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Gauracandra

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About Gauracandra

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  1. I haven't posted in quite some time due to my work responsibilities. I still check in now and then. I have always appreciated everyone here at Audarya. Special shout out to Theist, Ghari, Mahak, Audarya-Lila, Living Entity, Melvin, Stonehearted, Random Axis, Shvu, Tarun, Leyh, and many others. Oh and of course JNDas. We've had some good times. Please accept my apologies if over the years I have gotten into heated debates and offended anyone. Its been 10 good years with quite a few characters that have come through that time. I wish you all the best in your Krsna Conscious lives. Keep chanting. Haribol.
  2. A very interesting debate: http://catholiceducation.org/articles/science/sc0086.htm I think there are two key arguments in this article: 1) We all have experience of matter and that experience is in the finitude of matter. Thus the question of the source of matter must be something outside of the argument itself. God is defined as the cause of all causes. Thus without something outside of matter we can't explain the source of matter. 2)Free will must be outside its own cause. If you simply believe in matter you can't believe in free will. Check out the debate in the article. Its quite interesting.
  3. I felt very sad reading this. There is nothing really one can say to make it any better. However, if I read it right, it sounded like the devotee was able to save his youngest daughter, who would be Srila Prabhupada's great granddaughter. So there was some small light. I can't think of any good solution to the problem. Life jackets are something that could help in the future. But how to distribute them. I don't think the boat operators will just have the life jackets taking up room. Maybe if they were sponsored for, and the boat operators charged a litle extra (thus incentivizing them to keep the life jackets) it could be something used in the future.
  4. I can't tell if its just me or if the world really is getting worse and worse by the year. 60 Minutes just had a really disturbing segment on kids beating up and killing homeless people. To me it was just shocking how desensitized our society is becoming to violence. Maybe its always been this bad and the access to media simply is bringing it out. But I dont' think so. Music is getting louder and angrier. Commercials are getting more obnoxious. There is a commercial I saw for a video game where you play a hit man. You just look around and it all seems like its getting really bad. As for that weapon, remember if we know about it, then they have something far bigger already. The Stealth Fighter, first used in the Gulf War, that was under development during Jimmy Carter inthe 1970s. They didn't reveal it until early 1990s. And thats what they showed. There are plenty of things they have up their sleeves. Reportedly they've been working on what is called "the rods from god". These are titanium rods that are shots down from outter space onto the target. They act as massive missiles when they impact with the ground.
  5. Yes this is why I posted these pictures. I was thinking how when I see photos of the galaxies how amazing the universe is. And these are objects that are tens of thousands or millions of miles around. But then you zoom in on a tiny little snowflake and you see this immense creativity. Just beauty in the smallest little thing.
  6. Check out this microphotography of snowflakes from www.snowcrystals.com:
  7. Theist, Distributism is an economic philosophy developed by two Catholic thinkers (inspired by the Papal encyclical Rerum Novarum) in the early 1900s by the names of G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. Chesterton was a very well known writer (throughout the English Empire) and journalist who converted to Catholicism late in life. He is said to have written an article that inspired Gandhi to start his non-violent protests against the English (though I've never found the article itself). What I've heard is that the article essentially calls on India to be more Indian and in so doing they could remove the British control of their country (apparently he also inspired Irish rebellions in much the same way). It is interesting in this connection that Gandhi's philosophy of small farming, crafts, and village life is very much similar to Chesterton's philosophy of Distributism. Distributism is based on subsidiarity or doing things at the lowest level possible and as the name would suggest about the distribution of capital especially physical capital in the form of land. Now it is specifically in this way that it differs from Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism. You see, in capitalism the wealth naturally concentrates into the hands of fewer and fewer people. Why is this so? Because after a certain point in wealth accumulation all of one's basic needs are taken care of. Capital, which is that which is left over after consumption, therefore continues to accumulate. Socialists and communists saw this same principle at work and so the socialists decided they should have a government that takes wealth from the capitalists and create various social programs, through which they controlled society. In this case socialism takes the wealth from the industrialists and puts it into fewer hands - those of bureaucrats (who of course always do what is right, and never stifle new ideas). Communists basically said "Since wealth and power are going to concentrate, in the first stage of capitalism, and in the second stage of socialism, lets just jump straight to the logical conclusion of the third stage of communism and take over all the production." Enter Distributism which says the problem with capitalism, socialism, and communism is that they keep concentrating power. They build huge structures up that oppress the people below that have to hold it up. What needs to happen is to break up power, and redistribute it to the people. As Chesterton says, the problem with Capitalism is it results in too few capitalists. In this respect, Distributism affirms the principle of private property but not unlimited private property. Chesterton says the institution of private property no more means the right to unlimited property than the institution of marriage means the right to more than one wife. Lines are drawn and limits set as we live in a world of constraints. Now that might initially require government intervention simply because the current system has become so top heavy as it is. The goal is to establish as wide ownership of land as possible as well as instituting laws that protect the small business person against the large corporation. Industrialism was already starting to have its toll even in pre-War Europe. The small farmers were starting to feel the pressure from industrial farming, and today there are virtually no small farms in existence. At the same time the small shops have been destroyed by Megacorporations such as Walmart (which has a market capitalization of like a quarter of a trillion dollars). It is funny, several years ago Walmart tried to enter into Vermont and all the small store owners in Vermont banded together to keep Walmart out. What did Walmart do? They sued claiming these puny little small stores were being uncompetitive. Competition in capitalism is when the big guys consume the small guys. But if the small guys get together to fight for their very survival well thats just wrong. Ultimately Distributism saw the effects entering the culture. In the first place you had a culture of ownership. If you owned your own farm, or owned your own shop, or owned your own set of tools and had a skill, you had a sense of self-worth. Even if you weren't rich you could control your life. You could get up when you needed to. You could arrange time off to be with your family. You had a place in society. But with the concentration of power you lost that inherent human dignity. In Capitalism the boss told you when to arrive, what to do, when to do it. In Socialism the government told you when to arrive, what to do, and when to do it. You lost the dignity of self-determination. That is not to say they were against business. But the flavor of society so to speak should be about small property ownership, small business, crafts and skills that are community based. There should be community art and culture. In this way you actually have diversity. Part of the country will be very different from another part of the country. But with mass merchandising, mass advertising, mass communications, we break down diversity, and while everyone thinks they are getting a great variety, in fact they find they are just getting the same thing over and over. Now how to go about this? Even they thought it would be a feat similar to swimming against Niagara Falls. But they believed, one way or another, society would move back to a simpler structure. Either by choice or by collapse. There are a number of suggestions of what to do, for instance changing the tax code to give breaks to small farms and small businesses, over corporations. The corporation is basically a way of accumulating mass capital through selling small shares, thus corporations as distinct from sole proprietorships naturally work to concentrate wealth. Creating Guilds for various occupations to ensure the training and wages of the working class. Other suggestions would be for the government to pass zoning laws against large shopping centers, free legal care for the poor so that the small man can fight the big man, the distribution of government land holdings to the people etc.... But ultimately it comes down to people choosing to build their communities, rather than having them shaped by impersonal invisible hands. In this respect I think the devotees are much further along than many Catholics, who talk in theory about Distributism. Say what we will about our farming communities, many are in various levels of success, but atleast devotees are actively creating them. They may not farm them (or many don't) but they are trying their best to swim up against Niagara Falls. I think because we are small, and because Srila Prabhupada explicitly told us to build rural communities, to us Varnashram is part of our religion (even if we haven't accomplished it). To Catholics it is virtually unknown and to move 1 billion people is very difficult.
  8. Here is the wikipedia entry for Distributism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributism And here you can read The Outline of Sanity: http://www.dur.ac.uk/martin.ward/gkc/books/Sanity.txt A small excerpt: "For instance, Capitalism is really a very unpleasant word. It is also a very unpleasant thing. Yet the thing I have in mind, when I say so, is quite definite and definable; only the name is a very unworkable word for it. But obviously we must have some word for it. When I say "Capitalism," I commonly mean something that may be stated thus: "That economic condition in which there is a class of capitalists, roughly recognizable and relatively small, in whose possession so much of the capital is concentrated as to necessitate a very large majority of the citizens serving those capitalists for a wage." This particular state of things can and does exist, and we must have some word for it, and some way of discussing it. But this is undoubtedly a very bad word, because it is used by other people to mean quite other things. Some people seem to mean merely private property. Others suppose that capitalism must mean anything involving the use of capital. But if that use is too literal, it is also too loose and even too large. If the use of capital is capitalism, then everything is capitalism. Bolshevism is capitalism and anarchist communism is capitalism; and every revolutionary scheme, however wild, is still capitalism. Lenin and Trotsky believe as much as Lloyd George and Thomas that the economic operations of to-day must leave something over for the economic operations of to-morrow. And that is all that capital means in its economic sense. In that case, the word is useless. My use of it may be arbitrary, but it is not useless. If capitalism means private property, I am capitalist. If capitalism means capital, everybody is capitalist. But if capitalism means this particular condition of capital, only paid out to the mass in the form of wages, then it does mean something, even if it ought to mean something else. The truth is that what we call Capitalism ought to be called Proletarianism. The point of it is not that some people have capital, but that most people only have wages because they do not have capital. I have made an heroic effort in my time to walk about the world always saying Proletarianism instead of Capitalism." Also, look up the Mondragon Cooperative in Spain. It is one of the most successful cooperatives in the world, and was started by students of a Catholic priest who wanted to institute Distributism.
  9. My understanding of Varnashram is that it is very similar to Catholic economic doctrine called Distributism. This is often called Third Way economics. Look up G.K. Chesterton, and a book called The Outline of Sanity. He makes many good points. One of the problems with Capitalism is it concentrates power and wealth into the hands of fewer and fewer people. Interestingly, state sponsored socialism does the same, but instead of industrialists, it puts the power in even few hands -those of bureaucrats. Distributism might be called small c Capitalism. It envisions a well distributed small property ownership. As such it believes in laws that support small family farms against agribusiness, and small store ownership over corporate megastores. But the key is the power is decentralised and local. We all have a corruptable heart. We'll all exploit if we can. The industrialist will do this, so will the bureaucrat. The distributist has the same heart, however, since power is devolved to the lowest level (subsidiarity) and since everyone has some ownership, there is a sort of balance. If you own 10 acres of land and I own 20 acres, I can't force you to sell and exploit you (even though this isn't a perfect balance). On the other hand, if I own 10,000 acres, and you own half an acre, thats where you see the demise of the family farm. In addition, they support Guilds for the training of various skills and maintaining wages (so as to oppose cut rate competition). If you're in Scotland you should definitely be able to get a copy of Chesterton's work The Outline of Sanity. Try the library. You might also try Hilaire Belloc's The Servile State (he was the co-founder of distributism with Chesterton).
  10. With the bad news out of Manipur I thought I'd revive this thread for something more positive.
  11. From Kanglaonline: "Sit-in-protest were held in many places against the terror attack at ISKCON temple on Janmasthami."
  12. This is a horrible event. I can only pray for the recovery of the injured. Terror strikes Imphal ISKCON temple: Four including child killed; over 50 injured; foreign devotees injured, one seriously </B> From www.kanglaonline.com: The Imphal Free Press IMPHAL, Aug 16: Krishna Janma celebrations at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, ISKCON campus at Sangaiprou, Imphal ended in blood and gore this evening after unidentified persons hurled a hand grenade into a crowded mandap where a ras leela performance was taking place. The blast killed at least four people, including two children, and injured nearly 50 others. The injured include at least two foreigners, one of whom is stated to be in serious condition. Altogether six foreigners, including five from the USA and one from France were watching the Ras Leela performance, held as part of day-long celebrations of Krishna Janmastami, the birthday of Lord Krishna. Doctors at RIMS Hospital, Lamphelpat and the Shija Hospital, Langol were hard-put to cope with the rush of dead and injured in the aftermath of the blast. Officials reports said there were 27 serious cases among the injured, including a male American, whose identity could not be immediately confirmed. Eyewitness reports said the grenade was thrown from the south-eastern corner of the mandap, located inside the ISKCON campus, and exploded immediately, killing one person on the spot, and injuring scores of others. The assailant apparently managed to escape in the ensuing confusion. The witnesses added that the grenade was hurled just after a firecracker was set off on the other side of the mandap. H Birkumar, alias Bitendra Das, 73, of Khagempalli Huidrom Leikai was killed at the spot, while two other victims, identified as Dr K Binodkumar, 65, of Kwakeithel Akham Leikai, and a nine-year old child, Wahengbam Anil, of W Nabadwip of Sangaiprou died while being evacuated to RIMS hospital. A fourth victim, Angom Blodin 12, son of A Bobby of Lalambung Makhong Takhellambam Leikai, died at Shija Hospital, Langol. Apart from those hurt in the blast itself, several others also sustained injuries in the ensuing stampeded. Immediately after the blast, police and medical teams rushed to the site to render assistance and evacuate the wounded to hospital. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack as yet. However, unconfirmed reports said an unidentified group had delivered a warning to the ISKCON authorities over telephone yesterday not to host Krishna Janma celebrations at the ISKCON campus. Chief minister O Ibobi Singh visited RIMS hospital this evening soon after the blast, and spoke to the wounded victims as well as the hospital authorities. Speaking briefly to mediapersons, he strongly condemned today`s incident, calling it a cowardly act. He also said ex-gratia would be given to the next of kin of the deceased, and all assistance given to the wounded. Answering queries, the chief minister also maintained that there was no question of a security lapse. He also refused to speculate on who was responsible for the attack, contending that it was too premature to do so. The chief minister was accompanied by MANITRON chairman Bijoy Koijam, and the PDA chairman K Ranjit. The underground Revolutionary People`s Front, RPF has meanwhile clarified that it had nothing to do with the bomb attack at the ISKCON complex. A spokesperson of the organisation telephoned media offices this afternoon to say that the the group strongly condemned the bomb attack and made it clear that the group considered such attacks on a place of worship a thoughtless and cowardly act. The All Manipur Students Union, AMSU, also strongly condemned the bomb attack, terming it as an act of terrorism. The following is a partial list of the dead and injuried Deceased 1. H. Birkumar @ Bitendra Das (76) of Khagempalli Huidrom Leikai 2. Dr. K Bimod Kumar (65) of Kwakeithel Akham Leikai 3. Wahengbam Anil Singh (9) (Krishna Shaba) of S/o, W. Nabadip of Sangaiprou 4. Angom Blodin (12) S/o, A Boby of Lalambung Makhong Takhellambam Leikai Injured 1. Oinam (O) Kunjalata (48) W/o Profullo of Kwakeithel Akham Leikai 2. Khoisnam Rojesh (11) S/o, Indubhushan of Malom Awang Leikai 3. RK. Singhajit (73) of New Delhi 4. Lakshmipriya (50) of USA 5. Brahmacharimayum Gopal Sharma (60) S/o, (L) Thakudhan of Kwakeithel 6. Manik Laishram Devi (22) D/o, ES Laishram 7. Gunija (52) 8. Manihar (65) of Malom 9. Sumitra Devi (50) W/o, (L) Basantakumar Wangkhem of Porompat 10. H Nganbi Devi (35)of Sangaiprou 11. H Sushila Devi (36) of Sangaiprou 12. W Khurai Leima (84) of Mekola 13. Wahengbam Nabachandra (10) of Heirangoithong 14. Murari Das (32) of ISKCON 15. P Rajendrakumar (70) of Kwakeithel 16. Sapam Ibohal Singh (65) S/o, Gouramani of Kwakeithel Tiddim Ground 17. Bhakta Singh (45) of Keishamthong Hodam Leirak 18. Thiyam Gambir Singh (65) of Sega Road Takhellambam Leikai 19. Oinam Ichan (9) D/o, Newton of Kwakeithel 20. Thangjam Ranjita (24) D/o, Rajmani of Langzing Achouba 21. Lukram (o) Malemnganbi (64) W/o, Nimaichand of Naoremthong Khullem Leikai 22. Kangujam Ibemcha Devi 23. Konjengbam Manihar Singh (50) S/o, (L) Paka of Hodam Leirak 24. Irengbam Gouramani (70) of Khagempalli Panthak 25. Thoudam (o) Ibecha (60) W/o, Lokhon of Ghari Awang Leikai 26. Laishram Shanta (26) D/o, L Chaoba of Thanga 27. Maisnam Madhumangol (67) S/o, Ibotombi of Lalambung Makhong 28. Wahengbam Naba (36) S/o, (L) Amutombi of Keishamthong Top Leirak 29. Kabita Kajuriya (36) W/o, Sanju Kajuriya of Maharastra presently Thangal Bazar 30. Sh. Manglembi (60) W/o, Sh Jayanta 31. Moirangthem Ashnikumar (37) S/o, M Chaoba of Changangei 32. Miss L Sarda Devi of Thanga 33. Shiddhish Irom (28) S/o, S Lalit of Keishamthong Hodam Leirak 34. Bhakti Swarup Damodar Swami (69) of Toubul 35. Soram Gunija (51) W/o, IS Laishram of Lamphel 36. Manika 37. Sobita of Sangaiprou 38. Mrs. Ibemhal of Lalambung
  13. Whatever little elements make it into popular culture is fine by me. I just checked up on The NeverEnding Story. I saw it once but didn't remember it very well. So the story follows the hero Atreyu (clearly Sanskrit) to save a dying princess from the Nothingness. Its coming back to me a bit, I think this could be symbolism for individuality vs. dissolution of the self (personalism in the hero and princess vs. impersonalism). Another one I just remembered. There is a rapper named KRS-1. The KRS comes from Krsna. His mother used to hang out with devotees in Chicago I recall (maybe it was New York). I don't know anything about rap but one day saw a magazine with him on the cover and so read through the article. His lyrics basically are positive, and are about defeating demons (drug dealers, criminals etc...). The interviewer was asking him about his use of descriptive words, and I specifically remember him asking about all the references to demons, and what they meant etc....
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