Jnanagamya Dasa (John J. Partin) is/was my oldest friend. He was an artist and writer of immense creativity, enthusiasm, and talent.Monks in Manhattan started out as a screenplay and went through a number of incarnations as such. In the final year or two before his departure, he turned the screenplay into an entertaining novel about a somewhat fanatical devotee who falls in love with an heiress.
This extraordinary novel is filled with humor, romance, and philosophy. Jnanagamya would not object (if he were still with us) to my saying that this book is bizarre, preachy, original, funny, and strange. It is, by turns, unusual, hysterical, wonderful, and highly entertaining.
Very few novels have been produced by contemporary members of the Hare Krishna devotee community, and certainly none with the ambition, scope, humor, and philosophical depth of this one. Only he would even consider writing what is essentially a Krishna conscious romantic comedy. It is being brought out as an e-novel.
This was the final effort by the eccentric and kind artist/designer/builder/writer before he passed away in Mayapura, India, on February 17, 2015. He is sorely missed by all who loved him and whose lives were touched by him.
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For the first time ever, two women initiated into the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya have published a popular book that emphasizes the bhakti tenets in two of the world’s most revered yoga texts: theBhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras.
The book illuminates parallels between these two texts in a practical, philosophically rich and entertaining manner, while adhering to the interpretations given to the original Sanskrit texts by ancient yoga tradition itself.
Yoga in the Gita became an Amazon bestseller in its category in the first week. The book emerged from a series of online articles that Krishna Kanta and Braja Sevaki published in a blog of the same name that they started in 2012 under the prompting of Bob Weisenberg, former yoga editor ofElephant Journal, a popular online magazine. The Yoga in the Gita blog generated hundreds of thousands of views due to a grateful readership of primarily yoga teachers, yoga practitioners, bhaktas and bhaktins. It was due to the repeated requests of the blog’s followers that the book was eventually born.
While yoga studios around the world require that their teachers-in-training study theBhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras before becoming officially certified yoga teachers, they often resort to translations of these texts that obscure the valuable bhakti yogainsights originally found in these texts.
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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.
On the auspicious occasion of the appearance day of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Dr Sahadeva Das offers two Esraj songs unto His divine lotus feet. These songs, ‘Ujjvala Varana Gaura Vara Deham’ and ‘Nava Gaura Varam’ were composed by Srila Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. The melody has been taken from the albums of Bhakti Charu Swami.
Esraj is an important instrument in traditional vaisnava music and by the 1980s the instrument was nearly extinct. Of late, this instrument is seeing some revival. However only a handful players remain all over the world. The Esraj played here is carved out of a century old block of Burma teakwood. No effects or reverb have been added to the sound of the instrument.
Each of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples has chosen to love him. It is a commitment that I will always honor, and I have sealed that commitment at my initiation. We have a contract of love now. Although my love for Srila Prabhupada may not yet be free of any material tinge, he is patient. And Prabhupada himself has placed conditions of his love on his disciples. He expects them to follow him. Although he will still love a disobedient disciple, his love will not reach a disciple who rebels or disobeys his order, and who blasphemes guru and Krishna. The relationship between guru and disciple is meant to be based on honor.
I have heard people say that this “condition” Prabhupada places on his love for us is not much different than the conditions some of our parents placed on us to win their love. Many people have been hurt by parents who sold their love for high grades in school, or conformity to family rules, etc. There was no chance for people who grew up in these families to develop themselves as individuals, or to feel self-worth despite their failings to meet their parents’ standards. They grew up only with conditions and have no experience of real love. Is Prabhupada’s love for us like that? Is it a lesser kind of love because he places on it the condition of our obedience?
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He would record every amount received; yet Prabhupada didn’t worry about the money at all. When he moved from one place to another in 1966, he didn’t worry about the rent money, but simply depended on Krishna. American hippies were accustomed to living as mendicants too, but their renunciation was more an act of irresponsibility, and therefore, simply another variety of materialism. Prabhupada was purely renounced in Krishna’s service.
It is an amazing feature of Prabhupada’s surrender and dependence on Krishna that he came to the West completely alone with no material backing. Because the Gaudiya Matha had become divided after his spiritual master left this world, there wasn’t enough solidarity among his godbrothers to fund him from his Guru Maharaj’s institution. If someone pressed him about what religion he was representing, or about who sent him, he couldn’t claim anything other than a philosophical and spiritual connection with the Gaudiya Matha.
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