K-CAP day 1
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The first day of the conference was split into three workshops. This allows for a more focused discussion. I was in the Ontology Management: Searching, Selection, Ranking and Segmentation Workshop.

Chris Welty from IBM started off the day with a keynote on "Re-learning Ontology Management for the Web". His main point was that that each term in an OWL ontology is a uniquely addressable URI that can exist on the Internet for all eternity and be accessed by anyone, anywhere and at any time. This seemingly obvious fact is the key difference that makes ontologies much more useful anytime in the past. It changes everything. People (and machines) can now start to reuse each other's knowledge on a massive scale. And, very importantly, this reuse can happen will relative ease.

He also made an interesting point that the quality of an ontology matters, but the benefit derived from any ontology, no matter how badly engineered, is much greater than the benefit gained from having the best possible knowledge base.

Ontologies are not object oriented, or frame-based systems, though may people mistake them for these, since they are quite similar on the surface. OWL has the distinction of using URIs for all identifiers and being based on formal description logic, which allows for automated reasoning and classification.

As usual, there were some terrible talks. Some people just cannot explain themselves. They will talks for 20 minutes, giving all kinds of complicated maths, confusing everyone and, in the end, it turns out they have just done some very insignficant, minor new thing. The complexty was just to fool people into publishing the research (why explain something in one page, if you can do it in 20 and get published?).

Some researchers from Zurich presented their iRDQL query language extension that allowed for imprecise query term matching. Useful, though nothing extraordinary.

Derek Sleeman gave a strange talk on the research he plans to do. He didn't really say anything, but then, I guess, he wasn't intending to. One useful bit of information he shared was that when evaluating users' understanding of a system, it is useful to have them "think aloud". Research has proven that this speaking one's thoughts does not interfere with the normal thinking process. It is a very useful technique for understand what someone else's mental model of a situation or computer program is.

Sleeman also gave a talk on "Searching and Ranking Ontologies on the Semantic Web". Southampton University, Aberdeen and Sheffield have built an ontology (ontosearch) search engine that uses a PageRank-style algorithm. This offers an alternative to Jim Hendler's Maryland research group's Swoogle search engine.

F. Mostowfi gave an interesting talk on "Change in Ontology and Ontology of Change". He outlined a complex version system that relies on all changes being recorded in an ontology of change. This ontology provides an audit trail, so that one can always reconstruct the original context of any class by performing a RDQL query. The system is being used by linguists to study and preserve the semantics of all 6000 languages of the world.

K-CAP day 0
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A long flight from Manchester to Toronto, then 3 hours to get through customs by which time I had missed my connecting flight, then a long flight from Toronto to Calgary, then a long bus ride from Calgary to Banff. After this Odyssey I've finally arrived at the Banff Center hotel and conference center for the K-CAP conference.

Canada seems very much the USA, expect for a slight, but noticeable extra degree of stylishness. Less ugly industrial concrete, but more refined. Still, the American influence is all pervading.

Banff is located in the midst of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 4500 feet (1350 meters). The natural surroundings of the center are beautiful. The Rockies are certainly majestic to behold. The mountain air is refreshing (and cold). I'm finding myself occasionally become light headed, since I'm not yet used to the thinner air at this altitude.

The Banff center staff is very professional, well organized, knowledgably, helpful and personal. They will go out of their way to accommodate almost any request. They also constantly ask if they can get you anything, or assist you in any way. Impressive.

The center also offers a range of services and activities for its guest. Most of them are free. It is equipped a swimming pool (I went swimming to get over the jet lag), classes in Yoga, Pilates, Kick Boxing, Massage; a running track, climbing wall, gym, badminton courts, a number of shops and a choice of dinning facilities. The rooms are huge (unlike the UK, there is lots of empty space in Canada, so the can afford to build stuff big). However, I have no idea why anyone would need a bed that is 2x2 meters in size. That is a bit over the top. Nevertheless, they certainly know how to make a good impression on their guests.

First order of business: Sleep.

God & Science: on Mystic Perfections and Long-Distance Hypnosis
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(chapter summary from God and Science by Richard L. Thompson)

In 1920 Professor Leonid Vasiliev of the University of Leningrad, Russia performed an experiment where he would monitor a subject in a darkened room, detecting when she would fall asleep. A psychic would then be directed to a special lead-lined room some distance away. There the psychic would find a sealed envelope with instructions written by a neutral third party to either:

  1. Remain in the room and issue a command to the subject to fall asleep
  2. Exit the room and issue the same command
  3. Exit the room and issue no command

The resultant average time it took the subject to fall asleep were:

  1. 4:43
  2. 4:13
  3. 7:24

The experiment suggests that telepathic influences are very real and do not work via electromagnetism, since these waves are blocked by lead. Professor Vasiliev work was eventually canceled by the Russian government, since it was investigating phenomena ??oewhich considering the time and place, cannot be perceived??.

In contrast, these kind of mystic powers are quite common in the Vedic literature. However, they are also condemned, not because they couldn't possibly be true, but because they distract from the path of service to God, which is the true goal of life.

Devamrita Swami: Overburdened earth
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Download MP3
Verse: SB1.16.34
Place: Govinda's Restaurant, Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom
Duration: 1:25

In this class to devotees in the Swansea temple Devamrita Swami talk about the how people who are reluctant to take up Krishna conscious because of fear of going "too fast" and many burdensome false obligations are just like someone who has just woken up and doesn't want to get out of bed. Changing one's way is especially difficult for someone over the age of 40, but it can be done. He also talks about how material nature, not the United States, is the only true superpower in the world. The world is overburdened by so much unnecessary economic endeavor. She fights back.

He finished by talking about Vamana-lila. We can only really be happy if we are satisfied with whatever we currently have. We shouldn't struggle for acquiring more and we are destined to get. However, we should endeavor strongly for our Krishna consciousness. He gives the practical example of a devotee couple formally living in Slovenia.

Questions:

  • How is the demigods' controlling position is related to simultaneous oneness and difference?
  • Are we headed for a new period of serfdom for the people in general?
  • What to do if I, due to past conditioning, offend devotees?
  • How to not get depressed working in a non-devotee job?
  • How to balance health, sadanna and service?
  • How to use Yoga to preach?

Devamrita Swami: See yourself in 15 years
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Download MP3
Place: The Soul Centre, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Duration: 1:17

Summary:
In this discussion between guests at the Cardiff Soul Centre and Devamrita Swami, the swami asks them where they think they will be at in 15 years time. Guests ranging in age from 17 to 50 give their thoughts. They discuss how they think they will have progressed and/or want to progress spiritually.

God & Science: Imitators of Life
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(chapter summary from God and Science by Richard L. Thompson)

Artificial life scientists aim to create intelligent machines that will eventually replace humans by a natural evolutionary process. Some researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory project that this will happen within one hundred years.

The Vedic literature also contains stories of robots. Sanskritist V. Raghavan has written a treatise on machines in ancient India. King Samarangana Sutradhara in the twelfth century, for example, was said to have wooden human-shaped automata that would perform simple menial tasks like fanning, sprinkling water, or playing musical instruments. The Buddhist Bhaisajya-vastu tells of a country where complex automata existed that behaved and looked just like humans. These stories are however most probably just fantasy.

Yantras, as machines are called in Sanskrit, are most often used in analogies explaining how our own bodies are merely machines and we, the consciousness, are the machines controller. Similarly, the Universe is a large clockwork-like machine, with God as the ultimate controller.

Other machines were used for military purposes. For example, in the battle between Krishna and Salva, Salva boarded an airplane that could turn invisible. Later in the battle Krishna shot this airplane down using a sound-seeking arrow that was attracted by sound of the invisible airplane in the sky.

These weapons worked because they are sentient. They had living beings embedded within them with whom the warrior can communicate telepathically to issue commands. These cybernetic weapons are exactly what Los Alamos researchers postulate. They prove that sentient machines are indeed possible.

God & Science: the little Man in the Brain
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(chapter summary from God and Science by Richard L. Thompson)

Neuroscientist V. S. Ramachandran proposes that the idea of a "little man" sitting in our brain observing our sense input is nonsense. Such a figure would require another "little man" sitting in his brain, and then yet another, ad infinitum. Obviously nonsense. So instead the brain must understand things at an abstract symbolic level.

The brain takes in input in a neural net similar to the logic gates of a computer chip. However, a computer chip is not consciousness. It isn't aware that it is experiencing anything. Scientists use the fact that the brain very complex (it 10 billion neuros) as an excuse. The large complexity must be where the consciousness is coming from. But how does scaling a simple pattern change anything? The brain is still fundamentally like the computer chip.

Maybe there is such a thing as a soul that sits inside the brain, reading the data it interprets and processes just like we might read a book.

God & Science: Life: Real and Artificial
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(chapter summary from God and Science by Richard L. Thompson)

Researches at Los Alamos National Laboratories study artificial life. They hope to one day build a sophisticated computer simulation that exactly mimics the real world. Even today they can hook a person's eyes up to TV-screens, feed their nose and mouth smell and taste generators, equip their hands with data-gloves and put headphones on their ears.

Researcher Tommaso Toffoli from MIT argues that a simulated collapse of a simulated bridge that is indistinguishable from a real event, is just as much "life" as "real life", as we know it.

Indeed, the Vedic literature paints a similar picture. It describes how, just like the person liked into the computer simulation by way of artificial senses, "real life" is actually an illusion and our real self is linked into it via the interface of the false ego.

Whether or not computers can even develop real consciousness is an open question. However, we can learn a lesion about so-called reality from the computer scientists' experiments.

Vedicsoc begins
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Just had the first session of Vedicsoc in the new University term. It went rather well.

A total of 25 young students attended (male/female ratio was about 1/4). There was barely enough space in the room. I taught a very crowded power-yoga mini class, which seemed to be well received. However, I forgot to get people to do Ardha Matsyendrasana. Also, I need to work on speaking more slowly, clearly and loudly to a large group of people like that. Then we chanted some Vedic mantras together (Nitai Gauranga and Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya) for about 15 minutes (the Hare Krishna mantra comes next time).

Following that, everyone had some cookies I made. After people had finished their (first) cookie, I asked: "Who's a pleasure lover?" and explained that spirituality means happiness. Then I asked people to share some happy experience. After a few stories I explained how that happiness is conditional: i.e. dependent on external circumstances and temporary. Better to go for Krishna consciousness and get spiritual happiness. Any questions?

Someone asked about the difference between the mind and consciousness and how to tell which is which. Another person wanted to know if anyone can take up the practice. Someone else asked what it means to "free the mind". Another person questioned me about how conscious animals are. One half-German girl asked how "mind" translates into German, since "der Geist" means "the soul" (actually, I couldn't properly answer that one - anyone care to offer some help?). More questions gave me the opportunity to talk about, among other things, the relationship of physical yoga to Krishna consciousness and how I came to this spiritual practice 5 years ago.

I ended by announcing all the topics and activities we would cover in the upcoming term, offering people good deals on yoga equipment (Universities and non-profits get wholesale prices) and asking for donations to finance the society (I choose not to charge any fee for sessions). Also, anyone that gave a sufficiently large donation got a small book of their choice. This resulted in my selling 12 books and collecting enough money to cover my costs for the session.

Oh yes, and more cookies for anyone that wanted them. Some people took as many as five. Ah, the power of prasadam.

I'm happy. We shall see how many people return for the next session.

Devamrita Swami: BG 8.16 places of misery
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Download MP3
Verse: Bhagavad-Gita 8.16
Place: Govinda's Restaurant, Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom
Duration: 1:44 hours

Summary:
In this morning class to devotees in the Swansea temple Devamrita Swami talks about how everywhere in the world is a place of misery. He specifically highlights the recent Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. We tend to quickly forget the miseries we encounter. Indeed, he says, there is an organized effort to prevent people from thinking too deeply about their lives. Krishna consciousness puts one into a special dimension, a different atmosphere. We should make it our lifetime career goal and prioritize accordingly.

Questions:

  • How to convince young people to plan so far ahead?
  • How do devotees influence the material energy?
  • Are disasters the direct result of sinful activities?
  • Is there really a conspiracy of world leaders?
  • Regarding the Christian church minister getting a $0.5 million salary per year, how much should our leaders be paid?
  • How to give Krishna consciousness to people we meet only once on the street?
  • What is the a fine line between giving people too much truth and massaging their ego?

God & Science: Paradoxes of Time and Space
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(chapter summary from God and Science by Richard L. Thompson)

Einstein??(TM)s Theory of Relativity shows how time slows down for someone traveling close to the speed of light. This effect is known as time dilation. Time dilation also occurs when large gravitational forces are present. A person traveling into the event horizon of a black hole, for example, will, to an external observer, appear to slow down more and more as he approaches the horizon, but never actually enter it. The traveler will not notice any change in the passage of time, but the light showing his actions cannot escape the gravitational pull of the black hole, so the observer sees him in super-slow motion.

The Vedic literature has account of these kinds of relativistic time dilation effects. There is the story of King Kakudmi, who visits Lord Brahma for one hour to ask a question and find that 27 catur-yugas (27 x 4,320,000 earth years) have passed. The Brahma-vimohana-lila describes a similar time stretching pastime.

Lord Brahma is said to live near the outer shell of the Universe, near the border to the spiritual world. Could it be that the passage to the spiritual world is like the event horizon of a black hole? The closer one gets to it, the slower time passes and once one actually enters it, time ceases to exist completely.

World of Warcraft is big business
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The most popular Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) in the world is World of Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment.

Blizzard recently announced that they now have over 4 million subscribers worldwide, making WoW the most popular online RPG in existence. In comparison, the XBox Live online playing system (with which people can play any number of online-enabled Xbox games) only has 2 million subscribers.

A World of Warcraft subscriber pays a monthly fee of $15 per month (a XBox Live player pays only $6 per month) and the retail box costs an additional $40.

This equals: US$ 880 million per year income for Blizzard.

That amount of money is on par with to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of several small countries, like Bhutan, Mongolia, Rwanda or the Central African Republic.

God & Science: High Technology and the Ground of Being
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(chapter summary from God and Science by Richard L. Thompson)

Researches at Syracuse University have demonstrated that light beams distorted by frosted glass can be reversed and restored to their original form. Similarly, a drop of ink in glycerin can be blurred and recreated by rotation. This leads to the idea that one supreme consciousness could be distributed throughout all of matter while simultaneously being a unified whole. Indeed, physicists David Bohm hints at the possibility of the structure of the Universe has we see it, being a direct result of this distributed consciousness.

The Vedic scripture called Brahma-Samhita gives an account of exactly the simultaneous oneness and difference Bohm postulates. Moreover, Srimad Bhagavatam gives accounts of subtle sound vibrations causing the space itself to unfold from an unmanifest state called pradhana. God directly causes this unfolding, but his presence is hidden in the seemingly random resultant effect (maya).

Alfred Russell Wallace, co-inventor of the theory of evolution, made a similar point to Bohm. He also believes that natural selection isn??(TM)t the whole store. Some superior intelligence must have been involved. Unifying physics and meta-physics requires an open mind, like that of these forward-thinking researchers.

Fresher’s Fair 2005
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The University Fresher??(TM)s Fair finished today. In the first week of University, the new students get a whole load of events, advertising from various clubs and societies, free stuff and so much sense stimulus that they practically loose all intelligence and discrimination. Indeed, most of the men looked totally spaced-out, walking around with a dazed look on their faces and most of the women looked angry and frustrated.

The young first-year students also didn??(TM)t look nearly as young and innocent as I remember them looking just three years ago. 18-year olds looked more like they were approaching 30. Excess indulgence in sense gratification is so degrading. A sad state of affairs.

This event marked the rebirth of Vedicsoc after the summer break. The Vedic society is a university club that aims to teach things related to the Vedic literature (like e.g. Krishna consciousness).

We distributed 1500 flyers and 400 prasadam sweets (coconut ice) throughout the two days we were allocated a stall. ??oeWe?? included Ben, Felix, Shilpa and myself. Ben was really getting into it towards the end of the last day. He was stopping nearly everyone and getting them to sign up for the email newsletter. Felix used his sankirtan skills to induce people to join-up without them even realizing. Shilpa was also very good. She quickly made friends with people and got them interested in that way. She attributed her natural sankirtan abilities to her long-time retail sales experience (selling iPods in Selfridges). Besides distributing flyers, I managed to distribute one POY and one SSR to interested students.

The most common question I got was: "This isn't a religion, is it?"
Could anyone offer some advice for what is a good response?

My body, though improved in health, still is no where near suited for sankirtan-like activity. Distributing Vedicsoc material from 10am till 4pm for two days wiped me out completely. It was pretty intense being in a huge hall, with blaring music, trash everywhere, wall-to-wall people, 160 other societies and countless commerical companies competing for the students??(TM) attention. Time to get some rest.

Acupuncture (part 3)
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I??(TM)ve been to Dr Philip Weeks again. He was very much pleased with my progress. The ulcerative colitis is certainly still there, but much less prominent than before. Indeed, I certainly feel a lot better.

Philip did some more acupuncture on me. He concentrated on clearing ??oedamp?? from my body. As usual, some acupuncture points resulted in a more prominent weird tingle/shock feeling than others. Sticking some needles into my thumb joints resulted in the most powerful sensation. My entire arm all the way up to the shoulder was (briefly) paralyzed.

The treatment certainly worked. I??(TM)m now feeling much better still. I appear to finally be able to consistently properly digest food (excluding wheat and dairy). However, I??(TM)m still taking probiotics, digestive clay and slippery elm powder, asacol (western drug) and Philip??(TM)s own custom herbal tincture. Ah, trials and tribulations of the body.

Acupuncture works by re-routing the prana/life-force/chi/electric energy of the body. By sticking a small metal needle into an energy relay station, the energy flow is re-wired. An expert acupuncturist can re-wire to body??(TM)s energy to heal almost any disease.

Interestingly, kundalini chakra yoga attempts much the same thing. This style of yoga uses specific postures and breathing techniques to re-wire the body??(TM)s energies. Same with Tai Chi, Falun Gong, etc, etc.

Even more interestingly, in ancient Vedic times, expert mantra chanters could use the sound vibration of specific Sanskrit syllables to influence the energy around them in miraculous ways. A doctor could heal even the most serious of injuries just by chanting the necessary mantras. A warrior could similary kill thousands of people by the power of mantra. Sadly (or perhaps luckily), the science is pretty much lost in this day and age.

God & Science: Challenges Facing Science and Religion
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(chapter summary from God and Science by Richard L. Thompson)

In the Vaisnava tradition God takes the form of Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan. In Christianity there are the similar ideas of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Both emphasis a personal supreme being. This is in contrast to the scientists such as the biologist Julian Huxley who said: ??oeI am an atheist, in the only correct sense, that I don??(TM)t believe in a supernatural being who influences natural events.??

Thompson poses the argument that both there are a lot of things that both science and religion does not know. This grey area in between the two fields should be investigated. Here are some of the issues:

God and the Laws of Physics
Isaac Newton believed that God influenced the physical reality by making small adjustments. Indeed, modern chaos theory shows that arbitrarily small changes can be used to systematically control a large, complex system.

Special Theory of Relativity
Albert Einstein??(TM)s special theory of relativity shows how time and space interact at very high speeds. They are actually just different manifestations of the same thing. Time, i.e. past, present and future, is just an illusion. Question: how and why do we consciously perceive the jumbled space and time continuum linearly?

Quantum Physics
The famous collapse of the wave function in quantum mechanism occurs completely by chance. Some people like William Pollard see this as a chance to introduce a matter-spirit interface. God could influence events by subtly adjusting the random quantum fluctuations without us noticing. However, John Polkinghorne, a physicist and priest, calls this idea far-fetched.

The Brain and Consciousness
Francis Crick has stated that all joys, sorrows, memories, ambitions, sense of identity and free will are no more physiochemical brain processes. However, thus far no one has been able to even suggest a way in which the brain??(TM)s processes can be linked to conscious experience: the redness of red.

Life after Death
John Polkinhorne, attempting to give a scientific view of the Christian doctrine of resurrection, sees the body as a machine and resurrection as the recreation of the exact pattern of physical atoms of the dead person in a different place. Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita explains that the body is a machine occupied by the soul. It transmigrates between bodies via reincarnation. Researches such as Ian Stevenson have documented a great deal of empirical evidence for such transmigration.

NDEs
Near death experiences point towards the survival of consciousness after the death of the physical body. The dying person usually sees his or her own body from above and then enters some other world with bright light, beautiful scenery, etc. However, the particular experience a person has is very dependent his or her particular religious beliefs. This suggests that the near death experience might be fabricated or imagined, although the people experiencing them attest that they are real.

UFOs
The phenomenon of alien abductions can be somewhat linked to religious texts. Powerful alien life forms might, for example, correspond to Christian angels and demons. Aliens are also remarkably similar to the Vedic demigods. These have the power to levitate, pass through solid matter, appear and disappear suddenly and mysteriously and display halos of light.

The Fossil Record
Modern Geology asserts that the earth was formed about 4.5 billion years ago and that the first humans evolved no more than 100,000 years ago. Some Christian traditions deny these numbers based on Biblical stories. Hinduism??(TM)s scriptures roughly correspond to modern figures. Carl Sagan said: ??oeThe Hindu religion is the only one of the world??(TM)s great faiths in which the time scales correspond, no doubt by accident, to those of modern scientific cosmology.??

Darwin??(TM)s Theory
Life, according to neo-Darwin theories, manifest entirely by chance. It origins of life is like a ??oeblind watchmaker??. The Roman Catholic church agrees somewhat, but proposes a guided evolution, where God gently nudges the process every once and a while. Darwin??(TM)s theory has never been able to explain how complex organs come into existence. Michael Behe has, for example, published a book explaining how the findings of biochemistry are extremely difficult to explain using Darwin??(TM)s theory. Bio-molecular evolution is not understood by modern science. Could there be some intelligent design, or has science just not yet found the mechanistic explanation?

Conclusion
Our ignorance is overwhelming. Both scientists and religionists have much to learn. We must avoid imposing a final conclusion, either from scientific rationalism or from religious dogmatism.

The Lord Giveth and Taketh Away
NewTalavan

Hurricane Katrina Approaching Land

"The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away." As I watch the mad scramble for insurance money and government aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I am amazed by the transient condition of life in the material world. Lord Krsna describes in the Twelfth Chapter of Srimad Bhagavad-gita that He is pleased by the devotees who are undisturbed by loss and gain. At present, I am wondering how powerful is the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as I observe evryone frantically trying to overcome their loss and damages. Let us not get lost in the madness of material pursuits. It is a jungle of false happiness and lamentation ready to pounce upon us at any moment. Better to live simply, accept the will of the Almighty, whether for loss or gain, and be always happy in Krsna Consciousness, loving devotional service to the Lord.

—Yogindra Vandana das

The Lord Giveth and Taketh Away
NewTalavan

Hurricane Katrina Approaching Land

"The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away." As I watch the mad scramble for insurance money and government aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I am amazed by the transient condition of life in the material world. Lord Krsna describes in the Twelfth Chapter of Srimad Bhagavad-gita that He is pleased by the devotees who are undisturbed by loss and gain. At present, I am wondering how powerful is the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as I observe evryone frantically trying to overcome their loss and damages. Let us not get lost in the madness of material pursuits. It is a jungle of false happiness and lamentation ready to pounce upon us at any moment. Better to live simply, accept the will of the Almighty, whether for loss or gain, and be always happy in Krsna Consciousness, loving devotional service to the Lord.

—Yogindra Vandana das

Thanks to all
NewTalavan

Devotees distributing prasadam in Gulfport, MS

Today is the 21st day since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Louisiana and Mississippi coastline. At first God helped those who helped themselves, but gradually government and charity agencies crept in.

We want to thank those ISKCON and non-ISKCON people and organizations that heroically came to our aid. Special thanks is due to the devotees of ISKCON Alachua, Atlanta, Houston and Dallas, Food for Life International, especially Priyavrata Prabhu, Ananda Prabhu of Sterling Art, Shuddhajivana Prabhu and crew from New Jersey, the New Vrndavan crew, Ramakeli Prabhu, his son Krsna-Balaram and his dear wife Mother Gaura. There are many other local devotees and donors we need to thank, but especially Dvibhuja Prabhu who forged a path into the wilderness of the storm's destruction to distribute prasadam.

Thanks to all those who prayed and sympathized with our plight. May your taste for Krsna consciousness increase.

Sincerely,
Yogindra das

Thanks to all
NewTalavan

Devotees distributing prasadam in Gulfport, MS

Today is the 21st day since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Louisiana and Mississippi coastline. At first God helped those who helped themselves, but gradually government and charity agencies crept in.

We want to thank those ISKCON and non-ISKCON people and organizations that heroically came to our aid. Special thanks is due to the devotees of ISKCON Alachua, Atlanta, Houston and Dallas, Food for Life International, especially Priyavrata Prabhu, Ananda Prabhu of Sterling Art, Shuddhajivana Prabhu and crew from New Jersey, the New Vrndavan crew, Ramakeli Prabhu, his son Krsna-Balaram and his dear wife Mother Gaura. There are many other local devotees and donors we need to thank, but especially Dvibhuja Prabhu who forged a path into the wilderness of the storm's destruction to distribute prasadam.

Thanks to all those who prayed and sympathized with our plight. May your taste for Krsna consciousness increase.

Sincerely,
Yogindra das

Podcasting
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I've started podcasting. That is, you can subscribe to my website's newsfeed and new classes and other interesting audio that I record will automatically be delivered to your computer as and when they become available. The process is simple:

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Select the menu item: Advanced > Subscribe to Podcast
  3. Enter: http://www.deltaflow.com/?feed=rss2&category_name=podcasts

You are now subscribed to the podcast.

Initiation in Swansea (2005)
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18|1I've posted the audio and pictures of a recent initiation ceremony in Swansea, Wales. Devamrita Swami initiated two new disciples:

Simon, the ex-carpenter who built most of the Cardiff Soul Centre became:

Suki Krishna (Krishna who is always happy)

When they met for the first time Devamrita Swami took one look at Tara and thought: "She's a devotee. I recognized that this person is meant for serving Krishna without delay". After graduating with a degree in photography and spending a year in New Zealand very seriously and compassionately distributing books she became:

Sukanti Radha (Srimati Radharani with the sweet/auspicious voice)

Cheated on eBay
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I found out I was cheated out of over US$1000 today. I was buying a new laptop to replace my aging Dell monster. I bid on a new Apple 12" Powerbook over eBay and won it for a good price. Too good, it would turn out.

The seller said he shipped the laptop using a slow shipping method. It didn't arrive after a few weeks. I emailed the seller and he reassured me it would arrive very soon. After a few more weeks I email the guy again but he didn't respond.

Now, I check the eBay website and the guy's account has been cancelled. A whole bunch of people have posted negative feedback saying how they too have been ripped off. It seems he spent one year setting up his account, auctioning off a few items, building his ebay reputation (he had 100% positive feedback) and then set up a whole load of fraud auctions, took people's money and ran. It is past ebay's buyer protection/complaints deadline (45 days after the sale), so no way for me to get the money back. Nothing I can do. Just spent over $1000 learning a lesson.

Lessons learnt:

Material nature tempts you with a attractive looking promises: "do this and you'll be happy", "buy this, it's cheap", "this is for you to enjoy". However, things rarely turn out as one expects. You get cheated and exploited. A horrible feeling. Better to practice Krishna consciousness and escape the cruel, merciless grip of the material world.

Conclusions and advice:

  • Never buy anything over $1000 on eBay
  • Don't trust anyone
  • Be extremely careful with anyone that has less than 1000 positive feedbacks
  • If the item doesn't arrive in 30 days, never wait, file a fraud claim immediately

Sri-Sri Radha Radha-Kanta Arrive In Dallas With Their Associates
NewTalavan

Their Lordships being worshiped nicely in Dallas

by Lavangalatika devi dasi


From Chakra.org

Posted September 16, 2005

The horrible destruction brought on by Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the surrounding area turned out to be a huge boon for the Dallas Hare Krishna Temple and devotees. Katrina visited these areas late Sunday night August 28 th, and early Monday morning August 29th. Initially, the damage in New Orleans was not as severe as what happened after the levee separating the city from Lake Pontchartrain broke Monday night, flooding 80% of the city with up to 20 feet of water.

The Dallas devotees had been in contact with the New Orleans devotees prior to Katrina wreaking her havoc there. A few families arrived in Dallas prior to the hurricane. The rest of the devotees in New Orleans felt they could brave out the storm and its consequences. The first reports that came from New Orleans initially were that the temple had not flooded, and the Deities and devotees were doing fine. However, on Tuesday morning, following the levee break, all phone and internet connections with New Orleans were lost. As the news reports rolled in about the worsening situation in New Orleans, the devotees in Dallas prayed hard for the safety and security of those who were suffering. With no way to communicate with the New Orleans devotees, everyone was in the dark. During this time, there were conflicting reports coming from different places. Some devotees staying at the nearby Mississippi farm said the New Orleans devotees were safe, sound and in no need of help.

Fortunately, at around 12 noon on Thursday, September 1st, by the sweet graces of Sri Sri Radha Kalachandji, one of the New Orleans devotees was able to get a call through to Dallas and describe their horrendous plight. Even though the temple building itself was spared the worst of the flooding, with no running water or electricity, the growing stench, and no way out of the city, the situation for the Deities and the devotees at the temple had become unbearable.

On Thursday evening, temple authorities had already called for a meeting to discuss how the Dallas devotees could help the victims from the places hit by Katrina. Daily there were hundreds of evacuees pouring into Dallas, escaping the horrors there. However, the devotees' offers of assistance to the large institutions helping the evacuees had been turned down. They were told, "don't call us, we'll call you," but no call came. So, instead the meeting focused on how a rescue mission could be mounted, with devotees physically going to the aid of the 14 Deities and 19 devotees who were stranded at the temple in New Orleans.

About 25 devotees attended the meeting, and there was a robust discussion about exactly how to mount the mission. There were questions about safety and security, necessary approval(s) for moving the Deities, the feasibility of the undertaking, and the resources that were required to carry out such a mission. The meeting started at 7:00 p.m. in the temple room, and by 3:00 a.m. the next morning, all the supplies had been gathered, and the details planned out. Dharma Prabhu had worked tirelessly through the night and obtained many of the items needed for the trip. Seven devotees were chosen to take part in the SWAT-type rescue mission. They were asked to take rest before they began their heroic journey.

At 11:00 a.m., Friday, September 2nd, the seven-member force, comprised of Baladeva Vidyabhushana, Daruka, Divyaratna, Bhakta Jose, Bhakta Kesava, Ramachandra and Bhakta Tavish Prabhus departed from the Hare Krishna Temple in Dallas in a 15-seater rental van, dontated by Sunil Patel, and an 18-wheeler truck. Along with them, they carried three letters of introduction: one from the Internal Revenue Service to certify the temple's non-profit status, one from the Temple President , and the other from the Food for Life Director. These letters, along with a copy of Back to Godhead Magazine featuring many photographs of Deities being worshipped, were brought along to help show the authenticity of the mission to the authorities. The truck was loaded with cardboard boxes, cushion blankets and two large rolled sheets of plastic bubble wrap, donated by Yudhisthira Prabhu, to pack the Deities for safe transport. The devotees carried several two-way walkie talkies in each vehicle. Because they were prepared to wait for up to one week if necessary in order to wait for the window of opportunity to reach the Deities and devotees, the truck was also loaded up with ample supplies of bottled water donated by Laxmi Priya Prabhu, as well as dry food, vegetables, propane tanks, burners, pots and spoons.

Road signs as far as 400 miles from New Orleans were warning travelers not to enter the city. The situation was that no one was being allowed in except the military and other official personnel. Within the city, many were past the point of desperation. The residents of New Orleans were frustrated, angry, helpless, breaking down with hopelessness, and were ready to do anything to get out of there. Undoubtedly, this was a very dangerous mission at best. The devotees had even considered taking their own guns, just in case. People were shooting at each other, looting was happening in the streets, there were reports of rape, and other "lawless" activities as the victims of Katrina experienced abandonment and felt uncared for by the authorities. "I had received as many as 10 calls from senior devotees around America warning me to call off the mission, because it was too risky and impractical," said Nityananda dasa, the local Temple President . However, after the devotees in New Orleans had expressed their severe suffering circumstances there, the devotees in Dallas felt there was no other choice, despite the risks. Instead of not trying at all, they thought to at least make an honest attempt to do the right thing.

At approximately 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 3rd, the rescue team arrived at the New Orleans city limits. To get there, they had passed through as many as 40 checkpoints. "Somehow, by the grace of the Lord, they let us through," said Daruka Prabhu, who had very kindly availed his Tri-State Express 18-wheeler truck for this mission. Seeing the truck, the authorities felt they were bringing relief supplies and let them in. They did have relief supplies, but not enough sufficient to deal with the massive need in New Orleans. They then drove for another 30 to 40 miles to the next checkpoint where they were told to wait until morning, as it was too dangerous to go into the city at that time.

The devotees saw many people standing by the roadside and freeways desperately trying to wave down vehicles to get out of the city. They were trying to get help, and essential items for their distressed families and their health needs. It was mind boggling, pitiable and unbearable scenery. People were roaming the streets like mad men wanting to get out. Daruka and Ramachandra Prabhus could not bear the sight and gave away their personal blankets, pillows, and other items to the some of the distressed and stayed awake the whole night.

At daybreak, tens of buses started to arrive to pick up the people sitting on the highways and freeways to take them to shelters arranged by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "We were the only ones traveling on the highway towards the city center. Every other vehicle was traveling outbound," said Daruka Prabhu.

At this time, the devotees entered the city guided by Divyaratna Prabhu, who was a taxi driver in New Orleans. Bhakta Tavish, who was from New Orleans , also helped the devotees navigate their way to the temple. The two vehicles kept in constant radio communication with one another. On their way to the temple, they were turned away from some checkpoints, so they took alternate routes. In addition, at times they would go down one road only to be stopped by fallen trees, then take another route only to find a similar situation. With the help of these two knowledgeable persons, the devotees were able to zig-zag their way across the city. Without their help, it would have been practically impossible to reach the temple.

Daruka Prabhu bravely drove his vehicle through the debris, brushing against broken and hanging branches from top and sides. They encountered flooded roads as they neared the temple area. As the truck gradually entered deeper and deeper waters, Daruka Prabhu radioed the van behind not to come any further. The floodwaters were too high for the 15-seater van to make it all the way to the temple, so it was parked approximately one mile away. Ramachandra Prabhu guarded the van and ended up waiting in the vehicle for four hours while the rest of the devotees climbed into the truck to reach the temple and rescue the Deities and the devotees.

When the truck arrived at the temple, and the devotees began loading up the 18-wheeler, some military personnel arrived at the scene wanting to assist some person with health problems. They advised them that they would commandeer the devotee's truck unless they found the keys to a van that was parked nearby. The military officers broke into the house where the van was parked, and luckily, found the keys. During the entire rescue effort, military choppers were constantly circling and even hovering above the devotees, policing the movement of all people and vehicles throughout the city. In the meantime, the devotees frantically loaded up the truck with Their Lordships, Their paraphernalia, the devotees and their meager belongings. They left the scene as quickly as they could, fearing they would lose the 18-wheeler if they stayed a moment longer.

Some Dallas devotees, especially Kunja Bihari Prabhu, had kept in constant touch with the rescue team, ready to do the needful. At about 7:15 a.m., Saturday, September 3rd, Sweta Manjari Prabhu, Daruka Prabhu's wife, came into the temple room and advised the devotees that the mission had been successful and everyone was headed back to Dallas. Obviously, she, the mother of 3 young children, was very relieved. The devotees were extremely happy to hear the great news. The rescue team called later to say that all of the Deities and devotees were famished and looked forward to a sumptuous feast of hot prasadam upon arrival. The Dallas devotees, led by Manjuali Prabhu, then proceeded to prepare the feast for their arrival. Mathuranatha and Bhakta Ross Prabhus helped with the preparation of accommodations for the guests.

The rescue team arrived into Dallas at 11:30 p.m. that night. They were greeted by an enthusiastic kirtan party of about 30 when they pulled up on Gurley Avenue. There was an exuberant festival atmosphere. Devotees were singing and dancing on the street in great anticipation. The 15-seater van and another smaller van pulled up first. Everyone happily greeted the devotees, grateful that everyone was safe.

When the rear doors of the 18-wheeler truck opened, devotees ecstatically jumped on to commence unloading the paraphernalia of the Deities and the devotees. Soon, the portion where the Deities were was reached. First, Srila Prabhupada came off the truck, seated regally on his vyasasana. Now, all of the devotees were wild with ecstacy. Then came Lord Nityananda with His upraised arms in a wonderful dancing pose, soon followed by Lord Caitanaya casting His most magnanimous glance on everyone there. Everyone began reveling in the joyfulness. The mood kept rising with the arrival of Their Lordships Sri Sri Jagannatha Baladeva and Subhadra Maharani. The emotions reached fever-pitch when Sri Radha Kanta and Srimati Radharani gave Their merciful audience. All the Deities were fully dressed, ready for giving Darshan to the eager devotees awaiting Their arrival. The devotees' ecstatic emotions increased even more when the small Radha Radha Kanta, Gaura Nitai and Srila Prabhupada Deities were unpacked from Their carrying cases.

The Deities were taken to Srila Prabhupada's quarters, and stood in front of Srila Prabhupada. Srimati Radharani was placed directly in front of Srila Prabhupada. One of Her pujaris mentioned that when Srimati Radharani was in New Orleans, She had a stern look on Her face. However, standing in front of Srila Prabhupada in his quarters, much to her amazement, She broke into a distinct smile.

Everyone said that the Deities all looked so very beautiful and happy. The devotees in Dallas felt unlimitedly fortunate and blessed to have the darshan of Their Lordships.

There was much discussion as to exactly where the Deities would be happiest. There were four alternatives. Finally, the personal servants of the Deities decided that They would be most pleased staying with Srila Prabhupada in his quarters. The majority of the devotees in Dallas had felt exactly the same way. A beautiful marble altar has now been built to accommodate the Deities in Srila Prabhupada's quarters.

Lastly, the devotees were asked how they felt serving the devotees and Deities this way. They said it was great adventure. They added that devotees should not always stay in their comfort zones but accept new adventures in Krishna consciousness, as it is very exciting and pleasing to the heart. The Deities and devotees are expected to stay in Dallas for about 6 months.

Sri-Sri Radha Radha-Kanta Arrive In Dallas With Their Associates
NewTalavan

Their Lordships being worshiped nicely in Dallas

by Lavangalatika devi dasi


From Chakra.org

Posted September 16, 2005

The horrible destruction brought on by Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the surrounding area turned out to be a huge boon for the Dallas Hare Krishna Temple and devotees. Katrina visited these areas late Sunday night August 28 th, and early Monday morning August 29th. Initially, the damage in New Orleans was not as severe as what happened after the levee separating the city from Lake Pontchartrain broke Monday night, flooding 80% of the city with up to 20 feet of water.

The Dallas devotees had been in contact with the New Orleans devotees prior to Katrina wreaking her havoc there. A few families arrived in Dallas prior to the hurricane. The rest of the devotees in New Orleans felt they could brave out the storm and its consequences. The first reports that came from New Orleans initially were that the temple had not flooded, and the Deities and devotees were doing fine. However, on Tuesday morning, following the levee break, all phone and internet connections with New Orleans were lost. As the news reports rolled in about the worsening situation in New Orleans, the devotees in Dallas prayed hard for the safety and security of those who were suffering. With no way to communicate with the New Orleans devotees, everyone was in the dark. During this time, there were conflicting reports coming from different places. Some devotees staying at the nearby Mississippi farm said the New Orleans devotees were safe, sound and in no need of help.

Fortunately, at around 12 noon on Thursday, September 1st, by the sweet graces of Sri Sri Radha Kalachandji, one of the New Orleans devotees was able to get a call through to Dallas and describe their horrendous plight. Even though the temple building itself was spared the worst of the flooding, with no running water or electricity, the growing stench, and no way out of the city, the situation for the Deities and the devotees at the temple had become unbearable.

On Thursday evening, temple authorities had already called for a meeting to discuss how the Dallas devotees could help the victims from the places hit by Katrina. Daily there were hundreds of evacuees pouring into Dallas, escaping the horrors there. However, the devotees' offers of assistance to the large institutions helping the evacuees had been turned down. They were told, "don't call us, we'll call you," but no call came. So, instead the meeting focused on how a rescue mission could be mounted, with devotees physically going to the aid of the 14 Deities and 19 devotees who were stranded at the temple in New Orleans.

About 25 devotees attended the meeting, and there was a robust discussion about exactly how to mount the mission. There were questions about safety and security, necessary approval(s) for moving the Deities, the feasibility of the undertaking, and the resources that were required to carry out such a mission. The meeting started at 7:00 p.m. in the temple room, and by 3:00 a.m. the next morning, all the supplies had been gathered, and the details planned out. Dharma Prabhu had worked tirelessly through the night and obtained many of the items needed for the trip. Seven devotees were chosen to take part in the SWAT-type rescue mission. They were asked to take rest before they began their heroic journey.

At 11:00 a.m., Friday, September 2nd, the seven-member force, comprised of Baladeva Vidyabhushana, Daruka, Divyaratna, Bhakta Jose, Bhakta Kesava, Ramachandra and Bhakta Tavish Prabhus departed from the Hare Krishna Temple in Dallas in a 15-seater rental van, dontated by Sunil Patel, and an 18-wheeler truck. Along with them, they carried three letters of introduction: one from the Internal Revenue Service to certify the temple's non-profit status, one from the Temple President , and the other from the Food for Life Director. These letters, along with a copy of Back to Godhead Magazine featuring many photographs of Deities being worshipped, were brought along to help show the authenticity of the mission to the authorities. The truck was loaded with cardboard boxes, cushion blankets and two large rolled sheets of plastic bubble wrap, donated by Yudhisthira Prabhu, to pack the Deities for safe transport. The devotees carried several two-way walkie talkies in each vehicle. Because they were prepared to wait for up to one week if necessary in order to wait for the window of opportunity to reach the Deities and devotees, the truck was also loaded up with ample supplies of bottled water donated by Laxmi Priya Prabhu, as well as dry food, vegetables, propane tanks, burners, pots and spoons.

Road signs as far as 400 miles from New Orleans were warning travelers not to enter the city. The situation was that no one was being allowed in except the military and other official personnel. Within the city, many were past the point of desperation. The residents of New Orleans were frustrated, angry, helpless, breaking down with hopelessness, and were ready to do anything to get out of there. Undoubtedly, this was a very dangerous mission at best. The devotees had even considered taking their own guns, just in case. People were shooting at each other, looting was happening in the streets, there were reports of rape, and other "lawless" activities as the victims of Katrina experienced abandonment and felt uncared for by the authorities. "I had received as many as 10 calls from senior devotees around America warning me to call off the mission, because it was too risky and impractical," said Nityananda dasa, the local Temple President . However, after the devotees in New Orleans had expressed their severe suffering circumstances there, the devotees in Dallas felt there was no other choice, despite the risks. Instead of not trying at all, they thought to at least make an honest attempt to do the right thing.

At approximately 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 3rd, the rescue team arrived at the New Orleans city limits. To get there, they had passed through as many as 40 checkpoints. "Somehow, by the grace of the Lord, they let us through," said Daruka Prabhu, who had very kindly availed his Tri-State Express 18-wheeler truck for this mission. Seeing the truck, the authorities felt they were bringing relief supplies and let them in. They did have relief supplies, but not enough sufficient to deal with the massive need in New Orleans. They then drove for another 30 to 40 miles to the next checkpoint where they were told to wait until morning, as it was too dangerous to go into the city at that time.

The devotees saw many people standing by the roadside and freeways desperately trying to wave down vehicles to get out of the city. They were trying to get help, and essential items for their distressed families and their health needs. It was mind boggling, pitiable and unbearable scenery. People were roaming the streets like mad men wanting to get out. Daruka and Ramachandra Prabhus could not bear the sight and gave away their personal blankets, pillows, and other items to the some of the distressed and stayed awake the whole night.

At daybreak, tens of buses started to arrive to pick up the people sitting on the highways and freeways to take them to shelters arranged by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "We were the only ones traveling on the highway towards the city center. Every other vehicle was traveling outbound," said Daruka Prabhu.

At this time, the devotees entered the city guided by Divyaratna Prabhu, who was a taxi driver in New Orleans. Bhakta Tavish, who was from New Orleans , also helped the devotees navigate their way to the temple. The two vehicles kept in constant radio communication with one another. On their way to the temple, they were turned away from some checkpoints, so they took alternate routes. In addition, at times they would go down one road only to be stopped by fallen trees, then take another route only to find a similar situation. With the help of these two knowledgeable persons, the devotees were able to zig-zag their way across the city. Without their help, it would have been practically impossible to reach the temple.

Daruka Prabhu bravely drove his vehicle through the debris, brushing against broken and hanging branches from top and sides. They encountered flooded roads as they neared the temple area. As the truck gradually entered deeper and deeper waters, Daruka Prabhu radioed the van behind not to come any further. The floodwaters were too high for the 15-seater van to make it all the way to the temple, so it was parked approximately one mile away. Ramachandra Prabhu guarded the van and ended up waiting in the vehicle for four hours while the rest of the devotees climbed into the truck to reach the temple and rescue the Deities and the devotees.

When the truck arrived at the temple, and the devotees began loading up the 18-wheeler, some military personnel arrived at the scene wanting to assist some person with health problems. They advised them that they would commandeer the devotee's truck unless they found the keys to a van that was parked nearby. The military officers broke into the house where the van was parked, and luckily, found the keys. During the entire rescue effort, military choppers were constantly circling and even hovering above the devotees, policing the movement of all people and vehicles throughout the city. In the meantime, the devotees frantically loaded up the truck with Their Lordships, Their paraphernalia, the devotees and their meager belongings. They left the scene as quickly as they could, fearing they would lose the 18-wheeler if they stayed a moment longer.

Some Dallas devotees, especially Kunja Bihari Prabhu, had kept in constant touch with the rescue team, ready to do the needful. At about 7:15 a.m., Saturday, September 3rd, Sweta Manjari Prabhu, Daruka Prabhu's wife, came into the temple room and advised the devotees that the mission had been successful and everyone was headed back to Dallas. Obviously, she, the mother of 3 young children, was very relieved. The devotees were extremely happy to hear the great news. The rescue team called later to say that all of the Deities and devotees were famished and looked forward to a sumptuous feast of hot prasadam upon arrival. The Dallas devotees, led by Manjuali Prabhu, then proceeded to prepare the feast for their arrival. Mathuranatha and Bhakta Ross Prabhus helped with the preparation of accommodations for the guests.

The rescue team arrived into Dallas at 11:30 p.m. that night. They were greeted by an enthusiastic kirtan party of about 30 when they pulled up on Gurley Avenue. There was an exuberant festival atmosphere. Devotees were singing and dancing on the street in great anticipation. The 15-seater van and another smaller van pulled up first. Everyone happily greeted the devotees, grateful that everyone was safe.

When the rear doors of the 18-wheeler truck opened, devotees ecstatically jumped on to commence unloading the paraphernalia of the Deities and the devotees. Soon, the portion where the Deities were was reached. First, Srila Prabhupada came off the truck, seated regally on his vyasasana. Now, all of the devotees were wild with ecstacy. Then came Lord Nityananda with His upraised arms in a wonderful dancing pose, soon followed by Lord Caitanaya casting His most magnanimous glance on everyone there. Everyone began reveling in the joyfulness. The mood kept rising with the arrival of Their Lordships Sri Sri Jagannatha Baladeva and Subhadra Maharani. The emotions reached fever-pitch when Sri Radha Kanta and Srimati Radharani gave Their merciful audience. All the Deities were fully dressed, ready for giving Darshan to the eager devotees awaiting Their arrival. The devotees' ecstatic emotions increased even more when the small Radha Radha Kanta, Gaura Nitai and Srila Prabhupada Deities were unpacked from Their carrying cases.

The Deities were taken to Srila Prabhupada's quarters, and stood in front of Srila Prabhupada. Srimati Radharani was placed directly in front of Srila Prabhupada. One of Her pujaris mentioned that when Srimati Radharani was in New Orleans, She had a stern look on Her face. However, standing in front of Srila Prabhupada in his quarters, much to her amazement, She broke into a distinct smile.

Everyone said that the Deities all looked so very beautiful and happy. The devotees in Dallas felt unlimitedly fortunate and blessed to have the darshan of Their Lordships.

There was much discussion as to exactly where the Deities would be happiest. There were four alternatives. Finally, the personal servants of the Deities decided that They would be most pleased staying with Srila Prabhupada in his quarters. The majority of the devotees in Dallas had felt exactly the same way. A beautiful marble altar has now been built to accommodate the Deities in Srila Prabhupada's quarters.

Lastly, the devotees were asked how they felt serving the devotees and Deities this way. They said it was great adventure. They added that devotees should not always stay in their comfort zones but accept new adventures in Krishna consciousness, as it is very exciting and pleasing to the heart. The Deities and devotees are expected to stay in Dallas for about 6 months.

God & Science: the Miracle of the Milk
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(chapter summary from God and Science by Richard L. Thompson)

On the 21th of September 1995 deities of Ganesa, Lord Siva and other were reported to be accepting offerings of spoonfuls milk. Debunkers explained the effect as capillary action of the stone stature sucking the milk out of the spoon. They say that a single small incident was blown out of all proportions by mass hysteria.

Indeed, human beings have the tendency to cheat, have imperfect senses, become illusioned and tend to make mistakes, so the events of 1995 may well have an explanation that is in-line with the laws of nature. We will never really know.

St. Augustine spoke of miracles, not as contradicting the laws of nature, but instead as merely contracting what we currently understand about the laws of nature. For example, There are numerous accounts in the Srimad-Bhagavatam and in modern times of people exhibiting mystic powers (yoga siddhis) and paranormal apparitions (ghosts). Yogis can levitate, acquire objects across large distances, transform their body, etc.

Miracles are not accepted by modern science because they contradict the laws of physics. Newton??(TM)s law of the conservation of energy, for example, does not allow macroscopic objects to be teleported. Even if numerous people give testimony of a miraculous effect, scientists will favor what the laws of physics tell them should be happening and assume the witnesses must be deluded in some way.

The best way to distinguish between actual miracles and cheating is to listen to a teacher in a bona-fide disciplic succession. Such an authorized person will not try to mislead his listeners for some ulterior motive. Example: Krishnadasa Kaviraja??(TM)s description of the Lord Caitanya??(TM)s disappearing from locked rooms, eating offerings of food across large distances, healing sick people and appearing in several places at once.

God & Science: Rational Mythology
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(chapter summary from God and Science by Richard L. Thompson)

Vivekananda Swami gave a lecture on Hinduism at the Paraliament of Religions in 1893 explaining how, in the highest state of realization, God is the impersonal Brahman. He described a philosophy of monism (advaita). Everything is ultimately one. In perfection, there is no relationship, no love, no activity, just the oneness. All religions can be reconciled, since they are ultimate all just different ways of trying to get a handle on the inconceivable oneness. Similarly, science and religion can be reconciled, since science is also just another way of interpreting and explaining the, so called, impersonal Brahman.

Into the skeptical climate of the 19th century came the Indian high-court judge and scholar Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He rejected monism as useless and proclaims that God is an eternal person. The highest goal is to "serve that Infinite Being forever spiritually in the activity of Absolute Love".

However, in order to be taken seriously enough by the scholars of the day for them to listen to his ideas, he told them that the fantastic stories of the Srimad Bhagavatam did not actually occur and were instead fabricated in order to impress simple and ignorant village people.

We could take a similar approach in presenting Krishna's pastimes by adopting a "theology of visions". The spiritual realm exists, but the only link to it is through meditation. The mythical events described in the Vedic literature did not actually occur here on earth 5000 years ago. Instead, they were injected into various sages' minds while they were meditating.

This line of argument has numerous disadvantages: first and foremost it limits the power of God. If God can only manifest himself in people's minds, then how could he have created the Universe? If he couldn't have created the Universe, then why have a concept of God at all? However, a "theology of visions" may open people's minds to the ideas of mental projects, psychic materialization, leading them to gradually accept the so-called paranormal and eventually leading them to believe in spiritual experiences.

Thompson concluded by explaining how the Bhagavatam manages to reconcile all religions: Krishna is just one particular form of God. He can, and frequently does, manifest himself in an unlimited variety of forms, depending on the desire of the worshiper.

Sraddhadeva Manu Prabhu’s Story
NewTalavan


New Orleans ISKCON Temple

by Sampradaya Sun reporter

Sraddhadev Manu dasa, one of the New Orleans temple devotees recently rescued from the devastation of New Orleans, tells his story. He described the circumstances faced by the devotees and Deities there, and the brave rescue team from ISKCON's Dallas temple who ventured forth to evacuate them.

Sraddhadev Manu dasa talked about the fierce hurricane that battered the city of New Orleans, followed by the floodwaters that destroyed much of the city. Somehow or other, by Krsna's mercy, the New Orleans temple was miraculously spared damage by either wind or water. The was no structural damage to the building's exterior, only minor damage to the grounds that can be repaired with maintenance landscaping.

Inside the temple, hurricane Katrina stranded 16 resident devotees along with 3 guests from New Jersey, who had come for the Janmastami celebrations. Katrina hit on the morning of Monday, August 28th. By Tuesday, floodwaters brought the city to a grinding halt.

Over the course of seven days, until their rescue on September 3rd, the 19 residents of the New Orleans mandir were fortunate to have an adequate supply of foodstuffs and water. While they had no electricity, gas, or running water, they were in cell phone communication with the outside world.

By September 3rd, the group had run out of water, and had to make a trip out into the city environs to get water for drinking and bathing. Later that day, the rescue squad from Dallas arrived to end their ordeal.

Several times over the course of the week the temple was visited by both military and police personnel, who came to advise the group to immediately evacuate the premises. The devotees and guests, however, were dedicated to remaining by the sides of the Deities, who continued to receive a relatively normal program of daily worship.

Finally the group was contacted by Nityananada dasa, the Temple President of Dallas, came extended an invitation for the Deities and devotees to come to Dallas, and the urged the devotees to accept. The New Orleans devotees agreed, and a group of seven Dallas devotees began the difficult trip into New Orleans, with Daruka prabhu driving a semi-truck. 16 seats were provided for the devotees, along with room for the Deities, who were transported back to Dallas in the truck.

As later mentioned by Mata Sri, 'Their Lordships had rescued themselves -- what else could explain the way the Dallas devotees got through all the military and police blockades to rescue the stricken devotees and the Deities, bringing them safely to Dallas? This is truly one of the Lords Pastimes.' We can also see this as an extension of the pastimes of the pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada, whose servants carry on the mission of the Sampradaya Acarya.

Sraddhadev Manu dasa went to great lengths to describe the bravery of the Dallas rescue team, and the kind-hearted and sweet devotional mood of all the Dallas yatra devotees, who stayed up very late awaiting the arrival of Sri Sri Radha Radha-Kanta, Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, and Lord Jagannath and Company.

The trip into New Orleans, and back out of the city, was certainly dangerous and difficult. A great deal of robbery, violence and mayhem was going on in the city. The party found it challenging to get to the temple because so many roads were inaccessible. They also met with roadblocks, and had to explain to military and police that they were going into the city to rescue the temple residents.

Throughout the entire period in New Orleans, Bir Krishna dasa Goswami stayed in close phone contact, constantly expressing his concern for the well being of the Deities and devotees. According to Sraddhadev Manu dasa, Bir Krishna dasa Goswami phoned the devotees every hour, all the way through the ordeal, constantly inquiring after everyone's welfare, impervious to the loss of sleep.

Their Lordships and the devotees arrived at Dallas temple near midnight, and all the resident devotees there we awake, carrying on an ecstatic kirtan to welcome the Deities. At midnight they performed a glorious arotik, offering all personalities from the New Orleans yatra prasadam, comfortable facility, and the loving association of the Vaisnavas. We are sure that a blissful and transcendental welcome was also extended by Sri Sri Radha-Kalachandaji to all the residents of the New Orleans yatra.

All 16 of the devotees currently remain at Dallas, and will stay there until Saturday, when Bir Krishna dasa Goswami is scheduled to arrive for a visit. Afterwards, some of the devotees, particularly the grhastas, will move on to other places, where they will stay until the New Orleans temple can reopen.

The Deities and pujaris will also stay at Dallas mandir, where the devotees are now making them a new altar. For the time being, they are residing in Srila Prabhupada's room.

In the humble mood of Lord Krsna's servants, the New Orleans devotees say they are in need of nothing for their personal comfort. They are content to perform the austerities required until they're back at the temple in New Orleans. In the meantime, they request that donations be made towards fixing up the temple grounds, and generally re-stocking the temple with consumable supplies that will allow it to re-open, hopefully in the very near future.

Sraddhadeva Manu Prabhu’s Story
NewTalavan


New Orleans ISKCON Temple

by Sampradaya Sun reporter

Sraddhadev Manu dasa, one of the New Orleans temple devotees recently rescued from the devastation of New Orleans, tells his story. He described the circumstances faced by the devotees and Deities there, and the brave rescue team from ISKCON's Dallas temple who ventured forth to evacuate them.

Sraddhadev Manu dasa talked about the fierce hurricane that battered the city of New Orleans, followed by the floodwaters that destroyed much of the city. Somehow or other, by Krsna's mercy, the New Orleans temple was miraculously spared damage by either wind or water. The was no structural damage to the building's exterior, only minor damage to the grounds that can be repaired with maintenance landscaping.

Inside the temple, hurricane Katrina stranded 16 resident devotees along with 3 guests from New Jersey, who had come for the Janmastami celebrations. Katrina hit on the morning of Monday, August 28th. By Tuesday, floodwaters brought the city to a grinding halt.

Over the course of seven days, until their rescue on September 3rd, the 19 residents of the New Orleans mandir were fortunate to have an adequate supply of foodstuffs and water. While they had no electricity, gas, or running water, they were in cell phone communication with the outside world.

By September 3rd, the group had run out of water, and had to make a trip out into the city environs to get water for drinking and bathing. Later that day, the rescue squad from Dallas arrived to end their ordeal.

Several times over the course of the week the temple was visited by both military and police personnel, who came to advise the group to immediately evacuate the premises. The devotees and guests, however, were dedicated to remaining by the sides of the Deities, who continued to receive a relatively normal program of daily worship.

Finally the group was contacted by Nityananada dasa, the Temple President of Dallas, came extended an invitation for the Deities and devotees to come to Dallas, and the urged the devotees to accept. The New Orleans devotees agreed, and a group of seven Dallas devotees began the difficult trip into New Orleans, with Daruka prabhu driving a semi-truck. 16 seats were provided for the devotees, along with room for the Deities, who were transported back to Dallas in the truck.

As later mentioned by Mata Sri, 'Their Lordships had rescued themselves -- what else could explain the way the Dallas devotees got through all the military and police blockades to rescue the stricken devotees and the Deities, bringing them safely to Dallas? This is truly one of the Lords Pastimes.' We can also see this as an extension of the pastimes of the pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada, whose servants carry on the mission of the Sampradaya Acarya.

Sraddhadev Manu dasa went to great lengths to describe the bravery of the Dallas rescue team, and the kind-hearted and sweet devotional mood of all the Dallas yatra devotees, who stayed up very late awaiting the arrival of Sri Sri Radha Radha-Kanta, Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, and Lord Jagannath and Company.

The trip into New Orleans, and back out of the city, was certainly dangerous and difficult. A great deal of robbery, violence and mayhem was going on in the city. The party found it challenging to get to the temple because so many roads were inaccessible. They also met with roadblocks, and had to explain to military and police that they were going into the city to rescue the temple residents.

Throughout the entire period in New Orleans, Bir Krishna dasa Goswami stayed in close phone contact, constantly expressing his concern for the well being of the Deities and devotees. According to Sraddhadev Manu dasa, Bir Krishna dasa Goswami phoned the devotees every hour, all the way through the ordeal, constantly inquiring after everyone's welfare, impervious to the loss of sleep.

Their Lordships and the devotees arrived at Dallas temple near midnight, and all the resident devotees there we awake, carrying on an ecstatic kirtan to welcome the Deities. At midnight they performed a glorious arotik, offering all personalities from the New Orleans yatra prasadam, comfortable facility, and the loving association of the Vaisnavas. We are sure that a blissful and transcendental welcome was also extended by Sri Sri Radha-Kalachandaji to all the residents of the New Orleans yatra.

All 16 of the devotees currently remain at Dallas, and will stay there until Saturday, when Bir Krishna dasa Goswami is scheduled to arrive for a visit. Afterwards, some of the devotees, particularly the grhastas, will move on to other places, where they will stay until the New Orleans temple can reopen.

The Deities and pujaris will also stay at Dallas mandir, where the devotees are now making them a new altar. For the time being, they are residing in Srila Prabhupada's room.

In the humble mood of Lord Krsna's servants, the New Orleans devotees say they are in need of nothing for their personal comfort. They are content to perform the austerities required until they're back at the temple in New Orleans. In the meantime, they request that donations be made towards fixing up the temple grounds, and generally re-stocking the temple with consumable supplies that will allow it to re-open, hopefully in the very near future.

A Message from Japan
NewTalavan

Dvija Hari Prabhu's House at New Talavan

Hello devotees in New Talavan,

My name is Kazz Okamoto, writing from Japan. I am Mayumi's younger brother. Mayumi left her body in April while living in your community.

I visited Mississippi with my brother & sister-in-law, their grandson, and my niece, to bring some of her ashes back to Japan. You devotees of Hare Krishna were all very nice to us. Talking to us, telling us about our sister Mayumi, showing sympathy to us and feeding us with very delicious Hare Krishna meals, which Mayumi and Jim used to cook while they were in Japan. Thank you very much for the kindness you extended to us.

It breaks my heart to watch on CNN the scenes of the devastation that Katrina left in the Gulf states in the USA, especially in New Orleans. It's beyond belief that one hurricane could cause such devastation.

I was also worried about your temple in Carriere while the hurricane was moving up north.

I called Mr. Murata, the head monk of the Tokyo Temple of Hare Krishna, for information about the temple and the community. And he forwarded the message that you had posted on your web site. I got access to the site, and to my great relief, I learned that your temple and community survived the attack pretty much unscathed except for damage to some buildings.

With the community cut off from the surrounding areas, and the food and other stuff running low, I know it will be a great challenge to just survive. I pray with you for things to get back to normal as quick as possible.

Hare Krishna,
Kazz Okamoto

A Message from Japan
NewTalavan

Dvija Hari Prabhu's House at New Talavan

Hello devotees in New Talavan,

My name is Kazz Okamoto, writing from Japan. I am Mayumi's younger brother. Mayumi left her body in April while living in your community.

I visited Mississippi with my brother & sister-in-law, their grandson, and my niece, to bring some of her ashes back to Japan. You devotees of Hare Krishna were all very nice to us. Talking to us, telling us about our sister Mayumi, showing sympathy to us and feeding us with very delicious Hare Krishna meals, which Mayumi and Jim used to cook while they were in Japan. Thank you very much for the kindness you extended to us.

It breaks my heart to watch on CNN the scenes of the devastation that Katrina left in the Gulf states in the USA, especially in New Orleans. It's beyond belief that one hurricane could cause such devastation.

I was also worried about your temple in Carriere while the hurricane was moving up north.

I called Mr. Murata, the head monk of the Tokyo Temple of Hare Krishna, for information about the temple and the community. And he forwarded the message that you had posted on your web site. I got access to the site, and to my great relief, I learned that your temple and community survived the attack pretty much unscathed except for damage to some buildings.

With the community cut off from the surrounding areas, and the food and other stuff running low, I know it will be a great challenge to just survive. I pray with you for things to get back to normal as quick as possible.

Hare Krishna,
Kazz Okamoto

God & Science: does God go against the Laws of Nature?
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(summary of a chapter from God and Science by Richard L. Thompson)

Ernan McMullin is a physicists, philosopher and Catholic priest at Notre Dame University expands upon the ideas of Augustine that God created the seed of the Universe and thereby set up evolution so that everything as it is today would gradually unfold. Divine intervention only happened at the moment of the Big Bang.

Superficially this may seem to be inline with the Bhagavad-Gita. Krishna states therein that material nature acts automatically, like a machine. After all, if divine intervention happened commonly then scientists could record it (and, most likely, find a "rational" explanation for the event).

However, going deeper into the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna talks about certain elements that scientists do not (yet) accept or understand. The mind, intelligence and false ego are subtle physical elements upon which Krishna exerts direct control. From him come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness, he says.

In the 19th century physics thought itself complete, but had no idea about relativity and quantum mechanics. In the same way, present-day physicists do not understand the science of the mind and the science of consciousness, nor can they detect God's interaction with these substances.

A Daring Rescue
NewTalavan


Daruka and Ramachandra who headed up the daring rescue

In the dark flooded city of New Orleans, Daruka with his swat squad of devotees headed by Keshava, stormed into the temple to save the day. Daruka owns a long distance trucking company and drove one of his Peterbuilt eighteen wheelers and Ramachandra drove a van with a few devotees to assist in saving the New Orleans temple.

Daruka said they had some close calls in New Orleans, but knew Krishna would protect them. Keshava rode shotgun and was armed. They went through a few check points. The water was about 2-1/2 to 3 feet and sometimes deeper. They had to drive through about 25 blocks of water to reach the temple.

Outside the temple there was about 4 feet of water and it stank. There were guys with automatic weapons walking around. Daruka is a little over 6 feet tall, has a dark south Indian complexion and is from Fiji. In his Peterbuilt tractor trailer he looked like a big tough black guy. He said the scariest moment call was from the police who wanted to commandeer his truck but found another truck to use instead.

From the New Orleans temple he picked up all the Deities—Radha Radhakanta, Nityananda and Lord Caitanya, Jagannatha, Subhadra and Balarama, and about 6 smaller Deities that were on the altar. He also brought to Dallas the Srila Prabhupada murti and a dozen devotees. He never would have driven his truck through such deep water but this was his loving service to Krishna.

Back in Dallas Daruka smiled laughed and shrugged off his lifesaving rescue. Below is a picture of the New Orleans Deities in the Dallas temple being worshipped in Prabhupada's quarters.

A Daring Rescue
NewTalavan


Daruka and Ramachandra who headed up the daring rescue

In the dark flooded city of New Orleans, Daruka with his swat squad of devotees headed by Keshava, stormed into the temple to save the day. Daruka owns a long distance trucking company and drove one of his Peterbuilt eighteen wheelers and Ramachandra drove a van with a few devotees to assist in saving the New Orleans temple.

Daruka said they had some close calls in New Orleans, but knew Krishna would protect them. Keshava rode shotgun and was armed. They went through a few check points. The water was about 2-1/2 to 3 feet and sometimes deeper. They had to drive through about 25 blocks of water to reach the temple.

Outside the temple there was about 4 feet of water and it stank. There were guys with automatic weapons walking around. Daruka is a little over 6 feet tall, has a dark south Indian complexion and is from Fiji. In his Peterbuilt tractor trailer he looked like a big tough black guy. He said the scariest moment call was from the police who wanted to commandeer his truck but found another truck to use instead.

From the New Orleans temple he picked up all the Deities—Radha Radhakanta, Nityananda and Lord Caitanya, Jagannatha, Subhadra and Balarama, and about 6 smaller Deities that were on the altar. He also brought to Dallas the Srila Prabhupada murti and a dozen devotees. He never would have driven his truck through such deep water but this was his loving service to Krishna.

Back in Dallas Daruka smiled laughed and shrugged off his lifesaving rescue. Below is a picture of the New Orleans Deities in the Dallas temple being worshipped in Prabhupada's quarters.

I will never be the same
NewTalavan


Dear devotees,

I am amazed at the events of the past few days.

First: The Lord is so wonderful in his arrangements. We all, thru the grace of Dasanudas Prabhu, are able to communicate with each other with the group though we have literally been flung into the wind. Being separated by hundreds of miles and state lines and we are all still a community. SriSri Radha-RadhaKanta will pull us all back together again, of this I am sure.

Second: As Mata Sri mentioned their Lordships at Sankirtan Dham have rescued themselves, what else can explain the way the Dallas Devotees got thru all the military and police blockades to rescue the stricken devotees and the Dieties and bring them to Dallas. The devotees in Houston were talking about this today, it is truly one of the Lords Pastimes.

I am in Houston where the Devotees at the Houston Temple (it is a beautiful temple!) are pouring thier hearts out to us. I received so many wonderful blessings from them (plus the ecstatic Prasad). I have a nice place to stay near Rice University provided by my Brother, And I am OK.

I met a devotee here in Houston who expressed concern about Ajamila Prabhu. Does anyone know where he and his wife are? This Devotee is Sarvabauma Das and he can be contacted at sarva1@aol.com if anyone knows about Ajamila or is in touch with him please send Sarvabhauma an email.

I can't get in touch with Kapardini, she is in Alachua and very concerned about Kirtada and the children. I talked to her this morning when she called me here. I feel bad for her, I wish there was something I could do to help but I don't know what happened to Kirtada. If anyone is in contact with her tell her not to try to go back to Picayune yet looking for her daughter because the situation there is still bad. I have emailed her but got no response and can't call her. She should try the Red Cross or try contacting FEMA or the MS State Police to try to locate Kirtada. I have described to her the location she was at in Ozona, but there is no address available.
I am so glad to hear that so many of us are safe and sound. I was asked about Jogendra Prabhu also, Is he still at the farm? I know Dasanudas is (right?).

I have really been shaken to the core by this storm. I came very close to being killed by my own foolishness. I was in the carport, huddling between my car and the wall, when a tornado struck my neighbors house, tearing off his roof and throwing it towards me. The roof crashed in the field about 100 ft from me while the twister screamed past my house ripping up all the trees, It passed within about 30 ft from me (I was somewhat protected being in the carport). If I had been exposed to the wind I would not be here, if it had been 30 ft to the west I would have been "gone with the wind". I have never been so scared in my life, I was shaking very badly after that as I hunkered down in the center of my house on the floor, crying out "hare Krishna hare Krishna Krishna Krishna hare hare hare rama hare rama hare hare" convinced I was about to die. That was the eyewall that passed over. Then all of a sudden it all stopped and the eye passed over us. I felt The Lord had spared my useless life and I crawled out to see the devastation.

I will never be the same.

ys
Talavan das

I will never be the same
NewTalavan


Dear devotees,

I am amazed at the events of the past few days.

First: The Lord is so wonderful in his arrangements. We all, thru the grace of Dasanudas Prabhu, are able to communicate with each other with the group though we have literally been flung into the wind. Being separated by hundreds of miles and state lines and we are all still a community. SriSri Radha-RadhaKanta will pull us all back together again, of this I am sure.

Second: As Mata Sri mentioned their Lordships at Sankirtan Dham have rescued themselves, what else can explain the way the Dallas Devotees got thru all the military and police blockades to rescue the stricken devotees and the Dieties and bring them to Dallas. The devotees in Houston were talking about this today, it is truly one of the Lords Pastimes.

I am in Houston where the Devotees at the Houston Temple (it is a beautiful temple!) are pouring thier hearts out to us. I received so many wonderful blessings from them (plus the ecstatic Prasad). I have a nice place to stay near Rice University provided by my Brother, And I am OK.

I met a devotee here in Houston who expressed concern about Ajamila Prabhu. Does anyone know where he and his wife are? This Devotee is Sarvabauma Das and he can be contacted at sarva1@aol.com if anyone knows about Ajamila or is in touch with him please send Sarvabhauma an email.

I can't get in touch with Kapardini, she is in Alachua and very concerned about Kirtada and the children. I talked to her this morning when she called me here. I feel bad for her, I wish there was something I could do to help but I don't know what happened to Kirtada. If anyone is in contact with her tell her not to try to go back to Picayune yet looking for her daughter because the situation there is still bad. I have emailed her but got no response and can't call her. She should try the Red Cross or try contacting FEMA or the MS State Police to try to locate Kirtada. I have described to her the location she was at in Ozona, but there is no address available.
I am so glad to hear that so many of us are safe and sound. I was asked about Jogendra Prabhu also, Is he still at the farm? I know Dasanudas is (right?).

I have really been shaken to the core by this storm. I came very close to being killed by my own foolishness. I was in the carport, huddling between my car and the wall, when a tornado struck my neighbors house, tearing off his roof and throwing it towards me. The roof crashed in the field about 100 ft from me while the twister screamed past my house ripping up all the trees, It passed within about 30 ft from me (I was somewhat protected being in the carport). If I had been exposed to the wind I would not be here, if it had been 30 ft to the west I would have been "gone with the wind". I have never been so scared in my life, I was shaking very badly after that as I hunkered down in the center of my house on the floor, crying out "hare Krishna hare Krishna Krishna Krishna hare hare hare rama hare rama hare hare" convinced I was about to die. That was the eyewall that passed over. Then all of a sudden it all stopped and the eye passed over us. I felt The Lord had spared my useless life and I crawled out to see the devastation.

I will never be the same.

ys
Talavan das

God & Science: on God and Science
→ Home

(chapter from God and Science by Richard L. Thompson)

Some scientists attempt to unify science with religion. John A. O'Keefe of NASA, Owen Gingerich of the Harvard Smithsonian and Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Studies all have expressed various way in they believe divinity has a place in science. The most popular idea is that God started the big bang ("let there be light") and, from then on, everything unfolded according to the laws of science.

However, Darwinist scientists such as Stephen Hawkings disagree. There was no "creation". God is just an idea that comes about in human society by the natural process of evolution. Religious belief is just another thing to be studied and eventually fully explained by science. Darwinism totally rejects the idea of any spiritual being controlling nature in any way. God and Darwinism are wholly incompatible.

Thank you
NewTalavan



Dear Devotees and Friends,

Hare Krsna! Thanks for the prayers, love and practical assistance.

As far as helping hungry people in the devastated Gulf Coast area, devotees from New Talavan and temples in Dallas, Houston, New Vrndavan (our farm community near Moundsville, West Virginia), Washington DC, and Alachua, Florida certainly beat President Bush to the punch. We are already sending teams to the stricken Gulf Coast towns of Waveland, Biloxi and Gulfport to distribute prasadam: sanctified vegetarian food offered to Krsna—God—with love and devotion. Needless to say, our small efforts have been received with gratitude by the storm-tossed residents.

However, after great emotional pleading from local area officials, the Federal government is beginning to make its presence felt in this area. It will take a long time for complete recovery, but the agencies are finally working.

As far as ISKCON in the local area, our book distribution may decrease for the time being, but prasadam distribution is certainly on the increase.

Signing off for now,

Yogindra das
Temple president,
ISKCON New Talavan

Thank you
NewTalavan



Dear Devotees and Friends,

Hare Krsna! Thanks for the prayers, love and practical assistance.

As far as helping hungry people in the devastated Gulf Coast area, devotees from New Talavan and temples in Dallas, Houston, New Vrndavan (our farm community near Moundsville, West Virginia), Washington DC, and Alachua, Florida certainly beat President Bush to the punch. We are already sending teams to the stricken Gulf Coast towns of Waveland, Biloxi and Gulfport to distribute prasadam: sanctified vegetarian food offered to Krsna—God—with love and devotion. Needless to say, our small efforts have been received with gratitude by the storm-tossed residents.

However, after great emotional pleading from local area officials, the Federal government is beginning to make its presence felt in this area. It will take a long time for complete recovery, but the agencies are finally working.

As far as ISKCON in the local area, our book distribution may decrease for the time being, but prasadam distribution is certainly on the increase.

Signing off for now,

Yogindra das
Temple president,
ISKCON New Talavan