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"Planet ISKCON" - 51 new articles

  1. Devadeva Mirel, Alachua, USA: New Baby!
  2. Devadeva Mirel, Alachua, USA: Vegan Seitan Turkey Roast
  3. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Diwali Pictures
  4. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Today's Darsana
  5. Akrura das, Gita Coaching: LEADERS DON’T MAKE EXCUSES
  6. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Bhakti Sara Prabhu
  7. Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Srila Prabhupada and a drunkard
  8. Kurma dasa, AU: The Milk of Pampered Cows
  9. Bharatavarsa.net: Book distribution seminar: Srila Prabhupada: be straightforward
  10. Japa Group: Free From This Hankering
  11. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  12. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  13. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  14. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  15. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  16. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  17. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  18. Bhakti Lata, Alachua, USA: Humility as a Verb
  19. Subhvavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: Okay, here are the pictures as promised.
  20. Book Distribution News: Srila Prabhupada: be straightforward
  21. ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Sunday Feast Live!
  22. Kripamoya dasa, UK: South India Pilgrimage 2010
  23. Rupa Madhurya das, TX, USA: Pictures - Govardhan Puja
  24. Madhava Ghosh dasa, New Vrndavan, USA: Udder madness! Pampered cattle produce Britain’s most expensive pint of milk… at a staggering £1.70
  25. ISKCON Orlando, USA: Govardhan Puja – Trivikrama Swami Class
  26. H.H. Sivarama Swami: If Chickens Could Speak
  27. Dandavats.com: More GBC Thoughts On……
  28. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 125
  29. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: One Hundred Prabhupada Poems
  30. Subhvavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: A comment by Srila Prabhupada is spinning in my head.
  31. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Wonderful Krishna
  32. H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: In Search Of The Greatest Vaishnava
  33. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: The Fest
  34. Jayadeva das, USA: The Empirical Strikes Back
  35. Australian News: The Worship of Govardhan Hill
  36. Caitanya Mangala, CA, USA: Kulimela Australia: Limited Time Registration Discount
  37. Caitanya Mangala, CA, USA: KulimeLA 2009: Bhajan Kutir – Volume 3 CD now available at Krishna.com!
  38. Mayapur Online: Govardhan Puja Celebrations in Mayapur
  39. Ananda Subramanian, Iowa, USA: "Coffee talk" Krishna
  40. Hari Sauri das, Mayapura, IN: Govardhan Puja in Mayapur
  41. Subhvavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: Non-Vegetarian Sweets. A Cautionary note for devotees and temples.
  42. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Govardhana Puja Festival pictures
  43. H.H. Sivarama Swami: How much do we value our principles and the quality of life that they represent?
  44. Gouranga TV: Seattle Harinam
  45. H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: Guru Maharaja In London
  46. H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: Temple News From Russia
  47. H.H. Sivarama Swami
  48. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Sri Damodara-astaka - Sri Yasoda Mataji
  49. Japa Group: Japa Poem
  50. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Gopa-Vrndesa Prabhu
  51. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Gangesvara Prabhu
  52. More Recent Articles
  53. Search Planet ISKCON
  54. Prior Mailing Archive

Devadeva Mirel, Alachua, USA: New Baby!

Not mine! I still have 9 weeks until my due date. But last weekend some new friends of ours became first time parents, after a very intense and long labor. Way to go, Lacie! You are all woman.

Today Padi and I brought over some sustenance for the family of three. I found cooking for the new parents very enlivening. Honestly, there is nothing like the first experience of becoming a parent. Completely surreal no matter how the child comes to you. A new baby is a big deal and that transition from a family of two me’s to a family of three is huge. Must say, these guys make it look easy.

Here are some pics from this morning’s cooking rush.

Not ones to "fall back," these kids were up bright and early to help me cook. At their age I wasn't allowed to even feed myself yet these two and their Montessori training have not met a vegetable they didn't insist on cutting up. They use paring knives that I've marked the handles with in permanent marker because there was some confusion about what was the cutting side and what was the top of the blade. Cooking rule number one--that vegetables should be cut in uniform sizes--has been temporarily suspended, although I am working on bringing everyone up to code.

Buckwheat. Russians love it. Full of bioflavonoids, such as good for the circulatory system ruitn. I toasted some groats, boiled them and then tossed them in butter before mixing with ricotta cheese to fill the manicotti. Trying to get some good nutrition together for the new mom!

The manicotti mixture--buckwheat, dried parsley and ricotta. Seems like the perfect bastardized manifestation of my Jewish Italian heritage. Actually, buckwheat is not foreign to Italian cuisine, although I've found no evidence of any authenticity regarding this filling. Still, the buckwheat is "good for health" and added a very earthy, autumn flavor to the dish. It wasn't my husband's favorite, but I think I prefer this version to straight cheese. Plus....RUTIN!

Manicotti. This is the tray I made for mia famiglia.

Manicotti. This is the tray I made for the new parents. Definitely not traditional. Was identical to ours, but then I topped it with a creamy sauce with zukes and yellow squash. Into the oven a bit to set up.

Knead, boil, fry, boil, broil--these seitan kebabs were cooked in the same manner as my usual vegan barbecued seitan kebabs with one difference. This time I used a sauce similar to the gravy I would whip up for a makhan paneer sabji. Heavy on the ginger and garam masala, this version tastes very Indian.

Who isn't salad good for? Pretty much everyone not on a liquid diet! This one is full o' stuff for the new mom and her breastfed babe. Green leafies, tofu, sunflower seeds, broccoli, tomatoes, and other stuff that I can't remember right now. Heck, it's even healthy for the new dad. Nobody loses with salad.

This is a pic of the vinaigrette before I stuck the stick blender in there. Cold pressed virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh tarragon from our generous potted plant and prunes. Yes, I stuck a huge amount of prunes in the dressing. Just to help the new mom out. Because I care about these kind of things.

Liquified: Tarragon Prune Vinaigrette Post-Blender

Cooookies! Will post the recipe for these later in the week. This was a little sweet side note, however my friend Padi brought the real dessert....pumpkin pie! Yummo. Wish I snapped a pic of it.

Lacie and Gaura are very attentive and loving parents. And they’ve only been at it for a week! I am happy that our girls will be so close in age and pray they get on well with one another. Also, I’m interested to see how much hair my girlie has in comparison to this baby. Stiff competition! But it doesn’t surprise me considering we are working from a similar gene pool. That’s right–baby Rati is from Jewish Italian bloodlines as well.

The big reveal! New parents Gaura and Lacie and their gorgeous little one, Rati Keli. This isn’t the best pic of baby girl since she was getting a little sad from all the flash photography. Believe me, she is a stunner!

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Devadeva Mirel, Alachua, USA: Vegan Seitan Turkey Roast

My vegan friend turned 27 this week and Saturday was her party. I volunteered to cook the turkey roast + gravy.

I woke up at 5 to get things cooking before heading out to coach the kids’ soccer game in below 50 degree weather. Brrrrr.

Here’s a pictorial play by play of my turkey execution.

 

Frugal Housewife Tip: wash and re-use parchment paper. I do it all the time and get multiple uses out of my parchment paper until it literally disintegrates. The night before I made roasted root vegetables. Parsnips, potatoes, turnips, sweet potatoes and--very obviously--beets.

Now that I have my KitchenAid stand mixer, kneading the gluten dough for 10 minutes is not as tiring.

The mixed seitan roast, uncooked.

Double recipe, divided between three loaf pans. Homemade broth will be poured on top for basting and then roasts covered for cooking.

For my vegan chicken broth, the following spices were used: turmeric powder, mustard powder, paprika, nutmeg, dried parsley, sage, rosemary, ground black pepper and thyme + salt, nutritional yeast + Braggs.

Basted and covered, in the oven everything went. The roasts need 3 hours of cooking but mine were in the oven for only 2 before we had to head out the door. Of course, mayhem ensued during those last few minutes at home when my son discovered one cleat missing. We searched and searched franticly. The car. The laundry room. Porch. Shoe rack. Closets. It was nowhere. The kid had to squeeze his big feet into last year’s size.

Off we went at 9:15 to our 10 am game in the windy shade. Off we went after the game to a birthday party at noon where a clown painted a snake on my daughter’s face and pulled a bunny out of a box. Off we went to ice cream at Sweet Dreams where even I who frequently experiences a sharp aversion to ice cream indulged in a scoop of pumpkin pie. Off we went, returning home at 3:30 in the afternoon, to my three roasts, left in the oven that was never shut off due to the last minute distraction of the missing cleat.

Fortunately and unfortunately the party was cancelled. The birthday girl’s two year old had quite a fever.

Maybe we’ll try again next week.


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diwali
Here are a few pictures of the Diwali celebrations at the temple on Saturday.

The brass Deities of Sri Sri Sita Rama Lakshmana Hanuman where placed on the main altar with Sri Sri Radha Ballabha while Usha Mataji's Deities where worshiped in the theatre with arati trays and other paraphernalia.

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Today's Darsana

8/11/10

Despite the wintery white-and-blue ambience of the altar there still prevails a subtle spring flair with butterflies everywhere:

on Sri Sri Gaura Nitai's feet...
on Srimati Radharani's bouquet and ...
on Sri Sri Jaganatha's and Balarama's turbans!

Here's a slideshow;
try to find those butterflies... in the temple's garden also!

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Akrura das, Gita Coaching: LEADERS DON’T MAKE EXCUSES

Click on the title.

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Bhakti Sara Prabhu

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.26.28 - Past sinful reactions are cleared completely by hearing Krsna's glories.

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Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Srila Prabhupada and a drunkard

Srila Prabhupada got off the stage and headed to the car that was to take him to Lakshmi Priya dasi's house. Suddenly, before anybody could do anything about it, this drunk staggering across the street came right through all of us, and was just about to run into Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada stopped, lifted his cane in the air and went whack right on the guy's head and laid on him out cold. And the expression on Srila Prabhupada's face was like nothing had happened. He was always cool.

Rama Govinda dasa, describing a visit of Srila Prabhupada to Mexico

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Kurma dasa, AU: The Milk of Pampered Cows

pampered cow:

The Daily Mail, Sunday, 7 November 2010

"Milked only by hand to the sound of sacred mantras, these garland-wearing cows could be the most pampered in the UK.

But they are producing the most expensive milk in the land, costing £1.70 per pint - nearly four times more than usual. The animals are being reared on a farm run by Hare Krishnas meaning, as per Hindu rules, that none must come to any harm.

As a result, none will ever be slaughtered when their yield dries up..." Read more...

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Bharatavarsa.net: Book distribution seminar: Srila Prabhupada: be straightforward

Dear Prabhus,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I recently sent out a sankirtan story by Madhumangala Prabhu called 'coming back.' When I first read it I felt a little uncomfortable about sending it out because it seemed to be a little shady. However, the exchange seemed to end alright so I sent it out. Then I received this letter from an old friend, Jayarama Prabhu, a devotee in Florida:

"All glories to all book distributors, but I'm not so sure Madhumangala dasa's transcendental trickery is the way to change hearts. Brian could very likely have felt that he was cheated. Being direct, and depending on Krsna, instead of one's own shrwedness is the best to do things. Leave guile out of sankirtana."

I think he's correct. In the past I saw so much trickery in book distribution and we paid for it by having a horrible reputation for many many years, but it's getting better now.

Srila Prabhupada said we should be known as perfect gentlemen. A gentleman is straightforward in his dealings. When people walk away from us after they've had an interaction we want them to feel that they have had a good experience. This is very important both for the people we speak to and ourselves.

I'm sure Madhumangala Prabhu doesn't regularly use this style of book distribution, he's a very nice devotee and a dedicated book distributor. Krsna arranged this so that we can all stand back and think about how we want to be viewed.

Your servant, Vijaya das

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Japa Group: Free From This Hankering


The taste of the Hare Krishna mantra can be tasted by one who is free from material hankering. Everyone in this material world is hankering for material enjoyment, but one who is free from this hankering can taste how relishable the Bhagavatam is. The word Bhagavata refers to anything in relationship to Bhagavan, the Supreme Lord, and the Hare Krishna mantra is also bhagavata.

From Bhajan Kutir #124
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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1970 November 7: "The big temple on the bank of the Yamuna at Kesighat is for sale. I know of this temple. I used to live next to it before living in the Radha-Damodara temple. We would like to get this temple at all costs."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1970

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1970 November 7: "Instead of Sankirtana if you, husband and wife, try to see so many ministers and other important men, that will be nice. You may try and see Indira Gandhi. And perhaps you can meet with this President Giri."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1970

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 November 7: "Just like in our ISKCON there are so many false things: 'Prabhupada said this, Prabhupada said that.' Do not be deviated by such ideas. Krishna is knowledge, He is the object of knowledge, He is the goal of knowledge."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 November 7: "Now my program is fixed up for going to Nairobi on November 23, instant, and from there I will return to Los Angeles via Rome. I will stop there for two days for meeting with the Pope."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 November 7: "I want that there be published one volume of Caitanya Caritamrta for Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Appearance Day. So please arrange for this."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 November 7: "Regarding Washington, D.C., that Damodara is also resigning, we are increasing in so many ways, but our men are deteriorating. What to do?"
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 November 7: "N.B. I refer to the Direction of Management as follows: 'Removal of a Temple President by GBC requires support by the local Temple members.' Therefore you should take a vote of the Temple members."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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Bhakti Lata, Alachua, USA: Humility as a Verb

How Do I Listen?

How
Do I
Listen to others?
As if everyone were my Master
Speaking to me
His
Cherished
Last
Words.

- Hafiz (14th Century Sufi Poet) 

This weekend at the 24 Hour Kirtan in New Vrindavan, I learned that one facet of humility boils down to a verb.

Listen.

No, not hear. Listen. I have realized that it is impossible to be proud and to listen. Listening is a verb of the heart - it means that I set aside my own life, my own chatter, and my own ideas to look into another's eyes and absorb what he or she says. There is no agenda, no plan.

Just listen.

So at noon on October 30th, I took a vow of silence. I chose to set aside my life, my chatter, and my own ideas for 24 hours to look into the eyes of the holy name with no agenda and no plan. I opened my ears to hear.

Many kirtaniyas stepped up to the microphone to sing the holy name. I slowly set aside my inner music critic. Hour after hour passed and the holy name began to circle around and around in my head until it became the only sound I could feel - even the words to the mantra began to roll across my mind's eye.

In the early evening, I remembered the Hafiz poem, and it began to echo in the halls of my strangely quiet mind. Each kirtan became transformed, as if each devotee who sang truly was my beloved master, and each mantra was the last words he or she would ever say. Each kirtan rested like a jewel upon the thread of the holy name.

I was disarmed by surprise. I rarely ever feel such unconditional acceptance.

I began to listen to devotees even as they spoke to each other at lunch, or when they walked down the halls. I found Krishna in every word, even if that wasn't the intention. At times I wanted to walk up to someone, anyone, and beg, "Please, tell me your realization. Please tell me about the holy name, please tell me anything,"

When the clock struck noon on October 31st and the kirtans came to a tumultuous close, I slipped away from the templeroom and avoided crowds. Soon, too soon, the quiet of my mind would slip away, too, like water cupped in my hand.

Maybe if I pray enough, I can listen with my heart beyond 24 hours... beyond one week... beyond years... decades...

...Or maybe I will leave this world tomorrow. Then I pray to listen to my master of the holy name when I speak my own cherished last words.

"Silence means don't talk nonsense. Whenever you speak, you speak about Krishna. That is real silence."
Srila Prabhupada, Vrindavan 1974
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Subhvavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: Okay, here are the pictures as promised.

On Friday's post I promised some pics of Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundar. After a couple of friendly reminders, here they are. These are low res just from my phone. However, I will post more hi-res pics when I have a chance to download. 
Trying to help the kids with homework right after a busy few days...
~ Indresh
Picture
Jaya Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundar
Picture
Altar for Lord Ram with Diyas and lights
Picture
A portrait shot to see His Lotus Feet
Picture
Subhavilasa das and Ashalata devi dasi with Brinda, Gopika & Hari
Picture
Enoying fruits and sweets. Whole altar is lit but resolution off of phone is not good enough to post... Will post more...
Picture
Brinda, Gopika and Hari enjoying their Diwali in front of Lord Ram
Picture
Kishori with Brinda and Hari with Diwali gifts. Gopika fell asleep so she got hers later.
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Book Distribution News: Srila Prabhupada: be straightforward

Dear Prabhus,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I recently sent out a sankirtan story by Madhumangala Prabhu called 'coming back.' When I first read it I felt a little uncomfortable about sending it out because it seemed to be a little shady. However, the exchange seemed to end alright so I sent it out. Then I received this letter from an old friend, Jayarama Prabhu, a devotee in Florida:

"All glories to all book distributors, but I'm not so sure Madhumangala dasa's transcendental trickery is the way to change hearts. Brian could very likely have felt that he was cheated. Being direct, and depending on Krsna, instead of one's own shrwedness is the best to do things. Leave guile out of sankirtana."

I think he's correct. In the past I saw so much trickery in book distribution and we paid for it by having a horrible reputation for many many years, but it's getting better now.

Srila Prabhupada said we should be known as perfect gentlemen. A gentleman is straightforward in his dealings. When people walk away from us after they've had an interaction we want them to feel that they have had a good experience. This is very important both for the people we speak to and ourselves.

I'm sure Madhumangala Prabhu doesn't regularly use this style of book distribution, he's a very nice devotee and a dedicated book distributor. Krsna arranged this so that we can all stand back and think about how we want to be viewed.

Your servant, Vijaya das

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ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Sunday Feast Live!

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Kripamoya dasa, UK: South India Pilgrimage 2010

I have just returned from India. This year I took my family for three weeks in the south where we visited many places of Vaishnava pilgrimage and other interesting sites.

Starting with a flight down to Chennai in Tamil Nadu, we first travelled up to Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh for my son Mali’s upanayanam samskara and darshan of Balaji; down to Sri Rangam; up to Bangalore in Karnataka; across the state on a long drive through to the ancient Jain site of Shravanabelagola and the Chola dynasty temple at Belur; stopped at a tiger reserve near Chikmagalur then on to Udupi the mediaeval home of Vaishnava saint Madhvacarya. After a few days there we took a train down through Kerala to Cochin, Trivandrum, and on to Tiruvattar, where Lord Caitanya discovered the Brahma Samhita on his own journey through the south in the early 1500s.

Our trip was blessed with many memorable experiences, good health, warm hospitality everywhere we went, and spiritual invigoration. I’ll try to write something over the next few days.


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Rupa Madhurya das, TX, USA: Pictures - Govardhan Puja

Pictures of Govardhan Puja

Dallas, TX
2010-11-06 

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Madhava Ghosh dasa, New Vrndavan, USA: Udder madness! Pampered cattle produce Britain’s most expensive pint of milk… at a staggering £1.70

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 4:22 PM on 5th November 2010

Milked only by hand to the sound of sacred mantras, these garland-wearing cows could be the most pampered in the UK.

But they are producing the most expensive milk in the land, costing £1.70 per pint – nearly four times more than usual.

The animals are being reared on a farm run by Hare Krishnas meaning, as per Hindu rules, that none must come to any harm.

As a result, none will ever be slaughtered when their yield dries up.

No bull: Radha Mohan Das believes his happy herd produces a top  quality pint

Radha Mohan Das poses by one of the cow which produce the most expensive milk in the land, costing £1.70 per pint – nearly four times more than usual

Mechanical milking pumps are banned from the manor. Instead,  milking is carried out by hand so that the cows are not distressed

Mechanical milking pumps are banned from the manor. Instead, milking is carried out by hand so that the cows are not distressed

Even male calves will be spared the butcher’s cleaver and not be fattened for their meat. They will live out their natural lives tilling the land and transporting food and waste around the farm.

Their comfortable existences begin at birth. Each new arrival at Bhaktivedanta Manor, near Watford in Hertfordshire – which was donated to the Hare Krishna movement by George Harrison – is celebrated before a naming ceremony is held several days later.

It seems like a business model doomed to failure but those producing Ahimsa Milk – Sanskrit for ‘without harm’ – believe the good karma, or perhaps cowma, that goes into their produce will win over British animal lovers.

‘This premium milk will offer consumers the chance to avoid buying from an industry which is based around slaughter and suffering and instead buy from a fresh, new, and compassionate alternative,’ said spokesman Radha Mohan Das.

‘People are prepared to pay extra for organic and more healthily produced milk and we think our products will appeal to anyone who cares about animals.

Cream of the crop: The estate hopes to churn out 1,800 pints of  milk when production starts

‘This premium milk will offer consumers the chance to avoid buying from an industry which is based around slaughter and suffering and instead buy from a fresh, new, and compassionate alternative,’ said Radha Mohan Das

‘Instead of taking calves away from their mothers early to yield more milk we allow them to suckle and take their fill as long as they like.

‘We also carry out all of our milking by hand because milking machines can be painful for dairy cows.

‘Sacred mantras are played whenever the cows are milked and we allow them to live out their natural lives even when their supply dries up. Normally, dairy cows are killed when they can no longer provide milk but in Hinduism cows are revered as a symbol of Mother Earth.

‘Although it won’t be the cheapest available it will be worth the cost because we will treat the cows with love and care throughout their lives.’

At present there are 44 Dairy Shorthorn cows. The females will not be given hormones to increase their yield and will produce just under 1,800 pints per week, generating a turnover of around £3,000.

A pint of milk at a supermarket normally costs around 45p.

Quite the cattle shed: The herd have plenty of space in which to  graze on the 75 acre farm

One of the three barns in the £2.5million centre where the cows are being housed. The facility is being officially opened tomorrow by 30 priests chanting 5,000-year-old Vedic mantras

Each new calf at Bhaktivedanta Manor, near Watford in  Hertfordshire - which was donated to the Hare Krishna movement by George  Harrison - is celebrated before a naming ceremony is held several days  later

Each new calf at Bhaktivedanta Manor, near Watford in Hertfordshire – which was donated to the Hare Krishna movement by George Harrison – is celebrated before a naming ceremony is held several days later

They are being housed at a £2.5million centre, named New Gokul, which has taken five years to complete and is being officially opened tomorrow by 30 priests chanting 5,000-year-old Vedic mantras.

It has three barns, constructed from imported French oak, an ox mill for grinding grain, and a milking area, all with viewing areas for visitors.

The manor is home to 75 people, including 35 monks and nuns, as well as employees.

It was donated to the Hare Krishna movement in the early 1970s by Harrison, along with 78 acres of land including formals gardens and a lake.

It first hosted the Janmashtami festival, which celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, in 1973 and was attended by 250 people including the ex-Beatle and Eric Clapton.

The festival is now the largest of its type in the UK and attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1327006/Holy-cow-Pampered-cows-produce-Britains-expense-pint-milk-staggering-1-70.html#ixzz14c4pZraM


Filed under: Cows and Environment
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ISKCON Orlando, USA: Govardhan Puja – Trivikrama Swami Class


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H.H. Sivarama Swami: If Chickens Could Speak

by Andrew Kirschner

I am a chicken.
I have the same five senses as you: I can see, smell, touch, hear, and taste.
I experience pain, misery, loneliness, and happiness.
I like to socialize and enjoy time with my family and friends.
I am intelligent and follow a pecking order.
I can recognize other chickens by sight and smell.
I nest and nurture my young.
I chirp dozens of vocalizations and speak my own language.
I have a long term memory.
I like to sit in trees.
I run towards food because I enjoy eating.
I am scared of loud noises.
I have a purpose in this world just like you and yet
I am the most disrespected and mistreated animal on the face of the earth.
I am a chicken.

The majority of humans show no regard for my life.
They ascribe no reason for my existence beyond being tortured and killed for food.
They show me no mercy but ask for it for themselves and those they love,
including their own animals they keep as pets.
I wonder how they can say that they can’t watch someone slaughter me
but can still bring themselves to pay someone to do it
and eat me.
I wonder if they will ever see the irony of calling themselves animal lovers while they eat animals.
I bet if they met me and got to know me
and held me on their lap
they wouldn’t eat me.

I am a chicken.
I am crowded in a warehouse where I am unable to move freely my entire life.
I do not ever see the light of day or breathe fresh air
unless I am being transported in a truck
where I will often die from cold weather exposure or heat stroke.
I sleep in my own feces or the feces from cages above that fall on my head.

Factory farmers mislead you into believing I am treated humanely
by telling you that I am free-range.
Don’t believe them.
They abuse me in ways that would shock you.
“Free-range” or “cage-free” means that instead of putting me in a cage,
I am packed on a sordid warehouse floor
where I live with thousands of other chickens
in less than a square foot of space for each of us.
You’re told I’m cage-free so you will feel less guilty
and so the factory farmers can charge you more money
and increase their profits.
The cruelty is the same.

My beak is cut off with a hot blade.
It is excruciating pain.
I do not receive anesthesia.
They cut my beak off so when I go crazy,
I don’t fight with other chickens and kill them.
It is not my nature to go crazy and kill other chickens
any more than it is your nature to go crazy and kill other humans.
Imagine the living conditions that would cause me to kill another chicken.

I am genetically altered to grow twice as fast as I’m supposed to grow.
I am so heavy that I can’t stand anymore.
The weight breaks my legs.
I am fed growth hormone that you ingest when you eat me.
That means you’re taking steroids that can kill you.
Our heart and lungs can’t support the forced growth
causing billions of us to die before slaughter.
I am filled with antibiotics to prevent my death before I’m killed.
You eat those antibiotics and your body develops an immunity to them
which places you at risk to resist them when you’re sick and need them.

You think you know what I taste like but you do not.
I am stuffed with preservatives and flavorings
that create what you believe tastes like chicken.
It isn’t healthy for you to eat me.
You’ve been fooled by the meat industry into believing otherwise.

Unsanitary living conditions
cause us to die of thirst, overheating, infections, and diseases.
It is common for 20,000 of us
to be crammed in one broiler house in a factory.
The electrical current used to kill us is often set low
so it doesn’t ruin the meat on our bones.
In many cases, it doesn’t kill us and we are thrown into a scolding hot tank
of water to remove our feathers while we are still conscious.
You can hear us scream from a mile away.

A mechanical blade is also used to slash our throats.
Many times it isn’t properly aligned and only partially slashes our throats,
leaving us to die miserable deaths.
These killing errors happen to millions of us.
If you think my life is bad, read about what they do to battery hens to lay eggs.
Their lives are even worse.

I know you don’t see any of this happen
but it does
to billions of chickens like me
and it’s scary
and painful
and horrible
and I can’t understand why
you don’t stop it.

I am a chicken.
The truth is
I can’t speak
which is why this happens to chickens like me.
But if I could speak, I would beg you not to eat me anymore.
I want to be free like other birds.
I want you to respect my life on this earth as you value your own.
You’re existence is only more important than mine in your mind.
Simply because you believe it doesn’t make it so.

Knowing what you know now,
that you don’t need to eat me to survive,
and that my life and death are cruel beyond your imagination,
and that you say you love animals,
are you still going to pay someone
to torture and kill me?
Or will you make a humane decision
and refrain
and ask others to do the same?

I was a chicken.


Dear Friends,

More than 100 billion animals are slaughtered worldwide every year. This is
how many animals are killed every minute by the meat, dairy, and egg industry:

313,570 marine animals
162,440 chickens
7,881 ducks
4,446 pigs
3,665 rabbits
2,408 turkeys
1,857 geese
1,794 sheep
1,202 goats
1,017 cows and calves
226 rodents (excluding rabbits)
219 pigeons and other birds
80 buffaloes
31 horses, donkeys, mules

If you eat meat, you are eating dead animals that have lived miserable lives and died horrible deaths. No matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise, you are complicit in the process. In the depth of your conscience, not even in a culture where it has become second nature to eat animals, can you deny the existence of this reality.

Please consider making a lifestyle change. A vegetarian diet is healthier, better for the environment, and does not support animal torture. This isn’t about assessing blame; it’s about saving animals’ lives and the planet and helping you to live a healthier life. Please search your hearts and minds and give it some thought. It’s much easier than you think.

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Dandavats.com: More GBC Thoughts On……

ORGAN DONORS/RECEIVERS: The Srimad-Bhagavatam describes Maharaja Sibi, who was known as the greatest protector of surrendered souls and donor of charity. He selflessly gave his own flesh to Indra and Agni, who disguised themselves to test him, and was thus glorified by Narada Muni. When Maharaja Pariksit was born, it was foretold that he would be "a second Maharaja Sibi in charity and protection."

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 125

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3:43 A.M.

Namamrta by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada:

‘Even without recitation of kama-gayatri, the chanting of Hare Krishna is sufficient to elevate one to the highest spiritual platform’

“Lord Krishna is worshiped by the gayatri-mantra, and the specific mantra by which He is worshiped is called kama-gayatri. Vedic literatures explain that the sound vibration which can elevate one from material concoction is called gayatri.…This kama-gayatri is received from the spiritual master when the disciple is advanced in chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. In other words this kama-gayatri mantra and samskara, or reformation of a perfect brahmana are offered by the spiritual master when he sees that his disciples advance in spiritual knowledge. Even then, the kama-gayatri is not uttered under certain circumstances, and in any case, the chanting of Hare Krishna is sufficient to elevate one to the highest spiritual platform.” (Teachings of Lord Caitanya)

In the Bhagavad-gita [9.32] it is stated “Oh son of Prtha, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth—women, vaisyas, as well as sudras—can approach the supreme destination” If one actually wants to serve Krishna it doesn’t matter whether one is a sudra, vaisya or even a woman if one is sincerely eager to chant the Hare Krishna mantra or diksa-mantra he is qualified to be initiated according to the pancaratrika process. So according to Vedic principles only a brahmana who is fully engaged in his occupational duties can be initiated. Sudras and women are not admitted to the vaidika initiation. But Srila Prabhupada has given second initiation and gayatri-mantras to women, and he has also accepted persons from mleccha backgrounds and initiated them into the Hare Krishna mantra. The Hare Krishna mantra is so potent that it can be chanted by anyone, starting from any platform and bring purification. Usually initiation depends on the bona fide spiritual master, who directs the disciple. If he sees that the disciple has become competent and purified by the process of chanting, he offers the sacred thread to the disciple…by the process of the initiation by the spiritual master, a person is accepted as a brahmana and is purified by chanting of the holy name of the Lord.

This morning I woke up only when the alarm went off at 2 A.M. I had no headache. I did not have full time for chanting and also chanted slowly due to a certain lethargy. By passed 3:30 I had not even chanted twelve rounds. I kept count of the numbers of chanting and did not chant with much distraction, but the slowness was a disappointment, and I will have to make them up later.

The Hare Krishna mantra
is so powerful that
it can be given to
low-born persons and
by chanting offenselessly they
can reach the topmost
platform even before
receiving the gayatri-mantra.
Hare Krishna alone is
sufficient to reach
love of God. But you
have to strive with
all your attention
and devotion to chant
the maha-mantra
and receive
the ultimate goal.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: One Hundred Prabhupada Poems

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# 82

Prabhupada’s morning walks,
see them from a distance now.
Here they come. He is in the center,
leading the pack.
Without him there is no unity like that.
We walk alone remembering him.
Or do we walk together forgetting him?

I know it’s not so bad. Prabhupada is
still with us. It could be a lot worse.
Maybe it’s even better now?
Look at this group from Mayapur circa 1973.
They are eight abreast on the main road and
out of first row five fell down hard,
left the Swami, disowned Krishna consciousness
and three others “changed asramas”
from sannyasi to householder.

So is it good that the truth has come out?
But you see, he held us together.
I want to see Prabhupada
but when I look at the photos
he’s always surrounded by men
and many of them have left.
So you get this strange impression
when you look at his pictures,
that something went wrong—
suicides, bloops, betrayals.
Those who left, if you ask them,
they have their own version—they say
We were driven away, mistreated, victims.
No one has a bad word to say about Prabhupada
but plenty to say about each other.

Here they come down the road now called
Bhaktivedanta Swami Marg.
I can’t help it, I’m overwhelmed
by the Godbrothers
and the things we used to say to one another.
I was lucky to get through it
but not unscathed…
The main thing has to be that Prabhupada
was with us and taught us, and each one,
no matter what has happened since then,
has the impression in his heart,
“I met the pure devotee, I heard
from him with faith. I was sincere.”
Surely that’s the main point
not to be confused with
confusing emotions
when you look now at the pack of
men surrounding him twenty years ago.
He shines out pure and unaltered:
“Krishna is everything,” he said,
“and we must surrender to Him.
The purpose of life is to serve and
go back to Godhead.”

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Subhvavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: A comment by Srila Prabhupada is spinning in my head.

Picture
A picture I borrowed from a recent post by my Godbrother Hari Sauri das who is in Mayapur. In fact he was at my home as Srila Prabhupada's secretary when Srila Prabhupada made this comment.
I posted about Govardhan Puja yesterday, however as I was at ISKCON Toronto yesterday a comment by Srila Prabhupada about Krishna lifting Govardhan Hill when Srila Prabhupada came to our house in 1976 was spinning in my head again and again. (reference: 760619LE.TOR)
So this morning I taught I would share it.

Prabhupāda: This is not good. Everyone wants to become Kṛṣṇa.

Indian man: Or they’re seeking for Kṛṣṇa in material world.


Prabhupāda: As Kṛṣṇa lifted the Govardhana Hill at seven years old, so can he do that? Then how he’ll become Kṛṣṇa? Simply by imagination. (Hindi) Hindu society. 
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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Wonderful Krishna

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Today is Govardhana Puja.

We will observe it in the

company of devotees. We have

a community. We’ll sing

together, and I’ve been chosen

to recite the Govardhana lila for

half an hour.

I have drawn a picture of

Krishna lifting the hill which

will hang on the wall.

It looks like the work of a

ten-year old child.

I drew Krishna lifting the

mountain on His pinky.

He became known as Giridhari,

the lifter of the mountain.

Afterwards the elder men wanted

to know just who He was.

On the one hand, He appeared to

be a seven-year old boy who

liked to be coddled, but

He had just lifted a

mountain. And that wasn’t

all. He’d killed numerous demons from

His early age. So who was He?

Nanda Maharaja said I can only

tell you what the astrologer

said: He is Narayana-sama,

as good as God. He will

protect us from the troubles

that will come our way.

But let’s take shelter of

wonderful Krishna.


The elders were satisfied.

Nanda was a wise man, and

they had personally witnessed

all the astounding feats of

the wonderful child.


He who hears it can

also believe thousands of

years after His appearance.

He also appeared five hundred

years ago as Sri Krishna Caitanya

and displayed ecstatic symptoms

of love of God as no one had ever seen.


I’m looking forward to our celebration.

We’ll sing for a total of two hours.

I’ll try to remember the story

(I know it well) and

tell it in a relaxed way. I’ll

walk around the hill of halava with

the householders and children and

a few vanaprasthas and a widow.

All equal devotees gathered

for one cause: to do what

Krishna and His parisads did

long ago, worshiped the Lord

and His rescue of His

devotees, His subduing

of proud Indra.


Dear readers, may the sight

of Krishna lifting the hill

live in your mind and

may you desire to

join Him and walk

around His hill forever.

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H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: In Search Of The Greatest Vaishnava

Article Sent By His Grace Mukunda Dasa The following, very interesting article, substantially related to Ujjain, consists of the “Astrological Newsletter” written by His Grace Patita Pavana Prabhu. ALL GLORY TO SHRI GURU AND SHRI GAURANGA His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder Acharya: International Society for Krishna Consciousness (l to r. Bharadwaja, Vaikunthanath, [...]

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: The Fest

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Free Write


I turned at random to Canto 3, chapter 25, text 26. “Thus consciously engaged in devotional service in the association of devotees, a person gains distaste for sense gratification, both in this world and in the next, by constantly thinking of the activities of the Lord. This process of Krishna consciousness is the easiest process of mystic power; when one is actually situated on that path of devotional service he is able to control the mind.” In all the scriptures people are encouraged in a pious way so that they can enjoy sense gratification not only in this life but in the next. For example, one is promised promotion to the heavenly kingdom of higher planets by pious fruitive activities. But a devotee in the association of devotees prefers to contemplate the activities of the Lord. There are full literatures recording these activities. The devotee gets the opportunity to hear and contemplate this subject of the pastimes of the Lord and the result is he feels a distaste for happiness in this or that world, in heaven or other planets. The devotees are simply interested in being transferred to the personal association of the Lord. This sublime situation is very easy obtained by the easy process, bhakti-yoga. Not only is it the easiest process but the result is sublime. Everyone should take to the process of Krishna consciousness and reach the highest perfection of life.


We had a very nice festival at Saci and Keli’s house in the yoga studio. About twenty-five adults and twenty-five children attended. At the climax, Kirtana-rasa’s wife, Beth, stood up and began dancing around Govardhana Hill and everyone followed her. I got up from my chair and joined the circling. Round and round we went.  We bathed Kaulini Mataji’s Giriraja. Everyone took a turn pouring liquids from a conch shell onto the little stone. Kirtana Rasa’s fourteen-year-old son told me a joke but I didn’t get it. Then Kirtana Rasa told me a joke, and I didn’t get that either. Keli-lalita led strong kirtanas. The feast was good. We didn’t throw prasadam, but people kept going up to the hill and picking off sweets. I lead the prema-dvani prayers with enthusiastic confidence that I would remember the words. Now I’m upstairs trying to recapture some of it. But it is elusive. People are talking loudly downstairs, and I can hear them. About the elections, Kirtana Rasa said Americans have a short memory and no sense of history. He said Americans think the country will last forever, but the Roman Empire and other empires fell. It can fall in ten years. Of course that’s up to Krishna.

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Jayadeva das, USA: The Empirical Strikes Back


I haven't written here in forever. The time it seems is focused elsewhere, like on my new daughter, my new job and trying to spend quality time with the wife. The day-t0-day duties, struggles and concerns keep me occupied on a moment-to-moment basis, leaving very little time for journaling, writing and self-reflecting.

One of the benefits of my 2 hours and 20 minutes spent in the car every weekday is that I have time to listen to Srila Prabhupada's lectures and discourses. I've recently been listening to his classes on the Bhagavad Gita.

While listening to these lectures I often have doubts, questions and sometimes profound insights. During one lecture Srila Prabhupada was talking about the sun god and how there are living entities that live on the sun planet, but that their bodies are made of fire. His argument for accepting this as truth was that there are living entities on planet earth that live in the water, some live in the air, some live in the extreme cold, etc. His point being that if there are living entities right here on this earth that can live in so many different conditions and in different bodies, then why can't there be living entities that live in fire with fiery bodies?

I was thinking that philosophically this argument could be torn apart. I don't have a degree in philosophy, so I don't know the fancy terms, but it seems like a weak argument to say that because we have experience of fish living in the water then there must be beings made of fire living on the sun.

Srila Prabhupada was also explaining that there are the different ways to know truth (the pramanas) and that the best way is to accept it from the Vedas (sastras). But I was thinking that sometimes it's hard to accept what's in the sastras, because sometimes it seems so fantastical, mythological, metaphorical, allegorical, illogical, etc. that it can feel uncomfortable to "just accept it as truth".

This is of course our major struggle. We like to deal with pratyaksa or direct perception (the empirical in Western thought). We want to be able to know and experience truth through our mind, intelligence and senses. If we can't see it, taste it, touch it, hear it or smell it through our physical senses, then we have a hard time believing it's real. This is precisely the problem when we come to Krishna Consciousness with our materialistic, Western mindset, because pratyaksa and the process of bhakti-yoga go ill together.

Srila Prabhupada was also saying that we can't rely on our direct perception, because our senses are limited and faulty. We can't see tiny bacteria with our naked eye, but they none-the-less exist. We can't hear certain frequencies, but they exist. There are also four defects of the conditioned living entity: 1) imperfect senses, 2) a tendency to cheat, 3) a tendency to be in illusion and 4) a tendency to make mistakes. This is why Prabhupada was saying that we have to accept the authority of the Vedas or the revealed scriptures, because there's no other way for us to know the truth with all of our faults and imperfections. He said it's like accepting the authority of our mother in telling us who our father is. There's no way for us to know for sure who our father is except through the statement of our mother. In this connection Prabhupada was saying that this is why we have to simply accept the authority of the Guru and the Vedas without questioning or arguing, because there's no other way for us to know the truth.

As I was hearing him say this I felt an uncomfortable apprehension. "Accept this as truth without questioning?!" It sounds very cultish to our materialistic, Western minds. How can we accept something without questioning it? And of course I know that Srila Prabhupada means not questioning in a defiant or challenging way. We can question with humility, but we still have to accept whatever the answer is without doubt. And that can be very difficult for us. At least I know at times it's very difficult for me.

Why is it so difficult to just accept everything in the Vedas as truth? Why do we find ourselves having doubts? Why do we find ourselves being seduced by our senses and our empirical way of thinking? We're so addicted and attached to our senses and to the idea that the only thing that is real is what is being filtered through them. I know in theory that this is a terrible way to go around perceiving the world, but it's the only way I know how to. My senses and what they tell me are all I know for certain as being real. Everything that I hear from Guru and the sastras
is all theoretical to me. It's not directly experiened or perceived.

I sometimes wonder how some devotees can accept so much without having any doubts? Perhaps that is why it is said that simplicity is Vaishnavism, because if you're simple like a child and just accept what Guru and sastra says then your life is simple and sublime. If you're complicated and duplicitous then Krishna Consciousness becomes very difficult and you find yourself full of doubt.

It's hard for us, with our conditioning, to just let go and surrender to the authority of Guru and the revealed scriptures. It's hard for us to let go of our sensory way of looking at and thinking about the world around us. What is it in me that won't all me to fully surrender? What is it in me that won't allow me to have complete faith in the process? Because of my empirical way of looking at things I want to be able to see Krishna and experience Him through my senses. If I can't do that then I have a hard time putting myself completely into the process. And isn't that just human nature to doubt something if we haven't experienced it first hand ourself?

We hear that we shouldn't try to see Krishna, but that we should act in a way that Krishna wants to see us. We also hear that we can see Krishna face-to-face, but that we have to develop the spiritual senses to do so. All in all Krishna just seems very elusive. We have the Deity forms of the Lord in order for our dull senses to perceive Him, but the problem is that I'm still seeing Him with dull senses and I can't fully appeciate His presence in such a form. According to my vision He's just standing there motionless, not saying a word and not playing His flute. Again, just as with the Guru and the sastras I have to accept that the Deity is non-different from Krishna. I'm accepting it through faith, not from direct perception or personal experience.

As you can see this process requires a tremendous amount of faith. It requires a faith that is not shaken by doubts. It requires a simplicity of faith that does not challenge or argue. Such faith is the greatest treasure we can obtain in this world. Some devotees are concerned with attaining Krishna prema, but I'm simply concerned with attaining the beginning stage of shrada or faith.

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Australian News: The Worship of Govardhan Hill

We just observed the celebration of Govardhana-puja or the worship of a special mountain in Vrindavan, India (the land of Krishna’s birth or appearance) which is considered non-different from Krishna. It is a festival of simple, though elegant pomp and gaiety that teaches us many practical lessons about living in balance with Nature and God. For the festival a hill of sanctified food (prasadum) is created with Krishna on the top to recreate the hill. These festivities commemorate this occasion, and help us meditate on its meaning. We hear about what happened, along with plays reenacting it, worship of the cow, and circumambulating the hill as was done 5,000 years ago. We also pray to enter into the deep, yet simple, essential message of this blessed event.

Click her to read the rest the rest at Karnamritas blog

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Caitanya Mangala, CA, USA: Kulimela Australia: Limited Time Registration Discount

I’m going to keep this short and sweet!

It’s time to get excited as we are only 8 WEEKS AWAY from Kulimela Australia!

The dates are from the 27th of December 2010 through the 9th of January 2011, with the 4 day Kulimela part running from Thursday the 6th of January to Sunday the 9th.

You have only until Nov 14th to register yourself at the discounted “Child’s” booking rate.

This means AU $64 per week, which is almost half off the regular adult registration fee (AU $108).

We are on track to set the standard of these events with world class Kirtan leaders and the ideal location. Plus, of course, Seminars, Workshops, Japa Walks, Kuli Association, Sports Activities, Arts,  Fashion, Music, Performances & Amazing Prasadam!

For all you internationals, there has never been a better time to come to Australia. Please, come for Kulimela!

Please RSVP now to let us know you’re coming and pay your registration at www.kulimela.com.au.

Your Friend & Servant,

Nitai – Festival Coordinator

“Any questions – Just ask! I look forward to meeting you all!”


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Caitanya Mangala, CA, USA: KulimeLA 2009: Bhajan Kutir – Volume 3 CD now available at Krishna.com!

KulimeLA 2009: Bhajan Kutir – Volume 3 CD is now available from the Kuli Mela Outlet @ Krishna.com!

Heartfelt Kirtans with Krishna Kishor & Visvambhar (Mayapuris), Radhanath Swami, Bada Haridas, Aniruddha das, Gopal Krishna and more…

These Kirtans were recorded live in the KulimeLA 2009 Bhajan Kutir at the ISKCON New Dwarka Temple in Los Angeles California.

CLICK HERE to hear previews of the tracks and to check out the growing Kuli Mela video and audio selections…

In ancient Sanskrit, “Kirtan” is the sacred, joyful, and spontaneous congregational singing and dancing for the glorification of God. A “Bhajan Kutir” is a special place dedicated to Kirtans. “Kuli” refers to a member of a “Community” and “Mela” means “Festive Gathering.” Combined, “Kuli Mela” tranforms into “A Celebration of Community.”

The Kuli Mela Association is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to serving an international community by supporting and encouraging its members to come together in service, association and empowerment, with a strong emphasis on spirituality. All proceeds from the sale of this album go to Kuli Mela Association and help facilitate future gatherings and recordings. Please support us by purchasing this album!


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Mayapur Online: Govardhan Puja Celebrations in Mayapur

Today we had a pleasant surprise at Darshan Arati where Sri Madhava who is holding His flute, today gave darshan with His left hand little finger lifting the Govardhana hill. Govardhan Lila is a sweet pastime where Lord lifted Govardhana hill to protect His devotees. The Lord assumed a gigantic form and accepted all the offerings made by His devotees. Sri Giriraja-sila, who normally resides in the Radha Madhava altar, came out and the pujaris performed an Abhishek ceremony for Him.

read more

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Ananda Subramanian, Iowa, USA: "Coffee talk" Krishna

Many times, I have seen that people are forthcoming in discussions about Krishna. They acknowledge His Supremacy so on and so forth. But when it comes to accepting Krishna into their day-to-day world, they start to push back. In other words, people in general like to keep discussions on Krishna or God at a coffee-table level. Lets have a cup of tea and perhaps discuss albeit intensely on the "reality" of Krishna. Once the tea cup empties so is my energy to discuss. Krishna says in the Gita that as one approaches me accordingly I return. In other words, if we want to keep Krishna at a distant just at the coffee table, then Krishna kindly reciprocates our gesture. He will not be a real person but simply a symbolic representation of "a truth" among the many. He will not appeal to us in a manner that will invoke within us a desire to seek Him in truth. A desire strong enough to change my world to fit Krishna's world. My world which consists of career, family life, entertainment, friendship, civic responsibilities etc will not accommodate the world of Krishna. We will see and think that because both worlds are clashing at some point, let me give up Krishna on the grounds of "impracticality" to continue mine.

This very idea that Krishna is a topic for philosophy and scholarly debate only but otherwise not is the reason we cannot attain the favor of Krishna in a real way. Who in their right minds will reject such a favor coming down from a sublime source? A source that is filled with unlimited happiness and freedom. The very ideologies we are desperately trying to achieve in this temporary relative world. For such unfortunate souls who limit Krishna to "coffee talk" will never understand the proximity of Krishna and the happiness one can derive. The reasons can be various for our "coffee-talk" tendency such as laziness, fear of change, just don't like to accommodate Krishna in my life that personally, no faith that Krishna will make any difference, not want to give up my position for Krishna or can be a combination of the above.

I guess when we are fed up searching after happiness and freedom in this world is when we will get rid of the inertia and intentionally try to change our world to fit in Krishna. When this happens, we will see how Krishna Consciousness is simply not philosophy and scholarly but that Krishna is a real person who has unlimited possibilities. Possibilities that can give us unlimited energy to serve Him in different capacities according to our eternal nature. The eagerness to understand Krishna in truth as a Supreme person is directly proportional to our eagerness to give up our conditional inertia.

The choice is ours - to keep Krishna at arms length always (coffee talk Krishna) or open our hearts to actually let Him in and experience a relationship with Him. When we allow Him into our hearts in a real way adjusting the existing furniture, Krishna is no more a symbolic icon of a culture or past with no practical meaning to my life but becomes a real person with feelings.

Hare Krishna

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Hari Sauri das, Mayapura, IN: Govardhan Puja in Mayapur

Just got back from a wonderful Govardhan Puja in the temple, and for once I managed to not over-eat and come back feeling like a helium filled balloon (not easy at Mayapur feasts as you will see).

On display since early morning was a transcendentally attractive replica of Govardhan hill, made with love and devotion by our Mayapur-vasis. It featured the main kundas, complete with turtles (look carefully in the water)

with lots of cows, and real grass, caves and Lord Giriraja Himself

Morning darsana was at 8.30AM but well worth waiting for. Lord Madhava had raised his left hand to carry Govardhan Hill and give shelter to the gopis

Clouds gathered ominously at the sides flashed with lightening

and Giriraja sat resplendently in an extra large turban, His eyes glancing appreciatively at the assembled devotees

In front of the altar a beautiful murti of Govardhana-dhari smiled reassuringly at the gathering

There was an abhisek at 10.30AM and then

high curtains went up around the front of the altar. For an hour the bhoga keep coming through the temple room doors and disappearing behind them. Finally at 12.30PM the curtains were thrown back to reveal a huge mountain of rice featured as Girigovardhan, and literally hundreds of pots of delicious prasadam of every variety you can imagine.

After the arati

and chanting of the Bhaktivinoda bhajan ‘yasomatinandana braja bara nagara…’ it was time to enjoy the feast.

A small army of men transported the huge tubs of rice

basket loads of clay pots filled with every variety of subji and sweets

and multiple stainless steel buckets of subji

Both temple rooms filled rapidly with eager and hungry devotees

Srila Prabhupada’s disciples (surprisingly less than a dozen of us) were given a little respite from the crowd on the Panca-tattva darsana mandap

and before you know it

there was nothing left but a few empty broken pots to tell the tale. That’s Mayapur!

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Subhvavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: Non-Vegetarian Sweets. A Cautionary note for devotees and temples.

Picture
Yummy? Well not after you read this article.
During this festive season I wanted to caution you on the use of silver foil or what is reffered to as Varak (Varakh) on India sweets. Even sweets from "100% vegetarian shops" sometimes use this material on their sweets. During the process of making this foil it becomes non-vegetarian since the intestines of bull/ox are used to hammer this thin layer of foil out. For devotees the same animals that we love and protect are being used in this way and unfortunatly during the month of Damodar the demand  for sweets and thus silver foil is at the peak.

Well meaning Hindus bring these sweets to temples to offer to the deities, Govardhan Hill and Giri-Govardhan and ultimately into the mouths of innocent devotees. So it is imperative that devotees know this information so they can act accordingly.

According to information readily available and reposted below:

They are made by hammering thin sheets of silver in middle of booklets
made of a bull's intestines. In other words, after slaughtering a bull, quickly his intestines are removed, and sold to the manufacturers of foils. The skins made of old intestines are of no use. Even one-day-old intestines can not be used, because within a few hours they stiffen.

The foil manufacturer removes blood and stools from the intestines, and cuts them into pieces. Then he puts one piece over another, making a booklet out of it. He puts one silver sheet in-between each page. Then he hammers it hard until those metal sheets turn into thin wafers.

The intestines of bulls are so strong, that even repeated hammering do not destroy them, or they do not let the foils move around inside. Because of the hammering, some tissues of the intestine mix with the foils. After that the foil manufacturer sells the bundle of foils to the sweets manufacturers.

This foil is not only dirty, it also is non-vegetarian. Even the meat-eaters do not eat intestines. Use of these foils turn even sweets into non-vegetarian food. A few years ago the Indian Airlines learned about this, and since then stopped using them on the sweets served in their planes

So...next time you are offered a silver laced sweet, please turn it down and when you see it being offered to the deities, congregation or Govardhan Hill please politely inform the giver and discard the sweets.  

Sorry, if I spoiled anyone's appetite :-)
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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Govardhana Puja Festival pictures

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: How much do we value our principles and the quality of life that they represent?

Are we willing to pay and sacrifice for them?

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Gouranga TV: Seattle Harinam

Seattle Harinam

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H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: Guru Maharaja In London

By Ramananda Raya Dasa After two weeks of intense GBC meetings in ISKCON Juhu, Mumbai, past Friday Guru Maharaja had arrived in London.  Diwali celebrations are being held by all Hindu people and streams of them are visiting the Bhaktivedanta Manor in Hertfordshire.  When I myself arrived there on Saturday morning the inauguration of the [...]

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H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: Temple News From Russia

His Grace Dvarkadish Prabhu Dear Devotees: Hare Krsna! Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga! I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Diwali and New Year! I received this email from Bhakti Vijnana Maharaja. His main preaching areas are Russia and Ukraine. He [...]

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H.H. Sivarama Swami

Without preaching you’ll not feel enthused to continue temple worship. And without temple worship you cannot keep yourself pure and clean. These two things must go on in parallel. Then there is success.

- Srila Prabhupada

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Sri Damodara-astaka - Sri Yasoda Mataji


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Japa Group: Japa Poem


A person who chants
but eats meat, takes
intoxication, commits illicit
sex and gambling cannot
bring himself or others into
the sacred circle of pure harinama.
A worldly musical performance of sankirtana or
facetious japa by a
pretender helps no one
but only offends.
A person who follows
sadhana can actually
chant the names. All the
senses must be controlled.
I’ve been praying, “Dear God”
but disobeying
His commandments

From Bhajan Kutir #123
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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Gopa-Vrndesa Prabhu

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.26.27 - Glories of Giriraja Sri Govardhana.

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Gangesvara Prabhu

Class given on Saturday 06-11-2010.
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.16.24-26
- Devotional service to the Lord would be achieved only through rendering service to guru-parampara.

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