FALL DOWN – Where have we fallen from?

This essay was originally an answer of Suhotra Swami to a question about the “fairness” of our fall down to the material world.

First of all we strongly suggest those who have a specific interest in the falldown of the spirit soul from the spiritual world to acquire the book entitled “Our Original Position”, which is available from the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. It is a very elaborate treatment with much quotation from sastra. read more

On moving Vedic science forward

It’s nice to see legacy of HG Sadaputa Prabhu being revived, with his books appearing back in print and new articles based on his works being published on vaishnava sites. I would argue, however, that a change of direction is direly needed. There could also be a strong argument to stick with the formula endorsed by Srila Prabhupada, too, so my arguments are presented simply for consideration, and they might be based on a wrong understanding of devotees or Prabhupada’s vision, too.

The basic premise of Bhaktivedanta Institute in the 70s was that devotee scientists can win over atheistic scientists by producing top-notch research, publishing books and articles accepted by peer review journals, and by holding conferences. In a way it was a science version of converting westerners by learning to eat with knife and fork – beating them on their own turf and on their own terms. It didn’t work for spreading Krishna consciousness and, after forty years of trying, it clearly doesn’t work with science, too. There could always be another book, another article, another conference so devotees can always find some source for hope but, realistically speaking – it doesn’t work. read more

Did Bhaktisiddhanta use a Tropical Zodiac? Scrutinizing Silly Notions

“One of the reasons for the survival of economic myths is that many professional economists consider such beliefs too superficial, or even downright silly, to bother to refute them. But superficial and even silly beliefs have sometimes been so widespread as to become the basis for laws and policies with serious and even catastrophic consequences. Leaving myths unchallenged is risky, so scrutinizing silly notions can be a very serious matter.” Thomas Sowell1

For some years now a very small but vocal group of “astrologers” have been touting the silly notion that Vedic Astrology is supposed to be based on the tropical and not the sidereal zodiac. Though it is painful and troublesome to deal with such persons we should know that the tendency to deviate from established Vedic standards of orthopraxy as given by the previous acaryas and creating confusion is a trait that actually started in Dvapara- yuga and has only gotten worse in Kali-yuga. The following section of the Vayu Purana explains the situation:

In Dvapara-yuga, rival (scriptures and sects) crop up against the scriptures which were honored formerly in the first Svayambhuva Manvantara. There are variations and alterations in the science of Ayurveda, Jyotisa and the ancillaries of the Vedas; there are doubts and variations in regard to the texts on political economy and logic. There are diversities and variations in the Smrti texts. Separate systems and schools (of theology and philosophy) are established. In Dvapara-yuga difference of opinion starts among men. The life of all living beings in Dvapara-yuga becomes arduous involving bodily strain. Livelihood is possible only by mental, verbal and physical strain. Vayu Purana58.22-25 read more

Start small – the story of Bec Hellouin Permaculture Farm

These people are not devotees of Krsna (unfortunately) but we have so much to learn from them… ~ AG Editor

Charles and Perrine Hervé-Gruyer decided to become low impact farmers in 2006. It was a long and difficult initiation. He had been a sailor, she an international lawyer; their efforts to grow food without mechanisation or chemicals were often ridiculed in the early years. But their farm in Normandy, Bec Hellouin, is now established as the premier permaculture farm in France. It is also the source of a number of scientific studies showing that it’s possible to make a living wage by growing food using permaculture techniques on just a quarter of an acre of land. Their book “Miraculous Abundance” was recently published in English. Alexis Rowell, a stalwart of the early Transition movement in the UK and author of the Transition book on local government, interviewed them on behalf of Transition Culture.

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Do I Have Cancer?

And naturally, the second time around it is all not so frightening any more, and the diagnose of cancer is not as shattering. Indeed, it feels good to get a little reminder every ten years that time is gradually running out.

What about Srila Prabhupada’s Books?

“I am so much disgusted by this troublesome business of marriage, because nearly every day I receive some complaint from husband or wife, and practically this is not my business as sannyasi to be marriage counsellor, so henceforward I am not sanctioning any more marriages. . .

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

TKG – How Prabhupada was and was not equal to women

From a talk by Tamal Krishna Goswami
8-24-2000, Hungary
I will give you some instances to show you that Prabhupada was not equal to women. I was sitting with Prabhupada at 7 Bury Place, our first temple in London. He told me that if Jamuna Devi who was the wife of the temple president, had been a man, it would have been she that would have been the temple president. In other words, she was more qualified than her husband. But because she was a woman, he could not make her the temple president.

Later on, I was handed three slips of paper in which the names of different persons were listed when Prabhupada was preparing to form his first GBC. They finally found these three pieces of papers in the archives. They are in Prabhupada’s own handwriting on backs of envelopes and on the first two he lists, on one of them he lists three women, on one he lists two women and in the third list that I got, he lists only eleven men. And when he formed the GBC, there were no women. Now he wouldn’t allow women to be temple president, so how could he allow women to be GBC? I am just showing you how he was not equal.

Another way he was not equal is after a while, very rarely did women accompany him on a walk. Now the women claim that this is because of the sannyasis. I don’t know which sannyasis they are talking about, but some of the sannyasis, they say, were really pushing the women away and not letting them have an equal right. There may be some truth to that but Prabhupada allowed it. Prabhupada was not so unaware of the fact that there were no women on the walk. He could have said, “Where is so and so, where is so and so?” and he did used to say, “Where is so and so, where is so and so?” but that so and so was always a sannyasi or a senior man. So I don’t think that Prabhupada was equal to all. read more

Life of Ramanujacarya

Ramanuja is well-known as the great philosopher and acarya of the Sri Vaishnava sampradaya. However, it should not be misunderstood that he was the founder of the Sri Vaishnavas. Originally started by Laksmidevi Herself, the Sri sampradaya contained many exalted devotees prior to Ramanuja’s appearance to whom he admits his debt in his writings. In their expressions of devotion to the Supreme Lord, all South Indian devotees were influenced by the nine Alvars, who lived several hundred years before the birth of Ramanuja. Despite some minor philosophical differences, it is plain that the themes of devotion and surrender to God, which are essential to Ramanuja’s teachings, are based to a large extent on the writings of the Alvars.

Life of Ramanujacarya book

WHEN WOMEN SHOULD BE ATTACKED

No civilization can actually be considered civilized unless it protects its weaker sections, especially the cows, brahmanas, women, children, and elderly members. In Vedic society, as in any civilized culture, women must be protected as they are physically weak and are easily misled.

Srila Prabhupada said in a lecture:

“According to Vedic culture, first protection — to the cows, to the women, to the brahmanas, to the children, and to the old man. This is the first business of the government, to give protection. Practically, there is no criminal charge against them — against a brahmana, against a woman, a child. Suppose a child steals something. Who is going to prosecute him? It is not taken very seriously.” read more