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Strange and Amazing Astronomy Facts

Even though man has studied the heavens for thousands of years, we still know very little about the Universe we live in. And as we continue to learn more, we are consistently amazed, and sometimes confused, by what we learn. Here is a collection of amazing, interesting, and strange astronomy facts, in no particular order.

  • Scientists believe that we can only see about 5% of the matter in the Universe. The rest is made up of invisible matter (called Dark Matter) and a mysterious form of energy known as Dark Energy.
  • Neutron stars are so dense, that a soup can full of neutron star material would have more mass than the Moon.
  • The Sun produces so much energy, that every second the core releases the equivalent of 100 billion nuclear bombs.
  • Galileo Galilei is often incorrectly credited with the invention of the telescope. Instead, historians now believe the Dutch eye glass maker Johannes Lippershey as its creator. Galileo was, however, probably the first to use the device to study the heavens.
  • Black Holes are so dense, and produce such intense gravity, that even light can not escape. Theoretical physicists predict that there are situations under which light can escape (which is called Hawking radiation).
  • Light from distant stars and galaxies takes so long to reach us, that we are actually seeing objects as they appeared hundreds, thousands or even millions of years ago. So, as we look up at the sky, we are really looking back in time.
  • The Crab Nebula was produced by a super nova explosion in 1054 A.D. The Chinese and Arab astronomers at the time noted that the explosion was so bright, that it was visible during the day, and lit up the night sky for months.
  • Shooting stars are usually just tiny dust particles falling through our atmosphere. Comets sometimes pass through Earth’s orbit, leaving trails of dust behind. Then as Earth plows through the dust in its path, the particles heat up, creating the streaks in the night sky.
  • Even though Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, temperatures can reach -280 degrees F. Why? Since Mercury has almost no atmosphere, there is nothing to trap heat near the surface. So, the dark side of Mercury (the side facing away from the Sun) is very cold.
  • Venus is considerably hotter than Mercury, even though it is further away from the Sun. The thickness of Venus’ atmosphere traps heat near the surface of the planet.
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MP3 Audio book with background music & dramatic narration on

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's lilas

Gaura-purnima special - Download for free


[mp3] Track-00_prastavna_n_prak-kathan.mp3 2.0 MB
[mp3] Track-01_janma_tatha_bal_lilayen.mp3 6.4 MB
[mp3] Track-02_yuva_pandit.mp3 5.6 MB
[mp3] Track-03_diksha_tatha_sankirtan_andolan_ka_subharambh.mp3 14.0 MB
[mp3] Track-04_sannyas_grahan_karna_aur_puri_aagman.mp3 5.4 MB
[mp3] Track-05_dakshin_bharat_yatra.mp3 5.5 MB
[mp3] Track-06_purime_lotna_evam_rathayatra_lilayen.mp3 7.7 MB
[mp3] Track-07_uttarbharatme_yatra.mp3 10.6 MB
[mp3] Track-08_puri_bhakto_ke_sath_lilayen.mp3 10.0 MB
[mp3] Track-09_antim_varsh.mp3 2.8 MB
[mp3] Track-10_upsanhar.mp3 584.8 KB
[mp3] Track-11_parishista_01_sri_caitanya_mahaprabhu_purna_puroshottam_bhagvan_hai.mp3 2.7 MB
[mp3] Track-12_parishista_02_sri_caitanya_mahaprabh_ki_shikshaye.mp3 3.5 MB
[mp3] Track-13_parishista_03_sri_caitanya_mahaprabhu_ka_shikshashtakam.mp3 1.5 MB
[mp3] Track-14_lekhak_parichay.mp3 526.8 KB

Based on book written by His Holiness Bhakti Vikasa Swami
Narration by Bhakta J P Sharma (Hollywood, National Geography, Discovery Dubber)
Music mixing by Madhav Das
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Sri Rama Navami

Lord Ramacandra’s Appearance Day
Rama Navami

Hawaii, March 27, 1969

Spoken by His Divine Grace
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

ramadi murtishu kala-niyamena tishthan
nanavataram akarod bhuvaneshu kintu
krishnah svayam samabhavat paramah puman yo
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
[Bs. 5.39]

This is a verse from Brahma-samhita in which the incarnation of Lord Ramacandra is described. Ramadi. Not only Rama, but there are many other, innumerable incarnations. They are compared with the waves of a river. As the waves of the river or the waves of the ocean cannot be counted, similarly, how many incarnations are there of the Supreme Lord it is not possible to count. But out of them, the principal names are mentioned in the sastras. Therefore it is said ramadi. Ramadi means Rama and also other, many incarnations. And they are existing. Not that one incarnation appeared and it is finished. No. Not like that. Just like Lord Ramacandra appeared on this planet, say millions of years before. He appeared in the Treta-yuga. Treta-yuga means... We have passed only five thousand years of this age, Kali-yuga. Before that, there was Dvapara-yuga. Dvapara-yuga means 800,000 years. And before that, there was Treta-yuga, which continued for twelve hundred thousands of years. That means at least two million years before Lord Ramacandra appeared on this planet.

So now Lord Ramacandra appeared in Ayodhya. There is a place in Ayodhya, in northern India. There He appeared. As Krishna appeared in Mathura... That is also northern India. And Mathura is about ninety miles down southward from New Delhi. You have heard the name of New Delhi, the capital of India. So Ayodhya is also situated about five hundred miles northeast of New Delhi. So Lord Ramacandra appeared on this day. Today is called Sri Rama Naumi. On the ninth day of the moon Lord Ramacandra appeared. His father was the king of Ayodhya, and he had three wives. So out of... No. He had two wives. So out of two wives he got four sons. Ramacandra is the eldest son. The life and activities of Lord Ramacandra is... [break] a book which is called Ramayana. You have heard the name of Ramayana. Ramayana is also accepted as history. Vedic literatures are histories also.

The Puranas, the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Mahabharata, and Ramayana, they are counted amongst the history. The history of Ramacandra is that His father wanted to retire. Dasaratha, Maharaja Dasaratha. And he decided to enthrone Lord Ramacandra and retire. So everything was settled, but just one day before, his youngest wife turned the whole thing into different way. Sometimes Maharaja Dasaratha was suffering from what is called whitlow, some trouble in the finger? And this queen served him very nicely, and he was pleased. And he said, “My dear Sarmishtha, if you want some benediction from me, I can give you.” And she replied that “I shall ask you for the benediction when I require it. Not now.” So just one day before Lord Ramacandra’s coronation, she approached her husband Maharaja Dasaratha and reminded him, “My dear husband, you promised to give me some benediction, and I told you that I shall ask you when I require it.” Maharaja Dasaratha said,

“Yes, I remember. You want some benediction just now?” She said, “Yes.” “And what is that?” She said that “Ramacandra cannot be seated on the throne. My son should be coronated, Bharata.” He was surprised. It is a big demand. So he said, “All right. That will be done. Your son.” Because formerly, the kings... Not only formerly, even up to date, there are many kshatriya kings in India. They have more than one wife. And they are, naturally, there is rivalry between different wives. So the same thing. Human psychology is the same. Even two million years ago the same mentality was there, and she asked that “My son should be the king, not Ramacandra.” Ramacandra happened to be the son of Kausalya, the elder queen.

So Maharaja Dasaratha agreed and called for Ramacandra. “My dear boy, your...” She asked also that... She was very diplomatic. She wanted that Ramacandra go to forest for fourteen years. The idea was political, that “The king may agree to install my son just now. Now, after a few days, this Ramacandra may come with His army, and there may be some difficulty to continue the kingdom.” So she wanted that Ramacandra should go to the forest and He should not come back till the end of fourteen years from this day. So Maharaja Dasaratha agreed. Because he was kshatriya. Just see the promise.

A kshatriya never goes back from the promise, never refuses any challenge. If a kshatriya is challenged by somebody, that “I want to fight with you,” oh, he cannot refuse. This is kshatriya spirit. He cannot say that “I am now busy.” Suppose somebody comes to you, that “I want to fight with you.” You may say, “What nonsense fight? I have no time. We are in the temple.” But a kshatriya cannot deny that. A kshatriya at once must accept. “Oh, yes. Come on.” And the weapon should be, if he has no sword or weapon, he should be supplied weapon and fight. This is kshatriya spirit. They were highly charitable and chivalrous and keeping promise and with a great tendency for ruling over. They shall rule over. Administrators. Their business is...

There are different prescription for different classes of men for their livelihood. The brahmanas, they can pull on their livelihood by six ways. Pathana pathana yajana yajana dana pratigraha. Six. And they must be qualified with twelve high qualities. We have many times discussed. Out of that qualification, truthfulness is the first item for a brahmana. A kshatriya may speak lies. That is allowed, because he has to be diplomat, politician. But a brahmana, oh, he’s not allowed to speak lie.

 This is the system, caste system or varnasrama system. Everyone was trained. Because these four classes of men are required in a society. For proper upkeep of society, one class of men must be very intelligent, highly qualified, with all good qualities. They must be trained in that way, ideal character so that people can see and follow them. Therefore brahmanas were taken to so much respect because they’re ideal character, learned, and godly, knows the science, spiritual science. Therefore they’re held in high estimation and topmost of the society. The next, the administrator, administrative class, kshatriyas.

They are trained how to kill. The kshatriyas were allowed to hunt in the forest to learn the art of killing because that was necessity for the kshatriyas. Kshatriya, if he... If the king, if he finds somebody is doing wrong, he can immediately chop off his head if he likes. The king was so powerful. And it is not that if there was some war, it is not that the president or the king shall sit down comfortably at home and ordinary soldiers will go and lay down their life. No. Formerly, the king or the head of the state, he should first of all go there in the fight. You see in the picture, the chief men of the fighting in the Kurukshetra, both sides, they were arrayed, this side, that side, with their chariot.

Not that the head man, the chief man, or the commander is taking shelter back side, protecting himself, and poor soldiers are (chuckles) thrown into the fighting. No. These were kshatriya spirit. And it is necessary that a class of men should be trained up in that way, kshatriya, fighting men. In India, because this training was there since a very long time, so there is no difficulty in recruiting soldiers there.

There is a class of men, they are very much forward in fighting still. They are called... Just like the Gurkhas, the Nepalese. You have heard the name of Nepal. Still a small state, independent state. They are not within India. Between China and India. The whole Nepal population, they are kshatriyas. Oh, they are very good fighters. Similarly, the Sikhs, the Jatas. There are classes. So they’re always forward for fighting. And you’ll be surprised that the British Empire was voluntarily liquidated because they lost India. The Britishers, they understood that because we are now losing India, there is no more possibility to keep our eastern empire. Therefore they liquidated. Why? Actually, the whole British Empire were being administered or managed by Indian soldiers, these Sikhs and Gurkhas. They extended their empire. After taking their position with India, they extended British Empire in the Middle East and Far East simply by these Sikhs and Gurkha soldiers. They got supremacy on the Burma and everywhere.

So there is necessity of a class of fighting men. You are finding in your country difficulty in recruiting because the recruiting process is wrong. You are recruiting from persons... You are training persons just like sudras, and you want them to fight. How they can fight? It is not possible. So as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, that catur-varnyam maya srishtam guna karma vibhagasah... [Bg. 4.13]. Lord Krishna said that “The four classes or orders of the society, brahmana, kshatriya, vaisya, sudra, is planned by Me according to work and quality.” So this kshatriya quality men is also required, the brahmana quality of men is also required, the mercantile community, they are also required, and the laborer class, they are also required. Of course, laborer class, they do not require any training. Laborer class means one who cannot do anything, neither become brahmana, nor become kshatriya, nor become vaisya. That means the last balance of the population, they are called laborer class, sudra. Sudra means one who has no training. Sudra has no samskara. Samskara means training. Everyone is accepted as sudra by birth. Janmana jayate sudra. Janmana means by birth. By birth, everyone is born a sudra, a fourth-class man. It is to be accepted, and actually so. Just like a child, innocent child, what does he know? He has to be trained. Either you train him as a brahmana or train him as a kshatriya or train him as a vaisya. Or otherwise, he is sudra already, born sudra. Sudra has no training. Everyone, the basic principle, basic foreground, everyone, it is accepted sudra. Now, if you train him as a brahmana, then he becomes a brahmana. If you train him as a kshatriya, then he becomes a kshatriya. If you train him as a vaisya... So I think this is, this system is very scientific so that if you want help of a really intelligent man or God realized man, it is ready, the brahmana class. Just like if you require the help of a lawyer, we have got so many lawyers. If you require the help of medical man... Because there are trained men. Similarly, the society requires to train a certain class of men to become brahmanas. Just like we are training the Krishna conscious. The Krishna consciousness is meant for the brahmanas.

They are not meant for fighting because they are not being trained for fighting. They have been trained for becoming brahmanas. Who is brahmana? Brahma janati iti brahmana. The four divisions are described like this. Janmana jayate sudrah, everyone is born sudra. That is accepted. Samskarad bhaved dvijah. Now if you train him, never mind in which family he’s born, you have to train him. Just like boys are sent to school for being trained. So everyone is accepted as sudra, but you now train him. He goes to the guru-griha.

Guru-griha means teacher’s house. Formerly, for being trained, there was no such big scale school and colleges. Every village... Still, fifty years before in India, in every village there was a small school conducted by the brahmana, and the village children would be trained up there. So he was sent for training. And there was no school fee. The boys will go there, and on behalf of the teacher or spiritual master, they will go, brahmacari, door to door, and beg and bring forth alms, rice, dahl, grains, and everything. That was the system. There was no school fee. There was no problem how to send a boy to the school. Samskara. Now he’s trained up. The teacher sees the psychology of the boy, in which way he should be trained. Either he should be trained as a vaisya or he should be trained as a kshatriya. So everyone was trained like that, but generally, the son of a kshatriya... Just like Maharaja Ramacandra or Arjuna, from the very beginning they were trained as kshatriya.

Naturally, if somebody is the son of a medical man his father trains him to become a medical man in future. That is the natural tendency. If the boy is different altogether that is another question, but naturally, that is the tendency. So a kshatriya’s son was trained as kshatriya. A brahmana’s son was trained as a brahmana and a vaisya’s son was trained as a vaisya, and sudra had no training. So gradually this became a caste system. Brahmana’s son became brahmana. Because formerly, the training was there. But when it is vitiated, although a person born in the family of a brahmana, he is doing the work of a sudra. So according to Vedic scripture, one is classified according to his work and quality, not by birth. That is the classification of sastra. Just like in the Bhagavad-gita the Lord says catur-varnyam maya srishtam guna-karma-vibhagasah [Bg. 4.13]. Guna means quality and karma means work. One must be qualified for the work and he must actually work. Then he is counted classified into that, I mean to say, category. Just like if you are simply trained or educated as a lawyer, and if you are not practicing in the court, nobody comes to you to consult as a lawyer.

Nobody cares for you. You must be practicing also. Similarly, to become a brahmana means first of all, he must know what is Brahman and he must be actually situated in the activities of Brahman. So devotional service are activities of Brahman. Activities in Krishna consciousness means activities in Brahman. Brahme carati iti brahma brahmacari. Carati means acts. Actually, he acts in life, applies the principles of brahmana in his life, he is called brahmacari. So these were the trainings.
So just see how the training was, that a kshatriya cannot refuse his promise. So Maharaja Dasaratha, he fulfilled the promise of his youngest wife and asked his son, eldest son Ramacandra, “My dear boy, You’ll have to go to forest for fourteen years. That is the desire of Your youngest mother. And I promised that I shall fulfill her promise, uh, request. So please accept.” Ramacandra said, “Yes father, I am ready.” Just see. This is the quality. Out of the six opulences of God, this is one quality.

aisvaryasya samagrasya

viryasya yasasah sriyah
jnana-vairagyayos caiva
shannam bhagam itingana
(Vishnu Purana 6.5.47)

How one becomes God? God is not manufactured by vote. There are definition who is God. God must be the proprietor of all the riches. Aisvaryasya samagrasya. Samagra means all. Nobody can compete with Him. Here, in this world, material world, I am rich man, and there is another rich man who can compete with me. There is another rich man who can compete with him. But nobody can compete with God in richness. That is one qualification of God. Nobody can say that “I am richer than God.” You can say “I am richer than Ford or Rockefeller” or this or that. You can say. But nobody can say that “I am richer than God.” Therefore in the Bhagavad-gita it is said mattah parataram nanyat asti kincid dhananjaya. Mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya [Bg. 7.7]. Dhananjaya is a name of Arjuna, and Krishna said that, “My dear Arjuna, there is nobody greater than Me.” So if anyone claims that he is God, he must prove by practical example that nobody is richer than him. That is the first. But unfortunately, we are accepting so many Gods. A rascal in the street, he also claims that “I am God.”

So similarly, the other qualification, nobody can be stronger than God, nobody can be wiser than God, nobody can be more beautiful than God, and nobody can be more renouncer than God. So here Ramacandra, Lord Ramacandra exhibited the quality how He renounced the whole kingdom simply on the order of His father, His obedience to father. He could have argued with His father, “My dear father, you, simply for keeping your promise and actuated by the dictation of a woman, you are doing this. Let us stop it. Everyone is expecting that tomorrow My coronation will be there, and they love Me so much.” Because He... Just like Krishna was so much loved, similarly, Lord Ramacandra was the life of the people. They were very much expecting that Ramacandra was going to be enthroned tomorrow. So how they were celebrating, how they were decorating the whole city. Everything. He never argued. He accepted immediately: “Yes, father. I am ready.”

 Lord rama & Sita in Forest

 So then one of the brothers, Lakshmana, He also requested Ramacandra, “My dear brother, You also take Me. I am Your constant companion. I must go with You.” So He said, “That’s Your wish. Voluntarily, if You want to come, You can come with Me.” Then Sita, His wife, young wife, She also said, “I’ll go with You.” Ramacandra requested His wife, “Oh, you cannot go with Me. It is very difficult. You are a king’s daughter, and you are brought up in so nice way, and you are so beautiful. You cannot go. You cannot take the trouble of living in the forest.” So she said, “Oh, I am Your wife. Married wife. So I must go even if You go to hell.” This is ideal wife. She could have refused: “Oh, Your father has ordered to go to forest. You can go. I shall go to my father’s house or I shall remain here.” No. This is ideal wife. She must be prepared to accept any circumstances of the husband. Not that when the husband is rich the wife is very faithful, and when he has come down to be poor or he’s going to forest the wife gives up his company. No. Wife means better half. She must abide.

Just like, it is said, just like a shadow follows the reality, similarly, the wife is the shadow of the husband. Wherever the husband goes, she must go. Whatever the husband wants, she must carry out. Of course, in this country this interpretation is taken differently, that wife is made a slave. But actually, it is not so. When Sita was kidnapped in the jungle, Ramacandra expected that, that she was beautiful, she was young, and “We shall be in open jungle. It may be some demons may come,” and actually it so happened. So for Sita, Lord Ramacandra massacred the whole family of Ravana. Only for Sita. So as the husband, so the wife. The wife was so faithful that she could not remain alone. She must accompany the husband even in the forest. And the husband was so faithful that, “Oh, my wife has been kidnapped.” So He massacred the whole family of Ravana.

So these are ideal history how... Ramacandra, Lord Ramacandra appeared on this world to educate or to place ideal example of a king. How the king should be. Therefore when there is good government... The example is given, Rama-rajya. Rama- rajya. It is the kingdom of Lord Rama. Because everyone was happy, everyone. There are so many instances in the life of Ramacandra. One brahmana... Not brahmana exactly. Somebody came to Ramacandra. Because at that time there was no court like this, that you have to go to a court and apply with stamp fee. Then your judgment will be delivered after six years. It is not like that. Anyone who has got some complaint, he should... The king used to sit in the open audience, and the citizens were allowed to approach the king and place their complaints. Because there was no complaint practically. Everyone was happy. Very minor complaint. So somebody came to Ramacandra, and he charged Ramacandra, “My dear king, my son has died. How is that, in the presence of his father, son can die? There must be something wrong in Your government.” Just see. The charge is “Why my son has died before my death? This is unnatural.” So there was nothing unnatural. The king was responsible even for severe cold, severe heat. That we get from history of Srimad-Bhagavatam. That is stated. So the kings were so much responsible. They were always thinking of the happiness of the citizens, and the citizens were also so nice.

One citizen approached Lord Ramacandra and His next assistant, His brother, Lakshmana, informed Him that “He is a brahmana. You were absent on Your tour for, I think for a fortnight or a month, and this brahmana has not eaten even a drop of water during Your absence.” Why? “Because he comes here to see You, darsana.” Just like we come here in the temple to see the Deity. So Lord Ramacandra was present personally. So he used to come. After seeing Ramacandra, offering his obeisances, then he would go home and take something, his breakfast. That was his vow. And because he could not see for a fortnight or a month Lord Ramacandra because He was out on political tour, he did not eat even. Just see. The citizens were similar to the king. So at that time, there was a statue of Ramacandra which was being worshiped in the family from Maharaja Ikshvaku. Maharaja Ikshvaku, the son of Manu, happens to be the forefather of the family in which Ramacandra appeared. So he was devotee of Lord Rama, and he was worshiping the statue of Lord Rama. So that statue was being worshiped by the family one after another. But when Ramacandra was actually present He kept that statue in the closet of the room, and when this brahmana approached and Ramacandra was informed by Lakshmana that he is so steady and strong in his vow, so Ramacandra ordered that he may be delivered that statue so that in My absence he can offer respect to the statue and do with this. That form, I mean to say, statue, or arca of Ramacandra is still existing in South India. It is being worshiped from that time.

So these were the dealings of Ramacandra. Then He, His younger brother Lakshmana and His wife went to the forest, and His wife was kidnapped by the diplomacy of the demon Ravana, and there was fight between Rama and Ravana. Ravana was very, materialistically, he was very strong. But the thing is for fighting with Ravana, Ramacandra did not come back to His kingdom and take His army. No. He did not come back because He was ordered to live in the forest. So He organized army with the jungle animals, the monkeys. The monkeys. He fought with Ravana, an organized materialist, with the monkeys. You have seen the picture. And He constructed a bridge between India’s last point to the other side. Ceylon is considered to be the kingdom of Ravana. So there was a bridge, and the stones were floating.

So there are so many historical incidences in the life of Ramacandra, and we should remember, because if we remember why we are observing today fasting for Ramacandra... There were many kings like Ramacandra. Because the kings were trained in that way. Maharaja Yudhishthira was also as good as Ramacandra, and Maharaja Parikshit was as good. There were many such kings. But we are not concerned because He was a king. He is the King of all kings, paramesvara. Because He is God, therefore we are observing today. Ramadi-murtishu kala-niyamena tishthan [Bs. 5.39]. So He is not original form of God. The original form of God is Krishna, and Krishna expands Himself in various other forms. Advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam [Bs. 5.33]. Ananta-rupam means millions and millions. The Manu is also incarnation of Krishna. So in one day of Brahma there are fourteen Manus. So Brahma lives for one hundred years. Just see how many incarnation of Manus are there even for one Brahma, and there are innumerable Brahmas also. So, as stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam that nobody can count how many incarnations are there, but some of the chief incarnations are mentioned, and Lord Ramacandra is one of them. So Lord Ramacandra, He killed Ravana and He installed his brother.

His brother was devotee, Vibhishana. So He did not go to conquer Ceylon, because He was emperor. He went to punish that culprit Ravana, and He installed his younger brother Vibhishana in that... And He came back with Sita, and again He was installed after fourteen years, and His brother was so faithful that so long His eldest brother was away, Ramacandra requested Him that “Your mother wants that You should be king, and I also wish that in My absence You should be king.” Bharata, He was so faithful brother, He replied, “No. You are king. So long You are living, nobody can be king. So I cannot be king.” Then He requested, “At least You administer.” Because after the departure of Lord Ramacandra, Maharaja Dasaratha died out of the shock because Ramacandra was very pet son, eldest son. He was going to be king, and by his order He was sent to the forest. The father could not tolerate the shock. He died.


So Ramacandra’s life, God’s activities, pastimes, if we hear, that means we are associating with Ramacandra. There is no difference between His form, His name, His pastimes, and Himself. He’s absolute. Therefore either you chant the holy name of Rama or you see the statue of Rama or you talk of His pastimes, transcendental pastimes, everything, that means you are associating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So we take advantage of these days when the incarnation of God appears or disappears, and we try to associate with Him. By His association we become purified. Our process is purification. Krishna consciousness means simply we are purifying our consciousness. From the birth, as I have explained, everyone is sudra.

Sita, Rama Lakshmana worshipped by Hanuman

Sudra means one who laments. That is called sudra. For a slight loss or slight inconvenience, one who laments, he is called sudra. And brahmana means one who tolerates. A sudra has no toleration. So kalau sudra sambhava. Kalau means... This age is called Kali. So it is the statement of the sastras that in this age the whole population is sudra. And formerly also, by his birth, everyone was considered sudra, but there was training, samskara. At the present moment, there is no samskara, there is no training. The training is only for earning livelihood. No other training. How one can earn money and enjoy senses—that is the training at the present moment. But actually, to make successful the human life or the mission of human life, the Vedic culture is very nice. And by spreading Krishna consciousness, by adopting the process of Krishna consciousness, you can revive that cultural life, sublime life. If not wholesale, if there are a few people trained up in this line, and they become ideal examples to the society, immense benefit can be derived from their examples of life. What is time? [break] (kirtana) (end)

(A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada 27th March 1969. The Appearance day of Lord Rama - Ramanavami, Hawaii, USA.)

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The Garbageman Gets the Mercy

At around 6:20 a.m. I was doing the morning reception service at the Radha-Krishna temple in London when a huge garbage truck stopped outside. I didn't pay much attention, being absorbed in my own business.

Then the garbageman knocked on the door and, smiling cheerfully, asked for a vegetarian book that he saw on display in the window. He wore dirty clothes and had a little wallet with holes.

He rejected "Higher Taste," saying he needed a big vegetarian cookbook. I showed him one, but I didn't know the price. So I asked for fourteen pounds and he gave it. Then he started asking questions about our philosophy in comparison to other religions. Apparently satisfied with my answers, he asked for a small book to read. I gave him "Raja-vidya: The King of Knowledge" and said that he could give any donation he liked.

He gave ten pounds and kept on asking questions. Krishna inspired me to give him the Bhagavad-gita. Praising his inquisitiveness, I entrusted the Gita to him as a gift. Surprisingly, he said, "How much?"

I smiled gently and repeated, "Just a gift."

All of a sudden he took out another very big note, gave it to me, and then returned to his truck.

I looked up in a prayerful mood. "You never know where, when, how, or to whom Krishna will reveal Himself," I thought to myself. Wherever there is a book waiting to be distributed, you open a spiritual portal for a miracle to happen.

Your servant,

Bhakta Alexey

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The Many Wonders of the Neem Tree

  • The Neem tree is a fast growing evergreen that is native to Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. This amazing tree is claimed to treat forty different diseases. All the parts of the tree is used for treating illness, the leaves, fruit, seeds and even the bark all contain medicinal properties.
  • The use of neem as a medicinal herb dates back over 5,000 years. Today it’s benefits have been proven by scientific research and clinical trials. And, although few of us have access to a neem tree, it can be purchased in the form of oil, powder and pills.
  • To give you an idea of the healing powers of the neem tree, here are a few names that the people of India have given it, “Divine Tree”, “Village Pharmacy”, “Heal All” and “Nature’s Drugstore”. With the almost ending list of uses for neem, I think it could be called, ” The Tree of Life”!
  • In treating diabetes, neem has been found to actually reduce the insulin requirements by as much as 50% without altering the blood glucose levels. Take 3 to 5 drops internally each day.
  • Neem cleanses the blood, stimulates antibody protection and strengthens the immune system which improves the bodies resistance to many diseases.
  • Used as a mouth wash it treats infections, mouth ulcers, bleeding sore gums and will even help prevent tooth decay!
  • For pink eye the juice of neem leaves can be used as eye drops, warm 5-10 ml and apply several drops.
  • To treat jaundice, mix 30 ml of neem juice with 15 ml of honey, take on an empty stomach for seven days.
  • If you suffer from burning sensations and excessive sweating, add 5 to 10 drops of neem oil in a glass of milk before going to bed.
  • Proclaimed the best product available in treating psoriasis, 2 capsules should be taken three times daily after meals with a glass of water.
  • Another way to treat psoriasis as well as eczema, skin ulcers, fungal conditions, cold sores and athletes foot, is to mix 1 tablespoon neem oil and 4 ounces of olive oil. This should be applied at least twice daily to the affected areas.
  • For acne problems take 2 capsules twice daily, you will start to see results within a few days.
  • To remove moles and warts, one drop of undiluted neem oil should be directly to the mole or wart and then covered with a small bandage. The procedure should be repeated daily using fresh oil and clean bandage.
  • For sinusitis, plain pure neem oil can be used as nasal drops. Use tow drops twice daily, morning and evening.
  • For athletes foot, soak feet in warm water with 15 ml of neem oil.
  • Neem oil will quickly stop earaches, just warm some oil and apply a few drops into the ear.
  • For hemorrhoids, apply some neem oil to a cotton ball and gently rub for about a week. If preferred a paste can be made by adding a small amount of olive oil or Aloe Vera oil until desired consistency is reached.
  • To prevent hair loss and enhance growth, mix a few drops of neem oil with coconut or olive oil and massage into scalp. This will even prevent your hair from graying!
  • Neem oil can be applied to cuts and abrasions to help them heal quickly. Neem increases blood flow which aids in creating the collagen fibers that helps the wounds to close.
  • As a treatment for burns and even sunburn, neem oil can kill the bacteria, reduce the pain and stimulate the immune system. By stimulating the immune system it speeds up the healing process and there is less scarring.
  • To kill head lice, neem oil should be massaged into the scalp and left on over night. Shampoo your hair as usual the next morning.
  • Neem detoxifies the body and helps maintain healthy circulatory systems, digestive and respiratory systems and helps to keep the urinary tract free of infections.
  • Scientific evidence has shown that neem is valuable in boosting the bodies immune system. A healthier immune system helps your body in fighting off many illness and diseases.
  • Laboratory studies have proven neem to be effective in treating the symptoms of food poisoning associated with both salmonella and staphylococcus. Neem extracts kill the salmonella bacteria and flush it out of your system, reducing the severity and length of the ailment.
  • A neem paste applied directly to the sores caused by chicken pox, will relieve the itching and reduce scarring.
  • Neem tea drank once or twice weekly can even help prevent colds. If you already have the symptoms associated with a cold they can be lessened by drinking neem tea three times a day. It will help alleviate the fever, cough, aches and pains, sore throat, fatigue and nasal congestion.
  • Neem also contains powerful anti-fungal properties that have been shown to aide in the treatment of athletes foot, yeast infections, thrush and even ringworm.
  • In it’s use of treating hepatitis, 80% of test subjects showed a significant improvement. The neem extract can actually block the infection that causes this virus.
  • Drinking neem tea during an outbreak of influenza will help alleviate some of the symptoms and speed up the recovery time. Neem has an amazing ability to literally surround viruses and prevent them from even infecting the cells.
  • Use of a neem based powder for jock itch will reduce the itching, dry the area and kill the fungus. For severe cases a neem lotion may be more effective.
  • The length and severity of an outbreak of mononucleosis can be decreased by drinking neem tea twice a day for two weeks.
  • For shingles, neem cream should be applied to the affected area at least three times per day. Severe cases should also be treated with neem tea after each meal, but tea should not be consumed for more than two weeks at a time.
  • Thrush can be effectively treated with neem tea, it will reduce the inflammation, reduce the pain and speed healing. Children under the age of 12 should not drink neem tea, for children this young it should only be used to gargle.
  • Secondary bacterial infections in the nasal passages and respiratory system can be decreased by inhaling steam from boiling the leaves.
  • In a recent study neem was shown to lower cholesterol levels when taken for a month in either the capsule form or the extract.
  • Scientific studies have proven that neem will reduce blood clots, heart irregularities and even reduce blood pressure. Results can be seen within one month on a regimen of extract or capsules.
  • Neem will increase the bodies production of T-cells, which will attack infections.
  • The use of neem oil on the skin is known to actually rejuvenate the skin, it also promotes collagen and will work in the treatment of many skin conditions including acne. Acne can be cleared up with a few day by taking two neem capsules twice daily.
  • It is reported that neem will help in fighting chronic fatigue.
  • For headaches neem powder should be applied to the forehead, neem oil should also work in combating headaches when used the same way.
  • The inflammation, pain and swelling of the joints associated with arthritis can be greatly relieved with the use of neem. Neem changes the immune systems response to arthritis and can halt the progress of this disease.
  • For centuries neem has been used to reduce tumors. Clinical research has shown remarkable effects in the reduction of tumors and cancers and also in treating leukemia.
  • Neem is highly effective in treating gastritis, indigestion and heartburn.
  • Blood disorders such as blood poisoning, kidney problems and poor circulation have been benefited by the use of neem.
  • With all of the countless medicinal benefits that are already provided with the use of neem, it is also being studied very closely for a treatment for AIDS, cancer, allergies, diabetes and both male and female forms of birth control!
  • Neem oil should be stored in a cool dark place, if the oil solidifies it can be placed in warm water to bring back to liquid form.
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Bhakti Vriksha


Benefits on doing Bhakti Vrksa in your area

1. Enables systematic training of new devotees with a set curriculum for 64 weeks.

2. Trains devotees to level where they are committed to serving Srila Prabhupada’s Iskcon, and understand the qualities of a guru and a disciple within a year.

3. Based on Devotee Care Principles - Spiritual, Emotional, Social, and Physical.

4. Trains devotees to lead their own groups within 64 weeks and also keep advancing through continued guidance and support from the seniors.

5. Creates enthusiastic, committed, and energetic devotees who are trained in different devotional activities.

6. As group size is limited to 15, can be conducted in devotee’s homes.

7. Does not consume much time to temple leader’s, but requires their support.

8. Provides increasing service and financial support to temples through continuous growth in quality and quantity of devotees.

9. Provides interesting and highly satisfying engagement for devotees, increasing their commitment to Iskcon.

10. Can be spread all over the city and also in towns and villages where there is no Iskcon centre.

11. No disturbance to neigbours by our programs.

12. Different ethnic, linguistic, and social groups are reached due to individual attention from leaders.

13. Builds a strong, well -knit community of devotees with wonderful Vaishnava qualities.

14. Provides each and every one with a life- time of service.

15.In spite of constant expansion, quality of devotees maintained through personal attention from group leaders.

16. Devotees develop a service mood and so are respectful to authority, warm and loving to each other and to every one else. This attracts more and more people to join.

17. Good relationships are built and any misunderstandings are easily solved as there is good communication between leaders.

18. Regular meetings for all levels of leaders ensures the co-operation of every one as well asthe progress of the groups.



The Congregational Development Ministryoffers you books and e-books to help members of your community to learn and apply this tool. Here are some of the titles we have available as physical books and e-books.


*NewBhakti Vriksha Manual

A step-by-step guide to implementing dynamic, small-group preaching, the Bhakti-vriksha Manualprovides an effective framework to organize, cultivate, and expand the community of devotees.


*Bhakti Vriksha Modules

It is a 64 week practical guide intended to facilitate the application of the Bhakti Vriksha principles very systematically. It is simple and easy to follow.

*The Book of Icebreakers

This book has more than 300 ideas for your Bhakti-vriksha meetings, home programs, youth retreats, seminars, decision-making sessions, reunions, and any time you want to add spice to a gathering.

*The sector Leader

This book is meant for devotees who have been given the responsibility of acting as Sector Leader in Bhakti Vrksa organization. It is also useful for those who have implemented or are thinking of implementing the Bhakti Vrksa program in their yatra.


*The Bhakti Vrksa Leader

This book is meant for devotees who have been given the responsibility of acting as Bhakti Vrksa Leader. It is also useful for those who have implemented or are thinking of implementing the Bhakti Vrksa program in their yatra.


*Counselling in Bhakti Vrksa

Counseling is self-improvement. Some of the reasons people seek counseling include a desire to overcome obstacles in their spiritual life, increase self-confidence, clarify values and priorities, cope with stress, overcome depression, improve relationships with friends and family.


*A hand book for Bhakti Vrksa Members (part 1 and 2)

This book was made to make the job of the Bhakti Vrksa leader easier in training all new Bhakti Vrksa members in learning various slokas, songs and all other aspects of devotional service in small steps.


If you would like to learn more about starting Bhakti Vrksa Program, please visit our website at or email us at


On behalf of The Congregational Development Ministry,


Madhavi Kirti devi dasi


CDM – Sri Mayapur Dham


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The Scientific Worldview-Truth or Consequences?
By Dhanesvara Das
Finding the Truths with Science

In a relative world, such as the one we live in, how does one find truth? That quest is undertaken by many young adults as they try to make sense of the world, and I was one such seeker in my youth. My experiences in college played an important role in guiding my search, providing a proving ground on which to test different concepts as I came across them. The Arts almost immediately failed my litmus test, as learning and attending to the subjective prejudices of my instructors were more important to getting a good grade than was any attempt to find or discuss universal truths. Nobody there seemed to be interested in such ideas, so I quickly abandoned the arts for engineering.

Engineering college seemed to be illumined in high contrast “black and white”- the confusing shades-of-gray missing. Test questions were either right or wrong and not influenced by the instructor’s daily biorythms or other unknown or unknowable ephemeral influences too subtle for my developing understanding. I liked the fact that in engineering college 2+2 always equaled four, the second law of thermodynamics was as applicable on all continents, and that from theory one could extract principles that had the real-world results of dependable bridges, heavier-than-air flight, and communication using the electromagnetic spectrum. Here, I thought, I could find the genuine truths that applied everywhere-and-every-time, upon which to develop a reliable understanding of the world.

Likewise, I think that many people, probably even most, also consider science as that branch of study that has become the most powerful tool to discover and know the truths of our world.

The Scientific Method

Derived from the philosophy of rationality, and the principles of logic, scientific principles assert that the external world is real, that there is but one single reality, and the goal of science is to understand that reality. The scientific method requires the testing of ideas or postulates that are collected in a hypothesis, which will predict certain outcomes based upon logical deduction and known scientific principles. The hypothesis is then tested rigorously, and attempts should even be made to disprove it. After it withstands these challenges and its predictions are demonstrated to be correct, and as or even more importantly, not proven incorrect, the hypothesis may then be elevated to the status of a theory. Thus challenges, critiques, and testing of hypotheses are an integral and inseparable part of bona fide science.

At the time I was reassured with such an ideal understanding of science and I pursued graduate school, as much as my own personal quest for the truth as for other reasons. However, not only was I learning more about material science, I was also maturing and developing my understanding of the world about me. In fact, I learned as much or more about people and the world in those years as I did about science, and there was one lesson that combined both that had a major impact on me. The research that I was engaged in was meant to replace a much older, and factually inaccurate, method of determining the physical properties of metals. Somewhere along the line however, I was able to reason that just as my professor and I were working to upset a long-standing theory and assert a better one, someone at some future time would likely come along and unseat our theory with something better. Thus I began to see that certain aspects of science were not rigid or fixed truths, but more practically they were a collection of facts that best represented what people at any given time could understand.

In fact, it is flatly stated in scientific theory that no aspect of “knowledge” can be considered as the conclusive or absolute truth, for exactly the same reasons as I was able to discern-at any time a better idea may come along that will disprove the earlier ones. This developing perception created an existential crisis in which I felt myself floundering in a Nietzschean-like world that was not grounded by any fixed principle. Where then do we find truth, or do we find any at all? The world of “science” now seemed as uncertain as the Arts and seemed to afford little to no shelter or succor in an increasingly relative and uncertain world.

Serendipitously however, it was just at this time that I was becoming acquainted with another approach to the truth-that of the Vedic perspective. Having learned about Vedic wisdom from a friend, I had acquired and began studying the Bhagavad-gita As It Is by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. The timing couldn’t have been better. As the scientific rug was being pulled out from under me, I seemed to step onto a magic carpet that carried me to an epistemological firmament, and at the same time provided a meaning to life that superseded everything I had known. And all this despite the fact that I couldn’t even pronounce many of the words. Over the years my continued study of the Bhagavad-gita has allowed me to better understand the nature of this world.

It is said that understanding a problem is 90% of its solution. And the great Einstein has instructed us that “problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them.” This is the advantage of the Bhagavad-gita, or Vedic worldview-it provides a perspective that is distinctly different from Western experience, and allows problems to be reframed in such a way that solutions are more readily apparent. Further, it’s a worldview that can account for all of the myriad experiences of human life. It is from theistic Vedic perspective that I have learned to view the world and its events, activities, and problems. In this paper I report on some of them-deviations in the sciences and other areas of academia.

Although most non-scientists generally think that science is relatively straight forward in its approach, in many of its practices it is becoming increasingly at odds with its own bona fide methods. Social scientist Karl Popper has analyzed the methods of science and his philosophical approach, called the hypothetico-deductive method, is widely accepted as the best approach to scientific logic. Despite the fact that the best practices are well-known they are not always used. Harvard Professor Emeritus Dr. Ernst Mayr, in his 1997 biology textbook writes that even among scientists there actually is a fair amount of confusion about what science really is, or how it should be practiced. Some say that science is limited to that which can be known by observation and experiment. Yet others say that by its influence science consists not simply of the true facts of the world, but also includes what scientists may say about the world-regardless of what the true state of the world may be-because their mere assertions carry great legitimacy due to the authority that science has achieved within society.

These ideas imply that science may be or is being used for purposes other than a search for truth. Indeed, some consider that beyond its usefulness in allowing us to create items helpful for our lives, science is being used as a system of power and means of social control. These uses of science are decidedly controversial, and are considered by many, especially in a democratic society, to exceed its legitimate boundaries. I share fully in this opinion and it is my premise in this article that science, especially within academia, flagrantly violates the legitimate limits of its domain and this has resulted in serious sociological consequences that go mostly unobserved by the general public.

Science As a Legitimizing Tool

The foundations of every culture largely rest upon existential stories (worldviews) that explain how the world was created, who mankind is, and what our purpose is in this world. It is important that such existential explanations be offered because almost every individual requires answers for them. Every indigenous culture has a creation story which answers existential questions, and practically without exception these are theistically-based worldviews presented as historical truths within the culture itself. An intelligentsia, or priestly class, traditionally had the role of their interpretation for their general public. The creation story and nature of the answers to existential questions influence what types of activities are allowable, how the economies of the culture function, as well as the motivations and relationships of its people. Notably, many cultural religious worldviews that include a hierarchy of gods are often considered nothing more than myths by today’s condescending anthropologists. As we shall see, there is a motivation for such an interpretation.

It is worth noting that in more recent years, in both the east and west, the authority of the intelligentsia lies not with qualified individuals as was formerly the case, but has become established within institutions through which it can be passed on to others: the authority of the institution now replacing the qualification of the individual, with significant consequences to the body politic. Thus we now often find that instead of through qualification, positions of authority are achieved by inheritance or through some other mechanism of transfer of power. All too often these posts are acquired by persons unqualified for the position, and who may have ulterior motives for power and control. In the Roman church power was held by and transferred to the popes in repeated succession. Their declarations, issued as papal bulls, were the authoritative conclusions regarding any important matter. During the later half of the second millennium the locus of authority and source of the dominant worldview shifted from the Roman church and its popes to science and scientists respectively. Today it is the scientists and other academicians who have taken on the priestly role of defining the “true” nature of reality, and their declarations of today’s truths are passed on to the rest of us through their professional journals.

An important difference exists between our scientific and previous authorities. The scientific worldview is not derived from a theological source, but is in fact a socially constructed concept of reality, thus it requires legitimization that is unnecessary for religions. This legitimization is possible if it assumes the mantle of transcendence inherent in religion. Harvard University Professor and geneticist Richard Lewontin describes how an institution may do so in his book Biology As Ideology.

First “the institution as a whole must appear to derive from sources outside of ordinary human social struggle. It must not seem to be the creation of political, economic, or social forces, but to descend into society from a supra-human source” . . . second “the ideas, pronouncements, rules, and results of the institution’s activity must have a validity and a transcendent truth that goes beyond any possibility of human compromise or human error. Its explanations and pronouncements must seem to be true in an absolute sense and to derive somehow from an absolute source. They must be true for all time and all place” . . . and third “the institution must have a certain mystical and veiled quality so that its innermost operation is not completely transparent to everyone. It must have an esoteric language, which needs to be explained to the ordinary person by those who are especially knowledgeable and who can intervene between everyday life and mysterious sources of understanding and knowledge.”

It is not too difficult to deduce that these characteristics have actually been derived from religious worldviews and ideologies and applied to science. Consider that science claims to be objective, impartial, and nonpolitical, and that most scientists believe that science operates in an atmosphere free from political intrusion. The sciences such as physics and chemistry, are also seen to be universally true in all times and places, and the methods of science are constructed in such a way that they create a product or knowledge thought to be free from the ordinary human foibles of greed, envy or deceit. The scientific method (when properly practiced) is thus thought to result in universal truths, which we afford the title of laws, and which we must all accept simply as facts of life with nothing leftover to argue about. Science also uses an opaque language that is inaccessible to all but its members and which requires interpretation for the common man.

Writing with rare candor and openness for a highly recognized scientist, Lewontin unabashedly tells us that besides providing explanations of how the world works, and even irrespective of the practical truth of it’s claims, science has served this purpose of social legitimization with remarkable success. He explains that science can be seen as a social institution whose job is to fight an ideological battle within people’s minds, for the purpose of peacefully maintaining the existing social order.

The fact is that Lewontin is not making idle claims, because in many respects mainstream science is being used to support a political agenda. Scientific establishments both in academia and industry have settled into a fixed perception of reality that is not supported by scientific fact. Further, reputable and competent scientists are discovering and presenting sound scientific evidence that is being ignored and even suppressed. Where there should be controversy and debate we hear only the sounds of silence. And scientists who challenge this agenda are dealt with by derision, loss of respect, jobs, and even careers. Next let’s look at just some of a vast amount of evidence that demonstrates the deviations of science from its pure purpose of pursuing the truth.

The Failures and Transgressions of Modern Cosmology In modern cosmology a great deal rests upon what is called the red shift. Light from distant stars is shifted toward the red end of the visible spectrum. In physics this is called the Doppler effect and with sound it is the result of the increased frequency (higher tone) of the sound of an approaching object, decreasing (lower tone) as it passes. In astronomy it is assumed that this shift of frequency is also the result of velocity, and a lot is riding on this assumption since the red shift figures prominently into many astronomical calculations. These include among others the distance of stars and planets, the expansion of the universe, and the age of the universe since the Big Bang. So what’s going on in the field? That depends on where you look.

Inside of academia and other establishment institutions the Big Bang and the red shift are presented as final conclusions with only some minor details to be worked out. But look elsewhere and you will find a controversy raging over both the interpretation of the red shift and the Big Bang itself. Astronomer Halton Arp was pushed out of his position at the Mt. Polomar observatory because he dared to challenge the prevailing interpretation of the red shift. He speaks to both the lack of professionalism in science as well as the limits on debate in his book Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology and Academic Science. He says there “What could be done, and is not done, however, is to use the observations to rule out a 75-year-old model [the Big Bang] which is presently unquestioned dogma. The mission of academia should be to explore-not perpetuate myth and superstition. Today, any newspaper, science magazine, or discussion of scientific funding, will take for granted that we know all the basic facts: that we live in an expanding universe, all created in an instant out of nothing, in which cosmic bodies started to condense from a hot medium about 15 billion years ago. The observations are not used to test this model . . . . It is embarrassing, and by now a little boring, to constantly read announcements about ever-more-distant and luminous high-redshift objects, blacker holes, and higher and higher percentages of undetectable matter…. For those who have examined the evidence on redshifts, and decided that redshifts are not primarily velocity … the important question arises as to how a disproved assumption could have become so dominant. These challenges come from many directions. In his article in 21st Century Science & Technology, Grote Reber writes mockingly about the assumptions of the Big Bang Theory and how they are being handled: “The whole business of Big Bang Creationism is very shaky and based upon dubious assumptions. The underlying questions have become lost in the sands of time and are no longer taught-even in astronomy schools! Lately, Big Bang Creationists have far overplayed their hand, making themselves look like fools. However, because the old-line scientific trade journals are also dominated by reactionary fuddy-duddies, there is not much opportunity for readers to examine the underlying issues.”

Are these examples of bona fide science that we thought our institutions were engaged in, or are these examples of propaganda and manipulation of public perception? Clearly they are the latter, and we are forced to wonder why. Nor are these two alone. There are many top-notch scientists who join in chorus with them challenging the reigning paradigm, but the public, and even students, hear nothing about the controversy. Further evidence of the deliberate false portrayal is provided by examining the Physics Department websites of many universities-none indicate any serious conflict surrounding the Big Bang Theory.

To be fair, the problems are mentioned by cosmologists, but almost without exception they are dismissed as being of little consequence, insignificant aberrations that will be cleared up with a little more tinkering, or else the theory is amended to accommodate what should be there, but isn’t (such as the “dark matter” that we hear so much about). But the almost unlimited tinkering involved to adjust a theory that does not allow or provide for scientific observations cannot be considered sound science. Scientific method says that theory must be established based on observation, and that it is not good science to continually amend theory that does not initially provide for subsequently observed phenomena. Any hypothesis or theory that does not adequately provide for observation is generally thrown out after a while, and a fresh theory developed that can accommodate all of the observations. Another way of saying this is that in science and philosophy the rule is that postulations are not to be made beyond necessity, yet the long list of problems of the BBT indicates that at least some concepts have been postulated beyond necessity. William Mitchell, in his book Cult of the Big Bang, thoroughly-documents more than thirty significant problems of the Big Bang hypothesis that are minimized by the academic establishment. So why is all of this being allowed to masquerade in the name of science? Mitchell says that enormous effort had been spent, and continues to be spent, in support of the Big Bang in a way that is not the method of impartial research, the supposed hallmark of pure science, and he questions how could good and talented men can participate in these endeavors. His conclusion is that other forces must be at work to corrupt the process. I couldn’t agree more. Science is losing its scientific character, taking on the look and feel of belief, and Geoffrey Burbidge, Professor of Physics at the University of California, San Diego, for one, is willing to admit it: “Big bang cosmology is probably as widely believed as has been any theory of the universe in the history of Western civilization. It rests, however, on many untested, and [in] many cases, untestable assumptions. Indeed, big bang cosmology has become a bandwagon of thought that reflects faith as much as objective truth.” We wonder if these practices of “science” are unique to cosmology. Would that it were true. Manipulation of science can, unfortunately, be found everywhere-especially where the origins of life are concerned. Are Chemicals the Origin of Life?

After the Big Bang resulted in the construction of the planets, the next major feature of the scientific worldview is that life arose spontaneously from the “primordial soup”, a sea of chemicals that offered the unique circumstances for the constituent parts of living cells to self-assemble by chance combination. Darwin’s ideas of evolution have subsequently achieved the same dogmatic status as the Big Bang Theory: an established fact that all scientists accept and over which there is little remaining controversy (allowed).

The suggestion is simple enough, but can chance chemical combinations actually form living cells? What is a cell? When Darwin first published Origin of the Species very little was known about biological systems and their complexity. One of Darwin’s great admirers during the nineteenth century, Ernst Haeckel, expressed the prevailing idea that cells were a “simple little lump of albuminous combination of carbon,” something molecular biologist Michael Behe says we might liken to a homogeneous blob of Jell-O. Given the limitations of the microscopes of the time it was an entirely reasonable deduction that the cell could easily have been produced from inanimate material and simply come together by a chance combination of chemicals. It’s easy to assume something when you have no idea of the implications of the assumption. Much harder however when you actually understand what lies behind the assumption.

In the interim since the idea of evolution was first established, especially in the past twenty years, great advances have been made in understanding the inner-workings in the microscopic world of the living cell. The field of Molecular Biology has opened up the cell and exposed its fantastic workings, and we have learned that cells are made mostly of proteins, which are in turn made of amino acids. The twenty amino acids combine in chains of several hundred up to a thousand in very specific arrangements to form thousands of types of proteins, and in cells this is what we find-hundreds of thousands of proteins of hundreds of types-a typical cell contains ten million million atoms.

Since Darwinian theory assumes that life forms were created by the chance interaction of chemicals, how reasonable is it to assume that just one single protein molecule “self-assembles” by chance combination? By chance combination we mean that if the required amino acids were in the proximity of each other they would combine to form proteins. And now that we know the number of cell components that must be specifically ordered, this becomes a rather easy statistical calculation. Consider that even if all the atoms on the earth’s surface, including water, air, and the crust of the earth were made into conveniently available amino acids and 4 to 5 billion years were allowed, the odds are l0161 (1 with 161 zeros after it) to one that not one usable protein could have resulted from chance combinations, and it becomes even more impossible when we estimate the probability to develop a cell.

Morowitz has determined the probability for the origin of the organic precursors for the smallest likely living entity by random processes . . . The chances for producing the necessary molecules, amino acids, proteins, etc., for a cell one tenth the size of the smallest known to man is less than one in (10340)6 or 10 with 340 million zeros after it. Noting that mathematicians consider that any event with odds of less than 1 in 1050 to be flatly impossible, people such as Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick, who, along with James Watson, determined DNA’s molecular structure, have come to this conclusion:

“If a particular amino acid sequence was selected by chance, how rare an event would this be? . . . Suppose the chain is about two hundred amino acids long; this is, if anything, rather less than the average length of proteins of all types. Since we have just twenty possibilities at each place, the number of possibilities is twenty multiplied by itself some two hundred times. This is conveniently written 20 and is approximately equal to10260, that is, a one followed by 260 zeros. This number is quite beyond our everyday comprehension. The great majority of sequences can never have been synthesized at all, at any time.” (emphasis added)

Now, either the mathematical science of statistical probability it wrong, or else chemicals did not self-assemble by chance alone to create proteins, or cells or life. Since statistical probability is one of the most well-developed and tested sciences, we then come to the conclusion (if we are going to use the scientific method) that life did not arise from the chance combination of molecules. It can’t have happened by chance. Period. Full stop. Something else then must have been involved. That something is pointed to again and again in dozens of books over the past decade that demonstrate the impossibility of the now Neo-Darwinian theory. But has establishment science considered this evidence to throw out a discredited theory? No, biology walks in lock-step with cosmology in denying any scientific evidence that can upset the ruling paradigm that matter alone is the cause of all causes.

Amazingly, the controversies within biology follow the same pattern of obfuscation and denial that is found in cosmology. Like the Big Bang, Darwinian evolution has plenty of controversy, but it is not given an adequate intellectual or scientific response from the biology establishment. Instead of addressing the issues they are dismissed with scant attention often simply because of the source-Behe, Dembski and others are Christian creationists. It is falsely claimed that their ideology influences their science too much. Thus their arguments are shunted to the “fringes” of science and are given short-shrift in academic and professional journals. The only time that these challenges get a fair hearing is when the authors take their case to the public via the popular press, and now scores of books offer legitimate and sound scientific challenges to evolutionary theory.

Any intelligent individual who reads the above arguments can reasonably conclude that the chance evolutionary creation of all this world and its immense biological diversity is impossible. One needn’t have a long list of letters after his name to understand these concepts. Yet, although the controversy has been raging for decades, very little is changing. Even as far back as 1986 chemistry professor Robert Shapiro criticized several aspects of research on the origin of life. “We have reached a situation where a theory has been accepted as fact by some, and possible contrary evidence is shunted aside”. He concludes that “this is mythology rather than science.”

Scientific Make-Believe What to speak of discounting scientific challenges, it has been found that biology community actually participates in scientific fraud by perpetuating and teaching evolutionary concepts in college textbooks that have long since been proven false. In Icons Of Evolution author Jonathon Wells demonstrates that even advanced college textbooks, and publications from such esteemed institutions as The National Academy of Sciences, contain patently false and deliberately misleading statements about evolution. In his introduction he writes: “The following chapters compare the icons of evolution with published scientific evidence, and reveal that much of what we teach about evolution is wrong. This fact raises troubling questions about the status of Darwinian evolution. If the icons of evolution are supposed to be our best evidence for Darwin’s theory, and all of them are false or misleading, what does that tell us about the theory? Is it science, or myth? . . . The implications for American science are potentially far-reaching.” More than you probably knew.

In discussing what science does and how it does it Lewontin describes how science is being used to legitimate an entirely fictitious story-that of human sexual preference. It is worth quoting him at length. He says: “Thus, the entire discussion of the evolutionary basis of human sexual preference is a made-up story, from beginning to end. Yet it is a story that appears in textbooks, in courses in high schools and universities, and in popular books and journals. It bears the legitimacy given to it by famous professors and by national and international media. It has the authority of science. In an important sense, it is science because science consists not simply of a collection of true facts about the world, but is the body of assertions and theories about the world made by people who are called scientists. It consists, in large part, of what scientists say about the world whatever the true state of the world might be. “Science is more than an institution devoted to the manipulation of the physical world. It also has a function in the formation of consciousness about the political and social world. Science in that sense is part of the general process of education, and the assertions of scientists are the basis for a great deal of the enterprise of forming consciousness. Education in general, and scientific education in particular, is meant not only to make us competent to manipulate the world but also to form our social attitudes.” (emphasis added)

I am willing to bet that you didn’t know that the function of a scientific education was to convince your children that sexual preference, a disingenuous way of saying homosexual inclinations, is written in their genes, and therefore such inclinations must be “normal.” E. O. Wilson the father of a theory called sociobiology which says that sexual and other human behaviors are determined only by our genes tells us that “human beings are absurdly easy to indoctrinate. They seek it.” Further he say that they are characterized by blind faith: “Man would rather believe than know.” I ask then, who is it that has given science (including Wilson) permission to determine what social attitudes we should be indoctrinated with? It certainly is not “mom and pop” because the overwhelming majority of people in most cultures consider homosexuality a social deviation and unacceptable. Who then is making such socially significant decisions in the name of science? It becomes easier to see where this is all going by examining the conclusions of several fields of study together, so we’ll look at just a few more.


The story of prehistory from the field of Botany offers another interesting arena where we find lots of evidence of scientific make-believe. Since evolutionary theory demands that everything can only have evolved from a common ancestor, wild plants must have been the precursors of domesticated ones. When asked to explain the origins of our current domestic grains botanists offer the miraculous solution that with time and patience Neolithic farmers created them by crossbreeding wild species over hundreds of generations. That’s an entertaining answer, especially since doing so even defies our current bio-engineering abilities. The Botanical Garden BIN RAS in St. Petersburg, Russia, has not been able to cultivate wild rye into a new form of domestication in more than more 165 years of effort, even with the tools and understanding of modern biology. Their rye has lost none of its wild traits, especially the fragility of its stalk and its small grain. The hypothetical suggestion of Neolithic bioengineers is science? In the hypothetical-deductive scientific method it isn’t. It is simply a speculative story with many unscientific assumptions. As in biology, the “science” of botany attempts to go beyond the limits of its domain to explain events that cannot be tested. In this manner both fields are using the authority afforded them by their bona fide scientific findings to present a philosophy of life and legitimate a particular worldview.

Linguistics Not only do the “hard” sciences give evidence of a fixed worldview, but the social sciences are pressed into service to support the scientific worldview as well. In the field of linguistics languages are traced by what is called etymology, or the history of words through time and cultures. Uses of a particular word can be traced to their earlier counterparts from neighboring cultures. In this way changes in all languages are recorded-except for one-the language of ancient India, Sanskrit. It is a well recognized fact that the phonology (the speech sound) and morphology (the science of word formation) of the Sanskrit language is entirely different from all of the languages of the world, and that changes noted in all other languages are not to be found in Sanskrit. This is the actual history. Yet, on 2nd February 1786 Sir William Jones, in his Presidential speech for the Asiatic Society presented a fabricated theory about a “proto-language” that was supposed to have been the mother of all languages. This unknown language, “Indo-European” in origin, was designed to provide ancestry to Sanskrit language, and to provide a cover-story for the theory of the Aryan invasion.

It was Franz Bopp (1791-1867), a German linguist, and close associate of Jones who was the main person to popularize the term “Proto-Indo-European” or “Indo-European.” Bopp rejected the arguments of earlier linguists who considered Sanskrit to be the original language of the world. He was an active member of the Asiatic Society, and interestingly, the London Magazine gave excellent reviews of his works. The Proto-Indo-European language, despite the fact that it has never been shown to exist, is accepted today by academic linguists, as the root of languages in Europe, the Middle East, and India. Indology The history of India as presented in its Puranas and other texts such as the Mahabharata or Ramayana, is accepted as truth by hundreds of millions of India’s native population, but academia regards them simply as superstitious myth. In place of this history British “Indologists” have created a history for India suggesting that there were simply barbarians in the subcontinent before the hordes of the Aryan Invasion brought culture along with them. The attempt was made to have the Aryan invasion turn India’s ancient Vedas into little more than primitive poems of uncivilized plunderers. The articles of the Asiatic Researches were intentionally derogatory and presented false descriptions of Indian society, its history and religion. In 1828 an atheistic society was formed in Calcutta, and its founder and coworkers received great appreciation by the British, were welcomed in England, and praised by the writers of the Asiatic Society. In 1847 Max Müller was appointed by the East India Company to misinterpret the theme of the Vedas and construct a false history of India.

Recent scholarship is gradually correcting these attempts at revisionist history, so much so that even establishment scholars are now beginning to question the whole idea. In fact there was no Aryan Invasion. India’s culture is the oldest on the planet, and the mother of all other civilizations as supported by recent archeological finds in Orissa. On the banks of the Subarnarekha River was found evidence of a continuous culture extending from 2 million years ago to 5,000 BCE without a break. Why then all of the revisionist history? Because the history of India as the seat of the world’s theistic culture had to be altered if the materialistic worldview was to become the dominant paradigm of thought.

Archeology As reported elsewhere in these pages by Michael Cremo, a great deal of evidence demonstrating the great antiquity of human existence has been discarded from acceptable academic discussion and even hidden from public knowledge. This has been necessary to support the idea that mankind is the recent result (the last 25-50,000 years) of evolution. The fossil record in fact not only challenges that theory, it destroys it-if the evidence is admitted into academic consideration, which it is not.

Cremo and associates collected over 900 pages of evidence formerly published in professional journals, but allowed to slip into oblivion by the establishment archeology community. Remarkably, where establishment archeologists restrict human presence in the Americas to the last 15-20,000 years only, there is abundant evidence of older human presence. In the Americas evidence of human presence has been found from 125,000 years (the Sheguiandah, Canada artifacts) to over 600 million years (Dorchester, Massachusetts metallic vase).

Of course the immediate question that comes to mind is that if Cremo and team, a two-person research organization, have uncovered so much bona fide evidence of extreme human antiquity, then why hasn’t the remainder of the entire archeological profession acknowledged the same? Why, as in the case with cosmology, is there no debate within the profession about this evidence and the failure of the accepted theories to accommodate it?

Connecting the Dots In each of the areas reviewed above, the conclusions of all academic studies and research have something in common. That is, they all attempt to squeeze a square peg into a round hole in their efforts to support the scientific worldview, or dominant paradigm. Let’s remember that the scientific worldview follows something along these lines:

In an instant after the Big Bang all matter was created and the stars and planets gradually coalesced as matter cooled. On our planet only, by the sheerest of chances, chemicals self-assembled from a chemical primordial soup to spontaneously generate simple living creatures. Over vast spans of time and by individual chance mutations, one-at-a-time, one living thing gradually gave rise to another until the planet was filled with millions of varieties of life-fish, birds, plants, insects, animals, and ultimately, in only the last 25-50,000 years, your ancestors-homo sapiens sapiens-human beings. At first hardly distinguishable from animals we gradually became more and more civilized. We now stand at the pinnacle of evolution, and it doesn’t get any better than this. Remember-enjoy it as much as you can, because when you die, that’s it-game over.

This worldview is thought to be created in a composite manner, with the conclusions of all areas of study added together to complete the general picture. Cosmology tells about the beginnings of creation, and planetary formation. Biology tells us about how life was formed and how life processes work. The archeological record tells us how species evolved from one another and where and when mankind appeared and how he populated the planet. History gives us the story of various civilizations and tells us about our social evolution, and this picture is aided by the study of linguistics which map the social intercourse of civilizations. Anthropology (including Indology) tells us about primitive peoples and how they became civilized. Add it all up and the equal sign after it will tell you who we are, how we got here, and where we are going. It’s the modern West’s answer to the existential questions.

What’s wrong with this picture? It’s a Myth. Each field of study has somehow amended its conclusions to conveniently fit with this worldview, and irrespective of the practical truths of their claims, academia legitimizes this story. If you are an educated person who lives in the “real” world, and have given up other “myths” of life, this is what you are supposed to believe. However, it would appear as though academics have, as of yet, only convinced themselves, since 90% of Americans still believe in a creation story involving God. People tolerate this being taught to their children because of the authority of science, yet they continue to take them to church. However it appears that the relentless indoctrination campaign is showing results and that Americans are becoming sociological schizophrenics in an effort to reconcile science with religion. In a Gallup survey 38% of Americans believe that man has evolved from lower species but that this process was guided by God, and college indoctrinated students favor the story of godless evolution by 2 to 1. If each field of study were to include all of its findings (that are now suppressed or re-interpreted) to create the composite picture, we would have a very different story.

Establishment Denial and Control There are a number of methods used in controlling the debate, none of which in the least fall into the category of bona fide science. Brian Martin, a senior lecturer in the Department of Science and Technology Studies, University of Wollongong, Australia has studied what happens to scientists who challenge the dominant paradigm, and has written extensively on the subject. Rather than look at their actual findings and discuss their work on its own merit they become labeled as dissidents, and he says there is a standard set of ways for dealing with them: “Methods include denial of tenure, blocking publications, withdrawal of research grants, official reprimands, referral to psychiatrists, ostracism by colleagues, spreading of rumors, transfer to different locations or jobs, and dismissal . . . Initially I hadn’t even thought of suppression as a problem in science. Now I realize that it is pervasive.”

It can be argued that suppression, while effective in silencing individual dissidents, is even more effective in signaling to others what they might face if they step out of line. Observation of the treatment meted out to dissidents is enough to make most university professors and professional researchers use “professional discretion,” or “balanced judgment” in choosing their research topics and how they write about their findings. Over time they internalize their fears of loss of status, income or career in a way that leads to self-intimidation. Real restraints, such as external prohibitions, are then simply replaced by the “agreements of academic gentlemen.”

A specific example of such un-scientific treatment is provided by the response science writer Richard Milton received upon publication of his book Shattering the Myths of Darwinsm. The book set about challenging the evidence presented for evolution in establishments such as natural history museums all over the world. He writes in the preface to the 1997 reprint: “I didn’t expect science to welcome an inquisitive reporter, but I did expect the controversy to be conducted at a rational level, that people would rightly demand to inspect my evidence more closely and question me on the correctness of this or that fact.” He was shocked that although a leading article in the London Times praised the book saying that it could shake the “religion of evolution,” a review elsewhere by the Darwin evolutionist Richard Dawkins painted a darker picture: “the book is ‘loony,’ ’stupid,’ ‘drivel’ and its author a ‘harmless fruitcake’ who ‘needs psychiatric help.’” Milton replies that “these intemperate responses betoken more than a squabble between an inquisitive journalist and a couple of reactionary academics. They raise a number of important questions of general public interest.”

Indeed they do. They bring into question the ability of establishment scientists to practice bona fide science, as well as the motives for such reactionary treatment of scientists, or others, who present ideas that appear to lie outside the boundaries of acceptable debate. They also raise questions about what those limits protect or defend.

Failures of Modern Science Looking deeply into these issues the following points show themselves: 1) sound scientific evidence is being ignored in many fields, especially when it threatens the dominant scientific worldview and/or established powerful interests; 2) acceptable debate within each discipline is limited to that which supports the established “scientific” worldview, which appears to have become a rigid dogma. These are implications that the principles of pure science are being subordinated to support a political agenda. This dynamic also appears to be operative in many of the social sciences; 3) going beyond their legitimate domain of knowing nature, people of the scientific profession are introducing many assumptions that are scientifically untenable and fall outside of legitimate scientific method. They also bring conclusions in the name of Theory, that have no scientific basis in fact, being only unsupported speculations and mere assertions; 4) in many cases science is exceeding its legitimate boundaries of determination of facts of material nature and is being used to legitimate a worldview, and promulgate its philosophy-even to indoctrinate an unsuspecting public. Exactly who is determining that philosophy is unknown; 5) knowledge of such uses of science are generally unknown by the general public, and it is doubtful that they would approve of such efforts; 6) the acceptable limits of debate are those that result in or promulgate an ideology that is implicitly atheistic: academic and “scientific” discussions allow no room for discussion of a spiritual element. Moreover there appears to be an orchestrated attempt across all branches of study to deviate from correct and true research, findings, or history, in order to give mutual support to the atheistic scientific worldview. Such efforts may be seen as attempts to control the thinking and understanding of the populace and may thus be considered propaganda of special interests.

The above issues are serious breaches of the authority and legitimate boundaries of science. In these cases science is indeed being used to support a social agenda as Lewontin claims. As this behavior becomes more widely recognized the institutions of science will be seen in the same light as the Roman church formerly was at the advent of the Reformation-as a means to restrict the understanding of people to impose a dogmatic and false reality. In other words, science is being used to support a political agenda. As people begin to understand the facts behind science’s actions, the worldview of science will lose its position in the eyes of many people. Due to the above causes I predict that the failure of the atheistic scientific worldview looms on the horizon.

People want the truth and they don’t like being controlled. When they find out that this is going on they will throw off the ideology of science and seek adequate alternative ways of understanding this world. If understanding the problem is 90% of the solution, we now stand at the threshold of the solution. The problem of the modern Western worldview is that it is artificially contrived to lead to and support an atheistic conclusions. The solution is a worldview that can accommodate the theistic and spiritual concepts and forces that are present in the world and which make their effects known through a variety of phenomena. I suggest that the Vedic worldview is the only candidate that has the necessary complexity and depth to explain all of humankind’s experience. Controlling the Debate - To What End?

While biologists may claim chance in all affairs, practically speaking there is little experience of chance in human society. In law, commerce, and industry, all activities of strictly human endeavor, we get results only when a group of people set out with the intention to achieve them. Tell any lawmaker that the laws that he just passed happened simply by chance and he is likely to think that you are daft. He knows how hard he had to work to get the job done. Tell a businessman that he has been successful by chance and he’ll laugh in your face. He’s likely worked 80 hour weeks to make his business what it is, and at least he’s convinced that that definitely didn’t happen by chance. Similarly, since academia is an institution composed of people and managed by people, it is equally unlikely that any result happens there simply by chance. Therefore, I assert that it is not by chance that each field of study has developed limits on what is considered acceptable debate. These uniform results have been achieved only by the deliberate efforts of certain people. Who? And what is their motivation? Those are the next questions we want answered.

Interestingly for our case a similar phenomenon has been revealed in another area of human endeavor-the media. Just as we have trusted science to bring us the truths of the physical world, we have trusted journalists to investigate the matters of human affairs and bring us the truths of those events. Sad to say, it seems that our trust has been misplaced on both accounts.

A penetrating analysis of the media is told by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in their book Manufacturing Consent. Drawing on decades of criticism and research they report that the media, far from being impartial in presenting the news, defend the economic, social and political agendas of the privileged groups that dominate domestic society, the state, and the global order.

In the opening paragraphs they write: “It is our view that, among their other functions, the media serve, and propagandize on behalf of, the powerful societal interests that control and finance them. The representatives of these interests have important agendas and principles that they want to advance, and they are well-positioned to shape and constrain media policy. This is normally not accomplished by crude intervention, but by the selection of right-thinking personnel and by the editors’ and working journalists’ internalization of priorities and definitions of news-worthiness that conform to the institution’s policy.”

The authors make no attempt to identify the powerful societal interests they speak of, yet we can take it that these are moneyed interests since money equates with power in our society. And why would the money interests want to control the media and scientific ideology? Again Lewontin gives us a clue. Throughout his book he claims that biology serves the purpose of legitimating a social order, and several times makes it clear that this is done intentionally to maintain the status quo. He frankly states that story of biology is meant to convince the public that the situation we now find ourselves in is inescapable since “the political structures of society-the competitive, entrepreneurial, hierarchical society in which we live and which differentially rewards different temperaments, different cognitive abilities, and different mental attitudes - is also determined by our DNA, and that it is, therefore, unchangeable.” (emphasis added)

That is, genes make culture. As Lewontin puts it “when we know what our DNA looks like, we will know why some of us are rich and some poor, some healthy and some sick, some powerful and some weak. We will also know why some societies are powerful and rich and others are weak and poor, why one nation, one sex, one race dominates another.”

The implication is that whatever our station in life is, we are all born this way, so just accept it, since it’s the natural order of things. Of course this is nothing more than a rigid caste system that justifies inequity and social discrimination by the religion of science.

What Path Will We Take To The Future?

E. O. Wilson, while suggesting that there is a biological basis for morality has written “the choice between transcendentalism and empiricism will be the coming century’s version of the struggle for men’s souls. Moral reasoning will either remain centered in theology and philosophy, or shift toward a scientific material analysis. Where it ultimately settles will depend on which worldview is more widely perceived to be correct.” Will the atheistic scientific worldview finally wipe-out all other theistic notions of life and purpose, or will the understanding of the spiritual dimension of mankind and the goal of his release from material bondage become the dominant paradigm? Will we bequeath to future generations the transcendent truth of the Vedas or the consequences of a bankrupt and dead-end, materialistic ideology?

This article was previously published as a chapter in Vedic Culture: The Difference It can Make in Your LIfe , Stephen Knapp (Sri Nandanandana Dasa), editor.

Dhanesvara Das received an M.S. degree in Engineering from the Univ. of Florida in 1973, and has studied Vedic wisdom since that time. He travels throughout E. Europe, Russia and India, teaching how to live according to the philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita. He is the author of “Lessons in Spiritual Economics from the Bhagavad-gita - Part 1 Understanding and Solving the Economic Problem.”



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 By Madhava Smullen
Mar 2012

Several hundred devotees are expected to attend the Vyasa-Puja, or birthday celebrations, of the late influential ISKCON guru Tamal Krishna Goswami, held this June 23rd and 24th at the Dallas ISKCON temple that served as his base.

While the annual Vyasa-puja for the beloved ISKCON figure is always well-attended, this year will draw an even larger crowd from across the USA and overseas. The special attraction is the book launch of Goswami’s PhD thesis, A Living Theology of Krishna Bhakti: Essential Teachings of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. It’s his swansong work, which many have eagerly anticipated since his passing in 2002.

On Sunday morning, June 24th, the 300-page hardcover, published by Oxford University Press, USA, and featuring a beautiful jacket painting of Radha-Krishna by the late Rajasthani artist B.G. Sharma, will be offered to the Dallas Deities of Sri-Sri Radha-Kalachandji. Fresh, hot-off-the-press copies will then be available at a discounted rate for attendees over three weeks before the official July 17th release date.

Scholar of Vaishnavism and comparative religion Graham M. Schweig (Garuda Dasa) is a Prabhupâda shishya and Professor of Religion at Christopher Newport University in Virginia. When Goswami passed away at fifty-six, leaving his dissertation unfinished, Garuda started working toward its completion. In the morning and early afternoon hours, he and other prominent ISKCON scholars will lead an interactive discussion on various sections of the work, projecting passages of A Living Theology of Krishna Bhakti onto a screen, and talking about its contribution to the Vaishnava community and the academic world.

In many ways, the book—which brings to light ISKCON founder Srila Prabhupada’s unique theological contribution—is a culmination of Tamal Krishna Goswami’s life’s work.

A Leading Disciple

Attracted by Srila Prabhupada’s theology, he joined ISKCON in San Francisco in 1968, and quickly became a leading disciple responsible in a major way for the movement’s penetration and spread into Western culture, as well as to Eastern countries. Seeing his distinct qualification and competence in expanding ISKCON on the West Coast of the USA, Prabhupada made him a member of the GBC, the highest managerial ecclesiastical board that oversees the movement, in 1970. And in 1972, he was awarded sannyasa, the renounced order of life.

He then spread Prabhupada’s message in London, Hamburg, and Paris, before overseeing the development of major centers in India such as Mumbai, Vrindavana, and Mayapur. The latter is especially noteable, for there Goswami personally purchased the land that ISKCON’s headquarters sits on today, as does the “Samadhi” where he himself was laid to rest.

Entering the Academic World

“The remarkable thing about his life is that he also started developing in an intellectual direction in the 1980s,” says Garuda Das. “In 1985, he published the Jagannath Priya Natakam, a drama he’d created about Lord Jagannath that adhered to the principles of classical Sanskrit dramaturgy. Dr. Gary Tubb, chair of the Harvard Sanskrit department at the time, wrote a foreword for it, and to this day very much appreciates how incredibly innovative it was.”

In 1996, at the age of fifty, Tamal Krishna Goswami followed peers such as Garuda and Hridayananda Dasa Goswami, returning to his academic education. Although he had an accomplished position in the world in his own right—as a world teacher of Vaishnavism—he wanted to become a student himself and enter the academic arena to plant Prabhupada’s contribution within intellectual discourse.

He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, skipped a Master’s Degree, and applied to the Doctoral program in theology at the University of Cambridge, England in 1998. When applying, with the intent of studying with the pre-eminent Indologist Julius Lipner, Goswami gave six key reasons for doing doctoral studies.

These were 1) To explore his own tradition more deeply, “by means of the best canons of critical scholarship”; 2) To become a truly effective interpreter of his own tradition; 3) To become an “informed participant in inter-religious dialogue”; 4) To be a “participant in the ongoing efforts to understand new religious movements within the [American] Academy [of Religions]”; 5) To be able to share with his own tradition “a broader vision of its place in history and the wider contribution it can make to the world” and 6) To “participate in the development of higher education” within his own institution.

Impressed by these aims, Lipner admitted Goswami to Cambridge—one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the world.

Making an Impression

Studying under Lipner’s tutelage, Goswami entered a new phase of his devotional life, as a deeply thoughtful scholar of his tradition. He made a great impression on the academic community, unafraid to wear his sannyasa robes wherever he went, and much loved and respected by scholars for his intellectual acumen, deep sincerity, and passion for learning.

At the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion—one of the biggest professional meetings in the world attended by over 8,000 scholars—he was appreciated for the critical scholarship he exhibited despite being a practioner.

“Goswami was aware that he was a kind of walking, talking specimen of the very subject he focused on in his papers,” says Garuda. “But he did not hesitate to look at things in an analytical and self-scrutinizing fashion. He was not adverse to criticizing things about ISKCON where they needed to be criticized, or to talk about his own challenges and struggles in frank ways. He was very honest.”

A Theology to Live and Die By

Meanwhile, from 1998 until his passing in 2002, Goswami was working on his dissertation. His goal was an ambitious one—to have Srila Prabhupada’s theological contribution considered and appreciated by the academic world.

Srila Prabhupada, Goswami said, had so far been appreciated by academics either as an exponent of an already-existing ancient tradition, or as the creator of a social phenomenon—a new Indian religious movement taken up by western converts. Either way, his unique theological contribution had been overlooked.

“Goswami wanted to bring attention to what Prabhupada specifically did that was original,” Garuda says. “Of course, Prabhupada is well known for humbly saying, ‘I’m not presenting anything new.’ But he certainly had to make adjustments; to present the theology in English in a way no one ever had before.”

In chapter one of his thesis on this topic, Goswami outlined the need to study it and his approach to the subject matter. In chapter two, he discussed the historical evolution of ISKCON from the 1960s up to the present. In chapter three, he analyzed the different influences that contributed to Srila Prabhupada’s ability to make Krishna Bhakti so compelling: his parents, his teachers in college, his earlier Vaishnava teachers, and his guru Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.

In chapter four, called “Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead: Sambandha” Goswami went further into Srila Prabhupada’s theology. Sambandha means ‘the perfect bond’—with, in this case, Krishna. And such a bond begins, Goswami wrote, with Prabhupada’s maha-vakhya, or “great utterance,” a phrase repeated more than any other in his books at close to 8,000 times: “Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” This phrase, Goswami claimed, contains the seed of the whole Bhakti theology.

In the fifth chapter of his dissertation, called Bhakti (Devotional Service): Abhideya, Goswami discussed the practical application of Bhakti to one’s life, describing its five most important principles as outlined in Rupa Goswami’s Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu: sadhu-sanga (association with devotees), nama-sankirtanam (chanting the Holy Name), bhagavat-shravana (hearing Srimad Bhagavatam), Mathura-vasa (living in Krishna’s birthplace of Mathura), and sri-murti-sevana (worshiping the Deity with faith and veneration).

Then, just as Goswami was about to write about the ultimate goal of of Krishna Bhakti, under the heading of Prayojana, or perfection, he passed away. It was as if he had completed his work in real life: departing in the perfect way in Sri Mayapur, the holiest place on earth for Chaitanya Vaishnavas, while meditating deeply on Prema, love of God.

His book, however, still called out to be completed.

A Love Unfinished

Enter Garuda. The first ISKCON devotee ever to return to academics with the express purpose of being an expert on Vaishnava theology in 1975, Garuda got his Master’s Degree at the University of Chicago, then went on to get his PhD at Harvard. His studies were very much appreciated by Srila Prabhupada.

In the 1980s, when Tamal Krishna Goswami began to pursue academics, he approached Garuda to help him edit and publish his drama Jagannath Priya Natakam, and to write the introduction for his book Prabhupada Antya-lila: The Final Pastimes of Srila Prabhupada. Later, while working on his PhD thesis, Goswami regularly consulted Garuda and the two became close friends.

So when Goswami left this world unexpectedly in 2002, it seemed to the trustees of his estate that Garuda was the obvious person to call.

Graham M. Schweig (Garuda Dasa)

“Many people ask why it took so long for the book to be published,” Garuda says. “Often, they don’t understand the rigorous demands that are put on scholarly works as opposed to other books. When you publish for the top university presses, you’re scrutinized heavily and the work has to be of extremely high quality. I wanted to give Goswami’s manuscript the most exquisite presentation possible. And this turned out to be quite a task.”

First, Garuda promptly had several devotees obtain Goswami’s computer and dissertation files to make sure that they were preserved intact and that no one made copies. After this delicate process, Goswami’s trustees placed the dissertation in their archives, while only Garuda and Goswami’s Cambridge mentor Julius Lipner received copies. In the meantime, Steven Rosen (Satyaraja Dasa) arranged for a memorial issue of the Journal of Vaishnava Studies to be fully dedicated to the person and academic work of Goswami, in Spring 2003.

Next, Lipner—an already very busy man—spent three years, from 2002 to 2005, editing the work. When he had finished, Garuda spent the following year meticulously comparing Goswami’s original files with Lipner’s edit, making sure that there was nothing Goswami would have objected to. Then, until 2007, he conceptualized how to finish Goswami’s work, consulting closely with Lipner and many of Goswami’s other academic contacts, as well as friends and devotees who knew him well.

“I tried to gather as much information as I could about what Goswami had told different devotees,” Garuda says. “Because he certainly didn’t tell me everything. And this was not something that I felt belonged to me.”

Finally, in 2007, Garuda was ready to write a book proposal, which he submitted to a series of highly prestigious academic publishers. He went through scrutinizing peer reviews, and back and forth discussions about how the book should be presented. One publisher ran out of funds, while another decided not to move forward after holding on to the work for months. Eventually, Garuda found himself talking to the senior editor of religion at Oxford University Press, New York, in 2010.

“Something just clicked,” he says. “The funny thing was, Goswami had once told me that he’d ideally liked to be published by Oxford, above all other publishers. And amazingly, that’s exactly how it worked out.”

Garuda wrote a new proposal for Oxford, reconceived the book, underwent their review process, and spent a further year and a half writing and editing his contribution to the book. This included the missing conclusion Prema, Purest Love: Prayojana.

“Prayojana is the perfection of Bhakti, the third and final stage of the continuum of Sambhanda, Abhideya and Prayojana,” Garuda says. “In the conclusion to the book, I discuss the essence of Prema, or love, and relate Goswami’s unique passing as a symbol that points to its uncontainable nature. I also give a sweeping summary of the theology of Krishna Bhakti.”

Subheadings in the conclusion include: The Uncontainable Nature of Prema; Is There a Theology of the Chaitanya School?; Three Foundational Sacred Texts; Three Manifestations of the Loving Deity; The Ultimate Theological Focal Point; The Divine Love Call; A Theology of Divine Secrecy; and The Gifts of Theology.

Garuda also added subheadings throughout the book to make for greater readability, and an introduction which includes a mini-biography of Tamal Krishna Goswami. Finally, he gave the book its title: A Living Theology of Krishna Bhakti. It’s a phrase that encapsulates what Goswami identifies as Srila Prabhupada’s contribution: a theology that isn’t taught systematically, but one that is truly lived and applied in everyday life.

The Wake Up Call

When Goswami’s long awaited dissertation is released this June, it is expected to reach two major audiences: academics and devotees.

“The academics, will, I hope, learn that it’s possible to be a critical scholar and a practioner of the very tradition that one studies, at the same time,” Garuda says.

“It’s been thought that if you’re a scholar of your own tradition, you’re not going to be very effective or objective—but Tamal Krishna Goswami has blown that theory out of the water. He even proves that there’s actually an advantage to being both a practioner and a scholar.”

Goswami’s mentor Julius Lipner adds: “Here speaks a man of integrity: integrity with respect to his own personal commitment, and integrity with respect to his commitment to critical scholarship. Goswami’s thesis succeeds at combining both.”

For devotees, meanwhile, Garuda feels that the book is a wake up call to reflect more deeply about the great gifts that Srila Prabhupada has given us. In writing it, and in his exemplary mission into the academic world, Goswami has lead the way for members of ISKCON to transcend routine and complacency, and to become more mature, heartfelt and thoughtful in our exploration of the theology of Krishna Bhakti.

“From one point of view, ISKCON is in an important phase of transition. Unless it meets the present challenge of implementing Goswami’s aims, it will gradually and inevitably sink into a mire of internal and petty squabbles and lapse into the obscurity of a minor cult,” Lipner adds in a firebrand statement. “But if it strives to face the world and meet this challenge in the way outlined by Goswami, it has every chance of sturdy and healthy growth, and of contributing to the well-being of society at large.”

To order A Living Theology of Krishna Bhakti at a discount price of US$16.95, please contact Rasikendra Dasa of the TKG Memorial Foundation at: Orders will be shipped on June 17th, a month before the official release date of July 17th. Checks should be mailed to: TKG Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 10070, Houston, TX 77206.

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Congratulations devotees,
because of your prayers, we won the Bhagvad Gita case again in Tomsk, Russia.

India's diplomatic efforts to resolve a controversy relating to Russian state prosecutors' bid to get a Russian interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita banned and branded extremist literature will be put to test again with a high court in the Siberian city of Tomsk set to deliver its final verdict on Tuesday.

Anxiety and frustration has gripped Hindus in Russia as they feel there was a state-sponsored effort to proscribe "Bhagavad Gita As It Is", written by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Prosecutors have gone in appeal against a Tomsk lower court's dismissal of their plea December 28 last.

Indo-Asian News Service(IANS) had brought the case to global notice in December when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in Moscow for a summit meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, resulting in an uproar back home in India. Parliament was rocked for two days over the Russian prosecutors' attack on their supreme religious text and philosophical treatise.

This led to External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna making a statement in parliament on the Tomsk city case that was filed in June 2011 and the Indian government mounting a diplomatic effort at the "highest levels" with the Russian government to get the matter resolved.

"Anxiety is mounting. The appeal by the state prosecutors is coming up for a final hearing on March 20 at the higher court in Tomsk," Bhakti Vijnana Goswami, the international chief of ISKCON, told IANS over the phone. He is currently on international tour and was somewhere in West Asia.

"This is the final hearing in the state prosecutors' appeal beginning on Tuesday. The verdict in the case may be pronounced either on Tuesday or Wednesday," ISKCON devotee Sadhu Priya Das told IANS from Moscow.

The appeal came up for hearing March 6 and, after hearing the prosecutors, the court fixed March 20 to hear the Hindus on their defence before the verdict is delivered.

Tomsk region prosecutor general Vasily Voikin, in his appeal, demanded that a Russian interpretation included in 'Bhagavad Gita As It Is' be banned.

"The prosecutor has demanded that a Russian translation of a comment in this book, earlier published in English, be banned as extremist, not the canonical text of the scripture," Tomsk region deputy prosecutor general Ivan Semchishin argued.

"The bid to ban the Russian translation of the Bhagavad Gita has been misunderstood," Tomsk region prosecutor general Alexander Buksman said.

"It's important to discern gems from the chatter in this very case; the society's perception of this issue is that prosecutors are standing against the concepts of this religion (Hinduism). However, the problem is that the Russian translation has paragraphs that could be seen as promoting extremism; prosecutors started the case for that reason," Buksman said.

"The prosecutor (Voikin) is now maintaining his claims in an appeal court for that very reason," Semchishin added.

However, Hindus have dismissed the prosecutors' claim, saying these were "twists" being given for public consumption.

"The prosecutors have based their appeal on the lines of the same arguments they placed before the lower court -- that the book is extremist and spread hatred against non-believers," Mikhail Frolov, the advocate for Hindus in the case, told IANS from Moscow. He pointed out to Semchischin's remarks that the prosecutor is maintaining his claims on Bhagavad Gita in the appeal too.

"In reality, the prosecutors are seeking a ban on Bhagavad Gita. They do not want to see the tradition related to commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita," Mr Goswami said.

Interestingly, Krishna devotees in Russia held a conference on Bhagavad Gita in Tomsk on March 1, ahead of the appeal in the case coming up before the higher court. Scholars, a majority of them Russian, came out strongly in support on 'Bhagavad Gita As It Is' and condemned the prosecutors' attempts to ban it.

In another effort to drum up support, a group of 20 Russian scholars on India wrote an open letter to Kremlim duo, Dmitry Medvedev and president-to-be Vladimir Putin, to take personal interest relating to the controversy and get the prosecutors' attempts to get Bhagavad Gita ban dropped.

"The book does not contain any signs of extremism and does not incite hatred on ethnic, religious or any other grounds. On the contrary, the book written in the commentary tradition of Bengali Vaishnavism, one of the most popular branches of Hinduism, is considered sacred by a section of believers," the scholars said.

The scholars warned that the trial "discredits Russia's cultural and democratic credentials in the eyes of the civilised world and is driving a wedge in Russian-Indian relations."

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"Our philosophy is that you produce your food anywhere you stay, and keep cows, take milk, produce vegetables, food grains, and chant Hare Krsna. That's all. This is our philosophy. Make your life successful. By becoming Krsna conscious, you become free from al these troubles of material condition. This is our education." Srila Prabhupada, Conversations, May 25, 1974

Daiva Varnasrma Ministry (In) unveiled its new publication titled - "Village Life - Our Philosophy, Our Life and Our Education" in an attractive paperback design. The tasty and insightful articles of author - His Holiness Bhakti Raghava Swami draws one to deep topics such as Dharma, Tehnology, Development, Women, Traditional Education, Food, Astrology, Health and Guiding Principles of Rural Communities of Villages.

The central theme of the book reflected through the main essay titled - "Village Life - Our Philosophy, Our Education and Our Lifestyle" draw one attention towards the importance of village living.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

"The basis of 'Simple Living and High Thinking', the norm for civilized human beings, lies in the acceptance of village life centered on the performance of sacrifice, yajna, which is born of prescribed duties as delineated in the scientific system of varnas and asramas. Such a social system, being very intimately connected with land, cows and higher consciousness, namely Krsna consiousness, is the most perfect and holistic way to live. When human society, due to neglect, bad leadership or misfortune, all based on lust, anger, greed, illusion, madness and envy, deviates from this established norm, a norm scientifically designed and created by the highest of authorities, Lord Krsna Himself, a system meant to uphold, protect and foster the universal principles of dharma or religiosity, we should know for certain that only chaos will prevail and immense sufferring must follow".

For devotees interested to collect this valuable piece kindly write to the following id:

** **

For bulk orders (min 25 copies): Rs80/-
Retail price : Rs100/-

your servant,

Bharat Chandra Dasa
National Coordinator
ISKCON Daiva Varnasrama Ministry (In)

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By Indradyumna Swami

It was my last week in Sri Vrindavan Dhama. I wanted to take advantage of my final precious days in the holy dhama, so I took a small group of devotees to Radha Kunda for parikrama. During our circumambulation of the sacred lake, a Vrajavasi man invited us into his home for fresh, hot chapattis which his wife and daughter served us with yogurt.
“Please take darshan of our deity,” the man said, seeing we had finished our meal.
We followed him into a small temple room and were stunned to see a large, very old deity of Sri Nathji.
“My great-grandparents discovered Him underneath the ground when they built this house,” said the man. “Our family has worshipped Him ever since.”
As we took darshan of their ancient lord, I noticed two marble feet embedded in the altar. It looked like another deity had once stood alongside Sri Nathji.

“What are those feet?” I asked.

“They belonged to a deity of Yamuna-devi who was found at the same time as Sri Nathji,” the daughter of the family said. “My father’s great-grandparents had her painted very nicely and our family always worshipped her with all our love and devotion. But then three years ago some thieves broke into our home and tried to steal her. We managed to stop them from taking her, but they broke her trying.”
“Where is she now?” I asked.
“We kept her in a cupboard for a long time, but recently we put the broken murti in the refuse heap behind our house,” she replied. “The cleaners are coming next week to clear the area out and they’ll probably throw her in the Yamuna River.”
“Can we see her?” I asked.
“You want to see her?” the man asked. “She’s broken, like my daughter said. She’s missing an arm and one hand is broken off. When the deity is broken, the personality leaves that form. Why do you want to see a broken murti?”

“Sometimes in our line our acharyas have repaired broken deities and continued to worship them,” I said. “Our understanding is that the deity can remain in that form.”

The man looked skeptical, but led us through his house to their back courtyard. Laying on top of a pile of garden waste and discarded refuse was an exquisitely beautiful female deity about three feet in length.
I glanced at the devotees. The shocked expression on their faces reflected my own feelings. I decided to take a chance.
“Instead of throwing your deity away, would you give her to us?” I asked.
“Yes, if you like you can take the broken murti,” the wife said without any hesitation.
“We’d be happy to get a new deity of Yamuna-devi made for your family in exchange,” I said.

Her face broke into a big smile. “Oh thank you! Thank you!” she said.
Half an hour later we were driving back to Vrindavan with a most beautiful deity of Yamuna devi in the back seat of our jeep.
“They just don’t make deities like this anymore,” I said.
“But how do you think she ended up underneath the ground?” one devotee asked.
“Hard to say,” I replied. “But it may be that the deity was hidden during one of the times India was conquered by foreigners. Deities were often hidden underground or in lakes or forests, especially during the Muslim invasions.”

We drove in silence for the rest of the journey, spellbound by the beauty of the deity. As we entered Vrindavan I said to the devotees, “That was the most amazing Radha Kunda parikrama I’ve ever done.”

“Us too!” the devotees said unanimously.

Arriving at my house we carefully carried Yamuna-devi, the daughter of the sun god, inside.

“O handsome, fragrant tamala desire tree blooming in Vrindavan forest and embraced by the madhavi vine of the goddess ruling this forest, O tree the shade of whose glory protects the world from a host of burning sufferings, what wonderful fruits do the people find at your feet?”
[Srila Rupa Goswami, Utkalika-vallari, Text 66]
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ISKCON Congregation Development Ministry

Dear devotees:

Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

We would like to congratulate all the winners who received an award for their exceptional contribution to the development ISKCON's congregations around the world.

The awards were offered by ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry and it's ministers H.H. Jayapataka Swami and Kaunteya Prabhu. The ceremony of recognition was held on Sri Mayapur Dham on February 25th.

Here are the pictures of some of the winners, please send them your blessings and recognition for the amazing service they are doing to expand and empower their congregations.

Chandrasekhar Prabhu
Chandrasekhar Prabhu 

Devaki Nandan Prabhu
Devaki Nandan Prabhu

Dhanvantari Swami
Dhanvantari Swami

Subuddhi Krishna Das
Subuddhi Krishna Das

Vijay Gopikesh Sharan Mukhi Devi Dasi
Vijay Gopikesh Sharan Mukhi Devi Dasi

On behalf of ISKCON Congregation development Ministry,

Your servant,

Madhavi Kirti devi dasi
Congregational Development Ministry

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Since the next day I would return to Johannesburg from Dar es Salaa, which is on the east coast of Africa, I decided to take a walk along the beach. I told the taxi driver where I wanted to go, and he said he knew where it was and would take me there. But after he dropped me off and I had walked for some time, I realized I was far from where I had intended to be. But it was hot and I wasn't prepared to find another taxi. So I just kept walking. Soon I approached the ferryboat terminal, where hundreds of locals where walking and large crowds lined the streets, selling everything from fruit to clothing to sunglasses, and of course the fish market was bustling. Busses, motorbikes -- I was in a sea of bodies. From what I could see, I was the only mazungo (foreigner) on the street. I greeted everyone politely as I passed by, and I was greeted in turn with that warm, friendly smile that is so much a part of the culture of the East Africans in Tanzania.

While proceeding in this way I saw a group of men who waved at me as I approached, calling out "Karibu!", Swahili for "Welcome!", and "Jambo!", "Good day!" or "Hello!" As I entered among them, I raised my arms and called out, "Hare Krsna!" As I continued to chant and clap my hands, they soon understood I wanted them to chant in response. By the mercy of Guru and Gauranga, the group of four or five men began to chant, all the while clapping their hands and laughing as they began to experience the power of the Holy Name. Before long they were blissfully chanting louder and louder. The crowd grew bigger and bigger as curious onlookers joined in, and soon our spontaneous chanting party had grown from five to around twenty.

I stopped and asked if someone could translate from English into Swahili. They all looked around very excitedly. One young man put up his hand, came forward, and with great enthusiasm said to me, "Please let me help you. Yes, I can translate for you."

By this time the crowd had grown even bigger. It almost became like a Sunday feast program. Even a man in a wheelchair came to listen. I began to preach, and as my words were translated, a few at a time, everyone in the crowd would nod their heads in unison, signally their agreement. When I had finished, a few people came forward and asked questions.

Then we all began to loudly chant Hare Krsna. After a few minutes I told the crowd to follow me, and by the mercy of Guru and Gauranga we had a large harinam party that had begun with five people and now had swelled to at least thirty. All along the roadside people looked on in amazement as a group of locals from Dar es Salaam, many for the first time, chanted the holy name of the Lord in ecstasy.

As I got into the taxi preparing to depart, the crowd gathered around the vehicle and indicated that they wanted me to stay. I told them that I would like to but that I had to go deliver a book to a man who would be very happy to receive it. As the taxi drove off, the crowd ran alongside, waving and chanting "Hare Krsna!"

The memory of those special souls in the hot sun of Dar es Salaam will always be with me. How wonderful it is that by the mercy and blessings of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu they had the opportunity to engage in devotional service!

It is said that anyone who chants the holy name of the Lord -- Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare -- must have already passed all lower stages of development. In fact, it's said that those who simply chant the holy name with the tip of the tongue are glorious.

All glories to those special souls who got a chance to chant the holy name in Dar es Salaam! Srila Prabhupada ki jay!

Hare Krsna!

Yours in the service of Lord Sri Krsna and His devotees,
Madhumangala Dasa

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There are just 21 days before the Bhaktivedanta College Easter Japa and Kirtan Retreat 2012 with Sacinandana Swami.

Twenty more places are available.

Venue: Bhaktivedanta College; Radhadesh, Belgium
Dates: 6-12 April 2012

Happy to see you soon!

With regards,
Dinadayal dasa,
Retreat Organizational Team

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