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Posts posted by suchandra

  1. This must be so, because Truth is not impersonal. Neither is Truth a person in the sense in which the mentalists, including Shankara, apparently want us to understand the term. Spiritual personality is categorically different from the distorted empiric notion of the same. Until the nature of the Personality of the Truth is properly grasped, one continues in the deluded state which is also the state of limitation (bondage). Therefore Gopal Chakravarti is right, although he is unaware of it, in holding that the chance of emancipation of a person who has attained to the notion of Godhead as an impersonal and inactive, although all-pervasive and transcendental, Entity, is very slight. Gopal does not understand that his ideal person is also necessarily no less deluded than himself if he supposes his condition to be the goal.

    The interpretation of the text relied upon by Gopal Chakravarti, said Thakur Haridas, is that of a person who does not understand the Nature of the Name by reason of his having no access to Him. The deluded person is no longer consciously contradicting himself and is not, therefore, insincere in the sense of being double-tongued. He is certainly to be pitied. Neither can his conduct be regarded as sincere inasmuch as it is opposed to his real nature of which he only happens to be ignorant by his own conscious perversity. The empiric casuist who affects to believe in the impersonal nature of the Truth is only pushing his conscious perversity of the choice of untruth to its logical conclusion. If the deliberate error is not ignored his conduct cannot be regarded as consistent, being altogether untrue. Gopal Chakravarti's source of error lay deeper than the plane on which he stood and was, therefore, naturally incomprehensible to him in his condition of cultured perversity.

    The Vaishnavas, who alone understand the real cause of the worldly ailment, alone possess the true spirit of toleration. Thakur Haridas showed his toleration of the rank atheism of deluded Gopal Chakravarti by abstaining from disturbing him further. This toleration really means the withdrawal of his causeless, apparently aggressive, mercy from a deluded soul whose opposition to Godhead is likely to be increased by the process. It is the greatest possible misfortune that can befall a conditioned soul to miss the special mercy of the Vaishnava by his successful opposition to the Truth. The apparent intolerance of a Vaishnava is as helpful to a person as his tolerance of evil. The Vaishnava never cooperates with the offending soul in his sinful activities. He does not agree to be false to himself and his eternal Master to please the confirmed apostate. Such sympathetic toleration of evil is a grave offence against the Truth notwithstanding the significant fact that it alone is relished by the pantheistic school of the pseudo-Vedantists.

    The point reached marks almost the limit of rational discussion toward the spiritual issue which is open to the empiricist. He cannot proceed further without discarding the method of empiricism by giving up completely the process of his unaided effort. It was not possible for Gopal Chakravarti to retrace his steps by any other method. That he was not at all prepared for this is proved by his offensive conduct towards Thakur Haridas who had, therefore, no other alternative but to leave him to the mercies of Maya.

    But the actual good will of Haridas towards the offender bore its fruit in the swift punishment, that could be intelligible to the sufferer himself, that smote him in the form of leprosy. Gopal was, thereby, afforded an excellent opportunity of revising his impersonal doctrine. But he was of course free to avail of it or not. The Godless attitude is an attitude of absolute confidence in one's own judgment and power. The atheist is not at all disposed to submit to another in any circumstances. He has to be compelled to submit to non-God because he can consistently submit only to compelling force. Such submission alone is appreciated in the state of sin and ignorance which is a radically false position and necessarily entails constant irrational conduct on a really rational being unnaturally disposed to accept the same through the no less unnatural fear of punishment. The Holy Name of Godhead is not a thing of this world.

    The Name of Godhead is identical with Godhead Himself. The Godhead appears in this world in the Form of the Name on the lips of His pure devotees. He appears as the transcendental Sound on the spiritual lips of the soul in the state of grace. The Name of Godhead appearing on the lips of a pure devotee as the Transcendental Sound, is perceptible as such only to the spiritual ear. These statements are likely to appear absurd and puerile to the dogmatic impersonalist. Can the soul, he will persist to ask, have lips and ears?

    Can the soul have senses? But—can the empiricist know, even if he have? The transcendentalists maintain that the soul has an infinity of senses of which the physical senses are a perverted reflection. There cannot even be the shadow of existence of the physical senses if there were no substantive spiritual senses. But there are also the spiritual senses themselves as distinct from but not unrelated to their corresponding shadowy reflections in this phenomenal world. This is involved in the very definition of the Absolute.

    The spiritual sense is categorically different from the physical sense. The spiritual senses are perfect and self-conscious, there being no interval or barrier of time or space between the sense and its possessor. The spiritual body is indivisible and perfectly self-conscious in every part and is identical with the owner of the body. All this is incomprehensible to us although it is perfectly consistent with the fundamental principles of indivisible substantive existence, that are also acceptable to the empiricist. The empiricist, although he may sometimes, under pressure of his own logic, seem to agree with the conclusions of transcendentalism, finds it impossible to adopt them in practice. The absolute conduct is not possible on the mundane plane to which he finds himself strictly confined by his own postulates backed by the real Deluding Potency.

    If one is merely disposed to regard any sound as transcendental, such wish alone will not make the sound of his choice to become really transcendental. Similarly, if a person is disposed to regard a transcendental Sound as an occurrence of the mundane atmosphere such attitude will not also affect the subjective nature of the transcendental Sound. There is real difference between the transcendental Sound and mundane sound.

    The transcendental Sound is identical with the object denoted by the sound. The mundane sound is separated from the object denoted by it by the intervals of time and space. To hear the mundane sound of the name of a Lion is not the same thing as to see the beast. On the spiritual plane the very word 'Lion' is identical with the animal. The animal is fully realisable by and in the hearing of his name. Whereas the real nature of the mundane animal, denoted by the mundane sound, ever remains a thing unknown. The Name of Krishna is identical with Godhead. But the Name of Krishna does not manifest Himself on mundane lips nor to the mundane ear. The Name Krishna appears in His Form of the Transcendental Sound on the spiritual lips of His devotees and is heard by the spiritual ear of the submissive soul by the Grace of Krishna. The Name Krishna is identical with the Possessor of the Name. The Name Krishna appears to the listening ear, as He is, only by degrees. As soon as the dormant soul catches the first faint reflection of His Light he is at once completely free from the bondage of ignorance and sin. It is the Name Who comes of His Own accord to our fettered soul. The bound jiva, or living entity, has no access to the Presence of Krishna on his own initiative. Krishna's Approach is heralded by the harbinger of Light whose first glimmerings on their appearance put an end to all misconception regarding the categorical difference between light and darkness. Unless and until the soul becomes aware of the true nature of spiritual existence by being so enlightened by the Source of all consciousness, he is sure to mistake the mind for his real self and the mental function as the only knowledge.

    If at this stage he does not wilfully shut his eyes but keeps them turned towards the growing Light he gradually and in due course obtains the sight of the concrete Source of all light. This is the mode of Appearance of the Holy Name. The sight of Krishna is alone capable of inspiring love for Krishna. This the position of Thakur Haridas as explained by himself to the Pandits who were in assembly at the house of the Mazumdars. Thakur Haridas mercifully explains that the different concrete forms of the so-called 'liberation' concocted by the mentalists as their unknowable summum-bonum are the outcome of the desire for sensuous gratification.

    If one could live in the happy realms of Krishna described in the Scriptures, the empiricist supposes that such a person should be enabled to enjoy more good things than are available on the Earth if his condition is really worth having. The same desire for extended opportunities of sensuous enjoyment happens also to be the real motive behind the formulation of the other 'forms' of the empiricist's 'saved' existence. The grossness of the ideal of liberation is fully unmasked when one is told that the salvationist's "final" form is to become the equal of Godhead by merging with the Object of his worship! It is to this unnatural and profane position that the unchecked speculations of the mentalists are logically bound to lead in the long run.

    Thakur Haridas ascribes the grossness of the ideal to the attitude of the empiric thinker, the insatiable desire for sensuous pleasure. The desire to enjoy is categorically different from, and wholly incompatible with, the desire to serve, to love. If one feels a real desire to serve Krishna he would lose all taste for his own enjoyment. All impurity, unwholesomeness and misery are fortunately and mercifully ordained by the Lord as the inevitable consequence of the insatiable desire for selfish enjoyment. But the soul who turns away from immediate enjoyment by considerations of greater prospective enjoyment in the sequel, cannot also for that very reason realize the condition of loving devotion to the Feet of the Lord, however strongly impressed he may profess to be of the desirability of such a state. He is, no doubt, free to think that he really desires it; but at the same time he is wholly incapable of ever attaining to it by such desire. But, says Thakur Haridas, he may nevertheless attain to love for Krishna by the Chanting of the Holy Name, by the Grace of the Holy Name Himself. This is the special Dispensation for the Age which is so irremediably speculative; and there is no other way open to this Age for attaining to the loving service of Krishna. Haridas refers to the texts of the Scriptures to prove the truth of his statements.

    This is the only proper use of the Shastras. The Shastras bear witness to the Truth of the realizations of all really pure souls. There is one other fact which is worthy of our notice. The Pandits of the learned assembly, headed by Hiranya Mazumdar, the master of the house, took the side of Thakur Haridas. They not only strongly censured the conduct of Gopal Chakravarti in the open assembly but Hiranya Mazumdar thought it his duty to renounce all further connection with a brahmana who could be guilty of an act of discourtesy to the devotee of Godhead. Nevertheless the Pandits and Mazumdar himself felt themselves involved in the sin of Gopal Chakravarti by the unhappy circumstance of their having had to hear most reluctantly the blasphemous words uttered by Gopal in their presence. For this sin the only expiation, prescribed by the Shastras, was to seek in all humility the pardon of Thakur Haridas, not for the offender, but for themselves. This is not mere courtesy, but an unavoidable necessity if one really wants to serve the Truth. Any association, deliberate or accidental, with untruth tends to obscure our vision of the Truth, Who is, indeed, a very Jealous Master.

    Those who are disposed to serve the Truth with causeless, loving devotion, throw to the winds all considerations of ignorant propriety or ignorant justice and are never satisfied by serving the Truth by all their senses at all times and in all circumstances. By the grace of Thakur Haridas this instinct of loving devotion actually manifested itself in the conduct of those who had listened with faith to the Absolute Truth from his pure lips. Sri Raghunathdas Goswami was a child at this time. He used to visit the Thakur in his hut during his stay at Chandpur.

    The boy was the fortunate recipient of the mercy of Thakur Haridas. This is considered by Sri Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami as the real cause of Raghunath Das's subsequent unique devotion to the Feet of Sri Chaitanya. The mercy of a sadhu acts equally on all persons, irrespective of age, sex or condition— all of whom have an equal chance of being benefited by associating with a real sadhu. The interests of the soul are not capable of being adversely affected by any worldly conditions. The boy's soul has no defect of immaturity any more than that of an old man the advantage of maturity. Such maturity or immaturity has no relevancy in one's associating with a sadhu. The boy's soul, equally with the soul of the old man, may or may not be disposed to listen to the words of a sadhu for the genuine purpose of acting up to the same.

    It is as necessary for a child to associate with a sadhu as for an adult; but in neither case can one be sure of obtaining the mercy of the sadhu with whom he may choose to associate. The sadhu is kind to one who is really inclined to serve Godhead. It is the function of a sadhu to foster one's inclination for the service of the Lord by means of his conduct and words. The articulated sound is, however, the sadhu's unambiguous weapon to fight all un-Godliness. It should puzzle the muddled brain of the whole race of self-conceited empiricists to understand why and how the sadhu need have no other work except talking about almost anything to whom he likes. Any person who is spoken to by a sadhu, even for the tiny space of a second, has every chance of attaining the real object of life which is unattainable by infinite endeavour by any other method.

    Nay, it is our duty to listen to a real sadhu, if we are fortunate enough to meet him, in preference to all other duties, which are not only of secondary importance, but are a positive obstruction on the path of the highest and only good.

  2. Thakur Haridas Part III

    From the book "Sree Krishna-Chaitanya"

    by Professor Sannyal

    [in Part II, Professor Sannyal described the gathering of great learned Pandits to hear the teachings of Srila Thakur Haridas, at which time Gopal Chakravarti arose in offense against the Saint. Consequently, Gopal was stricken by leprosy—the circumstances of which will be described in Part III.]

    The world is gratuitously assumed by a pseudo-rationalism to be the only reality and the attempt is therefore made to ascertain the methods by following which we can attain the gratification of the senses, which function appears to be the relationship naturally subsisting between ourselves and the world. The senses are assumed to be an integral and undetachable part of ourselves. The mind is identified with the senses on the one hand and with the soul on the other. The senses connect the mind, or the soul, by this assumption, with the external world. The senses are the eyes of the whole system. All pain and pleasure suffered by the mind are due to the way in which the mind directs the senses in their relations with the world. The mind cannot apparently know by intuition, at any rate ordinarily, all the consequences of any particular mode of employment of the senses. The mind can, indeed, try to guess about them. But it can never be quite sure about any occurrence till after actual experience. This uncertainty is supposed to be reducible to certainty if it could be possible to know from experience the uniform "laws" that are assumed to govern all phenomenal occurrences under all circumstances. This hypothesis of the uniform operation of the "laws" of Nature has been built up by the accumulated "experiences" of the race.

    But as the occurrences themselves present an infinity of complications it has not been possible to attain to anything like certainty in isolating the single threads of the web in order to be certain to reproduce all the occurrences of Nature in the Laboratory. Assuming that the above object of scientific endeavour will be realisable in practice in the long run, its success should make it possible for us to prolong the possibility and scope of sensuous enjoyment ad infinitum. If we fail to be perfectly "happy" by the complete elimination of "pain" by the proper employment of the "forces" of Nature in the way that is calculated to produce such a result under the then-known "laws of Nature," our labours should still have really no abiding value for ourselves.

    But has our "experience" up to the present moment taken us an inch towards the realization of unmixed or lasting pleasure? Is "pleasure" really different from "pain"? Or is it only different by circumstance? That which is food for the goose is food for the gander, is not found to be more true than most hypotheses. Variation, which is sought to be eliminated, is found on close inspection and analysis to be itself the indispensable condition of the pleasures. We are, therefore, left inevitably to the present condition of necessary and complete ignorance in order to have any "pleasure" at all by our dealings with the world by means of our senses. It is argued that pleasure and pain might themselves by enriched, deepened and broadened by more experience and that it is worth our while to help this process in a conscious manner. To this the answer would be that the better and more detailed realization of our utter ignorance, in the midst of the mockery of a civilization that is claimed to be based upon knowledge, would be a self-contradiction that is not likely to appeal to the assorting instinct of our rational nature and is calculated to make our condition no better than it is. Civilized wickedness and filth are not preferable to any nuisance of the uncivilized state. Satan, who may be allowed to possess the perfection of worldly culture, is probably more miserable than the uncivilized Gond. It would be difficult for the unbiased reason of man to choose between materialistic savagery and materialistic civilization.

    "Ignorance is misery," says one of the wisest of proverbs. Increase of ignorance is not any decrease of misery. Ignorance is supposed to be the state of all empiric knowledge which is improperly assumed to be alone available to man. Our very nature is sometimes supposed to be incapable of real enlightenment. This axiom of pessimism is exploited for advising man to turn a deaf ear to the Teacher of the Absolute. It is even more disastrously utilized for condemning the devotees themselves. It cannot be otherwise. The soul is in this case identified with the mind-cum-body. Abandonment of the mind, therefore, appears as equivalent to the abandonment of the soul, or to self-immolation. The mind seems to be our all. Groping in perpetual ignorance appears as our inevitable function, miscalled "Search for the Truth."

    Empiric enthusiasts imaginatively describe this process as the "eternal quest." These metaphors and denunciations do not, however, help us in any way; but, on the contrary, they only tend to obstruct the process of the real quest. Gopal Chakravarti is a typical brahmana of the pseudo-Vedantic School of Shankara. He has no doubts regarding the goal of the Vedanta. According to him the attainment of the Knowledge of the Brahman, Who possesses no distinctive function at all that is capable of being defined, is the goal. By the attainment of the knowledge of the real Nature of the Brahman, the individual soul is freed from all the miseries of his apparent existence which only seems to be limited and is, therefore, only supposed to be miserable.

    As there is only One Entity, the Brahman, Who is ever free from all defects and all merits, the goal can be no other than complete absorption into the One. On the attainment of this desirable goal there is no difference between the devotee, devotion and the Object of devotion. The service of the Brahman is thus only a temporary means to a final end, which means being different from the end and is, therefore, necessarily terminable with the attainment of the goal. It is the highest form of religion to try to realize, by the appropriate methods, the knowledge of, and absorption into, the undifferentiated Brahman. When the individual soul becomes one with the Brahman the state of separate existence and necessity for any kind of distinguishable function terminate together. According to Gopal Chakravarti and his associates this knowledge of the Brahman is higher than service and the termination of both knowledge and service is the highest goal.

    Gopal is quite sure that this is the only teaching of the Scriptures. It may be observed at this place that Shankara does not discard the principle of worship, but declares its tentative necessity which is terminable on self-realization which, according to him, is identical with complete absorption into the One. Thakur Haridas distinguishes between devotion, work and knowledge. The soul in the bound state desires one of two alternative functions: If he is optimistic he wants greater scope for enjoyment. If he happens to be pessimistic, he hankers for emancipation from the misery of mundane existence. The latter, the pessimist, sometimes thinks that real emancipation is impossible so long as the consciousness of one's being different or separate from the One persists. It is to this extreme school of atheistic Vedantists, advocating unification with the Brahman, that Gopal Chakravarti, like most cultured people of his day as well as of this, happened to belong by his empiric predisposition. According to this school fruitive work leads to empiric knowledge and the latter to the third position of inexpressible oneness with the Brahman. Devotion or service is classed under fruitive work, which is assigned a lower position than empiric knowledge. The process of advance to the goal of complete unification with the One, according to this school, is devotion (blind faith rendering possible utilitarian work of a low order) (Bhakti) leading to work of a higher order (Karma), which, in its turn, leads up to empiric knowledge of the uselessness of all knowledge and all activity terminating in perfect absorption into the One. Haridas is neither a pessimist nor an optimist. He is an absolutist. He is convinced that the theory of complete absorption into the One is logically unsound and opposed to the real teaching of the Scriptures. The alternatives of enjoyment and abstention from enjoyment exhaust, indeed, the possibilities of function of the mind and body; but they have no application to the soul who is located beyond the reach of body and mind. The soul is substantially different from the mind and body.

    The soul is the substantive reality while the mind is only his perverted reflection in the mirror of limited existence. The mind is the material shadow, so to say, of the soul who is the spiritual substance. The mind is a material phenomenon galvanised into the appearance of self-consciousness by the impulse communicated to it by the deluded soul. Mind is the shadow of the perverse soul mirrored in matter. This description is, and can be, but an imperfect and misleading analogy of the relationship that actually subsists between mind and soul. The shadow of the material substance is not categorically different from the substance itself, both of them being material phenomena. The shadow of the soul in this case is, however, categorically different from the soul, being a material phenomenon pure and simple.

    The soul in his spiritual or natural condition is categorically different from material phenomena. The soul is self-conscious itself. There can be no such thing as ignorance in the soul. There can be no such thing as genuine self-consciousness in the mind which is non-soul. The apparent self-consciousness of the mind is really a state of complete ignorance which is given its shape and color by the qualities of matter: grossness, limitation, perishability, changeableness, etc. These unwholesome traits are non-existent and impossible in the soul. The soul is capable of forgetting his real nature, mistaking himself to be a material entity. The soul is not above one possible weakness, willful rebellion against the Truth. It is a real blunder on the part of the soul to choose to be a rebel. But the soul is perfectly free to refuse to serve the Truth, i.e., Godhead.

    He thereby proves deliberately false to his own substantive nature, because it is the constituent function of the soul, in his natural state of perfect spiritual existence, to be the exclusive servant of the Truth. The soul who rebels against Godhead is punished by his exile to the phenomenal world and by incarceration in the double material case of mind and body. This point will be further elucidated later. Fruitive work and empiric knowledge are functions of the mind and, therefore, purely material phenomena.

    By means of such work and knowledge the deluded soul cannot realize his natural function for the plain reason that they are not his proper function at all. By means of work and knowledge the soul only moves in a vicious circle of material existence which is seemingly conscious but is really one of absolute ignorance. This is the explanation why, by means of the undifferentiated knowledge of the Brahman, freedom from the fetters of work and knowledge of this anomalous existence can be attained by crores of years of endeavour. This is what Gopal says. The delay is, however, not due to the complexity of the process, as he supposes it to be. So long as a person continues to suppose that an impersonal all-pervasive Entity is the goal of knowledge one is not yet freed from the real ignorance of his spiritual function.



    continued next page

  3. Seems like feeding the poor became the biggest issue in India. "In partnership with the Delhi government, the Swaminarayan Akshardham temple runs a feeding centre at Nizamuddin. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) runs one centre independently at Chandni Chowk and another with support from DLF at India Gate."

    Delhi soup kitchens keep hunger at bay


    December 31st, 2008 - 2:29 pm ICT by IANS <!-- Email to friend --> <!-- Added By Send to a Friend Plugin. Version 0.4.3 -->


    New Delhi, Dec 31 (IANS) Hemant, a part-time hawker, lives behind a roadside temple off Janpath in the heart of the capital. The 18-year-old has a new love - the Aap ki Rasoi (your kitchen) van that makes a stop at India Gate lawns every noon and gives him his one hot meal of the day.”I am alive today only because of this food,” Hemant, a migrant from Chhattisgarh, told IANS. He posts himself at the India Gate lawns promptly at noon, with a beaten vessel in his hand to collect hot food for himself and two others who stay with him. The truck is

    one of a dozen vehicles in the capital from which hot food is served to hundreds every day. ‘Aap Ki Rasoi - toward making Delhi a hunger-free state’ is an initiative of the Delhi government. The pet project of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, it was launched in April this year under the Bhagidari (partnership) programme.

    The government has roped in corporates to fund the production and distribution of the food.

    There is a huddle of small beggar children at the end of the queue. Once served their hot dal (lentils), vegetables and rice, they squat just a few metres away and appear to be having a picnic under the mellow winter sun.

    The van driver said: “The kids sometimes become naughty. They try to take more food. But we can’t give it to them. We have too many mouths to feed.”

    The queue keeps getting longer. An hour after noon, there are hundreds waiting - beggars, disabled people, women, children…

    By 1.30 p.m., the activity winds up and the truck leaves.

    How is the quality of the food?

    “It is quite tasty, we get a lot of variety,” says a disabled man who runs a mobile phone booth on the India Gate lawns. “Mostly we have variations of rice with sambar, rajma, or kadhi but some days we get roti (Indian bread).”

    The soup kitchens are also run at 10 other centres around the capital.

    “We are living in the national capital territory of the largest democracy. Despite this there are people who eat from garbage bins. We wanted to bring about a change, to provide at least one hot nutritious meal to the hundreds of people,” Kulanand Joshi, joint secretary of Bhagidari in the chief minister’s office, told IANS.

    “We found it difficult to tackle the problem alone - so it was the chief minister’s idea to rope in corporates,” he added.

    In partnership with the Delhi government, the Swaminarayan Akshardham temple runs a feeding centre at Nizamuddin. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) runs one centre independently at Chandni Chowk and another with support from DLF at India Gate.

    A Banglore-based NGO, Akshay Patra, runs the remaining centres. It prepares the food and takes care of distribution on behalf of Hindustan Times at SPM market near Rani Jhansi Road and Jhandewalan; for Taj hotels at Regarpura in Karol Bagh; for the ITC group at Raghuvir Nagar; for the Neotia Foundation at G.T. Road, Shahdara, and for Reliance Fresh at Hanuman temple near Connaught Place.

    While the corporates fund the various centres, the government, Joshi said, identifies and monitors the centres, “trying to cater to as many as possible”.

    “Anganwadis (government-run creches), social district officers and primary health care centres also are involved to make them more effective,” Joshi added.

    The cost of a single meal works out to Rs.6 to 8, including transport cost. Each centre feeds at least 500 people a day. Often the centre at Chandni Chowk ends up feeding 1,200 people. The numbers have risen in the winter. In all, around 5,000 people are being fed a hot nutritious meal every day.

    While some of the firms felt they were fulfilling their corporate social responsibility by participating in the initiative, Iskcon says it is following its mandate - ‘food for life’.

    “We and the government have the same mission,” said Balbhadra Das, director of Food for Life at Iskcon.

    “We at Iskcon believe that food is a purifying influence - the food we serve is prasad. A majority of the hungry destitutes in the city are easily inclined to becoming drug abusers and get into crime. We feel wholesome food can bring about a concious change in values.”

    The Aap ki Rasoi programme is striving to rope in many more corporates for future centres.

    “The chief minister will review the programme in January 2009. Perhaps there will be some changes - but the focus will be to pool in more resources from small and large corporates,” Joshi said.

    He hopes that the programme will pick up pace soon - to fulfil the chief minister’s dream of a hunger-free Delhi.


    hi all.......


    I'm new to this forum and can see that recession is all set to grip in the next year. will 2009 be a lucky year for the global economy or will get along some hard hitting days full of depression. Do post what you expect of it?



    Stela Irwin,

    Financial Reviewer,


    Although we live in the age of disagreement (kali-yuga) our governments decided unanimously that globalization of the economies is the only solution for all the problems. Now, a couple of years later we find people ask this question about the impact that globalization in general and offshoring in particular have on US employment and income.


    In fact the impact that globalization has, and will have, on the US economy continues to be one of the most debated economic issues of our time.


    Economists, generally speaking, view such globalization as highly beneficial, based on the international benefits of free trade. At the opposite extreme, globalization is commonly opposed by workers in industries and at firms whose jobs are being transferred to foreign locations.


    When the globalization movement started, the global players somehow expected that all of them would profit, people could buy things cheaper etc. However, it seems that this understanding is now gradually being scrutinized.


    Job losses have become the primary metric in press and public discussions of offshoring. Economists, in contrast, generally believe that labor markets equilibrate rapidly, and that most workers who lose jobs to offshoring are soon re-employed, new kind of jobs are being invented.


    For example, John F. Kennedy used jobs lost to automation as a major campaign issue in 1960, which led to legislation creating the Manpower Training Act.


    Even now, as the offshoring of jobs to Asia continues, Asian entrepreneurs still indicate the US is a highly favored location to develop their newest ideas.


    My personal assumption is that presently the dynamics of globalization has gotten out of control and the New Trade Theory NTT couldn't explain all these side effects of offshoring high tec and low tec as well. It's like a domino effect: more unemployed means less consumer spending, and it just keeps going. A gradual downward spiral of our economy in the long term.


    From vedic culture point of view it seems, vedic culture strongly opposes to any kind of centralization, but always to keep things individual and self sufficient. But this is just what globalization seems to be the opposite, globalization is a kind of centralization in that sense that a few dozens super rich control the world market.



    New Trade Theory (NTT) is the economic critique of international free trade from the perspective of increasing returns to scale and the network effect. Some economists have asked whether it might be effective for a nation to shelter infant industries until they had grown to a sufficient size large enough to compete internationally.

    New Trade theorists challenge the assumption of diminishing returns to scale, and some argue that using protectionist measures to build up a huge industrial base in certain industries will then allow those sectors to dominate the world market (via a Network effect).

    They wondered whether free trade would have prevented the development of the Japanese auto industries in the 1950s, when quotas and regulations prevented import competition. Japanese companies were encouraged to import foreign production technology but were required to produce 90 percent of parts domestically within five years. It is said that the short-term hardship of Japanese consumers (who were unable to buy the superior vehicles produced by the world market) was more than compensated for by the long-term benefits to producers, who gained time to out-compete their international rivals<sup id="Footnote_1">1</sup>.

    Less quantitative forms of this "infant industry" argument against totally free trade have been advanced by trade theorists since at least 1848 (see: History of free trade.)

  5. .........people lost faith in their leaders.


    George Bush lost credibility: "Katrina to me was the tipping point," said Matthew Dowd, Bush's pollster and chief strategist for the 2004 presidential campaign. "The president broke his bond with the public. Once that bond was broken, he no longer had the capacity to talk to the American public. State of the Union addresses? It didn't matter. Legislative initiatives? It didn't matter. P.R.? It didn't matter. Travel? It didn't matter."

  6. Posted by abhilash on 30.12.08: Hindus always believed that the River Sarasvati flowed on earth before disappearing and the river is mentioned in the Hindu Holy scriptures and is worshipped along with <st1:place st="on"><st1:placename st="on">Ganga</st1:placename> <st1:placetype st="on">River</st1:placetype></st1:place>. But the existence of River Sarasvati was always questioned by historians with hidden political agenda. Sadly, such historians were ruling the academies for more than 50 years in <st1:country-region st="on"><st1:place st="on">India</st1:place></st1:country-region> after independence. Now, archeologists have discovered the bed of the <st1:placename st="on">Sarasvati</st1:placename> <st1:placetype st="on">River</st1:placetype> in <st1:place st="on"><st1:placename st="on">Bhoresaidan</st1:placename> <st1:placetype st="on">Village</st1:placetype></st1:place>, about 13 km from Kurukshetra in Haryana. The fact is also mentioned in numerous ancient literary texts.

    Haryana government is now planning to revive the course taken by <st1:place st="on"><st1:placename st="on">Sarasvati</st1:placename> <st1:placetype st="on">River</st1:placetype></st1:place> by building a 50 km-long channel in Kurukshetra. The discovery of the Sarasvati River Bed happened in 2004 when water started oozing out from the dried <st1:place st="on"><st1:placename st="on">Saraswati</st1:placename> <st1:placetype st="on">River</st1:placetype></st1:place> bed at the Kapil Muni Temple Sarovar at Kalayat.



    A boon that would not have been possible without the discovery of the river bed. "In 2004, an extraordinary phenomenon occurred," recalls Purohit, deputy director of the Kurukshetra-based <st1:place st="on"><st1:placename st="on">Sri</st1:placename> <st1:placename st="on">Krishna</st1:placename> <st1:placetype st="on">Museum</st1:placetype></st1:place>. "Water started oozing out from a palaeochannel (a dried river bed) at the Kapil Muni <st1:place st="on"><st1:placetype st="on">temple</st1:placetype> <st1:placename st="on">sarovar</st1:placename></st1:place> at Kalayat. We carried out studies of this water. Simultaneously, a scientific team studied its mineral composition."



    Scientists from ISRO also carried out studies using space imagery and discovered a number of fossil valleys in upper central Haryana. "Mapping images of the palaeo channels showed that they corresponded to the archaeological sites of Haryana," says Purohit. "This means that these settlements came up near the river, as was the norm in those times and gives further proof that the river Sarasvati indeed existed," he says.


    When the existence of River Sarasvati was confirmed, the historians who doubted its existence changed their standpoint and started doubting the name of the river.


    Incidentally, the debate about the existence of the Sarasvati has been continuing for a long time although lately, most historians have begun to concede that the river perhaps did exist. However, they still continue to debate the name by which the river was known, the route that it took and the reasons for its disappearance. There is no doubt that the <st1:place st="on"><st1:placename st="on">Sarasvati</st1:placename> <st1:placetype st="on">River</st1:placetype></st1:place> existed. However, opinion is divided on whether it was known as the Sarasvati or the Ghaggar.

    People of the region are not interested in such worthless debates. They want water and they will soon get it through the revival of an ancient river – River Sarasvati.


    "The revival of the Sarasvati will benefit countless people in the region as it will augment ground water resources," says Darshan Lal Jain of the Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Sansthan, which is working with the government on this project. The plan is not to line with the river's course with bricks so that water can permeate the ground. With ground water levels dipping to as low as 150 feet, the river's revival may be a boon for parched Haryana.


    But I was told there were devottees like that here and that they tell very good Krishna katha and that I should find them. I was given email addresses too, so please find out for me. I was told that the early direct disciples of Narayan Maharaja avoid the sanga now because it is too much like ISKCON but that they are out there. I have nothing against seniors but just don't want to be forced to read books I don't like and they try to do that alot. Otherwise I have no problem respecting them.
    Could it be that it has something to do with institution? Traditionally Vaishnavas don't set up institutions but base their exchange upon spiritual affection. However, in order to bring Vaishnavism to the whole world Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja thought it wise to install around 1910 the framework of an institution.


    Sometimes it so happens that this very dynamic of an institution becomes too prominent and the spirituality is lacking behind. This was studied also at other religions like Christianity, that sometimes it seemed that the institutional beaurocracy even took control and spirituality was almost lost.


    Those who are within such an institutional system even cannot understand these two aspects - see it all as one. In Christianity many started to rejet the institution and became non-institutional saints, like D'arc, Assisi, St.Martin, etc etc.


    Could be that this will also happen to the Vaishnava movement, that some will seek for non-institutional spirituality. Especially when the institutions are simply used for power and control.

  8. A spiritual master who needs checks and balances? Always thought ritviks need checks and balances, but not gurus? Gradually Christians will laugh at us, the direct representative of God needs a supervisory board? Simple remedy, step down to be guru, admit you're priest. But this won't happen. Therefore the Bhagavatam 12.3.38 mentions it, in kali-yuga people want to gurus, they hate to be priests. Or does this verse only refer to Gaudiya Vaishnavas, since Christians don't have this conflict of priests falsely claiming to be Jesus?


    Title: Srimad-Bhagavatam predicts the appearance of show-bottle mendicants and bogus gurus. 12.3.38



    SYNONYMS: Sudrah-lowly, common workers; pratigrah-will accept religious charity; tapah-by shows of austerity; veṣa-and by dressing as mendicants; vinaḥ-earning their living; dharmam-the principles of religion; vakṣyanti-will speak about; adharma-those who know nothing about religion; adhiruhya - mounting; uttama sanam-high seat.




    Uncultured men will accept charity on behalf of the Lord and will earn their livelihood by making a show of austerity and wearing a mendicant’s dress. Those who know nothing about religion will mount a high seat and presume to speak on religious principles.



    PURPORT by HH Hridayananda Goswami: The epidemic of bogus gurus, swamis, priests and so forth is explicitly described here.


    Hi Suchandra


    Thx but can u mail me the url from where u got Parashara 6.1. I tried but it does not work.... Also let me know where we can get the other oftwares as mentioned earlier...





    Did you try above, Parashara Light 7.0 personal edition? If you cannot get Parashara 6.1. working - it's all at google - the only secure way to get it working is get it from here, http://india.parashara.com/parashara/pricing.asp


    Hi Everybody,


    D:pray:es anybody know where can I get Parashara Light 7.0 or KPAstro 3.0 software on the net (cracked)?????:) Which is hte best Predictive package available in the market or net??

    It's a huge software package


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  11. Thanks Sarva gattah - yes, that is obviously also the definition of tatastha-sakti. We, the jivas are always tatastha-sakti. Not that we become at one point like Vishnu-tattva because we're in full knowledge. But this seems present peoples' frustrated mentality - always seeking for higher and higher positions.


    Sometimes because of our marginal nature we forget, this will always be the situation.

    Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita, one who understands His transcendental body and activities, after quitting this material body, returns to Him and doesn’t come back again to this miserable world.

    Just like anyone released from prison - common sense says, he won't go back to prison. He saw what it is, he has full knowledge now, he's fully enlightened, etc etc. But still - we always remain tatastha-sakti. If this would change, "he's above the option to fall down", we wouldnt be tatastha-sakti anymore but something else.

  12. posted by Rabindranath Ghoshal, 25 December 2008: “Srila Prabhupada’s vision of setting up a Bhaktivedanta Institutet.gif to fight atheistic modern science was perfectly right. However, it seems that the people who took up the mission sincerely were not the ISKCON people but rather theistic scientists like at http://www.intelligentdesign.org/t.gif, http://www.evolutionnews.org/t.gif:

    Top Science Stories for 2008 Leave out Darwin but Point to Intelligent Design


    At the beginning of 2008, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences statedt.gif in its booklet Science, Evolution, and Creationism, that “Evolutionary biology has been and continues to be a cornerstone of modern science.” It seems that their assertion did not pan out very well for the rest of 2008. Two groups recently released lists of top science news stories and breakthroughs for 2008: The Access Research Networkt.gif and the leading journal, Science. None of their top breakthroughs came as a result of evolutionary biology.


    Science’s top breakthrought.gif was a method where scientists discovered how to harvest stem cells from living patients, a find which has huge potential for treating diseases. This is an extremely important scientific breakthrough, to be sure, but it has nothing to do with evolutionary biology. In fact, their press releaset.gif states that “if scientists can master cellular reprogramming so that it’s more finely controlled, efficient and safe, patients may someday be treated with healthy versions of their own cells.“ Keep in mind that in their view, researchers are simply “reprogramming” an entity that arose via blind and unguided processes. In fact, the main article in Science was titled “Reprogramming cells,” but the mere fact that cells can be “programmed” and “reprogrammed” does not point to an unguided, unintelligent origin. The article even admits that researchers do not fully understand how the reprogramming takes place: “Although dozens of labs have used the technique, what is happening inside the reprogrammed cell remains a mystery.” Though Science would never admit it, their top story of 2008 shows that scientists are studying cells by treating them as if they run on software programs which can control the physical form, and input/ouput of the cellular hardware. They’re trying to “master” a programming system they don’t even fully understand, yet they believe that it all arose via unguided and blind natural processes. It seems that any progress that is being made in this field results from scientists treating cells as if they were designed.

    It’s also worth noting that none of Science’s 10 “runner up” scientific breakthroughs for 2008 were from evolutionary biology. Their other top scientific breakthroughs dealt with fascinating scientific topics, ranging from detecting extrasolar planets to understanding why some cells turn cancerous to finding methods to new ways to generate electricity using water, but none dealt with evolutionary biology.


    Access Research Network’s Top 10 Science News Storiest.gif for 2008 also show — though in a more explicit fashion — that it is becoming harder to do good science without intelligent design (ID) and that old notions of evolution are failing. ARN’s top news story was the summer meeting of the Altenberg 16, a conference of scientists “who recognize that the theory of evolution which most practicing biologists accept and which is taught in classrooms today, is inadequate in explaining our existence.“ ARN’s other runner-up top science news stories for 2008 included atheists and agnostics who are increasingly defending ID, the release of Stylust.gif by the Biologic Institute as an improved method of using computers to simulate evolution, the molecular clutcht.gif discovered in flagella, and leading biologists marveling at the irreducible complexity of the ribosomet.gif. ARN also recognized the increasing reliance that engineers are making upon biomimeticst.gif — where engineers mimic nature to improve technology. According to ARN, “Design-based methodologies in biomimetics are yielding tangible results.”

    (ARN also released a list of Top 10 Darwin and Design Resources for 2008t.gif, which includes Expelledt.gif, the video game Sporet.gif, David Berlinski’s The Devil’s Delusiont.gif, Salvo Magazinet.gif’s issue on ID, Intelligent Design 101t.gif and its rebuttal to Francis Collinst.gif by me and Logan Gage, and William Dembski and Sean McDowell’s new book Understanding Intelligent Designt.gif.)

    With 2009 being the bicentennial anniversary of Darwin’s birth, undoubtedly Darwinists will seek to make a big push next year to promote the glories of Darwinian evolution. But if 2008 was any indication, it seems quite possible to do good science without neo-Darwinian evolution. As National Academy of Sciences member Phil Skell wrote in The Scientist in 2005:



    Darwinian evolution — whatever its other virtues — does not provide a fruitful heuristic in experimental biology. This becomes especially clear when we compare it with a heuristic framework such as the atomic model, which opens up structural chemistry and leads to advances in the synthesis of a multitude of new molecules of practical benefit. None of this demonstrates that Darwinism is false. It does, however, mean that the claim that it is the cornerstone of modern experimental biology will be met with quiet skepticism from a growing number of scientists in fields where theories actually do serve as cornerstones for tangible breakthroughs.


    It will be interesting to see whether next year’s scientific breakthroughs actually come as a result of scientists employing the principles behind Darwinian evolution, or those behind intelligent design.


    Respected Mahrajas/ Prabhus,

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


    I want to learn how to protect Tulasi Maharani in winter. We have big Tulasi

    yard in the garden. But all dies in winter. How to protect?


    Your servant,

    Akrura Nandan Das


    A Vaishnava in northern Europe mailed me he has also big Tulasis in his garden and like in Nepal they seem to disappear during winter but grow again at the same place around Mai, like an annual flower.


    He says he put many manjaris in the ground and as soon it gets warmer they start to grow. Seems like the rootstock remains in good order.


    We have right now around 25 F, very cold, but my Tulasi is ok, I'm using a fluorescent lamp in the morning and evening.

  14. 9-year-old Hindu Girl Passed the Microsoft Certified Professional Exam




    Posted by: Neer in Hinduism, Technology

    Add Comment

    Microsoft Certified Professional Exam is designed for IT professionals. It opens up different doors in their career to get promotions and better jobs. This tests people’s knowledge on different aspects of the operating systems, programming and logical thinking. This is not at all an easy exam to pass even for an adult IT professional.

    However, 9-year-old girl, Lavinashree shocked the world by passing this exam. She is a young genious, who also broke other records previously. She was the youngest person to memorize the whole Thirukaal (a Tamil epic) with 1300 couplets.

    She is now the youngest person to pass this exam and carries a bright future for herself. Watch the video.


    People who read this also read...



    its on www.krishnadl.com, the mobile books are free. (java), (www.mobilekrishna.com)

    Thanks MobileKrishna, great share!


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    Bhagavad-gita as it is (ebook)

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    Nice offer, thanks for this share!


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  17. Daughter finds Hare Krishna mum

    “I don’t think they were supposed to give out any information, but the lady slipped,” Barnes said. “I started calling information for the numbers to Krishna Temples.”

    <!--- blog body --> http://www.postindependent.com/article/20081225/VALLEYNEWS/812249989/1083&ParentProfile=1074&title=A%20reunion%20and%20tears%20of%20joy%20for%20Christmas

    A reunion and tears of joy for Christmas


    Mother reunited with daughter after 36 years


    By John Gardner


    Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado



    Faye Franklin, poses with members of her newly reunited family, daughter Tonya and grand children, Chase and Amelia.

    Kelley Cox Post Independent

    <!-- Article template for generic article page --> SNOWMASS — Christmas Day, 1972, Faye Franklin said good-bye to her newborn daughter.


    She had spent seven months in a home for un-wedded mothers in Mobile, Alabama.

    Having just gone through labor, Franklin hadn’t named the little girl and she’d only seen her for a brief moment after signing adoption papers.


    She was 16-years-old.


    Since then, Faye Franklin has always shed tears of sorrow on Christmas.


    “I’ve always wondered about her,” Franklin, 53, said from her home near Snowmass Village, three days before Christmas. “How she was doing, who she was, or if she was even alive. Being a mother you just think about those things.” The daughter she never knew


    Tonya Barnes, Franklin’s daughter, has never had a real birthday party.

    Christmas was tough for her, too.


    Being born on the most celebrated American holiday sort of overshadowed the whole birthday thing. However, her adoptive parents always gave her twice as many gifts, she said.


    Being adopted was not something that her parents kept from her. She always knew that she came from someone — and somewhere — else.


    “My parents were pretty well off, and they were into country clubs and things like that. I wasn’t into all that,” Barnes said. “I’m just so different than they are.”


    Over the years, Barnes went through the emotional turbulence of wanting to know her birth mother, but not knowing exactly how to find her.


    “It took me periods, off and on, that I would want to find her,” Barnes said. “Especially when I was mad at my (adoptive) mother.”


    But, it wasn’t until Barnes became a mother herself in 1996, that the feelings of wanting to know her birth mother overwhelmed her and she began the search.


    “After my son Chase was born I started wanting to find her.” Barnes said.


    After 23 years, Barnes made the first attempt to find her birth mother, but she didn’t even have a name.


    Living in Jacksonville, Florida, she contacted a place close by that she hoped would be able to help.


    “It was going to be this whole drawn out process,” Barnes said.


    Barnes called again, a few weeks later, and was told that they had found her mother. The only information she received was that her name was Faye Franklin and that she was a Hare Krishna. But it was enough to get started.


    “I don’t think they were supposed to give out any information, but the lady slipped,” Barnes said. “I started calling information for the numbers to Krishna Temples.”


    She started with temples on the West Coast and made her way east, until she got to Tennessee.


    “I actually spoke to her husband at one of the Temples,” Barns remembers. “I finally found someone who knew (the person) I was talking about.”



    The life-changing phone call


    Franklin was living in Tennessee in 1996 when she got a call from her mother.


    She was at odds with her family about some of Franklin’s life choices, according to Franklin. Expecting an argument, Franklin didn’t want to speak to her mother at the time.


    “I thought she was going to give me a hard time and I was like, ‘I don’t want to hear this’,” Franklin said.


    Two weeks later her mother called again and left a message saying that Franklin’s sister Ruby had something really important to speak to her about.


    Franklin called and her sister told her, “This is something that happened a long time ago,” Franklin said.


    “‘I wonder if it’s about that baby’,” Franklin remembers Ruby asking her.


    “I really can’t tell you how I felt at that moment,” Franklin said.


    That night was a long one filled with unanswered questions for Franklin. The next morning she called the agency in Florida that had tried to contact her.


    “Before they could say anything I asked if this had anything to do with a baby born on Christmas 1972,” Franklin said.


    The lady on the other end of the phone responded, “That is right, and she is looking for you,” Franklin remembers.


    That’s how the lady got Franklin’s name and information and relayed it to Barnes.

    Christmas would never be the same.


    A few weeks later, Franklin was at home when the phone rang again. It was her husband, the Krishna Temple President in Tennessee, who just had a conversation with Barnes.


    “He said, ‘I just got a call from your long-lost daughter and she is going to call you’,” Franklin said.


    Barnes called. And for the first time in both of their lives, mother and daughter heard one anther’s voice.


    “We talked for hours,” Franklin said. “She told me all about herself and the next day she flew out to Tennessee.”


    Franklin picked Barnes out of the crowd at the airport.


    “I walked right over to her and asked if she was Tonya,” Franklin said.


    The reunion lasted about a week. Barnes also met her grandmother and the rest of Franklin’s family. Barnes was not nervous and said that it felt very normal.


    “I don’t think it was awkward,” Barnes said. “But, she was really shocked when she saw me.”


    Despite the successful reunion, staying in touch proved to be an obstacle. Over the next 11 years they’ve only seen each other three times, and they’ve sporadically kept in touch.


    “We didn’t have any coaching or anything, we really didn’t know how to keep in touch or anything or how to have a relationship,” Franklin said.


    Christmas was still hard for Franklin and Barnes, but it was getting better.



    The right thing to do


    Christmas was always a difficult time for Franklin.


    “I’ve never had a normal Christmas,” Franklin said. “It’s kind of like people didn’t understand the trauma I was feeling.”


    She would celebrate her daughter’s birthday in silence, never speaking about the pain of giving up her child.


    “You don’t talk about it, you don’t let anyone know,” Franklin said with tears in her eyes. “It’s still hard, but it’s also beautiful. This has really helped me see things in life more clearly through the years.”


    After Barnes was born, Franklin lived an eventful life that took her around the world. She lived in places like India and moved to Aspen in the 1980s after which, she lived in Glenwood Springs for 15 years. She had two marriages and had two more daughters, Amethyst and Jessica.


    But she never forgot about her first daughter.


    “I never carried guilt,” Franklin said. “Because I knew better. I knew that I was a good person and I did what I had to do. Other people tried to make me feel guilty, but I never carried the guilt. I just felt bad because I couldn’t have her.”


    But she’s always wanted to be able to celebrate her first-born child’s birthday on Christmas Day.


    This year, 36 years later, her dream came true.



    A Christmas gift


    “Grandma, can you help me with this,” asked 10-year-old Amelia MacMurray, Barnes’ daughter.


    “I don’t know but let’s see,” Franklin said as she helped her granddaughter with her coat zipper Sunday afternoon.


    It was the first time Amelia and 12-year-old Chase MacMurray had met their grandmother.


    “I’ve been real excited,” Franklin said. “I called Tonya and said that she needed to come up for Christmas and that I needed to get to know my grandchildren.”


    Franklin’s other two daughters are arriving throughout the week as well.


    A Christmas Tree stood in the living room at Franklin’s house, where she lives with Eric Oliphant, near Snowmass Village. They are going to decorate it before the holiday, a tradition in the making.


    Being Barnes’ first trip to Colorado, she was excited, too. But she is obviously more excited to be able to spend Christmas, her birthday, with her biological mother for the first time. And for her kids to know another grandmother.


    “All I want is for my children to have a good Christmas,” she said. “If that happens then, I’m happy.”


    Franklin expects the tears to come again this year, but the feeling behind them will be joy instead of sorrow.


    “I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” Franklin said. “It’s going to take some time to set in. I’ve got to learn how to be a grandmother.”


    Then she added a simple Christmas message: “Joy to the world.”


    Christmas will never be the same.

  18. Americans prefer news from Web to newspapers: survey



    Breitbart.com – December 24, 2008



    The Internet has surpassed newspapers as the main source for national and international news for Americans, according to a new survey.


    Television, however, remains the preferred medium for Americans, according to the survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.


    Seventy percent of the 1,489 people surveyed by Pew said television is their primary source for national and international news.


    Forty percent said they get most of their news from the Internet, up from 24 percent in September 2007, and more than the 35 percent who cited newspapers as their main news source.


    Only 59 percent of people younger than 30 years old prefer television, Pew said, down from 68 percent in the September 2007 survey.


    The latest survey was conducted December 3-7 and released on Tuesday. Pew did not provide the margin of error.


  19. Good point , Christmas spirit transcends faith of many Hindus, transcending especially the limited understanding that a departed Vaishnava cannot initiate anymore, is an important lesson for many Hindus.


    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" width="100%"><arttitle>Christmas spirit transcends faith</arttitle>

    25 Dec 2008, 0158 hrs IST, Arkadev Ghoshal, TNN



    </td> </tr> <tr> <td height="10">

    </td></tr></tbody></table>NAGPUR: Few things that can bring a smile on a person’s face as quickly as a gift. Even lesser if the gift is a surprise. Probably for this reason, coupled with the benevolent figure of Saint Nicholas, alias Santa, the quintessentially Christian festival of Christmas now transcends religious boundaries and is accepted as a universal one.


    Incidentally, Christmas is by no means the only universally accepted religious holiday. According to the Bible, God worked for six days to create the world and rested on the seventh. This is Sunday, the day everybody looks forward to.


    Christmas though, unlike Sunday, is more than just a day off for people who follow other religions. “I have two children who are overjoyed just at the sight of a Santa Claus! They associate this festival with gifts and a lot of warmth. They are as jubilant while celebrating Christmas as Diwali and my whole family is infected by their exuberance,” says Sudhir Madavi, a government servant who otherwise considers himself a staunch Hindu.


    Youngsters are no less enthusiastic. “Christmas provides a nice opportunity to give a gift to a loved one. Also, the fact that the New Year is only a week away makes for a wonderful opportunity to spend time with people you may not have met the year round,” explains Ramesh Sontakke, a college student out to buy a few Christmas cards.


    Others, like Manisha Dhotre, also a student, are cake aficionados. They derive great pleasure in biting into the baked breads filled with nuts and plum. “Christmas has become as much a part of our celebrations as any other festival. I am invited each year by a few Christian friends to their house and we break bread together and wallow in the warmth and laughter that engulfs their house,” she says.

  20. This could be read more often in future, Hare Krsna at inter-faith meetings with tea and cookies, "Among more than 80 guests were Reverend William Hog and members of Christchurch and St John's in Radlett, members of local catholic Churches including those from St Anthony of Padua, The Good Shepherd and St John Fisher, members of the United Free Church, the Sisters of Zion and members of the Hare Krishna community at Bhaktivedanta Manor. "

    <!-- First Column Start --> Inter-faith service in Radlett a success


    10:44am Monday 22nd December 2008



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    758341 By Filip Hnizdo »

    <!-- Actual Article Text Start --> Communities from across Radlett and Bushey were welcomed at an “uplifting” multi-faith celebration and service.

    The event, hosted by Radlett and Bushey Reform Synagogue brought together Jews, Hindus and Christians this month.

    Among more than 80 guests were Reverend William Hogg and members of Christchurch and St John's in Radlett, members of local catholic Churches including those from St Anthony of Padua, The Good Shepherd and St John Fisher, members of the United Free Church, the Sisters of Zion and members of the Hare Krishna community at Bhaktivedanta Manor.

    They joined others from the St Mary's churches in Hemel Hempstead and Apsley, the Dacorum interfaith group, Chairman of Aldenham Parish Council, Councillor Ron Worthy, other parish councillors and Peter Hamilton, Headteacher of Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School.

    Rabbi Freedmen and Student Rabbi David Mitchell read from the Torah scroll while Robert Wiltshire gave a sermon.

    The visitors then witnessed the fixing of a plaque on the Tree of Life in memory of a deceased member, giving them an insider’s view of the RBRS community.

    After the service many of the guests stayed for 'Kiddush,' a reception beginning with blessings over bread and wine. This was followed by lunch, where members and guests shared good food and common interests and got to know one another better in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

    Synagogue chairman Gill Burn said she was “thrilled” so many people took part in the event.

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