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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Two Devotee Women Co-author Popular Yoga Book

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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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 21, 2016

“We Cannot Help You”

He wrote again to Sri Padmapat Singhania, requesting him to send a man from India to supervise work on the temple in New York, as Mr. Singhania had previously suggested.

There is no record of any reply to this request.

Prabhupada wrote again to Sumati Morarji, requesting her to please send him a mrdanga to accompany his chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra.  He also requested her that in the future, when he would send many men from India, she oblige by giving them free passage on Scindia Steamship Lines.

No reply.

As his financial situation became more urgent and his hopes more strained, his support from India withdrew in silence.  His unanswered correspondence was itself a kind of message, loud and clear: “We cannot help you.”

Chant & Enchant the Heart

“Chanting the names of Krishna, the Supreme Lord, is the best and most effect means in this period.”  

We are all children of the same God but unfortunately we decided in the past to sever our bond with him and so we came in this mortal material world.  We thought we can enjoy better independently here without him.  But our fantasies were mistaken and here our suffering does not seem to end.

And so all the sacred books ask us to salvage our life by getting again united with the Supreme Father. And to re-establish the lost relationship, the wisdom books unequivocally recommend chanting the holy names of the Supreme Lord.  Especially in this age of Kaliyuga, it is considered to be more practical and potent.

Brhan-naradiya Purana 38.126 says, “In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.”

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Puzzle of Life

Progress on the spiritual journey is like putting a puzzle together.

We pick up different pieces from different places. The people we contact, namely family, friends, colleagues, critics, mentors, managers, and others, are not simply there by chance. These individuals are strategically placed by providence to make a unique contribution to our development. They craft different aspects of our personality to evolve, educate, edify and enlighten us.

The pieces don’t always come in the ‘right’ order. We often get confused and play victim, since the experiences and events of life can seem haphazard, meaningless and even unfair. Even if it ‘doesn’t fit,’ a wise person registers each one with a genuine sense of value and appreciation. The bigger picture is revealed to the patient and tolerant; somewhere along the line all the pieces of the master plan fall into place.

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