How we treat our mother cow will define the very course and future of our civilization

Wait… the cow? For most Western people, when we think of the cow we think of her as dinner, as the skin behind a slick new coat or a sturdy new pair of shoes. We see her as a mute and dumb part of the classical American rural landscape, or we see her as an archetypal symbol of the inscrutable horde of Hindu cosmologies and theologies. Yet the physical and metaphysical reality of the cow as she actually is, beyond our romanticization and depersonalization, defines our own physical and metaphysical reality. That is why the protection of mother cow is so essential in our efforts towards creating an ecologically-sound present and future.

The Independent recently posited that 2014 will be the year that being a vegan will become a mainstream thing. Some of our most affluential and eminent cultural and political figures, such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jay-Z and Beyonce have experimented with a vegan diet in order to enhance their personal health. The long shadow of the livestock industry has long been established as being one of the main causes of our collective existential ecological crisis. Many diverse peoples around the planet are beginning to recognize that living beings like the cow need to be seen as more than mere commodity, more than a machine to satisfy our tastes, and they are adjusting their lifestyles gradually and accordingly. Then there are those sagely souls who take it to a deeper level, giving a physical and metaphysical example of culture and theology based around the protection of the cow. It is these souls who in so many ways are at the vanguard of our ecological movement.

One such example of those in the vanguard is the International Society for Cow Protection (ISCOWP). Incorporated in 1990 as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization by disciples of A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada named William and Irene Dove (who are commonly known in the bhakti-yoga community by their respective spiritual initiate names Balabhadra Dasa and Chayadevi Dasi), the ISCOWP project is currently located on 165 acres of land in the foothills of the West Virginia panhandle near Wheeling. A herd of twenty protected cows and bulls make up the beloved inhabitants of the community. Most of the cows and bulls are older and are considered retired from any kind of active plowing or dairy production, having been donated to the project in order to allow them to live out their natural life peacefully and to provide a living example of the proper relationship between cow and human. read more

We don’t need to become complete vegetarians, but…

U.N. report sounds alarm on farming land-use crisis. To feed the world’s burgeoning population while saving it from exhausting natural land resources, the United Nations today issued a report for policymakers, “Assessing Global Land Use: Balancing Consumption With Sustainable Supply,” published Jan. 24 by the International Resource Panel of the United Nations Environment Programme.

“Over the past 30 years, we’ve been increasing production on agricultural land, but scientists are now seeing evidence of reaching limits,” says Robert W. Howarth, Cornell’s David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology and a lead author of the United Nations report. read more

Q&A: Once initiated, how does one further develops and maintains a strong and proper relationship as a disciple with the Guru?

Thank you for your question. However, it is not an easy question to answer but nevertheless I’ll try to offer some of sastric advice and some of my personal experience of whatever little value that may be. First of all here is an straightforward and excellent explanation which summons it all up by Srila Bhaktissidhanta Saraswati Thakur in his Amrita-vani “immortal instructions”:

33. Can one be attached to sense gratification even after taking initiation?

“The process of attaining transcendental knowledge is called initiation. We should know that the Supreme Lord is the transcendental Absolute Truth, we are His eternal servants, and we have no duty other than to serve Him. Knowing this is actual initiation. The absence of this understanding is ignorance. At present, there is a controversy about the word “initiation”. People proudly claim that they have taken initiation from a bona fide spiritual master, but how can they maintain material attachment even after taking initiation? How can they desire to make advancement in material life? If they don’t learn about their relationship with the Lord, independent and proud people uselessly brag about their initiations. Rather than treating their spiritual master as if he were as good as God, they treat him as their disciple, fit to be their order-supplier. Considering the guru an ordinary mortal being, these persons become offenders at his lotus feet. read more

Rebirth

An animated self-portrait exploring the idea of rebirth and illustrating the transfer of energy from one incarnation to another. I painted this stop frame animation on myself over 5 days, using some face paints, a mirror and a camera.

We Are Going To Produce Vaisnava Heroes

Prabhupada: …have discrimination because the British government, they think that the Ratha-yatra is becoming very popular.

Jayatirtha: Yes.

Prabhupada: That is the… It is actually rational discrimination. The Christians, they thought, “Now these Englishmen, they’ll make Hindu religion very prominent.” Because it is a fact. If we introduce such three-four celebrations, then Christianity will be finished. But what is there? Christianity, there is nothing. Simply some dry words. And actually, they’re seeing, nobody’s coming to the church. So in this way, if they some, relish something better, then whatever is there, that will be finished, also. Therefore in London we wanted to purchase a church. read more

A Muslim bussiness man has a change of heart

Around one and a half years ago, while distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books on a street in Blantyre, Malawi, I met Mr. Khan, a Muslim businessman from India. He was amused to see an Indian sadhu in a dhoti and kurta on the busy streets of a remote Central African country and asked me in Hindi what was I doing. I explained to him that I was from the Hare Krishna movement and was distributing books about how to develop love for God. At that time he bought some small books. A few days later, when we met again on the street, he started criticizing Srila Prabhupada, saying that he uses abusive language and calls people rascals.

When I met him again on the street after a few days, he had started appreciating the books and said that Srila Prabhupada was actually very intelligent. After that I met him quite a few times on the street and also we crossed paths a couple of times while devotees were doing harinaam sankirtan. He consequently bought Bhagavad-gita As It Is. During the marathon, when I met him at his lodge (he runs three lodges), he said that he was going to India in February and wanted to visit Varanasi and buy copies of the Vedas, as he had knowledge of Sanskrit and liked to read in Hindi.

Recently, we received a consignment of one Hindi and three Gujarati Srimad Bhagavatam sets. I thought that the local Gurudwara (Sikh temple) would take the Hindi set for its library, as the priest likes to read in Hindi and has read some of our books, but the Gurudwara committee declined to buy it because it was too expensive. So I was wondering who would take the Hindi set. as now there are not many people who want to read in Hindi. There was one person, and I told him we have the Srimad Bhagavatam set in Hindi. He said that I could bring it and he would take a look at it. The next day I went to his lodge and explained that Srimad Bhagavatm is the ripened fruit of the tree of the Vedas. He asked the price, and by the mercy of guru and Gauranga agreed to pay in three installments. I felt that the Bhagavatam set in Hindi came all the way from India in a ship for three months just for this Muslim gentleman. read more

Was Draupadi disrobed at all?

To read two interesting philosophical papers in defense of Srila
Prabhupada’s teachings in his books, please click the link below. Excerpt: Srila Prabhupada in his comments on Srimad Bhagavatam writes substantially that the attempted disrobing of Draupadi took place. In The Draupadi and Dharmaraja articles, we encounter a rather surprising statement, “I seriously wonder if this incident took place, based on evidence from the Bhagavatam . . . There is not a word about disrobing, nor about Yudhisthira gambling her.”

http://www.krishnaeastandwest.com/articles.html

A new faith is born in Malawi

Please find below an interview in “The Nation” newspaper of Malawi, Central Africa.  It was published on 5 January 2014.  The questions were answered by Radhakanth Prabhu – Congregational Development Officer of ISKCON Blantyre, but the reporter mistook him to be Murari Prabhu – The Chairman of ISKCON Blantyre. 

How come that a devotee can still feel lonely?

To the degree we forget Krsna and Srila Prabhupada, to that degree we feel lonely. Even after receiving and sustaining in our MIND the information about Their presence, our HEART may still not be satisfied due to lack of active relationship to the Supreme Lord and His pure representative. This relationship can be only reactivated by active devotional service, service to the mission of Srila Prabhupada.

As our heart is not completely filled with love of Godhead and love for His pure devotee, a vacuum so created establishes a need to be fulfilled elsewhere.

This leads even after many years of practicing “theoretical Krsna consciousness” to falldown as the feeling of loneliness becomes more and more intolerable. After all, the nature of the soul is never to be alone. read more