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Posts posted by suchandra


    Maybe Frank Morales is simply a self actualized soul, who is manifesting service.


    Self-actualization in service mood would be desirable to find one-day. If he is the real deal, he is a good man.

    Once again the only measure for Westerners if someone is a bona fide acarya is the saying, time will tell. Nothing else can be taken into consideration to teach followers if they are doing the right thing.





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  2. Published: January 30,2009




    Hindu prayers opened both Oregon Senate & House of Representatives in USA



    Groundbreaking Sanskrit mantras from ancient Hindu scriptures reverberated in the Oregon House of Representatives in Salem yesterday, reportedly for the first time in its history. On Wednesday, Hindu shlokas opened the session of Oregon State Senate in Salem. Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed read both the prayers. Both days, Senators and Representatives stood quietly in prayer mode with their heads bowed down, when Zed recited from an ancient Sanskrit scriptures after sprinkling gangajal (holy water from river Ganga in India) around the podium.

    "It is a great honor for us when ancient Sanskrit scriptures are being read in this great hall of democracy of the great state of Oregon," Zed said before the House prayer. After the Sanskrit delivery, Zed then read the English translation of the prayers. Sanskrit is considered a sacred language in Hinduism and a root language of Indo-European languages.

    Rajan Zed, who is the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, recited from * Rig-Veda*, the oldest scripture of the world still in common use, dated from around 1,500 BCE, besides lines from *Upanishads* and *Bhagavad-Gita* (Song of the Lord), both ancient Hindu scriptures. He started and ended the prayer with "OM", the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work.

    Reciting from *Brahadaranyakopanishad*, Zed said, "Asato ma sad gamaya, Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya", which he then translated as "Lead us from the unreal to the Real, from darkness to Light, and from death to Immortality."

    Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Dave Hunt introduced Zed in Senate and House respectively, while Ted Ferrioli, Senate Republican Leader thanked him personally for the blessings. Representative Vicki Berger, who invited Zed to the House, listed Zed's various achievements in her address. Senator Jackie Winters invited Zed for a Senate prayer. Zed later met Oregon Governor's Senior Policy Advisor Daniel P. Santos and Salem Mayor Janet Taylor and discussed various issues, including interfaith dialogue. He presented copies of *Bhagavad-Gita* to Courtney, Hunt, and Santosand Taylor.

    Nagaraj Raghavendran, who works as Systems Architect for the State of Oregon, and who met Rajan Zed between the prayers, later commented that it was a "good feeling" to have a Sanskrit presence on the Senate and House floors. He hoped that these prayers would provide an insight to both Senators and Representatives to explore Hinduism and Sanskrit more.

    Hinduism, the oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents. Moksha (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism.

    The Oregon State Senate consists of 30 members, each representing about 114,000 citizens; while Oregon State House of Representatives is formed of 60 members, each representing about 57,000 citizens. Known as Beaver State, Oregon is the home of Nike and most ghost towns than any other State in USA.


    Another moronic crusader, too lazy or too stupid to understand the basic things about what he is criticizing. :(


    Unfortunately most of these abrahamic religion followers are like that: 'only my religion is right, and you heathens will go to hell' - because this is precisely what these religions teach.

    Carol Moriel's target group with this time consuming article are surely not the Vaishnavas. This is rather to rough up other Christians of her camp and to create group dynamics. Problem is that ISKCON NA is presently hardly able to address such issues and to actually clarify philosophical points. And this could be the actual case, article above is purposefully written wrongly, because they now that the reputation of the Vaishnava institutions is so much tarnished that they have no more power to counter such defamation.

  4. Institute condemns deportation of Hare Krishna leader from Kazakhstan


    49 Views <!-- the main section of the post goes here --> PRESS RELEASE CONTACT: Priya Abraham


    Institute condemns deportation of Hare Krishna leader from Kazakhstan

    Washington, DC, Jan. 29, 2009-The Institute on Religion and Public Policy condemns the Jan. 27 deportation of the religious leader of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), B. B. Govinda Swami, from Kazakhstan.

    According to ISKON, Govinda Swami was held without explanation at the airport in Almaty for 12 hours and denied entry into Kazakhstan, despite carrying a valid passport and visa. He was reportedly on a government list of people who are not allowed into Kazakhstan.

    The move against Govinda Swami appears to be the latest in a Kazakh campaign to limit severely the activities of non-traditional religions in the country. Hare Krishnas continually face harassment and undue monitoring, and in a prominent case that began in 2006, lost a commune outside Almaty when the government first raided then seized their property.

    “The Kazakh government seems to continually and erroneously view peaceful minority religions as a threat to security, and the country’s abysmal record on religious freedom shows it,” said Institute President Joseph K. Grieboski. “We call on the government of Kazakhstan to allow Govinda Swami to enter the country and meet with his fellow Hare Krishnas, and allow the community as a whole to worship freely.”

    The Institute has consistently engaged the government of Kazakhstan on its religious freedom abuses, and has called on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to rescind the country’s scheduled 2010 chairmanship of the group.

    Click here


    to read the Institute’s latest report on religious freedom in Kazakhstan,

    and here


    for a letter to President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

  5. January 30, 1948

    Gandhi assassinated




    Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the political and spiritual leader of the Indian independence movement, is assassinated in New Delhi by a Hindu fanatic.

    Born the son of an Indian official in 1869, Gandhi's Vaishnava mother was deeply religious and early on exposed her son to Jainism, a morally rigorous Indian religion that advocated nonviolence. Gandhi was an unremarkable student but in 1888 was given an opportunity to study law in England. In 1891, he returned to India, but failing to find regular legal work he accepted in 1893 a one-year contract in South Africa.

    Settling in Natal, he was subjected to racism and South African laws that restricted the rights of Indian laborers. Gandhi later recalled one such incident, in which he was removed from a first-class railway compartment and thrown off a train, as his moment of truth. From thereon, he decided to fight injustice and defend his rights as an Indian and a man. When his contract expired, he spontaneously decided to remain in South Africa and launched a campaign against legislation that would deprive Indians of the right to vote. He formed the Natal Indian Congress and drew international attention to the plight of Indians in South Africa. In 1906, the Transvaal government sought to further restrict the rights of Indians, and Gandhi organized his first campaign of satyagraha, or mass civil disobedience. After seven years of protest, he negotiated a compromise agreement with the South African government.

    In 1914, Gandhi returned to India and lived a life of abstinence and spirituality on the periphery of Indian politics. He supported Britain in the First World War but in 1919 launched a new satyagraha in protest of Britain's mandatory military draft of Indians. Hundreds of thousands answered his call to protest, and by 1920 he was leader of the Indian movement for independence. He reorganized the Indian National Congress as a political force and launched a massive boycott of British goods, services, and institutions in India. Then, in 1922, he abruptly called off the satyagraha when violence erupted. One month later, he was arrested by the British authorities for sedition, found guilty, and imprisoned.

    After his release in 1924, he led an extended fast in protest of Hindu-Muslim violence. In 1928, he returned to national politics when he demanded dominion status for India and in 1930 launched a mass protest against the British salt tax, which hurt India's poor. In his most famous campaign of civil disobedience, Gandhi and his followers marched to the Arabian Sea, where they made their own salt by evaporating sea water. The march, which resulted in the arrest of Gandhi and 60,000 others, earned new international respect and support for the leader and his movement.

    In 1931, Gandhi was released to attend the Round Table Conference on India in London as the sole representative of the Indian National Congress. The meeting was a great disappointment, and after his return to India he was again imprisoned. While in jail, he led another fast in protest of the British government's treatment of the "untouchables"--the impoverished and degraded Indians who occupied the lowest tiers of the caste system. In 1934, he left the Indian Congress Party to work for the economic development of India's many poor. His protege, Jawaharlal Nehru, was named leader of the party in his place.

    With the outbreak of World War II, Gandhi returned to politics and called for Indian cooperation with the British war effort in exchange for independence. Britain refused and sought to divide India by supporting conservative Hindu and Muslim groups. In response, Gandhi launched the "Quit India" movement it 1942, which called for a total British withdrawal. Gandhi and other nationalist leaders were imprisoned until 1944.

    In 1945, a new government came to power in Britain, and negotiations for India's independence began. Gandhi sought a unified India, but the Muslim League, which had grown in influence during the war, disagreed. After protracted talks, Britain agreed to create the two new independent states of India and Pakistan on August 15, 1947. Gandhi was greatly distressed by the partition, and bloody violence soon broke out between Hindus and Muslims in India.

    In an effort to end India's religious strife, he resorted to fasts and visits to the troubled areas. He was on one such vigil in New Delhi when Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist who objected to Gandhi's tolerance for the Muslims, fatally shot him. Known as Mahatma, or "the great soul," during his lifetime, Gandhi's persuasive methods of civil disobedience influenced leaders of civil rights movements around the world, especially Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States.

  6. What does this say, can someone translate it?


    Kazakistan/ Leader Hare Krishna respinto alla frontiera


    E' stato inserito in lista delle persone non gradite





    Roma, 29 gen. (Apcom-Nuova Europa) - Il leader dell'organizzazione religiosa Società internazionale della Coscienza di Krishna B.B. Govinda Swami è stato respinto due giorni fa alla frontiera kazaka dell'Aeroporto internazionale di Almaty. Lo scrive oggi l'agenzia di stampa Ferghana.ru.

    Swami era stato invitato dal ramo kazako della società. Aveva passaporto e visti validi. Allo sportello dei controlli, il cittadino statunitense s'è visto confiscare il documento ed è stato fermato per circa 12 ore. Poi è stato fatto ripartire per Mosca, dove gli è stato restituito il passaporto.

    In seguito, si è appreso che Swami era stato inserito in una lista delle persone non gradite nel paese. La Società per la Coscienza di Krishna ha decido di adire le vie legali, ritenendo illegittimo l'inserimento del suo leader in quella lista.

    Tra le autorità kazake a la Società nei mesi scorsi ci sono stati gravi problemi, in seguito al sequestro di proprietà immobiliari appartenenti all'organizzazione. Ma la questione pare essere stata risolta all'inizio di dicembre.

  7. They first established it in UK now they try for the same in US and the rest of the world.


    Repeat abortions among teenage girls have risen by 70%



    Fiona Macrea – Daily Mail.co.uk January 24, 2009



    The number of abortions performed on teenage girls who have had at least one before has risen by almost 70 per cent since 1991, fuelling fears that terminations are being carried out for lifestyle reasons.


    Experts yesterday warned that binge drinking among teenagers had also contributed to the increase.


    In 2007, 5,897 girls under 20 had their second, third or even fourth termination.


    Sixteen years earlier, in 1991, the figure stood at just 2,934, the journal Contraception reported.


    The analysis by scientists at Nottingham University, found that - even taking into account the rise in abortion among all age groups - the proportion of repeat terminations carried out on teenagers rose by 68 per cent in 16 years.


    Abortions in the UK have reached record levels - almost 200,000 a year in England and Wales - a rate second only in the western world to the U.S. Researcher Jacqueline Collier, a professor of health services research, said that although there were probably many reasons behind the 'radical increase' in repeat abortions in teenagers, it is likely that alcohol played a part.


    Calling for more research into the issue, she said: 'It is right for us to put it as a priority. It is not good for society, let alone for teenagers, to be having repeat terminations or repeat pregnancies they are not wanting or not able to continue with.'


    When all age groups are included in the analysis, a third of terminations are carried out on women who have had at least one before.


    The evidence shows that some women have had eight or more.


    Thirteen girls aged under 18 were on at least their fourth abortion in 2007, the Department of Health figures showed.


    Dr Trevor Stammers, a GP and a lecturer in healthcare ethics, said: 'I think that young women who have had one abortion fall into two camps.


    'There is one that understands the ongoing consequences and another that (is) very cavalier and hardened about it and have entered a phase of regarding it as a backup method of contraception.


    'We have got to communicate that abstinence is not folly.'


    Norman Wells of Family and Youth Concern, which campaigns against family breakdown, said we were living in a 'contraceptive culture'.


    He added: 'High abortion rates and the alarming number of repeat teenage abortions are the inevitable fruit of a society that has made an idol of sexual pleasure and failed to respect its proper place and purpose.'


    But Ann Furedi of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which carries out almost a third of UK abortions, said: 'A lot has changed the past two decades.


    'Abortion has become more acceptable, easier to access for all age groups, better funded by the NHS, and more integrated into mainstream healthcare - all of which are good things.'


    She added: 'Everyone agrees that it would be better for young people to avoid unwanted pregnancies and there is an extensive range of research and ongoing practical initiatives to address this.


    'All of these moves contribute to young people feeling more able to make choices about whether or not they should have sex and how best to handle the consequences.



    • Posted: Thu, Jan 29 2009. 6:52 PM IST


    Her hymn



    Singer MS Subbulakshmi’s gift to Gandhi

    Samanth Subramanian



    In M.S. Subbulakshmi, an immortal hymn found an immortal voice. For many years, Subbulakshmi sang Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite bhajan, Vaishnava Janato, towards the end of her Carnatic music concerts, regularly moving her audiences to tears. “But you know,” says Gowri Ramnarayan, Subbulakshmi’s grandniece and for long her vocal support in concerts, “MS amma was never entirely satisfied with the melody of Vaishnava Janato, with the way the tune went up and down, up and down. But there was another song, brilliantly tuned and conceived—and the story behind that is a fascinating one.”B30D30A7-0E71-4C06-88AB-9F8B51172DD2ArtVPF.gifVoice of god: Subbulakshmi was overwhelmed by Gandhi’s praise. Hindustan Times Archives



    In 1947, roughly a week before Gandhi’s 78th birthday, Indian National Congress leader Sucheta Kriplani telephoned the Chennai offices of the magazine Kalki and asked to speak to T. Sadasivam, the magazine’s co-founder and Subbulakshmi’s husband. On 2 October, there were to be a few musical performances for Gandhi in New Delhi. Would Subbulakshmi be able to come to the Capital on the day, to sing one of his favourite bhajans, Hari Tum Haro?

    Sadasivam had to decline politely. “He told her that Kunjamma (as he and many others called Subbulakshmi) did not know that song,” says Ramnarayan. “Also, for some family reasons, MS amma could not go to Delhi that particular week, so Sadasivam said, ‘No, you’ll have to find somebody else.’” But the matter did not rest there. Just a day or two before Gandhi’s birthday, Kriplani called Sadasivam again. “Gandhiji would rather hear Subbulakshmi recite the verse on a tape,” she is said to have told Sadasivam, “than hear anybody else sing it.”

    After that highest of compliments, there was no way Subbulakshmi and Sadasivam could refuse. So, at 9pm, they picked up their friend R. Vaidyanathan— Ramnarayan calls him “a pianist and an eccentric genius”—and made their way to the All India Radio (AIR) recording studios in Chennai. There, Vaidyanathan mulled over the lyrics of Hari Tum Haro, Meera’s prayer to Lord Krishna. “You who saved Draupadi, you who are so compassionate,” the song pleads, “remove all the sorrows of the people.” The best raga to express the pathos and grandeur of the song without meandering into the maudlin, Vaidyanathan decided, would be Darbari Kaanada.

    Through that night-long recording session, Vaidyanathan set Hari Tum Haro to music, for Subbulakshmi to learn and record immediately. The spool tape left for New Delhi the following morning, on 2 October, in the care of Sadasivam’s nephew, aboard a Dakota flight. Thus, on the evening of his birthday, Gandhi was able to listen to his beloved bhajan. Subbulakshmi would learn what he had to say about the music only later, from Maniben Patel’s diary. “Her voice is exceedingly sweet,” Patel had quoted Gandhi as saying. “To sing a bhajan is one thing; to sing it by losing oneself in god is quite different.”

    Subbulakshmi and Sadasivam would meet Gandhi soon after that, during a trip to New Delhi in January 1948. “Gandhiji was so depressed because of the communal riots,” Ramnarayan recalls. So Sadasivam urged Radha, their little daughter, to dance for Gandhi as Subbulakshmi sang. “Gandhiji’s laughter was said to have rang out in peal after peal as Radha danced,” she says. “At the end of their visit, Gandhi’s followers thanked them, because they hadn’t seen him smile in such a long time.”

    On the evening of 30 January 1948, Subbulakshmi was at home in Chennai, listening to AIR’s recorded broadcast of the annual music festival at Tiruvaiyaru, which had been held earlier that month. Suddenly, the broadcast was interrupted, and an announcer broke the unvarnished news: Mahatma Gandhi had just been assassinated at his prayer meeting in New Delhi. As Subbulakshmi listened in horror, the brief announcement ended and AIR, stuck for further details, segued into a musical tribute. The song, inevitably, was Hari Tum Haro in Subbulakshmi’s voice.


    Republican or Democrat it doesn't really matter. It's all taxation and no protection.


    Present governments simply don't know that if they rule their country but just exploit the whole situation for personal enrichment are performing sinful activity which ends in their own defeat and destruction. Corrupt political leaders are pushed into heavy degradation but who is explaining this?


    Prabhupada commenting on British rule in India: "Why these Britishers came? They came for money.

    The Britishers exploited the Indians, and the capitalist class of India, they have learned how to exploit only.

    They exploited the whole world for the benefit of few persons in London, and that is very bad.

    They started their exploitation from seventeenth, eighteenth century. And in the twentieth century, everything finished. The French people and the English people… This is also one of the examples. Both the nations came here to exploit. That was the competition in… The French people and the English people, they would go for colonization, fight, and establi… America was also that, Canada, everywhere.

    Formerly the Manchester people were exploiting Indians. Now the Ahmedabad people, they have learned how to exploit. That’s all. And government is satisfied because they pay tax. “Never mind. The workers may suffer, go on suffering.”

    They would not allow anyone to enter India to make trade. So Britishers will not allow them. Actually, Britishers were selling goods, purchasing from Germany and Japan, And when German would go to trade, they will enhance the custom duty very, very large amount. So that was the grudge of the German nation. Two times, they fought with that “Finish these Britishers-shop-keeper’s nation.” Yes. Emperor Wilhelm, some of them, was calling the Britishers: “shop-keeper’s nation.”

    Everyone in the United Nations pressed on them: “Why you are colonizing? Why you are occupying so much land? You give up.” They were obliged. And there was great national movement of Gandhi. So all United Nations pressed that: “They’re wanting to avoid you. Why you are, by force, staying there?” Still, they would not go. But when the soldiers began to join the national movement, they gave it up. “Now we cannot rule it.” How very nasty! For their political power, they did so many heinous activities in India. That’s a great history. For selling their cotton goods, India’s weavers were cut this finger so that they cannot weave. This is there in the history.

    But if you go on pinching, pinching, pinching, how long you will tolerate? This is India’s condition. Britishers, when they were ruling, had some responsibility. Although they were exploiting, but they were arranging for sufficient food and other things. But these people are irresponsib…, simply personal gain. “Whatever money I can get, that’s all.” This is going on. All these so- called ministers, they come to the post for taking money, as much as possible.

  10. <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" width="100%"><arttitle>TTD opens Vedic school doors to SCs</arttitle>

    29 Jan 2009, 0248 hrs IST, TNN

    </td> </tr> <tr> <td height="10">http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Hyderabad/TTD_opens_Vedic_school_doors_to_SCs/articleshow/4044456.cms


    TIRUMALA: In a major decision, the TTD board has approved `entry' of Scheduled Caste students into Sri Venkateswara Vedic Pathashala.

    Board chief DK Adikeshavulu Naidu said here on Wednesday that the TTD believed in "oneness" of all and hence decided to impart Vedic education to SC students. The students would be provided a stipend of Rs 1 lakh each after the completion of their education.


    The board has also decided to give Rs 1 lakh as health insurance cover to those Vedic pandits who have crossed 60 years of age. On the occasion of the 600th birth anniversary celebrations of saint-poet Annamacharya, the TTD would be organising cultural programmes in May in Hyderabad, the TTD chief said.


    The research and development centre, which is coming up in Palamaner on 700 acres of land, would provide milk to the TTD apart from Sri Venkateswara dairy farm. The TTD has requested the Centre to allot funds for the research centre.


    Adikeshavulu Naidu said dalits and girijans urged the TTD board to construct a temple or dhyan mandir in their villages. "Even if a small piece of land is allotted, we are ready to construct a Lord Venkateswara temple or a mandir at an expenditure of Rs 5 lakh," he said.


    The TTD has allotted Rs 25 lakh each towards renovation of Lord Venkateswara temple at Jedcherla and construction of `rajagopuram' at Nellimala in Vizianagaram district.


    Meanwhile, TTD employees staged a protest against the board for allowing law officer (officer on special duty) Vikas Bonsodia to take part in the board meet.

  11. Of Sanskrit and perfect chanting 29jan_of.jpg


    First Published : 29 Jan 2009 11:29:00 PM IST

    Last Updated : 29 Jan 2009 10:39:15 AM IST

    Just as over the last 51 years, this year too, the M Ct M Boys School in Purasawalkam was ringing with the chants of the Bhagavad Gita from all its classrooms. The students who chant come from Pre-KG up to college and there are competitions for non-students and there is no age limit for those who wish to memorise the specific portions of the Gita and participate in the competition and win medals, prizes and certificates.


    That is The Egmore Samskrt School's competition organised by its secretary PS Ramamurti and his wife Lalitha Ramamurti. I caught up with him on the second day of the competition where I was among the over 110 judges, to ask him what was spiritual about chanting the Bhagavad Gita. He says, ''The chanting of the Gita by itself produces such beneficial sound waves that can calm the mind. Besides that, this competition is a way of life according to the tenets of the Gita which proves that 2,600 participants, 110 judges and 200 volunteers can work together cheerfully and do their best without expecting rewards.''


    At a time when people are being told that Sanskrit is a dead language with no scope at all, these competitions began in 1958 with below 50 participants, by Prof PA Subrahmanya Ayyar, who founded the Samskrt school in 1948. The competitions have been held uninterruptedly and the golden jubilee competitions were held in January 2007. During this last half a century, nearly 60,000 candidates have appeared and each year the numbers of students are increasing.Many among the participants have been Christian and Muslim girls and boys who have also won prizes.


    There are no entrance fees and no two age groups are combined. Each year, 60 first prizes and an equal number of second and third prizes are given. Among the non-student category is an 84-year-old man who has been regularly participating. Once in four years, a special extra open competition is held in all the eighteen chapters of the Gita with a first prize of Rs 2,000. Institutions that teach Gita and schools that have the maximum number of prize-winning candidates are also awarded.


    One of the regular judges is the former IPS Officer CL Ramakrishnan and he calls the competitions, ''A blissful experience — as usual year after year — to come here for the Gita Yagna. All kudos to the great PSR, madam PSR and all the boys and girls who form this spiritual brigade.''One of the other activities of the school is the Surabharati Samiti to encourage Sanskrit speaking. The group conducts monthly meetings in which speeches are made only in Sanskrit on various subjects. The Samiti established in 1969, has been holding its meetings every month, without a single break in the last 40 years.


    Their Speak in Samskrt campaign is over half a century old now. The tenacity and punctuality with which the programme is conducted can be understood from this humorous encounter between a Sanskrit teacher who had to go to the Surabharati Samiti meeting one evening and her relative. At the mere suggestion by this relative that she could skip her meeting, the teacher retorted as she rushed to the venue, ''Oh no, that's impossible! Even if nobody turns up Mr Ramamurti will speak and Mrs Lalitha will listen! I can't afford not to go!'' There are also group Gita chanting s that are conducted on four occasions in a year — on January 30, August 15, October 2 and on the Vaikunta Ekadesi Day.


    Over 235 such Gita parayanams have also been conducted without a single break. Sanskrit classes and learning of grammar through Sanskrit literature are also conducted on Sundays, besides recitation of Gita and other Sanskrit hymns. No fee is being charged for these classes.With a view to give enough time for students to prepare for the competitions which require memorising full chapters of the Bhagavad Gita, the School releases each year, the portions for the next two decades for all participants. Well the essence of the Bhagavad Gita is karma yoga - doing one's actions 100 per cent without expecting any reward in return and being unmoved by praise and trials and tribulations.


    If there can be any single example for that philosophy, it is amply expressed in the conduct and organisation of the Bhagavad Gita chanting competitions of The Egmore Samskrt School. For details, contact: Secretary, 75/15, Vellala Street. Purasawalkam, Flowers Road Post, Chennai - 600 084. Phone: 2642 4721 / 4202 7151.

  12. And yet . . . wasn't there simply something of the high-school show-off, the impish contrarian "getting attention," in my refusal to take the unexceptionable position that neither God nor good reasons for our being in Vietnam existed? My religious and Vietnamese options were clearly allied; both made me feel vulnerable, excited, apologetic, and angry, and both were, in my adopted social milieu, rather original. Among the repulsions of atheism for me has been its drastic uninterestingness as an intellectual position. Where was the ingenuity, the ambiguity, the humanity (in the Harvard sense) of saying that the universe just happened to happen and that when we're dead we're dead? Where, indeed, was the intellectual interest of saying that Johnson and Nixon were simply dreadful Presidents? Truth had to have more nooks and crannies, more qualifications, than that.


    I found the peace movement intrusive. The 60's were a palmy time, professionally, for me. The New Yorker accepted most of what I sent down to it, and toward the end of the decade a book of mine made a million dollars. My success was based, I felt, on a certain calculated modesty, on my cultivated fondness going back to childhood for exploring corners—the space beneath the Shillington dining table, where the nap of the rug was still thick; the back stairs, where the vacuum cleaner and rubber galoshes lived; the cave the wicker armchairs made when turned upside down against the rain on the porch. I had left heavily trafficked literary turfs to others and stayed in my corner of New England to give its domestic news. Now along came this movement wanting to gouge us all out of our corners, to force us into the open and make us stare at our bloody hands, and confront the rapacious motives underneath the tricolor slogans, and question our favored-nation status under God. There are two ways to live happily with a government: to accept or to snub it, to identify with it and rejoice in its policies, or to ignore it as an unworthy brawl that has nothing to do with one's self. I could do neither.


    My earliest sociological thought about myself had been that I was fortunate to be a boy and an American. Now the world was being told that American males—especially white, Protestant males who had done well under "the system"—were the root of evil. Law-abiding conformity had become the opposite of a refuge. The Vietnam era was no sunny picnic for me; I remember it as a sticky, strident, conflicting time, a time with a bloody televised background of shame. Hawk, dove, soldier, draft evader, and even middle-class householder were caught in a web of contradictions as an empire tried to carry out an ugly border action under the full glare of television. The soap opera of the nightly news and the clamor of a college generation that had not been raised to be cannon fodder (raised, rather, on the demand feeding condoned by Dr. Spock and the six-minute attention span instilled by television) permitted no one to look away.


    My disposition to take contrary positions and to seek for nuances within the normal ill-suited me for the national debate; I found the country so distressing in its civil fury that I took my family to London for the school year of 1968-69. For the second presidential election in a row, I cast my ballot abroad, in an American embassy. I voted, of course, for the Democrat, the shrill and embattled Hubert Humphrey. To my relief, he lost: Vietnam was no longer a Democrat's war, and belonged to the jowly, tricky Nixon I had hooted at in the Lowell House common room. I felt sorry for him, and knew just why he had to keep bluffing and bombing, but had no trouble voting in 1972, as the ghosts of my grandfather and recently dead father looked on, for the Democrat, the implausible rabbit-mouthed McGovern. I was in Africa, in January of 1973, when word came that Nixon and Kissinger had at last disentangled us, on shabby terms, from Vietnam; I was sitting on a stage in Nairobi and a black professor sardonically asked me from the audience what I thought of the great American victory. I said, spontaneously and truthfully, that our getting out felt like a victory to me. The Americans in the audience applauded. We were all tired to death of it; even the protest had worn out its welcome, and was no longer fashionable. We could begin to breathe again.


    Now the involvement slowly settles into the historical past. War movies are made about Vietnam that sound more and more like other war movies, and there is even (so I read) going to be an attempt to do for it what M*A*S*H did for the unlovely, initially unassuming Korean conflict. In an unforeseeable way, as the vets and evaders age together, and Maya Yang Lin's superb black-marble V-shaped memorial—decked out with personal memorials like a Shinto shrine, a calm and polished Hades of names that takes us below the ground and up again—consolidates its place on the Washington Mall and the national self-image, the years 1965-72 melt into a dreamlike "crazy" time when grunts fragged officers and cops bopped hippies, when brutalized soldiers painted peace signs on their helmets and the daughters of Wall Street lawyers committed murders and robberies in the name of social justice, a baroque time of long-haired hardhats and alliterating Agnewisms, of Joplin and OM and homemade bombs, a time costumed in buckskin and sandals and camouflage khaki and dashikis and saffron robes and miniskirts right up to the crotch, a darkly happy in-between time after the Pill and IUD had freed sex from fear of pregnancy and before AIDS hobbled it with the fear of death, a time when pot and rock ruled in Danang as well as San Francisco, a time luxurious in the many directions of its craziness, since the war and the counterculture and the moon shots were all fueled by an overflowing prosperity no longer with us—a historical time, after all, that in the long run will hold us united as the Civil War opponents are united in the silvery-gray precision of the daguerreotypes they posed for. What with Woodstock and Barbarella and The Joy of Sex and the choral nudity in Hair, there was a consciously retrieved Edenic innocence, a Blakeian triumph of the youthful human animal, along with napalm and defoliation. The Vietnam intervention almost shrinks to the big bad trip in an era of trips ("If you remember the 60's," Robin Williams has quipped, "you weren't there"), but it discomfited me so much that I have avoided all of the movies about it, from the The Deer Hunter to Platoon, lest they revive my sense of shame, of a lethal stickiness, of a hot face and stammering tongue and a strange underdog rage about the whole sorry thing.

  13. I was a liberal. Democrats, not Republicans, got us into wars, to make the world a better place, a place more like America. If we approved of Roosevelt's nudging us toward World War II, and of Truman's bouncing us into Korea one impetuous Sunday, why were we turning up our noses at Vietnam? What was Vietnam but Korea again, Korea without an overt invasion, without a UN resolution, and without a Syngman Rhee, but all the more honorable a cause for its added difficulties? Were the people in the State Department utterly stupid to think we shouldn't let Southeast Asia go down the drain? Were we really secure enough—high and mighty and smug enough—to become a pacifist nation? "You don't get something for nothing," my father, a schoolteacher, would frequently say. If there was one lesson my upbringing had instilled it was our earthly insecurity: a Depression, a disease, a swindler smarter than we can come along and take everything from us. My father was a patriot: he had been ready in 1918 to board a troop ship in World War I; he had been Uncle Sam in the victory parade after World War II; when McCarthyism had imposed a loyalty oath on public-school teachers in Pennsylvania, he had taken it without demur. I must have questioned him about it, for I remember his saying mildly that he had no trouble swearing that he was loyal to the United States. He was loyal, and so was I. I would rather live under Diem (or Ky, or Thieu) than under Ho Chi Minh and his enforcers, and assumed that most South Vietnamese would. Those who would not, let them move North. But the foot traffic, one could not help noticing in these Communist/non-Communist partitions, was South, or West, away from Communism. Why was that? And so on.


    I wanted to keep quiet, but could not. Something about it all made me very sore. I spoke up, blushing and hating my disruption of a post-liberal socioeconomic-cultural harmony I was pleased to be a part of. I recall the puzzled expression on the face of my Vineyard acquaintance Philip Roth (on the dizzying verge of publishing Portnoy's Complaint) as I argued on, defending poor Johnson and his pitiful ineffective war machine. In my mind I was beset, defending an underdog, my back to the wall in a world of rabid anti-establishment militants. At one point Roth, in the calm and courteous tone of one who had been through many psychiatric sessions, pointed out to me that I was the most aggressive person in the room. It gave me pause. On reflection, it seemed possibly true. Why was I so vehement and agitated an undove? I did not just have a few cool reservations about the antiwar movement; I felt hot. I was emotionally involved. "Defending Vietnam"—the vernacular opposite of being "antiwar"—I was defending myself.


    My wife of those years offered an interesting idea: that Johnson was a former schoolteacher and I identified him with my father, whose inability to maintain classroom order had been a central trauma of my growing up in Shillington, a childish cause for fear and pity. For three years, from seventh grade to ninth, I had been one of my father's students and had been torn by the wish to be a loyal son and the itch to be a popularity-seeking cutup. In my anxious dreams about him—naked but for a barrel, pelted and hooted on the steps of the town hall—things had "gotten away" from him, much as the country had gotten away from Johnson. The protest movement, which had begun in the solemn 50's-ish pronouncements of the Port Huron Statement and the orderly civil-rights strategies, by the time of the '67 Washington march and the '68 convention had become a Yippieish carnival of mischievous voodoo and street theater and, finally, a nightmare of anarchy, of window-smashing and cop-bopping and drug-tripping and shouting down. The shouting-down part of it, the totalitarian intolerance and savagery epitomized by the Weathermen,1 but to some extent adopted by student radicals everywhere, especially alarmed me. Authority to these young people was Amerika, a bloodstained bugaboo to be crushed at any cost. To me, authority was the Shillington High School faculty, my father and his kindly and friendly, rather wan and punctilious colleagues, with whose problems and perspective I had had every opportunity to empathize. I had overheard their plaintive, patient conversations in the hall when the thundering hordes of unruly students had left; I was allowed to visit the boiler room, and see the male teachers at ease in their shirtsleeves, smoking and joking while the janitors lounged at their workbench and the great boilers roared and chugged down another giant gulp of pea coal. Authority to me was Woody Coldren, the superintendent of the Lutheran Sunday School and eventually town burgess, loudly leading us children in the singing of carols on Christmas morning in front of the blank screen of the Shillington movie theater. It was the three town cops, in their comically different sizes. Such were the village elders whom I visualized tortured and executed by the Vietcong, to show us peasants that the only possible social order was theirs.


    Yet there was another side to it. Hadn't "the system," in losing my grandfather his money and my father his job, let us down just as I was being born? My mother, who had walked out of a classroom where she had been stationed as a student teacher, had with this gesture rejected the place the system offered her, and in her eccentricity—her private revolution—showed me the gravitational pull of other systems, more far-fetched possibilities. The town authorities, and all the hard-working churchgoing burghers of Shilling-ton, struck me as unenviable and not to be emulated. At heart I scorned them. Who would want to be a Thirty-second-degree Mason, or the top Oddfellow? Who, by extension, would want to be President of the United States? And my Harvard education, acquired in the mauve afternoon of modernism, amid Eliotic shades of irony and fastidious ennui, strengthened my impression that political concern was vapid and played small part in the civilized life. That, perhaps, was what angered me most about Vietnam; it made it impossible to ignore politics, to cultivate serenely my garden of private life and printed artifact. These butterfingered Washington fat cats in their three-hundred-dollar suits had dropped us all into a mess of blood and shame and frustration and embarrassment, and here I was, stuck with defending them.


    Was I conservative? I hadn't thought so, but I did come from what I could begin to see was a conservative part of the country. Conservative in dress, in mores, in attitudes. The Germans of Berks County didn't move on, like the typical Scots-Irish frontier-seeking American. They stayed put, farming the same valleys and being buried in the same graveyards, one generation after another. Before the Germans came to Southeastern Pennsylvania, there had been the Quakers, and these, too, were conservative, thrifty, accumulative, suspicious of all but inner revolutions. The cautious spirit of Ben Franklin's maxims still lived in the air. A penny saved is a penny earned; willful waste makes woeful want; a fool and his money are soon parted: my grandfather quoted these often, as inherited wisdom to be passed on. My father's bitter economic experience supplied some darker maxims. Another day, another dollar. Dog eat dog. You don't get something for nothing. I had been reared in the static, defensive world of the Depression, to which the world war added a coloring of embattlement and patriotic pride.


    At the height of the Vietnam troubles, in the late 60's, my wife and children in loving exasperation gave me for Christmas a large American flag. I was, as an American Protestant, the beneficiary of a number of revolts—Luther's, which dumped the Pope; Cromwell's, which dumped the monarchy; and Sam Adams's, which dumped the British—and saw no need for any more. I was, furthermore, a Christian, and Christ said, "Render under Caesar those things which are Caesar's." I was, by upbringing, a Lutheran, and Luther had told the "murdering and thieving hordes" ("die räuberishchen und mörderischen Rotten") of rebellious peasants to cease their radical turmoil and submit to their Christian princes. Faith alone, faith without any false support of works, justified the Lutheran believer and distinguished him from the Catholic and Calvinist believer. In all varieties of Christian faith resides a certain contempt for the world and for attempts to locate salvation and perfection here. The world is fallen, and in a fallen world animals, men, and nations make space for themselves through a willingness to fight. Christ beat up the money-changers in the temple, and came not to bring peace, he distinctly said, but a sword.


    My thoughts ran as follows. Peace depends upon the threat of violence. The threat cannot always be idle. Privately and in the aggregate, we walk through life with chips on our shoulder, and when the chip is knocked off, we must fight. "You must fight," none other than a Russian had told me, in late 1964, in the Soviet Union, concerning Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh had knocked off our shoulder the chip that Dulles and Eisenhower and the SEATO treaty had placed there. We had tried to subvert the North, we had tried to train and arm ARVN so it could defend the South, and neither had worked. We had to fight, though it meant pitting ourselves, with our white faces, against the other guy's nationalism, halfway around the world, and picking up all the bad checks the French had scattered about in a century of conspicuously ruthless colonialism. It was all very well for civilized little countries like Sweden and Canada to tut-tut in the shade of our nuclear umbrella and welcome our deserters and draft evaders, but the United States had nobody to hide behind. Credibility must be maintained. Power is a dirty business, but who ever said it wasn't? In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna told Arjuna, "Therefore you must fight. . . . Freedom from activity is never achieved by abstaining from action. . . . The world is imprisoned in its own activity, except when actions are performed as worship of God." The Vietnam war—or any war—is "wrong," but in the sense that existence itself is wrong. To be alive is to be a killer; and though the Jains try to hide this by wearing gauze masks to avoid inhaling insects, and the antiabortionists by picketing hospitals, and peace activists by lying down in front of ammunition trains, there is really no hiding what every meal we eat juicily demonstrates. Peace is not something we are entitled to but an illusory respite we earn. On both the personal and national level, islands of truce created by balances of terror and potential violence are the best we can hope for. Pacifism is a luxury a generous country can allow a small minority of its members, but the pacifism invoked in the anti-Vietnam protest was hypocritical and spurious. Under the banner of a peace movement, rather, war was being waged by a privileged few upon the administration and the American majority that had elected it.


    All I wanted from the doves around me was the admission that we had been led into the Vietnam mire plausible step by step, that the mire was U.S., us. A dark Augustinian idea lurked within my tangled position: a plea that Vietnam—this wretched unfashionable war led by clumsy Presidents from the West and fought by the nineteen-year-old sons of the poor—could not be disowned by a favored enlightened few hiding behind college deferments, fleeing to chaste cool countries, snootily pouring pig blood into draft files, writing unctuous peacenik Notes and Comments, and otherwise pretending that our great nation hadn't had bloody hands from the start, that every generation didn't have its war, that bloody hands didn't go with having hands at all. A plea, in short, for the doctrine of Original Sin and its obscure consolations. "In Adam's Fall/We sinned all," began that seminal American text, the New England Primer. New England had moved beyond this, and took a quite silly pride, I thought, in its haughty old disavowal of the Mexican-American War.


    Two other factors, it occurred to me at the time, inhibited me from taking the handy dove position. I had been to Russia, and I had not served in Korea, which had been my generation's war to fight. I had hid out at Harvard, and then had not even gone into the peacetime army. I felt guilty at being 4-F, all the more guilty for being glad at the time, and hustling ahead with my career in those two years that I should have spent in barracks and canteens and the kind of boring clerical work that Philip Roth in his fiction has inflicted on Zuckerman. I would never know what I had missed, and read Roth's fictional versions of his army tour with envious interest. If Roth in person said, as he did, that the generals and presidential advisers knew no more about Vietnam and its alleged strategic importance than we did, he had earned the privilege of dissent, it seemed to me, in a way I hadn't. He had paid his dues. If Norman Mailer wanted to march in Washington and be briefly jailed and then write a funny, inflated, shrewd, skewed, pop-apocalyptic account of it, he, too, had earned the right, risking his life in the South Pacific against the fanatic Japanese while I, for my heroic part, was flattening tin cans in my grandfather's chicken house. If Kurt Vonnegut, having survived capture by the Germans and the Allies' firebombing of Dresden, wanted to fulminate in his woolly way against the powers that be, more power to him; he had paid a fair price for his skepticism and indignation. I had paid no such price; in fact, I had had a fine peaceful time being an American male in the middle of the 20th century. Defending the war (or, rather, disputing the attackers of it) was perhaps my odd way of serving, of showing loyalty to a country that had kept its hackneyed promises—life, liberty, pursuit of happiness—to me. When asked, in 1964, to go to the Soviet Union for a month as part of a cultural-exchange program, I consented partly because this would constitute a small patriotic service, a wearing abroad, at last, of my country's colors.


    The month was an eye-opener: I liked the warmhearted, boisterous, mischievous, many-layered Russians, not only my celebrated contemporaries and literary peers (who shouldered a burden of fame and expectation and watchfulness far greater than any my own nation imposed on its living writers) but the party officials with their gold teeth and steel smiles and iron stomachs and the shy students reaching out with Oxford-accented English and the insolent languid sloe-eyed shopgirls behind their piles of fur and amber and the utterly bald barber who tapped the top of my skull and grunted out the English words "This haircut"—meaning one I had had in Ipswich, six weeks before—"no good." I was thirty-two and showed a stamina and capacity for alcohol and blarney that surprised me, and a gift (my submissive Lutheran heritage, again) for "going along" with things. I had gone along at Shillington High School, I had gone along at Harvard, I could go along here. The Russian system, the few gears of it that engaged me, gave me no pain; the most oppressed people I saw were the tiny, grandmotherly attendants in the opera-house checkrooms, literally tottering as they hauled back and forth mountains of ponderous winter coats. Any system, in place, has a certain logic of inertia and quotidian practicality arguing for it; my Soviet escorts and hosts, being at home, were more appealing than the embassy Americans, who in their pinstripes and horn rims had the absurdity of interlopers. I did what I was asked to do, and dutifully tried to be a good guest of the Soviet state.


    And yet I came away from that month, and the two subsequent weeks in the Eastern-bloc countries Bulgaria, Rumania, and Czechoslovakia, with a hardened antipathy to Communism. The difference between our empires was not, as many were beginning to say, and were to say louder and louder during the impending Vietnam years, six of one and a half-dozen of the other. It was more like eleven of one and one of the other. Ours was the distinctly better mousetrap.


    What made me think so? Was it the glittering display of luxury goods and all the spandy-new runway equipment in the Zurich airport? After my weeks of quaint Communist drabness, Swiss efficiency and prosperity looked like a science-fiction movie. Or was it the little leaks of fear that would show while I was in Communist countries, the spurts of steam betraying the underlying pressure—suddenly impassive expressions, quick lapses into French to evade the eavesdropping walls, a burst of real, scurrying terror from my escort when it appeared I had lost my passport? I had never before been in countries where people were afraid of their own government—where everything, in a sense, every motion of the mind and heart and pen, was politics. And there was something bullyingly egocentric about my admirable Soviet friends, a preoccupation with their own tortured situations that shut out all light from beyond. They were like residents of a planet so heavy that even their gazes were sucked back into its dark center. Arthur Miller, no reactionary, said it best when, a few years later, he and I and some other Americans riding the cultural-exchange bandwagon had entertained, in New York or Connecticut, several visiting Soviet colleagues. The encounter was handsomely catered, the dialogue was loud and lively, the will toward friendship was earnest and in its way intoxicating, but upon our ebullient guests' departure Miller looked at me and said sighingly, "Jesus, don't they make you glad you're an American?"


    I was glad, and resented having my native land, with its treasure of natural resources and enlightened institutions and hopeful immigrant peoples, being described as Amerika. The peace movement's branding our government with a swastika seemed to me insanely blasphemous and itself totalitarian. The United States of my pre-pubescent years had been many-sidedly, all-involvingly at war, and I saw no atrocity in its continuing to possess an army and a military-industrial complex. Our soldiers in Vietnam seemed no more misplaced than our heroes in the island-hopping campaign against the Japanese. In any case, it wasn't for me, a dermatological 4-F, to condemn a war other men were—if not enthusiastically, then stoically and stubbornly—fighting, and that our elected officials and their advisers found, from one administration to the next, essential to the national honor. In Sunday school, I had been much impressed by the passage where Peter denies Christ three times before the cock crows. My undovishness, like my battered and vestigial but unsurrendered Christianity, constituted a refusal to give up, to deny and disown, my deepest and most fruitful self, my Shillington self—dimes for war stamps, nickels for the Sunday-school collection, and grown-ups maintaining order so that I might be free to play with my cartoons and Big Little Books. I was grateful to be exempted from the dirty, dreary business of maintaining the overarching order, and felt that a silent non-protest was the least I in gratitude owed those who were not exempted.

  14. "In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna told Arjuna, "Therefore you must fight. . . . Freedom from activity is never achieved by abstaining from action. . . . The world is imprisoned in its own activity, except when actions are performed as worship of God." The Vietnam war—or any war—is "wrong," but in the sense that existence itself is wrong. To be alive is to be a killer; and though the Jains try to hide this by wearing gauze masks to avoid inhaling insects, and the antiabortionists by picketing hospitals, and peace activists by lying down in front of ammunition trains, there is really no hiding what every meal we eat juicily demonstrates. Peace is not something we are entitled to but an illusory respite we earn."




    * JANUARY 28, 2009, 5:03 P.M. ET


    On Not Being a Dove



    by John Updike


    In the summer of 1966 on Martha's Vineyard, where the mail was rendered sticky and soft by the damp salt air, as if permeated by a melting island unreality, I received a questionnaire from some British editors asking—in the manner of a book compiled, thirty years before, of opinions on the Spanish Civil War—"Are you for, or against, the intervention of the United States in Vietnam?" and "How, in your opinion, should the conflict in Vietnam be resolved?" Had the questions arrived on the mainland, where I had so much else to do, I would probably have left them unanswered: but in the mood of islanded leisure and seclusion that I had come to afford I sat down at my makeshift desk and typed out, with some irritation, this response:


    Like most Americans I am uncomfortable about our military adventure in South Vietnam; but in honesty I wonder how much of the discomfort has to do with its high cost, in lives and money, and how much with its moral legitimacy. I do not believe that the Vietcong and Ho Chi Minh have a moral edge over us, nor do I believe that great powers can always avoid using their power. I am for our intervention if it does some good—specifically, if it enables the people of South Vietnam to seek their own political future. It is absurd to suggest that a village in the grip of guerrillas has freely chosen, or that we owe it to history to bow before a wave of the future engineered by terrorists. The crying need is for genuine elections whereby the South Vietnamese can express their will. If their will is for Communism, we should pick up our chips and leave. Until such a will is expressed, and as long as no willingness to negotiate is shown by the other side, I do not see that we can abdicate our burdensome position in South Vietnam.

    My discomfort increased when the New York Times, in a story covering the publication of Authors Take Sides on Vietnam in England, gave my impromptu response a prominence it never hoped to have. I wrote this letter to the editor:


    I discover myself named, in the Times of September 18, as the lone American writer "unequivocally for" the United States intervention in Vietnam. How could anyone not be at least equivocal about an action so costly, so cruel in its details, so indecisive in its results? My statement, given in answer to an English questionnaire in August of 1966, says, "I am for our intervention if it does some good—specifically, if it enables the people of South Vietnam to seek their own political future." In the year that has passed, reasons accumulate to doubt that it is doing enough good. The bombing of the North seems futile as well as brutal and should be stopped. Our massive military presence may be crushing the South Vietnamese initiative it is supposed to encourage. The abundance of terror and coercion on all sides, as far as an American newspaper reader can tell, severely diminishes the significance of that trusted instrument, popular election. No doubt the history of our involvement in this land includes unscrupulousness and stupidity; no doubt the Vietcong feeds upon actual discontent and injustice. I suspect the point is approaching, as for Spain in 1939, when peace at any price, even under a tyranny, is preferable to a continuing struggle. These—presented with consciousness of ignorance, by one too old for military service, and whose sons are too young—are my present feelings: these, plus the, I think, general dismay at the huge waste of material resources, the growing cost in lives, and the unaccountable influence of our party politics upon decisions vindicated in human blood.



    I differ, perhaps, from my unanimously dovish confrères in crediting the Johnson administration with good faith and some good sense. Anyone not a rigorous pacifist must at least consider the argument that this war, evil as it is, is the lesser of available evils, intended to forestall worse wars. I am not sure that this is true, but I assume that this is the reasoning of those who prosecute it, rather than the maintenance of business prosperity or the President's crazed stubbornness. I feel in the dove arguments as presented to me too much aesthetic distaste for the President, even when not lifted to the paranoid heights of MacBird; even the best of the negative accounts of our operations in South Vietnam, such as Mary McCarthy's vivid reports or 's account of the destruction of Ben Sue, too much rely upon satirical descriptions of American officers and the grotesqueries of cultural superimposition. The protest seems too reflexive, too Pop; I find the statements, printed with mine, of Jules Feiffer and Norman Mailer, frivolous. Like W.H. Auden, I would hope, the sooner the better, for a "negotiated peace, to which the Vietcong will have to be a party," and, like him, feel that it is foolish to canvass writers upon political issues. Not only do our views, as he says, "have no more authority than those of any reasonably well-educated citizen," but in my own case at least I feel my professional need for freedom of speech and expression prejudices me toward a government whose constitution guarantees it. I recognize that what to me is essential may well be, to a peasant on the verge of starvation, an abstract luxury.

    My letter, long as it seems, actually went on for another page, which the Times cut, and in which I said, my wheels beginning to spin, that "I would enjoy being released from the responsibility of having an opinion on the Vietnam involvement" and "indeed, I would be glad to be freed of all the duties of living in a powerful modern state—while continuing to accept, of course, the benefits," but that "I cannot pretend to believe, though it would be convenient to do so, that our unilateral withdrawal from South Vietnam would serve the national interest or the cause of peace." I even had a concrete proposal:


    My one concrete proposal would be that President Johnson decline to run in 1968. That as a last service he terminate his life of valued service to the country, including five years in its highest office. Then, under a new President, of either party, insofar as our role in South Vietnam is the inevitable product of our world position, it will continue; insofar as it is the special result of self-perpetuating mistakes of the present leadership, it should cease.

    To dip into Authors Take Sides on Vietnam is to inhale the poisonous vapors of a murky and quarrelsome time. The responses by Mailer and Feiffer that I found frivolous run, in part, "The truth is, maybe we need a war. It may be the last of the tonics. From Lydia Pinkham to Vietnam in sixty years, or bust" (Mailer), and "The solution to the problem is so simple I'm amazed it hasn't occurred to anyone else. Lyndon Johnson should go on nationwide TV and say to the American people, 'Ah have goofed'" (Feiffer). I did not notice, twenty years ago, this gem of a cheering thought by James Purdy: "Vietnam is atrocious for the dead and maimed innocent, but it's probably sadder to be a live American with only the Madison Avenue glibbers for a homeland and a God."

    The Times to the contrary, I was not the only non-dove: James Michener, an old Asia hand, gave a lengthy geopolitical explanation, ranging from Thailand to Australia, as to why "I am driven by experience of the past and concern for the future to support my government's stand in Vietnam," and Marianne Moore in typical cadence responded, "It is short-sightedly irresponsible, I think, to permit Communist domination and acquiesce in the crushing of the weak by the strong. Can negotiation be imposed by force? Winston Churchill thought appeasement solved nothing." W.H. Auden wrote, sensibly as always:


    It goes without saying that war is an atrocious corrupting business, but it is dishonest of those who demand the immediate withdrawal of all American troops to pretend that their motives are purely humanitarian. They believe, rightly or wrongly, that it would be better if the Communists won. My answer to your question is, I suppose, that I believe a negotiated peace, to which the Vietcong will have to be a party, to be possible, but not yet, and that, therefore, American troops, alas, must stay in Vietnam until it is.

    There was a great deal of discussion, in those pages from 1966, of the global threat posed by China, and of the Vietcong: who could have foreseen that the Vietcong, what was left of it after the Tet offensive, would be brusquely ignored by the North Vietnamese in their successful conquest of the South, or that China would become an uneasy friend of the United States and an enemy of the consolidated, militant Vietnamese nation?

    My apologetic letter to the Times—blaming myself, as contritely as a victim of the Red Guards, for caring about freedom of speech—ended my public pronouncements on Vietnam. My usefulness as a sometime editorialist in the New Yorker's "Talk of the Town" came to an end some months later, with a brief "Notes and Comment" on President Johnson's surprise announcement in late March of 1968 that—just as I had proposed—he would not run again. My little piece praised his decision as


    a victory of imagination, for in one stroke he has added credibility to his search for peace, heightened the dignity of his office for the remainder of his term, and compelled the United States to take its electoral process seriously. The political stage, without him, seems rather thinly populated; and in the matter of Vietnam, the real alternatives may be more confining than we had imagined. Yet fresh opportunity and option have been created, and we can only be grateful for this unexpected gift.

    In a last-minute discussion, over the telephone, with the editor concerned, the part of the penultimate sentence following the semicolon was cut. "We can't go saying he might have been right after all" was the argument; I acquiesced—after all, these anonymous pieces spoke for the magazine, not me—and henceforth left "Notes and Comment" to other, more leftish, hands.

    It pained and embarrassed me to be out of step with my magazine and literary colleagues, with the bronzed and almost universally "antiwar" summer denizens of Martha's Vineyard (including Feiffer and the fiery Lillian Hellman), and with many of my dearest friends back home in Ipswich, including my wife. How had I come to such an awkward pass? In politics, my instinct had always been merely to stay out of harm's way. My home town of Shillington, Pennsylvania, was peaceably shared by both parties, and by honorable double inheritance I was a Democrat: my father, raised as a Republican, had become a Roosevelt Democrat when thrown out of work at the outset of the Depression, and my grandfather Hoyer was a kind of Jacksonian Democrat, rooted deep in the dark soil of old Pennsylvania politics, with its passion over tariffs and agrarianism. In his comfortable orotund manner Pop Hoyer would speak of the "business interests" and the "financiers" that occupied the sinister urban territory—steamy, malodorous Philadelphia and unspeakable New York—beyond Berks County's rural idyll. Nearby Reading had a Socialist mayor when I was a boy, and its society was pretty much divided between those who owned the factories and those who worked in them. The mill owners, in their Wyomissing mansions and behind their iron fences in Heidelberg Township, were legendary figures, inaccessible ogres of wealth in my small-town boy's sense of things, scarcely less grand and remote than Pittsburgh multimillionaires like the Andrews, Carnegie and Mellon, whose names meant as reverently much to my father as those of rock stars do to a contemporary teenager. Elsewhere, in the miles of tight row houses that composed the bulk of Reading and its suburbs, lived the rest of us—"the people."

    I was comfortable with being a Democrat. In my piping stammering voice I defended Roosevelt and Eleanor and Henry Wallace against my Republican peers at the elementary school, much as I competed in recess-time soccer tussles of the A's against the B's, or enlisted in the Philadelphia Avenue troops in mock-battles against the Second Streeters. A war was going on, and political differences, however shrill, were submerged in our common identity as young Americans doing our bit to withstand and defeat Hitler and Mussolini and Hirohito. The Republican party was understood to be that of the rich, or those small businessmen who, like our local barber Artie Hoyer, somehow identified with the rich; whereas the Democratic party was that of the common man, of the unrich. When I went to Harvard, my being a Democrat fit nicely into the liberal strain of establishment and undergraduate thinking: I sat in the Lowell House common room amidst a sardonic crowd loudly watching Nixon's televised Checkers speech (that strained piety! that lugubrious appeal to Pat's "good Republican cloth coat"!) and with my Unitarian, tennis-sneakered, pony-tailed girlfriend carried placards for Stevenson in front of a Cambridge polling place in 1952. There was a small scarcely noticed difference, however, between the Harvard-Radcliffe Democrats and myself which was to emerge in the Vietnam years: they, Unitarian or Episcopalian or Jewish, supported Roosevelt and Truman and Stevenson out of enlightenment, de haut en bas, whereas in my heart of hearts, I, however veneered with an education and button-down shirts, was de bas. They, secure in the upper-middle class, were Democrats out of human sympathy and humanitarian largesse, because this was the party that helped the poor. Our family had simply been poor, and voted Democrat out of crude self-interest.

    I first voted, pulling the Democrat lever, in New York City, in 1956; naively I thought Stevenson might actually beat Ike this second time around. In 1960, transposed to Massachusetts, I was happy to vote with most of my fellow Bay Staters for our young native son, Jack Kennedy. And in 1964 I went to considerable trouble to vote inside the Soviet Union, casting at the American embassy in Moscow my absentee ballot for Lyndon Johnson and against that warmonger Barry Goldwater; my peaceloving Russian hosts were as relieved as I at the Johnson landslide. One source of my sense of grievance against the peace movement when it came was that I hadn't voted for any of its figures—not for Abbie Hoffman or Father Daniel Berrigan or Reverend William Sloane Coffin or or Lillian Hellman or Joan Baez or Jane Fonda or Jerry Rubin or Doctor Spock or Eugene McCarthy. I had voted for Lyndon Johnson, and thus had earned my American right not to make a political decision for another four years. If he and his advisers (transferred intact, most of them, from Kennedy's Camelot) had somehow got us into this mess, they would somehow get us out, and it was a citizen's plain duty to hold his breath and hope for the best, not parade around full of pious unction and crocodile tears and power hunger and supercilious rage.

    The protest, from my perspective, was in large part a snobbish dismissal of Johnson by the Eastern establishment; Cambridge professors and Manhattan lawyers and their guitar-strumming children thought they could run the country and the world better than this lugubrious bohunk from Texas. These privileged members of a privileged nation believed that their pleasant position could be maintained without anything visibly ugly happening in the world. They were full of aesthetic disdain for their own defenders, the business-suited hirelings drearily pondering geopolitics and its bloody necessities down in Washington. The protesters were spitting on the cops who were trying to keep their property—the USA and its many amenities—intact. A common report in this riotous era was of slum-dwellers throwing rocks and bottles at the firemen come to put out fires; the peace marchers, the upper-middle-class housewives pushing baby carriages along in candlelit processions, seemed to me to be behaving identically, without the excuse of being slum-dwellers.

    It was hard to explain my indignation, even to myself. The peace movement's predecessor and progenitor, the civil-rights movement, had posed no emotional problem. I had been proud, really, of my wife's going off to march in Selma, coming back with sore feet and a slight tan and stories of transracial sexual overtures (rebuffed, I was assured). Feverish with a cold, I marched with her in a large, singing, well-meaning crowd from Roxbury to the Boston Common one raw damp day, braving pneumonia in the process, and we were charter members of the local Fair Housing Committee, founded on the rumor that a black family had been finagled out of an Ipswich house they were on the verge of buying. I went to meetings and contributed to the NAACP and even lent a black we slightly knew some money that he never repaid—I was all for people getting a break, if the expense to me wasn't inordinate.

    By my mid-thirties, cunningly combining diligence and daring, I had arrived at a lifestyle we might call genteel bohemian: nice old house (broad floorboards, big fireplaces) rather diffidently furnished (Danish modern always coming unglued, Design Research sofa in need of cleaning, five-and-dime kitchenware, a smattering of auction antiques), walls occupied by semi-abstract canvases painted by the Mrs. and pine bookshelves hammered together by the Mr., scruffy backyard (uninhibited forsythia hedge, a rope swing hung from a dying elm, bare spots in the rough shape of a baseball diamond), four dusty but healthy children with Sunday bests at the backs of their closets, two cars, one of them a convertible, and, for dinner, lots of rice casseroles and California wine. To me, this was prosperity.

    At moments of suburban relaxation, in our circle of semi-bohemian homes, we smoked pot, wore dashikis and love beads, and frugged ourselves into a lather while the Beatles and Janis Joplin sang away on the hi-fi set. I was happy enough to lick the sugar of the counterculture; it was the pill of antiwar, anti-administration, "anti-imperialist" protest that I found oddly bitter. I was, perhaps, the most Vietnam-minded person I knew. Those who deplored the war fit what protesting they could into their suburban schedules and otherwise dismissed it with a gesture of automatic distaste; the technocrats of our acquaintance, the electronic engineers and stockbrokers and economics professors, tended to see the involvement as an administrative blunder, to which they could attach no passion. But I—I whose stock in trade as an American author included an intuition into the mass consciousness and an identification with our national fortunes—felt obliged to defend Johnson and Rusk and Rostow, and then Nixon and Kissinger, as they maneuvered, with many a solemn bluff and thunderous air raid, our quagmirish involvement and long extrication. My face would become hot, my voice high and tense and wildly stuttery; I could feel my heart race in a kind of panic whenever the subject came up, and my excitement threatened to suffocate me.

    Of all the contending parties with which it might have been possible to sympathize—the Vietcong in their tunnels, fighting off bombers with punji stakes; the North Vietnamese and the old Vietminh, condemned to fight war after war; Ho Chi Minh, with his innocent, lifted-eyebrows expression and saintly white goatee; the napalmed children; the defoliated trees and poisoned rice paddies; the self-immolating Buddhist monks; the American soldiers, derided and mocked at home and surrounded by inscrutable, implacably hostile villagers in Vietnam—I felt compelled to identify with the American administrations and to a lesser extent with those South Vietnamese, from Diem and Ky and Thieu down to the village chiefs buried alive and otherwise gruesomely assassinated, who were trying to run a non-Communist country. Gorge-deep principles of fairness and order were at issue; it greatly distressed me, for example—it wasn't fair—that American liberals could so blithely disown what was clearly a typically and historically liberal cause, foreign intervention against a Communist bully. Carl Oglesby, addressing the SDS at a Washington rally in 1965, said it clearly:


    The original commitment in Vietnam was made by President Truman, a mainstream liberal. It was seconded by President Eisenhower, a moderate liberal. It was intensified by the late President Kennedy, a flaming liberal. Think of the men who now engineer the war—those who study the maps, give the commands, push the buttons and tally the dead: Bundy, McNamara, Lodge, Goldberg, and the President himself. They are not moral monsters. They are all honorable men. They are all liberals.


  15. Eat Less, Remember More?


    By Rachel Zelkowitz


    ScienceNOW Daily News

    27 January 2009

    Did Grandma seem forgetful at the holiday parties last month? It could be time to put her on a diet. Sharply reducing calories improves memory in older adults, according to one of the first studies of dietary restriction and cognitive function in humans. Research on the benefits of an extremely low-calorie diet stretches back to the 1930s, when scientists found that rats lived up to twice as long when they nibbled less than control animals. Since then, some studies with rodents and nonhuman primates have shown that this spare diet, known as calorie restriction, improves some markers of diabetes and heart disease, such as blood glucose and triglyceride levels, and possibly prevents neurological declines similar to those seen with Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. In humans, however, the results have been mixed. Subjects on low-calorie diets generally have lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels than their chow-happy counterparts. But these studies were small, and none was designed to test how calorie restriction might affect cognitive performance.

    To fill that void, neurologist Agnes Flöel and her colleagues at the University of Muenster in Germany recruited 50 healthy elderly subjects. The average volunteer was 60 years old and overweight, with a body mass index of 28. The researchers randomly assigned the volunteers to one of three groups. Twenty people were instructed to reduce their daily calorie intake by 30%, while still eating a balanced diet of nutrient-rich carbohydrates, fats, and lean proteins. Another 20 were told to keep their caloric intake the same but increase their consumption of unsaturated fatty acids, such as those found in salmon or olive oil. (Previous studies have linked a diet rich in these fats to improved cognition.) The remaining 10 volunteers did not change their diets.

    After 3 months, all of the volunteers took a memory test in which they were shown 15 words and asked how many they could remember after 30 minutes. On average, those in the calorie-restriction group showed a 20% improvement over their baseline memory scores taken before they started their diets. Subjects in the other two groups showed little or no improvement, the researchers report online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Our study only provides some of the first evidence on the impact of [calorie restriction] on memory in the elderly, but this study has to be followed up now," Flöel wrote in an e-mail to Science. Her team plans to conduct larger studies to determine exactly how calorie restriction enhances memory.

    Neuroscientist Laura Dugan of University of California, San Diego, cautions that subjects in the study were overweight at the outset, so their memory improvement could have come from returning to a healthier body weight rather than from simple calorie restriction. Being overweight can cause sleep apnea, for example, which could interfere with cognitive function. But Giulio Pasinetti, a neuroscientist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, praises the study as the first controlled test of calorie restriction and memory. "The most important message is that moderation in lifestyle--dietary lifestyle--is probably beneficial for our mental activities," he says.

  16. "The cries of the security guards and Paloma alerted the neighbours who rushed down and took Paloma to the Bhaktivedanta Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries on admission."


    Indian Express > Mumbai >

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    <!-- Sub Menus container. Do not remove --> Call centre employee stabbed to death

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    Express Astrology Know what's in the stars for you

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    <!--print start --> Express news service Posted: Jan 28, 2009 at 1629 hrs IST



    Mumbai : A 25 year old call centre employee was stabbed to death by her boyfriend in the early hours of Wednesday at Mumbai's Mira Road.


    Paloma Fernandez, who stayed alone in an apartment at Mira Road, was stabbed after she returned to the apartment after a night shift. The boyfriend, identified as Aquinas Martis (22) subsequently stabbed himself in the abdomen and is undergoing treatment.

    Though Fernandez succumbed to her injuries on her way to hospital, Aquinas has been admitted to the Bhagwati hospital in Borivali. According to the police, Paloma's debit card had been missing for the last few days and she had accused Aquinas, who was unemployed, of stealing it, leading to a fight between the two.


    According to the Mira Road police station, where a case of murder has been registered against Aquinas, Paloma had come home from her shift early Wednesday morning and was being escorted to her ground floor flat in Rashmi Hetal Co-op Housing Society, when Aquinas, who stays in a different building in the same complex came out of his hiding place on the parapet above the ground floor entrance and assaulted Paloma with a small kitchen knife.


    Shailendra Singh, one of the security guards who had come to escort Paloma to her apartment also got injured when he tried to intervene and Aquinas bit him on his index finger. Senior Police Inspector Mukund Mahajan from the Mira Road police station said, "From the statement that Singh and the other guard, Mohan Yadav have given us, after stabbing Paloma in the chest, Aquinas who had chased the injured Paloma out of the building, also stabbed himself in the stomach. The cries of the security guards and Paloma alerted the neighbours who rushed down and took Paloma to the Bhakti Vedanta Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries on admission. Aquinas is undergoing treatment at Bhagwati Hospital."

  17. Bhagavad Gita as It is Sloka and Translation

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  18. Holy Days


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    </td> </tr> </tbody></table> Dipanita Nath



    Posted: Jan 28, 2009 at 0035 hrs ISTIndia’s first sacred arts festival is set to prove that religion is a great unifier What Do Raas Leela performers have in common with a Sufi group from Syria? “The same that native Americans have in common with Africans. Their sacred dances are held in a circle,” says Preminder Singh of The Attic, a Delhi-based arts organisation.

    Even as religion acquires a divisive characteristic across the world, India’s first International Festival of Sacred Arts, being organised by The Attic in February, is set to showcase music, dances and art of religions from across the world. “Sacred art often begins where religion ends, so that the final effect is spiritual upliftment rather than a fanatic zeal,” adds Singh.

    On most days, the festival will superimpose an Indian art form with an international one. While Indian faith will be represented by Baul singers from Bengal, Raas Leela dancers from Manipur, Bharatanatyam dancer Rama Vaidyanathan, Hindustani classical performers like Madhup Mudgal and a group of Buddhist nuns from Ladakh, the international contingent comprises, among others, throat singers from Tuva in Central Asia and a gospel singer from the US, “who wants to use her India visit to also explore the traditions of the Hare Krishna movement”.

    From the heart of Burkina Faso in Africa, come 10 Djembe drummers who bring with them “sounds from the 13th Century Mandingue Empire,” says Olivier Tarpaga, artistic director of the Dafra Drum Ensemble. These drummers represent the griot tradition — a means of transmitting messages peacefully. “The name Djembe translates into gathering people in peace. Our drums are still used for celebration and healing.”

    Singh, however, is keen on the Al-Kindi Ensemble, a Sufi trance group from Aleppo in Syria, and a folk choir called Cosmic Voices from Bulgaria. “The former is unlike the Sufi performers from India in their kind of music as well as the plethora of mid-eastern instruments,” he explains. Cosmic Voices fits in the Delhi sojourn between visits to festivals across Europe. Admitting that they are delighted to be in India, Kiril Zdravkov of the group says they want to take the sound of the Balkans far and wide. “The 18 female singers in the choir are chosen carefully from across Bulgaria,” says Zdravkov. The group’s visit is significant in the light of Bulgaria’s chequered religious history — from orthodox Christianity to Islam to communism in the 20th century.

    The main performances will be preceded by chanting from Buddhist, Christian, Jeweish and Hindu traditions, as well the drawing of a sand mandala by Tibetan monks. While the festival will be a powerful symbol of unity, the ultimate example of assimilation would be the Yogadance theater contemporary dance piece by Soraya Franco of Asanarte. She will be accompanied by a troupe comprising performers from the Dominican Republic, Croatia, Costa Rica, Honduras and India. “Yoga knows no religion and our piece uses yoga moves with classical Indian dances to create a holistic experience,” says Franco.

    The festival will be held from February 14-25 at various venues across the city. Contact: 23746050

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  19. January 27, 2009



    Foods for mind, mantra chanting and peace of mind



    Category: Religion — Prem Baveja —



    “If you perform Maha Mantra Kirtan incessantly God will definitely appear before you one day.”

    In this Kali Yuga, we do mistakes with or without our knowledge. Though I chant the Maha Mantra, having committed so many mistakes in my daily life, I feel ashamed to stand before God and seek for his blessings the next time. What should I do?

    Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

    It is a common for everybody in this world to commit mistakes. Especially the current yuga is notorious enough to compel you to commit mistakes. At the same time, this is not to encourage you to commit mistakes. It is not a grave sin as long as the mistakes are because of the fact that you are unable to control your senses. Chant the Maha Mantra without the feeling of guilt. As you chant it continuously, it will slowly bring a transformation in you even without your knowledge.



    A person’s bad temper is reflected in his words – he throws tantrums. Likewise, God’s anger is reflected as the natural calamities – drought, flood, earthquake and so on.

    If we know the cause of the person’s anger, it is easy to pacify him. Likewise, to pacify God, all that is needed of us is Mahamantra Kirtan.”

    If life is a series of experiences based on our karma, where is the doer ship for anybody?

    Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

    That is true. It is ideal not to have the sense of doership at all. However we forget this very fact due to the veil of Maya and we tend to attach the sense of ownership to each and every act and each and every thing in our life, every moment of our life. That is the reason for all the sufferings. The true realization and experience of this fact will dawn only by the grace of God, which can be invoked easily through chanting the Mahamantra.


    “As wind removes the cloud, so the Name of God destroys the cloud of worldliness”


    What is ‘Pirtru Dosha’? If one does not perform Pitru Karmas to his ancestors, how can it be compensated? How are such sins atoned?

    Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

    If one fails to remember and honor properly the ancestors of his family, he is subjected to sins. This is ‘Pitru Dosha’. In the current age, it is difficult to perform Pitru Karmas as prescribed in the Shastras. The easiest compensation and atonement to such accrued sins is the Chanting of Maha Mantra for two hours on their death anniversary and feeding the poor.


    “By uttering the word Vishnu or doing Sri Vishnu Nama Sankirtan one attains the highest state and there is no iota of doubt about this even if he/she does not follow any basic principles (dharmas) as given in Vedas/Smritis and always indulges in doing sins.”


    Do we have to educate people better in order to know more about the Lord? Does not education play a vital role in knowing the Absolute Truth?

    Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

    Education will help in developing the intellectual faculties in an individual. Intellect is good. But it is not enough. It is not at all possible to realize the Lord using your intellect. When the intellect tries harder and harder to find the Absolute Truth, and eventually gets tired and gives up, it is then that Lord Sri Krishna appears there.


    “The saints who had knowledge of the truth and were men of perception, prescribed singing of the glories for Lord Vasudeva in the various Shastras, as the only remedy for the maladies of Kali. Due to the evil tendencies of Kali even the scholars consider the recitation of the glory of the Divine Names as mere rhetoric and they lead an ostentatious life.”


    Long back, we unknowingly aborted a month-old baby. Later we realized that it was a utter bad decision. From that day we are feeling guilty conscious. Please help us.

    Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

    If you have done something unknowingly, and you also sincerely feel for it, then you can rest assured that the Lord has forgiven you. You don’t need to worry.

    If, you still fear that you will bear sins, the sooner you chant the Maha Mantra, all your sins will be wiped out. There is nothing to worry about it. I will vouch for it.


    “Occasions like house warming, engagement and marriage can be performed with just Nama Kirtan. No other ritual is necessary. We assure you that you will not incur God’s displeasure because you have foregone rituals. ”



    Who succeeds in life?

    Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

    The one who loves life succeeds in life.


    What is the surest way to know the Creator’s purpose for my role having been born as a human being?

    Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

    You have now started thinking ‘What is the purpose of my Creation.’ That is the very purpose of Lord’s Creation.


    What is the purpose of life?

    Sri Sri Swamiji:

    The true purpose of life is to realize the Supreme Self.


    Every birth has a purpose, how do I discover that purpose apart from the liberation of life. Kindly explain.

    Sri Sri Swamiji:

    Whatever you are doing right now will automatically take you to the very purpose of life. You need not set out to explicitly find that.


    Why is human life so painful? Is it because of Kali Yuga or because of our Karma?

    Sri Sri Swamiji:

    When a child is ill, the mother gives medicines to it. The child initially refuses to take the medicine owing to its bitterness. For a moment, the mother diverts the attention of the child through some play. Then again, the mother tries to feed the medicine. The mother will continue to do so, without giving up, until the child takes the medicine completely, wouldn’t she?

    In the same way, God gives us sufferings to realize that the state that you live in is not your true state. When the sufferings become unbearable, he distracts you by giving you a sigh of relief. However it continues to trouble you and will not leave you until you realize your true nature which is the Self. The simplest way towards this goal is by chanting the Mahamantra


    Who is God? Where is God?

    Sri Sri Swamiji:

    The absolute pure consciousness is God. He is within you and He is all-pervading; omnipresent. There are no two things in this world. He alone exists and no body else.


    Why has God created us?

    Sri Sri Swamiji:

    God has created us to find answer to that very question


    What is the secret of success in life?

    Sri Sri Swamiji:

    Staunch faith in God and chanting His Eternal Name together is the secret of success.


    I want to have a Sadguru - but Who? When? Where? Who should I choose as my Sadguru?

    Sri Sri Swamiji:

    The human life is said to be the greatest gift of God. In this life, getting the quest for God and the need for a Sadguru is indeed even more rare. When your quest is real, the Lord will automatically bless you with a Sadguru at the right moment. Until then, keep chanting the Mahamantra constantly, taking the Almighty as your Guru. You will soon be blessed with a guru.


    Chant the Mahamantra Nama kirtan :

    Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

  20. <!-- google_ad_section_start --> Goa: Favourite destination for Russians


    Russian tourists' fascination for Goa does not start and end at the sun-kissed silvery sands of Goa beaches, but extends much beyond that. Notwithstanding the language barrier, Russians and Indians have forged new ties and openings..


    A COUPLE of days back the red carpet was rolled out to Russian film actors, directors and delegates at the India International Film Festival (IFFI) which is being held in the Indian state of Goa, in its capital city of Panjim. On Tuesday, yet another group of Russians had a different experience - a brush with the law enforcing agencies, in another city Mapusa. The Hare Krishna disciplines from Russia got into a scuffle with the local police and eight of them have been booked for rioting and assault on the men in khaki, while two of them were assaulted by the local mob. Goa’s USB has been tourism for the last several decades after it was liberated from Portuguese rule in 1961. The state has become a home away from home to many Russians in the last few years. The incident is likely to be yet another bolt on the tourism front for the state, which has been trying to clear the muck created by the death of English teenager Scarlett Keeling on February, 2008, and the alleged rape of another German teenager by a Goa minister’s son recently.

    Russian tourists’ fascination for Goa does not start and end at the sun-kissed silvery sands of Goa beaches, but extends much beyond that. The foreign tourists who have bought large tracks of land in villages like Arambol and Morjim; some of them illegally.

    Their illegal acts have got them into several tangles with the law enforcing agencies. Some of the land deals are under scrutiny from the federal authorities for having contravene several laws. And Tuesday’s incident is one of the several incidents in the recent past where in the Russians have being trying to assert their dominance, albeit unsuccessfully in the state, a move which has brought them into a conflict with the locals.

    Russian land-sharks, who have infested Goa land-deals it is alleged, have also a pie in supplying Russian girls for the flesh trade in the country, some of whom operate in the state.

    But in the current global economic meltdown, the state tourism authorities are trying to entice the big spending rich Russians to the state and trying not to destroy the hen that lays the golden egg.

    The state has been experiencing a fall in tourists from United Kingdom, the market which Goa has relied on for long.

    On the brighter side, the blonde Russian girls are very much in demand as side dancers in the Hindi film industry. But some of them have been functioning as escorts for the rich Indian businessmen and providing them sexual services and working under the guise as models in the big Indian metros like Mumbai and Delhi.

    But the Russian love for Indian Hindi film can be found even in the golden era of film starring Raj Kapoor.

    If the Hindi films of late Raj Kapoor struck a special chord in the hearts of Russians, the resonance continues. The Russians now are visiting the Indian state of Goa as tourists and fun seekers, bent on enjoying the surf, sand and shopping. Young Indians, on the other hand, are in Moscow for a different challenge.

    Indian medical students Reshma Shetty, Edna Pinto and Rehmatullah Khan have written to India after completing their five-year-long academic programme. They hail from diverse backgrounds and from different states. Reshma is from the southern city of Bangalore and is all set to be a psychiatrist; Edna, from Goa, has set her sights on becoming an ear-nose-and-throat specialist and Rehmatullah is specialising in oncology.

    The trio, for their part, mastered Russian and have no trouble striking up a conversation. Reshma was cultural secretary of the Indian Students Organisation in Russia, and along with her colleagues, used to organise programmes highlighting Indian culture for Russian students.


    What surprises her is the fondness that the Russians in their 40s and 50s have for the late Indian film actor-director-producer Raj Kapoor. “Old Hindi films by Raj Kapoor that we can’t find in India are easily available in Russia. Dance-and-run Hindi films with Russian subtitles are popular in Russia.”


    Meet Paramahansa Singh Raj, who first landed in Russia some 10 years ago. He was one of the first groups of students who risked travel to the erstwhile Soviet Union after the restoration of capitalism, he is now working as tour guide in Goa after having given up on his medical studies midway.


    The first months were difficult for him, having to immerse himself in a four-month crash course in Russian. Then, exposure to a frigid climate for the first time hit him hard. Although he found the sight of snow enthralling, the October through February period was also difficult. This is also the time when schools and colleges have their winter break, closing from December 10 to February 10. Schools in Russia close down for a second break, from July 10 to August 31.


    Students coming to Russia to study medicine are generally those who have not qualified for a place in a government-run medical college back home. The only other option they have is the numerous private colleges that charge capitation fees and donations. The starting admission fee ranges from INR 500,000 to 600,000 and later fees can reach INR two million rupees.


    The Russia-India connection is not just one-way. With the Russian economy opening up, more and more Russians are traveling to India, with Goa as their favourite destination. And Alexander Sukhochyov is one of them, after three years of chilling in Goa, turned his experiences into a movie deal and later wrote a book. In his first novel ‘Goa Syndrome’ Sukhochyov wrote about the Russian colonisation of the tiny seaside village of Morjim.


    Once in Goa, the Russians are on the lookout for seafood and crabs, especially lobsters stuffed with small amounts of spices, not forgetting rice and the nans (breads). They also are fond of Goan fruits like mangoes and guavas, he says.


    In Goa, many beach-side restaurants post their signboards in English and Russian to attract patronage. Once inside, Russians can read from menus written in their language.


    Language is a major barrier for Russians, especially those in their late 30s and 40s trying to converse with the locals in Goa, but younger tourists speak fluent English. Their presence comes in handy for their older compatriots when shopping and in other venues.


    Being accompanied by a Russian tourist guide isn’t much help if he or she does not know English. Ultimately, they have to resort to sign language to get their message across when they go shopping.


    Once in Goa, the Russians, who party hard back home, do the same here and head for the numerous discos to rock and roll and sip Goan cashew feni. “The Russians want to experience more Goan and Indian folk music and folk dances performed by locals,” says Svetlana, a Russian tourist guide based in Goa.


    During the day, besides tanning in the sun, they splash in the sea and roar around on water scooters and motorboats.


    Russians shop compulsively and pump more dollars, not rubles, into the Indian economy, and stuff their travel bags with Indian jewellery, clothes, ornaments, incense and DVDs, which come relatively cheap compared with back home.

  21. Looks like hormone replacement therapy is getting out of control?


    ico010x010clock.gif Jan 26, 2009 11:04 pm US/Pacific

    Oh Baby! Mom Gives Birth To 8 Babies In 5 Minutes


    BELLFLOWER (CBS) ― <dl class="cbstv_article_images cbstv_img_border"> <dt> Octuplets_Bellflower_20090126.jpg </dt> <dd> Dr. Harold Henry and Dr. Karen E. Maples, both gynocologists at Kaiser Permanente in Bellflower, said that the eight babies were healthy and the mother was doing well. CBS

    Doctors say the next few days will be critical for eight babies born to a mother at a hospital in Bellflower. All are listed in stable condition.


    Their birth marked the second time in history live octuplets have been born.

    "Today we had an unprecedented, very exciting day in our operating room and labor delivery where our team of 46 physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists as well as surgical techs delivered eight babies, all live born," Dr. Karen Maples said at the Kaiser Permanente hospital. "It was a truly, truly amazing delivery. The babies are currently in stable condition."


    Kaiser spokeswoman Mayra Suarez said the birth began at 10:43 a.m., and the babies range from 1 pound 8 ounces to 3 pounds 4 ounces.</dd><dt>

    </dt><dt>Doctors said two of the babies, who were delivered by Caesarian section, have had breathing tubes inserted and were on ventilators, and a third needs some additional oxygen. But overall, the infants were crying and kicking and doing well.


    The mother was also doing well, doctors said. The mother has asked to remain anonymous and asked officials not to release detailed information about her care -- including whether she had been taking fertility drugs.


    "The delivery process went very smoothly," Dr. Harold Henry said. "We practiced several dry runs and the actual delivery process only took about five minutes to deliver all eight babies."


    Maples said the babies were delivered about nine weeks premature, and doctors were only anticipating seven of them.


    "In anticipation of seven babies, we made sure we were prepared by doing some drills, some preliminary dry runs to make sure we had everything in place for these seven babies," Maples said. "But lo and behold, after we got to Baby G, which is what we expected, we were surprised by the discovery of a Baby H, and that was the eighth baby that we delivered."


    Doctors said the first three to seven days are a critical time for such a mass, premature birth, but said the prognosis looked good for all of them. They also said it was not unusual for doctors to have been surprised by the eighth baby.


    "It is quite easy to miss a baby when you have seven," Henry said. "When you're anticipating seven, it is extremely difficult to perform an ultrasound."


    The first live-born octuplets, six girls and two boys, were born in Houston in 1998. One of the girls died after a week.


    The Kaiser Permanente doctors said they were still getting over the surprise of the octuplet birth.


    "It was a shock, especially with the eighth baby, my eyes were definitely wide," Maples said. "... And this patient was incredibly courageous, very strong, did all that we asked to ... have an optimal outcome for delivery. She was a marvelous patient." </dt></dl> (© 2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. . This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

    <dl class="cbstv_article_images cbstv_img_border"><dt>


  22. The Smarta sect is observing Bhisma Ekadasi on February 5 and the Vaishnava Sect on February 6?


    Ekadasi in February 2009


    Ekadashi is the eleventh day of a fortnight in a Hindu lunar calendar and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Upvaas or fasting on Ekadasi day is considered highly beneficial and is observed by a large number of Vishnu devotees. There are two Ekadashis in a lunar month. The dates of Ekadashi in February 2009 – February 6 and February 20.

    The Ekadasi on February 6, 2009 is known as Jaya Ekadashi. The Smarta sect is observing it on February 5 and the Vaishnava Sect on February 6. This Ekadasi is also known as Bhisma Ekadasi in South India. In Orissa, it is known as Bhoumi Ekadashi.

    The Ekadashi on February 20 is known as Vijaya Ekadasi. This Ekadasi is known as Pankoddhar Ekadashi in Orissa.

    The preparation for Ekadashi fasting begins on the Dasami day – the day before Ekadasi.

    On the Ekadasi day, devotees observe complete fast. The day is meant for hearing religious discourses and performing pujas.

    There are also devotees who do not observe total fast. They avoid grains especially rice and consume fruits, nuts and milk.

    The fasting comes to an end on the Dwadashi day with the consuming of food cooked in one’s house.


    Below it says, February - 6 FRIDAY




    Vaishnava Calendar 2008-2009, Gaurabda 522

    Bangalore, Karnataka, India

    February - 2 MONDAY

    Sri Advaita Acarya - Appearance - Fasting till noon


    February - 6 FRIDAY


    6:45 - 10:38 (Next Day )

    February - 7 SATURDAY

    Varaha Dvadasi: Appearance of Lord Varahadeva


    Appearance of Sri Nityananda Prabhu


    February - 14 SATURDAY

    Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura -- Appearance

    Fasting till Noon


    February - 21 SATURDAY


    6:39 - 10:35 (Next Day)


    - 7 SATURDAY


    6:32 - 10:31 (Next Day)


    - 11 WEDNESDAY


    **********FASTING TILL MOONRISE**********



  23. Saturday, January 24, 2009


    <!-- Begin .post --> Why do people recant Darwinism just before they die?


    I am really going to miss Richard John Neuhaus, who slipped away January 8 (1936-2008), quite unexpectedly. I got my February First Things earlier this week, knowing it was the last installment I would ever read of his "The Public Square," and especially of my favourite portion, "While We're At It," of which I am transcribing a bit for you below, a bit that is relevant to the intelligent design debate. And he is NOT an example of the problem I am commenting on here.


    I first became aware of Neuhaus when he was a Lutheran pastor (he subsequently became a Catholic priest), because he was one of the first people ever to write against the "population bomb" hoax, in 1971 - when that very hoax was hot stuff in what we today call the legacy media.


    Essentially, as Pamela Winnick has also pointed out, there was no population bomb. The rise of national government - which meant, among other things, the prohibition of local warfare, together with the worldwide spread of modern agriculture and medical techniques - simply meant that more people than ever before in history happen to be alive at the same time. This is an inevitable consequence of reducing child and young adult mortality. But inevitably then, birth rates begin to taper off. As Neuhaus recognized, there was unmistakable evidence that birth rates were already tapering off, even while editorialists were freaking out about the supposed "bomb."


    Anyway, without more ado, here are some of Neuhaus's comments on Ernst Haeckel, Darwin's devoted German disciple:


    Give a boy a hammer and he discovers the whole world needs hammering. Give an intellectual enthusiast a really big idea and he discovers it explains just about everything. Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) was such an enthusiast and, along with many others, his really big idea was Darwinism. He had no problem with being accused of worshiping Darwin and was an influential popularizer of his thought. A new biography of Haeckel,
    by Robert Richards, notes his prodigious productivity, including what he considered a central pillar of Darwin's theory - the idea that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. This means that in the first two months of development a human embryo can scarcely be distinguished the tailed embryo of a dog or other mammals. In other words, the embryo of a contemporary species goes through the same morphological changes in its development as its ancestors went through in their evolutionary descent. I have met people who still hold to Haeckel's theory and contend that an abortion only interrupts an evolutionary process, and we do not know what the embryo would have turned out to be at the end of its evolutionary development. Haeckel published a book with an illustration, juxtaposing three embryos (dog, chicken, and turtle) and pointing out, as evidence in support of Darwin's theory, that the three images were indistinguishable. A sharp-eye reviewer noted that they were indeed indistinguishable. The same woodcut had been printed three times. Haeckel's reputation never recovered. T.H. Huxley, "Darwin's Bulldog," wrote him a letter of consolation": "May your shadow never be less, and may all your enemies, unbelieving dogs who resist the Prophet of Evolution, be defiled by the sitting of jackasses upon their grandmother's graves!"

    Okay, so anyone who doubts Huxley, and presumably, current Darwin perpetrators, should have their grandmother's grave defaced? Okay. At least they are making it clear. If this is a fight they want, they will get it.


    Sadly, at one point, what Fr. Neuhaus writes is not strictly true. Haeckel's reputation totally recovered! He's part of the Darwin religion now. His beliefs about human embryos pioneered abortion legislation worldwide. (After a while, people began to acknowledge, of course, that abortion kills a human being, but - they now say- society is better off without the humans who merely punishtheir relatives by existing. That was after the abortion mob had confused the public by claiming that the human embryos were not human - as if anything could be more impossible in real science.)


    And while we are here, why do so many people recant Darwinism just before they die?


    In this world, today, isn't there some point at which guys with balls just push their way forward to say, "We know this is major crap and we will signhere to say so, and will fight for it?


    Well, all power to those guys, and I will do anything I can to help them.


    Hey, guys, do it. Do it for your kids. Don't your kids deserve a world in which we can know what is real and what isn't? Should your kids be listening to this or to something worthwhile? Think for a kid who wants to make it in science?


    For what it is worth, Richard Weikart had intended to call his magisterial book on the contribution of Darwinism to Nazism "From Haeckel to Hitler" but the publisher insisted on titling it, From Darwin to Hitler. The book is sobering, and much recommended, however titled.

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