• "Here in this world there are thousands of newspapers and magazines reporting the stale, repetitious happenings of this limited space. So for reporting the news of the unlimited spiritual realm, concerning the eternal, ever-fresh Supreme Personality of Godhead, we could publish a newspaper at every second, what to speak of daily."
    - Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
Bala Gopala's Mrdanga : An insignificant attempt (by an insignificant entity) to render service to this instruction.


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Statistics: Americans' circle of close friends shrinking

Categories: News

Mon Jun 26, 2006 08:48 AM ET

By Amanda Beck

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans are more socially isolated than they were 20 years ago, separated by work, commuting and the single life, researchers reported on Friday.

Nearly a quarter of people surveyed said they had "zero" close friends with whom to discuss personal matters. More than 50 percent named two or fewer confidants, most often immediate family members, the researchers said.

"This is a big social change, and it indicates something that's not good for our society," said Duke University Professor Lynn Smith-Lovin, lead author on the study to be published in the American Sociological Review.

Smith-Lovin's group used data from a national survey of 1,500 American adults that has been ongoing since 1972.

She said it indicated people had a surprising drop in the number of close friends since 1985. At that time, Americans most commonly said they had three close friends whom they had known for a long time, saw often, and with whom they shared a number of interests.

They were almost as likely to name four or five friends, and the relationships often sprang from their neighborhoods or communities.

Ties to a close network of friends create a social safety net that is good for society, and for the individual. Research has linked social support and civic participation to a longer life, Smith-Lovin said.

People were not asked why they had fewer intimate ties, but Smith-Lovin said that part of the cause could be that Americans are working more, marrying later, having fewer children, and commuting longer distances.

The data also show the social isolation trend mirrors other class divides: Non-whites and people with less education tend to have smaller social networks than white Americans and the highly educated.

That means that in daily life, personal emergencies and national disasters like Hurricane Katrina, those with the fewest resources also have the fewest personal friends to call for advice and assistance.

"It's one thing to know someone and exchange e-mails with them. It's another thing to say, 'Will you give me a ride out of town with all of my possessions and pets? And can I stay with you for a couple or three months?" Smith-Lovin said.

"Worrying about social isolation is not a matter of nostalgia for a warm and cuddly past. Real things are strongly connected with that," added Harvard University Public Policy Professor Robert Putnam, author of "Bowling Alone," a book on the decline of American community.

He suggested flexible work schedules would allow Americans to tend both personal and professional lives.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.


Gulab Kali (The Mayapur Elephant) Goes Back To Godhead

Categories: News

With great sadness we'd like to inform our readers that Gulab Kali, the Mayapur elephant, went Back To Krishna at around six pm last night (April 1st).

Gulab Kali was/is a wonderful devotee of Sri Sri Radha Madhava. One of her services was to take the deities on procession on a regular basis. She would also attend other ceremonies and functions. She also would remember people she hadn't seen in ages (especially if they'd given her any sort of yummy prasad like sugar cane or bananas.)

Here's a photo of her in her glory (by Bhurijana Prabhu):


'Inventing Spirit' Ruins ISKCON

"So far the Road Show and the Yoga Village are concerned, these things should be stopped. Simply perform our kirtan. If we divert our attention in this way, the whole thing will gradually deteriorate. He is going far away. All these things are nonsense inventions. Such inventing spirit will ruin our this movement. People may come to see, some will become devotees, but such devotees will not stay because they are attracted by some show and not by the real thing or spiritual life according to the standard of Lord Caitanya. Our standard is to have Kirtan, start temples. What is this 'Road Show' and 'Yoga Village?' It will be another hippie edition. Gradually the Krsna consciousness idea will evaporate: another change, another change, every day another change. Stop all this. Simply have kirtan, nothing else. Don't manufacture ideas."

(Srila Prabhupada to Sudama, 11/5/72)


Rosa Parks at Govinda's in Detroit

Categories: News

BY: BHUSAYA DAS - 26/10/2005 - sourced from The Sampradaya Sun

As the world mourns the passing of the "mother of the civil rights movement", Rosa Parks, the Detroit devotees are reflecting on the gentle soul who would often dine on Krishna prasadam in Govinda's Restaurant at the Bhaktivedanta Cultural Center at the Fisher Mansion.

Rosa Parks often took prasadam at Govinda's in Detroit.

Back in the 80s and 90s Mrs. Parks could often be found with a few close friends at the corner table next to the leaded glass doors. She especially liked that table because a dancing peacock would often show up outside the door - to the delight of her party!

Although her courageous action of refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in 1955 powerfully changed the social fabric of America forever, Rosa Parks stood out as a very humble and graceful lady, never taking credit for herself, but always giving credit to God.

One day after dining in Govinda's, my wife Lekhasravanti dasi and I took Mrs. Park's party onto the balcony of the Temple Room to take darshan of our benevolent deities, Sri Sri Radha Kunjabehari, Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva & Subhadra and Sri Sri Gaura Nitai. They were all very respectful and spoke of the serenity and joy of the experience.

ISKCON Detroit

After darshan we spoke. My wife's father, Walter Reuther, had been instrumental in the fight for civil rights and was known as Martin Luther King Jr.'s most influential white supporter. Walter Reuther marched hand-in-hand with King in all the dangerous civil rights marches, and gave a rousing speech urging equality, just before King delivered his famous "I Have A Dream" speech in 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial.

So after taking darshan of their Lordships from the balcony, Lekhasravanti and Mrs. Parks spoke for awhile about the civil rights struggles. What struck me was Mrs. Park's mood recognizing she was only being used as an instrument of God. Perhaps it was the Temple atmosphere, but all she spoke about was the greatness of God. Her voice was soft, almost a whsiper, and her eyes smiled beautifully.

At first it was amazing to me that such a small and gentle woman could have such a huge and lasting impact on the world, but when I witnessed her absorbtion in glorifying God I realized where her potency was coming from. And she loved prasadam!


Meditation Thickens Parts of the Brain

Categories: News

sourced from livescience.com:

Meditation alters brain patterns in ways that are likely permanent, scientists have known. But a new study shows key parts of the brain actually get thicker through the practice.

Brain imaging of regular working folks who meditate regularly revealed increased thickness in cortical regions related to sensory, auditory and visual perception, as well as internal perception -- the automatic monitoring of heart rate or breathing, for example.

The study also indicates that regular meditation may slow age-related thinning of the frontal cortex.

"What is most fascinating to me is the suggestion that meditation practice can change anyone's gray matter," said study team member Jeremy Gray, an assistant professor of psychology at Yale. "The study participants were people with jobs and families. They just meditated on average 40 minutes each day, you don't have to be a monk."

=> Read more!


Thirteen Things That Do Not Make Sense

from: newscientist.com

1 - The Placebo Effect

DON'T try this at home. Several times a day, for several days, you induce pain in someone. You control the pain with morphine until the final day of the experiment, when you replace the morphine with saline solution. Guess what? The saline takes the pain away.

This is the placebo effect: somehow, sometimes, a whole lot of nothing can be very powerful. Except it's not quite nothing. When Fabrizio Benedetti of the University of Turin in Italy carried out the above experiment, he added a final twist by adding naloxone, a drug that blocks the effects of morphine, to the saline. The shocking result? The pain-relieving power of saline solution disappeared.

So what is going on? Doctors have known about the placebo effect for decades, and the naloxone result seems to show that the placebo effect is somehow biochemical. But apart from that, we simply don't know.

Benedetti has since shown that a saline placebo can also reduce tremors and muscle stiffness in people with Parkinson's disease (Nature Neuroscience, vol 7, p 587). He and his team measured the activity of neurons in the patients' brains as they administered the saline. They found that individual neurons in the subthalamic nucleus (a common target for surgical attempts to relieve Parkinson's symptoms) began to fire less often when the saline was given, and with fewer "bursts" of firing - another feature associated with Parkinson's. The neuron activity decreased at the same time as the symptoms improved: the saline was definitely doing something.

=> Read more!


Alfred Ford: The Billionaire Bhakta

Categories: News

From The Times of India:

The Ford legacy doesn't really weigh him down as he can see beyond material trappings. In fact, he has found his religion, his God, his very reason to be. Alfred B Ford , the great grandson of the legendary Henry Ford, in an exclusive interview.

He was born into one of America's richest families, the great grandson of Henry Ford, the tycoon who gave the world the motorcar and the assembly line.

"I had a normal upbringing," Alfred B Ford says, "My parents lived simply." But behind that statement lies generations of staggering wealth and privilege - mothers who collected Renoirs and Van Goghs, jet-setting aunts who married Greek shipping tycoons, Sunday school and baseball games, and the great tumult of the '60s.

=> Read more!

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare