June 2010

We’re headed for empty-headedness,
the featureless amnesias of Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada,
states rich only in vowel sounds and alliteration.
We’re taking the train so we can see into the heart
of the heart of America framed in the windows’ cool
oblongs of light. We want cottages, farmhouses
with peaked roofs leashed by wood smoke to the clouds;
we want the golden broth of sunlight ladled over
ponds and meadows. We’ve never seen a meadow.
Now, we want to wade into one—up to our chins in the grassy
welter—the long reach of our vision grabbing up great
handfuls and armloads of scenery at the clouds’
white sale, at the bargain basement giveaway
of clods and scat and cow pies. We want to feel half
of America to the left of us and half to the right, ourselves
like a spine dividing the book in two, ourselves holding
the whole great story together.

Then, suddenly, the train pulls into the station,
and the scenery begins to creep forward—the ramshackle shapes
of Main Street, a Chevy dozing at a ribbon of curb, and here is a hound
and a trolley, the street lights on their long stems, here is the little park
and the park stuff: bum on a bench, deciduous trees, a woman upholstered
in a red dress, the bus out of town sunk to its chromium bumper in shadows.
The noise of a train gathers momentum and disappears into the distance,
and there is a name strolling across the landscape in the crisply voluminous
script of the title page, as though it were a signature on the contract, as though
it were the author of this story.


“One cannot become spiritually advanced without acquiring the brahminical qualifications and giving protection to cows. ”

Srimad-Bhagavatam   6.18.52

Prabhupada: So new… When they are trained up, they can come, live, especially grhasthas. My point is whether the farm is attractive. Not very much.

Yogesvara: The potential is wonderful.

Prabhupada: And therefore I’m asking. Potential is wonderful, so why they are not attracted to live in the farm and be self-independent and chant Hare Krsna? That is our farm project. Our farm project is they should be satisfied with simple living. That is nice living. If you get milk, if you get fruit, if you get grain and open air, it is very healthy life. Why they should not be attracted?

Yogesvara: It is still the beginning, and because it’s the beginning, it is a little difficult sometimes.

Prabhupada: That may be. But this should be our aim. We should not be attracted by the modern city life. Simplified life. Save time and utilize for advancing in Krsna consciousness. That is perfect life. Just like Vrndavana. Vrndavana life means agriculturist, cowherd boys, uneducated girls, cows and calves, and tree, fruits. This is Vrndavana. The center is Krsna.

Yogesvara: Simple living.

Prabhupada: But they are the topmost devotees. These (chuckling) uneducated, without any town life, cow-men, they are Krsna’s best friend. Unsophisticated, no education, but love intense -that is perfect. That attracted Krsna more. Vrndavanam parityajya na padam ekam (sic:) na kartavya… Krsna is so much attached to Vrndavana that He goes nowhere… What is that? They are not educated girls, up-to-date fashion, (indistinct) or nothing. Crude. As soon as there was blowing of the flute, immediately they began to run towards Krsna. Somebody is taking care of children, somebody is engaged in boiling milk, and somebody was even lying down with her husband. Still, immediately… Very crude, unsophisticated, but intense love for Krsna — that is Vrndavana.

We want to introduce this farm project means intense love for Krsna. And other things — very simple: little milk, little food grain, little vegetable, that’s all. And that is very nice. If you get fresh vegetable, fresh milk, and food grain, what do you want more? And from milk you can prepare so many nice preparations, unlimited number, all very palatable, sweet.

This civilization we want to introduce, not so-called rascal civilization and become implicated in this cycle of birth and death. This is not civilization. This is killing civilization. Human being got the opportunity to get out of these clutches of birth and death. They do not understand. They’re so rascal, they do not understand how they are implicated in this cycle of birth and death, nor they do take it seriously, that this is the problem, janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosanudarsanam [Bg. 13.9]. They are so blind rascals, they do not see that this is real suffering. They do not know it. Simply theorizing, making plan, and they do not know what is the suffering. Such a rascal civilization. So we have to introduce real civilization. Therefore we are struggling so hard. So make in such a way. That’s a very nice place, center of Europe and very nice place.

Room Conversation — January 31, 1977, Bhuvanesvara

Letter from Tamal Krsna Goswami, Secretary to Srila Prabhupada, to Hari Sauri Das, ISKCON Melbourne, August 10th, 1977 (sent from Krsna Balarama Mandir, Vrndavana):

Srila Prabhupada always enjoys hearing from you as you have gained an eternal position at His Divine Grace’s lotus feet.  Srila Prabhupada appreciated your opening prayers.

Srila Prabhupada was most enlivened to hear the report of New Govardhana Farm.  His Divine Grace in the last month or so has been stressing the importance of these farm projects, and said, “This is the next aspect of Krsna consciousness which I wish to push forward. If I am able to travel again, then I shall visit the farms and make them perfect.  On these farms we can demonstrate the full varnasrama system. If these farms become successful then the whole world will be enveloped by Krsna consciousness.

“From your letter I can understand how nice this farm is.  I am very happy to see fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, grains, the devotees taking sumptuous prasadam and chanting Hare Krsna.  This is the actual meaning of human life.  It is a very good farm, from your letter I can understand.  Whatever you build, get the building materials locally.  If you can manufacture tiles locally, then your house problem is solved. Build up bamboo frame, and on it place tiles.  In any event get everything locally.  I wish to make a farm tour and then I shall surely visit your farm.”

I suggested to Srila Prabhupada that he was the Farm Acarya, but Srila Prabhupada said, “Krsna is the Farm Acarya. Baladeva is holding a plow, and Krsna is holding the calf.  Krsna advised Nanda Maharaja not to perform Indra puja but to worship the land, Govardhana because it was supplying all foodstuffs for the residents of Vrndavana and the cows as well.” So Srila Prabhupada wants you to develop this farm very nicely as it will be the future program to present to the world as the ideal of Krsna consciousness.  In the cities, we are interested for preaching but we cannot present the ideal varnasrama system, this is only possible at the farms, so they are very important.

Did Srila Prabhupada promote living dependent as consumers in New Vrindaban or living dependent on the land and cows?

Krishna by His practical example taught us to give all protection to the cows and that should be the main business of New Vrindaban. Vrindaban is also known as Gokula. Go means cows, and kula means congregation. Therefore the special feature of New Vrindaban will be cow protection, and by doing so, we shall not be loser.

Letter to Hayagriva 14 June 1968 (Montreal)

My idea of developing New Vrindaban is to create an atmosphere of spiritual life where people in bona fide order of social division, namely, Brahmacaris, Grhasthas, Vanaprastha, Sannyasis, or specifically Brahmacaris and Sannyasis, and Vanaprasthas, will live there independently, completely depending on agricultural produce and milk from the cows. The life should be simplified without being hampered by laboring day and night for economic development, without any spiritual understanding.  The New Vrindaban idea is that persons who live there will accept the bare necessities of life to maintain the body and soul together and the major part of time should be engaged in development of Krishna Consciousness.

Letter to: Hayagriva  —  Montreal 17 August, 1968

Gradually try to develop that place, there is immense potential and immense land for development. I saw so much land, but there were no men working the land or raising crops. That is our purpose for keeping so much land, to utilize it in the service of Krsna. So next year you can raise so many kinds of fruits and vegetables there and keep cows, and that will be the ideal Krsna Conscious community of living.

Letter to: Kirtanananda  —  Los Angeles 23 September, 1972

Prabhupada: Yes. Anyway, just inquire. These are our garden flowers.
Jayatirtha: Oh, very nice.
Prabhupada: This is also?
Bhagavan: Yes.
Prabhupada: Yes. Anything grown in the garden, that is hundred times
valuable than it is purchased from the market.

Room Conversation With French Commander — August 3,
1976, New Mayapur (French farm)

They have been advised to turn San Francisco gradually into New Jagannatha Puri, and I have advised Kirtanananda and yourself to convert West Virginia into New Vrindaban. I understand the spot is very beautiful, and the hills may be renamed as New Govardhana. And if there are lakes, they can be renamed as Syamakunda and Radhakunda. Vrindaban does not require to be modernized because Krishna’s Vrindaban is transcendental village. They completely depend on nature’s beauty and nature’s protection. The community in which Krishna preferred to belong was Vaisya community, because Nanda Maharaja happened to be a Vaisya king, or landholder, and his main business was cow protection. It is understood that he had 900,000 cows and Krishna and Balarama used to take charge of them, along with His many cowherd boy friends, and every day, in the morning He used to go out with His friends and cows into the pasturing grounds.

So, if you seriously want to convert this new spot as New Vrindaban, I shall advise you not to make it very much modernized. But as you are American boys, you must make it just suitable to your minimum needs. Not to make it too much luxurious as generally Europeans and Americans are accustomed. Better to live there without modern amenities. But to live a natural healthy life for executing Krishna Consciousness. It may be an ideal village where the residents will have plain living and high thinking. For plain living we must have sufficient land for raising crops and pasturing grounds for the cows. If there is sufficient grains and production of milk, then the whole economic problem is solved.

Letter to: Hayagriva  —  Montreal 14 June, 1968

Deepwater Horizon & the technology, economics and environmental impacts of resource depletion.
by Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute
Published: June 14, 2010

The End is Nigh

“There will be plenty of blame to go around, as events leading up to the fatal Deepwater Horizon rig explosion are sorted out. Even if further efforts to plug the gushing leak succeed, the damage to the Gulf environment and to the economy of the region are incalculable and will linger for a very long time indeed. The deadly stench from oil-soaked marshes—as spring turns to hot, fetid summer—will by itself ruin tens or hundreds of thousands of lives and livelihoods…”

“Once again, I must repeat: we’re not even close to running out of oil, coal, gas, or most minerals. But we face a convergence of entirely predictable but severe consequences from the depletion of the concentrated, high-grade resources at the top of the pyramid: less affordable and more volatile commodity prices; worse environmental impacts—cumulative, mutually reinforcing impacts—both from accidents and from “normal” extraction operations; declining resource quality; declining EROEI [energy return on energy invested] for fossil fuels; and the need for massive new investment both to grow production levels, and to keep environmental consequences at bay. And all of this is happening just as investment capital (needed to fix all these problems) is becoming scarce. In short, the monetary and non-monetary costs of growth have been rising faster than growth itself, and it looks as though we have now gotten to the inevitable point where growth may in fact no longer be an option.

“The Deepwater Horizon disaster reminds us that, of all non-renewable resources, oil best deserves to be thought of as the Achilles heel of modern society. Without cheap oil, our industrial food system — from tractor to supermarket — shifts from feast to famine mode; our entire transportation system sputters to a halt. We even depend on oil to fuel the trains, ships, and trucks that haul the coal that supplies half our electricity. We make our computers from oil-derived plastics. Without oil, our whole societal ball of yarn begins to unravel.

“But the era of cheap, easy petroleum is over; we are paying steadily more and more for what we put in our gas tanks—more not just in dollars, but in lives and health, in a failed foreign policy that spawns foreign wars and military occupations, and in the lost integrity of the biological systems that sustain life on this planet.

“The only solution is to do proactively, and sooner, what we will end up doing anyway as a result of resource depletion and economic, environmental, and military ruin: end our dependence on the stuff. Everybody knows we must do this. Even a recent American president (an oil man, it should be noted) admitted that, “America is addicted to oil.” Will we let this addiction destroy us, or will we overcome it? Good intentions are not enough. We must make this the central practical, fiscal priority of the nation…”

Read complete article here.

Sometimes the media over complicates things.  See above for one simplification. Here is another:

Great Recession in the US? If you spend more money on oil from the Mideast and goods from China than you make, you go broke.

Today is the first time in a long time, probably 6 years, that I have been able to run 800 meters (1/2 mile) without stopping to walk for portions of it.

I say 6 years because 2004 was the last season I played soccer in an organized league and after that I went downhill fast to End Stage Liver Disease and then the liver transplant. Next was recovery, a stint on interferon, recovery from that, and the physical debilitation of large doses of Prograf, the immune suppressing drug I have to take. So I know I would have done the running playing soccer but after that no way.

In the 2008 Transplant Games I tried to run the 800 meter event but I walked for a good portion of it. Details of that can be read here. My goal had been to finish, so I did achieve that.

I am going to the 2010 Transplant Games in Madison , Wisconsin at the end of July/first of August and signed up for the 800 meter there also.  My goal has been to run the whole thing. Which now seems doable.

While I should be running everyday for conditioning, I haven’t been. I get out and think well I should do some gardening to loosen up but then I get sucked into it and people call and I go on the internet and do email and suddenly it is mid afternoon and I am exhausted.

I have been running occasionally and gotten most of but not all the way through the 800m. The thing that changed was where my course is. I had measured out a 100 meters from my mailbox towards Sudhanu’s.  Out and back 4 laps = 800 m.  The problem was the further I went, the steeper the hill.  I found I could run the first lap but going back out for the 2nd or even until the third, I would have to stop and walk the last part of the uphill before being able to run back downhill.

So what I did was change the course. It now starts at my driveway and only goes far enough so I have to make 5 laps.  It still starts to rise but not for as long nor for as high. The first attempt I was able to run, no , not really run, more like a fast shuffle almost approaching a jog, the whole way. Tah dah!

Today I ran it again without stopping.  Now the trick will be to run farther to get into better shape so I can make the 800m faster.  Even if I have to dog trot it most of the way,  I can judge how I am holding up on race day and maybe make the last 50? 100? meters an actual run.  We will have to wait and see how that goes.

It is not too late to help me support the 2010 transplant Games. Just click here and you will go to a site that accepts tax deductible donations on behalf of the National Kidney Foundation  Any help would be appreciated.

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