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Opinion

  • Primitive Polytheism or Misunderstood Monotheism?
    In today's culture war pitting secularism versus religion, Eastern religions usually get a free pass from atheist authors and other foes of faith. But that doesn't mean that Hindus can afford to rest on their laurels. Several new books from Hindu experts and advocates seek to dispel misconceptions, including negative ones, about the ancient Indian tradition.
  • GBC Resolution 311: Annotation Sets a Risky Precedent
    GBC Resolution 311 is a watershed in ISKCON history. The resolution — to annotate and "explain" Srila Prabhupada's books — is an attempt to redefine the constitutional structure of ISKCON. Whether intended or not, Resolution 311 changes the established relationships and power balance between individuals, managerial authorities (such as temple presidents and the GBC), the Founder Acarya Srila Prabhupada, and his teachings.
  • When Karma Comes Knocking

    The Sanskrit word “Karma” found its way into the English dictionary long ago so today even the most conservative American has a sense of what it means. Since then John Lennon sang: “Instant Karma Is Going To Get You,” and bumper stickers mock: “Don’t let your Karma Run Over My Dogma.“ But Karma is no joking matter.

  • Review: Ambitious Opera Slow on Action and Enlightenment
    You know when people are drinking coffee at intermission that something is wrong. The audience that attended the April 19 presentation of "SatyaGraha" sincerely wanted to understand and be attentive to this opera but, like me, they found themselves fighting off sleep while desperately trying to follow along with few and poor tools to do so.
  • Is Your Temple Green?
    Environmentalism has certainly been on people’s minds lately. Governments around the globe are teaching their constituents about the need to conserve resources. School children are taught the three R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle. And of course advertisers are keen to tout the environmental benefits of whatever product they are trying to peddle.
  • Simple Living - High Thinking
    A couple from Chennai decided to live simply - by a stream in a one-room hut. The man, Magari, would forego his occupation of hunting while his wife Madhavi would cultivate Tulasi instead of selling baskets. Magari would also give up non-vegetarian food.

     

  • World of Warcraft : More Than Just a Game?
    Those Denizens of Cyberspace who are either young, young at heart or have teenagers will undoubtedly have heard of World of Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment, or WoW as its commonly known amongst those initiated in its mysteries. WoW is not the latest of what is called MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) but it is certainly the most popular.
  • How Cow Dung Saved the Children of Miwani
    I was invited to travel to Kisumu on the shores of Lake Victoria, very far from the Kenyan coast on the Indian Ocean. Kisumu was from all the accounts I had heard a pretty disagreeable place. In the early years, I had read in advance of my journey, that apart from the endemic sleeping sickness, bilharzia, malaria and the nasty malarial complication known as "blackwater fever", the climate was sweltering and municipal hygiene primitive.
  • The Logistics of Multi-ISKCON Centres in the Same City
    The 2008 Mayapur GBC annual meeting ratified as official ISKCON policy the presence of multiple ISKCON centres in the same city. Conceived in New Vrindavan, June 2007, at the special GBC meeting for strategic planning, the “urban proliferation proposal” earned unanimous support from the brainstorming GBCs, hungry for greater ISKCON effectiveness.
  • The Myth of the Rising Cost of Food

    The BBC has a feature on “the cost of food“. It shows how almost all types of food are getting more and more expensive. Drastically so!

    What is happening here? Shouldn’t high-tech farming with its nitrogen fertilizers, pesticides and specially bred (often genetically modified) high-yield crop varieties allow humanity to easy feed everyone on the planet?

  • What Price for Freedom?
    We all want our freedoms, but it seems they are not so free. Recent figures reveal that the cost of freeing Iraq and hopefully the rest of us from tyrants and terrorists is well over one trillion dollars and rising. Then there is the grisly cost of casualties, over ninety thousand dead and innumerable others injured.
  • 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 ...

    Especially 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 paraphernalia.

    Ah! What we won’t sacrifice for love. But what does it actually take to have an enduring relationship or a lasting healthy marriage?

  • 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..."