June 2008


Snan Yatra was at the temple 11 am Sunday but we couldn’t make it on time because of flooding. After a rainy week, Saturday night there was a lot of rain so the ground was saturated. Sunday morning we had a thunder storm, the heavy duty kind referred to as a gully washer. The ground was soaked so it had nowhere to go but off the hillsides all at once.

The rain was so heavy my gutters couldn’t handle it — it was going off the side of the house in sheets. I ended up with some water in my basement because the drains couldn’t handle the flow. The water rushing off the ridge was intense, and lots of driveways along the ridge ended up with alluvial deposits of gravel at their base. The side runs were fast and full.

There is small bottom behind the barn at Bahulaban I may in the future oversee turned into a garden. Although I have never seen this bottom flood before now I have. It has me thinking about a levee.

Behind the old barn at Bahulaban, the culvert under the road couldn’t handle the volume and the water backed up into a temporary lake. I need to check that debris hasn’t collected there and choked the culvert making another flood more possible in the future.

The backed up water rose to the level of the road and crossed it. This is the first time in 34 years in New Vrindaban that I have ever seen the water cross the road. Which isn’t to say it has never happened, as it only did it for about 30 minutes and it may have in the past while I was hunkered down someplace and cleared up before I saw it, but I have also never heard anyone else say they have seen overflood and that is something people would talk about.

While if it were a life or death situation I would have crossed the flooding, conventional wisdom is you should NEVER drive through moving water. Lots of people die every year doing it because the power of flowing water can be very deceptive and it will sweep away cars.

Pracetas was parked in front of the art studio which is uphill from the old barn on a mostly dirt road. The water coming off the ridge side swept down the road, creating deep gullies and pushed his car into one on the side of the road so it was stuck when he went to get it. Flowing water had moved his car. It can happen.

We just turned around and went home, going to the temple later. We caught the last bit of the bathing ceremony and saw the Deities carried away. The only flood there would have been the flood of devotion by the attendees.

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“The entire culture of ancient India was based on cows and cow progeny.  Cow Protection means to protect  the cows and bulls too from slaughter or physical harm According to Vedic standards  cows and bullocks are “AGHNYA”,one which must never be killed.”

The following is a bit of a long read but if someone is interested in cows, Vedic culture or varnashram, I think it is well worth the effort.  This was received from Labangalatika dasi, former New Vrindaban resident and current cow protector in India.

BANDE GOMATARAM

TIRUPATI   Dec 1st to 3rd 2007

The   Tirupati Gomataram conference, which many say was brought about by the will of Sri Balaji Himself on behalf of his beloved cows, was an unique gathering of highly qualified  technical experts and scientists as well as cow keepers  inaugurated with very stirring speeches by   saintly persons  and sages . Sri Prasanna Venkatchariar Chaturvedi Swami of Chennai  said that the cow and the sages are twins created by the Almighty , the sages  giving mantra,and the cow  essential materials for the prosperity of the world.  The cow is the divine companion of the human being and by  the slaughter of the cow  our human values are assassinated,   Protection of cows means protection of all living beings  Now we are exporting blood, beef and leather, our heritage is being slaughtered and  human civilization is going backwards.

The cow should be the national animal of India , not the tiger.

Revati Rama prabhu the temple president of Tirupati Iskcon  quoted Srila Prabhupada  and Srimad Bhagwatam on the benefits of cow protection materially and spiritually;that the cow is the most important animal for developing the human body  to perfection, that cow’s milk is particularly essential  for developing finer tissues of the human brain so that one can understand the intricacies of  transcendental knowledge   Cow killing is the grossest type of ignorance.  He told how Maharaj Parikshit  stopped Kali from killing a cow and a bull   and this is the duty of every  leader.   The cow Kamadhenu is the provider of all happiness, as mother of all living beings gives pleasure to everyone. Cow family is born  at the home of the cowherd but it is very  sad nowadays  cowherd treats cow as economic necessity.

Revati Raman Prabhu is greatly respected in the local community  and  by the Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanams,  He was honoured at this function and was chairman  for the  second session afternoon.It was inspiring to see Srila Prabhupada so well represented.

Another saintly person spoke in Telugu. Although outsiders could not understand the words, his devotion  to cow protection spoke directly to the heart.  Some other dignitaries, political and official, addressed  the gathering  and also   Prof Ramaswamy of CARTMAN , but although he says friends of cattle should campaign against meat eating . he still goes on that ahimsa means causing least suffering  and there should be rural based slaughter houses to avoid the suffering of journey to distant slaughterhouses and stunning should be introduced. A real confusion  He does raise an important point that  the central and State governments are spending  a large amount of money on preserving wildlife but not even a fraction of this goes for the welfare of cattle  who serve man so well.

Problems and Solutions to protect the sacred cow . address given by Dr Govindaiah, of Karnataka veterinary University and the  Superintendent of the Tirumala Goshalla* Goshamraksana)    detailed the history of the sacred cow that Pitamaha Bishma told us never to obstruct cows in any way.  Cows were the material and spiritual  assets of the people of the country and that agriculture and cow herding were not just for the vaisya section.  One who possessed a  thousand cows was called  Shastragu with honour.  The Rishis maintained hundreds of milking cows in the ashramas  and people used to donate   grazing land to gaushalas.  The entire culture of ancient India was based on cows and cow progeny.  Cow Protection means to protect  the cows and bulls too from slaughter or physical harm According to Vedic standards  cows and bullocks are “AGHNYA”,one which must never be killed.

(more…)

http://xkcd.com/438/

“Among the confidential activities of hearing, thinking and meditating, silence is most important because by silence one can make progress very quickly. The wise man is he who can discriminate between matter and spirit, between God’s superior and inferior natures. Such knowledge is Krsna Himself.’

Bhagavad Gita 10.38

“Prabhupada: Simply, wherever you go, (makes traffic noise) “sonh, sonh, sonh, sonh,” and “gonh, gonh, gonh, gonh, gonh.” Up in the sky, “gonh, gonh, gonh, gonh,” and in the street, “sonh, sonh…” And then, when digging, “gut-gut-gut-gut-gut-gut-gut-gut-gut!” (laughter) Is it not? Don’t you feel botheration. But they are thinking, “Oh, America is very much advanced in machine.” And when there is that garbage tank? “Ghon-ghon-ghon-ghon-ghon-ghon-ghon-ghon-ghon!” (laughter) So many sounds are going on, always. Eh? Of course, you have got very nice city, nice roads everywhere. But this trouble… You have created so many troubles”

Room Conversation — December 21, 1970, Surat

“Those who love their own noise are impatient of everything else. They constantly defile the silence of the forests and the mountains and the sea. They bore through silent nature in every direction with their machines, for fear that the calm world might accuse them of their own emptiness. The urgency of their swift movement seems to ignore the tranquility of nature by pretending to have a purpose.

“The loud plane seems for a moment to deny the reality of the clouds and of the sky, by its direction, its noise, and its pretended strength. The silence of the sky remains when the plane has gone. The tranquility of the clouds will remain when the plane has fallen apart. It is the silence of the world that is real. Our noise, our business, our purposes, and all our fatuous statements about our purposes, our business, and our noise: these are the illusion.”

Thomas Merton. No Man Is An Island (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1955: 257.

One simple pleasure is watching the new shoots of bamboo growing at a visible daily pace. I thought the patch was as tall as it was ever going to get but this year it has outstripped the previous years’ growth. Notice the emerging shoots before they have leaved out surpassing existing growth.

This is good as it makes bigger poles for harvesting, but it is also a key part of our natural air conditioning. In the summer, as the sun moves farther North it comes around the back side of our house and in the late afternoon shines directly on the side wall. The bamboo shades that a lot and the taller the bamboo, the better the shade. This helps keep the house from heating up.

We cover the south windows with curtains during the day to prevent solar heating, then at night open all the windows in the house when the outside air gets cooler than the inside. In the morning, as air temp rises, we go around and shut them all back up and draw the curtains.

While this takes a few minutes effort morning and evening it keeps our house comfortable without using an electrical air conditioner. The bamboo’s shade has helped this process as it has grown in on the northwest side of the house.

Bamboo is not very common at our latitude.

Another fun thing is when the catalpa trees drop their flowers. For a couple of weeks the lawn gets decorated.

While these things might seem boring to someone whose senses are overstimulated by NASCAR races, mosh pits, 300 TV channels, or constant exposure to electronics, if you can slow down a bit and look around, you may find similar things where you live.

“For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me.

“PURPORT

“A person in Krsna consciousness certainly sees Lord Krsna everywhere, and he sees everything in Krsna. Such a person may appear to see all separate manifestations of the material nature, but in each and every instance he is conscious of Krsna, knowing that everything is a manifestation of Krsna’s energy. Nothing can exist without Krsna, and Krsna is the Lord of everything — this is the basic principle of Krsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness is the development of love of Krsna — a position transcendental even to material liberation.”

Bg 6.30

Why don’t we see Krishna everywhere? Take the test in this video to find out why (fully realized souls, go ahead and skip this exercise).

This is, FYI, the first time I ever posted a video, which proves old dogs CAN learn new tricks. I usually avoid videos because they take so long to load on my dialup, but this is worth doing even if you have a dial up connection.

If you want to know why this phenomenon works as it does, go to this website. We are so busy consuming and gratifying our senses.

In many Native American traditions, the Thunder Beings (Wakinyan in Lakota) are considered powerful living entities and messengers of Krishna who carry out His bidding. Saturday night they visited the 24 Hour Kirtan and showered their blessings. Besides the life giving rain and a lightning show, they caused the electricity to go out for 15 hours. Yoga Dave was visiting and confirmed that this was a benediction.

It happened in the darkening evening but the amazing thing was the kirtan never broke stride continuing with full potency throughout the night and into the morning. This proved that the Holy Name is transcendental to technology.

One interesting aspect of the power outage was that it happened minutes after Sivarama Swami stepped into the rotation as kirtan leader. I had been at a presentation of his earlier in the day when he was describing life at the farm in Hungary. There have no electricity there. SS is a strong advocate of simple agrarian living which is, IMHO, completely consistent with Srila Prabhupada’s long term development plan for ISKCON. I personally took the power outage as an affirmation from Krishna that SS is on the right path.

It was also a warning for those devotees who despite $4 gas and food riots in Haiti still blithely serve their Walmart ( or Neiman Marcus, whatever) master and maintain full faith that the goods will continue to flow unabated so they can remained personally unconnected to the Earth, wallowing in consumerism and not supporting ISKCON, or any other, farming communities.

I think the 24 hour kirtan clearly demonstrated that there is a possibility of having some joy even without the benefits of an industrialized society.

Did I get some joy from it? Well, let’s just say that I had floor burns on the bottom of my feet when it was over. Which is to say there was a lot of dancing, lots more than there was last year at the inaugural 24 Hour Kirtan festival.

I heard talk that this will become an annual event, regularly scheduled to be the weekend following the New York Ratha Yatra, which would make a nice ten day trip for someone coming to the East Coast for a visit.

For pictures of the event, go to http://www.brijabasispirit.com/ and look at entries from June 21st and 22nd 2008.

Thick overhead
clouds of the monsoon,
a delight to this feverish heart.
Season of rain,
season of uncontrolled whispers—the Dark One’s returning!
O swollen heart,
O sky brimming with moisture—
tongued lightning first
and then thunder,
convulsive spatters of rain
and then wind, chasing the summertime heat.

Mira says: Dark One,
I’ve waited—
it’s time to take my songs
into the street.

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