May 2006


I’m off to the hospital again, this time at least it is scheduled. I can make my own excuse for not posting for a while. Last time, Tulasi posted something for me after I was already there. It will be a minimum 8 days before returning home, could be longer if there is complications, which is about a 50/50 deal. May be wasted when I get home, so who knows when I’ll post again.

It is Memorial Day in the USA when we used to honor our war dead. Some ceremonies are still done, but for most of the hedonists, it is just another excuse to have a 3-day weekend. By the by I would like to remember and thank all those who have been so supportive these last few weeks. To avoid missing someone, I won’t name names, but you know who you are. Got a lot of emails last time, and lack the energy to acknowledge them individually, but thanks. If anyone is visiting the Viet Nam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington, DC and don’t have any other names to look for, here is someone I knew.

Panel 02W – – Line 26

Caucasian, Male, Single, Born on Dec 01, 1950.
Everyone called his father Doc,
since he served in World War II.

Sgt –E5-Army-Selective Service.
Every morning Doc was given
a bottle of cognac,

Tour of duty began on Feb 25, 1971.
location of a mass grave,
and a shovel.

Casualty was on Sep 26, 1971
Doc looked for dog tags
and uniform insignia,

in Phong Dinh, South Viet Nam.
or measured femurs to
determine height.

Body was recovered.
Doc made it home,
married Virginia.

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“Prabhupada: That is not very good intelligence. You drink the blood of the cow by natural process, which turns into white milk. You’ll get better brain, better strength. Therefore cow protection is very essential in Vedic civilization. Therefore we offer respect Krsna: “Krsna is the benefactor of cows and the brahmanas.” Namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca. Go-brahmana-hitaya ca. Krsna is well-wisher first — go, cow. You’ll find Krsna always with cows. Here is Krsna’s picture, you see how He’s loving the cow and the calf. He’s personally teaching from His childhood, from His boyhood. So we should follow. If we want to become Krsna conscious, we must give… The calf is also seeing to the face of Krsna for protection, and Krsna is giving protection, “Yes, I’ll give you protection.”…”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.19 — Hawaii, January 15, 1974

Yesterday Grandma, Vraja and 2 ½ year old granddaughter Gracie walked with Tulasi on his way to work. He is working at ISCOWP for Balabhadra, which is about one mile out the lane that runs through our property. Gracie made it all the way there but did need to be carried a bit on the return walk. The cows were all in the barn so the light was difficult, but I do like this silhouette Vraja was able to get.

Still have the date stamp thingy but getting rid of that may require actually opening the Owner’s Manual, and that is more energy than I care to put into it at this time. No use learning more things I will never use. When I get home from the hospital I will have plenty of time to deal with it.

“It contains some of the most contaminated land in the world, yet it has become a haven for wildlife – a nature reserve in all but name.

The exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power station is teeming with life.

As humans were evacuated from the area 20 years ago, animals moved in. Existing populations multiplied and species not seen for decades, such as the lynx and eagle owl, began to return…”

“There may be plutonium in the zone, but there is no herbicide or pesticide, no industry, no traffic, and marshlands are no longer being drained…”

Complete Article

For another, quite unique perspective on the area, click on “Tour of the Dead Zone” in my Links section.

I mentioned to Marken that I had asked numerous devotees with digital cameras if they would get me some pictures of New Vrindavan cows. Not one has delivered over a period of several months, despite all of them professing to be glad to do it. I said if I had my own camera, I could get some myself. The next time he went to town, he came back with a camera and gave it to me.

Naturally, by this time, I am no longer in any shape to be wandering the pastures, so I was thinking what picture to take. I decided to take one of our new wheelchair ramp. So, besides some throwaway test shots, this is the first picture taken with the new camera. That is Marken pushing me. Tulasi took the photo.

If I were to do it again, I would frame the shot a little differently. Plus remove the date stamp and the little cart the boys used to haul lumber over to the ramp site. Also, next to my Norwegian flag is a little piece of weathered wood with “Out of My Gourd” wood burned on it that someone traded my wife for a crafted gourd at one of her shows. That extends out from the flag in a way that seems illogical in the photo. I would remove that. But with going in for orientation tomorrow (Friday) and being in Pittsburgh Monday to check in for Tuesday surgery, time and energy is too short so I can only ask the reader to imagine these changes.

Marken continues to work out the details of coordinating with his command on his ship so he has all the proper documentation and orders, but that seems to be all done in theory. His command has been calling from Italy everyday so no complaints about that end of things.

We have been ordering some vegetarian bouillon cubes assuming there will be some time on a liquid diet. Last visit, they gave me this fake fruit juice with high fructose corn syrup as the first listed ingredient, Jell-o, and chicken broth. None of which I wanted to take, though I did do the juice because I had to have something. Older and wiser now, we are bringing our own broth, real fruit juice, and some hard candies to suck on. The hard candies are allowed as long as I don’t swallow them. I like the horehound ones and Ricola cough drops. We are also working out a menu for solid meals, and will be allowed to bring in our own food. With the alternative menu and a set of earplugs, somehow I’ll get through it.

“It is said in the Vedic literature that innumerable universes issue forth when Maha-Visnu exhales in His yoga-nidra and that innumerable universes enter His body when He again inhales.”

KB 87: Prayers by the Personified Vedas

Cyclic universe could explain cosmic balancing act
Nature Magazine ^ | 04 May 2006 | Philip Ball

“Big bounces may make the Universe able to support stars and life.

A bouncing universe that expands and then shrinks every trillion years or so could explain one of the most puzzling problems in cosmology: how we can exist at all.

If this explanation, proposed in Science1 by Paul Steinhardt at Princeton University, New Jersey, and Neil Turok at the University of Cambridge, UK, seems slightly preposterous, that can’t really be held against it. Astronomical observations over the past decade have shown that “we live in a preposterous universe”, says cosmologist Sean Carroll of the University of Chicago. “It’s our job to make sense of it,” he says.

In Steinhardt and Turok’s cyclic model of the Universe, it expands and contracts repeatedly over timescales that make the 13.7 billion years that have passed since the Big Bang seem a mere blink. This makes the Universe vastly old. And that in turn means that the mysterious ‘cosmological constant’, which describes how empty space appears to repel itself, has had time to shrink into the strangely small number that we observe today…”

I dreamed I lay in a pool of blood,
propped on one elbow, howling souls all around,
sunset colors crackling and everything
plunged in a screaming red.
Suddenly I realized this was life,
no beauty or pleasure, no escape
in gentle dreams, no laughter
that wouldn’t turn into sobs.
Malevolent fate knew what she wanted
from me: She’d pin me down to struggle
on the earth’s surface like an ant
or mosquito. She’d bind my limbs,
release, pursue, and bind again.
If only this pretty body would dissolve!
If only I could sleep in peace!
But she shakes my soul, pries open my eyes,
while, from the brink of an abyss, a severed hand
forces me to look at the enormity of the world
where men are drinking hot blood,
swallowing some, spitting the rest at each other.

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006 (one week from tomorrow) I will be having the liver transplant. With a living donor, it is possible to schedule a specific time. I’ll go in Friday before with Marken and we will get the orientation. He has gotten further feedback on his necessary orders from the Navy and so that all seems to be a go.

Maybe I should have spent more time cleaning up my affairs in the eventuality I don’t make it thru the operation, but have instead made arrangements for a wheelchair ramp to one door of my house. So I must be feeling lucky.

Incidentally, be careful for what you wish for. I had wanted to visit an ICU (Intensive Care Unit) like I would be in after the transplant in order to familiarize myself with one. It wasn’t practical, according to the ICU nurses I talked to, because of hospital protocols. However, I did get my wish when I popped the blood vessel and had to go into surgery to get it banded. I ended up spending time in one. The catch is, I have no memory of it at all except at one point opening my eyes and seeing Advaita’s face looking down at me. He says we had a whole conversation, but I remember nothing about it. Still, my wish had been granted.

I always remember the story Srila Prahbupada tells about “4 more years.” It always seemed to me that that is about the time I needed.

“It is important to take to Krsna consciousness immediately, because we do not know how much time is left before death. When your time in this body expires, no one can stop your death. The arrangement of material nature is so strong. You cannot say, “Let me remain.” Actually, people sometimes request like that. When I was in Allahabad, an old friend who was very rich was dying. At that time he begged the doctor, “Can’t you give me at least four more years to live? I have some plans which I could not finish.” You see. This is foolishness. Everyone thinks, “Oh, I have to do this. I have to do that.” No. Neither the doctors nor the scientists can check death: “Oh, no, sir. Not four years, not even four minutes. You have to go immediately.” This is the law. So before that moment comes, one should be very careful to become realized in Krsna consciousness.”

LON 1: God and The Law of Karma

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