Q&A with Srila Hridayananda das Goswami on Gay Couples Having Children
→ Giridhari's Blog

Question by a lesbian devotee in a monogamous relationship who wants to have her own child: I want to raise my own child and not adopt. The only literature I have read on the topic of gay parenting is academic psychology articles and journals. I am a masters level student in clinical mental health counseling, and have done research and learned in my classes that when two parents of the same sex raise a child together there are no correlated sexual dysfunction issues or psychiatric issues. Oddly enough, in fact, a few studies that followed children of lesbian parents actually found that the children fared better than those that had straight parents. What is your opinion?

 

Answer by Srila Hridayananda das Goswami:

 

Here are a few thoughts:

The desire to bear one’s own child is natural. As far as possible, we try to transcend our human desires, but there are some human needs so deeply rooted in our hearts that ignoring them may cause more harm than good to our spiritual life. Prabhupada always taught us that Krishna consciousness is a gradual process and we often gradually transcend our human needs by engaging them in Krishna consciousness. So if you are dedicated to raising a Krishna conscious child, then you are spiritualizing your human need to raise a child.

ISKCON is a large, global society, and inevitably we find liberals, conservatives, moderates and everything in between. I sometimes say that ISKCON is simply “the world with Krishna.” So whatever our position may be on worldly issues, we must humbly accept that some devotees will disagree, and others will support us.

Your specific issue, raising a child within a lesbian household, is definitely not a fundamental Vedic issue and therefore the scriptures do not specifically address it. Precisely because it is an issue of detail, not basic principle, there will inevitably be different opinions about it. However the basic principle that guides us in such ambiguous or ambivalent areas is that we should do what is best for our own Krishna consciousness and for the Krishna consciousness of the world. So if you are confident that you will be a Krishna conscious mother and help an innocent soul on the path to Krishna, then I would personally support you on this.

With best wishes,

Hridayananda das Goswami

 


A Case For Celibacy, Sobriety & Sanity.
→ Life Comes From Life


Read the full version of my new article at Elephant Journal

I choose not to have sex unless my intention would be to produce a child with my wife. In all other circumstances, I strive for a complete and healthy celibacy. I choose not to take any intoxicants, not alcohol or marijuana, or even tobacco or caffeine. I choose not to gamble, to speculate whatever finances or assets I may have. I choose not to eat any meat, fish, or eggs. I’ve been a committed vegetarian for over seven years now, and I’ve even flirted with veganism on occasion as well.

You may think I’m crazy, fanatical and hopelessly out-of-touch with the natural pleasures of the body and mind that seem to be our birthrights. As a practitioner of the bhakti-yoga tradition, my community, my teachers, and my calling ask of me a commitment beyond the normal, expected and comfortable.

It certainly isn’t easy to follow these regulative principles, but by doing so, I can understand what it means to be a human being and spiritual being and all that combination entails in today’s over-driven and over-stimulated world.

A Case For Celibacy, Sobriety & Sanity.
→ Life Comes From Life


Read the full version of my new article at Elephant Journal

I choose not to have sex unless my intention would be to produce a child with my wife. In all other circumstances, I strive for a complete and healthy celibacy. I choose not to take any intoxicants, not alcohol or marijuana, or even tobacco or caffeine. I choose not to gamble, to speculate whatever finances or assets I may have. I choose not to eat any meat, fish, or eggs. I’ve been a committed vegetarian for over seven years now, and I’ve even flirted with veganism on occasion as well.

You may think I’m crazy, fanatical and hopelessly out-of-touch with the natural pleasures of the body and mind that seem to be our birthrights. As a practitioner of the bhakti-yoga tradition, my community, my teachers, and my calling ask of me a commitment beyond the normal, expected and comfortable.

It certainly isn’t easy to follow these regulative principles, but by doing so, I can understand what it means to be a human being and spiritual being and all that combination entails in today’s over-driven and over-stimulated world.

24Hour Kirtan: Watch *LIVE* and Schedule
→ GauraVani.com

Watch the entire festival *live* on www.mayapur.tv (New Vrindaban channel),
www.krishna.com/nv or www.newvrindaban.com

2012 SCHEDULE (all times are EST)
Saturday, June 16

> 8:00  AM    Class by HH Radhanath Swami on the Glories of the Holy Names
> 10:50 AM       Inauguration Ceremony at Yajnasala

> 11:00 AM    Madhava Das
> 12:30 PM    Bada Hari Das
> 1:30 PM      Ananta Govinda & Kesava
> 2:30 PM        Jagannath Kirtan Das
> 3:00 PM        Manorama Das
> 3:30 PM        Rasa Caitanya Das
> 4:00 PM        Kishori Yatra
> 4:30 PM        Shyam Kishore Das & Rasamrita DD
> 5:00 PM        Rasikananda Das
> 5:30 PM        Nirantara Das
> 6:00 PM        Abhay Charan Das p
> 6:30 PM        Gaura Mani DD
> 7:00 PM        Param Das
> 7:30 PM        HH Radhanath Swami
> 8:30 PM        Agnideva Das
> 9:30 PM        Gaura Vani Das
> 10:30 PM      Vishvambhar & Vrinda
> 11:30 PM      Bhakti Lata DD

> Sunday, June 17

> 12:00 AM      Ram Roy Das
> 1:00 AM        Acyuta Gopi DD
> 2:00 AM       Ananta Govinda Das
> 3:00 AM       Rupi & Kumari
> 4:00 AM       Madhava
> 5:00 AM       Balarama Tirtha & Dhanya
> 6:00 AM       Sarbani Bardhan
> 6:30 AM       Keli Lalita DD
> 7:00 AM       HH Varshana Swami
> 7:30 AM       Bhadra Das
> 8:00 AM       Thakur Das
> 8:30 AM        Vani DD
> 9:00 AM        Krsna Kishor Das
> 9:30 AM        Bada Hari Das
> 10:30 AM      Agnideva Das

> 12:00 PM    SUNDAY FEAST

(SCHEDULE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

 

Transcendental Sales At Guelph Multi-cultural Festival
→ Toronto Sankirtan Adventures

Submitted by Mahabhagavat Das
A team of over forty enthusiastic volunteers joined together in a well-coordinated effort to take this sublime spiritual knowledge of Krishna consciousness and blissful process of Bhakti Yoga to Guelph on the weekend of 9-10 June 2012. The event was the Guelph Multicultural festival, where we went for the second year in a row. We met old friends from last year, we made new connections, and distributed 171 transcendental literatures, hundreds of pieces of Prasadam and many chanted, danced, and clapped enthusiastically. We had several wonderful conversations centered around Krishna. We are grateful to all who contributed so freely of their time, attention, energy, and personal resources to make this event such a smashing success!


Transcendental Sales At Guelph Multi-cultural Festival
→ Toronto Sankirtan Adventures

Submitted by Mahabhagavat Das
A team of over forty enthusiastic volunteers joined together in a well-coordinated effort to take this sublime spiritual knowledge of Krishna consciousness and blissful process of Bhakti Yoga to Guelph on the weekend of 9-10 June 2012. The event was the Guelph Multicultural festival, where we went for the second year in a row. We met old friends from last year, we made new connections, and distributed 171 transcendental literatures, hundreds of pieces of Prasadam and many chanted, danced, and clapped enthusiastically. We had several wonderful conversations centered around Krishna. We are grateful to all who contributed so freely of their time, attention, energy, and personal resources to make this event such a smashing success!


Drunk On Noise
→ The Little Conch

I crack my face from the computer screen;
endless numbers and colours
and impressions of others’ lives.
Noise,
I am drunk on noise.
I have drunk so much noise that it flows from my ears and eyes.
Now change the view:
fields at 7pm.
I don’t care if it’s a cliche to admire this
golden hour,
somewhere between night and day.
Today it has rained so much that even the soft light is washed clean,
piercing shadow.
My eyes ache, refocus on distant points,
sheafs of cloud, brilliant white and thunder blue.
The grass shivers as the sun slips lower,
flowers close.
There is so much movement even in this stillness -
striped snails navigate the paths with cautious grace,
one magpie dives like a playing card tossed through the air,
I can feel again,
I can drink this forever -
the wet pavements covered in spatters of orange
and pink, from the flowering trees,
the sound of your name spoken softly all the while.

‘As Kindred Spirits’ by Asher Durand Cole (1849)


A road less travelled
→ kirtaniyah sada hari

Almost everyday I take myself out on a walk in my neighbourhood. Beads in hand and Krsna's name on my lips, I wander about the various streets, paths and parks that make up the area I live in.

One afternoon last summer I was pondering a saying that I had heard (and I paraphrase): The same thoughts running around the hamster wheel of our mind, results in the inability to change. That thought fresh in my head, I made a promise to myself that sunny afternoon. Whenever I go out for a walk, I will find a new route to take. Challenge in mind I started my walks.

It was about a week and a half later that I started to get a bit worried. "There are only so many ways that you can walk around your neighbourhood, it's just not possible to come up with new and unique routes," said my mind. I started to think that it was true and that this exercise was nice but not very practical. Upon commencing my walk that day I suddenly realized something - I always walked in the same direction. I was so habituated that my feet would just lead me in the same direction! It was only now, when I was consciously trying to seek out new walking paths that I realized this.

It's been a simple yet valuable lesson. I've come to notice that I get habituated to a certain way of thinking or feeling. It's just become my default setting, so to speak and I don't really realize it. Similarly, as numerous thoughts flow through our mind, it's not often that we consciously choose to think of certain things and so the same recycled ideas keep floating around. And then I wonder why I can't change certain habits! It seems silly when I think about it now.

It's been over a year since I took up this challenge and would you believe that I still unconsciously follow this challenge? Everyday when I go for my walk I now naturally pick different routes, change directions and even walk off the beaten path and wander into the grass just to prove to myself that there are indeed innumerable walking paths that I can create even within a limited environment. Truthfully speaking, that's the real lesson I've learned- it's only as limited as I make it and as I venture beyond my "usual" boundaries that I impose on myself, my eyes become open to the numerous possibilities.

A road less travelled
→ kirtaniyah sada hari

Almost everyday I take myself out on a walk in my neighbourhood. Beads in hand and Krsna's name on my lips, I wander about the various streets, paths and parks that make up the area I live in.

One afternoon last summer I was pondering a saying that I had heard (and I paraphrase): The same thoughts running around the hamster wheel of our mind, results in the inability to change. That thought fresh in my head, I made a promise to myself that sunny afternoon. Whenever I go out for a walk, I will find a new route to take. Challenge in mind I started my walks.

It was about a week and a half later that I started to get a bit worried. "There are only so many ways that you can walk around your neighbourhood, it's just not possible to come up with new and unique routes," said my mind. I started to think that it was true and that this exercise was nice but not very practical. Upon commencing my walk that day I suddenly realized something - I always walked in the same direction. I was so habituated that my feet would just lead me in the same direction! It was only now, when I was consciously trying to seek out new walking paths that I realized this.

It's been a simple yet valuable lesson. I've come to notice that I get habituated to a certain way of thinking or feeling. It's just become my default setting, so to speak and I don't really realize it. Similarly, as numerous thoughts flow through our mind, it's not often that we consciously choose to think of certain things and so the same recycled ideas keep floating around. And then I wonder why I can't change certain habits! It seems silly when I think about it now.

It's been over a year since I took up this challenge and would you believe that I still unconsciously follow this challenge? Everyday when I go for my walk I now naturally pick different routes, change directions and even walk off the beaten path and wander into the grass just to prove to myself that there are indeed innumerable walking paths that I can create even within a limited environment. Truthfully speaking, that's the real lesson I've learned- it's only as limited as I make it and as I venture beyond my "usual" boundaries that I impose on myself, my eyes become open to the numerous possibilities.

Get The 20%
→ Toronto Sankirtan Adventures

Sharing a letter sent out by H.G. Vaisesika Prabhu through the 7th Goswami Network:- Let’s go for 20% more book distribution in 2012!

Goals are Potent 
The moment one sets a goal and commits to it in writing, one’s mind begins to figure out how to achieve it. And when devotees set transcendental goals, like increasing book distribution by 20%, the Lord who lives in their hearts gives them all help and guidance.
Try it and see for yourself!
Acting on this principle in January of this year, all the leaders present at the North American temple president’s meeting set the following goal for this year:
All temple leaders in North America work together as one team to increase book distribution by 20% in 2012.
In 2011, N/A devotees remitted $903,613 to the BBT and distributed 714,334 books. Therefore, for 2012, the goals are as follows:

Laxmi: $1,084,336
Books: 857,000

Expenses at the NA BBT are fixed. Therefore, when we increase our Laxmi remittance to the BBT, the BBT is able to print more books, and a wider variety of titles at cheaper prices.

Not only did Srila Prabhupada create the BBT to distribute transcendental books, he also set it up as the instrument for developing ISKCON projects. Therefore, he mandated that half of the profit from BBT go for printing and the other half for funding international ISKCON projects such as new temple construction, the Bhaktivedanta Institute, and so on.

Now Get the 20%! is fast becoming a worldwide movement. Devotees in India, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, after hearing about Get the 20%! are joining in too.

In fact, everyone is invited. No matter where you live, please set a goal to increase book distribution by 20% and to join the effort to increase book distribution. Doing this will bring great happiness to our Founder-Acarya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and will bring relief to people everywhere who are suffering the ill effects of Kali Yuga.
Join the Sankirtana party!

Let’s go for 20% more book distribution in 2012!
Your servant,
Vaisesika Dasa
(N/A Sankirtana Strategist)
This is our most important work. All the leaders should tax their brains for increasing the sales of our books. I have always said that if we simply rely on book distribution all our needs will be met.” (SPL to Rupanuga, 11th January 1976

Get The 20%
→ Toronto Sankirtan Adventures

Sharing a letter sent out by H.G. Vaisesika Prabhu through the 7th Goswami Network:- Let’s go for 20% more book distribution in 2012!

Goals are Potent 
The moment one sets a goal and commits to it in writing, one’s mind begins to figure out how to achieve it. And when devotees set transcendental goals, like increasing book distribution by 20%, the Lord who lives in their hearts gives them all help and guidance.
Try it and see for yourself!
Acting on this principle in January of this year, all the leaders present at the North American temple president’s meeting set the following goal for this year:
All temple leaders in North America work together as one team to increase book distribution by 20% in 2012.
In 2011, N/A devotees remitted $903,613 to the BBT and distributed 714,334 books. Therefore, for 2012, the goals are as follows:

Laxmi: $1,084,336
Books: 857,000

Expenses at the NA BBT are fixed. Therefore, when we increase our Laxmi remittance to the BBT, the BBT is able to print more books, and a wider variety of titles at cheaper prices.

Not only did Srila Prabhupada create the BBT to distribute transcendental books, he also set it up as the instrument for developing ISKCON projects. Therefore, he mandated that half of the profit from BBT go for printing and the other half for funding international ISKCON projects such as new temple construction, the Bhaktivedanta Institute, and so on.

Now Get the 20%! is fast becoming a worldwide movement. Devotees in India, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, after hearing about Get the 20%! are joining in too.

In fact, everyone is invited. No matter where you live, please set a goal to increase book distribution by 20% and to join the effort to increase book distribution. Doing this will bring great happiness to our Founder-Acarya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and will bring relief to people everywhere who are suffering the ill effects of Kali Yuga.
Join the Sankirtana party!

Let’s go for 20% more book distribution in 2012!
Your servant,
Vaisesika Dasa
(N/A Sankirtana Strategist)
This is our most important work. All the leaders should tax their brains for increasing the sales of our books. I have always said that if we simply rely on book distribution all our needs will be met.” (SPL to Rupanuga, 11th January 1976

Launch of Blossom of Devotion and Sri Brahma Samhita
→ Seed of Devotion


Dear Reader, 

I feel shy. 

I am about to publish a new project/goal as well as a debut music track to the public, to all of you!

I have held off on publishing this for weeks now, I kid you not. There's something about sharing your dreams and your art with the world that feels so scary - it could get cut down or worse, dismissed. So I first approached friends and family to receive their blessings.

So with fortified courage, I present to you my project Blossom of Devotion, at blossomofdevotion.com


I created this website in dedication to my dream to study in Mayapur this fall. At the renowned Mayapur Academy, I shall learn the ancient and profound art of deity worship. The Academy program lasts for four months, and I shall graduate with a Diploma of Archana. With your blessings and support, we can make this a dream a reality.

I warmly invite you to visit blossomofdevotion.com and if you feel so inspired, to offer $10 or more for this cause under the Support page.

Second of all, I would like to introduce my debut music track, Sri Brahma Samhita. My friend Devananda and I worked for weeks in the studio to produce this track, and we had many, many learning curves. What an adventure in being an artist!

At last, we offered this music to the Lord on the altar one special morning, and now would like to offer it to you.

Please visit bhaktilata.bandcamp.com to purchase this track and give whatever you feel inspired to give. Any amount offered over $5 will go directly to support my endeavor to study in India this fall, as well as to support my attendance of Kirtan Mela in Germany this September.


Thank you so much for reading, listening, blessing, and supporting. I am honored by your kind consideration. 

Sincerely,

Your servant,

Bhakti lata dasi 

Launch of Blossom of Devotion and Sri Brahma Samhita
→ Seed of Devotion


Dear Reader, 

I feel shy. 

I am about to publish a new project/goal as well as a debut music track to the public, to all of you!

I have held off on publishing this for weeks now, I kid you not. There's something about sharing your dreams and your art with the world that feels so scary - it could get cut down or worse, dismissed. So I first approached friends and family to receive their blessings.

So with fortified courage, I present to you my project Blossom of Devotion, at blossomofdevotion.com


I created this website in dedication to my dream to study in Mayapur this fall. At the renowned Mayapur Academy, I shall learn the ancient and profound art of deity worship. The Academy program lasts for four months, and I shall graduate with a Diploma of Archana. With your blessings and support, we can make this a dream a reality.

I warmly invite you to visit blossomofdevotion.com and if you feel so inspired, to offer $10 or more for this cause under the Support page.

Second of all, I would like to introduce my debut music track, Sri Brahma Samhita. My friend Devananda and I worked for weeks in the studio to produce this track, and we had many, many learning curves. What an adventure in being an artist!

At last, we offered this music to the Lord on the altar one special morning, and now would like to offer it to you.

Please visit bhaktilata.bandcamp.com to purchase this track and give whatever you feel inspired to give. Any amount offered over $5 will go directly to support my endeavor to study in India this fall, as well as to support my attendance of Kirtan Mela in Germany this September.


Thank you so much for reading, listening, blessing, and supporting. I am honored by your kind consideration. 

Sincerely,

Your servant,

Bhakti lata dasi 

Tamil Carnival Sankirtan
→ Toronto Sankirtan Adventures

 
By Radhapriya (12 years)

On June 2 and 3rd, there was a Tamil Carnival in Markham.  The organizers were expecting thousands of people, but the weather did not cooperate – it rained and so there were no crowds and very few people. But we had a beautiful table filled with Srila Prabhupada’s books in both Tamil and English.  At first I was very shy but my mother (Minakshi devi dasi) kept approaching every person that passed and was encouraging people to look at the books and preaching.  Finally I got the courage to do so as well. I spoke to kids and adults and people actually stopped and listened!  Some just passed and said no, but I was still hopeful and kept trying. I distributed Tamil Bhagavad Gitas and Krishna books as well as some kids books. I was so happy everytime someone took a book that I was not even so tired after standing all day.  In the end a total of 200 books were distributed at the Tamil Carnival with the mercy of Srila Prabhupada

Tamil Carnival Sankirtan
→ Toronto Sankirtan Adventures

 
By Radhapriya (12 years)

On June 2 and 3rd, there was a Tamil Carnival in Markham.  The organizers were expecting thousands of people, but the weather did not cooperate – it rained and so there were no crowds and very few people. But we had a beautiful table filled with Srila Prabhupada’s books in both Tamil and English.  At first I was very shy but my mother (Minakshi devi dasi) kept approaching every person that passed and was encouraging people to look at the books and preaching.  Finally I got the courage to do so as well. I spoke to kids and adults and people actually stopped and listened!  Some just passed and said no, but I was still hopeful and kept trying. I distributed Tamil Bhagavad Gitas and Krishna books as well as some kids books. I was so happy everytime someone took a book that I was not even so tired after standing all day.  In the end a total of 200 books were distributed at the Tamil Carnival with the mercy of Srila Prabhupada

My first time appearance at Wanderlust Festival in Vermont: June 21-24, 2012
→ GauraVani.com

This will be my first time performing at Wanderlust Vermont, and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am. Four days packed with music, talks within the “Speakeasy” series, yoga, and so much more.
Other music performers include Ani DiFranco, Ziggy Marley, MC Yogi, The Barr Brothers and many more.

MUSIC SCHEDULE

TICKETS

I will be performing kirtan during opening and closing nights, as well as participating in Speakeasy Lecture series and meet and greet at the booth.

My performance times are as follows:
10:30pm – 12am on Thursday June 21 (Opening night kirtan at the Chapel)
4:30pm – 6pm on Sunday June 24 (Closing kirtan at Main Stage)
My spot at Speakeasy Lecture series:
Friday June 22 at 2pm
Meet and greet on Saturday.

 

WATCH LIVE 24 Hour Kirtan in New Vrindavan, WV (June 16-17)
→ GauraVani.com

Watch the entire festival *live* on www.mayapur.tv (New Vrindaban channel),
www.krishna.com/nv or www.newvrindaban.com

2012 SCHEDULE (all times are EST)
Saturday, June 16

> 8:00  AM    Class by HH Radhanath Swami on the Glories of the Holy Names
> 10:50 AM       Inauguration Ceremony at Yajnasala

> 11:00 AM    Madhava Das
> 12:30 PM    Bada Hari Das
> 1:30 PM        Ananta Govinda & Kesava
> 2:30 PM        Jagannath Kirtan Das
> 3:00 PM        Manorama Das
> 3:30 PM        Rasa Caitanya Das
> 4:00 PM        Kishori Yatra
> 4:30 PM        Shyam Kishore Das & Rasamrita DD
> 5:00 PM        Rasikananda Das
> 5:30 PM        Nirantara Das
> 6:00 PM        Abhay Charan Das p
> 6:30 PM        Gaura Mani DD
> 7:00 PM        Param Das
> 7:30 PM        HH Radhanath Swami
> 8:30 PM         Agnideva Das
> 9:30 PM         Gaura Vani Das
> 10:30 PM    Vishvambhar & Vrinda
> 11:30 PM      Bhakti Lata DD

> Sunday, June 17

> 12:00 AM    Ram Roy Das
> 1:00 AM        Acyuta Gopi DD
> 2:00 AM        Ananta Govinda Das
> 3:00 AM       Rupi & Kumari
> 4:00 AM        Madhava
> 5:00 AM        Balarama Tirtha & Dhanya
> 6:00 AM        Sarbani Bardhan
> 6:30 AM        Keli Lalita DD
> 7:00 AM        HH Varshana Swami
> 7:30 AM         Bhadra Das
> 8:00 AM         Thakur Das
> 8:30 AM         Vani DD
> 9:00 AM        Krsna Kishor Das
> 9:30 AM         Bada Hari Das
> 10:30 AM       Agnideva Das

> 12:00 PM    SUNDAY FEAST

(SCHEDULE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

 

Q&A with Srila Hridayananda das Goswami on the Maha-mantra and the Perfection of Life
→ Giridhari's Blog

Question: How can we overcome all our material problems and unhappiness and attain the perfection of life?


Answer by Srila Hridayananda das Goswami:

The best way to overcome all sorts of unhappiness is to remember who we really are: pure souls, part of Krishna/God/Spirit. We have innumerable fellow pure souls with whom we are eternally related in unbreakable bonds of love and devotion.

As Krishna explains in the Gita, our consciousness is now ‘covered’ by ‘un-knowledge’ and we can dissipate that covering thru knowledge.

The Maha-mantra, ‘great mantra’, is: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

Hare is an address to HarA, the feminine counterpart of Krishna. By chanting ‘hare’, we appeal to the supreme feminine power to spiritually uplift us and engage us in the Lord’s eternal service. The word hare is from the root hR, which means ‘to take’. Thus the supreme feminine power, also known as Radha, will take away all our troubles and take us to Krishna.

Krishna comes from two Sanskrit verbal roots:

1. Krsh = ‘to attract';  2. nand = to give, or feel, bliss. [the word a-nanda is from this root.] Thus ‘Krishna’ means that God is the source of infinite bliss because He is infinitely attractive/beautiful. You are beautiful because you are an eternal part of the infinite beauty of Krishna.

Rama comes from the Sanskrit root ‘ram’ which means ‘to enjoy’. Rama means ‘the source of pleasure.’ There is a Sanskrit text which states:

ramante yogino anante satyanande cid-atmani

iti rama-padenasau param brahmabhidhiyate

“The yogis enjoy in the infinite bliss of truth, in the conscious Soul. Therefore the Absolute Truth is described by the word Rama.”

So the Maha-mantra is ‘one stop shopping’ to achieve a perfect life. If you make this mantra your constant companion, you will never be alone. A final point: the Vedic wisdom teaches that the Absolute Truth is identical to His/Her name. So when you chant the Maha-mantra, you are not merely referring to something, but rather you are directly in contact, in touch, with the Truth. In Sanskrit, the word for ‘contact’ is ‘yoga.’ So by chanting, singing, remembering, meditating on this mantra, you are directly in a state of yoga, directly in touch with the infinitely beautiful source of all happiness. By that contact, you will revive and enjoy your own eternal, divine nature. It is only because that nature is now covered that we experience, artificially, sadness, loneliness etc.

With best wishes,

Hridayananda das Goswami


Q&A with Srila Hridayananda das Goswami on Japa and Gaura-Nitai
→ Giridhari's Blog

Question: Srila Prabhupada says in the book Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, that when we chant Hare Krishna, Hare Rama not only do we invoke Krishna and Balarama but also Lord Caitanya and Nityanada. You said that when we chant japa, Krsna is present in His name and so we are in the presence of Krishna, speaking directly to Krsna. Can I say, therefore, that Lord Caitanya and Nityananda are also present in front of me when I chant japa or kirtana etc. and, thus, can I pray to Lord Caitanya and Nityananda – at the time of japa – to mercifully help me chant japa more carefully and with more concentration?

 

Answer by Srila Hridayananda das Goswami:

Undoubtedly Gaura-Nitai are present when you sing the Mahamantra. They are very merciful and only by His mercy, manifested in this world by Srila Prabhupada, we can overcome the ocean of Kali.

With best wishes,

Hridayananda das Goswami


You Never Knew What You Have, Until it’s Gone!
→ Oh My Ghee (^_^)

It seems like my favorite “Charmin” has some new competition. The new kid in the block is more environmentally friendly, more durable, and very edgy. It has a very straight forward branding, which I think has really captured the consumer’s very skeptical favors and opinions. 100% recycled, 2-ply, un-embossed, fair-trade, are just some of its main selling point, and of course, its elegant and colorful logo. Without much delayed, let’s all welcome:

 

Sometimes, the simplest name works!

Here’s the company’s link if you want more info:

http://www.shitbegone.com/

 

 


launch of 30 Day X-ray
→ Seed of Devotion


I have been writing for Seed of Devotion for over five years. You'd think that I have no problem opening my heart up to total strangers. On the contrary, sharing my heart with integrity is one of the greatest challenges of my life, and precisely why I keep up Seed of Devotion. How am I to grow and expand my spirit if I don't challenge myself?

My theme is to express myself that anyone and everyone could get me - from little kids to elders, from Americans to Tanzanians. But when I hit dry spells, sometimes I feel that no one gets me. I feel lonely and frustrated.

Sometimes I just want to write, write, write, to feel the blessed freedom to write for the sake of writing for me. If I sound eloquent, great. If I would silly and awkward, wonderful.

So in a step of evolution, I have decided to set out on an adventure! I have opened a blog called 30 Day X-ray, which I shall post on every single day for 30 days straight. An X-ray of my life, so to speak.

I invite all of you, my dear readers, to check out 30dayxray.blogspot.com.

Adventures await.

launch of 30 Day X-ray
→ Seed of Devotion


I have been writing for Seed of Devotion for over five years. You'd think that I have no problem opening my heart up to total strangers. On the contrary, sharing my heart with integrity is one of the greatest challenges of my life, and precisely why I keep up Seed of Devotion. How am I to grow and expand my spirit if I don't challenge myself?

My theme is to express myself that anyone and everyone could get me - from little kids to elders, from Americans to Tanzanians. But when I hit dry spells, sometimes I feel that no one gets me. I feel lonely and frustrated.

Sometimes I just want to write, write, write, to feel the blessed freedom to write for the sake of writing for me. If I sound eloquent, great. If I would silly and awkward, wonderful.

So in a step of evolution, I have decided to set out on an adventure! I have opened a blog called 30 Day X-ray, which I shall post on every single day for 30 days straight. An X-ray of my life, so to speak.

I invite all of you, my dear readers, to check out 30dayxray.blogspot.com.

Adventures await.

Doughnut Break
→ Oh My Ghee (^_^)

Yesterday was Pandava Nirjal Ekadasi, and it was really challenging. Not just physically, but most especially spiritually. By Krishna’s mercy, I made it! Although, I have to take a tiny sip of water, for I was already having double vision due to my headache (LOL)! My husband and I was chanting our rounds, but he chanted more than me. I struggled a bit not to look at the box of champagne mangoes we have at the kitchen counter, and to divert my attention, aside from chanting, I ended up cutting paper patterns for my gopi skirt project. To keep us awake and to be somehow absorb in our KC on Nirjal, we tuned up to Krishna. com’s live broadcast and listened to bhajans and lectures, and of course more chanting. All in all, it was a really nice Nirjal Ekadasi. The following day, we didn’t have anything special to break our fast, instead we just had some mangoes and some home made muesli, and then the usual, going back to work. While I was at work, I received a text message from my husband that we should make some donuts to celebrate, and since it’s the “National Donut Day”. So, since we didn’t really had a feast after fasting, we decided to make some donuts :)

This is the hubby’s Recipe, so I’ll call it Radha Ramana’s Donut (^_^) LOL!

 

Radha Ramana’s Donut

 

Ingredients:
23 oz all purpose flour,
1/4 cup sugar,
3 tbsp ener-g egg re-placer,
pinch of salt,
1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg,
1 1/2 cup whole milk,
1/4 cup yogurt,
2 1/2 oz butter or vegetable shortening,
2 packs instant yeast.
Procedure:
Mix all the dry ingredients with the nutmeg. Warm the milk to lukewarm temperature, and the yeast and mix it. Wait for couple of minutes for bubbles to show up. Melt the butter into room temperature. Now, stir in the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Set your mixer to setting #2 for 10 minutes. After mixing, the dough will be shiny and not too sticky. Add flour or milk as needed. Set aside the dough for at least an hour covered with a towel. The dough will double it’s size. Sprinkle some flour on the table, and roll the dough into 1 inch thickness, and cut your donuts. Spread the cut donuts because it’ll double its size and also to avoid sticking, and leave it for 20-30 minutes. Ready the frying pan, and make sure it has enough oil at least 1 1/2 deep. Fry the donuts for about 2 minutes on each side until it’s golden. Let the donuts, cool down just a bit and start glazing and filling. Simple glaze example like fresh raspberry, mash them and add a tad of lemon juice and mix with powdered sugar.
Home made donuts! Raspberry and Blueberry glazing, and Dark Chocolate glazing w/ Chocolate soya pudding filling (^_^)!!! These waist expanders are what we’ve eaten after Nirjal Ekadasi!!! Thank you Krishna we made it \(^_^)/!!!

Q&A with Srila Hridayananda das Goswami on ISKCON and Welfare Work
→ Giridhari's Blog

Question: Do you think that the increased food distribution to poor children and the opening of hospitals by ISKCON (in India) compromises ISKCON’s purpose as established by Srila Prabhupada, or diminishes its purity of distributing pure spirituality?

 

Answer by Srila Hridayananda das Goswami:

I agree that ISKCON should not become, or be perceived as having become, a mundane welfare society. It would be hard to make the case, for example, that Chowpatty is predominantly ‘mundane’, given the extraordinary attention to sadhana-bhakti there, and the powerful preaching programs at colleges etc.

In the US and West Europe there are far fewer ‘welfare’ programs, and of course the movement is largely irrelevant and forgotten. Prabhupada spoke of varnashrama and even wanted to dedicate his last visit to the US, which health did not permit, to varnashrama. Mundane society is a headless body, but ISKCON is a disembodied head. One may imagine that without widespread prasadam distribution, hospitals etc ,we will become a major spiritual force in society simply by preaching philosophy and chanting etc, but we may not. Ever.

In the West, an extraordinary historical ‘window’ opened and ISKCON grew. That window is now largely closed and we make devotees at a tiny rate compared to then. Other windows may be opening but we have yet to clearly identify them.

In India, the stunning novelty of western Vaishnavas powered the initial expansion of ISKCON, and now ISKCON India is flying under its own steam. To imagine that we can be a large, powerful movement in India and entirely reject programs such as food distribution and hospitals is, in my view, unrealistic. Such a view, I believe, ignores real history. Of course we may go too far. But we must be careful not to go to either extreme.

 

With best wishes,

Hridayananda das Goswami


Facebook Validation, Anyone?
→ kirtaniyah sada hari

I don't go on cnn.com very often, but two days when I was randomly glancing at various articles on the website, one caught my attention. It was an opinion piece titled "Facebook threatens to 'Zuck up' the human race."

It began by speaking a little bit about Facebook's IPO (yawn), but then it got interesting. The article quoted a Professor who said, "There's a "shift" from an analog world in which our identities are generated from within, to a digital world in which our sense of self is intimately tied to our social media presence." That's a lot of big words, but essentially it boils down to this: we have stopped looking within to discover who we are and instead are dependent on external sources of validation (i.e. number of likes, friends or posts). Instead of being true to our own ideals and own sense of self, this constant need for validation is fuelled by social media such as Facebook.

Now, I think most of us need this validation to varying extents, with or without Facebook. Memories of high school anyone? My parents never fail to remind me how much money they spent on me (until I got my own job!) so that I could wear the right clothes from the right stores. But before, that was where it ended. What you wore, who you hung out with, what car you drove...it was the external packaging that mattered. Now, it's all that and how much influence you have in the world of social media.

Now, I must admit that I am a Facebook user and I too have succumbed to the infatuation from time to time. Ever put up a status post and then check back every so often to see how many likes/comments you've gotten? Then you too have been bitten by the bug of needing social media validation. That being said, like everything in the material world, social media is also ensconced in duality. These negative effects can be argued against the positive of being able to reach so many people in pursuits of sharing bhakti yoga. But like everything, it's all about balance.

I found my balance awhile back when I noticed something. The more time I spend on Facebook, the less satisfied I feel. It's true. It causes me to compare myself against others which makes absolutely no sense. I am an individual soul that has certain things that are to come to me and to learn in this lifetime. Comparing myself to others is like regressing back to high school where looks mattered and nothing else.

Bhakti teaches us that happiness is found within and has nothing to do with the externals. It has to do with simplicity. The simplicity to realize that "Hey, I'm a tiny spirit soul that needs Krsna to do everything! I am in this particular dress for now, but it would be wise if I don't get too attached to it." So if Facebook can somehow remind us of that, it's a useful tool. But beware! It's easy to get lost in the world of likes, comments and Timeline.

Facebook Validation, Anyone?
→ kirtaniyah sada hari

I don't go on cnn.com very often, but two days when I was randomly glancing at various articles on the website, one caught my attention. It was an opinion piece titled "Facebook threatens to 'Zuck up' the human race."

It began by speaking a little bit about Facebook's IPO (yawn), but then it got interesting. The article quoted a Professor who said, "There's a "shift" from an analog world in which our identities are generated from within, to a digital world in which our sense of self is intimately tied to our social media presence." That's a lot of big words, but essentially it boils down to this: we have stopped looking within to discover who we are and instead are dependent on external sources of validation (i.e. number of likes, friends or posts). Instead of being true to our own ideals and own sense of self, this constant need for validation is fuelled by social media such as Facebook.

Now, I think most of us need this validation to varying extents, with or without Facebook. Memories of high school anyone? My parents never fail to remind me how much money they spent on me (until I got my own job!) so that I could wear the right clothes from the right stores. But before, that was where it ended. What you wore, who you hung out with, what car you drove...it was the external packaging that mattered. Now, it's all that and how much influence you have in the world of social media.

Now, I must admit that I am a Facebook user and I too have succumbed to the infatuation from time to time. Ever put up a status post and then check back every so often to see how many likes/comments you've gotten? Then you too have been bitten by the bug of needing social media validation. That being said, like everything in the material world, social media is also ensconced in duality. These negative effects can be argued against the positive of being able to reach so many people in pursuits of sharing bhakti yoga. But like everything, it's all about balance.

I found my balance awhile back when I noticed something. The more time I spend on Facebook, the less satisfied I feel. It's true. It causes me to compare myself against others which makes absolutely no sense. I am an individual soul that has certain things that are to come to me and to learn in this lifetime. Comparing myself to others is like regressing back to high school where looks mattered and nothing else.

Bhakti teaches us that happiness is found within and has nothing to do with the externals. It has to do with simplicity. The simplicity to realize that "Hey, I'm a tiny spirit soul that needs Krsna to do everything! I am in this particular dress for now, but it would be wise if I don't get too attached to it." So if Facebook can somehow remind us of that, it's a useful tool. But beware! It's easy to get lost in the world of likes, comments and Timeline.

My Trusted Travel Companion
→ kirtaniyah sada hari


As most people who know me well will tell you, I tend to travel. A lot.

My love of travel was developed at a young age. Growing up I remember travelling at least once a year if not more. I still recall my first travel by air "by myself" at the age of around 14. Hitting my early twenties the travel fever hit me full force landing my in amazing places like Belgium, Croatia, England, Germany, India etc etc...

Nowadays whether its travelling by air, the local bus, in a car or by my own two feet, I have one steady travel companion. This travel companion is the perfect friend. They never complain when I toss them unceremoniously into a bag at the last minute or when they are jolted around in the bumps and turns that accompany travel. They are always there, patiently waiting for me to pay some attention to them. Never demanding but always ready.

They are my japa beads. Rarely do I leave the house without them. They accompany almost everywhere I go whether it be to work, a walk or a four month trip to India.

Without them by my side it feels strangely unsettling. It doesn't mean that I always turn to them and engage in any active conversation, it just means that they are with me. One of those rare friends that does not expect anything but is faithfully around. In travel there are so many unexpected surprises, I'm so grateful to have a trusted friend I can always rely on.


My Trusted Travel Companion
→ kirtaniyah sada hari


As most people who know me well will tell you, I tend to travel. A lot.

My love of travel was developed at a young age. Growing up I remember travelling at least once a year if not more. I still recall my first travel by air "by myself" at the age of around 14. Hitting my early twenties the travel fever hit me full force landing my in amazing places like Belgium, Croatia, England, Germany, India etc etc...

Nowadays whether its travelling by air, the local bus, in a car or by my own two feet, I have one steady travel companion. This travel companion is the perfect friend. They never complain when I toss them unceremoniously into a bag at the last minute or when they are jolted around in the bumps and turns that accompany travel. They are always there, patiently waiting for me to pay some attention to them. Never demanding but always ready.

They are my japa beads. Rarely do I leave the house without them. They accompany almost everywhere I go whether it be to work, a walk or a four month trip to India.

Without them by my side it feels strangely unsettling. It doesn't mean that I always turn to them and engage in any active conversation, it just means that they are with me. One of those rare friends that does not expect anything but is faithfully around. In travel there are so many unexpected surprises, I'm so grateful to have a trusted friend I can always rely on.


Ancient Idol of Lord Vishnu found during excavation in an old village in Russia’s Volga Region
→ Vedicarcheologicaldiscoveries's Weblog

Ancient Idol of Lord Vishnu found during excavation in an old village in Russiaâ’s Volga Region

MOSCOW: An ancient Vishnu idol has been found during excavation in an old village in Russia’s Volga region, raising questions about the prevalent view on the origin of ancient Russia. The idol found in Staraya (old) Maina village dates back to VII-X century AD. Staraya Maina village in Ulyanovsk region was a highly populated city 1700 years ago, much older than Kiev, so far believed to be the mother of all Russian cities.

“We may consider it incredible, but we have ground to assert that Middle-Volga region was the original land of Ancient Rus. This is a hypothesis, but a hypothesis, which requires thorough research,” Reader of Ulyanovsk State Universityâ’s archaeology department Dr Alexander Kozhevin told state-run television Vesti .

Dr Kozhevin, who has been conducting excavation in Staraya Maina for last seven years, said that every single square metre of the surroundings of the ancient town situated on the banks of Samara, a tributary of Volga, is studded with antiques.

Prior to unearthing of the Vishnu idol, Dr Kozhevin has already found ancient coins, pendants, rings and fragments of weapons.

He believes that todayâ’s Staraya Maina, a town of eight thousand, was ten times more populated in the ancient times. It is from here that people started moving to the Don and Dneiper rivers around the time ancient Russy built the city of Kiev, now the capital of Ukraine. An international conference is being organised later this year to study the legacy of the ancient village, which can radically change the history of ancient Russia.

Some Conclusions by others:

The discovery of an ancient Vishnu idol in an excavation in Russia only confirms certain ideas I have always had about the Vedic ancient and glorious land and culture.

The report says that the area in which the idol was found is called Staraya Maina. In the Rig Veda, there is a passage that goes, Itham ascati pasyat syantham, ekam starayath mainaa-kaalam. This translates into Staraya Maina is the name of the land of the 45 rivers (on whose banks the noble Rishis conducted the famous Horse Sacrifices), where the sun god descends into one fifty two forty seven. While the first line identifies a location, the second line talks about the exact latitude and longitude at which the solar spectrum produces interference lines at one, fifty two, and forty seven. The extreme precision of the calculations show the advanced science of the Vedic period, and also a thorough knowledge of SI units (it has been conclusively proven that French scientists stole the system from the Indians.

The discovery of the idol confirms the location in Russia, identified in the Rig Veda as rus soviath sapthamahanagaratham (the ancient and holy land of the 722 flying vehicles). The ancient connections between the Russians and the Indians has been unequivocally confirmed. In Russian orthodox Christianity, worship is conducted very much like in Vishnu temples. The Russians refer to the feast of Vizhnyir Ekoratsya Vikhunh, directly corresponding with Vaikhunda Ekhadasi.

The Russian language also owes a lot to Sanskrit, whose origins 50,000 years ago roughly correspond with the language of the people of the Smritzyi archaeological site, along the banks of the now-dried up Vernstokhlin (Varnasatyakhalini) river system.

It is common knowledge in the archaeological community that the Parashurama Sutra, the basis of all government policy in the erstwhile Kerala kingdom of Vaazhappazhaa, contains the lines Sthulyam Kaamyunishancha kalanam brighahaha. The links between the ancient Russians and Indians almost certainly aided by the 60,00 odd scholars of the University of Vexalate (Sk. Vekhshalatha, Ru. Vekholotsla), in modern-day Central Afghanistan, in the 17th Century BCE, is said to have transferred political ideas through the land of the Vanga (Ru. Vangnya) in modern-day West Bengal.

The Vishnu idol is depicted with a hammer in one left hand while the deconglated seventh arm on the right side holds a reticulated sickle. This hammer and sickle imagery is also found in the Parashurama Sutra, conclusively placing the origin of great and popular Russian political ideology in Vedic India.

The Bringdunthaladeena Upanishad also mentions Kaamyunishcham in its list of land sacrifices, where under the directions of the King, all the land in the country was donated to the performance of sacrifices where Brahmins continuously tickled horny silk-rats (Gandharvamooshicam) until they collapsed in orgiastic exhaustion. The text also clearly identifies a group of scholars referred to as the Paalita Buryam, who oversaw the functioning of the King.

For years, western historical study dominated by Greco-Capitalists, has sought to undermine the Vedic Indian contributions to what came to be 19th and 20th Century world politics. The Greco-Capitalists also attributed the ideology of Communism to the work done by Karl Marx, one of their own. It has been well documented that Marx indeed visited Kerala and West Bengal, and had thorough understanding of the Parashurama Sutra, a copy of which he picked up in the old-book-stall near the Cochin airport. Later on, as part of the larger Greco-centric Capitalist conspiracy, Marx took all the credit himself.

In 1952 in Soviet Russia, an archaeologist, Prof. Varely Smirzkoff of Odessa University found artefacts near the ancient Belarussian town of Kozhikodz. He was the first to speculate that the ruling political ideology of his country could well have had its origins in Vedic India rather than Modern Europe. Stalin funded Smirzkoffâ’s research until Smirrzkoff was suddenly found to have stolen over 500,000 paper clips from work over the course of his tenure at Odessa University. He was sent to Siberia, and with him went almost all academic proof that would have certainly brought Russia and India closer together.

This recent discovery should resurrect the pioneering work started by Prof. Varely Smirzkoff, who died of Contracted Poloniumitis of the nose, in 1964.


Q&A with Srila Hridayananda das Goswami on Homosexuality and Spiritual Practice
→ Giridhari's Blog

Comments by Srila Hridayananda das Goswami when asked to review the article “A Hindu Response to Gay Rights” (Huffington Post):

 

A) The notion of a ‘trtiya prakrti’, or ‘third gender’ tends to distort the Shastra view. The Shastras do not explicitly speak of a 3rd gender/prakrti. The term is not traditional.

B) Interestingly, the Manu-samhita states that homosexuality is not a big sin. The text is overwhelmingly concerned with varna-sankara, varna-mixing that produces mixed progeny. Since gays don’t reproduce, there is not much concern with them.

C) I understand the militant gay response to oppression. At the same time, there is something unfortunate about identifying oneself by sexual orientation. Bodily-identification, with any orientation, is illusory,  and further identifying oneself not merely with the body, but with the body’s sexuality, is clearly not ‘the way.’

D) The abused become the abusers. I know of several cases, among my acquaintances, where gays discriminated against straight people. One case occurred with my disciple who is a straight, modern dancer. He was fired from his job, despite his qualifications, because the other dancers found out he was straight.

Conclusion: I believe we should support spirituality, and support gays within that framework.

With best wishes,

Hridayananda das Goswami

Click here to see an earlier essay on a similar theme.


Action or Renunciation (part 2/2). By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)
→ Matsya Avatar das adhikari



The perfection of renunciation

In Bhagavad-Gita Krishna explains that the perfection of renunciation is not a simple physical detachment from the objects of the senses, but rather an emotional detachment from them (vayragya).
Tyaga is a first phase which must necessarily be exceeded in order to mature the real detachment, the emotional one, because an artificial detachment from things and people while going on longing for them, is a behavior that Krishna defines with the term “hypocrite.” (Bhagavad-gita III.6)
Therefore a true success in renunciation can only be achieved by getting rid of the egoistic desires and regarding this point there is an important teaching of Krishna:  “Both parting with action and the devotional action lead to the path of liberation but, of the two, devotional action is better”. (Bhagavad-gita V.2)  
The mere avoiding of the objects of the senses is a hard way that is not sufficient to achieve perfection (Bhagavad-gita III.4); transformation and sublimation of desire is possible by undertaking  the evolutionary path that starts from tyaga (physical detachment), passes through vairagya (emotional detachment) and reaches Bhakti (a devotional action offered to God).
The final teaching of Bhagavad-gita describes the best form of renunciation, that is, the action performed without egoistic motivation or attachment to its results, but in a pure spirit of love and service to the Supreme Lord. This highest form of renunciation is defined yukta-vairagya, the renunciation of the one who, having purified one's consciousness, offers everything to God. 
Such a devotional action performed in Bhakti spirit leads to transformation and sublimation of all the energies of the being, and thus it is considered even superior to renunciation, as it allows the human being to taste the complete and blissful relationship with God that can not be experienced due to a simple renunciation. 
Krishna exhorts Arjuna: “Perform your duty in order to satisfy Vishnu and you will stay forever free from the conditionings of the matter” (Bhagavad-gita III.9).
Bhagavad-gita teaches an attitude far both from an illusory identification with the immanence (the “world” and the  “flesh” of the Gospel), and from some abstract spirituality that denies the matter and neglects the physical body. 
Krishna urges to act efficiently, fully and with detachment, but without a desire for power and possession, a sacred action offered to God with joyful devotion.
In Taoist terms, it suggests a dynamic balance of opposites, action and inaction, obtained due to the superior knowledge that allows to live fully in the material world fulfilling one's duties without pseudo-meditative evasions and, at the same time, to be open to a real meditative dimension, that is meta-historical and meta-temporal one, of communion with the Divine.

Action or Renunciation (part 2/2). By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)
→ Matsya Avatar das adhikari



The perfection of renunciation

In Bhagavad-Gita Krishna explains that the perfection of renunciation is not a simple physical detachment from the objects of the senses, but rather an emotional detachment from them (vayragya).
Tyaga is a first phase which must necessarily be exceeded in order to mature the real detachment, the emotional one, because an artificial detachment from things and people while going on longing for them, is a behavior that Krishna defines with the term “hypocrite.” (Bhagavad-gita III.6)
Therefore a true success in renunciation can only be achieved by getting rid of the egoistic desires and regarding this point there is an important teaching of Krishna:  “Both parting with action and the devotional action lead to the path of liberation but, of the two, devotional action is better”. (Bhagavad-gita V.2)  
The mere avoiding of the objects of the senses is a hard way that is not sufficient to achieve perfection (Bhagavad-gita III.4); transformation and sublimation of desire is possible by undertaking  the evolutionary path that starts from tyaga (physical detachment), passes through vairagya (emotional detachment) and reaches Bhakti (a devotional action offered to God).
The final teaching of Bhagavad-gita describes the best form of renunciation, that is, the action performed without egoistic motivation or attachment to its results, but in a pure spirit of love and service to the Supreme Lord. This highest form of renunciation is defined yukta-vairagya, the renunciation of the one who, having purified one's consciousness, offers everything to God. 
Such a devotional action performed in Bhakti spirit leads to transformation and sublimation of all the energies of the being, and thus it is considered even superior to renunciation, as it allows the human being to taste the complete and blissful relationship with God that can not be experienced due to a simple renunciation. 
Krishna exhorts Arjuna: “Perform your duty in order to satisfy Vishnu and you will stay forever free from the conditionings of the matter” (Bhagavad-gita III.9).
Bhagavad-gita teaches an attitude far both from an illusory identification with the immanence (the “world” and the  “flesh” of the Gospel), and from some abstract spirituality that denies the matter and neglects the physical body. 
Krishna urges to act efficiently, fully and with detachment, but without a desire for power and possession, a sacred action offered to God with joyful devotion.
In Taoist terms, it suggests a dynamic balance of opposites, action and inaction, obtained due to the superior knowledge that allows to live fully in the material world fulfilling one's duties without pseudo-meditative evasions and, at the same time, to be open to a real meditative dimension, that is meta-historical and meta-temporal one, of communion with the Divine.

A Hindu Response to Gay Rights
→ Life Comes From Life

From the Religion section at The Huffington Post

I was personally very impressed and moved by President Obama's decision to come out openly and vocally in support of same-sex marriage. For all the guff we throw at him, and not withstanding the obvious political calculations that came along with the decision, his move was a courageous and truly historic gesture befitting the expectations that came along with his ascendancy to the presidency.
The cultural waters in terms of gay rights continue to move and shift in profound and irreversible ways.

I see this as well in the religious communities that I am part of. Recently, my friend Bowie Snodgrass, who is one of the executive directors of the excellent Interfaith community Faith House here in Manhattan, presented a sampling of the liturgy, song, and scripture she and others in the Episcopal Church have been developing for a same-gender blessings marriage ceremony. (For more information, click here to visit the Episcopal Church's "Same-Gender Blessings Project")

Still, within my own tradition (the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition of Hinduism), and within its contemporary cultural expressions, I feel a certain hesitancy to be so supportive of gay rights. Within my own heart and conviction, there is no conflict. But I wonder how I will be perceived by my immediate and extended religious community. Nevertheless, I use this platform on The Huffington Post to bring this conflict into a brighter light, because I think it is part of the larger question of establishing and defining the relevancy of my tradition in the world today.

It is an unfortunate aspect of my experience within the Vaisnava tradition that I have experienced prejudice towards the gay community. Some of this prejudice has been overt, some of it simply a matter of cultural conditioning and unfamiliarity, but in either case, it has always made me quite uncomfortable. I had many gay and lesbian friends when I was an undergrad at the University of Michigan. I imagine I will have many gay and lesbian friends when I began grad school at Union Theological Seminary in the fall. I am naturally comfortable with people of this sexual persuasion, because of the simple fact that, beyond sexual preference, I see no difference between them and me.
Therefore when I encounter prejudice against gay people and gay culture, even if it is not with the intent of malice, it feels abhorrent in the fiber of my being and spirituality.

I feel comforted knowing there are many people of faith who feel the same way I do, and who are trying to come to grips and understand why the prejudice of homophobia can never be supported in any kind of genuine spiritual way. As always, I look to support from the timeless scriptures of the Vedas, the fount of universal wisdom. For example, in the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna states:

The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater (outcaste).

From this passage we understand a very elevated spiritual principle that calls out to our everyday experience. The fact of the matter is that prejudice of any kind has no spiritual foundation. We are called as spiritual people to apply the principles of equality, and to understand how these principles of equality can be applied in the secular world in a common-sense way, so that people do not unnecessarily suffer because of who they are, and so they can be encouraged to understand their real spiritual nature, beyond any conceptions of the physical body.
One may make an argument that gay marriage is not supported by scripture or tradition, but is homophobia ever supported by scripture or tradition? Forgive my ignorance per se if this kind of prejudicial support exists, but even within the scriptural evidence of Hindu antiquity there is plenty to support a nuanced and inclusive culture towards people of same-sex persuasion. To explore such an example, I suggest taking some time to read an excerpt from the book "Tritiya-Prakriti: People of the Third Sex-Understanding Homosexuality, Transgender Identity and Intersex Conditions Through Hinduism" by Amara Das Wilhelm, which is available at the website of GALVA (The Gay And Lesbian Vaisnava Association).

In his book, Wilhelm explores the reality of the "third sex" (tritiya-prakriti) and its various permutations as we know them today in the LGBTQ community. He reveals how individuals of the "third sex" naturally fit into traditional Hindu/Vedic culture, and how they were not excluded from traditional social customs like marriage and religious customs as well. It was an enlightening read for me, and I imagine it might be for you as well.

In future editions of this blog, I want to continue to explore the issue of prejudice against the LGBTQ community within my own tradition, and how these issues relate to and expand outwards within the spiritual quilt of our humanity. I do no want to shy away from this conflict as I see it, even if it brings upon me misunderstandings and doubts from others.
 
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