Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

World Of Politics

It is true, political problems are not solved by love and mercy. But the world of politics is not the only world, and unless political decisions rest on a foundation of something better and higher than politics, they can never do any real good. When a country has to be rebuilt after war, the passions and energies of war are no longer enough. There must be a new force, the power of love, the power of understanding and human compassion, the strength of selflessness and cooperation, as the creative dynamism of the will to live and to build, and the will to forgive, the will for reconciliation.
-Thomas Merton

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Some Nice Poems

"Know yourself-and is this the prime
And heaven-sprung adage of the olden time?-
Say, canst thou make thyself?-Learn first that trade;-
Haply thou mayst know what thyself had made.
What hast thou, Man, that thou dar'st call thine own?-
What is there in thee, Man that can be known?-
Dark fluxion, all unfixable by thought,
A phantom dim of past and future wrought,
Vain sister of the worm,-life, death, soul, clod-
Ignore thyself, and strive to know thy God!
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word.
I have declared my ways, and You answered me; teach me Your statutes.
Make me understand the way of Your precepts; so shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.
My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to Your word.
Remove from me the way of lying, and grant me Your law graciously.
I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgements I have laid before me.
I cling to your testimonies; O Lord, do not put me to shame!
I will run the course of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart."
-Psalm 119 Daleth

"Look at this figure of a man on horseback,
his turban with gold thread,
striking a gallant pose, asking, "Where is death? Show me!"
He seems powerful, but he's a fake.
Death attacks from six sides. Hello, jackass. Where's your magnetism now, the famous temperament?
The jokes you told, the carpets you gave relatives?
It's not enough to spend your life turning bread into dung.
We are pawing through manure to find pearls.
There are people with the light of God on them.
Serve those.
Don't trivialize any suffering. I say this to myself.
I am that mounted man, his illusion. How long shall I keep pointing to others?
Shams of Tabriz is a fountain. We wash in the water of his eyes."

"The dust from the lotus feet of pure devotees gives rise to devotional service, and service to the devotees is itself the supreme perfection and the root of the tender creeper of divine love.

With great care I observe holy days like Ekadasi and Janmastami, for they are the mother of devotion. And with the greatest reverence and love i choose as my dwelling place the transcendental abode of Sri Krishna.

In the company of loving devotees I will visit all those places where my Lord Gaurasundara traveled and performed His pastimes.

My mind always begs to hear the music of the mridanga, and my heart dances in ecstasy whenever i hear the kind of kirtana established by Lord Gaudacandra.

I feel supreme bliss when i behold the Deity forms of the divine couple, Sri Sri Radha and Krishna, and I conquer all worldly illusions by honoring the Lord's prasadam.

Everyday Goloka Vrndavana appears in my home when I see Lord Hari being worshiped there. My joy knows no bounds when I see the Ganges, a river of nectar emanating from the Lord's feet.

THe sight of the tulasi plant soothes my soul, for I know she gives pleasure to Lord Krishna. I feel that my life has been fulfilled when I honor saka, a green leafy vegetable preparation that is a favorite of Lord Caitanya's.

Whatever Bhaktivinoda obtains that furthers devotional service to Sri Krishna he accepts every day with greatest joy."
-Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Facts I Found

Livestock production is a major cause of desertification (where the land dries out and loses its precious topsoil so vegetation is unable to grow on it anymore) as well as deforestation (loss of trees).

Two hundred years ago American cropland had topsoil that averaged 21 inches in depth. Today, only about 6 inches remain. Every year in the U.S. an area the size of Connecticut is lost to topsoil erosion- 85% of erosion is associated with livestock production.

Spinach grown on an acre of land can yield 26 times more protein than beef produced on the same acre.

Number of pure vegetarians who can be fed on the amount of land needed to feed one person consuming a meat-based diet: 20

Some beef comes from cattle raised on land that was formerly rainforest. This land is not good for grazing and it lasts only for a few years, after which more rainforest must be destroyed to raise the cattle on.

For each quarter-pound fast food hamburger sold that came from cattle raised on former rainforest land, 55 square feet of rainforest was destroyed.

A lot more water is required in animal agriculture than in plant agriculture. It takes only about 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat and around 390 gallons to produce just one pound of beef. In fact, It takes less water to produce the food that a pure vegetarian needs for one year than to produce the food that a meat eater needs for a month.

Animal production requires a lot of fossil fuels. Fuels are needed to transport animal feed, to heat their housing, and to take the animals to slaughter, meat packing plants, and grocery stores. The burning of these fuels, as well as methane produced by the animals, is one cause of global warming.

Pesticides, herbicides, and fertlizers used in the production of animals' feed pollute land and water.

Many plants and animals become extinct due to the destruction of land.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Purport To Caitanya-caritamrta 1.1.46

This is a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.17.27) spoken by Lord Krishna when He was questioned by Uddhava regarding the four social and spiritual orders of society. The Lord was specifically instructing how a brahmacari should behave under the care of a spiritual master. A spiritual master is not an enjoyer of facilities offered by his disciples. He is like a parent. Without the attentive service of his parents, a child cannot grow to manhood; similarly, without the care of the spiritual master one cannot rise to the plane of transcendental service.
The spiritual master is also called acarya, or a transcendental professor of spiritual science. The Manu-samhita (2.140) explains the duties of an acarya, describing that a bona fide spiritual master accepts charge of disciples, teaches them the Vedic knowledge with all its intricacies, and gives them their second birth. The ceremony performed to initiate a disciple into the study of spiritual science is called upaniti, or the function that brings one nearer to the spiritual master. One who cannot be brought nearer to a spiritual master cannot have a sacred thread, and thus he is indicated to be a sudra. The sacred thread on the body of a brahmana, kshatriya or vaisya is a symbol of initiation by the spiritual master; it is worth nothing if worn merely to boast of high parentage. The duty of the spiritual master is to initiate a disciple with the sacred thread ceremony, and after this samskara, or purificatory process, the spiritual master actually begins to teach the disciple about the Vedas. A person born a sudra is not barred from such spiritual initiation, provided he is approved by the spiritual master, who is duly authorized to award a disciple the right to be a brahmana if he finds him perfectly qualified. In the Vayu Purana an acarya is defined as one who knows the import of all Vedic literature, explains the purpose of the Vedas, abides by their rules and regulations, and teaches his disciples to act in the same way.
Only out of His immense compassion does the Personality of Godhead reveal Himself as the spiritual master. Therefore in the dealings of an acarya there are no activities but those of transcendental loving service to the Lord. He is the Supreme Personality of Servitor Godhead. It is worthwhile to take shelter of such a steady devotee, who is called asraya-vigraha, or the manifestation or form of the Lord of whom one must take shelter.
If one poses himself as an acarya but does not have an attitude of servitorship to the Lord, he must be considered an offender, and this offensive attitude disqualifies him from being an acarya. The bona fide spiritual master always engages in unalloyed devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By this test he is known to be a direct manifestation of the Lord and a genuine representative of Sri Nityananda Prabhu. Such a spiritual master is known as acaryadeva. Influenced by an envious temperament and dissatisfied because of an attitude of sense gratification, mundaners criticize a real acarya. In fact, however, a bona fide acarya is nondifferent from the Personality of Godhead, and therefore to envy such an acarya is to envy the Personality of Godhead Himself. This will produce an effect subversive of transcendental realization.
As mentioned previously, a disciple should always respect the spiritual master as a manifestation of Sri Krishna, but at the same time one should always remember that a spiritual master is never authorized to imitate the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. False spiritual masters pose themselves as identical with Sri Krishna in every respect to exploit the sentiments of their disciples, but such impersonalists can only mislead their disciples, for their ultimate aim is to become one with the Lord. This is against the principles of the devotional cult.
The real Vedic philosophy is acintya-bhedabheda-tattva, which establishes everything to be simultaneously one with and different from the Personality of Godhead. Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami confirms that this is the real position of a bona fide spiritual master and says that one should always think of the spiritual master in terms of his intimate relationship with Mukunda (Sri Krishna). Srila Jiva Gosvami, in his Bhakti-sandarbha (213), has clearly explained that a pure devotee's observation of the spiritual master and Lord Siva as being one with the Personality of Godhead exists in terms of their being very dear to the Lord, not identical with Him in all respects. Following in the footsteps of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and Srila Jiva Gosvami, later acaryas like Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura have confirmed the same truths. In his prayers to the spiritual master, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura confirms that all the revealed scriptures accept the spiritual master to be identical with the Personality of Godhead because he is a very dear and confidential servant of the Lord. Gaudiya Vaishnavas therefore worship Srila Gurudeva (the spiritual master) in the light of his being the servitor of the Personality of Godhead. In all the ancient literatures of devotional service and in the more recent songs of Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and other unalloyed Vaishnavas, the spiritual master is always considered either one of the confidential associates of Srimati Radharani or a manifested representation of Srila Nityananda Prabhu.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


"Intelligence refers to the power to analyze things in their proper perspective...." -Bhagavad-gita 10.4 purport.

"When your intelligence has passed out of the dense forest of delusion, you shall become indifferent to all that has been heard and all that will be heard." -Bhagavad-gita 2.52

"Mind is the center of all the activities of the senses, and thus when we hear about sense objects the mind generally becomes a reservoir of all ideas of sense gratification; and, as a result the mind and the senses become the repositories of lust. Next, the intelligence department becomes the capitol of such lustful propensities. Intelligence is the immediate next-door neighbor of the spirit soul. Lusty intelligence influences the spirit soul to acquire the false ego and identify itself with matter, and thus with the mind and senses. The spirit soul becomes addicted to enjoying the material senses and mistakes this as true happiness." -Bhagavad-gita 3.40 purport.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Message From Maynard James Keenan That I Thought Was Beautiful

"Roughly 9 years ago, on a day off from endless touring, I found myself in Memphis, TN. Instead of the normal routine of bad room service, pay-per-trash, cookie cutter mall visit, dinner, and "gentleman's club," I opted to visit an historic site. The Civil Rights Museum & Martin Luther King Jr Memorial. Rather than cab it, I chose to walk the several dozen blocks across town in an attempt to tune myself to this place. This Museum is not in the center of town and not a place you would just happen upon. It's a place you would need to seek out. As you approach the building, it appears that it's simply a converted motel. Basically because it is. And for good reason. You pay your donation and begin to wind through a seemingly endless maze of photos, documents, text, video/audio. I took my time. I read as much as I could. It didn't take long for the dark reality of this period to set in. Atrocity after atrocity. This wasn't that long ago. We did these things to each other. These awful awful things. It was like watching a movie. I kept thinking, "surely something good must happen soon to offset all these horrible things and events and surreal moments." I spent hours in there looking for it. At times I caught myself walking faster from display to display looking for an emotional break or some levity and found none. 2 full floors. And just when I thought it was over, and I could see the exit sign ahead, my body froze. I realized why it was a motel. I realized where in fact I was. I was standing in front of a display window that looked into the room where Dr Martin Luther Kings Jr drew his final breath before stepping out of his room. He was assassinated in this very spot. I could feel my heart snap. And although it rarely if ever happens, I wept like a baby. We did this. People like you and I who come into the world in the same manner, walk on the same soil, breathe the same air. We did this. Will we always be capable of such monstrous acts against our brothers and sisters? Where is the light? Will we ever see it? Today, Nov 4th, 2008 I think I may have seen evidence of this light. Never mind the candidates. They're politicians. Not the point. That we were able to grow enough as human beings to elect Senator Barack Obama as our President and International Representative showed me hope. It began to untie the knot that I've carried with me since that visit to Memphis. This time tears of joy. Granted, we aren't out of the woods yet. But I see light. And today is truly a wonderful day." -MJK