Shiva: The Auspicious One
Shiva is among the most widely worshiped deities in India. With names such as Mahadeva ("the great god") and Nataraja ("the king of dancers"), he is venerated in ancient holy cities like Benares, where Saivites (as his worshipers are called) devote their lives to him, viewing him as the Supreme Lord.
New Satire News Site to be Taken With a Pinch of Hing
Here at ISKCON News, we take ourselves very seriously. Which is why we're extremely offended by Bhakta Eric Swanger's new online satire of devotee life, The Hing.
Based on The Onion, a secular site that pokes fun at world news, The Hing was officially launched on February 8, and bills itself as "ISKCON's Finest News Source."
The Self at War
Arjuna is a warrior who feels the call to a more peaceful, non-invasive life. On the verge of a mammoth war he refuses to fight, even though the enemy is an aggressor who must be brought down. Like Arjuna, once we acknowledge the call to a more enlightened life we may also find mundane duties distasteful. Is it possible to attend to such obligations without compromising our higher self? Is it possible to live in the material world without becoming overwhelmed by it?
Srila Prabhupada and the Sixth Commandment
At a recent interreligious conference, I happened to mention that we devotees of Krishna are vegetarian, and in the midst of the discussion, I referred to the Sixth Commandment: "Thou shalt not kill." A prominent Christian scholar, who was part of the discussion, asked what the commandment had to do with vegetarianism.
Love Makes the World Go Round ...
in America and other western countries, Valentine’s Day is a big hit. Americans are predicted to spend an estimated
$17 billion dollars on flowers, candy, jewelry, cards and other romantic
What we won’t sacrifice for love. But
what does it actually take to have an enduring relationship or a lasting
Understanding the Art and Science of Krishna Consciousness: An Attempt at Reconciliation
A quick glance at the many ISKCON-related websites tells us much, not least that there are differences of opinion about what Srila Prabhupada taught and different approaches to implementing his teachings. Naturally, we all think that our particular interpretation is "the" correct one, and that the Other is fundamentally errant.
UK's Channel 4 Broadcasts Krishna on Christmas Day
On Christmas Day, thousands of English people got a chance to see a little of Vrindavan Dhama in The Hidden Story of Jesus.
Channel 4 (UK) broadcast this extended documentary about the life of Jesus and how it's viewed by other faith traditions, including Vaishnavism.
What Are We Really Eating?
We live in a world of enticingly packaged, processed foods where nobody really cares what they’re eating, so long as it looks good. As a child, I remember seeing a guest on a TV chat show say that they were allergic to various products, and therefore had to check the ingredients on everything when they went shopping. “Oh my God!” the host exclaimed in horror. “That must be such a pain! I could never do that!”
Lord Rama: Fact or Fiction
As of late, in the year 2007, the idea of whether Lord Rama exists or not has been called into question, by no less than some of the politicians in India. So it is a wonder how such persons can be accepted as leaders of the people of India who should be concerned with preserving and protecting the culture of the country.
Paramatma: God as the Source of Inspiration and Insight
According to Vedanta [summative Vedic techings], the Supreme Lord expands and accompanies each and every living entity in order to guide his/her activities. This is seen in the form of inspiration or a sudden flash of insight experienced by scientists at the time of discovery, and by poets and artists in different circumstances.
Christmas: A Whale of a Time for All But the Animals
While the news that Japan has announced it has scrapped plans to kill 50 humpback whales on its yearly whale hunt is welcomed by all, there is deafening silence in the mass media about the fate of millions of other animals who are not the subject of intense diplomatic lobbying, and who will, without any fanfare, be put to death to satisfy the palettes of Christmas revelers this year.
The Madness of Modern Morality
When the RSPCA decided yesterday to ignore the protestations of her devotee carers and “put down” the ailing Gangotri (a 13 year-old cow living at Bhaktivedanta Manor) they were moved by compassionate considerations. Their spokesperson said, "We do understand and respect religious beliefs but at the heart of our organization is the belief that animals should not suffer." In their view the pain she felt from “infected sores” was such that the only answer was to kill her by lethal injection, which they duly administered as the horrified devotees looked on.
‘Vegetarianism is Not OK’ Say Some Hindus
There’s been a kerfuffle in the media in the past few days over the entrance policy for the new Hindu school in Harrow. Various parties have submitted statements to newspapers and been interviewed on the radio. The Krishna-Avanti Hindu School is to be built and run with money from central government and, like the name suggests, its a school for Hindu children.
What About Winning the Lotto?
Timothy Elliot's good luck may have just run out. The 55 year old scratched a Massachusetts state lottery scratch ticket and discovered that he'd won a hefty $1 million lottery prize. But it turns out that Elliott is a convicted bank robber and the terms of his probation quite specifically rain on his parade: he "may not gamble, purchase lottery tickets, or visit an establishment where gaming is conducted..."
An ad in the NY Times caught my attention. It runs for a full three pages in the Sept 25th issue, touting the glories of India's contributions to the world. There's a bold headline: Experience India In New York, announcing a series of cultural events and conferences. The ad has its token images of sitar players and Bharatnatyam dancers along with pictures of business execs in ties. The ad's real intent is not to introduce Indian culture to the West, but rather to broadcast how India is adapting to Western culture so magnificently.
Taking Science on Faith
Science, we are repeatedly told, is the most reliable form of knowledge about the world because it is based on testable hypotheses. Religion, by contrast, is based on faith. The problem with this neat separation into “non-overlapping magisteria,” as Stephen Jay Gould described science and religion, is that science has its own faith-based belief system.
Commentary on 'Priests Fail to Coax Out Suicide Cult'
"I'm going to die for God. I'll go to paradise where I'll enjoy lots of sex and unlimited alcoholic drink and drugs of all kinds." This kind of thinking was in the heads of the terrorists who hijacked airplanes on September 11, 2001 resulting in thousands of unnecessary deaths of innocents.
The Gita on Skid Row
“My first experience spending time on Skid Row was in 1972 when I stood on street corners chanting Hare Krishna,” Nrsimhananda says. “We used to visit the area once a week and distribute prasadam (spiritual food) to the “less fortunate.” We were outsiders, and so were they. We opted out of the 9-5 rat race; so had they. We slept on the floor; they were asleep on the sidewalk. We liked to get high on chanting the names of God; they had their drug of choice.
What We Learn From the Dying
We don't like to find the word 'death' staring down at us from the wall. If we do, we'll hang it on somebody else, shrouding it behind a screen of medical abbreviations, and then we'll be gone. The word's still there — it follows us, of course, as the moon follows a moving car — but as long as we don't have to keep looking at it, we're 'okay'.
Feeding the Real Hunger
Eating disorders and obesity are reaching epidemic levels in today’s society. In the US some 11 million have anorexia or bulimia, while 25 million suffer from binge eating. Here in the UK obesity causes 30,000 deaths a year and is estimated to cost as much as seven and a half billion pounds each year.
Least But Not Last
I recently heard a woman say, “least but not last.” She meant to say the usual, “last but not least,” but somehow, due to a slip of the lip, or perhaps because of some mild form of dyslexia, she inverted the words in this somewhat humorous way. And this got me thinking about humility, which people sometimes confuse with low self-esteem, thus viewing it as an inferior quality. To think of oneself as “least” is the last thing one would want to do.
Parallel Worlds: Who's the Mother of Magic Realism?
What do C.S. Lewis, Quentin Tarantino and J.K. Rowling have in common? Maybe nothing, but here's what I think. One, all will have hit the big screen by December 2005; two, all are considered innovators; three, all have written about their characters entering a parallel world.
Hugging: A Touchy Subject
I don't really like hugging, but there are some people--male and female--that I feel so much affection for, that I force myself to show it in that fashion. Other times, the hug is just a social formality, or even a kind of preaching.
We Have Met the Enemy, and He is Us
We can blame others for our problems but hatred, envy, anger, lust and greed are the actual enemies we face. Some of us succumb to them rather more than others, and hence dissent arises on one scale or another. But all of us find these nuisances assailing us at times, and when they do our peace of mind is naturally disturbed. In such a condition we become likely candidates for conflict, often turning on whoever happens to be available at the time.
Stem Cells at the Water Cooler
When we are confronted with topical issues, the best answers are usually ones that acknowledge the complexity of the issue, and own up to the fact that Hare Krishna devotees – like followers of most faith traditions – may not all share the same interpretation. It might be tempting to simply conclude “ISKCON is for this,” or “all devotees of Krishna must be against that,” but it is much wiser to resist that temptation and instead focus on the principles that help devotees deal with the grey areas.