last updated 26th May 2007
Joint Statement of International Helsinki Foundation and
Written by Bhakti Bhrnga Govinda Swami
The Krishna Consciousness Community Faces Evictions and Destruction of Homes as a Result of Discriminatory and Unfair Proceedings . Vienna/Brussels,10 May 2007; The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) and Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRFW, IHF cooperating organization) are concerned by the Tuesday (8 May) judgment by the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan against the Society for Krishna Consciousness regarding ownership of 116 acres of land in the Karasai district, near Almaty, which is home to this Hare Krishna community.
We fear that the judgment may lead to further human rights abuses against the community. Since November 2006, at least fourteen of the 60 houses in the community have been demolished on court orders and at the request of the local authorities, leaving dozens of people homeless and causing anguish among the community members about their future.
"The orders to destroy homes of Hare Krishna members have followed unfair trials and other practices by authorities that strongly suggest discrimination on religious grounds," said Aaron Rhodes, the IHF's executive director.
The latest developments are the culmination of harassment against the Hare Krishna community that started in 2004. Since November 2004, the community has tried on three occasions to submit applications and documentation to local authorities for the privatization of the land they cultivate and the homes of their members. At least twice the local authorities have reacted by filing cases in court against community members and serving them with orders for the confiscation of property, evictions and for the demolition of their houses and by deploying bulldozers on the spot. Last time, eviction notices were served only hours before the bulldozers' arrival, or not at all. The affected families have had limited access to legal remedies to challenge the orders, and they have not been allocated alternate housing.
These events give rise to serious suspicions that the Hare Krishna community has been excluded from the privatization process on grounds of religious affiliation. Even though religious motives have been officially denied, they have reportedly been cited in private discussions with community members, and local authorities have resorted to spreading defamatory misinformation about the community.
Twenty-seven community members have faced various charges arising from
ownership issues and legalization of their property as a consequence of
their attempts to become part of the standard privatization process.
Judicial proceedings against them have been characterized by violations of the principle of equality before law; lack of independence of courts; proceedings in the absence of the defendant; the failure to inform defendants of court decisions; and the limited right of appeal.
The dispute also involves accusations that the Hare Krishna community has forged documents with the aim of proving their ownership of the land and that the community no longer exists legally claims that authorities have been unable to document properly. Accusations that community members have conducted religious rites illegally suggest non-respect of international standards for freedom of religion. Moreover, the government recently published false information alleging that an agreement on the dispute had been reached with a representative of the Hare Krishna community during a meeting in Vienna in March.
In addition, forced evictions of families violates internationally guaranteed
human rights, including the right to housing and the right to non-interference
with privacy, family and home. Furthermore, General Comment No. 7
of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
requires that states explore "all feasible alternatives"
prior to carrying out any forced evictions. According to the Comment, eviction is always the last resort, and if it needs to be used, those affected must be consulted and given adequate and reasonable notice prior to the scheduled date of eviction. Evictions should never result in rendering individuals homeless or vulnerable to other human rights violations. None of these standards were followed in the case of the Hare Krishna community.
A commission was set up in late 2006 in the Ministry of Justice to resolve the dispute, but it failed to adequately deal with the issue, especially with its legal components.
At the time of writing, another thirteen community houses are under the threat of being demolished and the Supreme Court ruling makes it possible for the authorities to confiscate the 116 acres of land at any moment.
The IHF and HRWF urge the Kazakh authorities to strictly abide by the international human rights standards the country has committed itself to and to take all available measures to solve the case of the Hare Krishna community in a peaceful, fair and unbiased manner. This includes retrials that respect all due process standards in all cases against Hare Krishna members that deal with property, eviction and privatization issues.
In addition, the Kazakh authorities should halt any further demolitions
of houses in the Hare Krishna community, and refrain from confiscations,
pending retrials, as well as of any acts of harassment against its members,
and allow them to freely practice their religion. The government should
also ensure that responsible authorities deal with privatization issues
in an unbiased and non-discriminatory manner, applying the same regulations
to all applicants, as provided by law.
For more information:
Aaron Rhodes, IHF executive director, tel. +43-1-408 8822 or +43-676-635
Willy Fautré, director of Human Rights Without Frontiers, tel. +32-2-34 56 145.
Henriette Schroeder, IHF press officer, +43-1-408 88 22 41 or +43-676-
See original statement:
Tel. +7 3272 969719
+7 701 7407943, +7 701 7303393,
Tel/fax +7 32771 34287
Visit www.kazakhkrishna.com to see the tragedy of the Krishna community in Kazakhstan.
Visit YouTube to see the tragedy of the Krishna community in Kazakhstan
The head of the Hare Krishna community in Kazakhstan, His Holiness B.B. Govinda Swami, has issued this statement:
With the judgment passed by the Republic of Kazakhstan Supreme Court on May 8, 2007, the land of the Hare Krishna community in Almaty province may be confiscated in favor of the government at any moment.
The Supreme Court reversed its own judgment made on June 30, 2005, which had enabled the community to use 116 acres of land and receive the right of ownership after processing of relevant documents by the registering bodies of the Karasai district. These bodies have never registered the plots in favor of the RO [religious organization] Society for Krishna Consciousness because the land was arrested by the Karasai District Court at the request of the local Hakim.
The chairman of the RO Society for Krishna Consciousness explained to the Panel of the Supreme Court that the religious organization had never been informed of the proceedings. Furthermore, the courts of the first and second instance did not even take the trouble to send their decisions to the defendant, i.e. the religious organization.
The chairman of the RO requested the court to postpone the hearing, as she needed time to study the case and invite lawyers. However, the court decided to conduct the hearing immediately and only gave the RO chairman a few hours to study the rulings of the courts of the first and second instances. Thus the defendant was left without legal protection, unable to retain an attorney.
During the hearing the RO chairman again demanded that the court session should be postponed for her to have time to retain an attorney and properly study the case. However, the Civil Panel of the Supreme Court dismissed this motion and decided to reverse its own judgment of June 30, 2005, which had given the right of land use to the Society for Krishna Consciousness.
The judgment of the Supreme Court came into force from the moment it was read. This means that at any moment the land of the main center of the RO Society for Krishna Consciousness can be confiscated and transferred to the Karasai district land reserve.
The conflict around the community has been going on since 2004. At that time the administration of the Karasai district started a series of trials against the members of the Hare Krishna community. As a result of these trials, 13 homes of the faithful were demolished last November.
In March of 2007 the government of Kazakhstan showed an intention to resolve the conflict by way of negotiation with the community and declared the situation to be the result of bad governance by the local authorities. However, till the present moment no practical steps have been taken by the government to resolve the situation.
Thirteen more houses of the faithful may be demolished at any moment. With this court judgment, any day the faithful may be forced to vacate the land wherein the Society is registered. Fifty faithful and thirty cows will be left roofless. Their temple will cease to exist. And the loss of the legal address actually means that the Society for Krishna Consciousness will be liquidated in Almaty province.
Visit http://www.kazakhkrishna.com to learn more about the tragedy of the Krishna community in Kazakhstan.
See a video on YouTube about the tragedy.
Read HERE how the original issue began in Kazakstan
Read HERE what the previous articles from November 2006 were
Written by HH Bhakti Purusottama Swami
Dear Maharaj/ Prabujis/ Matajis,
It is my great pleasure to inform all the devotees of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that a great service opportunity has been offered by the temple authorities of Gambhira, in Puri dham, where Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spent the final years of His manifested pastimes on this earthly planet. Kasi Mishra's house, also known as Gambhira, and the Radha Kanta math, were both under the care of the Orissa government due to 20 years of litigation. Finally, this litigation problem has been resolved and the management of the institution has been returned to the temple mahanta.
The temple has sustained much damage over the years due to lack of proper maintenance. The whole place is very dirty and the roofs and walls are falling down. The temple roof is also cracking. Additionally, the temple has a lack of proper income for the maintenance of the devotees and for deity puja—and, of course, the more the Gambhira is allowed to deteriorate, the fewer visitors it will have.
At this crucial point, the mahanta of Gambhira has requested ISKCON to extend kind assistence to him in order to protect and maintain this most holy place. Devotees from all over the world come to offer their prayers and obeisances at Gambhira. This is one of the most important places for the followers of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and must be maintained nicely.
Thus, this is a golden opportunity for devotees to render service to this most sacred cause. I request all devotees to kindly donate towards this purpose. There are many things to be fixed at the place. For the time being we have prepared a rough budget, for whatever the most urgent needs are, just to bring the situation up to survival position. Later on, we will let you know about further opportunities for service in the development of the Gambhira.
For further information contact
Bhakti Purusottama Swami
Phone: ++ 91 9434506434
E mail: email@example.com
Prescription for disaster
The next time you pop a pill, chances are that it will do little to help you get better. This is because at least 30 per cent of all medication sold in India is fake, though the government disputes this figure. The trade in such drugs is worth a staggering Rs 4,000 crore, not surprising since 38 per cent of the international fake drug market is sourced from India. One of the major hubs of the trade is a popular market in the middle of New Delhi. We must assume from this that the authorities are turning a blind eye to this racket. Our public health system is in a shambles. The fact that many drugs donâ€™t work can only add to our problems. There is no guarantee today that if you buy drugs from a reputed pharmaceutical, you are getting the real thing. The spurious drug trade has become so lucrative and sophisticated that it is very difficult to tell fake medication from a genuine one. To make matters worse, many drugs sold in India are of a lower potency than the one sold in the West. This could result in patients here becoming drug resistant.
The Indian pharma industry is worth Rs 20,000 crore and growing. Indiaâ€™s reputation as a haven for spurious drugs and as an exporter of substandard medication will affect this growth adversely. The US has put India on a watch list of several other countries for the export of spurious drugs. When it comes to health, India, which has the worldâ€™s highest percentage of diseases like tuberculosis and cancers, not to mention other communicable ailments, is extremely apathetic. As of now, there are no plans to beef up inspection mechanisms â€” the Drugs Control Officers Confederation needs at least 4,500 more inspectors. It currently has 35 personnel, monitoring 15,000 manufacturing units and over 5 lakh retail outlets. Only 23 states have testing facilities for drugs. Amendments to the drug policy rarely get off the ground. And when was the last time you heard of anyone getting convicted for dealing in spurious drugs?
The quantum growth in economic indices will amount to little if the health of the country is compromised.
(Editorial, The Hindustan Times; May 1, 2007)
UNITED KINGDOM, May 9, 2007: A UN report warns that a hasty switch to biofuels could have major impacts on livelihoods and the environment. Produced by a cross-agency body, UN Energy, the report says that biofuels can bring real benefits. But there can be serious consequences if forests are razed for plantations, if food prices rise and if communities are excluded from ownership, it says. And it concludes that biofuels are more effective when used for heat and power rather than in transport. "Current research concludes that using biomass for combined heat and power (CHP), rather than for transport fuels or other uses, is the best option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade--and also one of the cheapest," it says. The European Union and the US have recently set major targets for the expansion of biofuels in road vehicles, for which ethanol and biodiesel are seen as the only currently viable alternative to petroleum fuels.
The UN report, Sustainable Bioenergy: A Framework for Decision Makers, suggests that biofuels can be a force for good if they are planned well, but can bring adverse consequences if not. "The development of new bioenergy industries could provide clean energy services to millions of people who currently lack them," it concludes, "while generating income and creating jobs in poorer areas of the world." But the prices of food, land and agricultural commodities could be driven up, it warns, with major impacts in poorer countries where people spend a much greater share of their incomes on food than in developed nations. On the environmental side, it notes that demand for biofuels has accelerated the clearing of primary forest for palm plantations, particularly in southeast Asia. The destruction of ecosystems which remove carbon form the atmosphere can lead to a net increase in emissions.
Water is also a concern. The expanding world population and the on-going switch towards consumption of meat and dairy produce as incomes rise are already putting pressure on freshwater supplies, which increased growing of biofuel crops could exacerbate. In conclusion, UN Energy suggests policy makers should take a holistic look before embarking on drives to boost biofuel use. "Only through a convergence of biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions and water-use policies can bioenergy find its proper environmental context and agricultural scale," the report concludes.
courtesy of Hinduism Today http://www.hinduismtoday.com
Answers by HH Romapada Swami
Question: Prabhupada told us to “Chant Hare Krishna and Be Happy”. I have been chanting the maha mantra since two years and I am following the rules and regulations but I am still very unhappy. I guess that there is a problem somewhere with me. My life is a mess. Krishna gives me too many tests which I can’t handle. I have been struggling with my spiritual life and I am tired now. I am helpless.
I was engaged with a devotee for 1 year and we were planning to get married after our studies. Recently, his Guru Maharaj told him that, being so young (he is 21 and I am 18), he should remain brahmacari for the time being. So he has left me. I know that his Guru is pure and is directly guided by Krishna and his decision is most appropriate but being such a fallen human being, I am suffering a lot because being engaged for me was very important as it stabilized my mind. I am trying my best but I am unable to forget him and to get over it. Please tell me what I should do to become stronger and to stop suffering from it.
Answer: Part of your struggle is clearly connected to the situation
re. your engagement. The feelings you have described are natural; although
you have correctly accepted the course of events as being inspired by Krishna
for some reason and are not begrudging or holding anyone at fault, it is
nevertheless difficult for you to remain unaffected by the turn of events,
and this is but natural.
When faced with such unexpected reversals in life, Krishna advises us to learn to tolerate. (See Bg 2.14) It is not easy, but this tolerance is a very important quality a devotee needs to cultivate in order to successfully chant the Holy names. (Siksastaka 3)
The ability to tolerate comes from the internal faith in Krishna’s shelter, even if we don’t yet have a strong realization of it. A devotee can always remain happy because of this shelter they feel. Knowing Krishna to be the Supreme Controller and my dearest well-wishing friend, the devotee is confident that Krishna will surely protect me and is orchestrating my life for the best. This trust that if I faithfully follow Krishna’s instructions, He will surely protect me (avashya rakibe Krishna) is an important limb of the process of surrender. In addition, a devotee always feels deeply grateful for the numerous blessings Krishna has already provided in their life and is thus not too disturbed by apparent reversals or by what is seemingly lacking.
There is a beautiful verse in the Bhagavatam, Prayers offered by Lord Brahma (SB 10.14.8) which states that when a devotee faces a condition of so-called distress or reversal, rather than seeing it as a stringent punishment or unsurpassable test, he considers it a gift or benediction from the Lord. A devotee thinks: “Thanks to my past misdeeds I should suffer far, far greater than I am suffering now. So it is by the mercy of the Supreme Lord that I am not getting all the punishment I am due. I am just getting a little token, which is also for my purification.” Therefore he is always calm, quiet and patient, despite many distressful conditions, and continues to serve the Lord with greater enthusiasm. Such a person is eligible to go back to godhead.
Krishna is not promising His devotee an idyllic life in the material world. Rather He warns us that this is a place of temporality and suffering, where there is danger at every step. And yet a devotee is always happy and satisfied because of the above-mentioned qualities viz, tolerance, gratefulness and faith in Krishna’s shelter. These are not artificial adjustments of the mind but factually feelings of a pure devotee and by progressively cultivating these qualities, we can also be happy even amidst struggles.
Of course it is easier said than done, especially when the mind is disturbed and agitated. But it is possible to turn this into a wonderful opportunity for you to take deeper shelter and become further attached to Krishna. It becomes especially easy if you can have the association of devotees who carry such deep faith. Try to seek such association and hear and chant in their company. You could also associate with Srila Prabhupada through reading his biography and derive great strength from seeing how he persevered through all kinds of trials and reversals. Another powerful process is to cultivate the habit of offering heartfelt prayers to the Lord for His mercy and help.
So have faith and persevere. Please do not feel defeated, helpless or frustrated. Krishna consciousness is full of hope. In the ultimate picture of our eternal relationship with Krishna, even the most trivial of our services and attempts to connect to Him will be remembered and rewarded by Him abundantly, so your efforts in Krishna consciousness are not in vain. The present circumstance itself may be such reciprocation from Krishna to facilitate your advancement, and by continuing patiently with your devotional service, one day you may look back and appreciate how it was so.
One concluding thought: Consider what your reaction would be if you were to receive notice that you would die in 7 days, as was the case with Pariksit Maharaja. How would you respond?
Here is what Srila Prabhupada writes in SB 1.18.3 on the topic of meeting
drastic reversals in life:
“Knowing the transcendental position of the Lord and the transcendental method by which one can approach that transcendental dhama, the King was confident about his ultimate destination, and by knowing this he could leave aside everything material, even his own body, without any difficulty of attachment. In the Bhagavad-gita, it is stated, param drstva nivartate: [Bg. 2.59] one can give up all connection with material attachment when one is able to see the param, or the superior quality of things…. Unless one thoroughly understands this superior or eternal energy of the Lord, it is not possible to leave the material energy, however one may theoretically speculate on the true nature of the Absolute Truth.”
By Dhananjaya dasa
Thursday, June 14 thru Sunday, June 17 2007 at ISKCON Alachua.
Alachua Mela is a Krishna Conscious gathering of spiritual empowerment, sharing of diverse interests and talents, inspiring us to a purposeful balanced spiritual life, and creating a powerfully unified community. Join us in creating this event, our lives, and our community.
The Alachua Mela is lead by second generation devotees of Alachua Florida and we welcome all devotees of all generations and all places to participate fully.
Read the rest of the article by clicking here http://www.dandavats.com/wp-content/uploads/announcing-alachua-mela2-for-web.doc
NEW DELHI, INDIA, May 2, 2007: A study, conducted by researchers at the Washington State University, has found that the immunity system of breast cancer survivors improved significantly after practicing the Iyengar form of yoga. Created by B.K.S. Iyengar, based on the traditional eight limbs of yoga as expounded by Pantajali in his Yoga Sutras, this yoga form emphasizes the development of strength, stamina, flexibility and balance, as well as concentration and meditation. Considered to be a more active form of yoga, researchers reported on Monday at the American Physiological Society meeting in Washington DC that in breast cancer survivors, the Iyengar method not only promoted psychological well-being but also benefited the patient's immune system. According to lead researcher Pamela E. Schultz, practicing the yoga form resulted in decreased activation of an important immune system protein called NF-kB in patients, which is a mark of stress in the body. "So it's possible that decreased activation of NF-kB indicates decreased stress in the body. NF-kB is activated in the body by physical or mental stress," said Schultz.
Speaking to Times of India, 89-year-old Iyengar said, "Similar studies in Mumbai found that certain asanas improve the quality of blood and results in better blood circulation. It also improved the production of proteins in the immune system called T-cell receptors that actually direct the immune system to attack specific targets. Immune cells that contain the engineered T-cell receptor better display targeted immunity with a few asanas." Cancer and its treatments are associated with considerable distress, impaired quality of life and reduced physical function, especially for women with breast cancer who receive multi-modality treatment over an extended period of time. "Yoga greatly helps to relieve and improve quality of life among cancer patients over time," Iyengar said. Dr. Chidanand Murthy, director of Central Council for Research in Yoga, said, "A similar study conducted in AIIMS on 30 patients in 2006 found that Sudarshan Kriya and Pranayama greatly helped cut down the growth of breast cancer cells within the body. Through release of stress, adverse effects of chemotherapy were also avoided."
courtesy of Hinduism Today http://www.hinduismtoday.com
HH Gauranga Prema Maharaja, Director of ISKCON Sri Mayapur Nama-hatta
The day after Nrsimha Caturdasi, 2 May 2007, was an important one for Nama-hatta preaching in Sri Mayapur: The foundation stone for the Nama-hatta prasadam hall was laid by HH Jayapataka Maharaja, assisted by HH Bhakti Purusottama Maharaja, Sri Brajahari Prabhu (president of ISKCON's temple in Juhu, Mumbai), Sri Sankarsana Nitai Prabhu, Sri Bhadracaru Prabhu, and many other Vaisnavas.
Up until now, Nama-hatta devotees have had to honor prasadam in temporary pandals—and there isn't even a permanent kitchen to prepare prasadam for large groups (except under the open sky). During weekends or holidays an average of 300–400 Nama-hatta devotees visit Sri Mayapur. The problem is compounded during festivals, when 1,500–2,000 or more devotees converge—and this number increases every year. It is difficult to arrange a place to take prasadam for them, since the other prasadam halls are also used to capacity during such times. Hence the urgent need for permanent prasadam-and-kitchen facilities for Sri Mayapur's Nama-hatta.
HH Bhakti Purusottama Maharaja, Co-GBC and Co-director, ISKCON Sri Mayapur
The planned prasadam hall measures 14,000 sq. ft. with a 6,000 sq. ft. kitchen. It will be constructed on the eastern side of the present Nama-hatta building and accommodate 1,000 devotees at one sitting. At other times it will double as an auditorium, with a dais at one end, seating 4,000 devotees during lectures and classes. The floors above the prasadam hall will serve as additional guest rooms, also very much needed during major festivals.
The building is being financed by Nama-hatta devotees, but we hope that more kind souls and well-wishers will come forward to support this wonderful project, so that by the mercy of Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai it can be completed within the targeted two years' time.
Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai ki jaya!
HH Jayapataka Maharaja, laying the foundation stone
Rendering of the architects' drawing of the new prasadam hall
The 2007 Festival of Inspiration-A Photo Essay (Kirtan)
May 18, 2007
Posted by Bhakta-Chris
Continuing with our photographic journey through the 2007 Festival of Inspiration, today we gaze upon the kirtaniyahs who rocked, soothed, and lifted our souls with their sacred sounds that saturated the New Vrindaban atmosphere with pure devotion.
For ALL the pictures visit HERE
To see the graphic version of this newsletter please visit:
Download the PDF version here.
In loving service to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
NEWSLETTER | MAY 2007
***SRILA PRABHUPADA SPEAKS ABOUT BBT***
“Tamal Krishna Goswami: I dont think that there has ever been a personality who has ever given such a great gift to the Western world as you, Prabhupada.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, actually that is the fact, but let them appreciate, thats all.
Tamal Krishna Goswami: It seems to me that we are flooding so many books that they must become Krishna conscious.
Srila Prabhupada: (laughing) Yes, they have no alternative than to read these books.”
“From a room conversation with Tamal Krishna Goswami, Nellore, January 3, 1976?
***Book Distribution Gets A Tasty Makeover***
A new line of tasty treats is making its way to vending machines all over the world, and this time, as the advertisers promise, it really will do wonders for your health!
Thats because the delicious treats are Srila Prabhupadas consciousness-raising books, now made available by the BBT at Smart Boxes, plexiglass bookstands at selected grocery stores and other venues. Theres no sales clerk needed just put your money in the donation slot, pick a book, and be on your way!
Vaisesika Dasa, a dedicated book distributor since 1973 and now ISKCON North Americas National Sankirtana Strategist, has devised this new passive sales method.
Its the easiest way youll ever distribute books in your life, he says. And its a great meditation, because youre always thinking about Srila Prabhupadas books.
The projects proving ground is Sillicon Valley and the rest of the San
Francisco Bay Area. Headed by Vaisesika and project director Venkatesh
Chembrolu, devotees there approached Indian grocery stores, vegetarian
restaurants, coffee shops, gas stations and more. The Smart Boxes proved a
success. So far, a total of nineteen Smart Boxes have distributed about
155 books and collected $388, Venkatesh tells me, And weve only just
Read full story at - http://friendsofthebbt.org/smartbox-news
***Against All Odds: Tulasi Dasi***
Every one of us has had our devotion and determination to serve the Lord
tested at some point in our lives. But some of us have been tested far
more than others. The question is: do we rise to the challenge?
For mother Tulasi, the answer is a resounding Yes.
Months after she had joined the movement, dedicated book distributor
Tulasi began to suffer from endless health problems. One day doctors did
an MRI which revealed scars on her brain. Youve got multiplesclerosis,
they told her.
But Tulasi never stopped distributing books, instead taking her terrible
hardship as a benediction. Even when in severe pain in hospital, she used
whatever energy she had to set up a book table and a prasadam table in her
room, as well as pictures of Krishna and a stereo playing bhajans. People
would come into my room all the time because of the wonderful atmosphere,
she says. Doctors and nurses would come in, sometimes twenty to
twenty-five at a time, because it was a student hospital, and most of them
would leave with books. It was such a blissful experience.
Read full story at http://www.friendsofthebbt.org/against-all-odds-the-story-of-tulasi-dasi
***Bhagavad-Gita As It Is Printed in Korean***
Four and a half years ago, Patanjali Muni Dasa, then living at
Bhaktivedanta Manor in the UK, began a mission of devotion: translating
Bhagavad-gita As It Is into his native Korean.
Three years later, he and his family left the UK to lay the foundations of
spiritual life in their home country. They established two preaching
centers in Seoul, the capital, and held weekly Sunday programs. Patanjali
also taught philosophy at various yoga centers around the city and
organized a regular harinama procession.
Soon his efforts began to bear fruit. Now groups of South Korean students
are arriving at Bhaktivedanta Manor to experience temple life. Even
better, the first ever print run of Bhagavad-gita As It Is in
Koreanseveral hundred copiesmet with an enthusiastic public response
this year. A special celebration was held for Gita Jayanti, where the
director of MBC Broadcasting Company, one of the largest television and
radio networks in South Korea, spoke in appreciation of Srila Prabhupada’s
Bhagavad-gita and praised Patanjali Munis achievement.
***First Ever BBT Art Seminar***
The BBT will be holding its first annual art seminar from October 20 to
November 10, 2007. The course will be held in Vrindavana Dhama, India, and
is taught by seasoned devotee artists Dhrti Dasi and Ramdasa Abhirama Dasa,
who were trained in Srila Prabhupadas standards. Students will learn
everything about devotional painting, including Prabhupadas own
instructions on art, and a variety of new techniques.
Applications will be received until June 15, and the seminar will be free
for the fifteen applicants deemed most qualified. Full details on
submitting your application and portfolio are available at:
Read more at http://www.friendsofthebbt.org/Art-Seminar
***Distribution Story of the Month***
Californian Concert Dream
by Phalguna Dasa
While distributing books at a concert in California, I scanned the mob of
youth leaving the event and prayed, “Krishna, please show me the one who’s
looking for your books.”
I singled out a young boy from a distance and continued to pray as he
“Excuse me,” I said.
He looked at me, and his jaw dropped in surprise. “I dreamt about you,” he
“What was your dream about?” I asked him, curious.
“Well, you were dressed as a monk, and you told me to stop smoking and
drinking,” he replied.
Dramatically, I took off my hat and showed him my bald head. “I am a
monk,” I said, “and now I am telling you . . .”here I saw his eyes widen
in disbelief”. . . to stop smoking and drinking.” Stunned, he took a book
and gave a kind donation. As he walked away, I was left mulling over the
different wonderful ways Krishna reclaims His dear fallen souls.
Visit our website for more stories like this: http://www.friendsofthebbt.org/node/225
**We are happy to welcome the following new members in April:
***BECOME A MEMBER***
Experience the sweetness of supporting Srila Prabhupada’s book mission.
Join us today and receive a free poster of Srila Prabhupada.
***TELL A FRIEND***
Know others who are concerned about the BBT? Help us get the word out.
Visit us on the web at http://www.friendsofthebbt.org
Copyright 2007 Friends of the BBT
by Arcana-siddhi Devi Dasi (first published in Back to Godhead magazine, 2002)
IN THE EVENING of November 14, 1975, I received a phone call in my dorm room at college. Absorbed in studying for exams, I answered nonchalantly, expecting it to be my boyfriend, who would normally call me around that time. Instead, I heard an unfamiliar voice on the other end, and a young man identified himself as one of my brother’s new housemates. I thought, “What has Philip done this time?”
For the past six years, Philip had suffered from a bipolar disorder, then known as manic depressive disorder. Several times he had stopped taking his medications and lapsed into a psychotic manic state. The last time that had happened, he was found lying in the middle of the road, trying to see if the cars would stop. He rationalized his behavior as a test to see if man was inherently good or evil. Luckily he was arrested before any harm came to him, and he was again admitted to a psychiatric hospital to become stabilized on medication.
The night I received the phone call, I’d just seen my brother the previous day. He’d been in a subdued, thoughtful mood. Although attending classes at the university and doing well, he said that he didn’t see any hope for his future. Everything seemed futile. I gave him one of my standard pep talks, reminding him that things would get better and he just had to ride out the storm. But since I shared his views about the futility of life, I wondered how convincing I’d been.
I too struggled with depressed moods. I’d just started my own spiritual search, but I didn’t yet have compelling answers to his desperate question of why to go on in life. Still, he had assured me he’d be all right and thanked me for our talk.
After a long pause on the telephone, his housemate blurted out that Philip had hanged himself in the basement. His body had just been found. The caller offered condolences and hurriedly excused himself from the conversation. I hung up the phone, stupefied and numb.
My brother’s tragic death intensified my spiritual search. I looked for answers in religious books and scriptures. I fervently prayed for guidance.
I soon had the good fortune to meet devotees of Krsna. They too shared my views about the futility of living a life just to grow old and die. But unlike me, they were radiant and happy. That apparent contradiction increased my curiosity to understand more about their beliefs.
I learned that the devotees were accessing another dimension of reality. They taught me that beyond this temporary world of birth and death is an eternal world, where a person’s happiness is ever increasing in relationship with the Supreme Person, Krsna.
I was familiar with the concept of an afterworld through the teachings of Christianity: Live a good life, and you’ll be assured a place in that world at the end. But what attracted me to the Krsna conscious presentation of an eternal world was that I didn’t have to wait until I died to be transported somewhere; I could achieve spiritual consciousness in this life.
This did two important things for me. First, it gave me a goal worth living for. Second, I could perceive the progress I was making each day, and that would help give me the impetus to keep working toward the ultimate goal of realizing my spiritual identity in relationship to Krsna.
The devotees showed me the basic ingredients for spiritual progress. Foremost was the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, the sound incarnation of the Lord. Krsna has empowered the mantra to purify our hearts of all unwanted feelings, such as jealousy, greed, and hate. The mantra helps us uncover our real spiritual consciousness, now shrouded in countless desires that separate us from the Lord.
Within days of chanting the mantra regularly on beads, I felt a lifting of my depressed feelings. Light entered the darkness I was so accustomed to living in.
The sound of the mantra released me from a vision of the world as vacant and without purpose. I quickly became devoted to chanting the maha-mantra more than seventeen hundred times a day (sixteen “rounds” on beads), a practice I’ve continued for the past twenty-five years. The chanting has had many positive effects. One of the most dramatic changes for me has been a freedom from the depression I lived with for so many years before being introduced to Krsna consciousness.
Most people have depressed moods from time to time, often pointing to
a need for change, either internal or external. We might have to alter
our perception or understanding of something, or find a different kind
of job or a new place to live.
Feeling low now and then is not the same as clinical depression. To be diagnosed as a clinical depression, a severe depression in an adult must be present every day for at least two weeks, and a less severe depression must be present most days for at least two years.
In the deepest sense, depression or despondency is the soul’s yearning to be with Krsna. Ultimately, our desires can never be satisfied by the things of this world. In the West, one of the most vivid examples of this dissatisfaction is the Christmas morning ritual. How many Christmas mornings did we race to the tree, bursting with anticipation? How many Christmas mornings did we rip through wrapping paper, hoping to find the gift we’d asked for all year? Then, in the wake of torn paper, tangled ribbon, mangled bows, and strewn boxes, how often did we feel morose and unfulfilled?
The magic of anticipation disappeared. Yet, amazingly, the next year we’d again be tricked into believing we can find happiness under the glittering Christmas tree.
Covered by the Lord’s illusory potency, we think we can be happy in this world even though we’ve been disappointed time and time again. To teach us the error of this kind of thinking, Krsna sometimes covers His own liberated servants with illusion so they can act like one of us. One such devotee is Arjuna. Faced with the prospect of having to fight against relatives, teachers, and friends, he is briefly overcome by depression and loses sight of his spiritual identity. Thrust into the illusion of bodily identification, he wants to run away to the forest, neglecting his duty as a warrior. In that bewildered and painful emotional state, Arjuna tells Krsna he can’t find any way to drive away his grief, which is drying up his senses. At that point he realizes that no material solution will bring him relief. He turns to the Lord for shelter.
To help Arjuna out of his depression and back to spiritual consciousness, Krsna then speaks the timeless wisdom of the Bhagavad-gita. These transcendental talks with Krsna cure Arjuna of his desperate anguish and allow him to act according to the Lord’s directions.
Depression And Spiritualists
We might doubt that a serious spiritualist could develop an emotional or mental ailment. But just as the Lord can use physical sickness to bring a devotee closer to Him, He can use mental distress as well. That was shown in Krsna’s dealings with Arjuna.
We have access to the same source of solace Arjuna had. The Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna, is seated within our hearts. He wants to give us good counsel and direct us out of our unhappy state of being. And He directs us to a bona fide spiritual teacher who will also help us on our journey in this temporary world.
The material world is not our actual home, and the body we see in the mirror is not our real self. The Srimad-Bhagavatam says that we can’t be happy in this world unless we’re a fool or a pure devotee. A fool can ignore reality and live as if he’ll never die. But a pure devotee, having realized his spiritual identity, is no longer affected by the impermanent material body. Pure devotees are with Krsna in the spiritual world, even though their physical bodies are here on earth.
Since most people fall somewhere between the fool and the pure devotee, no wonder most people feel depressed moods off and on and an estimated twenty-five percent of the population of the United States develops a clinical depression sometime in life.
Depression can be useful if it leads us in a spiritual direction as we seek answers to our unhappiness. The Lord in the heart will coax us toward Him. If we choose to ignore Him by turning our attention to the ephemeral, external world for comfort, by drowning our emotions and insecurities in intoxication or other mind-altering activities, we’ll perpetuate our miserable feelings. We’ll destroy our sensitivity to hearing the internal voice of reason and wisdom.
While spiritual practices are the ultimate cure for all depression, the very nature of depression sometimes prevents spiritual seekers from doing the very things that could help them out of the quagmire. For a jaundiced person, candy, the cure for the disease, tastes bitter. But if the patient keeps eating the candy, the jaundice is cured and the candy tastes sweet again. In our diseased material consciousness, chanting Hare Krsna — the cure — may often seem difficult, but as we advance in our spiritual consciousness, the chanting becomes sweeter and more and more enjoyable.
So while we should encourage others to take to the spiritual remedy of chanting, we may need to encourage them to get medical help as well. We should never ignore the symptoms of clinical depression in ourselves or in our family or friends. The symptoms include some or all of the following: low self-esteem, irritable moods, lack of energy, thoughts of worthlessness, poor appetite or over-eating, sleeping too much or too little, thoughts of suicide or murder, lack of desire to do things once found pleasurable, and feeling little hope that things will get better.
Although depression is a state of mind, science has found that a chemical imbalance in the brain accompanies clinical depression. Often, depression can be treated without drugs. That is to say, if we change our emotional state, such as through spiritual practices, we can change our brain chemistry. In more severe cases, though, we need medication to restore a healthy chemical balance. Untreated or poorly treated depression can have tragic outcomes, as was the case with my brother.
I wish that when my brother had come to see me the night before he ended his life I could have given him the holy name instead of just sympathy. I wish I’d known about the philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita and could have given him knowledge of the eternal self. I wish I’d known that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that He is our dearmost friend and ever well-wisher. I wish I could have consoled him with this spiritual knowledge.
He still would have needed his medicine and therapy. But I think Krsna consciousness would have given him a reason to go on. I pray that wherever he is he will come in contact with Krsna consciousness and be able to progress toward his ultimate spiritual goal.
Arcana-Siddhi Devi Dasi was initiated by Srila Prabhupada in 1976. She lives with her husband and son in Baltimore, Maryland, where she works as a family therapist.
Hare Krsna! I came a couple of days ago from Florence where I spent over a week. I had the good fortune of getting the undeserved mercy of HH Radhanath Swami Maharaja once again. It was an unforgettable experience. Many wonderful things took place on this pilgrimage…
I don’t have pictures of the whole week because I forgot the charger
of the camera, so please, if there is any devotee who has some pictures,
specially of the Harinam in Florence, I would be most grateful to receive
them. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you very very much.
Now enjoy the Tour… http://satoxi.com/2007/05/19/hh-radhanath-swami-maharaja-in-villa-vrindavan-italy/
Sri Krishna: The Supreme Godhead
Our contention is not that the pastimes of Sri Krishna are historical events but that they are a revelation of the Truth in the form of historical events. The pastimes of Sri Krishna are not, therefore, less true than any historical events whatsoever. They are much more. All the historical events of this world will be enabled to disclose the real elements of the Truth that they represent only when they would be set forth in their proper relationship to the only eternal Verity, viz., the pastimes of Krishna.
- Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada, "Sri Krishna: The Supreme Godhead" , Section 2 (essay)
Vedic World Heritage links:
See our pages supporting these views HERE:
http://www.hknet.org.nz/VWH.html (Vedik World Heritage)
Western Indologists been exposed page:
How British Misguided the World on Vedic History
By BBC NEWS
Mars starts using animal products Some of the UK’s best-selling chocolate bars, such as Mars and Twix, will no longer be suitable for vegetarians.
Also affecting brands such as Snickers and Maltesers, owner Masterfoods said it had started to use animal product rennet to make its chocolate products.
Masterfoods said the change was due to it switching the sourcing of its ingredients and the admission was a “principled decision” on its part.
The Vegetarian Society said the company’s move was “incomprehensible”.
Masterfoods said it had started using rennet from 1 May and non-affected products had a “best before date” up to 1 October.
Masterfoods’ decision to use non-vegetarian whey is a backward step Vegetarian Society
Rennet, a chemical sourced from calves’ stomachs, is used in the production of whey.
It will now also be found in Bounty, Minstrels and Milky Way products, and the ice cream versions of all Masterfoods’ bars.
“If the customer is an extremely strict vegetarian, then we are sorry the products are no longer suitable, but a less strict vegetarian should enjoy our chocolate,” said Paul Goalby, corporate affairs manager for Masterfoods.
The Vegetarian Society said it was “extremely disappointed”.
“At a time when more and more consumers are concerned about the provenance of their food, Masterfoods’ decision to use non-vegetarian whey is a backward step,” it said in a statement.
“Mars products are very popular with young people and many will be shocked to discover that their manufacture now relies on the extraction of rennet from the stomach lining of young calves,” it added.
Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/business/6653175.stm
Published: 2007/05/14 09:23:28 GMT
© BBC MMVII
Veggies Win Chocolate War!
Thanks to the pursuits of the KC Blogger and various other groups we have successful managed to revise Mars decision to use rennet (from cows stomachs) in their chocolate. Interestingly enough I recently found Mars Headquarters browsing my site! The KC Blogger neither advocates nor condones chocolate eating.
Here's the full article from BBC News.
The move affected Masterfoods' chocolate and ice cream barsMars has abandoned plans to use animal products in its chocolate, and has apologised to "upset" vegetarians.
The firm had said it would change the whey used in some of its products from a vegetarian source to one with traces of the animal enzyme, rennet.
The Vegetarian Society organised a campaign against the move, asking members to voice their concerns to parent company Masterfoods.
Mars said it became "very clear, very quickly" that it had made a mistake.
In just one week, more than 6,000 people bombarded the company, which produces the Mars, Snickers, Maltesers and Galaxy brands, with phone and e-mail complaints. Forty MPs also signed a petition to voice their opposition.
Fiona Dawson, managing director of Mars UK, said the company had listened to customers and decided to reverse its decision.
"The consumer is our boss and we had lots of feedback from consumers who were unhappy about the change," Ms Dawson said.
"It became very clear, very quickly that we had made a mistake, for which I am sorry.
"There are three million vegetarians in the UK and not only did we disappoint them, but we upset a lot of the consumers."
The Vegetarian Society had called the move by Mars "incomprehensible" and "a backward step" at a time when consumers were increasingly concerned about "the provenance of their food". Mars replied that, by admitting its products were no longer suitable for "extremely strict vegetarians", it was making a "principled decision".
Now it insists it will begin changing its recipes back immediately. Dr Annette Pinner, chief executive of the Vegetarian Society, said she was pleased Mars had been "honest enough" to admit it had "made a mistake".
"A Masterfoods representative has made contact with us and we are very pleased that they now recognise the importance of integrity to all their customers, especially vegetarians," she added.
Rennet is extracted from calves' stomachs and was to have been used in the ice cream versions of all Masterfoods' bars too.
Mars Bars get Veggie Status Back
May 20, UK (SUN) — Mars, Snickers and Twix chocolate bars - The move affected Masterfoods’ chocolate and ice cream bars.
Mars has abandoned plans to use animal products in its chocolate, and has apologised to “upset” vegetarians. The firm had said it would change the whey used in some of its products from a vegetarian source to one with traces of the animal enzyme, rennet.
The Vegetarian Society organised a campaign against the move, asking members to voice their concerns to parent company Masterfoods. Mars said it became “very clear, very quickly” that it had made a mistake.
In just one week, more than 6,000 people bombarded the company, which produces the Mars, Snickers, Maltesers and Galaxy brands, with phone and e-mail complaints.
Forty MPs also signed a petition to voice their opposition.
Fiona Dawson, managing director of Mars UK, said the company had listened to customers and decided to reverse its decision.
“The consumer is our boss and we had lots of feedback from consumers who were unhappy about the change,” Ms Dawson said.
“It became very clear, very quickly that we had made a mistake, for which I am sorry.
“There are three million vegetarians in the UK and not only did we disappoint them, but we upset a lot of the consumers.”
The Vegetarian Society had called the move by Mars “incomprehensible” and “a backward step” at a time when consumers were increasingly concerned about “the provenance of their food”.
We are very pleased that they now recognise the importance of integrity to all their customers, especially vegetarians ~ Dr Annette Pinner Vegetarian Society
Mars replied that, by admitting its products were no longer suitable for “extremely strict vegetarians”, it was making a “principled decision”.
Now it insists it will begin changing its recipes back immediately.
Dr Annette Pinner, chief executive of the Vegetarian Society, said she was pleased Mars had been “honest enough” to admit it had “made a mistake”.
“A Masterfoods representative has made contact with us and we are very pleased that they now recognise the importance of integrity to all their customers, especially vegetarians,” she added.
Rennet is extracted from calves’ stomachs and was to have been used in the ice cream versions of all Masterfoods’ bars too.
See our World Vegetarian Day Newsletters 2004 - 2005 - World Vege Day
See similar articles at Vegetarianism & beyond:
THE HERONS AND THE SWAN
Some herons standing in a bog saw a swan happening by. They had never seen a swan before, and their curiosity was aroused. "Why are your eyes, beak and feet so red?" one of the herons asked the swan. "Because I'm a swan." "Well, where do you come from?" "From the Mana-sarovara Lake." "And how are things over there?" "The lake water is as clear as crystal and tastes like nectar. From it grows a garden of golden lotuses. All around are islands studded with jewels where beautiful trees, plants, fruits and flowers grow." The heron then asked, "But are there big snails here?" "No," the swan answered. Smirking, the herons exchanged glances. Their spokesman told the swan with haughty finality, "If it has no snails, it can hardly be called a lake. From what you say it is not a suitable place for connoisseurs like us. Thank you, swan, for all you've told us, but don't expect us to follow you back home!"
MORAL: Prabhupada has come to transform herons and crow-like men into swans. The spiritual home of the paramahamsas is revealed in books like Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita. In order to enter that realm, we have to become like swans and lose our taste for snails.
See similar inspirational snippets HERE:
Abortion - http://www.hknet.org.nz/index-abortion.htm
Genetic Engineering ( GE or GM ) - http://www.hknet.org.nz/GE.html
Environment - http://www.hknet.org.nz/Environment.htm
Encroachment - http://www.hknet.org.nz/WE-Day2004.html
Cloning - http://www.hknet.org.nz/cloning.htm
Science - http://www.hknet.org.nz/science2KC.html
Cow Protection - http://www.hknet.org.nz/Cow-protection.htm
The Four Regulative Principles of Freedom - http://www.hknet.org.nz/Regs-4page.htm
seX-files - http://www.hknet.org.nz/seX-files.htm
Mundane Knowledge - http://www.hknet.org.nz/mundaneknowledge.html
Death (Yamaduttas - Terminal Restlessness etc)- http://www.hknet.org.nz/death.html
Near Death Experience - http://www.hknet.org.nz/NDE.htm
Ghosts - http://www.hknet.org.nz/ghosts.htm
Reincarnation again here - http://www.hknet.org.nz/Reincarnation-page.htm
Gain some insights in the TV culture - http://www.hknet.org.nz/television.html
The aweful Truth about softdrinks - http://www.hknet.org.nz/theREALthing.html
Changing the face of the Earth - http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/1390/index.html
UFOs - http://www.hknet.org.nz/UFOs.html
Vegetarianism & Beyond - http://turn.to/Vegetarianism
Vegetarianism in the major Religions - All manner of religions
Articles for newcomers to Krishna consciousness - http://www.krishna.com/newsite/main.php?id=87
Self Help and Motivational pages - Deals and Affiliate programs: - http://www.hknet.org.nz/index-selfhelp.html
Myth of the Aryan invasion by Dr. David Frawley: - http://www.hknet.org.nz/Aryan-invasion-mythDF.html
The Peace Formula - (By HDG Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada) http://www.hknet.org.nz/PeaceFormula.html
.........many other articles - http://www.hknet.org.nz/index-articles.htm
and from there go to the Main Index http://www.hknet.org.nz/index.htm
Iskcon News Articles now available - many topical insights
See more on Darwin and Evolution HERE:
Articles from Back to Godhead Magazine:
Article on Mayapur Floods September 2006
Ganga comes for Darshan
by Bhaktisiddhanta Swami
A selection of interesting Krishna conscious articles from New Panihati - Atlanta temple USA:
The Peace Formula
The Real Peace Formula
See more on Yoga and Meditation HERE:
World Vegetarian Day October 1st yearly &
World Vegetarian Awareness Month of October yearly
...please visit our links and see what you can do to help
World Smoke Free Day
31st May Every Year
yeah kick the
...and remember from 10th December 2004 no more smoking in public places in New Zealand by law