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Posts posted by suchandra


    The mystery of the soma plant is a subject that intrigues me much. The exact identifaction has never been found, but i think it is safe to say that it had great spiritual value in its intoxicating effect.

    But the plant symbiosis has been long lost and the soma rituals are gone.

    This kind of saddens me because i belive we can learn alot from these sacred plants if restore the link between us and them, a link that has brought great spirituality to mankind.

    The interesting is that cermonies with religious use of hallucinogenic plants is seen all over the world.

    South America have widespread use of many diffrent plants, north american indians uses the mescaline containing cacti peyote, traces of plant use have been found allmost all over the world but the tradition is sadly weakened alot worldwide by the invasion of western culture and what that brings with it.

    We can conclude that plants have been used for a tool to communicate with the spirit world/higher levels of counciousness with great succes. And many lines can be drawn between the level of counciousness the shamans who ingest these reach and the levels great saints and enlightned masters have reached, the shamans of the amazon rainforest is is thought by the old shamans knowledge of the plants and the spirits of the forest, they shamans have powers like telepathy and healing powers as it is also seen among our hindu saints.


    The link below contains the story of a psylocibin mushrooms cermony with the great shaman Maria Sabina.

    www csp org/nicholas/A27.html

    And it seems like the early vedic religion also thought these types of plants might have played an important role in shaping the vedic tradition, but due to unkown factors and the strict secrecy the soma plant was treatet with the knowledge is lost in india.


    But do you accept plant use a way to evovle spiritualy? do you think that intoxication is a valid form of worship?


    This zen preist have some interesting stuff to say on the subject:

    www maps org/news-letter/v11n2/11243pal.html


    Prabhupada, Tokyo, January 28, 1975: "They are living for ten thousand years, and it is very cold there. Therefore they drink soma-rasa."

  2. <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="70%"><tbody><tr><td align="center" valign="top">einstein.jpg</td> <td valign="top" width="10">

    </td> <td valign="top"> Albert Einstein

    When I read the Bhagavad-gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.

    </td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="3" align="center" valign="top"> </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" valign="top">emerson.jpg</td> <td valign="top" width="10">

    </td> <td valign="top"> Ralph Waldo Emerson

    I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-gita. It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.

    </td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="3" align="center" valign="top"> </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" valign="top">sankara.jpg</td> <td valign="top" width="10">

    </td> <td valign="top"> Adi Shankara

    From a clear knowledge of the Bhagavad-gita all the goals of human existence become fulfilled. Bhagavad-gita is the manifest quintessence of all the teachings of the Vedic scriptures.

    </td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="3" align="center" valign="top"> </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" valign="top">thoreau.jpg</td> <td valign="top" width="10">

    </td> <td valign="top"> Henry David Thoreau

    In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita, in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial.

    </td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="3" align="center" valign="top"> </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" valign="top">gandhi.jpg</td> <td valign="top" width="10">

    </td> <td valign="top"> Mahatma Gandhi

    When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to Bhagavad-gita and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. Those who meditate on the Gita will derive fresh joy and new meanings from it every day.

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    </td> <td valign="top"> Jawaharlal Nehru

    The Bhagavad-gita deals essentially with the spiritual foundation of human existence. It is a call of action to meet the obligations and duties of life; yet keeping in view the spiritual nature and grander purpose of the universe.

    </td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="3" align="center" valign="top"> </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" valign="top">auro.jpg</td> <td valign="top" width="10">

    </td> <td valign="top"> Sri Aurobindo

    The Bhagavad-gita is a true scripture of the human race, a living creation rather than a book, with a new message for every age and a new meaning for every civilization.

    </td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="3" align="center" valign="top"> </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" valign="top">schweitzer.jpg</td> <td valign="top" width="10">

    </td> <td valign="top"> Dr. Albert Schweitzer

    The Bhagavad-gita has a profound influence on the spirit of mankind by its devotion to God which is manifested by actions.

    </td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="3" align="center" valign="top"> </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" valign="top">ramanuja.jpg</td> <td valign="top" width="10">

    </td> <td valign="top"> Ramanuja

    The Bhagavad-gita was spoken by Lord Krishna to reveal the science of devotion to God which is the essence of all spiritual knowledge. The Supreme Lord Krishna's primary purpose for descending and incarnating is to relieve the world of any demoniac and negative, undesirable influences that are opposed to spiritual development, yet simultaneously it is His incomparable intention to be perpetually within reach of all humanity.

    </td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="3" align="center" valign="top"> </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" valign="top">jung.jpg</td> <td valign="top" width="10">

    </td> <td valign="top"> Carl Jung

    The idea that man is like unto an inverted tree seems to have been current in by gone ages. The link with Vedic conceptions is provided by Plato in his Timaeus in which it states..." behold we are not an earthly but a heavenly plant." This correlation can be discerned by what Krishna expresses in chapter 15 of Bhagavad-gita.

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    </td> <td valign="top">Herman Hesse

    The marvel of the Bhagavad-gita is its truly beautiful revelation of life's wisdom which enables philosophy to blossom into religion. </td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="3" align="center" valign="top"> </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" valign="top">madhva.jpg</td> <td valign="top" width="10">

    </td> <td valign="top"> Madhvacarya

    The Mahabharata has all the essential ingredients necessary to evolve and protect humanity and that within it the Bhagavad-gita is the epitome of the Mahabharata just as ghee is the essence of milk and pollen is the essence of flowers.

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    </td> <td valign="top"> Rudolph Steiner

    In order to approach a creation as sublime as the Bhagavad-gita with full understanding it is necessary to attune our soul to it.

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    </td> <td valign="top"> Aldous Huxley

    The Bhagavad-gita is the most systematic statement of spiritual evolution of endowing value to mankind. It is one of the most clear and comprehensive summaries of perennial philosophy ever revealed; hence its enduring value is subject not only to India but to all of humanity.

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    </td> <td valign="top"> Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati

    The Bhagavad-gita is not separate from the Vaishnava philosophy and the Srimad Bhagavatam fully reveals the true import of this doctrine which is transmigration of the soul. On perusal of the first chapter of Bhagavad-gita one may think that they are advised to engage in warfare. When the second chapter has been read it can be clearly understood that knowledge of the soul is the ultimate goal to be attained. On studying the third chapter it is apparent that acts of righteousness are also of high priority. If we continue and patiently take the time to complete the Bhagavad-gita and try to ascertain the truth of its closing chapter we can see that the ultimate conclusion is to relinquish all the conceptualized ideas of religion which we possess and fully surrender directly unto the Supreme Lord.




    The Allies also blocked Nazi attempts to ransom Jews and calls to bomb the concentration camps, although factories five miles from Auschwitz were demolished in 1944.





    The Allies surely new about the concentration camps and knew about the railway lines leading to these places. Did they ever bomb those railway lines, no, never. Instead they bombed civilian targets in Ausschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald etc.

  4. <arttitle>To achieve, risk being unpopular</arttitle>


    18 Jan 2009, 2346 hrs IST, K Vijayaraghavan,


    It would, doubtless, be desirable for an iron hand within, to go with a velvet glove without. An evolved person would always retain for himself a toughness within, while through his endearing and enduring cheer and smile, he would also often endeavour to disarm even those who may have come to scorn.

    Nevertheless, in one’s unrelenting pursuit of the chosen vision, the aspirant would, in his eagerness to win friends and influence people, also divine where to draw the line, ensuring that his basic approach and values are not compromised, not ever becoming excessively pleasing or accommodative.


    In the same manner as Ayn Rand’s Howard Roark or Somerset Maugham’s Charles Strickland, he

    would, while willing to spare time for the worthy, certainly not hobnob with all and sundry.

    A simple analysis of great lives would reveal how most were characterised by virtues of self-respect and positive self-esteem, which may often have appeared to be arrogance or conceit.


    Indeed, being laws unto themselves, they cared little for conventional humility or morality, thus becoming unpopular and winning often more enemies than friends. In fact, excessive humility or that born of a sense of uncertainty and weakness within, as noted by Bertrand Russell, suppresses self-respect. Producing, more often than not, “hypocrisy and falsification of instinct”, this artificial approach hinders accomplishment.


    Thus a true seeker of excellence would, rather risk being unpopular or being branded as selfish or unreasonable. This tongue-in-check observation of Bernard Shaw is highly relevant in this regard: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”


    This essence of right living, thus, as noted by Ayn Rand, is, “living up to your highest vision of yourself, no matter what the circumstances you might encounter.” This art of true “enlightened selfishness” is also the practical working of the Bhagavad Gita concepts of atmanyeva atmana thustah (2,55) and atmaratih (3, 17), meaning respectively, “fulfilled in one’s self by one’s own self” and “delighting in oneself”.


    This also is the process that generates the supreme reward of antahsukah, antararamah, antarjyoti (5, 24) — inner joy, inner peace and inner light. This also is the Biblical concept of “the kingdom of God”, which according to the Book (Luke: 17, 21), is, verily, within us all!

  5. TANJUNG PUTING NATIONAL PARK, Indonesia – Hoping to unravel the mysteries of human origin, anthropologist Louis Leakey sent three young women to Africa and Asia to study our closest relatives: It was chimpanzees for Jane Goodall, mountain gorillas for Dian Fossey and the elusive, solitary orangutans for Birute Mary Galdikas.










    A female orangutan named Beki eats bananas at Tanjung Puting National Park on Borneo island, Indonesia, Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008. There are an estimated 60,000 orangutans left in the wild, mostly living in small and scattered populations that are unlikely to survive the onslaught on forests much longer, with an estimated 300 football fields of trees are cleared every hour.

    <cite id="captionCite"> (AP Photo/Irwin Fedriansyah)</cite>


    Nearly four decades later, 62-year-old Galdikas, the least famous of his "angels," is the only one still at it. And the red apes she studies in Indonesia are on the verge of extinction because forests are being clear-cut and burned to make way for lucrative palm oil plantations.

    Galdikas worries many questions may never be answered. How long do orangutans live in the wild? How far do the males roam? And how many mates do they have in their lifetime?

    "I try not to get depressed, I try not to get burned out," says the Canadian scientist, pulling a wide-rimmed jungle hat over her shoulder-length gray hair in Tanjung Puting National Park. She gently leans over to pick up a tiny orangutan, orphaned when his mother was caught raiding crops.

    "But when you get up in the air you start gasping in horror; there's nothing but palm oil in an area that used to be plush rain forest. Elsewhere, there's burned-out land, which now extends even within the borders of the park."

    The demand for palm oil is rising in the U.S. and Europe because it is touted as a "clean" alternative to fuel. Indonesia is the world's top producer of palm oil, and prices have jumped by almost 70 percent in the last year.

    But palm oil plantations devastate the forest and create a monoculture on the land, in which orangutans cannot survive. Over the years, Galdikas has fought off loggers, poachers and miners, but nothing has posed as great a threat to her "babies" as palm oil.

    There are only an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 orangutans left in the wild, 90 percent of them in Indonesia, said Serge Wich, a scientist at the Great Ape Trust of Iowa. Most live in small, scattered populations that cannot take the onslaught on the forests much longer.

    Trees are being cut at a rate of 300 football fields every hour. And massive land-clearing fires have turned the country into one of the top emitters of carbon.

    Tanjung Puting, which has 1,600 square miles, clings precariously to the southern tip of Borneo island. Its 6,000 orangutans — one of the two largest populations on the planet, together with the nearby Sebangau National Park — are less vulnerable to diseases and fires.

    That has allowed them, to a degree, to live and evolve as they have for millions of years.

    "I am not an alarmist," says Galdikas, speaking calmly but deliberately, her brow slightly furrowed. "But I would say, if nothing is done, orangutan populations outside of national parks have less than 10 years left."

    Even Tanjung Puting is not safe, in part because of a border dispute between the central government, which argues in favor of a 1996 map, and provincial officials, who are pushing for a much smaller 1977 map. If local officials win, the park could be slashed by up to 25 percent.

    Galdikas, of Lithuanian descent, was an anthropology student at the University of California in Los Angeles when she approached Leakey, a visiting lecturer, in 1969. She follows on the heels of Goodall, who today devotes virtually all of her time to advocacy for chimps, and Fossey, who was brutally murdered in her Rwandan hut in 1985.

    Two and a half years later, she and her then husband, Rod Brindamour, arrived in Tanjung Puting and settled into a primitive thatch hut in the heart of one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet, with millions of plant and animal species.

    Twice featured on the cover of National Geographic Magazine, she wrote an autobiography, "Reflections of Eden," describing how she fell in love with the sound of cicadas, and marveled at the sudden shifts of light that in an instant transformed drab greens and browns into translucent shades of emerald.

    Her first challenge was simply finding the well-camouflaged orangutans in 100-foot-high trees. But eventually she was able to track them, sometimes for several weeks at a time.

    She discovered that female orangutans give birth when they are around 15 and then only once every eight or nine years, making them especially vulnerable to extinction. They also have one of the most intense maternal-offspring relationships of all mammals, remaining inseparable for the first seven or eight years.

    While orangutans are at first very gregarious, as adults they live largely solitary lives, foraging for fruit or sleeping. Orangutan" means "man of the forest."

    One of her main projects today is her rehabilitation center in a village outside Tanjung Puting, overflowing with more than 300 animals orphaned when their mothers were killed by palm oil plantation workers.

    With forests disappearing, the red apes raid crops, grabbing freshly planted shoots from the fields.

    "Many come in very badly wounded, suffering from malnutrition, psychological and emotional and even physical trauma," says Galdikas, as she watches members of her staff prepare six young orangutans for release one overcast Saturday afternoon.

    It is a three-hour journey along bumpy roads to the release site. By the time they arrive, it is raining and the last gray light is feebly pushing its way through the deep canopy of trees.

    After years of being cared for, fed and taught the ways of the woods, the young orangutans scramble nimbly to the tops of trees. Branches snap as they make their nests for the night.

    "It is getting harder and harder to find good, safe forest in which to free them," says Galdikas, who today spends half her time in Indonesia and most of the rest teaching at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

    Forestry Minister Malem Kaban says the government is committed to protecting Indonesia's dense, primary forests and that no permit should be granted within a half-mile of a national park. Even so, one palm oil company has started clearing trees within Tanjung Puting's northern perimeter, leaving a wasteland of churned-up peat and charred trunks. Four others are seeking concessions along its eastern edge.

    Derom Bangun, executive chairman of the Indonesian Palm Oil Association, says while his 300 members have vowed to stay clear of national parks, others have been known to operate within areas that should be off-limits. Sometimes it is not their fault, he notes, pointing to the need for better coordination between central and local government on border issues.

    Galdikas, a passionate field researcher, says one of her great regrets is that she does not share Goodall's skills in raising awareness and funds for the great apes. But she is happy Tanjung Puting has over the years grown into a popular tourist destination. She says there's no better advertisement for conservation than being in a rain forest.

    Some visitors are even lucky enough to come face to face with an orangutan on a slippery jungle trail.

    "As he passes you, you nod and he nods back to you and continues on his way," she says, adding that looking in the eyes of a great ape, it instantly becomes clear that there is no separation between humans and nature.

    "If they go extinct, we will have one less kin to call our own in this world," says Galdikas, who is also president of the Los Angeles-based Orangutan Foundation International. "And do we really want to be alone on this planet?"

  6. <center> The Moon at Perigee and Apogee



    sidebyside.jpg </center>

    <hr> One of my favourite science fiction stories is Larry Niven's <cite>Inconstant Moon</cite>, about a night when the full Moon shone brighter than ever before. I won't say any more about the story so as not to spoil it for those who have yet to discover this most atypical gem in Niven's vast treasure chest. Find it; read it; enjoy!

    Everybody notices the phases of the Moon, but to most people every full Moon is alike—the rising or setting Moon looks large due to perspective's playing tricks on the eye, but surely the full Moon high in the sky is always the same, right? Wrong.

    One of the most spectacular phenomena in naked-eye astronomy escapes notice by the vast majority of people simply because the the eye and brain can't compare the size and brightness of objects observed on separate occasions. This page explores the inconstant Moon in our everyday sky. While not as dramatic as that conjured up by the imagination of Larry Niven, we'll discover in it a celestial phenomenon seen by everybody, yet observed by only a few individuals.

    Earth's Eccentric Companion


    The Moon's orbit around the Earth is elliptical, with a substantial eccentricity (as major Solar System bodies go) of 5.49%. In addition, the tidal effect of the Sun's gravitational field increases the eccentricity when the orbit's major axis is aligned with the Sun-Earth vector or, in other words, the Moon is full or new. The combined effects of orbital eccentricity and the Sun's tides result in a substantial difference in the apparent size and brightness of the Moon at perigee and apogee. Extreme values for perigee and apogee distance occur when perigee or apogee passage occurs close to new or full Moon, and long-term extremes are in the months near to Earth's perihelion passage (closest approach to the Sun, when the Sun's tidal effects are strongest) in the first few days of January.

    The image above shows how strikingly different the Moon appears at a full-Moon perigee and apogee. Most people don't notice the difference because they see the Moon in a sky that offers no reference by which angular extent may be judged. To observe the difference, you have to either make a scale to measure the Moon, or else photograph the Moon at perigee and apogee and compare the pictures, as I've done here.

    The following table shows larger images of perigean and apogean full Moons, with details of the position of the Moon at the moment the pictures were taken. If your screen can't display the images one above another, use the side by side image above to appreciate the difference in size.

    .... colspan="2">Views from Mill Valley, CA, USA, 37°54' N 122°32' W; all times UTC.....> <table> <tbody><tr> </tr> <tr> <td valign="bottom">perigee.jpg</td> <td valign="top">




    Date/time: 1987 August 10 08:00

    Julian day: 2447017.83


    <dl><dt>Moon:</dt><dd>Age: 15 Days, 19 Hours

    Phase: 98%

    Full: 1987 August 9 10:18

    Perigee: 1987 August 8 19:00, 357643 km

    </dd><dt>Geocentric:</dt><dd>Distance: 359861 km

    Right ascension: 22h 12m

    Declination: −14° 7.1'

    </dd><dt>Topocentric:</dt><dd>Distance: 359000 km

    Angle subtended: 0.5548°

    Altitude: 60.16°

    Azimuth −68.13°

    </dd></dl> </td></tr> <tr> <td>


    Click on images for full resolution picture.


    </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top">apogee.jpg</td> <td valign="top">




    Date/time: 1988 February 2 06:00

    Julian day: 2447193.75


    <dl><dt>Moon:</dt><dd>Age: 14 Days, 5 Hours

    Phase: 99%

    Full: 1988 February 2 20:52

    Apogee: 1988 February 3 10:00, 406395 km

    </dd><dt>Geocentric:</dt><dd>Distance: 405948 km

    Right ascension: 8h 37m

    Declination: +22° 30.1'

    </dd><dt>Topocentric:</dt><dd>Distance: 404510 km

    Angle subtended: 0.4923°

    Altitude: 35.45°

    Azimuth −22.01°

    </dd></dl> </td></tr> </tbody></table> Are the Pictures Accurate?


    Since we can determine the position of the Moon at the time the exposures were made, it's possible to verify whether the resulting images agree with our calculations. To do this, we first measure the size of the Moon's disc in the perigee and apogee images, then compute the size ratio. This should agree, within the accuracy of the measurement, with the ratio of angular sizes computed from the distance of the Moon when the respective photos were shot. To avoid errors due to the Moon's not being perfectly full in either of the images, we'll measure the vertical extent of the disc, which is fully illuminated. Due to its inherent roughness, resolution limits of the optics and film, and distortion caused by turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere (“seeing”), the Moon's limb is not perfectly sharp in these pictures, so some judgement enters into the measuring process. Trying to use a consistent ratio of brightness on the two images, I measure the Moon in the perigee image to be 363 pixels high and the Moon at apogee to be 323 pixels, yielding a perigee/apogee ratio of 1.1238. I believe these size estimates are correct within ±1 pixel, giving tolerance limits on the ratio of 1.1173 to 1.1304.

    For sufficiently small angles, the sine of an angle is approximated closely by the angle in radians. The Moon's angular extent viewed from Earth is small enough that this approximation is adequate for this calculation, so we can simply use the ratio of viewing distances as a proxy for the Moon's angular size. Dividing the apogee distance by that of the perigee gives 405948/359861 = 1.1281, in close agreement with the ratio of image sizes.

    But we can do better than this: the perigee and apogee distances are calculated based on the distance between the centres of the Earth and Moon. Now from any sufficiently distant viewpoint the distance to the Moon's limb is essentially the same as that to its centre, but an observer on the surface of the Earth is necessarily closer to the Moon than the centre of the Earth. While the Earth's surface is not an ideal place to do astronomy, it sure beats setting up your telescope at the Earth's core, where 6378 km of rock attenuates even the brightest moonlight something terrible! So, what we're really interested in is not how far the Moon was from the centre of the Earth (its geocentric coordinates), but how far it was from the telescope when each picture was made. This is not an insignificant consideration: an observer at the equator observing the Moon at zenith is 1.8% closer to the Moon's limb than an observer 90° east or west in longitude, watching the Moon set or rise at the same moment.

    What we want, then, is the position of the Moon relative to the observer, its topographic coordinates for the observing site. An easy way to calculate this is to transform the Moon's position in the spherical geocentric coordinate system into rectangular (Cartesian, or XYZ) coordinates with the origin at the centre of the Earth. The observer's position in the same coordinate system is easily calculated from the latitude and longitude of the observing site and, if you want to be as precise as possible, the distance from the centre of the Earth to the observing site, taking into account the Earth's ellipsoidal shape and the site's altitude above mean sea level. Then the distance from the observer, (X<sub>O</sub>, Y<sub>O</sub>, Z<sub>O</sub>), to the Moon, (X<sub>M</sub>, Y<sub>M</sub>, Z<sub>M</sub>), can be calculated with the distance formula for rectangular coordinates:

    <center> cartdist.gif </center> This calculation gives an observer to Moon's limb distance of 404510 kilometres for the apogee image and 359000 km for the perigee image, with a perigee to apogee ratio of 1.1268, even closer to the best estimate of the image size ratio, 1.1238.

    A Sense of Scale


    <center> toscale.gif

    The Earth-Moon System to Scale, 650 km/pixel </center> Space is called “space” because there's so much space there. Astronauts who flew to the Moon were struck by how the Earth and Moon seemed tiny specks in an infinite, empty void. So large are the voids that separate celestial bodies that most illustrations exaggerate the size of the objects to avoid rendering them as invisible dots. Compared to most other moons in the Solar System (Pluto's moon Charon is a notable exception), the Earth's Moon is very large compared to the planet it orbits, so it is possible, just barely, to draw the Earth-Moon system to scale in a form that will fit on a typical computer screen. The image above shows the Earth at the left and the Moon at the right, as they would appear to an observer looking from the direction of the Sun when the Moon is at first quarter; both worlds are fully illuminated (as is always the case when viewing from sunward, of course), and the Moon is at its maximum elongation from the Earth. Earth's orbital motion is toward the left, with the arrow at the top showing how far the Earth and Moon travel along their common orbit about the Sun every hour.

    On this scale, all human spaceflight with the exception of the Apollo lunar missions has been confined to a region of two pixels surrounding the Earth; seeing the Moon's orbit in its true scale brings home how extraordinary an undertaking the Apollo project was. Of all the human beings who have lived on Earth since the origin of our species, only 24 have ventured outside that thin shell surrounding our Home Planet. Even the orbit which geosynchronous communications satellites occupy is only a little more than a tenth of the way to the Moon.

    The mean distance to the moon, 384401 km, is the semimajor axis of its elliptical orbit. The closest perigee in the years 1750 through 2125 was 356375 km on 4th January 1912; the most distant apogee in the same period will be 406720 km on 3rd February 2125 (have your camera ready!). These extrema are marked on the chart, although in reality extreme perigees and apogees always occur close to a new or full Moon, not at a quarter phase as illustrated here. The mean distance is not equidistant between the minimum and maximum because the Sun's gravity perturbs the orbit away from a true ellipse. Although the absolute extremes are separated by many years, almost every year has a perigee and apogee close enough to the absolute limits to be indistinguishable at this scale.

    The Moon's orbit is inclined 5.145396° with regard to the ecliptic (the plane in which the Earth's orbit around the Sun lies or, more precisely, the plane in which the centre of gravity of the Earth-Moon system [its barycentre] orbits the Sun), so as seen from the centre of the Earth the Moon drifts up and down slightly more than five degrees in the course of each orbit. The dark grey wedge shows the limits of the Moon's excursion above and below the plane of the ecliptic.

    The Moon's orbital inclination, combined with the inclination of the Earth's axis of rotation, causes the Moon's declination, as observed from the Earth, to vary between ±28.5° when the Moon's inclination adds to that of the Earth, and ±18° when the two inclinations oppose one another; the maxima and minima of declination repeat every 18.6 years, the period in which the ascending node of the Moon's orbit precesses through a full circle.

  7. Wendyl Martin<!--byline0--> Published:<!--date1-->Jan 18, 2009



    An old house once owned by a church in the Durban suburb of Queensburgh is being converted into a Hindu temple.<!--blurb0--> <!--par1--><!--par0-->



    <!--par1-->The Sri Mayapur Dham, run by the Vaishnava Research Forum, will be the first permanent Hindu place of worship in the area.<!--par0-->

    <!--par1-->It recently opened its doors to the Hindu community which for four years has had to attend religious events at halls in the area.<!--par0-->

    <!--par1-->While the exterior of the temple is still under construction, weekly services, music and Hindi lessons and Hindu scripture classes have already commenced at the site.<!--par0-->

    <!--par1-->Forum member Jack Baboolal said the Battersea Avenue house was bought from the Gereformeerde Kerk for R1.2-million and transferred to the organ- isation last month.<!--par0-->

    <!--par1--> “Funds for the purchase of this property as well as its ongoing renovations have come from members of the community, philanthropists, and fund-raising events,” said Baboolal.<!--par0-->

    <!--par1--> Baboolal said that they had received no complaints and tried not to disturb their new neighbours.<!--par0-->

    <!--par1-->The forum plans to: <!--par0-->


    <table xmlns:fo="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Format"><tbody><tr><td colspan="2"><li type="square"> Install a shrine to Mother Ganga; <!--par0--> <!--par1-->

    <li type="square"> Bring cows from the Shri Krishna Gowshala cow sanctuary in Thornville, Pietermaritzburg, periodically for cow protection lessons;<!--par0--> <!--par1-->

    <li type="square"> Import and consecrate the Hindu deities Krishna and Radha at an official opening later this year; <!--par0--> <!--par1-->

    <li type="square"> Maintain and upgrade a research library; and<!--par0--> <!--par1-->

    <li type="square">“Adopting-a-spot” from the municipality adjacent to the property to conserve the indigenous vegetation in the area.</td></tr></tbody></table>

  8. In Sri Vaishnava sampradaya the tilak is made out of the white mud found in anthills?




    (I thank Padma ,for giving me more information related to this topic. )



    The Tilak invokes a feeling of sanctity in the wearer and others.It is recognized as a religious mark. Its form and colour vary according to one's caste, religious sect or the form of the Lord worshipped. Religious marks are worn by men and women with ashes, clay, kumkum (Powdered red turmeric) or sandalwood powder. It is a visible sign of a person as belonging to Hindu culture.


    In earlier times, The brahmin applied a white chandan mark signifying purity. The kshatriya applied a red kumkum mark.The vaishya wore a yellow kesar or turmeric mark.The sudra applied a black bhasma, kasturi or charcoal mark.Vishnu worshippers apply a chandan tilak of the shape of "U," Shiva worshippers a tripundra of bhasma, Devi worshippers a red dot of kumkum.

    • Saivites typically use ashes ( called Vibhuti) and draw their tilaks as three horizontal lines ( tripundra). Vibhuti used by Saivites, means glory and it is also called bhasma (that by which our sins are destroyed and the Lord is remembered ). The holy ash is worn with adoration and respect. This is also known as “ thiru neeru” in Tamil. The holy Ash has lots of spiritual meaning. Vibhuti is so named because it endows one wih prosperity.Ash is the substance that results when things are completely burnt off. In natural terms it is a final state. It is also known as Bhasma because it burns away all sins. This ash is the ultimate reality and cannot be changed any more. By applying this as a symbol of Divinity, we prepare ourselves to give up all desires, burn our attachments and temptations and make ourselves pure, holy and sacred, for liberation.


    • Vaishnavites apply clay (preferably from holy rivers) or sandalwood paste. They apply the material in two vertical lines, which may be connected at the bottom, forming either a simple U shape or a form said to be like a tulasi leaf. Their Tilak is called the urdhva-pundra. Vaishnavites use clay for their Srichurnam. This is also calledthirumann” ( mann is the tamil word for clay).This is known as Srichurnam and wearing this is as an important part of the daily rites of a Sri Vaishnavite. The Tilak is applied to twelve parts of the body, reciting the twelve names of the Lord. Vedas say, by wearing this mark, he becomes fortunate, gets released of all the worldly bondages and attains liberation.


    • In Sri Vaishnava sampradaya the tilak is made out of the white mud found in anthills. The scriptures tell us that the mud from the base of a Tulasi plant and the white mud from within the anthill are both pure and best for making tilak. The Sri Vaishnavas will draw two lines representing the feet of Sri Narayana, and in the middle they will put a red line to represent Lakshmi Devi. Because the Sri Vaishnava sampradaya begins with Sri Lakshmi Devi, and they approach Narayana only through Lakshmi, their tilak reflects this process of surrender. Using mud also makes us reflect that we come from clay and go back to clay.

    The Tilaks of each sampradaya actually depict the siddhanta of the sampradaya.The Tilak is also believed to have medicinal and protective functions. The pastes applied are considered to give cooling effect to the body.The Tilak is also considered to bestow spiritual comfort and protection against demons, bad luck, and other evil forces.The tilak cover the spot between the eyebrows, which is the seat of memory and thinking. It is known as the Aajna Chakra in the language of Yoga and gives concentration of spiritual energy on the forehead between the eyebrows.The tilak is applied with the prayer -



    "May I remember the Lord. May this pious feeling pervade all my activities. May I be righteous in my deeds."


    Even when we temporarily forget this prayerful attitude the mark on another reminds us of our resolve. The tilak is thus a blessing of the Lord and a protection against wrong tendencies and forces. The scriptures say that a Hindu without tilak is worthy of condemnation and is compared to intellect without clarity

    Traditionally Bindi is red in colour.'Bindi' is derived from the Sanskrit word 'bindu' or a drop, and suggests the mystic third eye of a person.It is applied as an ornamental mark on the forehead between the two eyebrows — a spot considered a major nerve point in human body since ancient times. The bindi is believed to prevent the loss of "energy", as well as bringing spiritual protection against demons or bad luck.The red 'kumkum' between the eyebrows is said to retain energy in the human body and control the various levels of concentration. It is also the central point of the base of the creation itself — symbolising auspiciousness and good fortune.

    The Kumkum which ladies keep on the forehead , is to symbolize that they are married. Normally guys walk straight and ladies would walk with head down.By seeing the Kumkum on the forehead, one can understand that the girl is married.. In early days, there had been a custom that married guys would have a ring in their second foot finger, as metti seeing that the girl would identify that he is married...

    We are told that in ancient times, in Aryan society, a groom used to apply his blood on-his bride's forehead as a recognition of wedlock. The existing practice among Indian women of applying a round shaped red Tilaka called Bindiya or Kumkum could be a survival of this idea.No one knows exactly when the tradition of putting a bindi started,


    Posted by hindutraditions at <a class="timestamp-link" href="http://hindutradition.blogspot.com/2009/01/why-do-we-keep-tilak-bhindi-pottu-on.html" rel="bookmark" title="permanent link"><abbr class="published" title="2009-01-16T17:08:00Z">17:08</abbr>

  9. Top 10 Mysterious Diseases


    There are many sicknesses doctors can cure with the swish of a pen across prescription pad. But for all we understand now about some illnesses, there are even more that still stump the pros, confound the public and rage on uncontested. – Heather Whipps


    Morgellons Disease


    This mysterious illness, which has cropped up again recently, displays almost sci-fi symptoms. Sufferers complain of intensely creepy-crawly skin and odd fibrous strands which protrude from open wounds. Some in the medical community blame the "disease" on psychotic delusion, but others say the symptoms are very real.


    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


    Chronic fatigue is a classic MUPS (medically unexplained physical symptoms) disease, with a diagnosis based only on the ruling out of other possibilities. More than just feeling a little tired, CFS patients are often bed-ridden for days at a time.


    Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease


    One version of this rare brain disorder is better known "Mad Cow" and can be contracted by eating contaminated beef. "Regular" CJD is also always fatal, quick-acting and is the most common form, but develops in most patients for reasons doctors have yet to figure out and can not prevent.



    Experts consider this the most puzzling of mental disorders, one which robs the sufferer of the ability to logically distinguish between reality and fantasy. Symptoms range wildly between patients and include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, lack of motivation or emotion, but the disease has no defining medical tests.


    Autoimmune Disorders


    A catchall term for a host of afflictions including Lupus and MS, autoimmune disorders treat the body's organs and normal functions as enemy invaders. They're usually chronic, always debilitating, and doctors can do little except ease their symptoms.




    People diagnosed with Pica have an insatiable urge to eat non-food substances like dirt, paper, glue and clay. Though it is believed to be linked with mineral deficiency, health experts have found no real cause and no cure for the peculiar disorder.


    Avian Flu

    Humans have no immunity to the powerful flu virus carried by birds, which health official fear could mutate into a strain that can be transmitted between humans. Death rates for human infected are around 50 percent but, so far, humans have been infected mostly by direct handling with infected birds. A recent cluster of cases, however, appeared to involved its spread between people.


    The Common Cold


    Even with an estimated one billion cases in the United States every year, doctors still know very little about the nose-running, cough-inducing cold, whose root causes number in the hundreds (some headway is being made). Time and chicken soup, not antibiotics, is often the only prescription that helps.


    Alzheimer's Disease


    Not to be confused with the forgetfulness that affects most everyone in their later years, Alzheimer's is a degenerative brain disorder that manifests differently in each of its sufferers. The exact cause isn't understood and it can't be effectively treated.




    Twenty-five years since it was first identified, there is still no cure for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS remains among the world's most potent killers, especially in developing countries. The disease likely started with a chimp to human jump, recent research confirmed.

  10. Never heard that before: "Brahma Sampradaya associated with Vishnu, who is the para brahma or universal creator, not to be confused with the other Brahma, who is the four faced god in Hindu religion and the principle acharya in Madhvacharya."


    <table width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="10" cellspacing="1"><tbody><tr><td>The Hindu Denominations Throughout The World




    </td> </tr> <tr> <td>

    Author: Victor Epand

    </td> </tr> <tr><td> In today's world, Hinduism comprises of numerous sects or denominations. The main divisions in the current Hinduism are the Shaivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism, and Smartha. Each of these four denominations will often times share rituals, beliefs, and traditions.




    However, each of these denominations will often have a totally different philosophy on how to achieve life's ultimate goal, which is moksa or liberation. An established philosophical school within a denomination is called a sampradaya and a traditional lineage of teachers from any sampradaya is known as a parampara. The presence of the different denominations and schools within Hinduism should not be viewed as a schism.




    On the contrary, there is absolutely no animosity between the schools nor among the Hindu followers as a whole. Instead, there is a strong belief that there are many paths that can ultimately lead to the One God or the Source, which ever a person chooses to call that ultimate Truth. Instead, there is a healthy cross pollination of ideas and logical debate that serves to refine each school's philosophy.




    It is not uncommon, or disallowed, for an individual to follow one school, but then take the point of view of another school concerning a totally different issue. According to the Adherents site, the majority of Hindus are Vaishnavas, though they will often mix in some aspects of the Smarta viewpoint. The Birla Mandir is one of the most famous Vaishnavite temples in India.




    Vaishnavism is the monotheistic tradition worshiping of Vishnu, or his forms of Krishna and Rama as the supreme or svayam bhagavan. This also happens to be the largest denomination, with currently has almost six million followers. The different Vaishnava schools, which are known as sampradayas, and the principle teachers, which are known as acharyas, connected with them such as Rudra Sampradaya was the principle acharya in Vallabhacharya.




    Brahma Sampradaya associated with Vishnu, who is the para brahma or universal creator, not to be confused with the other Brahma, who is the four faced god in Hindu religion and the principle acharya in Madhvacharya. Gaudiya Vaishnavism is associated with this sampradaya and is associated with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, International Society for Krishna Consciousness belongs to this sampradaya.




    Sri Sampradaya is associated with Laksmi as the principle acharya in Ramanujacharya. Kumara Sampradaya is the tradition associated with Four Kumaras as the principle acharya in Nimbarka, hence Nimbarka Sampradaya. Vaikhanasa tradition in the principle acharya of Vaikhanasa. Modern Vaishnava groups attached to the main sampradayas such as Swaminarayan Sampraday, which stems from the Sri Sampradaya.




    Saivites are those who primarily worship God Siva as the Supreme God. They are both immanent and transcendent. Currently, there are over two million followers of Saivism. Saivism embraces at the same time Monism, specifically Nondualism, and Dualism. It focuses on yoga, meditation, and love for all beings.




    Major theological schools of Saivism include Kashmir Saivism, Saiva Siddhanta and Virasaivism. To Saivites, God Siva is both with and without form, because He is the Supreme Dancer, Nataraja. He is the linga, without beginning or end.


    <!-- google_ad_section_end --></td> </tr> <tr> <td>


  11. Sounds good, "to form a band of religious warriors (Dharma Sainiks) who would protect and safeguard the Sanatan Dharma from social evils."


    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" width="100%"><arttitle>Akharas aim to safeguard Sanatan Dharma</arttitle>

    16 Jan 2009, 1846 hrs IST, mrigank tiwari & abbas ali, TNN

    </td> </tr> <tr> <td height="10">http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Allahabad/Akharas_aim_to_safeguard_Sanatan_Dharma/articleshow/3986289.cms

    </td></tr></tbody></table>ALLAHABAD: The origin of akharas (religious sects) dates back to the earlier Kumbh Melas organised at Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. In Hindu religion, Akharas have their own significance and form an integral part of Sanatan Dharma.


    Broadly speaking, there are around seven Dashnami Akharas of `sanyasis' set up by Adi Shankarcharya to safeguard Hindus from forcible conversion and infuse new life into Vedic religion, as per Indian traditions.


    The first step in this direction was the establishment of four `maths' at Puri, Shringeri, Dwarka and Badrinath, each headed `acharyas'.


    The seven Dashnami akharas are Nirvani, Atal, Niranjani, Anand, Juna, Awahan and Agni. Adi Shankaracharya conferred the titles of Swaroop, Prakash, Anand and Chaitanya on his `acharyas' and instructed them to work hard for reviving the Vedic Dharma and set up the Sanatan Dharma, Shankaracharya of Puri Swami Adshokanandji Maharaj said here on Thursday.


    He added that the basic purpose behind setting up of akharas was to form a band of religious warriors (Dharma Sainiks) who would protect and safeguard the Sanatan Dharma from social evils.


    He said that every year thousands of young sadhus take `sanyas' at different Akharas at Sangam. `Sanyas' is the final destination of knowledge and the banks of Ganga is the best place for it. The most auspicious occasions for this ceremony are Makar Sankranti and Mauni Amavasya when hundreds of teenagers are admitted into the `sadhu' fold by Akhara chiefs.


    Swami Narendra Nandji Maharaj of Kashi prant said that after conversion, the young `sadhus' affirm to serve their `gurus', who pronounces the `guru mantra' after receiving the `diksha' (sacred knowledge) on the banks of Ganga.


    The akharas are divided into the following categories:


    Shaiva akharas: These are the followers of Lord Shiva, although some also show respect for Lord Vishnu. Some of these are also known as `Nagas'. They are known for their celibacy and renunciation of material possessions and are good in the use of arms for the defence of religion. The `Nagas' lead a very austere life and are naked. The Shaiva sects are divided into further groups or Akharas which are called Dashnami Akharas. These are Mahanirvani, Atal, Niranjani, Anand, Bhairav, Awahan and Agni.


    The Vaishnava or Vairagi Akharas: These are the wandering mendicants. They are the followers of Lord Vishnu and see themselves as parts of the Supreme Lord and live a life of service and dedication to the Lord. They are above the concept of liberation or merging with the Brahma or non-dual aspect of the Supreme. The initiator of these is said to be Shree Balanand Jee. The religious preacher and the head of the `akharas' of ascetics is popularly known as Mahamandaleshwars. They are held in high esteem by the inmates of the `akharas' and are carried around in beautifully decorated palanquins during the procession of the Shahi Snan (royal bath).


    Lastly come the Kalpwasis who perform Kalpavaas during the auspicious month of Magh. Kalpa means a day of Lord Brahma. It is believed that if one spends the whole month of Magh at the banks of the Ganga leading an austere life in thatched huts (these days tents) and sleeping on the sandy river bed listening to discourses, giving alms, bathing thrice daily in the holy confluence, eating once in 24 hours, they purportedly can be freed from the cycle of death and rebirth (moksha).

  12. Mouthwash 'can cause oral cancer'


    Some mouthwashes can contribute to oral cancer and should only be available on prescription, researchers have claimed.


    Last Updated: 6:34PM GMT 12 Jan 2009


    Researchers claim "sufficient evidence" that mouthwashes containing alcohol contribute to an increased risk of cancer, and that they should be taken off supermarket shelves and labelled with health warnings. Photo: GETTY

    They claimed there was now "sufficient evidence" that mouthwashes containing alcohol contribute to an increased risk of the disease that they should be taken off supermarket shelves and labelled with health warnings.

    In a review of the latest studies, the scientists found evidence that the ethanol in mouthwash was allowing cancer-causing substances to permeate the lining of the mouth more easily and therefore cause harm.

    Professor Michael McCulloch, chairman of the Australian Dental Association's therapeutics committee and associate professor of oral medicine at Melbourne University, said the alcohol in mouthwashes "increases the permeability of the mucosa" to carcinogens like nicotine.

    He added that a toxic breakdown product of alcohol called acetaldehyde that may accumulate in the oral cavity when swished around the mouth is also a carcinogen.

    Prof McCullough said: "We see people with oral cancer who have no other risk factors than the use of alcohol-containing mouthwash, so what we've done in this study is review all the evidence that's out there.

    "We believe there should be warnings. If it was a facial cream that had the effect of reducing acne but had a four-to-five-fold increased risk of skin cancer, no one would be recommending it."

    Some mouthwash can contain as much as 26 per cent alcohol.

    The findings, published in the Dental Journal of Australia, said the most popular mouthwashes contained higher concentrations of alcohol than drinks such as wine or beer.

    Prof McCullough said: "If you have a glass of wine, you tend to swallow it. With mouthwash you have a higher level of alcohol and spend longer swishing it around your mouth. The alcohol present in your mouth is turned into acetaldehyde."

    He said regular alcohol consumption was a cancer risk - but usually did not involve swishing it around the mouth.

    Eating while drinking increased salivation which lowered the risks, he said.

    Oral cancer is a mutilating disease that afflicts thousands of people each year and kills half of them within five years of being diagnosed.

    Smoking and alcohol consumption are well-established risk factors, but the use of mouthwash containing alcohol is more controversial.

    Prof McCullough and co-author Dr Camile Farah, director of research at the University of Queensland's School of Dentistry, recommended mouthwash be restricted to "short-term" medical use or replaced by alcohol-free versions.

    Dr Neil Hewson, of the Australian Dental Association, said: "It hasn't actually been established there is a direct relationship between mouthwashes with alcohol and oral cancer."

    He said if people floss their teeth, brush properly and have a good diet they should not need mouthwash at all.

  13. Bhakti seems to have become a commonly used term by now.


    Paul Liberatore: Hip-hop artist's yogic message


    <!--subtitle--><!--byline-->Paul Liberatore

    <!--date-->Posted: 01/16/2009 12:04:52 AM PST



    Nicholas Giacomini, aka MC Yogi, grew up in agricultural West Marin, but he saw himself as more of an urban rapper and "wannabe breakdancer" than a country boy stacking hay in his family's feed barn. The 29-year-old scion of a prominent Point Reyes family, he emulated rap music superstars such as the Beastie Boys and Run DMC and had visions of becoming a graffiti artist, kind of a Marin County Keith Haring.

    "I used to get into trouble when I was younger," he confessed the other day. "We would drive down to the city with our spray cans and go paint in the tunnels and on trains. I got caught a couple of times."

    After his parents divorced, Nicholas ended up living at the Hanna Boys Center, a home for troubled kids in Sonoma County.

    "It's a great facility," he told me. "It provided me with a lot of structure and discipline. The people there are amazing. It helped me out a lot. I turned my life around there."

    As he talked about those "turbulent teenage years," he was sitting in the conference room of Ursa Minor Arts and Media, an 8,000-square-foot multimedia

    production company in San Rafael where he recorded his acclaimed new CD, "MC Yogi: Elephant Power," a blend of spiritual Indian music and "conscious hip-hop" on White Swan Records.

    LA Yoga magazine calls MC Yogi "the next big thing in sacred chant, a rap artist with profound social awareness." And I wrote in here magazine last week that "Elephant Power" has "crashed through sound barriers in the meditative yoga world" like a hip-hop pachyderm.

    Ursa Minor, where recording began last March, was co-founded by Giacomini's childhood friend, 32-year-old Robin Livingston, a multi-instrumentalist musician who engineered and co-produced the album. He and Nick call themselves the Bhakti Brothers.

    "When I traveled to India, I was given the experience of seeing the world as it really is, as opposed to seeing it from within the Marin bubble," Livingston said. "I've tried to put consciousness into the music I create as much as possible. I feel I've been given a calling to give the gift of music to the world."

    This all came about "on a whim," Nick says, when he joined his father, Chris Giacomini, owner of Toby's Feed Barn in Point Reyes Station, at a yoga and meditation intensive with a spiritual teacher from India.

    "Then things really started happening for me," he said, brightening at the memory. "The first time I practiced I felt like I'd come home. I thought, 'This is what I've been looking for my whole life.' I went full force into yoga."

    He met his wife, Amanda, at a yoga teacher training program in San Francisco. After a trip to India, they opened Yoga Toes, a studio in the back of Toby's, a general store that carries feed, tack, hay, tourist items, organic food products and work by local artists.

    In early 2000, Nick, who had been quietly rapping and writing music since high school, joined a collective of graffiti artists, breakdancers and DJs out to send a positive message to young people.

    "We were creating an alternative youth scene for kids who wanted to enjoy conscious hip-hop without drugs or alcohol or violence," he explained. "That's when I started coming up with this yoga-inspired material, using hip-hop as a vehicle to tell these ancient stories that come from the wisdom traditions of India and impart the message of oneness and consciousness in a dynamic way that's educational, but also entertaining."

    Nick's grandfather, the late Toby Giacomini, who started Toby's Feed Barn in 1942, used to say, "If you're good to people, then they're good to you, and that pays off in the long run."

    That was certainly the case when it came time for Nick to make the MC Yogi album.

    "All the money for the recording came from the community of West Marin," he said. "I had people on the street literally come up and hand me a hundred dollars. Steve Costa and Kate Levinson from Point Reyes Books put on a benefit at Toby's with an Indian buffet and a live performance. We raised something like $13,000."

    Costa calls Nick "one of the great young cultural forces in West Marin."

    The Grammy-nominated musician Jai Uttal donated his time and talent, playing on the songs "Ganesh is Fresh" and "Krishna Love." The world music pioneer Bhagavan Das and the devotional chanter Krishna Das also made guest appearances.

    In addition to "Elephant Power," the MC Yogi crew released a "Vote for Hope" CD for the Barack Obama campaign.

    And Giacomini says he's already written the next two MC Yogi albums.

    "It just kind of happened that the two things I love - yoga and hip-hop - came together," he said. "It's like the universe is guiding me."

    BUY IT

    "MC Yogi Elephant Power," White Swan Records, is available at www.mcyogi.com. or iTunes for $13.98.

    Paul Liberatore can be reached at liberatore@marinij.com.

  14. Volunteers pour in ahead of festival



    By JODY O'CALLAGHAN - Manawatu Standard | Thursday, 15 January 2009


    Low-budget and highly motivated WWOOFers have inundated Levin.


    Volunteers from the New Zealand- founded network Willing Workers on Organic Farms, have arrived from all over the world for the annual Organic River Festival.


    About 70 to 80 travellers set up camp in Kimberley Reserve for the week - the largest gathering of WWOOFers ever.


    Organic River Festival founder and director Malcolm Hadlum, who uses the volunteers at his fruit winery, said that the nine-year-old festival would be impossible without the hardworking foreigners.


    It started with a small advertisement in the official WWOOFers book, which lists the 1000 host members, he said.


    "Before I knew it we were inundated with dozens of them."


    It cost him $6000 to $7000 to feed the large group of travellers, but a group of Hare Krishna girls from Wellington did the cooking, he said.


    The WWOOFers' duties involved clearing shrubs, pitching marquees, designing decorations out of wood and recycled fabrics, cooking, washing dishes, security and co- ordinating parking.


    Stacey Barlow, 22, of Manchester, England, said she loved the atmosphere even though she was used to bigger festivals back home.


    Travelling alone, it was a good way to meet lots of people in a true Kiwi setting, she said while making a toadstool out of sticks and fabric.


    Pia Stein, 23, from Berlin, Germany, loved the contrast between her busy home and the "relaxed" camping way.


    Despite working a full 10 hour-day - double the normal WWOOF requirement - it was perfect on a low budget and fun, she said.


    "You don't know who's going to show up."


    Maaike Vincken, 21, a tailor from Holland, came from a WWOOFing placement at a lavender farm in Otaki to work at the festival.


    "I just wanted to get back to the basic stuff, physical work outside."


    It was a great way to travel, although sharing sleeping space with about 30 people in a large tent was a different experience, Ms Vincken said.


    WWOOF New Zealand director Andrew Strange said it was the biggest crowd of signed-up members to work in the one place at one time - and he did not envy whoever had to do all the delegating.


    "It must be a fairly good mission to sort all that out."


    WWOOFers and organisers were handed over the mana (authority over the Kimberley Reserve) by the local iwi, Muaupoko, in a powhiri last night.


    The iwi is involved with the festival and the ceremony aimed to respect cultural protocol.

  15. Czech EU art stokes controversy


    Czech artist David Cerny explains his inspiration for 'Entropa'


    A new art installation going on display at the European Council building in Brussels has angered EU members with its lampoons of national stereotypes.



    Spain, concrete desert


    Entropa portrays Bulgaria as a toilet, Romania as a Dracula theme-park and France as a country on strike.


    The Czech Republic, which holds the EU presidency, thought it had commissioned work from 27 European artists.



    Romania, Dracula mentality


    But it turned out to have been entirely completed by Czech artist David Cerny and two associates.


    The eight-tonne mosaic is held together by snap-out plastic parts similar to those used in modelling kits.



    Italy, only football?


    The Netherlands is shown as series of minarets submerged by a flood - a possible reference to the nation's simmering religious tensions.



    Poland, priests supporting the gay and lesbian movement


    Germany is shown as a network of motorways vaguely resembling a swastika, while the UK - criticised by some for being one of EU's most eurosceptic members - is absent from Europe altogether.


    Raised eyebrows


    The 16-square-metre (172-square-foot) work was installed at the weekend to mark the start of the six-month Czech presidency of the EU.


    There has already been an angry reaction to the piece from Bulgaria, which has summoned the Czech ambassador to Sofia to explain.



    Bulgaria, a toilet?


    The three artists responsible for Entropa were led by David Cerny who, says the BBC's Rob Cameron in Prague, is the enfant terrible of the Czech art world.



    Holland, mosques....


    A close-up of the Entropa installation which shows Bulgaria as a basic toilet, Brussels, Belgium, 13 January 2009


    In pictures: Entropa installation

    Mardell blog: But is it art?


    When his government commissioned him to create the installation, several eyebrows were raised, and they were not raised in vain, our correspondent adds.



    Denmark, children toys


    Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra said he was only informed on Monday that the installation was not the work of 27 European artists, but David Cerny and two colleagues.


    Mr Vondra condemned Mr Cerny and said the Czech EU presidency was considering what steps to take before Thursday's official launch.


    "An agreement of the office of the government with the artist clearly stated that this will be a common work of artists from 27 EU states," he said.



    France: nothing but tie-ups


    "The full responsibility for violating this assignment and this promise lies with David Cerny."


    Mr Cerny, who presented Entropa to his government with a brochure describing each of the artwork's 27 supposed contributors from each member state, has apologised for misleading ministers, but not for the installation itself.



    Germany: Highways looking like a swastika


    "We knew the truth would come out," said Mr Cerny. "But before that we wanted to find out if Europe is able to laugh at itself."


    He added that Entropa "lampoons the socially activist art that balances on the verge between would-be controversial attacks on national character and undisturbing decoration of an official space".


    Mr Cerny first created a splash in the early 1990s when he painted a Soviet tank, a Second World War memorial in a Prague square, bright pink.


    A couple of good points in a message salted with anti-Jew propaganda.





    You forgot to consider the author, Henry Makow, is Jewish, grandchild of Holocaust victims. You cannot say, this Henry Makow is an Anti-semite, indulging in anti-Jew propaganda, to say this is rather foolishness. Proof? Well, yes the real, bona fide Vaishnavas are always asking for proof.


    Just open your purse, wallet, and see if you find any paper money. The whole world is ruled by interest-based, debt-based, currencies. What more proof do people need?


    1. Causelessmercy - Garden Conversation - June 28, 1976, New Vrindaban

    Because nowadays bad money, that paper money, is going on, that ... silver money, gold money or paper money? It was their duty. If ... have to accept this paper money. That s all. Don



    2. Causelessmercy - Morning Walk - December 31, 1973, Los Angeles

    They instituted paper money and they instituted it because it is a cheating process. But everyone is participating. So it is just going on and on. That is the real cause of



    3. Causelessmercy - Morning Walk - October 16, 1975, Johannesburg

    Just like instead of money, you are getting papers. Money means gold. Where is gold? You are ... worth one hundred cents, one rand of paper money. But one rand gold is worth about



    4. Causelessmercy - Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.9.11 - Tokyo, April 27, 1972

    Paper house, paper money, paper book, paper everything. Plastic, paper.Now intelligent person should be anxious that if Kṛṣṇa says, mad- dhāma gatvā punar janma na vidyate



    5. Causelessmercy - Room Conversation - January 21, 1977, Bhubaneswar

    Even a step beyond paper money is credit, no money, buying on no ... Vedic culture too much.Prabhupāda: There was never paper money.Hari-śauri: No. They used to Prabhupāda: That



    6. Causelessmercy - Morning Walk at Villa Borghese - May 25, 1974, Rome

    Now with paper money, any country can print any other country s money.Prabhupāda: Yes. That is going on. Therefore inflation. Suppose I am an enemy. I print dollars like that,



    7. Causelessmercy - Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.3 - Vrndavana, October 25, 1976

    Nowadays how much paper money he has got. Actually it ... no exchange. So long the paper money you can exchange, there is ... you will do with the paper money? So this paper currency is



    8. Causelessmercy - Room Conversation - September 16, 1976, Vrndavana

    Calcutta people, they are sitting on table and smoking and printing paper money and exploit. ... sign and paper money he s ... cheating them by paper money and they take



    9. Causelessmercy - Letter to Russian - January 5, 1977, Bombay

    We are getting paper now, government paper. Money is there. Now we have to print very intelligently, and even it is not immediately sold, we can keep stock. (pause) [break]



    10. Causelessmercy - Room Conversation - October 2, 1977, Vrndavana

    It is much simpler for them to go and work for eight hours a day in some office and get some bits of paper money and then buy from the grocery store.Brahmānanda: Or even if they


    </small>11. Causelessmercy - Morning Walk - March 11, 1975, London

    Paper money and plastic utensils. This is advancement.Brahmānanda: Do we consider ivory as something pure or impure?Prabhupāda: No, pure.Brahmānanda: It is pure.Prabhupāda:



    12. Causelessmercy - Govardhana Puja Lecture - New York, November 4, 1966

    There was no such bank, neither this paper money. They actually possessing the foodstuff and milk. And actually this is economic solution. If you have got sufficient milk, then



    Yes typical for scientist, they should know that: Absence of evidence, is not evidence of absence!


    But the idea that they hide the evidence of god i dont agree in, what reasons should they have for hidding it? because they want to keep god as a secret only to them selfs? I just think it is arogance and ignorance combined hehe :)


    Wish you where right! A famous Indian yoga teacher once explained what is science. He concluded, there must be both, observation and experiment. If a scientist cannot prove his observation by experiment, he cannot be called a scientist. Since modern science says that life is generated by combination of chemicals they should present an experiment. Since they cannot present an experiment, they're actually not scientists.


    Prabhupada, August 11, 1976, Tehran: That is science. But if you simply theorize, and when I say that you now practically prove, you say, “Wait millions of years,” that is nonsense; that is not science. That is nonsense. The observation and experiment. Simply observing is not science. And observing, this chemical, this chemical is being combined, then it can be called science. First of all, observation. But when you put into experiment, and practically show, then it is science. They say that life is generated by combination of chemicals. So now show me by experiment, then it is science. Otherwise it is nonsense. The things are going on like this. They are suggesting that life is combination of chemical, but when you ask them to show it by experiment, “Wait for millions of years.” This is not science, this is rascaldom. It is just like postdated check. If I give you check for three hundred years dated back, will you accept? Million dollars, but the date is twenty-three, not nineteen hundred, twenty hundred, but twenty-three hundred. Will you accept that check? I can say, “By that time I’ll get this money and deposit the bank. You take the check.” Will you accept it?Harikesa: Well, it’s better to take that check than no check.

    Prabhupada: A foolish rascal will accept. You are rascal number one. You can accept that check, we are not going to. He’s proved that you are rascal number one. It is better to have a check. It is better to have a post-check. Just see, these rascals are there. They prefer to be cheated. This is the, going on. Therefore these rascals get drunk. Because there are so many poor drunkards there, they will accept this check and they go on cheating, postdated check.

    Jnanagamya: The scientists are saying, “We are going to find out.”

    Prabhupada: That’s all right. That is postdated check, that I am explaining. Why don’t you understand it?

    Jnanagamya: But the religionists, they say “We don’t know.”

  18. January 13, 2009...4:22 am


    The Vedas and the Modern World




    It’s time to do something about health care that does not depend on the government. The world seems to have come to a halt waiting for Obama to be inaugurated and solve all the world’s problems. In the mean time, I have gone off to India to visit the [url="http://www.jiva.com/"]Jiva Institute, with whom I’ve been working for the past ten years. Jiva is an oddity; a business built on ancient Vedic truths, whose mission is to translate the wisdom of the Vedas to modern life.

    Jiva’s been in business for fourteen years, running a school, a cultural center for the preservation of Vedic language and philosophy, and six Ayurvedic (complementary medicine) clinics– one “product” for each of the the body-mind-soul trilogy of the vedas. Its founding directors have spent a great deal of time in the United States (the Director of Education is from New Jersey, the Director of Culture graduated from IIT and worked in the United States for five years, and the Director of Ayurvedic Medicine travels the world lecturing and teaching). These men are hardly out of touch with the modern western world.

    But their vision is to build a business according to the tripartite wisdom of the Vedas: balance between mind, body, and soul, and to impart that wisdom to the rest of the world. Those of us in the West already know that we are out of balance. We’ve beaten up our bodies with lack of sleep and improper eating and exercise, we’re pushed our souls off into a corner, and we’ve given the mind a pre-eminent position in structuring our lives.

    But the mind has led us into a deep hole right. Now’s a good time to re-examine some of our perspectives. We can’t think that Obama is going to restore universal access to health care. American health care will continue to be the unsatisfactory, expensive, and broken system it is now for the forseeable future, and one way to deal with it is to circumvent it as best we can by staying healthy. For a long time now we have been aware that prevention is cheaper and easier than cure, but it’s very difficult to make Americans take the knowledge they have in their minds about prevention and apply it to their bodies.

    I’m going to make a bold suggestion here: that we draw upon this ancient tradition to make some small changes in our daily lives that will make us healthier. Jivananda, based on the jewels of ancient Indian tradition and philosophies, is a simple lifestyle regimen for busy people. In Sanskrit, Jiva means ‘soul’ and Ananda means ‘bliss’. Therefore, Jivananda signifies the ‘bliss of the soul.’

    Yes, this sounds very touchy-feely. But it’s the same thing we’ve always been told: diet, exercise, and a balanced life. If we spent more time remaining healthy, the health of our insurance system would become less important to us. For years we have been trying to inculcate prevention into the lives of Americans who eat themselves into diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Now, without access to health care, perhaps we will take a moment to listen and stop making ourselves sick until we can repair our health care system.


    Wow.... Darwin kind of made everything more complex than thought before, people use to belive every animal was put on earth as god designed it, but with darwins research he digged deeper and showed a bigger picture.


    In my own opinion science shows gods greatness by allowing os to look into the wonderous and complicated processes of nature. Processes that sprung out of gods body! and made human existince posible! and since god is all knowing whats wrong whit the fact that we are created by processes that seems random, just like the creation of the Earth!

    Just like when we meditate we are scientist exploring the inner world, trying to piece together the thruths of the inner world.


    And trying to find some body part or some mechanism with the thumb print of god on it is kind of stupid in my opinion cant see how that possible could be done? in a world there is one big thumb print.

    The fact that many poeople that belive in evolution draw atheistic conclusions dosent make the theory bad, they just make the wrong conclusion and cant see the divine in it because of their "ignorant" minds.

    At Darwin's time science didnt have a modern atom microscope. They actually believed a cell is just a small round ball, nothing more. But actually one living cell has more complexity than the City of New York. Now scientists at IBM have built a microscope that they say has 100 million times the display resolution of MRI machines used in hospitals.


    The new microscope is designed to study complex 3D structures at the atomic level. Scientists say they're hoping the microscope could help researchers who are investigating diseases and creating new medications.


    "This technology stands to revolutionize the way we look at viruses, bacteria, proteins, and other biological elements," said Mark Dean, vice president of strategy and operations for IBM Research, in a statement.


    Gradually science comes to understand how complex living cells are. People have a sense of complexity when it comes e.g. to cars, something what they are familiar with.


    Things we cannot see with our eyes are beyond our capacity to classify. This is missing, modern science doesn't want us to look behind their curtain. They actually keep people uninformed how complex things really are.


    IBM said its team, which worked with the center for probing the Nanoscale at Stanford University, boosted the sensitivity of MRFM and then combined it with an advanced 3D image reconstruction technique.


    But do they ever explain what is really happening within a living cell, what they can see presently?

    They keep it like a secret, because they know, if people get this information they would be convinced that only God could create such a thing. Therefore they keep quiet, keep people in darkness. It's all as luck would have it, fortunate coincidence.

  20. Kirtan at the East Village Temple


    Published by <address class="vcard author">acyuta.gopi</address>

    on <abbr class="published" title="2009-01-13T20:14:37-0500">January 13, 2009</abbr>



    <!-- .entry-meta -->

    <!-- .entry-head -->





    All I knew was that Gaura was coming and there would be kirtan, and that was enough for me. Other people who were attending the kirtan program knew more than I did and had been asking me questions all along that I didn’t have the answers to, so finally I asked Ananta that Saturday morning. “The program this afternoon is at the sanctuary?” he nodded as we sat in our house temple room chanting our rounds and admiring a new set of Gaura Nitai deities that I had just received hours ago. I nodded back and turned my attention to the deities for a few seconds longer, concentrating on their beautiful faces and then turning back to him. “What are we doing?” He paused and chuckled which made me start to laugh as I thought about how odd it was that the kirtan was hours away and I still had no clue what was going on.

    “We’re going to do kirtan.” He said simply as though that was all the answer in the world. That much I had known.

    “Will there be talking?” Ananta simply shrugged. I took that to mean a maybe and was content to leave the issue as it was. I knew that there would be kirtan, and possibly some talking, everything else, I would find out as we did it. Sometimes that was the most exciting way to do things like this, just find out when you get there.





    When we got to the sanctuary it was minutes to 4pm and the start of the program. I greeted the other side of my kirtan family, and gave long hugs to Vrinda, Revati and Kairava whom I hadn’t seen in months. Taking the time to share a few words with them, I realized at one point that somehow, the kirtan had started without me. I had never felt so out of it in my entire life. One minute, I thought that Gaura was going to say hello to a few people and the next thing I knew, I heard him singing the first few notes along with the harmonium and Ananta was playing softly on the mrdanga. Luckily the kirtan was just in the other room and it took 30 seconds for me to get from one place to the other. I sat down and looked at Radha Murlidhara and smiled, happy to be doing kirtan for these gorgeous deities.



    20081227-eastvillagetemple021.thumbnail.jpg 20081227-eastvillagetemple053.thumbnail.jpg


    The deities on the side of the altar, Doyal Nitai Vijaya Gauranga are some of my favorite deities that I have ever seen. Neem deities, that come from the birthplace of Lord Nityananda, Ekachakra they are beautifully carved and have a wonderfully unique stance. Mahaprabhu stands with one arm in the air, receiving the mercy of the holy name and with the other hand, distributes it freely to everyone that he glances upon. My beautiful Nityananda stands with both arms outstretched giving love of god whole-heartedly, and giving the holy name away wholesale as he is described as doing in so many songs by our great acaryas. Those beautiful golden deities have the power to steal anyone’s heart and bring them to love of Krsna and to the chanting of this glorious kirtan. I could not have been happier that the first stop on this mini kirtan trip was at the sanctuary with those wonderful deities.

    The kirtan was also attended by a special guest. One of my favorite kirtaniyas, a child by the name of Jaya Bala came to chant with us. This little boy is so devoted to kirtan and always looks so happy to be in the kirtan that it reminds me that the next generation of kirtaniyas is starting their lives in a place that we who are already here cannot even imagine. They are already so far advnaced on the path of devotion and kirtan that I can’t wait to see the things that they will be able to accomplish in their lives. I feel like I just want to be able to set a little of the groundwork for them so that they can change the world when they get here. Children like Jaya Bala give me full faith that the next generation of children will be able to change the world completely and will be able to touch people’s lives wherever they go, spreading the holy names and creating a kirtan revolution.



    20081227-eastvillagetemple040.thumbnail.jpg 20081227-eastvillagetemple048.thumbnail.jpg





    Besides the kirtan that we did, Gaura spoke a little about some things that had been in his heart lately. He posed the question of how we can take Mahaprabhu’s movement and keep it relevant in our everyday lives. How can we take Kirtan and make it present with us everyday? We were able to get some feedback from those who attended the kirtan and I found that thought became my meditation not only just for the kirtan tour that we did for the next few days, but since that time. I find myself asking that question at different parts of the day: what have I done today to carry Mahaprabhu’s kirtan movement with me?

    Before I knew it I looked and it was nearly 8pm. We had done kirtan for about four hours. We had not been able to do kirtan for that long in a while all together and even still it felt as though we were just getting started. Sometimes that saddens me about yoga studios. We aren’t able to do kirtan for as long as we would like to do. I remember the previous years when we would all attend the Festival of Inspiration in New Vrindavan Moundsville, West Virginia and while some devotees would go and obtain their inspiration in some of the different seminars held during the retreat weekend, crowds of the youth would sit in the grasses in the hills of West Virginia and do kirtan all day for hours. We would start in the morning, take a short break for lunch and then we would not stop until 7pm sometimes getting in as much as 10 hours of kirtan in a day. I had begun to miss those days and in the sanctuary I was able to go back to that time when after four hours of kirtan you could feel your soul just begin to stir and starting to dance and there were no other thoughts except engaging in more kirtan for at least the next three or four hours.








    With this past experience I felt as though people not only got the feel-good kirtan that Gaura and As Kindred Spirits always tries to provide, but for the first time people were able to go a little deeper, and for the first time we were able to connect with those who attended the kirtan a little more, getting their thoughts on the different ideas that have come up in discussion and understanding the suggestions and advice that they were able to give.



    20081227-eastvillagetemple102.thumbnail.jpg 20081227-eastvillagetemple099.thumbnail.jpg





    As the first day, I would say it went marvelously well. Jaya Bala certainly enjoyed it. I saw his face when his mother told him that it was time for them to go home and I wish I could have captured his sweetness in a bottle so that I would have been able to take a little of it on a rainy day. There are dualities that come with everything, and doing kirtan is no different. The planning that goes along with it and trying to maintain your every day job with the job of kirtan that we would prefer doing all the time is sometimes hard to manage, but when I see Jaya Bala I know that it’s completely worth it. Seeing the love for kirtan that he has and the way he is able to express himself, lets me know that we must pave the way for the next generation. We have to make the road for them to be able to come and brighten the future for the rest of us, I just can’t wait to see what they’ll accomplish.

    Happy Kirtan

    Acyuta Gopi

    Acyuta Gopi is a member of As Kindred Spirits and a powerhouse kirtan leader in her own right. Browse the Downloads page for some of her transforming kirtans.


    Having trouble downloading? Read our Help Section.


  21. Well yes, demigods are still hesitating to take birth in our world.



    First US count finds 1 in 200 kids are vegetarian- AP


    By MIKE STOBBE – 2 hours ago

    Sam Silverman is co-captain of his high school football team — a safety accustomed to bruising collisions. But that’s nothing compared with the abuse he gets for being a vegetarian.

    “I get a lot of flak for it in the locker room,” said the 16-year-old junior at Westborough High School in Massachusetts.

    “All the time, my friends try to get me to eat meat and tell me how good it tastes and how much bigger I would be,” said Silverman, who is 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds. “But for me, there’s no real temptation.”

    Silverman may feel like a vegetable vendor at a butchers’ convention, but about 367,000 other kids are in the same boat, according to a recent study that provides the government’s first estimate of how many children avoid meat. That’s about 1 in 200.

    Other surveys suggest the rate could be four to six times that among older teens who have more control over what they eat than young children do.

    Vegetarian diets exclude meat, but the name is sometimes loosely worn. Some self-described vegetarians eat fish or poultry on occasion, while others — called vegans — cut out animal products of any kind, including eggs and dairy products.

    Anecdotally, adolescent vegetarianism seems to be rising, thanks in part to YouTube animal slaughter videos that shock the developing sensibilities of many U.S. children. But there isn’t enough long-term data to prove that, according to government researchers.

    The new estimate of young vegetarians comes from a recent federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of alternative medicine based on a survey of thousands of Americans in 2007. Information on children’s diet habits was gleaned from about 9,000 parents and other adults speaking on the behalf of those under 18.

    “I don’t think we’ve done a good job of counting the number of vegetarian youth, but I think this is reasonable,” Amy Lanou, a nutrition scientist at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, said of the government estimate. She works with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a vegan advocacy group.

    Vegetarians say it’s animal welfare, not health, that most often causes kids to stop eating meat.

    “Compassion for animals is the major, major reason,” said Richard Schwartz, president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, an organization with a newsletter mailing list of about 800. “When kids find out the things they are eating are living animals — and if they have a pet….”

    Case in point is Nicole Nightingale, 14, of Safety Harbor, Fla. In 2007, Nightingale was on the Internet to read about chicken when she came across a video on YouTube that showed the birds being slaughtered. At the end, viewers were invited to go to the Web site peta.org — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

    Nicole told her parents she was going vegan, prompting her mother to send an angry letter to PETA. But the vegan diet is working out, and now her mother is taking steps to become a vegetarian, too, said Nightingale, an eighth-grader.

    She believes her experience was typical for a pre-adolescent vegetarian. “A lot more kids are using the Internet. They’re curious about stuff and trying to become independent and they’re trying to find out who they are,” she said.

    Vegetarians are most often female, from higher-income families and living on the East or West coasts, according to previous studies. One good place to find teen vegetarians is Agnes Scott College, a mostly white, all-women’s private school in suburban Atlanta with about 850 students. Roughly 5 to 10 percent of Agnes Scott students eat vegetarian, said Pete Miller, the college’s director of food service.

    Frequently, the most popular entree at the college dining hall is a fresh mozzarella sandwich with organic greens. And the comment board (called “the Beef Board,” as in “what’s your beef?”) often contains plaudits for vegetarian dishes or requests for more. “They’re very vocal,” Miller said of his vegetarian diners.

    Eating vegetarian can be very healthy — nutritionists often push kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, of course. For growing children, however, it’s important to get sufficient amounts of protein, vitamins B12 and D, iron, calcium and other important nutrients that most people get from meat, eggs and dairy.

    Also, vegetarian diets are not necessarily slimming. Some vegetarian kids cut out meat but fill up on doughnuts, french fries, soda or potato chips, experts said.

    “Vegetarian doesn’t mean low-calorie,” said Dr. Christopher Bolling, who directs weight management research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He said roughly 10 to 15 percent of the overweight kids who come to his medical center’s weight loss program have tried a vegetarian diet at some point before starting the program.

    Rayna Middlebrooks, 15, last year started a weight-loss program offered by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a nonprofit hospital organization. She said she’s been on a vegetarian diet for four years and now carries about 250 pounds on her 5-foot-3 inch frame.

    Her mother confirmed that, and said that although Rayna does a great job of cooking vegetable-rich stir-fried meals for herself, the girl also loves pasta, soda and sweets. “I have to watch her with the candy,” said Barbara Middlebrooks, of Decatur.

    On the flip side is Silverman, the Boston-area football player. He’s pleased with his health and has no problem sticking to his diet. Rather than try to negotiate the school cafeteria line, he brings his lunch to school. It’s the same lunch every day — rye bread, some chicken-like tofu, cheese, a clementine and an assortment of Nutrigrain, Cliff, granola and Power Bars.

    He was raised vegetarian and said it’s now so deeply ingrained that the idea of eating meat is nauseating. Recently, he ate something he belatedly realized might contain chicken. “I felt sick the rest of the day, until I threw up,” he said.

    Taken from the AP@: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jSY-YGoNKJK8l_00Hnqr2_lmmR1AD95L4G300

  22. How to Fight a Civil War as a Spiritual Battle




    Every philosophical masterpiece<sup>1</sup> contains two elements. The first is time-bound and transient, belonging to the thought-forms and sensibilities of the era when it appears. The other is timeless and imperishable, possessing new meanings for all succeeding ages. We can never be quite certain that we grasp the full meaning that a philosophical masterpiece possessed for its initial audience. But that is largely beside the point, for what is important is the meaning we discover in the masterpiece for ourselves and our contemporaries.

    transmission.jpg The mark of a philosophical masterpiece is its power to enable us to develop an entirely new understanding of Reality, relative to our time and place and powers of discernment. It serves as a spiritual microscope with which to delve into the inner microcosm of our metaphysical worlds and as a spiritual telescope to expand our vision to the far reaches of the super-sensory macrocosm. At the same time, a philosophical masterpiece is like a spiritual magnifying glass, enabling us to discern the external and internal elements that cloud our vision and bring error to our understanding.

    When re-reading a philosophical masterpiece, we often feel that it is an entirely new book. We can hardly believe that there is all this startling new meaning in a work we believed we had previously so thoroughly, so exhaustively mined. Of course, the newness is in our capability of comprehension which has evolved and expanded in the interim.

    This is so much the case, that one test of our continuing spiritual growth is the new and enlarged meaning we uncover at each reading of a masterpiece. If a philosophical masterwork seems to have no new meaning, if it seems stale and lackluster, confined to meaning we had previously discovered, then there is likely some blockage present in our spiritual development.

    What we find in philosophical masterworks are living truths which speak to the mundane problems as well as the spiritual needs of our day. Persons who are growing spiritually are able to interpret and transmit masterpieces in words and tones that resonate with the minds and hearts of their contemporaries.

    Such persons make their mental and spiritual home in the atmosphere of great masterpieces, finding as much truth in them as their level of understanding allows and receiving precisely the spiritual assistance they need.

    "Only those Scriptures, religions, philosophies which can be thus constantly renewed, relived, their stuff of permanent truth constantly reshaped and developed in the inner thought and spiritual experience of a developing humanity, continue to be of living importance to mankind. The rest remain as monuments of the past, but have no actual force or vital impulse for the future." <sup>



    </center> What distinguishes the Bhagavad Gita as a philosophical masterpiece is that it does not represent itself as a religious "scripture" resulting from the life of a teacher such as Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, or Mohammed. Its focal point is the epic history of nations at war, and in particular, the critical moment in the life of a warrior in the midst of a terrifying civil war. The Bhagavad Gita is written in the form of a philosophical dialogue, similar to the classical format of Platonic dialectic. The Gita appears to have been written about the same time Plato was writing his dialogues. The Gita is not a series of teachings by a recognized teacher to a group of people, but the self-revelation of God in the midst of ordinary life through a common human being--in this case, a charioteer. plate44.jpg It is an allegory depicting humankind's life-situation and our realization of the divine in human experience.

    One of the reasons why the Bhagavad Gita speaks so eloquently and familiarly to us is that we can identify with the central human figure, Arjuna the warrior. Here is no reclusive philosopher nor imperious king offered as the representative type of humankind, but a familiar, active human being, with all our common feelings, shortcomings, thoughts, and aspirations.

    We are suddenly thrown into the terrifying, cacophonous Pandemonium of a battlefield, with Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna riding into the melee. Here in the midst of this turmoil, Arjuna, the human prototype, is suddenly startled into the awareness that his charioteer, Krishna, is actually the Godhead itself. And in the midst of this frighting chaos of war, the Godhead proceeds to instruct Arjuna as to the ultimate nature of reality.

    <center>Our Own Civil War</center> As we explored in the lead essay in this series, SWdemoniac.jpg Americans in the twenty-first century are engaged in a new civil war against a demonic cabal which has seized political and economic control of the nation. Like Arjuna, we're embroiled in an internecine conflict and wonder how we can carry out this struggle for humankind's betterment in such a way as to sustain our nation's values and own moral honor.

    In our American civil war we see the minds of millions of our fellow citizens deliberately deranged by the forces of ignorance, delusion, and destruction. These unbalanced, addled minds then become the unknowing cannon fodder for the enemy forces. We're tempted at times to feel hopeless when mindless Americans march off to die in senseless imperialistic wars, while those at home swallow the lies and corruption of the self-proclaimed leaders.

    Even when the corrupt cabal's actions result in widespread unemployment, lack of medical assistance, the utter destruction of our educational system, and the obliteration of our entire way of life, the crazed enemy combatants embrace their suicidal ignorance and delusion.

    plate5.jpg Like Arjuna, we're tempted to throw up our hands, claiming that all struggle is senseless, that we cannot hope to make any discernible difference in this vast conflagration. It is at this critical point within our experience when God makes clear to us His presence in our lives and His divine plan for humankind. Krishna reveals himself as the Divine One who controls all human history, past and present, the Godhead in whom all persons live and move and have their being. As the Supreme Creator of the universe, He discloses Himself when tyranny threatens to undermine humankind.

        • "When goodness grows weak,

          When evil increases,

          I make myself a body.

          In every age I come back

          To deliver the holy,

          To destroy the sin of the sinner,

          To establish righteousness."

          Bhagavad Gita




    The Divine-made-human also reveals Himself as the Higher Consciousness within us. He makes clear to us that human life is for the purpose of discovering our inner Divine Soul and progressively identifying with our Higher Being. The first lesson we must learn is that in our struggle for the betterment of humankind we are not to have an egoistic involvement in the fruits of our labors. Our responsibility is to carry out what we are assigned to do, according to our lights and gifts, in such a manner that they have the best chance for success. But it is not for us to complain when our actions do not result in immediate or discernible differences, as it is equally counterproductive to become puffed up with personal pride when our struggles prevail. Acting in concert with God's overall plan as best we understand it, we are to work for the preservation and betterment of humankind, not our own personal self-satisfaction and conceit.

    <center>The Allegorical Types <sup>3</sup></center> plate44a.jpg Arjuna, the disciple, receives his initiatory instruction on the battlefield of life itself: in the midst of his human experience. He represents the human who has fulfilled his common responsibilities, has developed a nearness to the divine Self both in himself and in others, and is thus prepared to receive further revelatory knowledge.

    "Arjuna . . . is the representative man of a great world-struggle and divinely-guided movement of men and nations; in the Gita he typifies the human soul of action brought face to face through that action in its highest and most violent crisis with the problem of human life and its apparent incompatibility with the spiritual state or even with a purely ethical ideal of perfection." <sup>

    This allegory concerns the inner life of humankind as experienced by a person developing spiritual understanding through his actions as well as his thoughts. He is the type of person who unswervingly performs his duty according to the best principles of his time. He is a soldier carrying out his military duties as best he knows how. Arjuna develops spiritually through his subjective reactions to what he is doing as a warrior, his moral revulsion at the senseless carnage of warfare.

    Arjuna is a highly principled, self-disciplined, chivalrous warrior leader who in fulfilling his duty suddenly realizes he is enmeshed in a horrendous civil war involving his entire culture which must lead to the utter destruction of countless people and threatening civilization with chaos and collapse.

    Arjuna has placed himself smack in the middle of this terrifying civil war to contemplate its full meaning. And he suddenly realizes, with full clarity for the first time, that he is involved in a struggle against friends, acquaintances, even family, people of all kinds who believe themselves to be fighting for the right. arj_overa.jpg His immediate reaction is complete revulsion at the senseless destruction which purports to be for the purpose of preserving principles of truth and justice, which are in fact being decimated. He feels his whole moral universe undercut by the monstrous carnage of civil war.

    It is at this point that Arjuna's charioteer and friend reveals himself as the Godhead. God chooses to reveal himself to a single person in the midst of human life and as incarnated in a charioteer.


    "Such then is the divine Teacher of the Gita, the eternal Avatar, the Divine who has descended into the human consciousness, the Lord seated within the heart of all beings. He who guides from behind the veil all our thought and action and heart's seeking even as He directs from behind the veil of visible and sensible forms and forces and tendencies the great universal action of the world which He has manifested in His own being." <sup>

    When we are able to pierce through the illusion of our conception of common life and see God in everyone and everything and in all times, we suddenly discover Him in ordinary people and events.

    "Everything stands for God and you see only God in all the world. . . If this is lacking, if you are not looking for God and expecting him everywhere, and in everything, you lack the [inner] birth."

    Meister Eckhart


    gita_rev.jpg Having penetrated the web of illusion, we can then realize our Higher Consciousness as unified with the Lord of our being, surrender our egos to our Inner Self, and merge our existence in the Higher Being and the plenitude of His increate Bliss. The fact that this all seems rather grandiose to us merely reveals the paucity of our conception of human life.

    Instead of embracing this vision of human existence as the ideal, we have diminished life to a banal world of sensory experiences involving exclusively physical realities. "Can you prove to me that God is a reality like the reality of the objects of my common experience?" we ask the Gita (and all other philosophical masterpieces). If we start from a distorted and paltry view of existence, holding onto it as the criterion of truth and reality, then it's impossible to ascend to a higher view of human life as presented in the Gita--and all other masterpieces within the Perennial Tradition.

    SWscholars.jpg We might think that once the Divine Lord has revealed himself to Arjuna in his full Godhead that Arjuna would be so overwhelmed that he would merely acquiesce to everything Krishna tells him. But the Gita, like all teachings within the Perennial Tradition, requires that the initiate retain his Reason as one of his standards against which to measure all claims to truth--even revelation. The destructive counterfeit called orthodox Christianity has created a depraved dogma that something is true because it is absurd, that only the Church can adjudicate the truth.

    Arjuna asks Krishna for a new, superior Law by which he can act on a higher plane, and thus escape the presumed iniquity of participating in the carnage of civil strife. You must act, says Krishna, according to your lights; there is no way to escape your moral dilemma through pretending to exist on a higher plane of scholastic or religious detachment. We are not to retreat to a Himalayan cave and become a recluse, or pretend to dwell above the fray of the world struggle for human betterment through sanctimonious detachment. Our responsibility is to do whatever we can to preserve and advance the ongoing struggle for human evolution.

    transmission.jpg The teaching of the Gita is that humankind must remain in the world of human endeavor and struggle, while continually developing a more comprehensive understanding of and unity with the Higher Consciousness--with God. True seekers do not struggle for humankind's evolution for the purpose of gaining the personal reward of realization of their Higher Consciousness, they surrender their actions to the Supreme Being, thereby becoming a part of His Divine Plan for all the universe. Even while working to achieve unity with the One Quintessence, we gain the understanding that we are actually not the ultimate "doers" of our own actions, that our very lives are an expression of the Higher Being.

    We attain such higher understanding of our participation in Higher Being by achieving a transcendent perspective that allows us to view our lives and the whole panorama of human existence from a more than personal viewpoint.


    The majesty of the Bhagavad Gita is the image of a Deity who communicates with humans, cares for their well-being, and loves them as a part of Himself. He reveals Himself in all objects, events, and persons; He IS All Reality. And from the transcendental splendor of His Being, he speaks to us:

    "Precious thou art to Me; right well-beloved!

    Listen! tell thee for thy comfort this.

    Give Me thy heart! adore Me! serve Me! cling

    In faith and love and reverence to Me!

    So shalt thou come to Me! I promise true,

    For thou art sweet to Me!

    And let go those-

    Rites and writ duties! Fly to Me alone!

    Make Me thy single refuge! I will free

    Thy soul from all its sins! Be of good cheer!" <sup>




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