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News Brief: Shyamasundar das on Sirius Xm Beatles Radio

Sun, 01/16/2022 - 6:28pm

On January 12, 2020, Shyamasundar das was a guest on The Beatles Channel of Sirius XM for one of their Fab Forum interviews. The broadcast is exclusive to Sirius XM subscribers, but ISKCON News has been provided a recording from  Shyamasundar das that can be accessed here.

 

A transcript of the interview can be viewed here:

Beatles_Channel_Interview–Transcription-1-12-22

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Trailer for Bhakti Shakti: Goddess of Divine Love

Sun, 01/16/2022 - 5:40pm

Join the book launch of Bhakti Shakti: Goddess of Divine Love, Sri Radha by award-winning author Pranada Comtois releases on 17 January on FaceBook/PranadaComtois at 11:00 am EST.

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EVENT DETAILS: 11:00 am EST Welcome & Introduction to Kirtan 11:05 Kirtan by Shyamala Kishori 11:30 Introduction to Bhakti Shakti 11:35 Reading from the Introduction 12:00 Q&As 12:15  Announce Winner of Bhakti Shakti Giveaway 12:20  “Divine Treasure” the official song of Bhakti Shakti Read more here

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Maya: The World as Virtual Reality

Sat, 01/15/2022 - 11:09am
Maya: The World as Virtual Reality By Sadaputa Dasa (Dr. Richard L. Thompson)

In the world of modern science, consciousness is reduced to a fading epiphenomenon, leftover after the brain has been physically explained.

It seems to arise when matter is suitably organized, but scientists and philosophers have been unable to explain why complex organization should produce anything beyond complex physical behavior. Yet consciousness won’t go away. This groundbreaking book shows how conscious beings could interact with a physically realistic virtual world. It shows how paranormal phenomena can be reconciled in a natural way with the laws of physics, and it sheds light on paradoxes of time, on life beyond the body, and on cosmic and terrestrial evolution. In a sweeping synthesis, the ideas and data of modern science are used to illuminate the ancient theme of consciousness in a world of illusion.

 

Author: Sadaputa Dasa (Dr. Richard L. Thompson)
Published: May 27, 2018
File/Book size: 8038 KB / 304 pages
Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Available on Amazon

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Breaking News: Japapataka Swami Rushed to Hospital

Sat, 01/15/2022 - 10:39am

Jayapataka swami  is being taken to Kolkatta for tests and there
is a possibility that he could be airlifted to Chennai, if required and if
capable of travel.

Below is the health update that has gone out to disciples.

This is just to give you all a heads up and also seek your blessings and
prayers.

your servant,
Sri Vallabha dasa & JPS Seva Committee team

———————–

Official Health Update on H.H. Jayapataka Maharaja,
8 am, 15th  January, 2022,

Dear God-family, disciples and well-wishers of H.H. Jayapataka Swami
Maharaja,

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

Early this morning Guru Maharaja had an episode of vomiting and acute
abdominal pain.  Currently, as this report is issued, Guru Maharaja is
en route to Kolkata for necessary investigations and further treatment

The JPS Seva committee and the Doctors are making all the necessary
arrangements to deal with this emergency.

We request devotees to please pray for Guru Maharaja’s health and perform
their sadhana strictly.

We will keep you updated and provide another report when more information is
available.

On behalf of the JPS Seva committee and the Health team,

Maha varaha das

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Eating Meat Proven to Cause Cancer

Sat, 01/15/2022 - 10:16am

An international committee advisory committee advocated that processed and red meat as high priorities for assessment by the IARC Monographs Programme. The endorsement was suggested due to epidemiological studies alluding to the possible risks of cancers associated with the ingestion of both red and processed meats. 

According to the Global Burden of Disease Project, an independent academic research organization, approximately 34,000 cancer deaths worldwide can be attributed to eating processed meats. While the link between eating meat and cancer has not been one hundred percent proven, estimates do show that diets high in red meat can be responsible for 50,000 cancer deaths annually. 

Red meat was classified as a 2A carcinogen which means that eating it almost certainly causes cancer. Processed meat was classified as a Group 1 carcinogen which means that there is substantial evidence to show that eating processed meats (bacon, salami, hotdogs, etc.) causes cancer. Consumption of processed meats significantly increases your risk of bowel and stomach cancers. 

While meat companies promote eating meat as part of a healthy diet, studies have shown that consumption of red meat leads to illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Not only are you at risk of contracting these diseases, but you are also at risk of dying from them once contracted. 

While both processed meat and cigarettes are listed as Group 1 carcinogens, the risks are drastically different. “To put this in perspective, according to the Global Disease Burden Project 2012, over 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide are attributable to high processed meat intake vs. 1 million deaths per year attributable to tobacco smoke.” (Staff Who report says eating processed meat is carcinogenic: Understanding the findings) The World Cancer Research Fund recommends treating meat as a special occasion dish, limiting it in your diet. Studies have shown that a vegetarian diet has an overall lower risk of colon cancer. (Michael J. Orlich Vegetarian diet and risk of colorectal cancers) A vegetarian diet also contributes to a lowered risk of diabetes, hypertension, and general mortality.

 

 

Michael J. Orlich, MD. “Vegetarian Diet and Risk of Colorectal Cancers.” JAMA Internal Medicine, JAMA Network, 1 May 2015, https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2174939.  Staff. “Who Report Says Eating Processed Meat Is Carcinogenic: Understanding the Findings.” The Nutrition Source, Harvard School For Public Health, 3 Mar. 2021, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2015/11/03/report-says-eating-processed-meat-is-carcinogenic-understanding-the-findings/.  WHO Team. “Cancer: Carcinogenicity of the Consumption of Red Meat and Processed Meat.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 26 Oct. 2015, https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/cancer-carcinogenicity-of-the-consumption-of-red-meat-and-processed-meat. 

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Movies for Devotees: The Game Changers

Sat, 01/15/2022 - 12:57am

Overwhelmingly, Srila Prabhupada preached that vegetarian or non-vegetarian was not the issue.*  He nearly always took the opportunity to preach Krishna bhakti no matter what food a person chose to eat.  At the same time, he indicated that eating foods in the mode of goodness helps one become wiser.

The effect of developing the mode of goodness in the material world is that one becomes wiser than those otherwise conditioned.

Bhagavad-gita, Purport Chapter 14, Text 6

As preachers, we are often challenged with the idea that a meat-centered diet is inherently more healthy.  Instead of engaging in a fruitless argument about the benefits of plant-based cuisine, let the non-devotees convince their own.  Produced in 2018,  the documentary, “Game Changers,” currently available on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu, blows away the ISKCON Television “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise” vegetarian video produced in 1985 and the equally dated documentary, “A Vegetarian World.”  Krishna has arranged the ultimate preaching weapon to shut the mouths of those who proclaim meat as the best and necessary source of protein to grow bigger muscles and last the distance.  The elite athletes and Olympians, special ops soldiers, scientists, cultural icons, and everyday heroes prove conclusively that human beings perform far better on a plant-based diet and that mankind, even from the distorted perspective of evolution, was not physically designed for meat-eating.  Features the “Terminator,” Arnold Schwarzenegger, among many other well-known sports personalities, promoting vegetarianism/veganism.  The evidence that consuming meat lowers strength, recovery, and endurance is empirical and palpable.  But don’t take my word for it. Watch the trailer and make up your own mind:


 Don’t waste your valuable time by debating the merits of a vegetarian diet; let the non-devotees slug it out.  We will just keep offering prasadam to the conditioned souls.

I am pleased to note your description of the increasing interest in vegetarian diet in this country. Actually, the practice of meat-eating is very detrimental to spiritual life, because in spiritual life the goal is to become free from all sinful reactions, and meat-eating means simply to force oneself to suffer the sinful reactions of killing our fellow living entities.

Letter to Krishna Devi, June 15, 1969

Śyāmasundara: Mr . . . Lord Brockway has been a vegetarian his life long.

Prabhupāda: Oh, that’s nice. That’s a good advancement for spiritual understanding.

Lord Brockway: Yes, I became a vegetarian, oh, seventy years ago.

Prabhupāda: Oh, I see.

Lord Brockway: All from aesthetic ideas, humanitarian ideas. And I’ve proved one can be just as healthy.

Prabhupāda: Yes, you look very healthy.

Lord Brockway: Over eighty-five years. I’m very fortunate.

Prabhupāda: Yes, he’s older than me. Still, he looks very nice.

Conversation London, July 3, 1973

Pañcadraviḍa: “But even if I become vegetarian still, I will be . . .”

Prabhupāda: No, no, that is not questioned. God says that you shall not kill. But you are killing. Where is your love? You cannot argue with God. Then you do not love. You cannot put your argument, logic, “What God has said I must do.” That is love.

Pañcadraviḍa: “But God did not mean us not to eat. We must eat.”

Prabhupāda: God did not . . . that means you have to eat only meat? You have nothing to eat?

Pañcadraviḍa: But if I eat a plant, it is also killing.

Prabhupāda: That is your argument. But God says that, “Thou shall not kill.” You cannot argue. This is the first theory. Suppose if I say something to you, order, you cannot argue. That is not obedience. Obedience means without argument accepted. That is obedience. That is love.

Morning Walk, Hyderabad, April 22, 1974

Devotee (8): Śrīla Prabhupāda, if we’re performing devotional service and an insect is in the way, like if you’re painting the walls and you find this ant and you must paint this wall to please the spiritual master, what is the attitude?

Prabhupāda: I have already said. You cannot kill even an ant without permission. So if you want to kill, you should take permission of higher authorities.

Lecture Atlanta, March 2, 1975

The people of this country are gradually taking this idea very seriously for vegetarian diet and stopping cow killing in a practical way.

Letter to Krishna das Maheshvari, New York, July 11,1976

On the other hand, let us not squander precious time:

*So our business is, so far we are concerned, Kṛṣṇa conscious people, we are not advocates of vegetarian and nonvegetarian. Of course, vegetarianism is very good, even for health’s sake. But we do not take vegetables even, if it is not offered to Kṛṣṇa. That is our principle. If Kṛṣṇa said that, “You give Me nonvegetarian diet,” then we can eat also.

SB 1.2.06 Lecture Delhi, November 14, 1973.

*Sometimes this morning we were talking about Sometimes this morning we were talking about vegetarian and nonvegetarian. Our mission is not to make a nonvegetarian a Sometimes this morning we were talking about vegetarian and nonvegetarian. Our mission is not to make a nonvegetarian a vegetarian. No. Our mission is that “Either you are vegetarian or nonvegetarian, it doesn’t matter. You become Kṛṣṇa conscious.” That is our mission. To become vegetarian is not very good qualification. It is better than the nonvegetarian, but that is not the ultimate solution. The ultimate solution is when you become a lover of God. That is ultimate solution.. No. Our mission is that “Either you are vegetarian or nonvegetarian, it doesn’t matter. You become Kṛṣṇa conscious.” That is our mission. To become vegetarian is not very good qualification. It is better than the nonvegetarian, but that is not the ultimate solution. The ultimate solution is when you become a lover of God. That is ultimate solution. and nonvegetarian.

Lecture 6.1.2 Honolulu May 6, 1976

 Nrsimhananda das Uplifting Cinema Pvt. Ltd. (India) ISKCON Television, Inc. (USA Note: Appropriate for 18 years and up due to a short study that includes adult content. Viewer discretion advised.

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A Return to Kindness

Sat, 01/15/2022 - 12:37am

2020-21 It’s been a rough time. Brutal for some. Revelatory for others, especially that the leaders in the Kali-yuga (this age of quarrel, greed, and hypocrisy) are pretend leaders. There is no proper training on how to be a leader. This pretending has been going on for quite some time, and in recent years it has only become more evident. 

In Mahabharata, the teacher, Dronacarya, sent the two prime candidates for leadership into the city to perform a task. Duryodhana is sent to find someone better than himself. Yudhisthira is sent to find someone lower than himself. Duryodhana examines the people he encounters, but he can’t find anyone better. He thinks he himself is the best and greatest. Yudhisthira, on the other hand, sees the value in the various members of society: the brahmanas, the tenders of the cows, the merchants and workers. He concludes that he himself is the lowest. 

Later in the Mahabharata, the sage Narada instructs Yudhisthira that the leaders of society must take responsibility for the happiness of the citizens. And who are the citizens? Not only the human beings, but even the animals, birds, and the trees. In the Bhagavad-Gita (12:13), the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna expands on this point, urging us all not to be envious, but to be a “kind friend to all living beings.” Krishna goes on to declare that a person who behaves in this way is very dear to Him. 

In instructing the warrior prince Arjuna, Krishna gives us all a simple criteria to understand His teachings. Krishna mentions it repeatedly. Gita 4:3 “Because you are My devotee and friend, you can therefore understand the transcendental mystery of this ancient science.”
Gita 9:1 “Because you are never envious of Me, I shall impart to you this most confidential knowledge and realization, knowing which you shall be relieved of the miseries of material existence.”
Gita 18:64: “Because you are My very dear friend, I am speaking to you My supreme instruction, the most confidential knowledge of all.”

Krishna tells Arjuna not to be envious, to be a friend to all, to see the Supreme Lord everywhere and in all things, to accept His illuminating guidance, and to understand we are eternal, spiritual beings, not a lump of mundane desires and impulses. So without this type of guidance how can we have a peaceful society? 

Kindness, compassion, and being a friend to all are foundational principles for those on the path of Bhakti. True kindness begins with respecting all life, to see every living entity as a person. But this is not possible in a society that maintains so many slaughterhouses and torturing animals who are dying in agony. Slaughterhouses are a great disturbance. Srila Prabhupada explains in his purport of Srimad Bhagavatam 1:17:3, they are “responsible for all the troubles in present society.” We can live healthier and calmer lives, personally and as a society, without slaughterhouses.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna is giving profound knowledge to Arjuna, and to us as well. And like the warrior Arjuna, we can also be a warrior by being a kind friend to all living beings. This year let us resolve to understand, act in, and teach real kindness. 

I pray the new year finds you in good health and spirits. May all be well. Walk in love and joy and gratitude. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare / Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

 

Sankirtana Das is a longtime resident of New Vrindaban, and an award-winning author and storyteller. His book, Mahabharata: The Eternal Quest, is acclaimed by scholars and devotees alike. For more info about his work see www.Mahabharata-Project.com

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Creating E-Commerce Websites

Wed, 01/12/2022 - 7:00pm

Creating e-commerce websites can be quite a great intimidating job, but if you follow a couple of simple steps, the task can be a breeze. The first step is to pick a domain name. You can choose a top-level domain like a. com, store, solutions, or perhaps your provider’s name. Your best option for your webpage will depend on what you hope to offer and what their customers expect from your site.

The next step is to incorporate contact information for your business. You can provide a phone number or email, or you consist of online discussion, Skype, or WhatsApp. You may also include a position map in your website to raise your credibility. Once you have came up with the site, the next navigate to this web-site stage is to make the software and commence testing. Quality assurance engineers will check the software for the purpose of errors and bugs, and developers is going to fix any problems they will find. When your product is ready, you are allowed to launch it in the market.

Design and operation are the following steps in creating e-commerce websites. You will have to make your website as user friendly as possible for your consumers. Your website need to be easy to browse and easy to work with. Having an intuitive design will increase conversion rates. Similarly, features means producing your site user friendly for your clients. Your website should be functional permitting customers to execute certain jobs. For example , it will allow consumers to search for products, compare these people, communicate with managers through a conversation, and purchase these people. Your ecommerce site must also allow users to track the delivery of their purchased items.

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Hare Krishna TV News (Hindi Only)

Wed, 01/12/2022 - 12:18pm

In the midst of the 3rd wave, ISKCON has once again launched a sacred initiative to deliver meals Prasadam.

In this segment, you can watch the latest news happening in ISKCON Community and more updates on ISKCON Worldwide.

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North American Leadership Conference January 14th-16th

Wed, 01/12/2022 - 11:24am

The North American Leadership Conference will be held on the 14th, 15th 16th of January.

During this online event, we will gather again as GBC, Temple Presidents, Senior Devotees, and Next Generation Leaders – all members of Srila Prabhupada’s Family, to collaborate and co-create the future of ISKCON in North America.

REGISTRATION LINK: https://forms.gle/ZdQ57vvAmidsqbpz8

January 14-16th, 2022

Friday 7-8PM ET Networking Event: “Looking towards the Future”

Saturday 10:00 AM ET- 3:15 PM ET 

Sunday 10:00 AM ET-3:15 PM ET

Pay registration fee ($21) Paypal link: https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=AMH5F8UVNKXLS

Registration closes on January 13th, Thursday

Resources

  • Prabhupada Foundation, providing devotee business start-up funding
  • Food Truck model franchise
  • Ministries: Youth, Vaishnavi
  • Sustainable Arts

Tools and workshops:

  • Social media
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Attract & Grow devotees
  • Intellectual technology
  • Mentoring

Panel discussions

  • Legal and internal structure, ‘who has authority for your center’
  • Devotee Protection Awareness, Leader Responsibility, Prevent Abuse & Mitigate liability

Personal Spiritual Practice

  • Radical Personalism
  • Holistic Emotional Awareness & Relational Training & Support (HEARTS)

Looking forward to meeting again online!

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ISKCON Communications Course Online, starts January 24th

Wed, 01/12/2022 - 11:15am

ISKCON Communications Course, now available online through the Bhaktivedanta College, starts its new semester on January 24!

This five-week course helps devotees communicate better in their personal and professional lives, as well as when representing ISKCON. The course is online, self-paced, and designed for those in need of a flexible schedule.

The Communications Course has been acclaimed by Temple Presidents, GBC Ministers, and other senior devotees as highly instructive, practical, and empowering. Skills taught include public speaking, listening, strategizing media and government relations, understanding our devotee communities’ needs better, working with neighbors, understanding and building rapport with academics and NGO organizations, and more. ISKCON Communications minister HG Anuttama Prabhu, in collaboration with Bhaktivedanta College, translated the ‘ISKCON Communications’ training he gives worldwide in the classroom into the online environment – dynamic, powerful, and thought-provoking as it is when taught in person. For more information, or to register, go here: https://bhaktivedantacollege.com/events/iskcon-communication-course/

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First ISKCON Vaishnava Acharyas Sampradaya Samelan (Summit)

Wed, 01/12/2022 - 11:06am

On the most auspicious occasion of the Welcome Ceremony of Srila Prabhupada’s new murti to the TOVP on October 13 and 14, 2021, the first ISKCON organized Vaishnava Acharyas Sampradaya Samelan (Summit) took place online, inspired by TOVP Director of Development His Grace Braja Vilasa das, and organized by His Grace Gauranga das.

Acharyas and other representatives from all four Vaishnava sampradayas participated in this historic event to discuss the state of Vaishnavism in the world today, and how it can impact struggling humanity at this important time of need.

It is our deepest hope that such discussions can continue and that the leaders of all Vaishnava panthas can work together to spread the philosophy and practice of devotion to Vishnu/Krishna to every soul on the Earth.

Om Tat Sat

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

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ISKCON Communications Global Conference

Wed, 01/12/2022 - 10:57am

Global Communications Conference – January 22nd Sat. 7-10 am EST

This is a phenomenal and highly requesgted conference entitled “Reconciling Different Perspectives on Srila Prabhupada’s Statements” by Radhika Ramana das (Ph.D.)

Register for this event here: https://forms.gle/7nNgDh2odgWZ52wF6

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The Persecuted Saints You’ve Never Heard Of

Sat, 01/08/2022 - 4:54pm

From Theology Unleashed

The Horrific Story of the Russian Orthodox Holy Name Controversy. In 1913, prior to the Soviet revolution, hundreds of Russian Orthodox monks were violently persecuted for their focus on chanting God’s holy names. The debate over the accusations of heresy on this topic has largely been ignored, and the horrific events which took place, are rarely spoken of.

The Name-Glorification [Imiaslavie (Russian) / Onomatodoxy (Greek)] controversy, over whether God’s Name is to be regarded as uncreated Divine Energy or merely a conventional designation, arose in Russian Orthodox monastic communities in the early 20th century. It escalated to an actual military attack upon Name-Glorifying monks on Mt. Athos by the Russian Imperial Navy in 1913. The persecution of Name-Glorifiers continues to this day in the Eastern Orthodox Church, even though the Church has yet to investigate and come to a doctrinal answer on the matter.

Metropolitan Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, chairperson of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Department of External Church Relations and a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow, states that “the Church’s final assessment of Name-worshipping remains an open question to this day.” [Note that opponents of the position regularly disparage the view by designating it as “Name-Worship” rather than what adherents call it, “Name-Glorification”.]

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Bhakti Shakti: New Book by Pranada Comtois

Sat, 01/08/2022 - 4:03pm

Ornamented with pearls of wisdom, Bhakti Shakti serves as a guiding light to claim your spiritual identity, experience the joyous state of your pure spiritual self, and progress toward deeper intimacy with the Divine.

 

About the Book

The wisdom goddesses of yoga who embody Shakti, or sacred energy, continue to gain popularity as we become familiar with the ways they help us break through negativity, trauma, and dysfunction to attain self-love, peace, and abundance.

Yet we rarely hear about Sri Radha and her unique position as the primal Shakti because she is hidden deep within the Upanishads, Tantras, and Puranas as their most confi­dential spiritual subject.

Here, for the first time, Sri Radha is revealed. The goddess of divine love not only grants emotional, mental, and physical well-being, but she bestows the spiritual awakening of divine love, our greatest necessity.

Award-winning author and Bhakti pilgrim Pranada Comtois introduces us to charming goddess Radha and through reason and references to the ancient wisdom texts we’re shown that

 

  • love is the essence of all knowledge
  • love is the impera­tive need of the timeless self
  • only pure love will satisfy us

When we learn the process of trans­forming ordinary love into divine love, our search for peace and happiness is realized, we become free, whole, peaceful, and the highest version of ourselves.

 

  • How can we love fully?
  • What is the difference between ordinary love and divine love?
  • How do we locate where we can safely place all our love and receive full reciprocation?

Bhakti Shakti helps you explore your own nature as well as your relationship with the primary Shaktis who are embodied as the goddesses Sri Radha and Durga Maa.

Understanding the Shakti triad of yourself and these spiritual and material energies removes the veil of illusion. Then you’re able to identify the mysterious at play in your life. You can see yourself, emotions, thoughts, the nature of the world, and your Source with a liberating clarity that reveals your true purpose and brings you inner peace and fulfillment.

In the noble pursuit of claiming our true identity through an expansion of consciousness, Sri Radha provides a framework for personal evolution and a methodology that will give you a first-hand experience of your true self and these esoteric, but common sense, spiritual truths.

In this practical guide, through clear instruction, authentic Bhakti Vedanta teachings, and meditation and mantra practices, you’ll discover how you can invoke goddess Radha’s divine feminine presence in your life and experience the unbounded joy of the self and your true nature free from limitations.

This will be Pranada Comtois’ second book. Her first book, Wise-Love: Bhakti and the Search for the Soul of Consciousness won many awards and is a key book used in several preaching programs around the world. It has been translated into Spanish, is currently being translated into Bulgarian, with plans to be translated into other languages as well.

 

Live Event and Giveaway January 17th

Enter for a chance to win Bhakti Shakti by clicking here

You’re Invited to the Online Bhakti Shakti Book Launch, hosted on zoom: This event will have Spanish translation available

Zoom Login:
#882 2874 6166
Passcode: 16108

EVENT DETAILS: 11:00 am EST Welcome & Introduction to Kirtan 11:05 Kirtan by Shyamala Kishori 11:30 Introduction to Bhakti Shakti 11:35 Reading from the Introduction 12:00 Q&As 12:15  Announce Winner of Bhakti Shakti Giveaway 12:20  “Divine Treasure” the official song of Bhakti Shakti From The Author

“The books I write are directed to new devotees, friends, secular family members, acquaintances, colleagues, our children, yoga enthusiasts looking toward yoga philosophy, spiritual seekers, those curious about Bhakti. Seasoned preachers have told me they have found new ways of expressing the philosophy to a Western audience.”

 

Critics Acclaim

All the wondrous forms of the Goddess in the Hindu traditions exhibit different expressions and flavors  of feminine power, but it is Radha who is the ultimate personification of the most powerful force of all – love. It is with sweetness and love alone that Radha captures and controls Krishna, Lord of the Universe,  as well as the hearts of the devotees.  

Pranada combines her personal life-long insights into the nature of devotion with her natural gifts at writing to offer us a wonderful window into the highest possible expression of love of God attainable by the human soul.  

Radha’s pure loving sweetness offers an opportunity to revision social paradigms and behaviors  away from aggression-projecting models of patriarchal thinking, which deaden the spirit and disrupt our  social consciousness, and reveal a vision of transcendent love that lies at the very heart of what all  embodied beings seek.  

~Edwin Bryant  Professor of Hindu Religion and Philosophy, Rutgers, the States University of New Jersey

 

Sri Radha is the pinnacle of spirituality, the feminine moiety of the Absolute Godhead, worshiped only  by those who have climbed to the very top of the yoga ladder. Pranada Comtois allows her readers  entrance into an otherwise esoteric realm of their everyday journey. “Worshiping Radha and what she  represents,” writes Pranada, “is the antidote to chauvinism, misogyny, sexism, racism, and the equally  discriminatory reactions to those attitudes by the disadvantaged and disenfranchised, which only serve to  feed the problem.” Thus, in Bhakti Shakti we become privy to Radha in all her completeness, leading to  our betterment both materially and spiritually. This is not a book to be missed. 

~Steven J. Rosen (Satyaraja Dasa)

Both philosophical and practical, Bhakti Shakti is a sophisticated revelation of the mysteries and  historical primacy of the Goddess in the devotional yoga tradition that illuminates the role of feminist  spirituality in a modern contemplative practice and allows us to experience a substantive relationship with the feminine personification of divine love. Bhakti Shakti is a welcome addition that fills a  conspicuous gap in the popular canon of yoga philosophy. 

~Hari-kirtana das, 

Author of In Search of the Highest Truth: Adventures in Yoga Philosophy

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World Gita Day Wrap Up

Sat, 01/08/2022 - 3:17pm

Devotees worldwide came together to celebrate World Gita Day on the 18th and 19th of December. This entire program was hosted on zoom and telecasted on Facebook and YouTube by The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. For the year 2021, the global estimated goal for Bhagavad Gita distribution was 2.2 million.

On day one, they covered Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Thailand, Japan, and India.

Different devotees represented their countries.

Rukmini Devi Dasi,on behalf of the BBT Marketing, Communications & Innovations, began the program as the host, gradually switching with other representatives. On day two, North America, Latin America, Africa, Russia, and Europe celebrated World Gita Day.

Devotees showcased their devotion for the Bhagavad Gita As It Is through their amazing paintings, songs, dance, skits, reflections on the verses, and sankirtan stories.

Devamadhava Das said, “The world needs one scripture and that scripture is Bhagavad Gita.” The program continued as Vaisesika Dasa enlightened the audience with his speech. His enchanting words as it goes, “On this we are celebrating the fact that there is information in a straightforward and understandable format. We find whoever reads the Gita, loves the Gita. The only problem is that not everyone comes in contact with it. So World Gita Day is the day to unite people all over the world to love the Gita. We are inviting people from everywhere, every organization who appreciate the Bhagavad Gita.”, left the audience surcharged with more enthusiasm to carry on book distribution as the days come closer to the end of the marathon.

Different devotees shared their realizations, Devamrita Swami spoke from Australia. “The book allows you to see yourself in clear light and then you can proceed to act with the greatest intelligence.” Bhakta Das from Melbourne took the audience over to an art exhibition based on the Bhagavad Gita. 

The next country on the board was Japan. Radhika Raman Das from Tokyo said, “When I am in some kind of difficulty, I always come back to the Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad Gita is really the complete science of devotional service. 

Sumadhuri Lia Devi Dasi from Thailand began saying,”Although it is a Bhudhhist country, but there is so much of Vedic roots to it. The roads there are named after Lord Rama, Lord Vishnu.”

As they moved to India, various esteemed devotees like Bhakti Raghav Swami, Jayapataka Swami, Gopal Krishna Goswami shared their realizations.  Bhakti Raghav Swami mentioned how Bhagavad Gita is the main book which has brought and continues to bring so many people to Krishna consciousness. Basu Ghosh Das said, “See our aim is to distribute Gita but we have to read the Gita and learn the message of the Gita.”

Jayapataka Swami said, “Actually Lord Chaitanya, He gave three instructions, bolo Krishna, bhojo Krishna, koro Krishna siksha. Prabhupada explained this Bhagavad Gita is Krishna siksha. I told Srila Prabhupada, is this not the beginning book? He said you must study Bhagavad Gita to preach.” Lokanath Swami said,  “Gita is Krishna. Bhagavad Gita is not different from the Lord.” 

Edward from New Zealand said, “Bhagavad Gita kind of reinforced the whole sort of materialism, how we are quite driven by materialism and how don’t need to be.”

Day two began with Russia where the Ranga sisters went on to explain how the Bhagavad Gita is not only for India but for the whole world, the message is universal. 

Srivasa Das from Africa said how Lord Krishna spoke this Bhagavad Gita to his friend Arjuna, but it is meant for the upliftment of humanity. 

Divya Nama Dasa from Europe narrated a beautiful story, “Sutapa Prabhu (sankirtan devotee), was once hearing a lecture of Tamal Krishna Goswami and Maharaj was repeatedly emphasizing how one should wish one pointed attention serve the instructions of the spiritual master. Later when he went out for book distribution, a gentleman came up to him and said that he had read the whole Bhagavad Gita. When Sutapa Prabhu asked him what his favorite verse was, he said,”Eke ha kuru nandanah”. Thereby they realized how they should surrender their lives for spreading the knowledge of Bhagavad Gita with one pointed attention.

Prema Rupa Madhav Das mentioned how one hundred devotees joined the Gita live program in Spanish. This was the greatest achievement for the first time and therefore incredible!

Judy from China mentioned how she has been searching for absolute truth and studying various Bhudhhist scriptures. But this book (Bhagavad Gita) really has the answer to everything. 

Ananda Murti Das from North America said how the Bhagavad Gita opened up the personal realization of the Absolute Truth. 

After the two days of programs, the event ended with a short inspiring speech from Vaisesika Dasa, under whose able guidance and support the World Gita Day is flourishing. He said, “Books are such an invention. They hold idea seeds. As they sprout out they create new ideologies. We need a spiritual ideology. People become confused what spiritual life is.

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Wealth or Poverty?

Sat, 01/08/2022 - 2:57pm

When we think of wealth and poverty so much seems to hinge on whether we live in a mentality of scarcity; or a consciousness of abundance, that there is enough in the world for everyone.

Gandhi once said that the world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed. It seems so true… But why is that? Why does that seem to resonate as true?

Is there some kind of Super Consciousness out there that is (or perhaps, Who is…) keeping track? Or calculating whether I’m consuming too much energy, taking up too much space, hoarding possessions or property, or perhaps even eating too much ice cream?

Does it really matter? If I come by what I have honestly, if I’m not stealing the possessions I’ve acquired, if I’m not harming anyone by enjoying the things I have, does it really matter if I live in a bigger house than someone else, or drive a more expensive car, or take lavish holidays, or eat what I please?

There’s another saying that’s often attributed to Gandhi, but was actually spoken by an American woman saint named St. Elizabeth Seton. She said that we should live simply, so that others may simply live.

There seems to be a resonance between those who try to face inward both from the East and the West.

Those who try to live a more conscious life, feel an interconnectivity, and connection between our individual lives and the lives of others in the world.

Is it possible to create more universal harmony by our conscious proactive efforts to take less, and give more? Can we even gain some innate satisfaction by just trying to live more simply in gratitude, and endeavoring to live with less greed and accumulation?

We read so much about the earth’s ecological imbalance due to too much drilling of oil, irresponsible water use and over-production by various industries. We’ve seen during this Covid pandemic that when factories shut down for some time, the air quality in polluted cities became clear for awhile, and previously unseen wildlife and plant life began to roam freely and grow lavishly once again just by a slight reduction of our human footprint.

If we again turn east and look toward the ancient wisdom of the Upanisads, we can hear a voice that sounds amazingly prescient to us in our lives right now. Sri Isopanisad speaks this holistic harmonious wisdom in its Mantra One:

“Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for oneself, which are set aside as one’s quota, and one should not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong.”

Who is the real owner and controller of all things? If I come here empty-handed and leave empty-handed, is there someone or something greater than me who possessed all things before I arrived on the scene and for all eternity?

During the height of the pandemic, I read a story written by a Portuguese woman who had tragically lost her father to Covid. She wrote about how her father had been a billionaire and had immense wealth in the bank. But as he was dying, and gasping for air, which is free to everyone everywhere. His billions in the bank could not save him… Can any of us purchase a few more moments of life, or a few more breaths of oxygen with the money we have in the bank?

Sri Isopanisad asks us to redirect our consciousness and our energy toward a life of simplicity and gratitude.

In fact, if I take more than I need, without recognizing the true owner of a thing, is it really mine to use or misuse as I please? Who is the true owner of the earth, the water, and all things of this world before I arrived here, and after I’m gone?

Rukmini Walker is creating devotional wisdom & spiritual empowerment on Patreon

To read more musings by Rukmini Walker visit Urban Devi

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Omicron Variant of Corona Virus Hits ISKCON Temples

Sat, 01/08/2022 - 2:37pm

Temples around the world have recently been hit hard by the new wave of the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus – as has the rest of the world. Many devotees have been infected, including many ISKCON gurus such as Indradyumna Swami, Hanumat Presaka Swami, as well as Hrdaya Caitanya, a member of the GBC and co-director of ISKCON Mayapur. In many temples, almost all devotees are quarantined and standards of deity worship have been lowered. In Villa Vrindavana in Italy, a single pujari has to handle all the seva at present. In the midst of this new wave, ISKCON Dwarka in Delhi and ISKCON Juhu Mumbai, for example, are distributing and delivering free meals to covid sufferers. 

Worldwide, the numbers of infections with the Omicron variant are currently rising dramatically – 60 percent more are currently reported on a weekly basis. 

Particularly hard hit are India – up 520 percent, Australia – up 225 percent, Brazil – up 187 percent, Mexico – up 229 percent but also the Philippines – up 1024 percent. But in the United States, contagions are also on the rise – up 64 percent from the previous week.

In Europe, the contagions are increasing and many ISKCON temples are affected.

Bhaktivedanta Manor, the largest ISKCON temple in the United Kingdom is currently functioning as usual, Radhamohan of the UK communications team writes to us. There are contagions in the community around the Manor. According to the latest government guidelines, wearing face masks is now mandatory in all indoor spaces, this applies in all indoor spaces on the Bhaktivedanta Manor premises.

“Most devotees in Villa Vrindavana are positive, but fortunately the symptoms are light. This omicron is very contagious. The problem is that we have to stay in quarantine and only two devotees can take care of the deities. All standards have been drastically lowered.” Parabhakti Das, the temple president of Villa Vrindavana in Tuscany, Italy, tells us. So far, there have never been any problems at Villa Vrindavana, partly because of the high prevention standards followed there. Due to the recent infections, the temple will be closed for at least 10 days, also because devotees living outside cannot come to offer their services.

At Bhaktivedanta College, in Durbuy in the rural Ardennes region of Belgium, devotees write us that the new Omikron wave will lead to an increase in infections in the area. The college itself offers its studies and courses mostly online, so the service has not yet been restricted.

 

USA:

At the Baltimore Temple, a dozen devotees have fallen ill in the past two weeks. Three of them had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance – but all are now feeling better.

In Chicago, many pujaris tested positive and the temple had to temporarily reduce some Deity worship standards because there were not enough healthy pujaris available.

The Towaco Temple in New Jersey was closed on December 24 and all holiday and New Year’s programs were canceled. Until further notice, the temple remains closed.

 

Africa:

In Lusaka, Zambia, the Sunday Love Festival program has not been held for almost two years. Devotees restarted the program in November and December 2021, but have had to discontinue it again due to the recent spread of Omicron.

Since the recent appearance of Covid in Botswana in December 2021, community programs at the temple in the capital city of Gaborone, such as the Sunday program, have been suspended again. However, online Sunday programs will continue.

 

India:

In Mumbai, as in Delhi, covid cases are increasing exponentially. ISKCON Juhu is taking security precautions in the temple hall, deity department, and ashram. Currently, no devotees have been infected. In Mayapur, the number of devotees suffering from covid increased to 38. 

ISKCON Chowpatty has restricted darshan times and is taking necessary security measures.

ISKCON Mira Road as well as ISKCON Kharghar are also taking the necessary security measures.

In general, the Deity Ministry has advised all temples, if necessary, to lower their standards for the necessary time if there is a shortage of healthy pujaris.

For all ISKCON temples, many connections with devotees in the communities have been lost during the pandemic, which has now lasted almost two years. Much of the community relies on in-person programs and gatherings, kirtan, and taking prasadam together. “The online platform has not really caught on in our community,” one of the notes to ISKCON news said. For everyone in ISKCON, a particular challenge is maintaining services in the temples, keeping in touch with community members, and looking out for everyone’s health. 

 

Distributing Food for Covid Sufferers

In the midst of the pandemic, ISKCON Dwarka in Dehli, India, has once again launched a sacred initiative to deliver meals to Covid patients. Likewise, this service is being offered by ISKCON Juhu Mumbai. These initiatives are charity in action and a ray of hope for many in these dark times.

We want to continue to report on what impact the Corona pandemic is having on our temples and projects around the world. Keep us updated. 

These three questions, in particular, are important for all devotees: 

  1. current status regarding the overall well-being of temple residents and communities.
  2. current status of deity worship, i.e. whether a reduced standard has been adopted
  3. any significant changes in the last 10 days?

In Kansas City, several devotees were recently sick with covid and the temple was closed for some time.

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Prayers for Kazakhstan

Sat, 01/08/2022 - 2:11pm

As many are aware, Kazakhstan is currently in turmoil and regional army troops have been sent to quell the social unrest in the region.

Russian devotees that we spoke to relayed to us that they have not heard from the Kazakstan devotees in approximately two days because cellular service and internet are currently turned off there. They are concerned for their safety, but it has been explained to us that Sri Vrindavan Dham Farm, although located in Almaty, is in a rural region far enough away from the city’s violence.

“We haven’t heard from them in two days. Two days ago there were some Facebook and Instagram stories being shared and devotees were saying there were safe.”

A senior devotee* of Kazakhstan wrote on their Facebook page earlier today:

“Two hospitals were occupied, and all the restaurateurs of Almaty decided to feed all patients, doctors, nurses. There are those who just went out to the streets and start to clean them up because there is so much debris. Yesterday I met a neighbor and saw her eyes. We’ve seen each other a million times, but here she said, “Good morning!” She was so happy to see that I was alive, and then she said: “Did you go to the store?” “And it was such a freshness in the relationship, just can’t put it into words.

It is said that if you want to know a person, cover them, and their contents will be isolated from them. And life – it’s overwhelming. If you press on lemon, lemon juice is good. And we are being pressed now and what is the result of us? This is certainly an amazing experience. Nothing has passed yet, I wanted to go outside this morning, and there were a gunshot near me, very close gunshots

Thank you so much, I know you all are praying, thank you for your prayers. I wish we would not have to wait for such horrible events. Please give warmth to your loved ones, call those you haven’t talked to in a long time. Please go and just see your neighbors, because these simple human interactions make our present life and future depend on what we do in present.”

We here at ISKCON News are asking devotees from all over the world to pray for the safety of the devotees, Sri Vrindavan Dham Farm,  and all the people of Kazakhstan. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of Kazakhstan.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krisha Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

 

 

*= due to the political nature of the region, all quotes are posted anonymously for the health, safety, and protection of the devotees of this region. 

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First Western Women Disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta

Sat, 01/08/2022 - 12:30pm

Western Vaishnavas are nothing new whatsoever. Here you can see the first female disciples of HDG Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura.

Vishnuprya Dasi on the left and Vinodvani Dasi, whose name was Daisy Cecilia Bowtel, continued in bhajan her whole life.

 

Vinod Vani Devi Dasi and Vishnu-Priya Devi Dasi from London,UK


Miss Daisy Cocilia Bowtwel, a young lady of a rich honourable family, was attracted among many others to the philosophy of Gaudiyas and surrendered from heart and soul to the Lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada. She was initiated through Sripad Tirtha Maharaj in the Month of February, 1937. She was graced by the name Vinod Vani Dasi.

There are stacks of her hand written correspondence with Bhakti Pradipa Tirtha going back to 1930s. She had lots of books too, and the Srimad Bhagavatam she read in English from the edition of JM Sanyal, a 1906 six volume English Chaitanya Charitamrta and Bhakti Pradipa’s own translation of the Gita, which he said he was inspired to right while sitting on the banks of the Thames. She had a nice long garden where she would chant japa and meditate on Vrindavan, as advised, and used give Hari nama to some local Bengali immigrants.

Vinod Vani Dasi donated her residential house for the worship of Sri Gaur Radha Govinda Jiu and Sri Basudev Vigraha and simultaneously to Gaudiya Mission Society, U.K. She breathed her last in the year 1981, keeping back all her money and properties in the name of Gaudiya Mission. Her heart’s wishes were fulfilled, Sri Vasudev Gaudiya Math was established at her house at 27- Crunhurst Road, London N.W.2. Sri Kamalaksha Das Bramhachari was the Saint who, by the order of the authority of the mission, reached London in the year 1982 and took the charge of the math.

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