scholar of Stanislavsky's work, has pointed out that the notes contain a hidden synopsis of the part of the book “Hatha Yoga” on prana.

Although Stanislavsky does not refer directly to pranayama - an aspect of yoga that teaches the skills of managing prana -, his notes testify to serious study of concepts of yoga practice. He widely used pranayama exercises to develop actors' creative well-being. Stanislavsky communicated breathing principles to the actors and explained the connection between correct breathing and attention: “Calm breathing - healthy thoughts, healthy body, healthy feelings, easy to focus; wrong rhythm of breathing - disturbed psyche, feelings of pain and total attention deficit.” 
These thoughts, of course, are closely connected to yoga's tenets of pranayama: consciousness, the body and emotions are linked by the thread of breath, and the ability to breathe correctly is paramount for a person's spiritual ascent.

This interesting article tells us that Konstantin Stanislavsky - the famous Russian actor and theatre director - taught his actors some excercises that were intended to establish a connection between the breathing rhythm and concentration; techniques that are related to the pouring of “prana.” Stanislavsky widely used pranayama exercises to develop actors’ creative well-being, even including a count  (6-3-6-15) for inhaling-exhaling and holding the breath. Stanislavsky’s discussions with the actor-singers of the Opera Studio (1918–1922) reveal new connections between his “system” and yoga, and his use of yoga techniques of rhythmic breathing. In summaries of Stanislavsky’s conversations by the novice singer Konkordiya Antarova, there is a story ascribed to “a Hindu sage;” a comparison of the undisciplined mind to the movements of a drunken monkey. Stanislavsky applied yoga’s breathing principles as the basis of life when he taught breathing rhythm as the basis of theatrical creativity as such. He writes: “Music, being in agreement with the rhythm of your breathing, that is, with the basis of your whole life on earth, should increase your concentration, bringing your whole being into harmony. Music should unite in its rhythm your thought and your feeling and bring you into what we call the state of true inspiration, i.e., the awakening of your intuition or subconsciousness.” Decades ago, the Hatha Yoga in the West was seen as strange or mysterious. Imagine at the time of Stanislavsky, about 100 years ago! But then many practitioners and Hatha Yoga institutes began to appear in different countries and so yoga was no longer something mystical and won reputation as an alternative, new age way of getting healthy. Nowadays, there are more and more people doing yoga to decompress and achieve mental clarity and, thus, Hatha Yoga has become a legit, doctor-approved method for treating emotional disorders. Particularly, in the case of persons acting on stage, or the ones who have to talk to the public, Yoga is a great ally to eliminate the so-called “stage fright” and be more physically relaxed and mentally able to act more freely. (Editor's note).

Today we live in a world of constant stress, always facing the outside, which prevents us from knowing our essence or inner nature. This makes us feel frustrated, anxious, tense and thus, ill.  When a problem arises we take drugs to hush those signals that the body emits and then we do not realize that just by stretching out, relaxing, a conscious living, refusing to negative influences, breathing in a slow and controlled manner, having a natural and healthy diet, we can restore our health and prevent diseases. Well, yoga is to implement a series of techniques that help us to get that full health. These Hatha Yoga techniques include relaxation exercises, body positions or asanas, pranayama or breath control exercises and techniques of internalization and concentration that lead us to a fullness.

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Saturday, August 23, 2014


LEGISLATORS OF COLOMBIA TO CARE PLANET Days ago, on August 20, the Vaishnava spiritual master, Srila Bhakti Aloka Paramadvaiti, direct disciple of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, spoke at the plenary of the House of Representatives of Republic Congress in Colombia. He asked the representatives of the Colombian people, to promote peace in a constructive way. He spoke about the importance of being a ruler or legislator; and reminded them, that traditionally, according to Vedic wisdom, the king was the representative of God, and he had to account for their actions towards the people; the King must took upon himself 25% of the reactions of sins that were committed by people under his reign; and today this 25% is distributed among the elected members, as they are responsible for their country can obtain peace, love, health and safety. “On one hand, as regards your responsibilities you are God’s representatives, but on the other hand, this also means a big commitment,” said Paramadvaiti. 
He also explained that “The world is behind the progress; but this progress is poorly understood in most cases, as we see the state of the environment; more opencast mines, more deforestation, more, more, more; but less security, less happiness and less health, particularly in connection to the environmental pollution and waters’ pollution.”

“The solution is not that there should not be progress; but these solutions need not be through more factories and industrialization, but in having an education which allows you to know and feel that you can be happier with less. Global competition wants the mines of gold and also cut down all the trees of the Chocó and the Amazon to put other things there; but that is not for the welfare of Colombians, the indigenous groups or those beautiful children of yours, who will be the future of Colombia and the world. 
Therefore, you should consider the great responsibility you have and evaluate that the progress of our planet does not depend on the bank figures, but on the degree of happiness and enlightenment that can be achieved with non-violence, meditation, and respecting women, who today are victims of a completely male-dominated society that just wants to enjoy the woman. So, we need a shift towards a more simple life but with higher thoughts; that is the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, who with it has had made great impact on India, Burma and the Himalayas.” 

In his annual tour visiting different countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas, the Vaishnava spiritual master Srila B. A. Paramadvaiti Swami, founder of the “Vrinda Family”, spoke in the House of Representatives of the Republic of Colombia and delivered his message of protecting the planet by building a sustainable society that respects nature. His call to be more aware of the great damage which is being done to the planet was broadcast live across the country by the national chain of Colombia. Paramadvaiti Swami spoke to lawmakers about "Permaculture", the revolutionary new way to cultivate which is basically done by creating food forests which function as a natural ecosystem that regulates itself. This new form of agriculture could eliminate hunger across the globe at the expense of the mafia responsible for the shameful and corrupt food industry. Paramadvaiti said: “Today, the farming system is called “monoculture”, there are giant fields where one product is grown and there is a single owner; and all the families have no place to cultivate. Permaculture should be supported by you gentlemen, thus in this way we will have a healthy society and a true health; health is not in hospitals but in good nutrition, health is to allow people to grow back all their stuff and naturally respect the rights of others.” In conclusion, Paramadaviti Swami asked the legislators to reflect about their responsibility as Colombian Congressmen: “I ask you, in the name of the infinite God, to take this responsibility and save the national resources of Colombia from the international interests of the multinationals; who are interested in Colombia’s gold, but not in Colombia’s water. As I learned in Tolima, we want water, not gold; because with water we live, but gold is taken by others and we will never see it. And the only thing that remains with us is a wasteland, a devastated land, with undrinkable waters.” At the end, Srila Paramadvaiti thanked for being allowed to speak in the Congress, and did it on behalf of “our Infinite Well-wisher and Mother Nature, who is so great, so kind that she has given us this Colombia, which is the most amazing multi-diversity you can see so far, and hopefully it stays that way.” (Editor's note).

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

Śrīla Radhanath Swami Mahārāja : 
“The Real Significance of Bhumi Puja”
Lecture at Govardhan Farm, Wada - 2nd October 2009  -

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Thursday, August 21, 2014


HATHA YOGA TO THE WEST, DIES AT 95 - B. K. S. Iyengar, who helped introduce the practice of yoga to a Western world awakening to the notion of an inner life, died on Wednesday in the southern Indian city of Pune. He was 95. The cause was heart failure, said Abhijata Sridhar-Iyengar, his granddaughter. 
Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar was born on Dec. 14, 1918, into a poor family in the southern state of Karnataka. The 11th of 13 children, he was born in the midst of an influenza outbreak. After surviving tuberculosis, typhoid and malaria as a child, Mr. Iyengar credited yoga with saving his life. He spent his midteens demonstrating “the most impressive and bewildering” positions in the court of the Maharaja of Mysore, he later recalled. The news about Mr. Iyengar - or “guru-ji,” as many here called him, using a Sanskrit honorific - rippled through India on Wednesday morning.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that he was “deeply saddened” by Mr. Iyengar’s death and offered “condolences to his followers all over the world.” Mr. Iyengar’s practice is characterized by long asanas, or postures, that require extraordinary will and discipline. A reporter who watched daily practice in 2002, when Mr. Iyengar was 83, said that he held one headstand for six minutes, swiveling his legs to the right and the left, and that when he finished, “his shoulder-length hair was awry, he seemed physically depleted,” but he wore the smile of a gleeful child. 
Ms. Sridhar-Iyengar said her grandfather recognized early on that yoga, up until then viewed as a mystical pursuit, “had something for everybody, not just the intellectually or spiritually inclined.” “He felt satisfied,” she said. “Even at the end, even a few weeks before, he said, ‘I’m satisfied with what I’ve done.’ He took yoga to the world. He knew that.”

World-renowned yoga exponent B.K.S. Iyengar passed away at a private hospital in Pune yesterday morning. He was 95. Mr. Iyengar, was put on dialysis since Sunday owing to renal failure. Mr. Iyengar, who abhorred hospitals and clinics, failed to respond to the treatment owing to heart problems brought on by advanced age. Despite suffering two massive heart-attacks in 1996 and 1998, Mr. Iyengar, with his near-legendary regimen and discipline, rebounded and kept up a punishing teaching schedule, touring Russia and China in recent years. Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar codified Patanjali’s yoga sutras in an innovatively dynamic yoga style, which came to be known as Iyengar Yoga, winning millions of followers in more than 70 countries of the globe in the process. Mr. Iyengar was honoured with Padma Shri in 1991, the Padma Bhushan in 2002 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2014 in recognition of his services to spreading knowledge of Indian culture and tradition globally. B.K.S. Iyengar wrote an enthusiastic endorsement for the book “Journey Home”, the autobiography of ISKCON leader and Vaishnava guru Radhanath Swami. “I respect my friend, now Shri Radhanath Swamiji who pursued his spiritual journey experiencing unity in diversity which is a part and parcel of Indian culture, met various spiritual heads in his journey and gained knowledge of Adhyaatma Vidya progressively, and then culminating his journey from the seeker to the state of the seer.” Hatha-yoga is one of the eight steps of Raja-yoga. Nonetheless, it can be used separately, only for helping keep the body and mind fit and in shape. In the West, many seekers of spirituality could come to know something about the wonderful Vedic wisdom when they started the practice of Hatha Yoga. (Editor's note).

Hatha Yoga is founded on a principle of putting the physical body into a position so that the nerve currents in the physical body get tuned up to a perfect pitch. [...] Perform the postures daily in the privacy of your own room, without drawing attention to yourself. Naturally, they should not be performed after meals. Don’t worry if you can’t perform them perfectly, or if some are difficult  you.  [...] When physical tensions are released through Hatha Yoga, mental-emotional tensions are automatically dissolved. This is a great secret and a wonderful tool that you can use every day of your life. Free the mind of thoughts and tensions and you will be more aware, more alive, and more serene. As you perform the Hatha yoga asanas, put out of your mind all thoughts relating to your work, family, friends, associates, problems and challenges that normally concern you. Relax. Relax. Relax. Be completely at peace with yourself and fully enjoy this contemplative art.

“What Is Hinduism?” : 
Chapter 34 “Hatha Yoga”
“A 24-Posture System of Body Tuning and Preparation for Meditation”
Hinduism Today Magazine
Himalaya Academy, India - USA - 2007

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

Saturday, August 16, 2014


SUNDAY, AUGUST 17TH, 2014 Janmashtami, or “Krishna Janmashtami”, celebrates the birth of Sri Krishna, regarded as the most venerated in the Hindu pantheon of deities. According to Hindu belief, baby Krishna was born at midnight in Bhado (Bhadra) month. The sacred day of Janmashtami celebrates the beautiful moments of Sri Krishna depicted as a child. Sri Krishna is revered as a representation of joy and simplicity and this aspect is brought out very well throughout the episodes in Mahabharata. 
Lord Krishna represents the joyful spirit in all of us that we should invoke even when we face situations in life. The deeper message of Sri Krishna Janmashtami is that we should make efforts towards imbibing these aspects of Lord Krishna to wade easily through life. To celebrate Janmashtami, devotees observe fasting early on and continue fasting till the auspicious time of baby Krishna's birth arrives. Then they bathe the infant Krishna and adorn him with new clothes and jewellery, and rock him in a cradle.

This is followed by ritualistic “puja”, “aarti” and a whole repertoire of devotional songs and dance performances. Janmashtami “prasada” is offered to the deity of baby Krishna and devotees break their fast after partaking of this holy food. The celebration of Janmashtami still carries on with the same fervor, sticking to the traditions of enacting episodes from Lord Krishna's life, which are typically fun, and playful moments. Deep devotion and elation and strong sense of solidarity is at the heart of Janmashtami celebration. 
In general, “Rasa Lila” is performed everywhere, wherein the life and events of Lord Krishna’s youthful days and his romance with gopis or devotees is depicted to the rhythm of dance and music. “Dahi-handi”, wherein young boys climb up a human pyramid to break a pot filled with a concoction of milk, yoghurt, butter, honey and dry fruits, is the most popular of customs followed this day. Competitions are held and prizes given as it tests one's courage and perseverance on Krishna Janmashtami. 

Janmashtami (Krishna Jayanti) is one of the prominent Hindu festivals celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Krishna. It is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm in India and all over the world. The actual celebration of Janmashtami takes place during the midnight, as Sri Krishna is believed to be born on a dark, stormy and windy night to end the rule and violence of his uncle, Kansa. Across India, there will be ceremonies and prayers at temples dedicated to Krishna and the Hindu homes are wonderfully decorated and illuminated. Not just in India, but all over the world Janmashtami is celebrated with devotional songs and dances, pujas, arti, blowing of the conch and rocking the cradle of baby Sri Krishna. Krishna was born in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. In this region, a common tradition is the performance of Krishna Lila, a folk drama consisting of scenes from Krishna's life. The Janmashtami celebration of Mathura and Vrindavan, the places where Sri Krishna had spent his life, is very special. During Janmashtami festival, Vrindavan and Mathura are full of devotees who come from all parts of India and the world to pay homage to Lord Krishna. People start celebrating ten days prior the date of the festival. Many plays depicting the life of Krishna are staged and rasaleelas are performed at various temples there. Both cities are filled with the sound of bhajans and mantras and professional artists are invited to give their best performances so that Lord Krishna showers them with his divine blessings. The day before may consist of fasting and prayer up to midnight, the time at which it was said that Krishna was born. Nightlong prayers are offered and religious mantras are sung in the temples. One of the liveliest customs connected with Janmashtami festival is the breaking of the “dahi-handi” (dahi: buttermilk, handi: earthen pot). This is a pot of milk, yoghurt, butter, honey and dry fruits that are suspended high above a street. Teams of young men and boys compete with each other to build human pyramids high enough to reach the dahi-handi and break it. The act is symbolic of Krishna’s love for milk and butter, and the memory of his plundering of the local cowgirls’ handis. Our spiritual masters have taught us that Janmashtami celebration is a new opportunity to prepare and purify ourselves so that Krishna will think us to be qualified to get Him. If we sanctify our lives, we may be apt to receive Krishna in our hearts. Krishna is already there, but due to our selfish desires, lustful thoughts, our anger and desire for revenge, our vanity and ignorance, we are not aware of His constant presence as the Lord of our heart. (Editor's note).

“More than 5,100 years ago, Krishna appeared in His original, transcendental form just to please His devotees, annihilate the miscreants, and reestablish the principles of religion.” [...] The date of Krishna’s birth is traditionally given as 5.201 of Bhadra Krishna Ashtami, or 3.226 BC (or 3.227 BC, depends if we consider the year 0 or not). “Bhadra” is the name of a month (corresponds roughly to July-August; Vedic calendar is luni-solar), “krishna” here specifically denotes the dark part of a month (waning moon) and “ashtami” means “8th day”. If you download and calculate the Vedic calendar for your location you can see when Janmashtami (“Krishna’s birth day”: janma - birth, ashtami - 8th day) occurs so that you can take part in its celebration with us in one of our centers. The peak of the celebration is midnight when Krishna appeared.

Vedic Knowledge On Line : 
“Who is Krishna? - Questions about Krishna”
VEDA - Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Friday, August 15, 2014


THE USUALLY PRIVATE AGONY OF SUICIDE - Anytime someone takes their own life, a circle of heartbroken family and friends are left struggling with a question of haunting simplicity: Why? Now, in the wake of the news that comedian Robin Williams committed suicide at age 63, an entire world linked by social media has been left trying to process why a successful and widely admired man could become so overwhelmed by despair that he felt compelled to commit suicide. 
Williams' death undoubtedly has affected the public in such a profound way because of his ability to make us all feel as if we really knew him. And while mental health experts say the reasons for suicide are complex, the outpouring of raw emotion this week has made it easier to discuss a sensitive topic that has touched so many.

“More people die of suicide than in car accidents or of breast cancer each year,” said Julie Cerel, the board chair of the American Association of Suicidology. “Twice as many people die of suicides than homicides. But nobody talks about it.” But while he was a one-of-a-kind entertainer, Williams now sadly shares commonalities with others who commit suicide. Men are three-to-four times more likely to take their own lives than women. Also, suicides among middle-aged men are rising. Overall, it is the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States, according to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 39,518 suicides in 2011 - or an average of 108 a day. 
Williams’ third wife, revealed a crucial reason of Robin’s suicide: He was suffering from depression, anxiety and Parkinson’s Disease. “Robin’s sobriety was intact and he was brave as he struggled with his own battles of depression, anxiety as well as early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, which he was not yet ready to share publicly,” she said.

Robin Williams’ death has shocked the world and ignited a national debate in the USA about how people respond publicly to suicide. Williams was depressed, his publicist said on Monday, and he has admitted to substance abuse problems, two notorious risk factors for suicide. However, Robin Williams' wife revealed Thursday that at the time of his death, the late comedian was not only battling depression and anxiety but the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease. Williams was in an increasingly high-risk group for what some health care professionals have deemed a silent epidemic: “middle-age suicide”. Depression is a clinical sickness. It is much more than feeling sad and it is not a sign of weakness, say health professionals. And also, receiving a positive diagnosis for Parkinson’s can be devastating. It’s a chronic disease that progressively worsens, causing formerly competent men and women to gradually lose control of their own bodies. Beyond the reasons in this particular case, suicide is also more common that many people think. Americans are more likely to die by suicide than in a car accident. The suicide rate among Americans 45 to 64 has jumped more than 30 percent in the last decade, according to the CDC, and it’s possible to slice the data more finely than that. Our spiritual masters have taught us to accept all difficulties in life and see them as an opportunity to mature in life and to take shelter of God which will make us mentally and spiritually strong. Therefore, we should not commit suicide because this birth is an opportunity to use this human body to escape from this material entanglement and attain the highest goal of life divine. (Editor's note).

This human life is so valuable that with it we can take the path of the highest divine conception. [...] If we can use this human life in a valuable way, we can acquire the key by which to become free from the whole chain of life in this troublesome world. We can get rid of the bondage of all sorts of physical and mental troubles. The key is here, in this human form of life. Jiva Goswami says that lower life-forms have insufficient understanding to realize the highest truth. And in the higher life-forms, such as demigods, because previously acquired energy or karma has accumulated on all sides, the chief enjoying elements are surrounding the living being. It is difficult to escape the charm of those influences and begin the prospect of a fresh life in a higher plane of consciousness.

Śrīla Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Mahārāja :
“The Golden Volcano of Divine Love”
Part 3 “Conclusion - A Drop of Divine Love”
Section: “Let us Take Poison ...”
Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Saturday, August 9, 2014


SUNDAY, AUGUST 10th  2014 Hindus, particularly the Vaishnavas, celebrate Balarama Purnima. This is a festival that commemorates the appearance day of Lord Balaram, the elder brother of Lord Sri Krishna. It is celebrated on the full moon day of Shravan month, Shravan Poornima. According to Gregorian calendar, the day generally falls in the months of August or September. This festival is celebrated exactly eight days before Janamastami, the appearance day of Lord Krishna.  Balarama Purnima this year is on August 10th. 
Lord Krishna and Balarama are not two different Personalities of Godhead. God is one without a second, but He expands Himself in many forms without their being separate from one another. They are all plenary expansions. The immediate expansion of Lord Krishna is Balarama. Lord Balarama is as good as Krishna Himself, the only difference being that the bodily hue of Krishna is dark and that of Balarama is fair.

Lord Balarama is the source of all spiritual power (bala) which helps one attain the highest bliss of life (ramana) and hence the name Balarama. He is the protector of the devotees of the Lord. Without His mercy, one cannot approach the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. Vaishnavas celebrate Balarama Purnima with great joy and happiness. On this day, all temples dedicated to Lord Krishna are decorated with leaves and flowers. The deities of Krishna and Balarama are given holy bath with panchamrita. Devotees cook special dishes on this day and share them with great happiness. 
Balarama Purnima is celebrated with utmost festivity in Vrindavan, Mathura, Puri and in all Krishna mandirs or Iskcon Temples around the world. Iskcon Bangalore celebrates this festival every year with grand Abhisheka for Their Lordships Sri Sri Krishna Balarama, followed by a grand offering of 56 items (Chappan-Bhoga).

Tomorrow, Sunday August 10, 2014, Vaishnavas all around the world celebrate the auspicious occasion of Sri Balarama's Appearance day. Lord Balarama is the first personal expansion of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All other incarnations expand from Him. In Lord Krishna’s pastimes, He plays as Krishna’s older brother. Together Krishna and Balarama enact many pastimes as cowherd boys in the land of Vrindavan. He was the seventh child of Devaki and Vasudev. The demon king Kamsa confined the couple to a prison and killed six of their children. The seventh child (Balarama) was transferred from Devaki’s womb to Rohini’s womb. Balarama is known by several names, such as Sankarshana, Baladeva, Balabhadra and Haldhari. Lord Balarama symbolizes strength in devotion. He is the bestower of physical strength and a healthy life for His devotees. Balarama-Purnima also marks the end of Jhulana-yatra and the first month of chaturmasya. On Balarama Purnima, devotees dance and sing the Holy names of Krishna and Balarama and fast until noon. Discourses are given on Balarama’s appearance and activities. In the Vedic literature, Sri Balarama is the source of all the Vishnu incarnations and is the original spiritual teacher; therefore in this new occasion of celebrating Balarama Purnima, we ask Him to help us to strength our weak devotion and increase our determination to keep our humble services to our Gurudeva. (Editor's note).

Sri Baladeva Prabhu, the original Narayana, is the vaibhava-prakasa of Govinda. He is the original cause of all emanations. The Propagating Prime Cause of individuality or the All-pervading Function-Holder of the Personal Godhead is also Baladeva - He is svayam-prakasa. Sri Baladeva’s color is white, different from Krsna. He carries a buffalo horn, which produces more sound than the flute of Krsna. Therefore He is known as the Horn-holder (Singadhrka). Sri Baladeva possesses qualities like Krsna. He is the fountainhead or prime source of the all-embracing, all-pervading and all-extending energy. [...] Sri Balarama, who is the deity of the sandhini potency, serves Krsna in His five Forms of Maha-Sankarsana, Karanodakasayi, Garbhodakasayi, Ksirodakasayi, and Sesa - who is known as Ananta. In this way, Balarama tastes the divine nectar of the service of Krishna accepting all these Forms.

Śrīla Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Mahārāja :
“Dasavatara - The Ten Manifestations of God”
Chapter 6: “Sri Baladeva Avatara”
Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math -

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Friday, August 8, 2014


AT RAKSHA BANDHAN CELEBRATION - Only a few days to go for Raksha Bandhan, the celebration of the sibling bond. Not only sibling, this festival is a celebration of all kinds of brother-sister bonding. Tying rakhi on brother's wrist and getting gifts in return is the best part of this festival which makes it the most awaited celebration of the year for all the sisters. Raksha Bandhan in Sanskrit literally means "the knot of protection".
It is an ancient Hindu festival that ritually celebrates the love between brothers and their sisters. The sister performs a rakhi ceremony, then prays to express her love and her wish for the well being of her brother. In return, the brother ritually pledges to protect and take care of his sister under all circumstances. It is one of the several occasions in which family ties are affirmed.

Tying rakhi forms the most crucial part of the festival, but there are also a few other rituals of Raksha Bandhan: Fasting - It is customary for the sister to not eat anything till she ties the rakhi. Rakhi Thali - A thali (tray with metal plates) has to be decorated with all the essential items in it. The thali should contain a rakhi, lamp, sweets, tilak and rice. Tying Rakhi - First the sister has to put the tilak and rice on the forehead of the brother. Then it is followed by aarti (ritual of worship). After that she ties the rakhi on his wrist and feeds him sweets.
Gifts - The brother has to give gifts in return to his sister. He also has to promise that he would take care of her in every situation in life. Grand Treat - After the rituals are over, the sister can take her first morsel of food. After that grand treat follows, in which the sister cooks up the favourite dishes of her brother.

Raksha Bandhan is a festival that celebrates the bond of love between brothers and sisters. Sanchita Chowdhury, writer of the article, explains which are the most common rituals to be followed while tying the rakhi. Days before the festival of Raksha Bandhan, women start shopping for rakhis. Anwesha, Sub Editor in Boldsky, says that many different type of rakhis are available in the market but there is nothing more special than a handmade rakhi. "If you really want to make your brother feel special, you can use some ideas to make rakhi yourself. No matter how simple your handmade rakhi is, it will not fail to bring a smile to your brother's face," she says. The brothers, in return, usually give a gift and token money to their sisters, which also signifies a spiritual pledge that a brother gives to his sister for protecting her from any harm at any time. The bonding between the brothers and sisters becomes strengthened on such occasions. Our commitment and protection to our sisters and brothers should be permanent. When we get connected with the eternal reality, the Absolute Bliss, Sri Krsna, we are in harmony to everyone and we try to help brothers and sisters equally. But first, we have to learn how to relate as brothers and sisters. Helping spirit, helping mind, if someone is weak. In order to achieve the perfection of life, we should not maintain prejudices or sectarian views or beliefs. We are all brothers and sisters on this spiritual platform. We should learn how to love and respect every living entity, not only of human, but all species. A Vaishnava is always concerned for the welfare of all living beings, no differences. (Editor's note).

In Vedic culture, siblings respect each other very much. The day of sibling-worship is an important family celebration. At such times sisters give a small gift to their brothers. They tie some colored thread on their wrists, asking for their protection by God's blessing. The brother does his best for his sister, especially in protecting her. If a female is not married but has a brother, she can be sure there is someone to take care of her. The young man will not leave the house; he will not marry until his sister is wed, and until he is convinced that she is in good hands. This is not a theory; it is still like this today. If you try to attain a beautiful relationship with God, begin by trying to have good relationships with everyone. If you want to see Him, try to live so that He wants to see you. If you treat those around you as a good brother or sister, you can see God in them, too. This is the culture of spiritual progress.

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”