Topless Female Protesters: The Victims are the Victimisers

Recently someone asked about whether calling out someone as sinful is also a sin? Although it seems absolutely necessary that criminals be identified as such, according to the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.17.22), those who identify criminals are just as guilty of the crime as criminals themselves.  Here is the verse:

rājovāca
dharmaṁ bravīṣi dharma-jña dharmo ’si vṛṣa-rūpa-dhṛk
yad adharma-kṛtaḥ sthānaṁ  sūcakasyāpi tad bhavet

“The King said: O you, who are in the form of a bull! You know the truth of religion, and you are speaking according to the principle that the destination intended for the perpetrator of irreligious acts is also intended for one who identifies the perpetrator. You are no other than the personality of religion.” read more

Monks Seek Navadvip Slaughterhouse Scrap

Hindu monks of several organisations have appealed to the Union home minister, Rajnath Singh, to scrap an abattoir project coming up on the banks of the Ganga in Nabadwip town as it, they say, will disturb the sanctity of the birthplace of Vaishnava saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and pollute the river.

Subhasish Chaudhuri, “Monks seek abattoir scrap”, 6 Aug. 2017, The Telegraph, 14 Aug. 2017 <https://epaper.telegraphindia.com/details/272450-124838100.html>.

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Release of new book: Sri Namastaka of Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhupada

Dear devotees,

Hare Krishna. Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and his followers.

We are pleased to inform you that by the mercy of Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhupada and his followers, we have been able to release an English translation of his Namastaka and commentaries on it by Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. read more

Google Sexism Scandal from Another Perspective: Chess

In the world outside of ISKCON, the controversy over the firing of a Google engineer for distributing an allegedly sexist manifesto can be seen from another non-spiritual perspective: competitive chess. In 2015, a similar firestorm within the sport arose when Nigel Short, a U.K. Grandmaster said that “we should ‘gracefully accept it as a fact’ that men possess different skills to women that make them better able to play chess at a high level.”[1] The reaction was widespread and brutal yet irrational.

For example, many, including many women international grand masters, pointed out that former women’s world champion Judith Polgar had formerly trounced Short in a series of games and held this up as proof that he was wrong. “Judith Polgar, the former women’s world champion, beat Nigel Short eight classical games to three in total with five draws, said Amanda Ross, who runs the Casual Chess Club of London. “She must have brought her man brain. Let’s just hope Nigel didn’t crash his car on those days, trying to park it. At least this resolves the age-old debate as to whether there’s a direct link between chess-playing ability and intelligence. Clearly not.”

But to such criticisms, Short noted that outlier events do not invalidate the general case. “The fact that I have one bad score against an individual doesn’t prove anything” he said. “I’m talking about averages here . . . statistically women don’t [compete] in the same numbers. The average gap is pretty large and that is down to sex differences . . . Those differences exist.” read more

Gender Equality and Google: Some Lessons for ISKCON

So, there is a lot of discussion in the news about a Google engineer who posted a 10-page internal memo at Google about improving work-place gender diversity without resorting to the usual affirmative action policies and who subsequently (and very quickly) got fired for it. Many have characterized the engineer’s manifesto as a heresy, most condemning it and others lauding it, one even comparing it to Martin Luther’s act of nailing his 95 Theses to the wall of the Roman Catholic Church.

But the most interesting part of this open discussion so far has been what some experts in the field of psychology have been saying. For the most part, the experts seem to agree with the engineer.

In an article titled “The Google Memo: Four Scientists Respond,” (archived version here) one of the scientists, Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychology professor at the University of New Mexico, praises the memo for its adherence to science. He says, “Graded fairly, his memo would get at least an A- in any masters’ level psychology course.” He thinks it’s spot on in terms of the current understanding of science, even though it is diametrically opposed to prevailing attitudes and trends about gender equality. The rest of the scientists in the article are between somewhat to generally supportive of the memo. 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