Ajit Singh Has Lost Forever,’ Says Uma Bharti Amid Buzz On UP Alliance

Himachal’s Dharamsala again gets Smart City tag

Dharamsala, the hill station in Himachal Pradesh that has lured hundreds of thousands of Westerners since Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama settled here, was on Tuesday again included in the central government’s list of Smart Cities.

Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu announced in New Delhi the 13 winners of the Fast Track Smart Cities competition.

They are Lucknow, Warangal, Dharamsala, Chandigarh, Raipur, New Town Kolkata, Bhagalpur, Panaji, Port Blair, Imphal, Ranchi, Agartala and Faridabad.

 

Source: ET

ISKCON 50 Meditations: April 24, 2016

If Krishna consciousness was ever to take hold in America, it would have to be without assistance from the Indian government or Indian financiers.  Not even a lone Indianbrahmacari would join him.  Krishna was revealing His plan to Prabhupada in a different way.  With the Singhania-sanction schemes finished and behind him, Prabhupada would turn all his energy toward the young men and women coming to him in his Bowery loft.  He wrote to Sumati Morarji:

I am now trying to incorporate one corporation of the local friends and admirers under the name International Society for Krishna Conscious.

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ISKCON 50 Meditations: April 13, 2016

New people began coming to see Prabhupada on the Bowery.  Carl Yeargens, a thirty-three year-old, black, bearded man from the Bronx had attended Cornell University and was now independently studying Indian religion and Zen Buddhism.  He had experimented with drugs as “psychedelic tools” and he had an interest in the music and poetry of India.  He was influential among his friends and tried to interest them in meditation.  He had even been dabbling in Sanskrit.

Carl:  I had just finished reading a book called The Wonder That Was India.  I had gotten the definition of a sannyasi and a brahmacari and so forth.  There was a vivid description in that particular book of how you could see a sannyasicoming down the road with his saffron robe.  It must have made more than a superficial impression on me, because it came to me on this one chilly evening.  I was going to visit Michael Grant – probably going to smoke some marijuana and sit around, maybe play some music – and I was coming down Hester Street.  If you make a left on the Bowery, you can go up to Mike’s place on Grand Street.  But it’s a funny thing that I chose to go that way, because the shorter way would have been to go down Grand Street.  But if I had gone that way, I probably would have missed Swamiji. 

So I decided to go down Hester and make a left.  All of a sudden I saw in this dingy alcove, a brilliant saffron robe.  As I passed, I saw it was Swamiji knocking on the door, trying to gain entrance.  There were two bums hunched up against the door.  It was like a two-part door – one of them was sealed and the other was locked.  The two bums were lying on either side of Swamiji.  One of these men had actually expired – which often happened and you had to call the police or health department to get them. 

I don’t think I saw the men lying in the doorway until I walked up to Swamiji and asked him, “Are you a sannyasi?”  And he answered, “Yes.”  We started this conversation about how he was starting a temple, and he mentioned Lord Caitanya and the whole thing.  He just came out with this flow of strange things to me, right there in the street.  But I knew what he was talking about somehow.  I had the familiarity of having just read this book and delved into Indian religion.  So I knew that this was a momentous occasion for me and I wanted to help him.  We banged on the door and eventually we got into the loft.  He invited me to come to a kirtana, and I came back later that night for my first kirtana.  From that point on, it was a fairly regular thing – three times a week.  At one point Swamiji asked me to stay with him, and I stayed for about two weeks.

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Maharashtra celebrates Dahi Handi on Sunday

Maharashtra the popular and often dangerous tradition of Dahi Handi was celebrated on Sunday, marking the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna. Teams of people will form human pyramids to reach high hanging handis or pot of curd. The Maharashtra government had recently made the activity an adventure sport, barring anyone below 12 from participating. Ironically, some of Mumbai’s biggest patrons of Dahi handi, mostly politicians, have chosen to stay away from this year’s event, to express disappointment about, well believe it or not, heightened safety regulations.

Fed up with human apathy, farmers seek Lord Krishna’s help

Fed up with cold response from district administration to their demand to declare Devbhoomi Dwarka as drought-hit, farmers on Tuesday knocked at the God’s door for help and submitted a memorandum to Lord Krishna seeking divine intervention to alleviate their sufferings.
Dozens of farmers led by NGO Khedut Hit Rakshak Samiti submitted the memorandum to the high priest of the famous Dwarkadhish temple in Devbhoomi Dwarka district, dedicated to Lord Krishna.
In the memorandum addressed Lord Krishna, the farmers pleaded for help and said they have come to him “as a last resort” after getting tired of approaching Government officials with their list of demands.
They listed their demands before the God, which included declaring the district as drought-affected, setting up cattle camps, providing water for drinking and irrigation and reducing power connection tariff.
Recently, the BJP Government in Gujarat declared parts of district as drought-hit.
“We have come to you as a last resort…the present government, elected from farmers’ votes, is working for the industrialists. Government invest crore of rupees to organise farmer programmes but refuses to address our problems. Leaders and government officials are corrupt, and we farmers are crying for help,” the memorandum stated.
“Government is not thinking of waiving interest on crop loan for the current year. Nothing is being done to ensure water supply for irrigation…the CM calls herself farmer’s daughter, but makes hollow promises in the name of farmer welfare,” it stated.

Every day at 2 p.m., Antonio Davila rolls the metal shutters down over the front of his computer repair shop in central Madrid. He heads home for lunch, picks up his kids at school — and then goes back to work from 5 to 9 p.m. He’s originally from Peru, and says Spanish hours took some getting used to. “The sun sets later here, and that affects people’s habits,” Davila says. “I open my shop around 10:30 a.m., close in the afternoon, and then stay open later at night.” His schedule is typical for most small retailers in Spain, where the sun does set later — ever since the military dictator Francisco Franco moved the clocks ahead one hour, to put the country on Central European Time, during World War II, in solidarity with Nazi Germany. And the mid-afternoon break made sense when Spain was mostly agricultural, and it was too hot to work outdoors. But last weekend, acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said it’s time for a change. “I will find a consensus to make sure the working day ends at 6 p.m.,” Rajoy said told a party conference Saturday in Seville. He proposed scrapping the mid-afternoon break, and changing Spain’s time zone back to match that of Britain, Portugal and Morocco, countries on roughly the same longitude. Rajoy’s speech barely made news inside Spain. Spanish lawmakers have debated the idea before. In 2013, a parliamentary committee approved a proposal to change Spanish clocks back one hour. But the full legislature never agreed. Spaniards Annoyed At Foreign Coverage Foreign media, however, have made much of Rajoy’s speech. U.S. and British headlines say “Adios, Siesta!” or “Time to Wake Up!” — alongside stock photos of fat men snoozing, or even bullfighters sleeping on benches. “A big fat lazy slob sleeping a siesta! It’s an offensive image — but it’s an image people outside of Spain have of Spain,” says Matthew Bennett, editor of the website The Spain Report. “It’s a stereotype of Spain, along with bulls and flamenco and tortilla and sangria — like the English and rain and umbrellas and bowler hats. There’s no way of getting rid of these historical stereotypes — but they do grate with Spaniards, because they work very hard.” Spaniards typically work longer hours, and sleep less, on average, than other Europeans. While Rajoy’s initial speech grabbed few headlines at home, the foreign media’s subsequent coverage of it did. “British headlines say Rajoy wants to scrap 3-hour naps,” wrote Spain’s conservative ABC daily. “The international press quips: Rajoy wants to scrap the siesta,” was the headline on El País, Spain’s leading newspaper. Bennett says he’s been fielding calls all week from foreign journalists asking him to explain the importance of the siesta to Spaniards. But he says most Spaniards simply don’t take one. They run errands, have lunch or work straight through their mid-afternoon break, but are still expected to work late too, and thus don’t get home until 8 or 9 p.m. “Everybody kind of idealizes European working hours, and [they] say, ‘My goodness, if we finished at five or six [o’clock], we could have like three hours off every evening to do other stuff that’s not work,'” he says. Stuff like fighting bulls, dancing flamenco or drinking sangria on the beach — or so the stereotype goes. Working Long Hours “I guess there is like an element of truth in all of this. Yes, there is flamenco in Spain. Yes, we used to have siestas, maybe more in rural areas to escape the heat,” says Yolanda Martín, a Spanish dance expert who gives flamenco-themed tours of Madrid, and runs a website dedicated to the art form. “But no longer, really. Most people I know never take siestas — or maybe only on a Saturday.” At 32, Martín is part of a Spanish generation that’s survived economic crisis, and is now working long hours — if its members have jobs at all — for less pay than in most other western European countries. But she says the stereotype of Spain — laid-back, or concerned more with fiestas than work — is something Spaniards themselves created, once upon a time. “In the 1950s and 60s, when the Franco regime was trying to attract tourists to Spain, they kind of sold this idea. ‘You want sun, you want beach? Come to Spain, you’re going to get all of that.’ We did kind of exploit that, and maybe it’s brought money, and it’s been good,” Martín says. “But at the same time, it can harm us. We’re not portrayed as a serious country. You know, we’re like lazy.” Polls show most Spaniards would prefer to work a nine-to-five schedule. But Rajoy, the acting prime minister, might not be the one to make the change. His conservatives lost their majority in elections late last year, and rival parties are in the process of negotiating a possible coalition government, to oust him. Rajoy could leave office this summer. And then he’d have plenty of time for siestas, even if he doesn’t seem to like them.

Washington: Indian Americans from across the country are mobilising support for the victims of the devastating earthquake in Nepal, with a large number of organisations raising funds for the people of the quake-ravaged country.
Organisations like Aim for Seva, BAPS Charities, ISKCON – Food for Life, India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF) and SEWA International are contributing in numerous ways — from providing recovery assistance and urgent medical care to healthy meals and temporary shelter, a media release said.

“This devastating earthquake was centred in Nepal’s Kathmandu valley whose effect was strongly felt deep inside India. Nearly 4,000 people are dead and counting. Several thousand people were displaced and lost everything,” Chandrakant Patel, president of Overseas Friends of BJP-USA, said urging Indian Americans to make generous contributions to the cause.

Another organisation, The United Sikhs said that their relief team has reached Nepal to carry out work in those areas where aid is most critically needed.

“Our medical team of doctors will arrive by Friday equipped with medical supplies to assist the injured,” added the US-based organisation.

American India Foundation said 100 per cent of its donations would go to the Nepal quake victims.

“This fund will support the rehabilitation of lost livelihoods for communities across Nepal, to rebuild and provide a new life filled with dignity, opportunity, and hope,” said M A Ravi Kumar, CEO of American India Foundation.

Every day at 2 p.m., Antonio Davila rolls the metal shutters down over the front of his computer repair shop in central Madrid. He heads home for lunch, picks up his kids at school — and then goes back to work from 5 to 9 p.m. He’s originally from Peru, and says Spanish hours took some getting used to. “The sun sets later here, and that affects people’s habits,” Davila says. “I open my shop around 10:30 a.m., close in the afternoon, and then stay open later at night.” His schedule is typical for most small retailers in Spain, where the sun does set later — ever since the military dictator Francisco Franco moved the clocks ahead one hour, to put the country on Central European Time, during World War II, in solidarity with Nazi Germany. And the mid-afternoon break made sense when Spain was mostly agricultural, and it was too hot to work outdoors. But last weekend, acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said it’s time for a change. “I will find a consensus to make sure the working day ends at 6 p.m.,” Rajoy said told a party conference Saturday in Seville. He proposed scrapping the mid-afternoon break, and changing Spain’s time zone back to match that of Britain, Portugal and Morocco, countries on roughly the same longitude. Rajoy’s speech barely made news inside Spain. Spanish lawmakers have debated the idea before. In 2013, a parliamentary committee approved a proposal to change Spanish clocks back one hour. But the full legislature never agreed. Spaniards Annoyed At Foreign Coverage Foreign media, however, have made much of Rajoy’s speech. U.S. and British headlines say “Adios, Siesta!” or “Time to Wake Up!” — alongside stock photos of fat men snoozing, or even bullfighters sleeping on benches. “A big fat lazy slob sleeping a siesta! It’s an offensive image — but it’s an image people outside of Spain have of Spain,” says Matthew Bennett, editor of the website The Spain Report. “It’s a stereotype of Spain, along with bulls and flamenco and tortilla and sangria — like the English and rain and umbrellas and bowler hats. There’s no way of getting rid of these historical stereotypes — but they do grate with Spaniards, because they work very hard.” Spaniards typically work longer hours, and sleep less, on average, than other Europeans. While Rajoy’s initial speech grabbed few headlines at home, the foreign media’s subsequent coverage of it did. “British headlines say Rajoy wants to scrap 3-hour naps,” wrote Spain’s conservative ABC daily. “The international press quips: Rajoy wants to scrap the siesta,” was the headline on El País, Spain’s leading newspaper. Bennett says he’s been fielding calls all week from foreign journalists asking him to explain the importance of the siesta to Spaniards. But he says most Spaniards simply don’t take one. They run errands, have lunch or work straight through their mid-afternoon break, but are still expected to work late too, and thus don’t get home until 8 or 9 p.m. “Everybody kind of idealizes European working hours, and [they] say, ‘My goodness, if we finished at five or six [o’clock], we could have like three hours off every evening to do other stuff that’s not work,'” he says. Stuff like fighting bulls, dancing flamenco or drinking sangria on the beach — or so the stereotype goes. Working Long Hours “I guess there is like an element of truth in all of this. Yes, there is flamenco in Spain. Yes, we used to have siestas, maybe more in rural areas to escape the heat,” says Yolanda Martín, a Spanish dance expert who gives flamenco-themed tours of Madrid, and runs a website dedicated to the art form. “But no longer, really. Most people I know never take siestas — or maybe only on a Saturday.” At 32, Martín is part of a Spanish generation that’s survived economic crisis, and is now working long hours — if its members have jobs at all — for less pay than in most other western European countries. But she says the stereotype of Spain — laid-back, or concerned more with fiestas than work — is something Spaniards themselves created, once upon a time. “In the 1950s and 60s, when the Franco regime was trying to attract tourists to Spain, they kind of sold this idea. ‘You want sun, you want beach? Come to Spain, you’re going to get all of that.’ We did kind of exploit that, and maybe it’s brought money, and it’s been good,” Martín says. “But at the same time, it can harm us. We’re not portrayed as a serious country. You know, we’re like lazy.” Polls show most Spaniards would prefer to work a nine-to-five schedule. But Rajoy, the acting prime minister, might not be the one to make the change. His conservatives lost their majority in elections late last year, and rival parties are in the process of negotiating a possible coalition government, to oust him. Rajoy could leave office this summer. And then he’d have plenty of time for siestas, even if he doesn’t seem to like them.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has decided to felicitate Siddiqui for attaining first position in the written examination conducted to assess knowledge on Gita among children. She would be felicitated soon,” an official spokesman said.
It would give a good message of respecting all religions in the society, the spokesman said. Siddiqui, a sixth-grade student of Mumbai-based school, won the “Shrimad Bhagwad Gita Champion League” yesterday organised by ISKCON International Society beating around 4,500 students.

ISKCON 50 Meditations: March 31, 2016

Prabhupada is discussing the real meaning of going to a sacred place in India.

One should go to a sacred place in order to find some intelligent scholar in spiritual knowledge living there and make association with him.  Just like I … My residence is at Vrindavana.  So, at Vrindavana, there are many big scholars and saintly persons living.  So one should go to such holy places, not simply to take bath in the water.  One must be intelligent enough to find some spiritually advanced man living there and take instruction from him and be benefited by that.  If a man has no attraction for hearing from learned people there, he is considered to be an ass.  (He laughs.)  So, the whole civilization is moving like a civilization of cows and asses.  Everyone is identifying with the body … Yes, you want to speak?

Woman:  In the places known as secret places –

Prabhupada:  Sacred.  Yes.

Woman:  Is it “sacred” places?

Prabhupada:  Yes.

Woman:  Isn’t it also a fact that there is more magnetism because of the meeting of saints and more advanced people?

Prabhupada:  Oh yes.  Certainly.  Certainly.  Therefore the place itself has got some magnetism.

Woman:  Yes, and when –

Prabhupada:  Just like at Vrindavana – that is practical.  Here I am now sitting in New York, the world’s greatest city, such a magnificent city, but my heart is always hankering after that Vrindavana.

ISKCON 50 Meditations: March 30, 2016

No One Has Seen a Picture of Krishna

Prabhupada is speaking:  We should always remember that He is God.  He is all-powerful.  In strength, no one could conquer Him.  In beauty – as far as beauty is concerned – when He was on the battlefield … Have any of you seen a picture of Krishna?  Have any of you ever seen Krishna?  Oh … no? 

Prahbupada’s voice fades as he pauses, looking out at his audience.  No one has ever seen Krishna.  None of them have the slightest previous knowledge of Lord Krishna.  In India, hundreds of millions worship Lord Krishna daily as the eternal form of all beauty and truth, and view His graceful form in sculpture, painting and dance.  His philosophical teachings inBhagavad-gita are all famous.  And Prabhupada is His intimate emissary.  Yet the ladies and gentlemen in Room 307 look back at the Swami blankly.