ISKCON Derire Tree's Posts (13060)

While on sankirtan in Hamilton (New Zealand) recently, I met a familiar-looking couple. I had met them on traveling sankirtan in Rotorua during the recent marathon. They had taken a Bhagavad-gita for the husband's father. He is seriously ill, with a terminal disease. They reported that he had been in ecstasy to receive the book for Christmas and had wasted no time in starting to read it. It was very encouraging to hear that a housebound invalid near death had received and embraced Prabhupada's mercy!

On another recent sankirtan excursion in central Hamilton we connected with Bhakta Ari. I stopped him, and after a seemingly average exchange he left without taking a book. He claimed he had no money. Later he returned with a few coins -- enough for a small book (Raja Vidya). Then he walked to a nearby park and started reading. Soon, by Caitanya Mahaprabhu's arrangement, a harinama party entered the park and stopped near him! After observing the chanting for awhile, Ari approached the party and spoke with the devotees, who invited him to an evening program that same day. After wavering a bit, Ari decided to attend and relished the evening. The next day in central Hamilton we met him again, wearing japa beads around his neck. He took another book and asked about Krishna
House, our center here in Hamilton. Since then he has been coming to Krishna House practically every day to associate with the devotees and engage in devotional service. He's chanting eight rounds a day. Last week he made a generous donation and took many more books, including the Bhagavad-gita, which he is now reading. He is already leading kirtans during the Krishna Fest programs and is in ecstasy to have re-connected with Krishna. All glories to Srila Prabhupada's transcendental sankirtan mission!

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"Wandering in Navadvipa is the best of all opulences, the best of all religious principles,the best of all kinds of worship, the best of all perfections, the best of all glories, and the best of all oceans of sweetness." We are happy to invite devotees worldwide to perform Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama in Mayapur. Parikrama Adhivas is on 25th Feb. Parikrama begins on 26th Feb and will return back on 3rd March. This year there will be four parikrama parties- International parikrama, Russian Parikrama,Hindi Parikrama and Bengali Namahatta Parikrama. Around 8000 devotees attended 2011 parikrama and we are anticipating more devotees to participate in the 2012 parikrama. Even if you are unable to take part in Parikrama, you have an opportunity to derive unlimited blessings of serving devotees performing the most auspicious Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur developed Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama, as desired and instructed by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur. He wished to conduct this Parikrama every year as this will be spiritually rewarding and will benefit the entire universe. Following the footsteps of our Acaryas, ISKCON Mayapur has been successfully organizing the Parikrama with not only increasing number of devotees but with increasing number of different languages speaking parties. We have four parties to set out to different islands of Navadvipa, reverberating the holy names, hearing the pastimes of Lord Gauranga in the association of devotees. We hope , by the generous contribution from devotees, we will be able to organize a grand Parikrama this year too. We have prasadam sponsorships available. You can also choose to offer green coconut or water for the parikrama devotees or donate for medical seva. Just 4 days to go! Send your offerings Now!

For details of sevas available here, please visit www.mayapur.com

For any information, please write to bps@pamho.net or snd@pamho.net

Thank you
Your servant in service to Sri Navadvipa dhama,
Gopijana vallabha das

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http://www.amazon.com/Living-Theology-Krishna-Bhakti-Bhaktivedanta/dp/ 0199796637/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1329874539&sr=1-4


A Living Theology of Krishna Bhakti: The Essential Teachings of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada [Hardcover]
Tamal Krishna Goswami (Author), Graham M. Schweig (Editor) [Garuda Dasa]

This title has not yet been released. (It will be by July 2nd.)
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977), founder of the Hare Krishna Movement, traced his lineage to the fifteenth-century Indian saint Sri Caitanya. He authored more than fifty volumes of English translation and commentaries on Sanskrit and Bengali texts, serving as a medium between these distant authorities and his modern Western readership and using his writings as blueprints for spiritual change and a revolution in consciousness. He had to speak the language of a people vastly disparate from the original recipients of his tradition's scriptures, without compromising fidelity to the tradition.

Tamal Krishna Goswami claims that the social scientific, philosophical, and 'insider' forms of investigation previously applied have failed to explain the presence of a powerful interpretative device -- a mahavakya or 'great utterance' -- that governs and pervades Prabhupada's 'living theology' of devotion on bhakti. For Prabhupada, the wide range of 'Vedic' subject matter is governed by the axiomatic truth: Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Goswami's academic training at the University of Cambridge, his thirty years' experience as a practitioner and teacher, and his extensive interactions with Prabhupada as both personal secretary and managerial representative, afforded him a unique opportunity to understand and illuminate the theological contribution of Prabhupada. In this work, Goswami proves that the voice of the scholar-practitioner can be intimately connected with his tradition while sustaining a mature critical stance relative to his subject. A Living Theology of Krishna Bhakti includes a critical introduction and conclusion by Graham M. Schweig.

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Nitai Das - A Poignant moment of truth

The picture captures a poignant moment of truth. The two persons are holding a lump of matter which once was thought to be Nitai Das. Any sane individual has to admit Nitai Das at the end of the day cannot be that what is shown in that picture- lump of ash? Unfortunately, modern science has convinced every one that ultimately we are that matter!

The picture was taken in Mayapur this month. The two individuals are holding the final remains of Nitai Das who died in a car accident this month in Florida. He was 31 years old. The final remains is the ash left over after the body was burnt. The two individuals are going to immerse the final remains into the sacred river Ganga. This is a traditional custom for people following Vedic culture. This is the most auspicious and spiritual act one can do to a departed soul. Nitai Das is very fortunate that his own spiritual master is performing his last rites.

While my deepest condolences go to the family, at this moment we have to be grave and philosophical. Every one of us, one day, will have to die and leave this body and that means we have to leave behind our money, house, car, spouse, children, grandchildren, jobs, everything. What we have worked so hard all our life, at the end, we have to just drop everything and move to our next destination and start from scratch. This is the law of nature. No one is exempt from it. Yet, when great souls such as Srila Prabhupada try to preach this truth, people think it is not important. More important for people is to settle in life, and increase one's wealth and social prestige and not worry about what happens after death!

Death always has the last laugh. However that statement is true only for individuals who are material minded. But for devotees of Krishna such as Nitai Das, death actually is an elevating moment. At death Krishna surely remembers His devotees and this bond between Krishna and devotees gives the devotees the strength to face life and also death with an open heart, never discouraged and always happy.

Vaishnavas never lose in life or in death as this famous poem reads;


He reasons ill who says that Vaishnavas die,
When thou art living still in sound!
The Vaishnavas die to live, and living try
To spread the holy name around.

By Srila Bhaktivinod Takur - saint, philosopher and poet - 19th century


The glories of a Vaishnava are unlimited. The glories of Krishna are unlimited.

Hare Krishna

Source: http://servantoftheservant-ananda.blogspot.in/2012/02/nitai-das-poignant-moment-of-truth.html

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Tamal Krishna Goswami has served on ISKCON's Governing Body Commission since its inception in 1970. In January 1972, he accepted the renounced order of life (sannyasa) from his spiritual master, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in Jaipur, India. He served as ISKCON's first GBC Secretary for India from 1970-74.

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Audio 
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Photos 
Books by Tamal Krishna Goswami

 

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His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami

His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami
 
(June 1946 – March 2002)

ISKCON Governing Body Commissioner and Initiating Spiritual Master

  
Tamal Krishna Goswami served as ISKCON Governing Body Commissioner * from 1970-2002, and ISKCON Initiating Spiritual Master from 1977-2002. He is fondly called “Srila Gurudeva” by his many disciples, and “Goswami” by his godbrothers and members of the academe.

TAMAL KRISHNA GOSWAMI (Thomas G. Herzig) was born in New York City in the United States in June 1946. He joined the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in 1968 and was accepted as a disciple by ISKCON Founder-acarya, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in San Francisco the same year. Immediately he emerged as a leader and assumed various positions of leadership, spearheading the establishment of ISKCON temples and centers in India, France, Great Britain and the United States. He worked closely with Srila Prabhupada as his secretary and as Governing Body Commissioner for India, developing major ISKCON projects in Vrndavana, Bombay and Mayapur.

In 1972, he was awarded sannyasa, the renounced order of life, in Jaipur, India, and assumed the title of goswami, meaning controller of the senses.

In 1974, Tamal Krishna Goswami returned to the United States to work on large-scale preaching programs, organizing and leading book distribution and the unparalleled Radha-Damodara Sankirtan/Book Distribution Party.

As one of Srila Prabhupada’s most trusted disciples, Tamal Krishna Goswami served as personal secretary to Srila Prabhupada in 1977, during the seven months before Prabhupada’s passing in the same year.
In 1995, Tamal Krishna Goswami enrolled in Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and graduated with a Masters Degree in Religious Studies in 1998. He then moved to the University of Cambridge, Clare Hall in England, as a doctoral student under Dr. Julius Lipner, and where his thesis was on the Krishnaology ** of ISKCON’s founder, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Tamal Krishna Goswami was well-liked in the academic world and a respected member of the American Academy of Religion. His award-winning essays and papers have been published and presented to the academe of religious scholars and theologians. He also authored many books, including two classical Vedic dramas. An articulate Gaudiya Vaisnava Theologian, his lectures, which are available in audio and video format, and written work, bring the wealth and vast knowledge of Vedic culture and history and the philosophy of Krishna consciousness into a practical present-day perspective.
Tamal Krishna Goswami passed away in a vehicular accident on March 2002, in the sacred place of Phulgya in West Bengal, India. He left this life the same way he lived it, completely absorbed in service to his spiritual master and Krishna. His samadhi is placed beside Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi in ISKCON Sri Mayapur Dhama, West Bengal, India.
He lived his life completely absorbed in service to Guru and Krishna. Though no longer physically present among us, he lives forever through his instructions, books, academic work, and in the hearts of all those whose lives he touched.
*Governing Body Commission (GBC) is the managerial authority of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), created by ISKCON’s founder, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1970.
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Sri Madhvacarya - Disappearance

Madhvacarya was born Vasudev, son of Narayan Bhatt and Vedavati in the village of Padakakshetra, near Udupi usually taken as being 1238 AD., on the Vijay Dasami of Lord Rama,. Afer  79 years of wonderful pastimes he passed on to be with his lord, Srila Vyasadev in the year 1317 AD.
 

This self realised soul, Mukhyapran (Vayu-deva) from an external point of view, accepted diksa from Acyutapreksha. However, Madhva always accepted only Srila Vyasadeva as his source of inspiration and Lord of his life, and thus his 'siksa guru'. Sri Madhva himself quoted from Brahmanda Purana, "One should have complete faith in the transcendental literature such as Srimad Bhagavatam and other literatures that directly glorifies the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should also have faith in Vaisnava Tantra, the original Vedas, and Mahabharata which includes Bhagavad Gita, and which is considered the fifth Veda. The Vedic knowledge originally emanated from the breathing of Lord Visnu, and the Vedic literature has been compiled in a literary form by Srila Vyasadeva, the incarnation of Visnu. Therefore Visnu should be understood to be the personal speaker of all this Vedic literature." (excerpt from purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 11:3:26., translation by Hrdayananda Goswami.)
 

As the great incarnation of one of Lord Visnu's greatest preachers, Vayudeva (Madhva) accepted direct instruction from his Lord, Srila Vyasadeva. In the Agni Purana (Chapter 51.) it is mentioned how Vayu is seen sitting on the back of a deer holding a flag. Madhava was also quite often seen seated on a sacred deerskin holding his upraised flag of dualism in the form of his hand sporting two erect fingers protruding. One finger representing the Lord and the other the Jiva. Also in the Vana Parva of Mahabharata (19:22.) it is stated that Vayu is the messenger of the demigods, and in another place, that Vayu resides in the palace of Lord Brahma, continuously praising him for being the surrendered pure representative of the Lord. (Mahabharata, Sabha Parva, chapter 11 Text 20.).
 

It is interesting to note that Sri Vayudeva's glories are sung in the Mahabharata, Vana Parva (19:22.) as being the messenger of the "Gods".
 

On this matter, Acarya Madhava, as the re-establisher of a practically lost system, became the founder and saviour of the hearts of the devotees. As we have said, though the line did in some shape or form come down, it was not truly effective until Madhava began preaching. On his preaching activities, writing of books, and touring all of Bharat-bhumi, he carried a new strength that was not there before him. He visited the secluded Himalayan ashrama of Srila Vyasadeva, who, to this day, resides high in Uttara-Badri beyond the reach of sinful men. During the two visits it was revealed that even from a distance Madhava had realised the mind of Vyasa. Srila Vyasadeva's comments upon seeing Madhava's commentary on Bhagavad Gita were that he could not fail it! In the sanctuary of the many vaisnava saints and sages that surround Srila Vyasa drinking up His association, Vyasa embrassed Madhava, and latter instructed Madhava to go and preach, and write commentaries on books to save man-kind. This is how Sripad Madhvacarya is accepted as the disciple of Srila Vyasa, not by his own ambitions, but as His pure representitive and so the next in the 'Guru parampara'.
 

A nine point summary or mission statement of Sripad Madhvacarya's philosophy is:
 

1. Lord Visnu, the Personality of Godhead, is the Absolute Truth, and nothing is higher than Him.
2. He, the Lord is known by the study of Vedas'sarvasya caham'(Bhagavad Gita 15:15.)
3. The material world is real, but temporary.
4. The Jivas (living entities) are different from the Lord ('bimba prati bimba').
5. The Jivas are, by nature, servants of Lord Visnu's lotus feet.
6. In both the conditioned and liberated states, the Jivas are situated in higher and lower statuses and always remain individuals in their identity.
7. Liberation does not mean an impersonal merging, but the attainment of serving Lord Visnu's lotus feet.
8. Pure devotional service rendered to 'guru' and Visnu automatically grants liberation, release from material bondage. There is no need of only seeking liberation. One only need seek pure devotional service.
9. 'Pramanas'. Direct perception, logic and Vedic authority are three sources of actual knowledge.
 

Madhava literally had hundreds of disciples, yet towards the end of his life he selected a small number of the most dedicated around him. These are the original 'Acaryas' of the eight mutts found even today in Udupi, South Kanada district of Karnataka.
 

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Listen the Glories of Madhaacarya

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With HH Bhakti Charu Swami Gurudev and Krishna's mercy I am extremely excited to share that within the last couple days ISKCON Ujjain have been covered by the Top 5 national newspapers in India! Haribol!!!

Media coverage was in the following newspapers:

Hindustan Times - #1 National Newspaper in India
Dainik Bhaskar - #1 Newspaper in Central India
Nayi Duniya - #2 Newspaper in Central India
Patrika - #3 Newspaper in Central India
Free Press - Very Prominent National Newspaper

You can read the Hindustan Times press release by going to-
http://paper.hindustantimes.com/epaper/viewer.aspx#
(Indore Edition, page 6, change the date to 23rd January, headline-ISKCON temple in Ujjain goes online)

All published articles can be seen in the scanned photo attached.

The story in these press releases talks about ISKCON Ujjain being the 1st temple in Ujjain city to have full-time LIVE broadcast of all its temple programs from the time it opens to the time it closes. It was all put together in just a matter of few months and successfully launched on November 22, 2011.

The story doesn’t stop here, ISKCON Ujjain is also the 1st Solar Powered temple in Ujjain and probably the only fully solar powered temple in ISKCON. This temple works with the environment by giving Krishna's ray of light through a Solar Powered Temple. It was installed on the auspicious day of Janmashtami- August 22, 2011. The entire project was donated by H.G. Ayodhyapati Das who is the uncle of the Mauritius Prime Minister.

Everyone is so thankful to the exceptional devotees who continue to work hard giving their life and soul to make these outstanding miracles happen in Ujjain Dham. This temple is really breaking ground by setting high standards being environmentally conscious and using the latest technology to spread the Vedic culture to the world.

Your humble servant,
Rasalila Devi Dasi
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In case you cant read the scanned copy, here is the text version of the 3 English press releases-

Hindustan Times article-
ISKCON Temple in Ujjain Goes Online

UJJAIN: The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple in Ujjain has moved one step forward in using modern information technology as well as natural energy sources for the benefit of pilgrims.

The Radha Madanmohan Temple has gone online thus facilitating people to have live darshan in any part of the world at any time. Similarly, the temple management has put solar energy system which is capable of meeting the whole requirement of the temple corridors, restaurant and lodging extension freeing from the erratic electric supplies.

HG Rasalila Devi Dasi, an ISKCON devotee from New York who is the main brain behind the live telecast, told Hindustan Times that anyone could have the darshan live by going to www.mayapur.tv and clicking the Ujjain channel. The telecast is available from opening of the temple gates to closing. A state-of-the-art control room from where the cameras put at different points could be controlled and the telecast monitored is established for the work.

She said devotees could also ask any query through chat from the channel during lesson sessions at the temple.

Similarly, the solar energy system put at the temple is proving a boon as the whole electric need of light equipments, audio, video systems is met through this mode.
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Free Press Article 1-
ISKCON Gets Solar Power Plant

Ujjain: ISKCON temple got its first solar power project in association with the uncle of the Prime Minister of Mauritius on the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami. The power plant has been established at the temple and started working as the sky was clear. Though, it was not established on the occasion of Janmashtami due to the rainy season. It will enable the supply of electricity to the temple. A solar module (24V to 200 wp), battery panel (120V - 300 Ah) [zv cells VRLA Batteries] and 10 KV power conditioning unit which will give total backup of 36000 Walt - Hr were installed at the temple.
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Free Press Article 2-
Online Darshan at ISKCON

Devotees can now have online darshan of lord Krishna at ISKCON. Online facility has been launched at the temple under the aegis of Swami Bhakti Charu Maharaj and Raslila Mataji. A control room, three camera sets and LED screens have been installed at the temple. Devotees can log into website www.mayapur.tv for live darshan of lord Kirshna from ISKCON temple. People can inquire and ask questions through the online services regarding darshan and pravachan.

Visit Bhakti Charu Swami's Websites:

-The Official site for HH Bhakti Charu Swami Audio & Video Products
http://www.bcsveda.com/

-An exclusive collection of rare HH Bhakti Charu Swami Quotes
http://www.bcsquotes.com/

-The Official 24 hour Channel for HH Bhakti Charu Swami
http://www.bcswami.tv/

Please visit these NEW sites and share with others!

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Press Release I gave the media

 

THIS STORY GOT RECENT MEDIA COVERAGE BY THE TOP 5 NEWSPAPERS IN INDIA-

Hindustan Times - #1 National Newspaper in India
Dainik Bhaskar - #1 Newspaper in Central India
Nayi Duniya - #2 Newspaper in Central India
Patrika - #3 Newspaper in Central India
Free Press - Very Prominent National Newspaper
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Breaking News:
ISKCON Ujjain- The 1st temple to have LIVE Broadcast in Ujjain City

ISKCON Ujjain is the 1st temple in Ujjain city to have full-time LIVE broadcast of all its temple programs from the time it opens to the time it closes. It was all put together in just a matter of few months and successfully launched on November 22, 2011. Following the footsteps of ISKCON Ujjain, we have heard that another prominent Ujjain temple is planning to have live broadcast starting soon. Now, anyone around the world can easily see the ecstatic ISKCON Ujjain LIVE telecast by going on www.mayapur.tv and simply clicking on Ujjain channel. H.G. Rasalila Devi Dasi from New York City, America headed the broadcast setup. We asked H.G. Rasalila Devi Dasi about her experience and inspiration behind managing to get this broadcast off the ground so quickly. Following is her humble reply: “The most important factor is my Gurudev- H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami’s mercy, by whose instruction and desire, I took up this seva. My Gurudev- H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami had asked me to come up with ideas and work on spreading the programs of ISKCON Ujjain. Since that time, fulfilling my Guru’s instruction was the only goal of my life. The heart of the temple is its programs and with my Guru’s mercy, I somehow knew that setting a LIVE broadcast is the top most way so people from all over world have the opportunity to take darshan of our Ujjain deities. This way, people can take part in the temple satsangs and kirtans from anywhere. This is also a great way to keep people in touch with our programs and spread not only our temple programs but also spread India’s Vedic culture and heritage to the world. I did whatever it took to make this happen, so we could get the most professional broadcast. Invaluable support was also provided by the Veda Foundation team and the Ujjain temple Co-presidents. Now, I am very happy that I was able to achieve at least a drop in the ocean of my Gurudev’s instruction.”

There is a state of the art control room built with highest grade computer, audio and video technology. The camera’s in the temple room are controlled and monitored from this room to do mixing and creating interesting effects like a cricket match. You can view the LIVE broadcast even from the temple’s Govinda Restaurant and the temple room. Distribution LED screens have been put up so people can take advantage of the temple programs from different parts on the temple campus.

This is an added benefit to the congregation and interested people worldwide, who can watch the temple events in their home. People can even ask questions during the LIVE broadcast through a chat feature during all temple classes. This broadcast project is giving ISKCON Ujjain temple great public exposure.

Launching of ISKCON Ujjain LIVE telecast allows one to immediately quench the thirst of the soul by taking darshan of the beautiful Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan and Sri Sri Krishna Balaram deities. Melodious bhajans are sung throughout the day for the pleasure of the deities.

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ISKCON Ujjain- Also the 1st temple to be fully Solar Powered in Ujjain!
(The entire project was donated by H.G. Ayodhyapati Das who is the uncle of the Mauritius Prime Minister.)

The story doesn’t stop here, ISKCON Ujjain is also the 1st Solar Powered temple in Ujjain and probably the only fully solar powered temple in ISKCON. This temple works with the environment by giving Krishna's ray of light through a Solar Powered Temple. It was installed on the auspicious day of Janmashtami- August 22, 2011. We had interviewed H.G. Rasalila Devi Dasi (H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami Secretary) to get more information about this Solar Power Plant. She
said that the current solar equipment they have at the temple provides the entire electricity needs of the temple 24 hours a day except the AC and some high voltage equipment. Everything runs on this system from lights, fans, audio system and other basic electrical equipment. The weather was very cloudy so in the beginning they didn't get the full charge because of monsoon season but now the entire power is supplied by the solar units! The solar panels are currently located on the temple roof.

The Solar Power Plant saves laxmi for the temple. The electric unit charge is increasing everyday so it is a considerable help to the temple. If it works well in the long run and reduces the consumption on electricity, they plan to have it in all the temple buildings on campus. One of the added features of these solar panels is that if there is not enough sunlight, it will get power from the electric grid. So there will be no power failure in the temple with the electricity running seamlessly without breakdowns. If any other ISKCON community or temple wants to get this Solar Power Plant, ISKCON Ujjain will be happy to give further details.

H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami who had this temple built is very enthusiastic about this project. When it is connected to the grid, solar energy can overtake the highest cost of electricity at peak demand and can also reduce grid loading, apart from getting rid of the need for local battery power in darkness. By having this solar plant they are not only being environment conscious but also are using a pollution free energy source. It requires less man power as plant requires little maintenance or help after setup. Therefore, seeing all these radiant advantages of the Solar Power Plant H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami is very
satisfied about this project. With this project, the Ujjain temple is able to make a significant difference to the community by saving energy, keeping the environment pollution free and ultimately reducing the temple costs.

We are so thankful to the exceptional devotees who continue to work hard giving their life and soul to make these outstanding miracles happen in Ujjain Dham. This temple is really breaking ground by setting high standards being environmentally conscious and using the latest technology to spread the Vedic culture to the world.

Visit Bhakti Charu Swami's Websites:

The Official site for HH Bhakti Charu Swami Audio & Video Products
http://www.bcsveda.com/

An exclusive collection of rare HH Bhakti Charu Swami Quotes
http://www.bcsquotes.com/

The Official 24 hour Channel for HH Bhakti Charu Swami
http://www.bcswami.tv/

Please visit these NEW sites and share with others!

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(based on a webinar class on Prabodhananda Sarasvati’s fifteenth century classic, Vrndavana Mahimamrta)

“In this verse, Prabhodananda Sarasvati says that for a male sadhaka, the embodiment of maya or illusion is woman. In fact, there are many verses in this book about the perils of woman, which we compare to icebergs on the ocean of devotion for a male sadhaka. But why is this rasika-vaisnava, Prabhodananda Sarasvati, discussing this, since this book is about amrta or the nectar of Vrndavana? 


Five-thousand years ago, when Radha-Krishna were manifest in Vrndavana, yogamaya was running the show and sweet nectar was flowing everywhere. But now mahamaya is running the show. When this book was written and especially now, there is a mayic covering on Vrndavana. There is some danger here—mahamaya. Today in Vrndavana, one can see are murders, rapes, drugs, garlic, onions, eggs, gambling, liquor consumption and believe it or not, prostitution. Yes, everything is going on. 

 

Obviously there are some serious dangers for the sadhaka in Vrndavana, which are like visha or poison. If a sadhaka takes poison he will die and never taste the amrta, the Vrndavana-mahimamrta. So one must be careful; be a savadhana Vaisnava. Prabhodananda Sarasvati, therefore, repeatedly talks about the dangers of woman. But let’s look more closely about the idea of man and woman. The sastras often mention that woman is maya. When ladies read this, however, they become disturbed thinking that the sastras are unnecessarily criticizing or blaming them, calling them maya. But the word maya does not mean woman, it means the material world, asta prakrti, the external energy or maya-sakti, which is Sri Krishna’s bahiranga-sakti.

In Sanskrit the word for woman is stri, which means to expand. The word prakrti, which means the material energy or maya, is also often used to indicate woman, as in the context of purusa (male, man, the enjoyer) and prakrti (female, woman, the enjoyed). 

By combining the meaning of stri as expand and prakrti as the material energy or maya, we find that the word woman can refer equally to either a man or a woman. Thus, we can derive the following definition of woman. The word woman refers to any human being who expands one’s interest in the prakrti, or material world of sense enjoyment. Therefore, by this definition a man is also a woman if he is attached to enjoying the material energy or maya. 

 

In summary, when acaryas and sastras warn about the perils of woman, one should think that the word woman refers to any human being, who is interested in expanding and exploiting the prakrti, maya-sakti, for material sense gratification, be they in male form or female form. 

 

After hearing many verses about the power, benefits and the sweet beauty of Vrndavana, we are now reading several verses about the perils of woman. While sailing us across the ocean of nectar known as Vrndavana-mahimamrta, our captain, Prabhodananda Sarasvati, is pausing briefly to warn us about the dangers of icebergs on the ocean which could sink our boat of bhakti. So as we discuss these verses about ‘woman’, I would like to ask all the pure-hearted devotional souls that inhabit female gender bodies not to take offence or take think that Prabhodananda Saraswati is getting too personal. He is simply warning all of us to be careful of maya, and maya is everywhere in the material world. As Srila Prabhupada often said, in most cases, unless one is a pure devotee, woman is maya for a man, and man is maya for a woman.

 
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Makara Sankranti

The Sun enters the Makara raasi (the zodiac sign of Capricorn - the goat), on Sankranti day, signifying the onset of Uttarayana Punyakalam.



The following has been translated from an article in Sadachara Vybhavam of the great Vaishnava devotee Sripad Madhwacharya.

Today is "Makara Sankranti"  which is celebrated when the Sun begins the northward journey, marking the beginning of the "uttaraayaNa puNyakaalam". Sun enters the sign of "Makara", (Capricorn) from Cancer at this time. (This is also called equinox, when the day and nights are exactly the same). Starting this day, the duration of day starts to increase until "dakshiNaayanam" comes. Makara Sankranti signifies two things. One is the changing path of Sun and other is the beginning of "Uttarayana Punyakaala" Makara literally means
"Capricorn" and sankranti means "change" or 'sankramaNa' literally means 'crossing'. On this day, it is said that Sun passes from one Zodiac sign to another. A sankranti or sankramaNa marks the beginning of every solar month in the Vedic calendrical system when Sun passes from one sign to the other, it's the cusp of the months as astro-wallas call. But, being solar based the change of January 14th or 15th of every year is considered more sacred than any other month, as it is the beginning of Uttarayana Punyakaala.

Lord Surya on His dazzling chariot that has thousands of spokes and magnificent wheels, and driven by seven horses (seven colours of the spectrum) begins His journey northward into the Makara Rasi, filling our lives with light and getting rid of the darkness.  This light not only fills our material life and helps our plants grow at seeding time, but also gets rid of our "internal" darkness, showing the path of self realisation - moksha.

On this day, devotees prepare a dish made of green grams, rice and jaggery (sarkkarai pongal) - representing Lord Narayana, Laxmi and Their Divine love. The festival reminds us that we need to establish that Divine Love within ourselves and give a direction to this "chanchala buddhi" and fix it our Lord Narayana, who brings light in our lives.

This same festival is celebrated as Pongal in the South of India.  Harvest is brought home the new rice is then boiled in milk to make the sweet called "chakrapongali", the special cuisine of the eve. This harvest festival is celebrated for 3 days. The delicacy is first offered to Sun God, the chief deity under worship, that is later distributed to all as prasadam. The harvest is celebrated as being blessed with Dhanyalakshmi and a splendid feast is shared by all after the Ishta Devatha pujas.

Traditionally, this period is considered an auspicious time and the veteran Bhishma of Mahabharata chose to die during this period. Bhishma fell to the arrows of Arjuna. With his boon to choose the time of his death, he waited on a bed of arrows to depart from this world only during this period.  Sri Bhishma Pitamaha waited on the bed of arrows till the "uttaraayaNa punyakaalam" has arrived, and then breathed once more, for the last time. It is believed that one escapes the cycle of repeated birth and death, if one gives up one's body on this day. The uttarAyaNa (norther course of the Sun) was traditionally considered more auspicious than the dakshiNAyana (southern course of the Sun). Over the years, this led some to believe that dying during dakshiNAyana, the southern path of the sun, was inauspicious and did not lead to moksha - release - liberation.

This belief is cast aside in the Brahma-Sutras that the time of death is immaterial in the case of the intelligent devotee. In those Sutras 4.2.19-20, it is established that one who has knowledge of the Lord can die during any time; the exaltations of uttarAyaNa are merely to praise meditation on the path to Vaikuntha, which the wise devotees jIva takes upon death.  This divine path beginning with light, is presided upon by deities of greater and greater brilliance, with uttarAyaNa being one of them. This marga - path culminates in Vaikuntha, the state of moksha, and shastra says it should be meditated upon daily by the yogi of devotion.

Sesame oil is used in making sweets and dishes, particularly on this day. It is believed that sesame seeds are used for purificatory purposed (or as being auspicious - "tila juhomi sarasaagum sapishhThaam gandhaara mama chitteramanutu swaaha", "tila krishnaa tila shevataa tila saumyaa vashaanugaa"...).

So generally special offerings of til (sesame) rice and corn (first harvest) are offered and distributed, especially preparations of rice kitcheri with sesame and corn are a prefered offering to the Lord on this day. In different parts of India slight variations (gauna - local traditions prevail) but the gereral observance is much the same. In the South of India they absorb themselves in the festival of Pongal - new harvest festival.

Some devotees also have elaborate festivals offering six kinds of sesame preparation in the service of the Lord on Sat-tila ekadasi:

Other information about Makara sankranti - lincluding local traditions - festivals:

The wide range of festivities can better be witnessed by one along the countryside than in the urban localities. The festivities last the whole of Dhanurmasam, ending with Sankranti.

Gobbemmalu – Young girls are seen to put up Gobbemmalu. These are round balls of cow dung that are decorated with vermilion, turmeric and coloured flowers. These are placed in the middle of the bright muggus in the front yards of the dwellings and are worshipped with Navadhanyas (nine types of grains) to welcome the Lakshmi, the Goddess of abundance and prosperity. Spinsters worship for good husbands on the occasion. After this, the women folk get gathered to sing and dance to the accompaniment around these gobbis.

Many a traditional folk form add glory to the festive scenario. Haridasulu (Madhwas) are seen singing eulogies of the Almighty and seeking arms from the people in the early hours of the days. Gangireddu Ata, is another festival where trained oxen dance to the tunes of the Nagaswaram played by their master is a great attraction - probably not too many in Auckland. Kommudasarulu & PittalaDora are other folklore that brighten the days with their healthy humour - we can handle that......I got some one liners.....

Kites – kites are seen soaring high in the sky on the day of Makara Sankranti. This is symbolic of the existence of mankind, with the kites depicting the human lives and the manza depicting the eternal bond between us and the divine self. People however seem to correlate the soaring kites with their high spirits on the eve of Makara sankranti. Competitions held with kites of all sizes and shapes and the sharp edged manza draw people on the terraces and in open grounds to witness the riot of colours - fun for the gurukulis.
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Putrada Ekadasi

The pious and saintly Yudhisthira Maharaj said, “Oh Lord, You have so nicely explained to us the wonderful glories of the SaphalaaEkadasi, which occurs during the dark fortnight (Krishna paksha) of the month of Pausha (December – January). Now please be merciful to me and explain to me the details of the Ekaadasi that occurs in the light fortnight (Shukla or Gaura paksha) of this month. What is its name, and what Deity is to be worshipped on that sacred day? Oh Purushottama, Oh Hrishikesha, please also tell me how You can be pleased on this day? Lord Sri Krishna then replied, “Oh saintly king, for the benefit of all humanity I shall now tell you how to observe fasting on the Pausha-shukla Ekadasi.

As previously explained, everyone should observe the rules and regulations of the Ekaadasi vrata, to the very best of their ability. This injunction also applies to the Ekaadasi named Putradaa, which destroys all sins and elevates one to the spiritual abode. The Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Narayana, the original personality, is the worshippable Deity of the Ekadasi, and for His faithful devotees He happily fulfills all desires and awards full perfection. Thus among all the animate and inanimate beings in the three worlds (lower, middle and higher planetary systems), there is no better personality than Lord Narayana.

“Oh King, now I shall narrate to you the history of Putradaa Ekadasi, which removes all kinds of sins and makes one famous and learned. “There was once a kingdom named Bhadraavati, which was ruled by King Suketumaan. His queen was the famous Shaibyaa. Because he had no son, he spent a long time in anxiety, thinking, ‘If I have no son, who will carry on my dynasty?’ In this way the king meditated in a religious attitude for a very long time, thinking, ‘Where should I go? What should I do? How can I get a pious son (putra)? In this way King Suketumaan could find no happiness anywhere in his kingdom, even in his own palace, and soon he was spending more and more time inside his wife’s palace, gloomily thinking only of how he could get a son.

“Thus both King Suketumaan and Queen Shaibyaa were in great distress. Even when they offered tarpana (oblations of water to their forefathers), their mutual misery made them think that it was as undrinkable as boiling water. They thus thought that they would have no descendants to offer tarpana to them when they died and thus become lost souls (ghosts). The king and queen were especially upset to learn that their forefathers were worried that soon there would be no one to offer them tarpana also. “After learning of their forefathers unhappiness, the king and queen became more and more miserable, and neither ministers, nor friends, nor even loved ones could cheer them up. To the king, his elephants and horses and infantry were no solace, and at last he became practically inert and helpless.

“The king thought to himself, ‘It is said that without a son, marriage is wasted. Indeed, for a family man with no son, both his heart and his splendid house remain vacant and miserable. Bereft of a son, a man cannot liquidate the debts that he owes his forefathers, the demigods (devas) and to other human beings. Therefore every married man should endeavour to beget a son; thus he will become famous within this world and at last attain the auspicious celestial realms. A son is proof of the pious activities a man performed in his past one hundred lifetimes, and such a person achieve a long duration of life in this world, along with good health and great wealth. Possessing sons and grandsons in this lifetime proves that one has worshipped Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in the past.

The great blessing of sons, wealth, and sharp intelligence can be achieved only by worshipping the Supreme Lord, Shri Krishna. That is my opinion.’ “Thinking thus, the king had no peace. He remained in anxiety day and night, from morning to evening, and from the time he lay down to sleep at night until the sun rose in the morning, his dreams were equally full of great anxiety. Suffering such constant anxiety and apprehension, King Suketumaan decided to end his misery by committing suicide. But he realized that suicide throws a person into hellish conditions of rebirth, and so he abandoned that idea. Seeing that he was gradually destroying himself by his all consuming anxiety over the lack of a son, the king at last mounted his horse and left for the dense forest alone.

No one, not even the priests and brahmins of the palace, knew where he had gone. “In that forest, which was filled with deer and birds and other animals, King Suketumaan wandered aimlessly, noting all the different kinds of trees and shrubs, such as the fig, bel fruit, date palm, jackfruit, bakula, saptaparnaa, tinduka, and tilaka, as well as the shala, taala, tamaala, saralaa, hingotaa, arjuna, labheraa, bahedaa, sallaki, karondaa, patala, khaira, shaka, and palaasha trees.

All were beautifully decorated with fruits and flowers. He saw deer, tigers, wild boar, lions, monkeys, snakes, huge bull elephants in a rut, cow elephants with their calves, and four tusked elephants with their mates close by. There were cows, jackals, rabbits, leopards, and hippopotamuses. Beholding all these animals accompanied by their mates and offspring, the king remembered his own menagerie, especially his palace elephants, and became so sad that he absentmindedly wandered into their very midst. “Suddenly the king heard a jackal howl in the distance. Startled, he began wandering about, looking around in all directions. Soon it was midday, and the king started to tire. He was tormented by hunger and thirst also.

He thought, ‘What sinful deed could possibly have done so that I am now forced to suffer like this, with my throat parched and burning, and my stomach empty and rumbling? I have pleased the devas (demigods) with numerous fire sacrifices and abundant devotional worship. I have given many gifts and delicious sweets in charity to all the worthy brahmins too. And I have taken care of my subjects as though they were my very own children.

Why then am I suffering so? What unknown sins have come to bear fruit and torment me in this dreadful way?’ “Absorbed in these thoughts, King Suketumaan struggled forward, and eventually, due to his pious credits, he came upon a beautiful lotus bearing pond that resembled the famous Lake Maanasarova. It was filled with aquatics, including crocodiles and many varieties of fish, and graced with varieties of lilies and lotuses. The beautiful lotuses had opened to the Sun, and swans, cranes and ducks swam happily in its waters. Nearby were many attractive ashramas, where there resided many saints and sages who could fulfill the desires of anyone. Indeed, they wished everyone well. When the king saw all this, his right arm and right eye began to quiver, a sakuna sign (for a male) that something auspicious was about to happen.

“As the king dismounted his horse and stood before the sages, who sat on the shore of the pond, he saw that they were chanting the holy names of God on japa beads. The king paid his obeisances and, joining his palms, addressed them with glorified praises. Observing the respect the king offered them, the sages said, ‘We are very pleased with you, Oh king. Kindly tell us why you have come here. What is on your mind? Please inform us what is your heart’s desire.’ “The king replied, ‘Oh great sages, who are you? What are your names, surely your presence reveals that you are auspicious saints? Why have you come to this beautiful place? Please tell me everything.’ “The sages replied, ‘Oh king, we are known as the ten Vishvadevas (the sons of Vishva; Vasu, Satya, Kratu, Daksha, Kaala, Kaama, Dhriti, Pururavaa, Maadrava, and Kuru). We have come here to this very lovely pond to bathe.

The month of Magha (Madhava mase) will soon be here in five days (from the Magh nakshatra), and today is the famous Putradaa Ekaadasi. One who desires a son should strictly observe this particular Ekaadasi.’ “The king said, ‘I have tried so hard to have a son. If you great sages are pleased with me, kindly grant the boon of having a good son (putra).’ “ ‘The very meaning of Putradaa,’ the sages replied, ‘?is “giver of a putra, pious son.” So please observe a complete fast on this Ekaadasi day.

If you do so, then by our blessing – and by the mercy of Lord Sri Keshava invested in us – surely you will obtain a son.’ “On the advice of the Vishvadevas, the king observed the auspicious fast day of Putradaa Ekaadasi according to the established rules and regulations, and on the Dvaadasii, after breaking his fast, he paid obeisances again and again to all of them. “Soon after Suketumaan returned to his palace and united with his queen. Queen Shaibya immediately became pregnant, and exactly as the Vishvadevas had predicted, a bright faced, beautiful son was born to them. In due course of time he became famous as an heroic prince, and the king gladly pleased his noble son by making him his successor.

The son of Suketumaan took care of his subjects very conscientiously, just as if they were his own children. “In conclusion, Oh Yudhisthira, one who wises to fulfill his desires should strictly observe Putradaa Ekaadasi. While on this planet, one who strictly observes this Ekaadasi will surely obtain a son, and after death he will achieve liberation. Anyone who even reads or hears the glories of Putradaa Ekaadasi obtains the merit earned by performing an horse sacrifice. It is to benefit all humanity that I have explained all this to you.” Thus ends the narration of the glories of Pausha-shuklaEkadasi, or Putradaa Ekadasi, from the Bhavishya Purana of Veda Vyaasadeva.

 

Read more: http://harekrishnacalendar.com/vaishnava-calendar/putrada-ekadashi-2014/

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She contributed to ISKCON in numerous ways, including her famous cookbooks, being one of the original six devotees who started ISKCON London, and of course as the beautiful voice singing the Govindam prayers at the greeting of the Deities in all ISKCON temples every morning.

Videos, Audio & Photos

Offerings to Yamuna Mataji

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Actually, they shared a wonderful kirtan with "Khar" & Radha then retired. Between 9 & 10 pm, Yamuna complained of chest pains and pressure to the head.

Dina asked what she wanted to do and Yamuna preferred to sit and chant. She took one over-the-counter head ache relief. At 12:30 am, Dina checked and she was sleeping with her oxygen machine. At 6:30, she checked again but
this time, she had removed the machine,was lying on the bed, looking peaceful with her hand in her bead bag.

 

I spent last Wed with them. I had a sense that we might not meet again in this life time....although we spoke about me coming back and spending some time together....

Your Servant

Malati dd

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Hare Krishna

Respected Devotees 

With immense sorrow and deep regret, I beg to report the departure of Her Grace Yamuna devi dasi, premier disciple of Srila Prabhupada, known for her deeply spiritual qualities and connection with His Divine Grace, for her glorious offering of the Govindam prayers that we hear and chant daily, for her love of pure kirtan, for her ecstatic award winning cook books which were infused with spiritual anecdotes, for greatly inspiring and encouraging the younger generation of ISKCON devotees in their KC, on this morning of Saphala Ekadasi, in her Melborne Beach Florida ashram-kutir which she shared with her dearest friend and companion in devotional service, Dinatarine. I cannot even begin to describe this profound loss. Since poor health has been giving her so much pain and suffering there can be little doubt that Krishna gently called her back to His loving shelter.

Nonetheless, please offer your loving prayers on her behalf.

I am immensely grateful that I was able to spend the auspicious occasion of Srila Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati's Thakur's Disappearance in her association last Wednesday.

In Srila Prabhupada's service,
Malati dd

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Dear Maharajas and Prabhus,
Please accept my humble obeisances _/\ò_. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

I just heard from Abhiram prabhu that Srimate Yamuna devi dasi, Srila Prabhupada's beloved daughter, has passed away from apparent heart attack in Melbourne Florida USA. He heard this directly from Dina Tarini dasi about two hours ago. (time of writing this is 7.45PM India time).

Briefly it seems she was experiencing some angina attack late last night USA east coast time (Dec. 19). The two of them had kirtan together and Yamuna went to bed around midnight.
Dina Tarini woke early in the morning and discovered Yamuna sitting in a chair with her hand in her bead bag but she had already left.
May Srila Prabhupada and her beloved Sri Sri Bana Bihari take her back to Their eternal abode. We have suffered a great great loss.

Your humble servant,
Hari-sauri dasa

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Uproar over call to ban Bhagavad Gita

Uproar over call to ban Bhagavad Gita


Copy of India Hindu Protest

AP

International Society for Krishna Consciousness, ISKCON, followers protest outside the Russian consulate in Kolkata, India, on Monday.

New Delhi - Angry Indian lawmakers forced parliament to close on Monday and protesters gathered outside a Russian consulate over a Siberian trial calling for one of Hinduism's most holy books to be put on a list of banned literature that includes Hitler's Mein Kampf.

The case filed by state prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk says a translation of the Bhagavad Gita is extremist because it insults non-believers, local media in Russia say.

“We will not tolerate an insult to Lord Krishna,” members of parliament shouted, until the house speaker adjourned parliament for several hours.

The Bhagavad Gita takes the form of a conversation between Hindu god Krishna and a prince called Arjuna prior to a battle. Its philosophical insights were praised by Albert Einstein and forms a bedrock of the Hindu belief system.

India and Russia enjoy close diplomatic and defence ties and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh returned from an annual visit to Moscow at the weekend. Lawmakers demanded to know if he had raised the issue of the trial with Russian officials.

The translation up for trial is called Bhagavad Gita as It Is, and is central to the global Hare Krishna movement. Members of the movement link the case against the text to the Russian Orthodox Church, which they claim wants to limit their activities.

Dozens of Hare Krishna adherents in orange robes shouted slogans and danced outside the Russian consulate in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, a Reuters witness said.

More than 20 000 people signed an online petition against the trial and the word Gita was one of the main Indian trends on Twitter on Monday.

Last year , Russian prosecutors banned Adolf Hitler's 1925 semi-autobiographical book Mein Kampf in an attempt to combat the growing allure of far-right politics.

Post-Soviet Russia recognises freedom of religion and names four - Russian Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism - as the nation's main religions.

Other beliefs, particularly sects or groups that try to convert people, are sometimes subject to pressure such as court cases, efforts to break them up and limits on gatherings.

India's foreign minister will address parliament on Tuesday about the government's position with regard to the Bhagavad Gita case. - Reuters

http://www.iol.co.za/dailynews/news/uproar-over-call-to-ban-bhagavad-gita-1.1201198

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Rediff.com

The move to ban Bhagwad Gita by a Siberian court led to a storm in the Lok Saba on Monday, with several members denouncing it and demanding that the government take it up strongly with Russia.
"We will not tolerate any move to insult Lord Krishna," chanted Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad, who was supported by several members, angry over reports that a court in Tomsk was  due to pronounce its verdict in a case calling for a ban on the Bhagwad Gita.
The reason for the reported move is that the Russian translation of a book Bhagwad Gita As It is written by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of International Society for Krishna Consciousness was apparently spreading "social discord".
The issue was raised during Zero Hour by Bhratruhari Mahtab (Biju Janata Dal) who demanded that the Indian Embassy in Moscow should take the issue up with the Russian authorities, saying "the Gita does not preach hatred."
Demanding that religious freedom of the Hindus in Russia should not be compromised, he said the ISKCON had also appealed in this regard to the Indian government.
As soon as he finished speaking, members of Shiv Sena, Bharatiya Janata Party, RJD, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and even Congress member Ijyaraj Singh stood up and protested the move.
They also sought an immediate intervention by the government.
Speaker Meira Kumar, while asking them to maintain order, advised them to submit notices to have a full-fledged discussion on the subject.
Lalu Prasad said the government should lodge a strong protest with Russia, adding "insult to Lord Krishna and the Gita will not be tolerated."  
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shiv Sena's Chandrakant Khaire and BJP's Murli Manohar Josh were on their feet while trying to make their point in an agitated manner. 
As the protests over the Gita issue continued, Kumar adjourned the House until 2 pm.
A case filed in June this year, seeking a ban on the Russian translation of the ISKCON chief's book on Gita, is to come up for hearing in a court in Tomsk in Russia soon.
The petitioners there have argued that the holy book is extreme in nature and could cause social discord. The ISKCON argument is that the proponents of the case have not  consulted any Indologist and have based their arguments on misplaced information.
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