Mystic Universe – An Introduction Vedic Cosmology
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Hare KrishnaBy Rsiraja Das

Cosmology has been of great interest to devotees ever since Śrīla Prabhupāda instructed his disciples to construct the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium. However, since the Vedic cosmic model is so different from the modern one, devotees often struggle with many common differences such as heliocentric vs. geocentric models of the “solar system”, flat vs. round descriptions of the planets, rotating vs. stationary models of the Earth, the enormous mountains which cannot be observed, etc. Somewhat surprisingly though, devotees unquestioningly accept “higher” and “lower” planetary systems, and linear vs. cyclic time, which are fundamental to grasping Vedic cosmology, because they change space and time from flat-linear (in modern science) to hierarchical-cyclic (in Vedic cosmology). What we have unquestioningly accepted (although not adequately understood) holds the key to a better understanding of Vedic cosmology.

Free Will vs Predestination – Easily Explained
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By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Many times devotees try to reconcile this essentially Christian concept with Vedic understanding, but end up writing lengthy explanations that do not always satisfy the curiosity. This is because it is mostly incompatible with the truths of Bhagavad-Gita, for it has to be broken down in a simplified manner to give a satisfactory and brief explanation. Predestination As we may know, the five truths covered by Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, namely Krishna, the jiva souls, nature, time and action or karma are revealed. Of these, karma or action does not fit in to the predestination scheme. Yes, we can argue that our actions determine our ‘predestination’ or fate, but this is not the predestination of God’s doing.

“My Sweet Lord: The Hare Krishna Movement Turns Fifty” Academic Conference at Bath Spa University, UK
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Hare KrishnaBy Zayani Bhatt

As a part of ISKCON’s 50th year celebrations, devotees from Bhaktivedanta Manor, academics from around the country and students from Bath Spa University gathered at the picturesque and quaint university on Saturday 23rd April to talk about their shared interest in the Hare Krishna movement. The day, organised in collaboration with Religions, Philosophies and Ethics at the University, was dedicated to talks, presentations and a panel discussion on the history of ISKCON including its greatest achievements and challenges, its position within the larger British Hindu community and its future and the potential challenges it may experience going forward into the next fifty years. The academics included Dr Dermott Killingley who used to be of Newcastle University and Professor Kim Knott of Lancaster University, both of whom have extensively studied the Holy Scriptures such as the Bhagavat Gita, and the theology and practice of Srila Prabhupada’s movement.

Meet Shakshi Davis
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Hare KrishnaBy Brittany Nunn

Davis is Hindu. His family is a part of the Hare Krishna community in East Dallas and is heavily involved at Kalachandji’s, the Hare Krishna temple that moonlights as a vegetarian Indian buffet. He was afraid the other students would spurn him if they found out. “My family is weird because I have an Indian religion, I live in America, but my dad’s side of the family is African, so my middle name is African,” he says. “Because of my religion I’m vegetarian, so that’s kind of weird.” He went to TKG Academy in elementary school where he was surrounded by other Hindu kids and families. Public school was a culture shock and some of the other kids bullied him in junior high because of a small ponytail he wore as a part of Hinduism.

Krishna conscious presentation at United Nations Interfaith Climate Change Ceremony
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Hare KrishnaBy

On April 22nd, 2016 Radhanath Swami joined faith leaders from around the world at Church Center of The United Nations in New York City to encourage world leaders to sign the Paris agreement on climate change. The event (The Interfaith Climate Change Statement To World Leaders Handover Program) was mainly organized by GreenFaith, in partnership with a number of faith based organizations. Although a climate change agreement was made in Paris, each individual country that signed on still needs to approve it through their respective parliaments and legislative bodies. The Interfaith Climate Change Statement presents the positive judgement of the Paris Agreement from 250 global faith leaders, and urges its prompt signature and ratification by governments so that it can come into force as soon as possible. It also calls for action relating to emission reductions and a swift phase out of fossil fuel subsidies. The statement serves to renew the strong commitment of the faith community to remain active in defining the moral responsibility to care for the Earth,

Devotees: Pessimistic or Optimistic?
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By Giriraj Swami

Much has been said about the power of positive thinking, that the secret to success is to think positively about what you want to achieve and that such thoughts will attract positive results–practically without limit. Such claims may foster a sense of optimism about the possibilities for material success, but how realistic are these claims, and how beneficial are these approaches and techniques? I have always been impressed by Srila Prabhupada’s bold, frank realism and find it a refreshing relief from so much naive, sentimental optimism. After all, we are in the material world, and we stand to benefit if we consider all possibilities, even “negative” ones. Speaking on Bhagavad-gita 1.6, Srila Prabhupada said, “Duryodhana first of all pointed out the military strength of the opposite side. This is intelligence. One should take calculation of the opposing elements, or the enemy’s side. In fighting, the first thing is to take estimation of the enemy’s side, how much they are strong, how they have arranged. Then one should calculate how to counteract, how to fight with them. This is intelligence. Without taking calculation of the other side, if you are not prepared, how can you become victorious?

The Krsna-approaching Body
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By Ravindra Svarupa dasa

As soon as I am desiring something, immediately my body is formed. Immediately a particular type of body begins to form, and as soon as I am mature to change, my next body I get according to my desire. Therefore we should always desire Krishna. Then from this life, the Krishna-approaching body or the spiritual body will be formed. The more you become sincere servant of Krishna, the more your body becomes Krishnaized, electrified. Therefore advanced Krishna conscious person is considered to have a spiritual body. The same example, as I have given several times: just like iron rod. You put into the fire, it becomes warmer, warmer. The more it is connected with fire, it becomes warm, warm, warm. And at last it becomes red hot, so that at that time, if that iron is touched to any other thing, it burns. It does not act as iron; it acts as fire. Similarly, by this Krishna consciousness, continuous chanting, you will make your body spiritualized. At that time, wherever you go, wherever you touch, he’ll be spiritualized. Similarly, the iron: Without being spiritualized, without being red hot, if you touch, it will not act.

The Holy Name Retreat in Govardhan
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Hare KrishnaBy Prem Sindhu Gauranga Das

From 11th to 13th April, an enthusiastic and energetic group of 60 devotees arrived in the Holy Dhama of Govardhana for a Holy name retreat under the guidance of H.H. Bhakti Dhira Damodara Swami and H.G. Srivasa Prabhu from Africa. The devotees in attendance were from several countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Mauritius, Malaysia, Brazil and India. They came to the shelter of Haridasavarya Govardhana, the greatest of the devotees of Lord Krishna, to receive spiritual impartations, to be touched by the Holy presence of H.H. Bhakti Dhira Damodara Swami and to get motivated for spreading the Holy names in their nations. The retreat offered the participants a dynamic mix of spiritual enlightenment and exciting spiritual visits to various holy places in Govardhana.

Bhaktivedanta Manor given planning permission
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Hare KrishnaBy Steven Brown

Planners unanimously gave consent for a new community building at a Hindu temple. The Hertsmere Borough Council’s planning committee officially granted planning permission for a new development on the grounds of Bhaktivedanta Manor, in Aldenham on Thursday. The application is to build a two storey community building or a Haveli, as well as relocating the existing poly tunnels, greenhouses and playground. Gauri das, managing director at the temple, said: “We are exceptionally pleased to receive planning permission to build our community facility at Bhaktivedanta Manor. “Over many years of work including the development of a planning brief, a public consultation, and one and a half years awaiting a determination, we listened carefully and patiently to local residents concerns. “In the end the concerns were all addressed and thus the decision unanimous. We are extremely grateful.”

I Don’t Get No Respect
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By Karnamrita dasa

RESPECT: esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment. / deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment: respect for a suspect’s right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly./ the condition of being esteemed or honored: to be held in respect. I think respect is really a way of life—a consciousness of the sacredness of all life and in fact everything that exists as it relates to God. In how I see the word, it is what Krishna consciousness is all about. We are learning to respect and honor God—Radha Krishna, Gaura-Nityananda and all their expansions and devotees—great teachers or gurus, devotees in general, but in fact all living beings and everything that exists. Although honor is not given as a synonym for respect, to me it could be. Given synonyms are deference and reverence..

Catholic nuns learn about the glories of the cow
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Hare KrishnaBy Yadava Hari Dasa

Six Nuns from Santikari Catholic Dormitory visited ISKCON’s Youth Ashram, Narayana Smrti Ashram Yogyakarta, Indonesia. They would learn about Bhakti Yoga and Hare Krishna movement. At night, they read Bhagavad Gita and discussed about Bhakti Yoga. They followed all daily programs at ashram nicely. After decided to stay in the ashram for one night, they continued to ask about Bhakti Yoga and Hare Krishna movement. Subananda prabhu and Surya Locana prabhu, who are the authorities of the ashram gave them nice explanations about those topics. Fortunately, the nuns stayed at brahmacarini ashram which near from Goshala. Automatically they got opportunity to darsan with cow there. We have one cow is named Kishora.

Three Ratha Yatras in different parts of Indonesia
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Hare KrishnaBy Hari Narayana das

The final place of the Rata yatra was Jember. The devotees attended from around cities in Indonesia such as Bali, Banyuwangi, Malang, Rembang, Surabaya, and Probolinggo. They came by train, bus and other small car with their family and friends. The devotees started pulled the Lord at 07.00 pm. local time. The melodious kirtan brought people from all directions. Very soon the route became full of people, mostly from other faiths; there were people everywhere – young and old, and the chariot with the Deities of Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra stood magnificiently. Everyone was eagerly gazing at Gaura Nitai on the palanquin and Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra on the chariot. Everyone present came forward and pulled the chariot to the main road. Security for the Ratha was provided by local authorities and a group of local musicians playing nice tunes followed the chariot.

Mayapur Institute – Graduation Ceremony 2015-16
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Hare KrishnaBy Mayapur Institute

157 students earn bhakti degrees. The Director, Padmanayana das, informed that the Mayapur Institute started in the year 2000 with just 3 Bhakti Sastri students and today after 15 years of operation, 157 students from 30 different countries are receiving graduation certificates. To date, 2500 students have graduated from Mayapur Institute. Definitely, this must be a great joy to Srila Prabhupada. Mayapur Institute is fulfilling Srila Prabhupada’s vision sincerely over the last 15 years.

Revitalized Govinda’s Vegetarian Restaurant in New Vrindaban
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Hare KrishnaBy Abhay Charan dasa

Govinda’s Restaurant, the only vegetarian and vegan restaurant in the Ohio Valley area, officially opened for the season on Friday, March 25th, to the delight of visitors and locals alike, having been closed for the winter. This hidden gem, tucked away in the serene Appalachian foothills, is definitely a must go. Govinda’s Vegetarian Restaurant offers a wide range of menu options for its visitors. While authentic Indian cuisines is the specialty, delicious Italian dishes, including lasagna, pasta and pizza are on the menu. For the not so adventurous palate, American dishes such as veggie burgers and a Philly cheesesteak are also included. Healthier menu options like a new salad bar, green juices and smoothie bar will be added this year, as well as a variety of tasty vegan dishes, such as vegan wraps and Daiya cheese pizza.

Just A Sesame Seed Of Doubt
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By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Have we ever considered how many outstanding ‘harmless’ little doubts remain with us as we endeavour for perfection in Krishna consciousness? Some spiritual practitioners feel quite comfortable harbouring certain philosophical question marks that challenge our rationality, thinking them to be docile reasoning tools. Is there room for quaint musings that can be put aside until perhaps we get a boost of faith? “For the doubting soul there is happiness neither in this world nor in the next.” (BG 4.40) Most of us are, or were conditioned by universally accepted ‘rational’ observations presented as fact. They cement into such a strong belief that one has to reject or suspend them when pondering matters other worldly or spiritual. Such divisive objective and subjective issues as – creationism versus big bang and evolution theories – can tear apart communities, which in the absence of decent law and order, will erupt into enmity and loss of life.

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Hare KrishnaBy Ravindra Svarupa dasa

During my initial encounter with Krishna consciousness, I was puzzled, and then troubled, by the absence of any consideration of “rights”—human rights, civil rights—in the social teachings of Shrila Prabhupada, who took great pains to elucidate an ideal “Vedic society.” It seemed to me that rights ought to be a central concern of this or any other social ideal. Moreover, the social order he extolled as exemplary—indeed as divinely ordained—was unapologetically hierarchical. All the more need for rights, I thought. Isn’t respect for rights the greatest safeguard against the abuse of power?

WSN March 2016 – World Sankirtan Newsletter
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Hare KrishnaBy Vijaya Dasa

Chowpatti, “the simple temple” inspired by Radhanatha Swami, had a great month in March, distributing over eleven thousand books in Mumbai, an increase of 641%. That’s a nice offering during this 50th anniversary of ISKCON’s founding. Phoenix, in Mauritius, also had a good month: about 4,000 book points and an increase of 999%. It’s a small island, and the devotees are steadily distributing books to these fortunate islanders year after year. As I was passing through the Istanbul airport a few days ago, en route to Moscow, I distributed a book to another traveler in transit through Turkey. Turkey doesn’t allow ISKCON to have a temple, though we do have a restaurant. It may have been the first and only book so far distributed in the Istanbul airport, a breakthrough for Turkey.

Vitamin B12 deficiency and dementia – a serious and urgent matter
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Hare KrishnaBy Dr. med. Ludwig Jacob

As a medical doctor, Ph.D. and specialist in vegetarian and vegan diets, (I wrote a 500-page medical book quoting over 1400 scientific studies on this), my research and personal experience with the health problems of senior devotees have shown clearly that we urgently need to improve and re-think our eating and health habits. The world-wide devotee community has already a large percentage of cardiovascular diseases and of neuro-degenerative diseases such as dementia and Parkinson with the high probability of developing an epidemic. One of the easier ways to revert these causes is to increased vitamin B12, which lacking causes high levels of homocysteine in the blood.

Grand Opening Ceremony of the New U.S. TOVP Office
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Hare KrishnaBy the TOVP

On Thursday, April 14th, in conjunction with the auspicious appearance day of Lord Ramachandra, the new U.S. TOVP office celebrated its Grand Opening in Gainesville, Florida. The new office is located in a house donated exclusively for TOVP use by Ambarisa prabhu and will serve as the communications and fundraising headquarters. The celebration also coincides with the formation of the new U.S. non-profit, TOVP Foundation Inc., whose Chairman is Sesa das, also the newly appointed Chairman of the GBC. The function was attended by several local senior devotees including Sesa das, Alachua Temple President, Mukhya devi dasi, Kirtiraja das, Ramanya das, and several others, along with Ambarisa and Svaha prabhus and TOVP Director of Development and Fundraising, Vraja Vilas das, who came all the way from Mayapur to help organize the opening of the new office.

Forces of light and forces of darkness in the Bible and the Vedas
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By Matsyavatara Dasa

The biblical tradition tells about angels and demons existing before the world, before the creation of man. These two sets of archetypes (the archetype of light represented by the angels headed by Michael, and the archetype of darkness represented by the demons headed by Lucifer) come in direct conflict and immediately engage in a cosmic war between the forces of good and the forces of evil. The Bible explains that Lucifer (literally his name means “the bearer of light”) was originally created by God as the most glorious of angels: he was a protecting cherub and God awarded him with goods and beauty. But Lucifer proudly aspired to become similar to God, and the pride and corruption of his heart led him to his fall as Satan, a Hebrew term meaning “the opponent”. Once humans are created, the furious battles between the titanic forces which represent the good and the titanic forces which represent the evil, is already running. As the myth reports, these two different energetic fields have their cosmic value and have always been present in the human psyche. Let’s translate in modern psychological terms the ancient language of myth and its symbols: angels are the luminous archetypes of the good and demons the dark archetypes of the evil, but both represent functions of the personality.

Parasurama and the Virgin Mary
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Hare KrishnaBy Govinda dasa

Parasurama Prabhu, who runs the Food For All centre in London, grew up in Ireland at a time when it was considered very strange to be anything other than a Catholic. In fact, he never met anyone from a different religion until he was eighteen, when he met a protestant. The story of how he joined the Hare Krishnas is interesting. In 1983, when he was eighteen, he seriously prayed to the Virgin Mary to reveal to him the absolute truth. Being a lay missionary for many years, he repeated a verse from the Bible: “Wretched and miserable man that I am! Who will [rescue me and] set me free from this body of death [this corrupt, mortal existence]? ” Romans 7:24 While praying this way, something extraordinary happened; the statue of the Virgin Mary lit up the room with her effulgence. Parasurama felt both shock and hope at that moment. The next day while walking down Grafton Street in Dublin, he received a copy of Chant and be Happy from a devotee. He knew there was a connection, it was the answer to his prayer.

Celebrate ISKCON 50th Anniversary With Padayatra
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Hare KrishnaBy Gaurangi Devi Dasi

Throughout 2016 ISKCON will celebrate its 50 years since its incorporation on July 13, 1966. The Padayatra Worldwide Ministry started to work on taken place, 10 are planned and 14 remain to be done. Each different padayatra in the same country is counted as one, unless they are continuous or annual walks. This system allows us to honour the several padayatras taking place in India and other large countries. Most of the following suggestions are based on the contents of the International Briefing Pack produced by the ISKCON50 international team. We invite all of you to carefully view the entire ISKCON50 International briefing pack posted on the Padayatra website in 2 formats, Word and Adobe Reader. This will greatly help you to plan and organise all your Golden Jubilee celebrations.