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Opinion

  • Lord Caitanya and the Renaissance of Devotion (Part 2)
    Kṛṣṇa’s appearance as Lord Caitanya is really Kṛṣṇa’s own tribute and testament to the overwhelming attractiveness of pure devotional service and, especially, of His pure devotee. Moreover, when Kṛṣṇa assumes the features of His own greatest devotee, He has, in fact, a particular devotee in mind: His highest and most intimate devotee. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
  • Chemical Evolution: A Molecular Concept of Life

    The idea of the primitive reducing atmosphere has received strong and serious criticisms from scientists of various disciplines. Their arguments suggest overwhelming drawbacks in the conjecture. Available data from geology, geophysicists and geochemistry argue strongly against this idea.

  • For Atheists and Theists Alike: Time as God
    As a blogger on a metropolitan newspaper's religious blog page, I find that some of my references to a higher power or supreme being are met with ridicule or scorn by those readers who profess faith in atheistic views. This is certainly not surprising.
  • Lord Caitanya and the Renaissance of Devotion (Part 1)
    India in the fifteenth century was underwent a renaissance almost the opposite of the European one; scholars have called it the “bhakti renaissance,” a great rebirth of devotion to God. The preeminent figure of this powerful religious upsurge was Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
  • History and Ethics of Genetic Engineering
    Suppose today if by biotechnology it were possible to produce a person of the same size and shape of Einstein, will such a person possess the same intelligence and personality of Einstein? The answer is no. Biotechnology cannot copy the spiritual nature of a person. Thus, the idea that life could be mechanistically recreated by incorporating existing DNA into an already existing natural process does not seem to be a correct one and further indicates that life is beyond physical characteristics.
  • Lessons from Slumdog Millionaire
    According to USA Today, "When Slumdog Millionaire swept the Oscars on Saturday night, its triumph provided as uplifting a story line as the movie itself. For such an unlikely film to win - independent, low budget, much of it in a foreign language - underscores an American strength that's sometimes forgotten: the ability, as a nation of immigrants, to embrace and assimilate people from different cultures."
  • Gaura Pūrṇimā 523

    Five hundred and twenty three years ago, on a full moon night in the month of Govinda, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared in the world, the avatāra descended to deliver Kṛṣṇa prema to the extremely fallen people of this Kali-yuga.

  • Kirtans, Questions, and Mixed Emotions

    The good news: Kirtan, it seems, has finally hit the American mainstream. In the lead story of Wednesday’s New York Times Fashion & Style section, “Yoga Enthusiasts Hear the Call of Kirtan,” Times reporter Sara Eckel gives an overwhelmingly positive – albeit cheeky – glimpse into the practice of meditative call-and-response chanting. Festive, enjoyable, soothing, even relatively inexpensive – kirtan sounds like a pretty good deal in our troubled, stress-filled times.

  • Touch of the Brajabasi: The Musician
    In Vrindavan, I had a policy: don’t give to beggars. I envisioned that if I gave to one, I would be swarmed with beggars from the entire street demanding their share. So I just didn’t give. I had lived in Vrindavan for over a month and I had not given a single rupee to a single beggar. I had planned to keep it that way.
  • The Notion of ‘Free Speech’ in ISKCON
    Does anyone remember the Telex machine? I guess even the question reveals my age. It’s like asking does anyone remember slide rulers or carbon paper. They are devices of the past. Like Linotype machines, spirit duplicators and pink negative correction fluid, they have all been washed away by the digital tidal wave.
  • Conviction

    Doubt is the motor of the modern mentality, the indefatigable engine that drives the spirit of our age. Such doubt was honored with an early recognition in the essays of the Renaissance courtier Michel de Montaigne: “We are, I know not how, double within ourselves, with the result that we do not believe what we believe, and we cannot rid ourselves of what we condemn.”

  • Holidays, Trees, Gardens, Apes and Violins
    We made the national news recently as our new calf - whom we’ve named Gangotri - was born. We are all very happy to see her into the world and pray that she will never have to struggle like her namesake. The Guardian supplement did a nice piece with a colour picture.
  • The Home of the Original GBC Meetings
    This is not about the history of ISKCON’s GBC meetings, but of the original GBC that was created way back in the days of Queen Victoria. The acronym GBC stands for ‘Governing Body Commission’ and was a term created by the British for its top executive body of the Indian Railways. The British-run railways were one of the miracles of Victorian India.
  • My Encounter With the Art of Perfection
    By the time I encountered the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, I was so eager to transcend material existence that I was willing to renounce practically everything for the sake of liberation. So convinced was I that pain and suffering were of the essence of this life that I did not desire to reserve any attachment, even to the highest and best part of it.
  • Bus Ride to Nowhere
    Travelers battling through the Westminster traffic this month are likely to encounter a bleak message emblazoned on buses. “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy life,” is the dubious legend plastered to a number of the vehicles meandering around the nation’s capital. I’m not sure how its authors think we should respond to this call.
  • Uzbekistan Cops Behave Like the Chand-Kazi
    While we were celebrating Sri Nityananda Prabhu’s Festival on Saturday, the police were breaking up a similar festival in another country. The devotees were arrested and their religious paraphernalia confiscated. The country, not surprisingly was Uzbekistan and the city, Samarkand.
  • "God"?

    What the punctuation in the title indicates:

    Quotation marks: Draping the word God in quotation marks indicates that we are first concerned with the signifier, not the signified. (Compare these two sentences: I am interested in God. I am interested in “God.”)

    Question mark: The mark of interrogation backstopping “God” points us next to questions concerning the concept or idea of God. What does it mean? Aren’t there many different meanings? Isn’t the meaning often vague or ambiguous?

  • From DNA to Genome: Is Genome Life?
    Cells are the fundamental units of living organisms. Those that function similarly make up the tissue, and a collection of tissues working together forms an organ. A collection of organs makes up the organism. The codes or instructions as to how each cell should function is contained in the nucleus of the cells, as DNA. Units of DNA form genes and the collection of all genes is called the genome.
  • For a New President: Three Things to Consider

    Thousands of years ago, a sage named Narada pointed out three things that are pleasing to God (in a discussion with a group known as the Prachetas, as recounted in India's Bhagavata Purana). The qualities Narada recommended are worthwhile for anyone, but especially would be valuable for a leader to emulate.

  • A Fable
    News reaches the world that the troubled inhabitants of Lokastan have begun to perish in steadily increasing numbers from a contagion. The disease organism is reportedly so virulent that all exposed fall ill and nearly all the ill die.
  • My Friend is a Yogi!
    When I first joined the Hare Krishnas, the phrase “plain living high thinking” would inevitably make me think of yogis in the Himalaya Mountains who meditate on the Absolute Truth while staying in caves, surviving freezing temperatures without central heating and living on nothing but water and air.
  • How One Man's Life Changed with an Oath
    Along with millions of others, I watched Barack Hussein Obama swear the oath while laying his left hand on the Bible. Not just any Bible in this case, but the self same Bible that Abraham Lincoln used back in 1861.
  • The Swastika: A Symbol of Goodness or Hate?
    When Hitler began using the swastika as the symbol for his Nazi party in the 1920s, he brought about the death not only of millions of innocent people, but also of an innocent symbol. His use of the beloved Hindu religious sign instilled so much hate for it in the Western world that I wonder if its true meaning will ever be reclaimed.
  • ISKCON's Future: Could a Bi-cameral GBC Help?

    It may be that instituting a bicameral system for the GBC could help to continue a healthy and dynamic managerial process for ISKCON into the future; allowing for the preservation of ISKCON's strength and traditions, while facilitating the next generation to take responsibility for expanding the mission.

  • Can We Ban God from the Presidential Inauguration?

    As reported by CNN, a group of atheists and humanists’ organizations are legally challenging Barack Obama's right to make any references to God or religion at his upcoming presidential inauguration ceremony. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washington, D.C., plaintiffs demanded that "so help me God" be not added to the end of Obama's oath of office.