August 2007


A married couple had two little boys, ages 8 and 10, who were excessively mischievous. They were always getting into trouble. Their parents knew that if any mischief occurred in their village, their sons were probably involved. 

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The boys’ mother heard that a pundit in town had been successful in disciplining children, so she asked if he would speak with her sons. The pundit agreed, but asked to see them separately. So, the mother sent her eight-year-old first, in the morning. 

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The pundit, a huge man with a booming voice, sat the boy down and asked him sternly, “Where is God?” The boy’s mouth dropped open, but he made no response. So the pundit repeated the question in an even sterner tone, “Where is God!!?” Again the wide-eyed boy made no attempt to answer. The pundit raised his voice and bellowed, “WHERE IS GOD!?” The boy screamed and bolted from the room, ran directly home and dove into a closet, slamming the door behind him. 

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When his older brother found him hiding, he asked, “What happened?” The younger brother, gasping for breath, replied, “We are in BIG trouble this time, dude. God is missing, and they think WE did it!!!!

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Besides the fact that India has become a world leader in beef and leather exporting, (meaning that cow protection, a pillar of Hindusim, is no longer important) and under increasing pressure of Westernization, the death blow may be the imbalance of males to females. While it may seem that preaching in India is booming, it might be likened to pulling up alongside the Titanic with a life boat — it will fill up fast. ISKCON may be winning battles in India, but it is losing the war.

Indian Journal of Community Medicine

“Female foeticide resulting in decline of child sex ratio has led to enforcement of Preconception and Prenatal diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) act since February 2003.”Sex ratio, an important social indicator measuring extent of prevailing equity between males and females in society, is defined as no. of females /1000 males. Changes in sex ratio refl ect underlying socioeconomic, cultural patterns of a society. As per 2001 census sex ratio in India is 933/1000 males, which continues to be significantly adverse towards women and is the lowest amongst 10 most populous countries in world. Russia tops the list in sex ratio (1140) followed by USA (1029)1.

“Most alarming is decrease in CSR (Child sex ratio [ages] 0-6). In Punjab the number was least (793) in 2001, followed by Haryana (820) and Chandigarh (845).

“Advances in technology and diagnostic facilities have opened up avenue for the girl haters leading to serious disturbances in sex ratio as a result of female foeticide.

“Desire for male child manifests so blatantly that parents have no qualms about repeated, closely spaced pregnancies, premature deaths and even terminating child before it is born. Birth of female child is perceived as a curse with economic and social liability2.Therefore the present study was conducted among married women dwelling in slums and semi-rural area to find out the level of their awareness regarding sex determination and attitude towards gender…

“Dowry is a major reason for parents to resent a daughter birth and moreover they think it is pointless to spend so much on a girl education and upbringing only to leave for anothers home, without repaying.”

With a more natural birth ratio, boys enjoy a buyers’ market. Taking out the gays, the monks, and the violent deaths, there has historically been more females of marrying age than males. Over a few centuries or millennium, this can skew cultural norms to favor males.

With the new emerging sex ratio, we are going to see a rapid shift where females become more prized due to their scarcity. This will turn the social structure in India upside down. There are already reports of families having to give dowries in order to obtain wives for their sons. Boys now becoming college age are facing a much different landscape than their fathers.

This will have a profound effect on cultural paradigms.

Due to Westernization, preaching strategies that depend on income from Hindus as the economic mainstay have at most 2 generations to play themselves out. It is a temporizing and short term solution, a rear guard action.

Better to concentrating on influencing Western culture, and not abandon completely preaching to Westerners, as Hindu youth are/will become Westernized themselves, both in the West and in India, and if we aren’t ahead of the curve, we will become irrelevant to them.

When I was a kid, my family ran a brood cow operation. We would have about 150 head of cattle in the summer. The breeding was timed so all the cows dropped their calves at the same time in early spring. Once the calves were old enough, we would round them up off the free range pasture and herd them into a well organized corral. My father, uncle, brother, two hired men, and two or three cousins would constitute the crew.

We would brand, vaccinate, and dehorn the calves,usually about 50 of them, and, if they were bulls, castrate them. I never learned that part of the operation, a minor surgery where the scrotum is sliced open, and the attachment tubes of the testicles are cut, then removed. My job was separating the calves from the cows, steers and bulls. I did this on foot in close quarters.

We would hold the herd in a large pen, then cut out 15-20 into a smaller pen. They came into the smaller pen from one side. On the other side was a gate that led into a still smaller pen. A man would be on the gate, working in concert with me. I would pin the group against one side, then, by body language and eye contact, leave an obvious escape. As I would push them tighter, eventually one would take the opening. If it was a cow, and other cows followed, I would continue letting them go until a calf started — then I would step in and cut the calf off.

If the calf got by me, the gateman would close it and cut it off until I was able to reorganize and send another cow towards him. When we got a few cows in the smaller pen, we would shut the gate, and open the far gate of that pen and let those cows into a bigger barnyard.

If a calf was the first, it was vice versa. Those we kept. The smaller pen was shaped like a triangle with a long chute on one end. When I had a few calves in that pen, I would push them into the chute and a man outside would stick a post in behind them sideways between the boards lining the chute so they couldn’t back out. Then I would go back and continue separating.

The calves would then be pushed through the chute to a head gate where the procedures were performed before being released back to the herd.

This was all up close and personal. As the consequences of a 1200 pound (500 Kg)  cow stepping on my foot were bad, I learned some fancy foot movements. It actually took some skills to do this, and, while I am sure animal rightists will be a little upset with me that I took part in this, for a young guy it was quite challenging physically and exciting. It was like marking up in a soccer game.

epidural.jpg

For Kesava and Madhava the process was quite different. First of all, no herding was necessary. Jayaprabhupada and the vet could walk right up to them, as they are gentled. Second, they were given an epidural, so the acute pain of the procedure was avoided. Third, it was a bloodless procedure, where a Burdizzo crimper was used, crushing the tubes so the testicles will atrophy, rather then be removed and discarded (thus avoiding the question, if we don’t eat meat because an animal is killed, and testicles surgically removed don’t involve killing, could we eat “Rocky Mountain Oysters”?)

burdizzo.jpg

procedure.jpg

Observing how easy the procedure was using the Burdizzo, I realized that I could perform it myself. I offered to do it for several devotees attending the sannyox initiation ceremony, but they must have doubted my ability to learn so fast, as they all refused. Or maybe it was because they have taken a vow of no intoxication they would have had to do it without an epidural. Yeah, that must have been it.

If you wanted to make a case I haven’t had an original idea since 1998, the following could be used to bolster your case. The message of branding ourselves as environmentalists and establishing an endowment fund for cows continues to today. It would also serve as an example of how easy it is to have ideas and how hard to implement them.

From – Thu Jan 08 07:17:37 1998
X-Mozilla-Status: 0001
Message-ID: <34B4EBF9.B2760BEB@access.mountain.net>

The 70s are over. Competent people aren’t dropping out of the meat eating society because of ethical stands. The thrust of alternative culture today is ecologically oriented. Srila Prabhupada has given us a vision that, if pursued, would leave us positioned to be a leader in the field of environmentalism.

Environmentalists pick battles that are fundable. What they aren’t even touching is the fact that 50% of environmental damage comes from the production of meat by factory farming methods. It’s one thing to attack big business or to promote conservation of natural areas. That will elicit lots of donations. What won’t get donations is when you start talking about a demand driven industry like meat-eating when most of your potential donors eat meat. So 50% of environmental damage is left ignored.

Many vegetarians, and most vegans, don’t eat animal products based on ethical and environmental concerns about the way these products are produced. An endowed cow protection program, based on the village concepts as proposed by Srila Prabhupada could be a source of milk for these people, leaving us excellently positioned for the inevitable crossing of the meat frontier in the environmental movement.

A Varnasrama college based on the land and the cow in a sustainable agricultural context could be quite a draw to the young idealists who will be the future leaders in that movement.

Ecology is basically a synonym for Universal Form, or at least a subset thereof. The Universal Form is seeing Krsna in the environment. It’s a misconception that each higher level of realization negates the “lower” one; that by chanting and hearing we can then ignore the Universal Form as some material conception.

In my humble opinion, just like rungs on a ladder—if you only have the top two rungs, you don’t have a ladder. You have no connection to the earth, and no practical way to elevate people. Srila Prabhupada has said that Krsna Consciousness is a practical movement. If an institution lacks a method of practical application of it’s philosophy, then it cannot be said to be truly Krsna Conscious. The “Highest” is inclusive, not
exclusive.

Srila Prabhupada has given us the vision; it remains to us to grasp it.

parvatishivaglen.jpg

A blue jay shrieks, echoed in the distance
Between the spice bushes a glimpse
of silent deer moving away
from the snap of twigs
as Shiva passes

Riding his bull, trident held high
unblinking eyes of the snake
gaze from his shoulder
moves thru jasmine
soaked air

Crematory ashes gray His body
His topknot held erectly
overhead vultures
ride thermals
He emits

His mount stops, grazes soft grass
He alights amidst peak blooms
that carpet the clearing
moves to mossy log
where She waits

sannyox.jpg

Three brahmacaries pensively contemplate in the shade of the new loafing shed by the temple barn. They were waiting for the vet to arrive for the sannyox initiation.* Unfortunately, he was called away on emergencies and had to reschedule for Monday.

While I know Kesava and Madhava will be there, I am not sure that Bhakta Chris’ resolve to make a tangible, irrevocable, and permanent commitment to the brahmacari ashram will hold. He may start rationalizing that it actually requires detachment and determination to control his senses, and simply surrendering the equipment may not do the trick for a human as human desire is not limited to the physical.

For Madhava and Kesava, the opposite is true. They need physical help to control their desires. If allowed to develop into bulls, they will become difficult to handle and unusable as draft power. Sannyox initiation will keep them more docile and manageable.

They have already busted one gate going after a cow in heat, which brings up another reason for them to move into the next phase of their life — preventing unplanned pregnancies. In this case, although equipped, they are still too small to actually mount a cow, but they are getting close to being big enough. While it is common to give sannyox initiation to Brown Swiss at 6 months, these guys are about 8 months old.

*sannyox initiation is Balabhadra’s term for castration

From the wonderful world of “I’m not old, I’m just sick” fantasies, here is an update on my non idle sporting life.

Ruci and Sankirtan donated some firewood to us. Vidya went up and loaded a face cord worth into the van and left it parked by the wood pile. When it comes to stacking wood, I am a little fussy, so she left that for me.

The first attempt didn’t suffice. I had to spend some time organizing the existing pile. If you don’t have solid and tight lower levels, you can’t build on it. Just like without cow protection at the base, no brahminical society will ever be stable. So it is important to get first things first.

Thus, by the time I started unloading the wood, I was all ready feeling the exertion. I only got about half of it out, and because I was focusing on building the pile correctly, didn’t notice until almost too late I was on the verge of blacking out. I decided it would be better to do so in the house then in the yard, so took off. I wasn’t sure I would make it but did. Once I got inside by a fan, I was okay.

The next day, I didn’t get out to the woodpile until about 11 am. By then, it was already heating up, the best part of the day for warm weather physical work having already passed. Once again I tried, and got most of it stacked, but because I had to crawl into the van to pull the wood to the edge, it took more effort. Once again I started moving into the blackout zone, but recognized it earlier in the cycle this time. I calculated I could finish and maybe/maybe not lose it, but opted to stop early, so there are still a few larger pieces of wood in the van.

Previously, I had pedaled my bicycle the mile (1.6 km) out to Balabhadra’s barn. There is a rise in the road just as I headed out the lane, but it was West Virginia level most of the rest of the way.

I chatted with him for a bit so had a rest and then returned home. I didn’t push it at all in any phase of the trip, so wasn’t too wasted by the time I got back. I told myself that that was doable, and I should start doing it regularly as it is a small enough bite that I can chew it.

The next day I had another attack of the gout, which means using the foot is nonviable. Ergo no bike trip. Turns out the long term medicine I am taking for it actually can precipitate an attack in the early stages as it rids the system of excess uric acid. It comes out faster than the body can shed it, I guess.

After the gout subsided, the wood arrived, so the whole commitment to biking had faded. However, in order to maintain the illusion I will once again play soccer (dancing in arotik being an element in conditioning for such) I am negotiating with myself to make a bike trip to Balabhadra’s a regular part of my day, though a reliable source tells me there is more wood arriving soon.

by Lucy Middleton, Researcher

You meet the person of your dreams. They move in for the first kiss. The moment you’ve been waiting for. And then… What’s that? A bit of animal flesh stuck between their teeth? If so, it’s as good as game over. If you’re a vegansexual that is.

Heterosexuality, homosexuality, transsexuality, not to mention ubersexuality (metrosexuality was dead a long time ago) – now there’s a new form of sexuality in town. Vegansexuals do not eat any meat or animal related products – and do not want to be sexually intimate with people that do. Are you a carnivore? Then it’s probably an alien concept. But if like me you don’t eat meat, I suspect it’s something you can identify with easily.

We can thank Annie Potts, the co-director of the New Zealand Centre for Human and Animal Studies at the University of Canterbury for coining the term. She was carrying out research into cruelty-free consumption in New Zealand when she came across a number of people – the majority of whom were female – who were squeamish about being sexual with meat-eaters, and didn’t like the thought of being with physical with a body “composed of/from dead animals”.

If you have chosen not to eat meat then you don’t want to accidentally consume a bit of animal flesh lurking in your partner’s oral cavities. And on a deeper level, if you don’t eat meat on moral and ethical grounds, then you’d have to think carefully about being with someone that doesn’t share the same views. In one woman’s words: “our worlds would just be too far apart”.

There is a more serious aspect to all of this. The aim of study, which surveyed 157 individuals at the end of last year, was to explore the perspective and experiences of those who challenge orthodox attitudes in New Zealand to the use and consumption of animals – and was undertaken as part of a larger bicultural project on human-animal relations.

So what were the key findings of the study? Not surprisingly, there was unanimous opposition to factory farming of animals. And while the respondents admitted vegetarianism had become more widespread in recent years, most argued that vegetarians remained marginalised. What they seemed most dissatisfied with was the limited choices when it comes to eating out and buying leather free shoes. The study concluded that there are a number of consumer gaps and niche markets waiting to be tapped by entrepreneurial cruelty-free business people. Career change – anyone?

I think that vegetarians and vegans are restricted in terms of what they eat in the UK, but a few respondents commented on how far behind other developed countries New Zealand was in terms of its commitment to animal welfare and vegetarianism. One stated that New Zealand was “at least 10 years behind Britain” where vegan foods and apparel are much more readily available.

Am I vegansexual? No. My boyfriend is a raging carnivore. Perhaps in a perfect world I would like him to be a veggie too, but I also know he would love me to eat meat. Does that make him a carnisexual?

How do you feel about choosing your partner on the basis of what they eat? And if you don’t eat meat – how easy is leading a life without it?

(enter the comment fray here)

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