• "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.

23/05/06

Dadāti Guhyam

Categories: Realizations, Happenings

Haribol.

Over here you can read about Vidyapati Prabhu's quest to barter his airfare for a trip to Sri Mayapur Dham.


Sri Panca-tattva

He was inspired by an individual in Canada who is doing something similar in hopes of securing a house. This guy started with one red paper clip and has already traded various items up to a year's rent in a house in Pheonix, Arizona. ! (yes - Google it - i'm too lazy to find the link but i think its oneredpaperclip.com or something.)

So as a grhastha (householder) devotee its part of my social function to give in charity to the renunciate asrams. I'm pretty choosey about how and when I do this but these guys are the real deal and making the most of their training opportunities. What I did was swap an old modified Yamaha electric bass guitar for a pair of well-worn priceless sankirtana shoes from a very sweet, inspirational and sincere devotee and friend of mine named Bala Gopala Prabhu. His reaction upon hearing that his old shoes had been put up for barter:


Bala Gopala Prabhu - And His Divinely Purifying Shoes

So as of now this bass guitar is in the care of Vidyapati Prabhu, and in an attempt to save on postage, I will send it on to whomever will barter something that will help progress Vidyapati Prabhu's quest for the dust from Sri Mayapur Dham. (A worthy cause for sure.)

So here's the specs on this bad boy: (Click on pics to see a bigger size image.)



Be quick! My son is developing an interest. :)

As you can see from the first picture, I've taken all of the frets off the neck and filled the ridges in so that it is, in-effect, a fretless bass. The inspiration to do this came from when, before I took any serious interest in Krishna Consciousness, I was listening to a Terrence Trent D'arby album where the fretless was prominent and was lulled by its subtleties. Although I'm way out of practice, I used it to record a sloppy (non-subtle) demo so that you can get an idea of the unique sound of this type of bass:

Fretless bass demo: [download] (less than 1MB)

The sliding woody sound is what makes it distinct from a typical electric bass. As for now this instrument just sits around in storage and since it might actually be put to some good use by a devotee I thought it was time to let it journey on to better destinations. For some reason I got inspired to sand off the YAMAHA logo then although retrospectively I should have left it on because it resembles tilakas:

If anyone is interested then you need contact Vidyapati Prabhu or leave a comment here that I'll forward on to him.

And now that I have your attention, its time to do a bit of preaching ....
(cut and paste, Prabhus - speculators gotta type it all out! :) )

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 7.5.32

naiṣāḿ matis tāvad urukramāńghriḿ
spṛśaty anarthāpagamo yad-arthaḥ
mahīyasāḿ pāda-rajo-'bhiṣekaḿ
niṣkiñcanānāḿ na vṛṇīta yāvat

TRANSLATION

Unless they smear upon their bodies the dust of the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava completely freed from material contamination, persons very much inclined toward materialistic life cannot be attached to the lotus feet of the Lord, who is glorified for His uncommon activities. Only by becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious and taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord in this way can one be freed from material contamination.
-----------------------

"One cannot obtain kṛṣṇa-bhakti, or the devotional service of the Lord, by official execution of the Vedic rituals. One has to approach a pure devotee. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura sings, chāḍiyā vaiṣṇava-sevā nistāra pāyeche kebā: "Who has been elevated without rendering service to a pure Vaiṣṇava?" It is the statement of Prahlāda Mahārāja that unless one is able to accept the dust from the lotus feet of a pure Vaiṣṇava there is no possibility of achieving the platform of devotional service. That is the secret."

- Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Ādi 8.17 Purport
-----------------------

"The person who has not at any time received upon his head the dust from the feet of a pure devotee of the Lord is certainly a dead body."

- Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 2.31 Purport
-----------------------

"The dust of the feet of a devotee, the water that has washed the feet of a devotee, and the remnants of food left by a devotee are three very powerful substances. By rendering service to these three, one attains the supreme goal of ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa. In all the revealed scriptures this is loudly declared again and again. Therefore, my dear devotees, please hear from me, for I insist again and again: please keep faith in these three and render service to them without hesitation. From these three one achieves the highest goal of life — ecstatic love of Kṛṣṇa. This is the greatest mercy of Lord Kṛṣṇa. The evidence is Kālidāsa himself.

- Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Antya 16.60-63
-----------------------

The Nectar of Instruction 4

dadāti pratigṛhṇāti
guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati
bhuńkte bhojayate caiva
ṣaḍ-vidhaḿ prīti-lakṣaṇam

TRANSLATION

Offering gifts in charity, accepting charitable gifts, revealing one's mind in confidence, inquiring confidentially, accepting prasāda and offering prasāda are the six symptoms of love shared by one devotee and another.

15/05/06

Would You Like To Do Something That Pleases Krishna?

Categories: Happenings

There is a older devotee named Madhava Gosh Prabhu who has a blog here. He has had some problems with his aging body and is now recovering in the hospital. If you've ever had to spend a bit of time in the hospital as a devotee then you'd know how austere it is being bereft of association and subjected to the atmosphere there.

Here's an interesting technological application.If you want to send Prabhu a personalised card while he is recovering, please visit the hospital website below. They will print the card you create out in colour and hand-deliver it to him in bed.

http://ecards.upmc.com/GetWell.asp

Information you will need:

To: Mark Meberg
Hospital: UPMC Presbytarian
Room Number: 777

This is such a nice way to serve Gopala's devotees and directly give satisfaction to Gopala in a way that surpasses even service to Gopala Himself.

ye me bhakta-janāḥ pārtha
na me bhaktāś ca te janāḥ
mad bhaktānāḿ ca ye bhaktās te
me bhaktatamāḥ matāḥ

"My dear Pārtha, those who say they are My devotees are not My devotees, but those who claim to be devotees of My devotees are actually My devotees."

- Spoken by Sri Krishna in Adi Purana

maj-janmanaḥ phalam idaḿ madhu-kaiṭabhāre
mat-prārthanīya-mad-anugraha eṣa eva
tvad-bhṛtya-bhṛtya-paricāraka-bhṛtya-bhṛtya-
bhṛtyasya bhṛtya iti māḿ smara loka-nātha

O enemy of Madhu and Kaiṭabha, O Lord of the universe, the perfection of my life and the most cherished mercy You could show me would be for You to consider me the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of Your servant.

- King Kulaśekhara in Mukunda-mālā-stotra 25

27/04/06

Please Watch This Video And Call Amnesty International

Categories: Happenings

Here is something very sad to watch:

Kazakhstan Protest

It is a video of the devotees in Kazakhstan being forcefully harassed as they peacefully protest the demolishment of their homes.

Apparantly Kazakhstan has tried in recent years to profile their government as a model for religious tolerance even to the extent of hosting an international conference called The First Congress of World and Traditional Religions in 2003 where they've highlighted their good relations with the Hare Krishna movement.

Now they are demolishing and repossesing the temple and surrounding property in a very unjust way. You can read more here.

So please contact your local branch of Amnesty International and register your concern as this is certainly a flagrant violation of human rights. None of their websites seem to indicate any awareness of the situation so perhaps making them aware and leveraging their concern would help. Describe the situation to them. Ask what can be done and speak with their advisors to determine how to take, and inspire, action for restoration of the Kazakhstan devotees’ religious and human rights.

In Australia the contact details are:

email: servicecentre@amnesty.org.au
phone: 1300 300 920

In New Zealand you can reach them here:

email: info@amnesty.org.nz
phone: 0800 AMNESTY (0800 266 378) or +64-9-303 4520

In the United States the details can be found here.

--------------------------------

As earlier communiques from Kazakhstan have already explained, the following arguments may be presented:

“(A) Law-obedient citizens are deprived of their homes and thrown to the street. All of them have lawfully acquired the right of ownership for their plots of land, they have paid all the taxes and membership charges.

(B) The Hakim (Governor) of the district accuses the owners that they never had their property privatized. However the members of the community repeatedly applied to the Hakim for his permission to make the acts of ownership for their cottages and plots but he repeatedly refused. Without his sanction for privatization one cannot make needed documentation for the cottages.

(C) The devotees’ houses are located on the territory of a Consumers Cooperative. There are 120 members of this Cooperative. However the claims are brought only against the members of the religious society. In each and every claim the connection of the defendants to the Religious Organization Society for Krishna Consciousness has been illustrated. This is a direct and flagrant violation of human rights and freedoms which are guaranteed by the Constitution of Kazakhstan.

(D) Confiscation of property without compensation is possible only in a criminal case. Ours is a civil case. It is not a criminal case.

(E) According to the law, the citizens whose property is confiscated are given at least 5 days to prepare for the execution of the court decision. In our case we have another transgression of the law as we were given less than one day.”

Please contact any media connections you may have. Public knowledge of conspiracy and exploitation often serves well to eliminate it.

-----------------------------

See the below list of telephone and fax numbers and make an endeavour to contact the government of Kazakhstan and its associated branches, to voice your protest. The numbers are often difficult to get through to. Keep trying! When you do get through, INSIST on speaking to someone who speaks fluent English (unless, of course, you are fluent in Russian or Kazakhstani).

Presidential Office: +7 (3172) 152634, 152920, 152107 +7 (3172) 324558 Presidential PR department: +7 (3172) 744051

Administration of the President: +7 (3172) 151203, fax +7 (3172) 324480

Prosecutor’s office of RK +7 (3172) 712868, 214025, 712500

Senate +7 (3172) 153195, 153239, 327710

Senate PR department: +7 (3172) 153295, 153505 fax +7 (3172) 334639

Committee on Religious Affairs Mr. Yeraly Lukpanovich Tugzhanov +7 (3172)
152497, 152217, 152690 fax +7 (3172) 328356

Prime Minister Mr. Danial Akhmetov +7 (3172) 152035, 152027

Almaty Regional Land Department Mr. Nauryzbai Asanbayevich Taubayev +7
(3272) 270125

Almaty Regional Hakim Mr. Serik Abikenovich Umbetov +7 (3282) 271753

Karasai District Hakim Bolat-bi Satynbayevich Kutpanov +7 (32771) 21142,
21709

Karasai District Court: +7 (32771) 20899

Court executive Ms. R. Baimukhanbetova +7 (32771) 22030

----------------------------

Please also contact the government of Kazakhstan in writing at:

Presidential Headquarters

To the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Mr. Nazarbayev N.A.

Government Palace, Levoberezhye,

Astana, 010000, Republic of Kazakhstan

Presidential Residence

To the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Mr. Nazarbayev N.A.

Akorda, Astana, 010000, Republic of Kazakhstan

Or, by e-mail at:

President’s e-mail: sitePRK@global.kz

Please contact Sri Vrindavana Dhama/Palace of the Soul directly, at: director@palaceofthesoul.com

Thank you for your immediate attention to this very serious problem.

With Kindest Regards,

Sundara nanda-gopala dasa
Silk Road Foundation
Managing Director/Trustee/Sec./Treas.
610.704.7274
http://www.srivrindavandham.com/

23/04/06

Join The Campaign ... Try to Appeal For The Kazkhstan Temple

Categories: Happenings

---------- Forwarded Message -------------------------------
Text PAMHO:11445083 (129 lines)
From: (Bhakti Bhrnga) Govinda Swami
Date: 20-Apr-06 07:54 (14:54 +0700)
To: Free Forum (Announcements) [10034]
Subject: X all com users
------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Vaisnavas,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

In 1999 the devotees in Kazkhstan purchased a beautiful farm outside of the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan. Since that time substantial strides have been made in creating an agricultural community, a home for many vaisnavas, and the venue for a wonderful summer yearly festival attended by devotees from Central Asia and Russia.

Since October 2004 there have been many attempts from the government of Kazakhstan to push us from this property. This has been done by smear campaigns in the media and ongoing litigation in the courts.

On March 29, 2006 a case was conducted in the Almaty Oblast Court. Prior to issuing the ruling the judge declared that the legal arguments of the government land agency had no substance and that the arguments presented by the advocates representing our society were correct and in accordance to the Kazakhstan legal code.

But after private discussion in their chambers the judges emerged and issued a ruling against our society in which it is stated that the land be confiscated and returned to the government. This ruling was illegal and not based on legislation of the government of Kazakhstan.

We purchased the land at the market value in 1999. In 2004 we privatised the land according to the laws of Kazakhstan in. Since this time the value of this land has increased dramatically. The situation we have is that the powerful government land barons want to eliminate us by any illegal process that they may possess the land, again sell, and make astronomical profit.

We have neither time nor options left. Our last option is the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan, but need-less-to-say, the legal system does not work in this country. It is either a matter of paying for the decision or having a powerful person order the decision.

Thus we are requesting devotees throughout the world to assist us in different ways:

First, we are requesting you to send this letter to all the contacts you have.

Second, we are requesting you to print the following letter and send to the Administration of the President of Kazakhstan requesting him to intervene in this case.

Third, we are requesting you to contact the heads of religious organisations, the foreign ministries in your countries, international human rights agencies, and register an appeal that they will voice concern to the government of Kazakhstan.

And at last, we are humbly requesting that you will all pray that this situation may be reversed and our farm, Sri Vrindavan Dham, will not be stolen by the government of Kazakhstan.

The President of Kazakhstan has gained international respect for having hosted an international religious forum in 2003. Yet, despite the talks of religious equality and openness, he is allowing a religious society to be illegally evicted from their legally acquired property. It is an injustice performed in the name of religious equality.

With affectionate regards,

BB Govinda Swami

...........................................................................

To the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Mr. N.A. Nazarbayev

Government palace, Levoberezhye,

Astana, 010000, Republic of Kazakhstan.

Or ...

Presidential Residence:

To the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Mr. Nazarbayev N.A.

Akorda, Astana, 010000, Republic of Kazakhstan.

President's e-mail: sitePRK@global.kz

Dear President Nazarbayev,

It is with deep regret that we have been informed of your government's attempted confiscation of the land which is owned by the Kazakhstan Society for Krishna Consciousness.

The land has been legally purchased and privatised according to the land codes of Kazakhstan.

But since 2004 there has been ongoing litigation in an attempt by government officials to steal the land where the Kazakhstan Society for Krishna Consciousness has been officially registered, and situated, for the past seven years.

On March 29, 2006 a hearing was conducted in the Almaty Provincial Court.

The judge in charge of the case explained that he had carefully studied the case and that there was no substance in the arguments of the Government Land Committee and District Hakimat.

Yet, when the decision was read it was ruled that the land at issue be returned to the land reserve of Kazakhstan. The decision of the court was enacted due to executive pressure as it violates legislative and procedural rules of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Mr. President, you want that your fine country come into the rank of the leading nations of the world.

You have shown your open mindedness by conducting your International Religious Forum in 2003. Yet in this case we have a glaring example of a religious society being destroyed by the greed of self motivated officers.

Sir, we are respectfully appealing to you to intervene in this case.

Please stop the abuse and destruction of the one element of Indian religion which is active in your nation.

Please allow these people to live peacefully on their property in accordance to the vision of religious equality that you have presented for the nation of Kazakhstan.

Sincerely,

19/04/06

Gopala's Garden

Categories: Happenings

11/04/06

ISKCON Health And Welfare Ministry

Categories: Happenings

Eleven years worth of the very valuable 'Hope This Meets You In Good Health' Newsletter (ISKCON Health and Welfare Ministry) are available for download here courtesy of HH Prahladananda Swami (editor):

http://www.prahladanandaswami.net/health

Gulab Kali Loved Gauranga

Categories: Happenings

by Vipramukhya dasa

Posted April 9, 2006

The picture shows Vipramukhya with Gulab Kali as a baby elephant in 1984.

Some say Gulab Kali had a special relationship with me. I don’t know. I do know that she recognized me every year when I visited Mayapur. She would become happy to see me, as she became happy to see all of the devotees. But somehow, over the years, she and I seemed to grow close.

I was first met Gulab in the early eighties, just as I was preparing to accept sannyasa in Mayapur. She was very fond of sannyasis, and especially Bhavananda. Gulab used to follow him around wherever he went. I thought that was pretty cool, and so I used to go and play with her, too. As with many devotees, she’d latch onto my hand and go for walks with me. People used to criticize me for spending too much time with the elephant, unbecoming, they said, of sannyasis. I didn’t see it that way. I saw her as a devotee in an elephant body, who loved to play with devotees.

I’d frequently spend an hour or so a day with her when she was just a baby. I didn’t really treat her as a elephant. I just treated her as a friend. I’d play games with her. Sometimes I’d hide behind a tree and jump out and say, “Gauranga!” She’d get so excited by this game, that she would roar. That was the first time I ever heard an elephant roar, but it would not be the last.

As years went by she seemed especially happy to see me whenever I’d visit Mayapur. Even though she was getting bigger every year, I’d still take her out alone within the ISKCON compound. Sometimes I’d take her up the road all the way to Lord Chaitanya’s birthplace and back. Sometimes I’d run ahead and hide behind a tree, or a rickshaw, and she’d get very excited trying to find me. Finally, I’d jump out and shout “Gauranga” and she’d roar.

I discovered she loved to follow me. If I’d walk with her out in a field, she’d follow behind as if she was a little puppy. If I walked in a figure 8, she’d follow right behind. Then I discovered that I could shout “Gauranga” from a long distance away, and she would hear me and respond with a loud roar that could be heard for miles.

Once I stood with Kaliyaphani Prabhu and other devotees from the United Kingdom some distance away from the elephant barn, looking at Gulab from afar. I shouted “Gauranga” loudly, and Gulab replied with a loud roar. Then others took their turn loudly shouting “Gauranga” but she did not reply. Then I would shout again, and she would roar again. We repeated this four or five times and each time she roared only when she heard my voice. It was amazing how she was able to identify my voice.

Once Gulab Kali followed a procession of devotees to the Ganga, all the while holding my hand with her trunk. When we reached the river I boarded a boat along with the other devotees and pushed off shore, leaving Gulab with the Mahut, the elephant trainer. This greatly agitated Gulab, and she began entering the Ganga trying to follow the boats, greatly distressing the Mahut. The only way that Gulab could be calmed down is when I jumped in the water, swam back to the shore, and let the devotees go without me. Gulab simply wanted to go wherever I was going, it seemed.

As she grew into her teens, I’d often walk over to the elephant barn to see Gulab in the early morning around sunrise, just after I performed my Salagram puja. At that time of morning, the Mahut and his family would be sleeping or just getting up. They knew me well enough, and trusted that I knew how to handle Gulab. I’d unchain her leg and take her out all by myself, borrowing the elephant goad just in case, though I think I never needed to use it.

Quite often I’d take Gulab out the front gate of ISKCON Mayapur and walk her up and down the road. Sometimes shop keepers would come forward and offer her treats, expressing surprise how the elephant followed dutifully behind me wherever I went. After sometime they all came to know me as “Hati Maharaja” (the elephant Swami). To play with her, I’d sometimes run and hide behind some of the shops, or the parked rickshaws, and she’d run here and there trying to find where I was hiding.

Once in awhile I’d ride on Gulab’s back, but mostly I’d walk with her just behind, or at my side.

Originally there were two ISKCON elephants, you know. Sundar Kali and Gulab Kali. Both elephants were female. Sundar Kali was a mature, older elephant. She was not Gulab’s mother, but Gulab looked to her as a mother. Sundar Kali’s job used to be to carry the temple deities during the weekly procession, and Gulab would follow behind, usually holding Bhavananda’s hand, and in later years, holding my hand.

After Sundar Kali passed away, Gulab inherited the sacred duty of carrying the deities during the weekly procession. Usually, during those processions, if I would be near the front of the parade, she’d reach out, grab my hand with her trunk, and walk the entire way holding my hand.

Four years have passed since I last played with Gulab Kali. I’m very sorry to learn that she passed away. I used to know exactly how old she was, but I’ve lost track. I’m sure someone will be able to say more authoritatively than I. I do know she was around 3 years old when she was acquired by ISKCON. I met her around 1982 when she was four. So that would put her age somewhere around 28 years old. That’s too young for an elephant to die. Elephant’s are like humans, and can live up to about 80 years old. She was just a young lady when she passed away. But she will be remembered by thousands of devotees all over the world, and she was surrounded by hundreds of loving friends at the time of her passing. She passed away in Mayapur, the holy land of Lord Chaitanya. Gulab Kali, therefore, is now forever blissful in the eternal land of Gauranga.

I pray that she will one day remember me once again.

Your fallen servant,
Vipramukhya dasa

03/04/06

The Meatrix

Categories: Happenings

Here's part two in the saga:

http://www.themeatrix2.com/

also part one if you've never heard of this:

http://www.themeatrix.com/index.html

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