Being a Homemaker: Honor or Disgrace? by Devaki Devi Dasi

I arrived in Kolkata on the 17th of November to offer a two-day seminar for the ladies over the weekend. The local devotees had chosen the topic “Being a Homemaker: Honor or Disgrace?” – a highly relevant subject for the young generation of ladies in modern India.

We had dedicated the entire Saturday and Sunday for this seminar – with a morning and afternoon session, and the temple provided the lunch prasadam for all participants. More than one hundred ladies eagerly participated, and we conducted the event in a spacious flat near the temple. I had compiled course materials, which were also translated into Bengali and Hindi. In this way we could welcome a maximum of participants, offering simultaneous translation into Hindi and Bengali.

I have certainly noticed, that the young generation of ladies in India are very eager for a professional career, thinking it to be great progress for a woman to enter the work force and earn money. Even amongst practicing devotees I have observed a strong trend towards economic development and material progress being the main and foremost goal in life. In a country like India, where spiritual traditions had been strictly maintained until recent days, it indeed seems so appealing and progressive for young ladies to abandon these seemingly old-fashioned customs of ladies being mainly engaged in the home taking care of the husband and children. Thus the ladies in India are now dreaming of becoming independent career women, and it appears all so attractive and glittering! read more

Good News: ISKCON told to include eggs in menu

Some good news:

Amaravati: Taking serious note of non-implementation of prescribed menu of mid-day meal scheme in several schools, the government has decided to make it a mandatory on providing three eggs per week for each student studying in government-run schools  across the state as part of providing nutritious food for the children.

Considering the report of National Institute of Nutrition(NIN) the government has directed the DEOs to strictly implement the prescribed menu in the mid-day meal and has also decided not to exempt  any agency or institution like Akshaya Patra foundation, ISKCON etc on  providing eggs to the students in the guise of religious traditions. read more

Sanaka Rsi Dasa misleading, has done nothing positive for gurukulas

(Response to Sanaka Rsi Prabhu’s article on Sampradaya Sun http://harekrsna.com/sun/editorials/06-17/editorials14984.htm on June 4, 2017)

Sanaka Rsi Prabhu’s cause is noble. But the methods and means he is using in his discussions with Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja are not at all appropriate and cultured.

He somehow seems to think that by defaming and accusing anyone who takes a different stance on this subject, he could achieve his goals (protection of children in gurukula). But this approach won’t help him. read more

USE OF FEAR FOR INSTILLING DISCIPLINE

In an article recently posted on a website, by Sanaka Rsi Das, Bhakti Vikas Maharaj Comments on the ‘Cost of Silence’ the following paragraph appears:

My understanding is that raising children with fear is not conducive to developing healthy Krsna conscious devotees. On the contrary, we aspire for fearlessness in the shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord. Srila Prabhupada has gone to great lengths to explains that Krsna Consciousness IS NOT an artificial imposition. How exactly do you see fear as a desirable element in education? Your opinion that it is advisable to use corporal punishment in the education of children is opposed to the essence of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions on education.

There have been more exchanges after the article above was posted on the subject of corporal punishment.It is true that Krsna consciousness is not an artificial imposition but we find that to awaken Krsna consciousness in the beginning stages there is an element of fear needed.  Why is fear needed initially? This is because we are driven by the modes and are on a sensual level and not an intellectual level.  Even if we understand the philosophy we are still impelled to sin. Arjuna asked Krsna why the conditioned soul is driven to sin and Krsna replied that it was due to the sense gratificatory propensity (BG 3.36-7). So fear helps to keep us in Krsna consciousness and away from sense gratification. We keep reminding each other that we have to attain love of god or remain in the cycle of birth and death and so out of fear of remaining in the material world we are motivated to perform sadhana with renewed vigor. read more

The Chinese self-designation Hua and the root-word Ᾱrya

The essence of the article is that the word that the Chinese use to call themselves is derived from the Sanskrit word “Aryan.” The article explains how this conclusion is arrived at. Excerpt: ‘It is but rare that I take the trouble to write a mere summary of a paper I have read with increasing enthusiasm. Here is one occasion. It pertains to “The earliest Chinese words for ‘the Chinese’: the phonology, meaning and origin of the epithet Ḥarya — Ᾱrya in East Asia” by Christopher Beckwith, published in Journal Asiatique 304:2 (2016), p.231-248. Some comments and background data are mine, but for the factual frame, the entire credit goes to Beckwith.

I had never suspected that the Chinese word for “Chinese” has a foreign origin. But yes, it does. In fact, the same foreign word has been borrowed twice and yielded two different Chinese words, one of which is widely used as the ethnonym for “Chinese”.’

“At any rate, the same word, or etymologically a homophonous loanword which came to be written with the same character, came to serve as the name of “us, Chinese”. According to Beckwith, in this meaning the term does not predate the Warring States period, the final part of the Zhou age (-5th to -3rd). At that time, knowledge was extant about distantly neighbouring countries, including Daxia 大夏, meaning “Greater Bactria” or “the Bactrian Empire”, i.e. Central Asia, then firmly held by the Iranian-speaking Scythians. These were a predominant influence from Croatia to Mongolia, where they imparted their lucrative knowledge of metallurgy and horse-training (Scythian legends pertaining to these skills were interiorized even by the Japanese). Their ancestral heartland was Bactria, i.e. present-day northern Afghanistan and southeastern Uzbekistan around the Amu Darya river (Greek: Oxus), an oasis friendly to agriculture and habitation amidst a harsh and inhospitable region.

The later Chinese tended to identify themselves with their ruling class. The Qin 秦dynasty (-3rd) yielded the international name China, Sanskrit Cīnā; the Han 漢 dynasty (-3rd to +3rd) lent its name to the usual self-designation of the ethnic Chinese as distinct from the minorities within China as “the Han”. It might be that a Chinese elite for some reason had identified itself with the expanding Scythians.”

‘The origin of the words Xia 夏 and Hua 華 is the collective self-designation of the inhabitants of Bactria, a country of which the Greeks rendered the Iranian name as Ariana. This is still the name of Afghanistan’s air company. The Iranians called themselves Aiirya, corresponding to the form Ᾱrya in Sanskrit, Arus in Anatolian (Hittite). In each of these languages, it originally meant “us”, “one of us” (as against “them”), “fellow countryman”. Surrounding or subject nations, and finally the Iranians themselves, used the word as an ethnonym for the Iranians. Indeed, Iran comes from Aiiryānām Khšathra, “kingdom of the Iranians”. Whole article at  INDIAFACTS.ORG

Mundane welfare work in ISKCON

The following article was published on the Dandavats website on 26th July 2012 (5,533 views). The article appears below in a revised and expanded form with the help of some devotees. Also included now is an Appendix section which contains more quotes of our founder-acarya, Srila Prabhupada giving his instructions on the subject of Mundane Welfare Work.

Mission Drift

Next year marks the fiftieth anniversary of ISKCON. Among other activities planned to mark the occasion, one very important feature of observing the anniversary should be to reflect on the direction and position of ISKCON fifty years after its inception and thirty eight years after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance from mundane vision. Are we properly serving the founder-acarya of ISKCON? If not, then we risk losing the connection to the parampara and its blessings. For those who have a clear vision of the aim of ISKCON from Srila Prabhupada’s books (which he declared as the law books guide for the next 10,000 years), the increased emphasis on Mundane welfare work in ISKCON is alarming. read more

The Concept Of The Atom

The concept that material objects such as cars and chairs are composed of many small units called atoms is not new, in fact the ancient Indian philosophers Gautama and Kanada taught this.

It is significant that this concept of the atom was present in India thousands of years before it appeared in the West — its first appearance in the West is generally attributed to Democritus of ancient Greece. Unfortunately modern historians, who do not generally give credit to ancient India for any significant achievements, now teach that Democritus was the first to put forward the idea of the atom. It is, however, important to realize just how poorly substantiated the modern historians’ picture of ancient history really is.

Modern historians tend to give the impression that they know quite well what went on in ancient times, but the actual fact is that most ancient records have been lost so their picture of ancient history is based on fragmentary evidence and guesswork. One of the main reasons for this lack of information is the frequent warfare which occurred between the ancient nations. read more

The Kirtan standards book (PDF)

My opinion is that it is not necessary for us to utilize these different musical talents for spreading Krsna Consciousness. I would rather see people follow strictly the path of Lord Caitanya and His Saikirtana devotees. We are using mrdanga, karatala, that is enough. We are not musicians. We are Krsna bhaktas. Therefore we do not stress so much importance on these different musical talents. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is God Himself. Had He thought it would have been better to spread Krsna Consciousness by another way He would have done so. But no, simply with mrdanga and karatala, traveling and chanting Hare Krsna, asking everyone to chant Hare Krsna, preaching simply Srimad-Bhagavatam philosophy, this is the process. There is no need for us to try and add anything to this simple method. It will only be a distraction.

(letter to Jagadisa Pandit, 28 December 74)


The Kirtan standards book PDF (download)

Historical Overview Of The Development Of Modern Science

The worldview of modern science is based on the belief that living beings are simple arrangements of matter.

Thus modern educators and scientists do not accept the fact that living beings are non-physical spiritual sparks (atmas residing within physical bodies) and therefore they believe that we are the physical bodies we live in, that all of our feelings and perceptions can be explained as electro-chemical reactions within our bodies, and when these bodies stop functioning, the living being is finished.

Furthermore, they believe that matter organized itself into simple living organisms which later evolved into all the life forms of earth today — hence they do not believe that the physical bodies were designed by God, essentially they do not believe that God exists at all. Hence in their worldview everything is matter, there is no atma, and there is no ultimate purpose to life. read more