Oluwaninse Abhay Charan Adeyemi (9/23/96- 7/8/08)
→ Servant's Report

Today would have been my baby brother's twelfth birthday. He passed away a little over two months ago in a car accident. Here is something I wrote about him based on some notes my mother gave me, which I also read at the funeral:

Oluwaninse Abhay Charan Adeyemi was born on September 23, 1996 in Santa Monica, CA to Gayatri (Adrienne) Liberman and Ayo Adeyemi. His father named him Oluwaninse, a Nigerian name meaning “God has made it happen” due to the unexpected nature of his birth to parents at such advanced ages. His mother named him Abhay Charan, meaning “One who is fearless at the feet of the Lord” after her spiritual master A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. From the beginning he showed how fitting these names were.

Olu was part of this world, but at the same time far beyond it. He had trouble fitting in to the stringent rules and regulations of the system. He always wanted to run free and be outside. His favorite part of school was on the playground and he got in trouble many a time for riding his bike around his town-home complex, or for letting his dogs run without a leash. He had great love for animals and went to great lengths in making sure they were well fed, walked and groomed, even going himself on a regular basis to the nearby pet store to buy the needful and look at the other many pets he hoped to one day have. He wouldn’t go to sleep until both dogs and the cat were in his bed with him (oftentimes against their will).

Olu was old in his years, not like normal children his age, an old soul, if you will. When you talked with him he spoke in complete sentences and was always very sensitive and empathetic to the needs of those around him. One time his sister Manjari was upset and left the room at a family dinner. Olu immediately got up and went after her to find out what was wrong and proceeded to spend an hour talking with her and helping her to feel better. He was only six years old at the time. One of his best friends father, his neighbor Roger thanks Olu for treating him with dignity and respect when he was going through difficult times and no one else would. This, he said, helped him to turn around his life.

Olu was fiercely independent and fearless. He rode his scooter or bike everywhere around the neighborhood and beyond, especially to the pet store (as before mentioned) and to the 99 cents store to buy mostly candy and toys. He had so many friends from all walks of life and was comfortable in all different settings. He loved to cook and bake and would make cookies, brownies and cakes and his favorite macaroni and cheese. In fact, practically these were the only things he would eat.

Although he sometimes struggled in academics, he was gifted in math and his teacher commented how he would figure out the answers before even her. He loved to take things apart and put them back together and his grandmother Babalee felt for sure he would one day become an engineer or architect. At a certain point he was placed in special-ed but became the natural leader of the kids there, acting as a bridge connecting them to those in the rest of the school. He had much help from many teachers and after-school caregivers who fought for him to get into the special day classroom where they were finally able to see how bright he really was.

Olu was involved with sports like soccer and baseball where he was one of the fastest runners. His first soccer time was fittingly called the Cheetahs. He sometimes had trouble with the organized aspects of sports and would rather be playing on his own chasing the cat or something, but eventually he began to adjust and excel. One of his favorite forms of physical exercise was dance. He would learn popular dances and do them so smoothly and expertly, his favorite being Soulja Boy’s Tell’em. He learned from his father African drumming at a young age and had a great sense of rhythm. He loved video games and had many friends on one online game called Ruinscape, and of course loved cartoons. He was also a Boy Scout for five years.

He had so much energy and determination. He could play for hours and hours and never get tired. His mother can attest how hard it was to get Olu to bed. He was just so full of life. And his smile. Who can forget his beautiful smile? How like the sun it would light up the room.

This past year he was able to visit many different places like Hawaii, meet relatives in St. Louis, and spend five weeks in Africa attending his grandfather’s funeral and discovering his African roots by meeting all of his family from his father’s side including his three older sisters. There he was anointed crown prince of his father’s Yoruba tribe.

Although Olu is physically no more, he continues in our hearts always, and his soul is eternally continuing on his path. God made it happen and now God has taken him away. Wherever he is now, we know that he shall always remain fearless at the feet of the Lord.

Oluwaninse Abhay Charan Adeyemi (9/23/96- 7/8/08)
→ Servant's Report

Today would have been my baby brother's twelfth birthday. He passed away a little over two months ago in a car accident. Here is something I wrote about him based on some notes my mother gave me, which I also read at the funeral:

Oluwaninse Abhay Charan Adeyemi was born on September 23, 1996 in Santa Monica, CA to Gayatri (Adrienne) Liberman and Ayo Adeyemi. His father named him Oluwaninse, a Nigerian name meaning “God has made it happen” due to the unexpected nature of his birth to parents at such advanced ages. His mother named him Abhay Charan, meaning “One who is fearless at the feet of the Lord” after her spiritual master A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. From the beginning he showed how fitting these names were.

Olu was part of this world, but at the same time far beyond it. He had trouble fitting in to the stringent rules and regulations of the system. He always wanted to run free and be outside. His favorite part of school was on the playground and he got in trouble many a time for riding his bike around his town-home complex, or for letting his dogs run without a leash. He had great love for animals and went to great lengths in making sure they were well fed, walked and groomed, even going himself on a regular basis to the nearby pet store to buy the needful and look at the other many pets he hoped to one day have. He wouldn’t go to sleep until both dogs and the cat were in his bed with him (oftentimes against their will).

Olu was old in his years, not like normal children his age, an old soul, if you will. When you talked with him he spoke in complete sentences and was always very sensitive and empathetic to the needs of those around him. One time his sister Manjari was upset and left the room at a family dinner. Olu immediately got up and went after her to find out what was wrong and proceeded to spend an hour talking with her and helping her to feel better. He was only six years old at the time. One of his best friends father, his neighbor Roger thanks Olu for treating him with dignity and respect when he was going through difficult times and no one else would. This, he said, helped him to turn around his life.

Olu was fiercely independent and fearless. He rode his scooter or bike everywhere around the neighborhood and beyond, especially to the pet store (as before mentioned) and to the 99 cents store to buy mostly candy and toys. He had so many friends from all walks of life and was comfortable in all different settings. He loved to cook and bake and would make cookies, brownies and cakes and his favorite macaroni and cheese. In fact, practically these were the only things he would eat.

Although he sometimes struggled in academics, he was gifted in math and his teacher commented how he would figure out the answers before even her. He loved to take things apart and put them back together and his grandmother Babalee felt for sure he would one day become an engineer or architect. At a certain point he was placed in special-ed but became the natural leader of the kids there, acting as a bridge connecting them to those in the rest of the school. He had much help from many teachers and after-school caregivers who fought for him to get into the special day classroom where they were finally able to see how bright he really was.

Olu was involved with sports like soccer and baseball where he was one of the fastest runners. His first soccer time was fittingly called the Cheetahs. He sometimes had trouble with the organized aspects of sports and would rather be playing on his own chasing the cat or something, but eventually he began to adjust and excel. One of his favorite forms of physical exercise was dance. He would learn popular dances and do them so smoothly and expertly, his favorite being Soulja Boy’s Tell’em. He learned from his father African drumming at a young age and had a great sense of rhythm. He loved video games and had many friends on one online game called Ruinscape, and of course loved cartoons. He was also a Boy Scout for five years.

He had so much energy and determination. He could play for hours and hours and never get tired. His mother can attest how hard it was to get Olu to bed. He was just so full of life. And his smile. Who can forget his beautiful smile? How like the sun it would light up the room.

This past year he was able to visit many different places like Hawaii, meet relatives in St. Louis, and spend five weeks in Africa attending his grandfather’s funeral and discovering his African roots by meeting all of his family from his father’s side including his three older sisters. There he was anointed crown prince of his father’s Yoruba tribe.

Although Olu is physically no more, he continues in our hearts always, and his soul is eternally continuing on his path. God made it happen and now God has taken him away. Wherever he is now, we know that he shall always remain fearless at the feet of the Lord.

It Takes a Village
→ Living in the Material World

New Goloka after school program. These pictures are from last Friday which was the second week into the new program. They meet three Fridays every month during the school year. They begin with group sadhana led by Mother Kamalini: chanting mantras and japa together and hearing a story about Krishna. Then they move onto various activities.

The first week the girls went into the kitchen with Gaurangi Priya to cook sweets for the deities. The boys had a tour of the pujari rooms and learned how to assemble an arati tray. They also had an arati and kirtan in the temple room.

Last week after the group sadhana both the boys and girls went into the kitchen to make sweets for Sri Sri Radha-Golokananda. The boys made fancy laddus (toasted chickpea flour fudge) with the help of Gaurangi Priya and I helped the girls make cardamom sugar cookies. Kapila and Vrndavan also helped my husband out with making burfi (milk fudge) for the Lord. It was so much fun and I'm looking forward to helping again in the future.

My sincere thanks to Kalindi and Gaurangi Priya for nurturing and developing this idea into a reality for our children. Thank you!!!




























It Takes a Village
→ Living in the Material World

New Goloka after school program. These pictures are from last Friday which was the second week into the new program. They meet three Fridays every month during the school year. They begin with group sadhana led by Mother Kamalini: chanting mantras and japa together and hearing a story about Krishna. Then they move onto various activities.

The first week the girls went into the kitchen with Gaurangi Priya to cook sweets for the deities. The boys had a tour of the pujari rooms and learned how to assemble an arati tray. They also had an arati and kirtan in the temple room.

Last week after the group sadhana both the boys and girls went into the kitchen to make sweets for Sri Sri Radha-Golokananda. The boys made fancy laddus (toasted chickpea flour fudge) with the help of Gaurangi Priya and I helped the girls make cardamom sugar cookies. Kapila and Vrndavan also helped my husband out with making burfi (milk fudge) for the Lord. It was so much fun and I'm looking forward to helping again in the future.

My sincere thanks to Kalindi and Gaurangi Priya for nurturing and developing this idea into a reality for our children. Thank you!!!




























How to give a presentation (about Krishna consciousness)
→ blog

<p>In this talk at Gaura Yoga I give some practical advice on how to give an interesting and inspirational Krishna conscious presentation.</p><p><a href="http://www.deltaflow.com/wp-content/how%20to%20give%20a%20presentation.m4a">How to give a presentation</a></p><p>Download the talk as an <a href="http://www.deltaflow.com/wp-content/how%20to%20give%20a%20presentation.m4a">enhanced podcast (slides synced to audio)</a> in AAC/M4A format (35 minutes). This file is playable in iTunes or on iPods.</p><p>Or, if you can't play or don't like Apple's media formats, here is the <a href="http://www.deltaflow.com/wp-content/how%20to%20give%20a%20presentation.mp3">audio of the talk in MP3 format</a>.</p><p>You can also download the <a href="http://www.deltaflow.com/wp-content/how%20to%20give%20a%20presentation.pdf">slides I used as a PDF</a>.</p>

How to give a presentation (about Krishna consciousness)
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In this talk at Gaura Yoga I give some practical advice on how to give an interesting and inspirational Krishna conscious presentation.

How to give a presentation

Download the talk as an enhanced podcast (slides synced to audio) in AAC/M4A format (35 minutes). This file is playable in iTunes or on iPods.

Or, if you can't play or don't like Apple's media formats, here is the audio of the talk in MP3 format.

You can also download the slides I used as a PDF.

PhD passed: I’m now officially Dr. Seidenberg / Candidasa dasa
→ blog

<p>It took over 4 years, but it has finally happened. I have completed my PhD in Computer Science at the University of Manchester, UK. That's right: I'm now officially Doctor Julian M. Seidenberg / Candidasa dasa.</p><p>You can download and read <a href="http://www.deltaflow.com/wp-content/pdf/PhD_Thesis_Julian_Seidenberg.pdf">my PhD thesis</a>, if you like.</p>

New Goloka Janmastami
→ Living in the Material World

These are some videos recorded by my husband and Madan Gopal prabhu on Janmastami. You can see more videos on Youtube posted under the username "bvdasa". If you view the videos directly on the Youtube site then you have the option of viewing them in high quality. Just click on the link under the view counter which is just under the video to the right.

New Goloka Bhajan Band. Gaurangi-vocals, Govinda-bass guitar, Jagannath-keyboard,
Mahamantra-guitar/vocals




New Goloka Janmastami
→ Living in the Material World

These are some videos recorded by my husband and Madan Gopal prabhu on Janmastami. You can see more videos on Youtube posted under the username "bvdasa". If you view the videos directly on the Youtube site then you have the option of viewing them in high quality. Just click on the link under the view counter which is just under the video to the right.

New Goloka Bhajan Band. Gaurangi-vocals, Govinda-bass guitar, Jagannath-keyboard,
Mahamantra-guitar/vocals




Markandeya Rsi vs. PhD
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This PhD degree has been the greatest austerity I've ever undertaken. It was often frustrating, demotivating, felt like it would never end, caused my body to frequently fall ill and resulted in a huge amount of worry and pain.

However, the austerity of this PhD have been child's play compared with what a sage named Markandeya Rsi went through. (His story is told in the 12th Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam. I'm recalling it in my own words here):

Markandeya was meditating on the Supreme Personality of Godhead in his small heritage for many years. He was very strictly and sincerely meditating. So much so, in fact, that Indra, the King of Heaven (aka Zeus), became worried that this Markandeya might become eligible to take over his position soon. Indra therefore sent a team of people to break Markandeya's meditation.

He sent Cupid along with the best of the heavenly singers (Gandharvas), the most beautiful of the heavenly exotic dancers (Apsaras), the season of spring, a gentle cool breeze, intoxication personified and greed personified (the mode of passion and the false ego of thinking in terms of "I" and "mine"). A celebrate monk's worst nightmare. All these together were to create a situation where Markandeya would be tempted to stop his meditation and enjoy materially.

However, faced with these allurements, Markandeya wasn't even slightly shaken. He remained completely steady and fixed in his worship.

Markandeya Rsi's austerities were so powerful, in fact, that the members of Indra's assault team began to burn-up within (similar to what happen when Kapila Muni was attacked by the sons of Sagara who thought he had stolen a sacrificial horse).

Eventually, while Markandeya was meditating in this way, the Nara-Narayana avatar came and visited him. Markandeya immediately recognized the Supreme Lord and worshiped him with expert poetry.

The sage explained: Krishna is like a spider, He creates everything within the universe like a spider creates his web, and then He retracts it all back within Himself. Through Krishna one can conquer material misery, death and even time itself. Time is so powerful that even Lord Brahma (the oldest and most intelligent person in the universe) fears it, but Krishna's devotee need not fear time. The devotee knows that his self is not the body. The modes of nature generally bind us to the material world, but the devotee knows how to use the mode of goodness as a launch pad to blast himself off on a trajectory back to Godhead. Because of their perverted and sinful activities, materialists cannot understand Krishna. So material philosophers therefore come up with so many different theories, doctrines and religions. These are created to match their particular mix of the modes of nature (satva-, raja- and tama-guna), but have no real substance.

After hearing this nice prayer by Markandeya, Nara-Narayana offered him any benediction he might desire. The sage answered that just seeing his worshipable Lord was all he desired. He could imagine no greater gift. However, he was curious about the illusory energy (maya). He asked to understand how it could bewilder so many people into thinking material life was the one true reality.

The Lord ruefully promised to fulfill his wish and then disappeared.

Markandeya went on meditating for a few years when suddenly strong wind started to blow. Soon after, it started raining very heavily. The intense rains caused severe flooding. This hurricane went on continuously for many years. The intense weather eventually caused the entire surface of the earth to become flooded. Practically all species died off in this intense atmosphere. Gigantic sharks roamed the wild waters. The flooding even spread to the higher-dimensional space of the heavenly planets. It was the devastation at the end of the day of Brahma.

Markandeya was swimming and drifting throughout all of this. He lost all sense of orientation, he felt intense hunger and thirst, he got attacked by sharks, he felt extreme pain from various injuries, he was completely exhausted continuously fighting for his life, he frequently fell ill, he felt lamentation, happiness (when he temporarily escaped some danger), fear and misery. This went on for many, many years, all throughout the night of Brahma (4.32 billion years).

After an extremely long time drifting in the waters of devastation, Markandeya spotted a small island with a banyan tree growing on it. In one corner of the tree he saw a young child. As he swam closer to the island he noticed the wonderful beauty of the child. He noted his blackish-blue skin, wonderful jewelry, shark-shaped earrings, auspicious bodily markings and nice cosmetic decorations.

Then, suddenly, the child inhaled and began to suck everything surrounding him into his mouth. Markandeya also got sucked into the mouth of this wondrous child. Within the mouth he saw his old hermitage, the waters of devastation, the heavenly planets, the creation and destruction of the universe, everything, the entire universal manifestation; he even saw time itself, past, present and future, all at once. The child then exhaled and Markandeya found himself spat out back into the waters of devastation.

As he once again began to struggle to keep his head above the waters, he suddenly found himself transported back to his old heritage, as if nothing had happened. He then realized: "oh ... so this is the power of the illusory energy!".

And I realize: a PhD is nothing compared to that.

How to: evaluate spiritual systems
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There are so many different religions and spiritual systems out there. Which should you choose and why?

In this talk at the Gaura Yoga centre in Wellington, New Zealand I give some criteria by which one can judge how bona fide a spiritual system is. I conclude by explaining how well Krishna consciousness does when judged by these criteria.

Download selection of the presentation slides [24 MB].

Download just the audio of presentation [34 MB]

Download version formatted for iPod/iPhone [153 MB].

Download highest-quality version [262 MB].

while in the flow i am reminded what the world is like
→ ridewithin

Ive been in yoga land where everyone is smiling, good looking, in shape, and eager to chant. No problems here. But i am faced with the reality that I will be leaving here soon and having to get back to work at the colleges. Today I was sent these articles and was just told about this new movie! Two different worlds.

Check Check em out….

-bcd

Hipsters must die!

Adbuster article

http://lostvillagemovie.com/


as of late
→ ridewithin

img_0427 img_0416 img_0420 img_0421 img_0422 img_0423 img_0424 img_0425

These are pictures of my altar.

The past few weeks have been filled.

My yoga practice was greatly inspired by a four day workshop with Edward Clark of Tripsichore. Check them out if you have time here. Raghunath Prabhu attended the workshop as well so we had a nice weekend together. Bridgette and the kids also came up on the fourth of July to watch fireworks with us and attend the Tripsichore performance.

Within the yoga teacher training course I have had the opportunity to lead kirtans(believe it or not) and teach about yoga philosophy. Last night we had a wonderful krishna kirtan at the lake front(yes not even one Siva or Ganesh song). It culminated with the entire group dancing wildly and chanting loudly! I felt right at home.

I started my summer novels(Jane Austin and Carlos Castenada) reading as well as my reading of CC and Satyaraj’s new Gita. Ill talk about that book another time as well as a book about Yoga teacher and student relationships by Donna Farhi.

In preparation for another year of college outreach I found a nice article this morning you can read below:

Mike McKinley
Contemplating Cool


By Mike McKinley


Show me a grown man with a goatee and I’ll show you a major league baseball player. Show me a grown man with a goatee wearing sandals and I’ll show you a youth pastor.

When I was a kid, I remember that the youth pastor at our church was totally different than any other pastor I’d ever seen. He quoted rock bands and wore blue jeans to church. He was cool in a way that the other adults in my life were not. I was proud to invite my friends to church and see their negative stereotypes of Christians get blown up. The youth group thrived and “unchurched” kids were reached. The one thing that distinguished our group from others was that our pastor was cool.

As the youth pastors and youth of the 1990s become the head pastors and congregants of the 2000s, it seems like the phenomenon has only grown. It is now an unexamined assumption in many quarters: the best way to reach people is to be like them. In order to reach our culture, we must embody what the culture defines as acceptable and valuable. We must be as “cool” as we can possibly be while still retaining the gospel. That way, people will see us and not be turned off by us. Maybe they’ll even want to be us.

This shows up in both the private lives of pastors (you missional guys, I’m talking about you and your emo eyeglasses) and in the church’s corporate worship, where we seek to remove everything that might seem foreign to the unchurched visitor.

In some ways, I think being connected to the culture around us is helpful. But there are ways in which a commitment to being cool can ultimately conflict with the call of a pastor. As the resident cool guy on the 9Marks docket (which is roughly like being the ladies’ man at a Star Trek convention—damning with faint praise), here are a few thoughts:

1. Being connected to the culture is a double-edged sword.

In a sense, we all carry a set of unique interests, talents, characteristics, and strengths around with us. These can both serve the proclamation of the gospel and hinder it. So, for example, yesterday the copier repairman stopped by the church which I serve. He is a young guy who is into cage-fighting. We built a connection over that fact (one of the guys in our church also does MMA—mixed martial arts), and he was pleasantly surprised to find that a pastor could be heavily tattooed.* I shared Christ with him, and he asked for a Bible. Score one for enculturation.

But there are other ways that my appearance might be a hindrance to the gospel. I have been sharing Christ with a strict Muslim man that I see in the sauna at the gym once or twice a week. We have built a friendship and talked about spiritual matters quite often. I have little doubt that the fact that I have a large weasel tattooed on my bicep does not make him more attracted to the faith. Score one for not having tattoos. This is why I wear sleeves on Sunday mornings. In one situation my ink serves me well; in another it can make things more difficult.

2. We must always be on guard against pride.

How much of a pastor’s desire to be perceived as cool or connected to the culture is motivated by vanity or pride? Knowing the depth of our depravity and self-deception and pride, we must examine ourselves. Am I motivated to dress a certain way or listen to certain music for good reasons? Or does part of me at least want to avoid being the butt of Ned Flanders jokes? We must beware that our quest for cool doesn’t feed the vanity and pride which we need to be choking to death every day.

In fact, I fear (and here I am speaking from what I see in my own heart) that oftentimes we are at least partially motivated to reach people by pride. How much of our desire to be cool is a desire to reach people, not only for the gospel, but also for our own glory? Here’s a diagnostic question for everyone who is a pastor: if the Lord called you to shepherd sixty uncool saints until they were safely home, with no spectacular revival or ministry explosion, would you consider that beneath you? Would it seem unworthy of your gifts and a waste of your life? If so, you are being motivated by pride.

3. Much pastoral ministry is profoundly uncool.

Don’t sign up to be a pastor if you want to sound reasonable to most people or if you want to affect a cool detachment from people and ideas. The preaching of the cross is foolishness and a stumbling block to your average art community hipster. We must love the Savior more than we love the respect of others.

Also, the ironic detachment that cool requires finds little place in the work of a pastor. At times, you must be embarrassingly earnest and enthusiastic. You must love difficult and extremely mockable people with a real and true love that never seeks a laugh at their expense. You need to cry with people when they suffer unspeakable tragedy. Much of being a pastor is profoundly uncool.

4. We must never despise our brothers and sisters.

There is a real danger in becoming so puffed-up over our freedom in Christ to wear black t-shirts that we begin to look down on the Ned Flanders-style Christians who love the Lord and have served him faithfully for years. In fact, it may be that the Lord is more pleased with their humble walk (though not as sophisticated) than he is with yours. The fact is, love for other Christians is a hallmark of a true believer (1 John 2:10). Even more it must be the mark of a pastor. We have more in common with a believer in Myanmar and a believer in Duluth (even if they don’t know a pilsner from a stout or Operation Ivy from Crimpshine) than we do with the people we’re trying to reach for Christ.

The fact is, we can’t choose who will be in our flock, nor should we try. Should churches go after the “manly man” with gimmicks and mocking disdain for the average wussy church going guy? If I read Ephesians properly, the church should consist of all kinds of people: cool and square, macho and sensitive, punk rock and emo. Frankly, in my experience a sensitive guy who is not trying to be cool is about ten times more likely to fit the biblical profile of a man, even if he doesn’t ride a Harley and watch contact sports on television. Pastor your people, thank God for the diversity in the body, and love people who aren’t like you.

5. With a few exceptions, Christians who try to be cool are terrible at it.

When I was in middle school, a well meaning youth worker attempted to perform what came to be known infamously in Radnor Junior High School lore as “the Jesus rap.” These were the earlier days of hip-hop, and the genre was still trying to find its sound. Well, this youth worker, a slightly pudgy white guy of about 28 years, put the effort back ten years in five excruciating minutes. I later came to find that this well-meaning man hadn’t written this material himself (thank heavens!) but that it was later recorded as part of a song called “Addicted to Love” by a man named Carman.

The point is this: not many Christians can pull it off. A few can, but you probably can’t. Seriously, ask your wife. She’ll tell you the truth. Don’t try to be something that you’re not for the sake of impressing unbelievers. It’s bad theology and it will fool no one. It’s this kind of thinking that has gotten us Christian rock music. Please, stop it. No, really. Now. I insist.

6. Being like the culture can make it hard to see the gospel.

The more we understand the world (and its definition of what is compelling and cool), the less attractive we should find it. In fact, in a society that is increasingly morally and spiritually bankrupt, it may be our incongruity with the culture that serves to highlight the gospel. David Wells says this much better than I could in his book God in the Wasteland:

By this late date, evangelicals should be hungering for a genuine revival of the church, aching to see it once again become a place of seriousness where a vivid otherworldliness is cultivated because the world is understood in deeper and truer ways, where worship is stripped of everything extraneous, where God’s Word is heard afresh, where the desolate and broken can find sanctuary [emphasis mine].

Let’s pray that our churches recover that quality of vivid otherworldliness, even if it is not cool.

The conclusion of the matter is this: be who God made you to be. If you lean hipster, run with it. Be a hipster to the glory of God. If you lean in another direction, that’s great too. But Christ must be central to all who will pursue the calling of a pastor. That means putting to death our pride and scorn for others who are not like us. That means evangelizing across the boundaries of taste and preference. In the long run, it might even mean that we’re not cool.

Michael McKinley is the pastor of Guilford Baptist Church in Sterling, Virginia, and the 9Marks lead writer on church membership.


Pictures of Gaura Yoga June/July 2008
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IMGP1686.jpgI have now been in Wellington, New Zealand for exactly one month. It is great!

I have uploaded a photo album of some of the pictures I have taken here over the last month. The images are of the events, activities and prasadam (food) in and around the Gaura Yoga center.

All shots were taken with a Pentax K20d D-SLR. I continue to be amazed at the quality of images this camera produces. Infamous photographer Ken Rockwell preaches that the camera doesn't matter. He argues that just like owning a B??sendorfer piano will not magically make you into a great pianist, similarly owning a good camera does not automatically mean you take great pictures. The folks at the Luminous Landscape respond by saying that the camera does matter. They argue that it is critically important. A good set of tools can turn a okay craftsman into a great one.

I think both viewpoints have some truth to them. A good camera does not automatically result in better pictures, but it does definitely allow one to take pictures in more demanding situations (less light, fast moving subjects, far away subjects, distracting backgrounds, etc.). Even in ideal situations, a good camera and lens combination can turn a good photograph into a great one. However, the best equipment alone will, of course, not magically turn a run-of-a-mill photographer into Annie Leibovitz. Artist's consciousness is ultimately what creates the artwork. The tools are just instruments through which the artist manipulates the world of matter around him or her. A better tool allows for more detailed precise manipulation of matter.

So yes, I like the K20d. Check out the new pictures.

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
→ NY Times & Bhagavad Gita Sanga/ Sankirtana Das

“What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.” Bhagavad Gita 2:69

Now that the hullabaloo about the national gas tax holiday has subsided, don’t lose heart. There’s still a few things that you can do to test your metal, have an healthy and entertaining summer, and make a real difference. You don’t need politicians to come up with cheap solutions that are really no solutions at all. Will this November’s election really solve anything? Why wait for someone to do something for us? If enough of us are on the same page it could turn into one big ‘We” with the clout of a high priced lobbyist, pushy senator, out-of-control Supreme Court judge, or an insider presidential advisor. Fact: The bottom line for corporations is where and how We, the People spend our money. That means you can vote with your wallet every day of the week. Here’s four simple things that you can do to help yourself, the planet and the economy. From now until Labor Day try this -

1) Stop buying gas from Exxon – Mobil. This is one company. Out of all the gas companies Exxon - Mobil has the biggest profits. If their gas stations are idle, you’ll see their prices come down quickly. This will set off a price war between gas companies vying for your patronage. Another thing, just because oil companies want to renew off shore drilling doesn’t mean that our gas prices will come down. They will sell to the highest bidder no matter who or where they are. If off shore drilling is increased, will legislators insist that the oil be used for USA consumption?

NOTE: Most people mistake the dark night of material wealth created by greed as the day time of prosperity.

2) This next one is not for the faint hearted. This may almost be impossible – (Forgetabout boycotting the Olympics this August). Stop buying things made in China altogether (a side note - our government doesn’t let us buy stuff made in Cuba. Maybe it should. It would be cheaper than shipping it all the way from China. What’s the difference?). We, ourselves, are to blame for the gas increases. Why? Because we buy foreign made goods. We’re getting items from all over the world (wherever there is cheap labor) of which China is the largest importer to the USA. Because of the tremendous economic growth of China, and also India, their use of cars and demand for oil has increased multifold over the past decade. On top of that, the fact that so much of what we consume has to be shipped from half way around the world is just plain bad for the planet.

NOTE: The self controlled can use natural resources wisely and in moderation without creating an imbalance to the environment.

3) Don’t buy any produce that’s grown outside the country. The regulations for food production in other countries are lax or nonexistent. In general, buy mostly that which is grown or made in your country, or better yet in your state or area. It will be better for you, for your community and for the world So don’t be a lemming. If we don’t voluntarily learn to modify the ways and habits of our consumption, the unfolding waves of circumstances will force drastic change upon us and our children sooner or later.

NOTE: It’s already happening and one must remain undisturbed like an introspective sage.

4) Stop eating meat. Really no big deal, especially when we realize our own health and happiness is what’s at stake. And there are all sorts of unseen costs for growing and transporting beef. The decisive factor is that this simple, revolutionary act of refrain will nourish and expand our compassionate nature and help us to understand our connectedness to all life forms and to the world around us. To act compassionately, free from greed, is one of the basic principles of spirituality, as it is vital in opening the portal to our higher, eternal nature. We must practice living in the awareness that all things are connected.

NOTE: Many people remain in the darkness of night, unaware of the suffering of others.

RECAP: From now until Labor Day 1) stop buying from Exxon-Mobil (at least until their prices come down), 2) stop buying imports from China, 3) stop buying produce grown outside the country, and 4) stop buying meat. Try going for all four. If you can’t do all four totally, at least do any one or two. You’re on your way. Good luck.

And for additional bonus points try these two harrowing experiments until Labor Day:

1) Don’t use your credit card. Stick with debit card or use cash for everything.

2) For at least one day a week, stay off your computer and TV. Get out and talk to the folks in your community.

So stay well, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Be grateful. Pray. Have a healthy sense of humor. Laugh. Find your creative self. Speak up. Be flexible. Get involved! Interact!

FYI - The saying “Wake up and smell the coffee” is said to someone to suggest that they begin to pay attention and try to see the true facts of a situation or event which is relevant to their lives. Recently, a study revealed that the attention of sleep deprived rats was boosted when they were exposed to the aroma of roasted coffee beans. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/science/17objava.html?_r=1&n&oref=slogin

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
→ NY Times & Bhagavad Gita Sanga/ Sankirtana Das

“What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.” Bhagavad Gita 2:69

Now that the hullabaloo about the national gas tax holiday has subsided, don’t lose heart. There’s still a few things that you can do to test your metal, have an healthy and entertaining summer, and make a real difference. You don’t need politicians to come up with cheap solutions that are really no solutions at all. Will this November’s election really solve anything? Why wait for someone to do something for us? If enough of us are on the same page it could turn into one big ‘We” with the clout of a high priced lobbyist, pushy senator, out-of-control Supreme Court judge, or an insider presidential advisor. Fact: The bottom line for corporations is where and how We, the People spend our money. That means you can vote with your wallet every day of the week. Here’s four simple things that you can do to help yourself, the planet and the economy. From now until Labor Day try this -

1) Stop buying gas from Exxon – Mobil. This is one company. Out of all the gas companies Exxon - Mobil has the biggest profits. If their gas stations are idle, you’ll see their prices come down quickly. This will set off a price war between gas companies vying for your patronage. Another thing, just because oil companies want to renew off shore drilling doesn’t mean that our gas prices will come down. They will sell to the highest bidder no matter who or where they are. If off shore drilling is increased, will legislators insist that the oil be used for USA consumption?

NOTE: Most people mistake the dark night of material wealth created by greed as the day time of prosperity.

2) This next one is not for the faint hearted. This may almost be impossible – (Forgetabout boycotting the Olympics this August). Stop buying things made in China altogether (a side note - our government doesn’t let us buy stuff made in Cuba. Maybe it should. It would be cheaper than shipping it all the way from China. What’s the difference?). We, ourselves, are to blame for the gas increases. Why? Because we buy foreign made goods. We’re getting items from all over the world (wherever there is cheap labor) of which China is the largest importer to the USA. Because of the tremendous economic growth of China, and also India, their use of cars and demand for oil has increased multifold over the past decade. On top of that, the fact that so much of what we consume has to be shipped from half way around the world is just plain bad for the planet.

NOTE: The self controlled can use natural resources wisely and in moderation without creating an imbalance to the environment.

3) Don’t buy any produce that’s grown outside the country. The regulations for food production in other countries are lax or nonexistent. In general, buy mostly that which is grown or made in your country, or better yet in your state or area. It will be better for you, for your community and for the world So don’t be a lemming. If we don’t voluntarily learn to modify the ways and habits of our consumption, the unfolding waves of circumstances will force drastic change upon us and our children sooner or later.

NOTE: It’s already happening and one must remain undisturbed like an introspective sage.

4) Stop eating meat. Really no big deal, especially when we realize our own health and happiness is what’s at stake. And there are all sorts of unseen costs for growing and transporting beef. The decisive factor is that this simple, revolutionary act of refrain will nourish and expand our compassionate nature and help us to understand our connectedness to all life forms and to the world around us. To act compassionately, free from greed, is one of the basic principles of spirituality, as it is vital in opening the portal to our higher, eternal nature. We must practice living in the awareness that all things are connected.

NOTE: Many people remain in the darkness of night, unaware of the suffering of others.

RECAP: From now until Labor Day 1) stop buying from Exxon-Mobil (at least until their prices come down), 2) stop buying imports from China, 3) stop buying produce grown outside the country, and 4) stop buying meat. Try going for all four. If you can’t do all four totally, at least do any one or two. You’re on your way. Good luck.

And for additional bonus points try these two harrowing experiments until Labor Day:

1) Don’t use your credit card. Stick with debit card or use cash for everything.

2) For at least one day a week, stay off your computer and TV. Get out and talk to the folks in your community.

So stay well, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Be grateful. Pray. Have a healthy sense of humor. Laugh. Find your creative self. Speak up. Be flexible. Get involved! Interact!

FYI - The saying “Wake up and smell the coffee” is said to someone to suggest that they begin to pay attention and try to see the true facts of a situation or event which is relevant to their lives. Recently, a study revealed that the attention of sleep deprived rats was boosted when they were exposed to the aroma of roasted coffee beans. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/science/17objava.html?_r=1&n&oref=slogin

Science of Happiness (Three Modes of Material Nature)
→ Home

I have moved from Manchester, United Kingdom to Wellington, New Zealand. Last Sunday I gave the Krishna Fest presentation at the Gaura Yoga center here in Wellington. The topic was the "Science of Happiness" (analyzed using the teachings on the three modes of material nature from the Bhagavad-Gita: As it Is by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada).

Download and view a higher quality (800x600) version of the video here [124 MB].

Nathji’s Surprise Party
→ ridewithin

Sri Gopal Nathji(That little Black Boy the Beloved of Vraj) doesn’t know yet but he is having a surprise birthday party this weekend. I wish I could be there but Ill be away. If any of you can be there to celebrate please do so. Our Gopal is turning 25! Bathing ceremony, giant feast, kirtans, and fireworks. What a great way to celebrate our Independence!

Gopalji has always been a dear friend to me. I used to sit and read stories to Him from Krishna book. I would either sit in front of him if it was day and I had time or I would sit on the Vyasasana step next to Prabhupada at night after everyone else would go to sleep. I don’t know if that was offensive but that is the way I could get closer to him. Actually I felt that was where I was supposed to sit and read. It was the only place with a little light. When I first moved to New V there were two beautiful cows on each step. Then the higher ups decided that philosophically, Prabhupada couldn’t have cows next to him so they were removed. Once they moved provided the perfect spot to look up into Prabhupada’s eyes and read to him his favorite pastimes of Gopal and the cowherd boys in Vrindaban.

Once I was in Chowpatty temple and I was trained to do “Gopal Darshans”. Check them out at the Radhagopinath website during Chandan Yatra time. I learned because I wanted to do them with Gopal in New Vrindaban. I have yet to do so. One day I hope….One day….

Here is the letter I received from the organizer of Gopals surprise party which I want to share…

“July 4 2008, doesn’t just commemorate the declaration of independence
of the USA. It also commemorates the Declaration of Dependence to God
for His shelter when the most beautiful deity of Sri Gopal Nathaji
(Krishna, the lifter of Govardhan Hill) was established in New
Vrindaban, WV 25 years ago on this date. The history is that the most
auspicious moment for establishing the deity was 5-7 minutes before
midnight on the 4th, and the big elaborate ceremonies, like the
maha-abhishekam (ritual bath), took place on the morning of the 5th.
This is infact, consistant with Lord Krsna’s pastimes. He was born at
midnight, but his grand birthday celebration took place the next day,
called Nandotsava.

So this coming July 4-5, there’s gonna be a small festival for Nathaji
at the community.

On the 4th, there will be an adhivas ceremony in the evening, where
special items and ghee lamps will be shown to the deity to inaugurate
the festival.

and then the next day..

Sri Nathji will be offered a dress made completely of flowers. There will be a traditional Chappan Bhog offering of 56 special food items offered at noon to Nathji. This is a special rite of the Pushti
Marg Vaishnava sampradaya whose main deity is Srinathji.

At 4pm, there will be another maha-abhishekam for Nathaji, when
the whole deity will be bathed in substances like milk, rose-scented
water, juices, etc

Please give your blessings and prayers for the success of this
festival. If you’re able to come in person, please do so and celebrate
with us. If you cant, then at least offer your prayers to Nathji on
this special day. This is also consistent with Lord Krsna’s pastimes.
While Nanda Maharaj celebrated Krsna’s birthday in Vrindavan with all
those who were present, Lord Krsna’s actual father – Vasudeva,
mentally observed the festival by giving charity to the Brahmanas,
offering special sacrifices, prayers, etc.”

Sri Gopal ki Jaya!!!!!!!!!!!!


Soul Of Athens
→ ridewithin

picture-1 picture-2 picture-3 picture-4 picture-21 picture-11 picture-31

Every Spring Quarter the Visual Arts college does a multimedia project called “Soul of Athens”. This year the devotees from Athens were all over it. Many students spent entire days and weeks with us shooting for their projects. Some of them made it others did not. The theme this year was wellness, so naturally the devotees fell right into that category especially with how much they do in that small college town. Check it out at www.soulofathens.com.


Calcium and iron on a vegan diet
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Got milk?

My bodily situation forces me to have a vegan diet (and the unhealthiness of the substance formally known as 'milk', as well as the extreme cruelty of the dairy farming industry would probably lead me to be vegan even if I could digest milk). So, some people may ask: "how do you get your calcium and iron?"

The answer is not: "you must eat dairy products!", or "you must take this kind of supplement!".

The dairy industry has long perpetuated the myth that calcium is only available from milk (much like the meat industry has perpetuated the myth that the only way to get protein is by eating lots of meat). It is a testimony to the power of advertising that we believe these seemingly "universally acknowledged truths". Calcium is, in fact, available from a variety of vegetables, in much greater quality and quantity than it is present in milk.

Taking a supplement is also not the answer. The body and different types of foods work as an integrated system, each supporting each other. So, just popping a pill with the necessary mineral simply results in that substance passing through the body, unabsorbed.

You can eat as much calcium as you like, but without doing any exercise it won't be absorbed into your bones. Without exercise calcium goes into your joints instead. The result: stiff joints (arthritis) and weak bones (osteoporosis). Calcium supplements have also been shown to increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and kidney stones.

Moreover, Calcium dependents on vitamin D and magnesium to aid its absorption. The best way to get vitamin D is to spend 5 - 10 minutes in sunlight every day (without sunglasses or sunscreen). The best way to get magnesium is to eat seeds, nuts and whole grains. So, calcium, magnesium, exercise and sunlight must be taken together in order for the calcium to be absorbed (as explained in greater detail in these videos). Calcium and protein, however, do not go well together. People who consume too much protein also absorb less calcium, especially if the two are taken together.

Interestingly, however, calcium and dark fruit juices inhibit the absorption of iron in the body. To help the absorption of iron, vitamin C is required. Great sources of vitamin C are lemon or orange juices.

On the other hand, dark fruit juices (like red grape juice) are good for removing toxins in the food. So, when eating food which is unhealthy or full of pesticides (basically anything non-organic), it is a good idea to also take some dark fruit juice with it in order to remove at least some of the toxins.

So, everything works together in a web of interrelation and support. There are no quick fixes. A holistic healthy lifestyle is required.

New Request
→ Vidyapati dasa is no one special.

I would firstly like to thank everyone for helping me find the lecture series I was looking for by Ravindra Svarupa. I'm looking forward to my upcoming retreat so that I can spend a few days studying them.

Due to the resounding success I had in finding these lectures, Mahanila Prabhu has asked if I can help him find some special photo's of the Nrsimha-deva deity from Mayapur. He is trying to find some high quality photos where Nrsimha-deva has His metal teeth which go right around His mouth(ear to ear), like in the picture below:






Thank you!

And I apologise for using my blog to get favours from the devotees. I swear that I will one day actually post a blog on here that is worth reading...

New Request
→ Vidyapati dasa is no one special.

I would firstly like to thank everyone for helping me find the lecture series I was looking for by Ravindra Svarupa. I'm looking forward to my upcoming retreat so that I can spend a few days studying them.

Due to the resounding success I had in finding these lectures, Mahanila Prabhu has asked if I can help him find some special photo's of the Nrsimha-deva deity from Mayapur. He is trying to find some high quality photos where Nrsimha-deva has His metal teeth which go right around His mouth(ear to ear), like in the picture below:






Thank you!

And I apologise for using my blog to get favours from the devotees. I swear that I will one day actually post a blog on here that is worth reading...

New picture gallery
→ Home

I've installed a new picture gallery software on this website. The old coppermine gallery was nice, but kind of clunky and didn't integrate well with my desktop applications. So, out it went. In its place it put a gallery called (simply) Gallery.

Take a look at the new gallery. You will find an archive of all the photos from the old gallery and a brand new picture album. The pictures in the new album were taken with a new Pentax K20d DSLR camera. I think you will notice these pictures are of significantly higher quality than all the previous images (shot with an old Minolta A1). If, for some reason, you want to look at the old coppermine gallery, that is still online here.

A request
→ Vidyapati dasa is no one special.

In February last year, 2007, Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu apparently gave a seminar series on Vedic cosmology, based on the 5th Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, in Mayapur. At least, that's what I read on the Mayapur website when I was looking at the various lecture series that were going to take place that year.

I'm wondering if anyone has a copy of those lectures on mp3. Being a nerd, I often get asked questions about Vedic cosmology, and I'm trying to increase my understanding of it, to some degree, just so that I can deal with my own doubts and the doubts of others. I already have the Vedic cosmology dvd, from the Danavira Maharaja, and I have also read some of Sadaputa Prabhu's books on the issue.

If you have these lectures, or know where to get a copy of them, please send me an e-mail at my @gmail.com account - vidyapatidas@etc

Thank you!

A request
→ Vidyapati dasa is no one special.

In February last year, 2007, Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu apparently gave a seminar series on Vedic cosmology, based on the 5th Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, in Mayapur. At least, that's what I read on the Mayapur website when I was looking at the various lecture series that were going to take place that year.

I'm wondering if anyone has a copy of those lectures on mp3. Being a nerd, I often get asked questions about Vedic cosmology, and I'm trying to increase my understanding of it, to some degree, just so that I can deal with my own doubts and the doubts of others. I already have the Vedic cosmology dvd, from the Danavira Maharaja, and I have also read some of Sadaputa Prabhu's books on the issue.

If you have these lectures, or know where to get a copy of them, please send me an e-mail at my @gmail.com account - vidyapatidas@etc

Thank you!

I have my moments
→ Unplugged Ice

I have my moments. They are extremely rare but they are there, and they exist as a touch of Krsna's mercy. Reality as opposed to ignorance is divine, transported from a realm that can only be perceived if one is humble and ready to accept one's fate and wrongdoings. In my case, reality is perceived sporadically, like patches of a blue sky through a fog. And when I catch a glimpse I see an eternity of deeds opposed to self-realization – a mentality that is selfish, irrational, and hungry for name, fame, adoration. Obsequious and unashamed, I mount an eternal struggle for something that is detrimental to well-being, and, as a result, live in a fog while occasionally – out of Krsna's sheer unequivocal mercy upon me – I catch glimpses of the eternal - instead of relishing it's continual presence (something that I would not be unable to do had I the desire for it). It is like this for me.

I have my moments
→ Unplugged Ice

I have my moments. They are extremely rare but they are there, and they exist as a touch of Krsna's mercy. Reality as opposed to ignorance is divine, transported from a realm that can only be perceived if one is humble and ready to accept one's fate and wrongdoings. In my case, reality is perceived sporadically, like patches of a blue sky through a fog. And when I catch a glimpse I see an eternity of deeds opposed to self-realization – a mentality that is selfish, irrational, and hungry for name, fame, adoration. Obsequious and unashamed, I mount an eternal struggle for something that is detrimental to well-being, and, as a result, live in a fog while occasionally – out of Krsna's sheer unequivocal mercy upon me – I catch glimpses of the eternal - instead of relishing it's continual presence (something that I would not be unable to do had I the desire for it). It is like this for me.

Fossil of pregnant fish found: the earliest mammal
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German news Heute.de is reporting a story in Nature magazine about the recent discovery of the oldest mammal named Materpiscis attenboroughi (a type of Placodermi). Researchers from Australia found a fossil of this fish containing several embryos connected to their mother by an umbilical cord, making it the earliest known mammal. The fossil is estimated to be 380 million years old. This is older than the dinosaurs (which existed roughly 230 million to 65 million years ago).

oldest mammal.jpg

oldest mouse.jpgThis discovery suggests that mammals existed far earlier than it was previously thought. The earliest mammal previous to this new discovery was a small mouse-like creature known as Hadrocodium Wui discovered in China by Zhe-Xi Luo, Alfred W. Crompton and Ai-Lin Sun. This creature lived roughly 195 million years ago.

Lead research John Long of the Museum Victoria in Melbourne, Australia says that this new discovery means that the current models of evolution need to be adjusted significantly.