February 2011

After all the jacks are in their boxes,
and the clowns have all gone to bed,
you can hear happiness staggering on down the street,
footprints dress in red.

And the wind whispers Mary.

A broom is drearily sweeping
up the broken pieces of yesterday’s life.
Somewhere a Queen is weeping,
somewhere a King has no wife.

And the wind it cries Mary.

The traffic lights they turn blue tomorrow
And shine their emptiness down on my bed,
The tiny island sags downstream
‘Cos the life that they lived is dead.

And the wind screams Mary.

Will the wind ever remember
The names it has blown in the past,
And with this crutch, its old age and its wisdom
It whispers, “No, this will be the last.”

And The Wind Cries Mary.

In recent weeks you have probably noticed more social unrest and rioting around the world. This is being directly caused by increased slaughter of animals. The most influential and recognized economist in the world, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recognized this issue this month and so does the United Nation.

I watched the news clip live a few weeks ago as Ben Bernanke talked about the co-relation of eating beef and rising food prices and it drove me to find the quote from Reuters and write this article.

Some excerpts:

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation Food Price Index on Thursday touched its highest level since records began in 1990 as rising food prices showed no sign of relenting, prompting concerns of social unrest.


He (Bernanke) said higher food prices were stoked by increasing consumer demand in emerging economies for such things as meat.


As people’s diets are becoming more sophisticated and as they eat more beef and less grains and so on, the demand for food and energy rise and that’s the primary long-term factor affecting the real price of commodity and food,” Bernanke said.

Bernanke says their diets are becoming more “sophisticated” but in reality “barbarian” is more apt of a term. Now it does not take a genius economist to figure out how to resolve this social unrest and looming crisis for inflation and food prices. It will simply take a return to a natural human diet of vegetarian food.

To explain the crisis some simple stats comparing the production of beef to wheat. It takes 18 times more fossil fuel per calorie to produce beef compared to wheat. It takes 15 times the land to produce beef. It takes a whopping 200 times the water to produce a pound of beef compared to wheat. The ratios are similarly disproportionate for all major categories of grains. This animals are bred by meat producers and fattened up by giving them about 16 pounds of grain for every pound of beef produced.


All of the above stats do not take into account the inhumane conditions and countless suffering animals are put through just to feed a barbarian diet. Of course, the serious karmic reactions of animal killing is on top of all of these basic arguments.

As Srila Prabhupada said:

“We simply request, Don’t kill. Don’t maintain slaughterhouses. That is very sinful. It brings down very severe karmic reactions upon society. Stop these slaughterhouses”.



1. “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” – Peter Drucker

2. “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

3.”Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.” – William Butler Yeats

4. “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” – Epictetus

5. “Speak when you are angry — and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” – Laurence Peters

6. “In the last analysis, what we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say or do.” – Stephen Covey

11. “Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.” – Rollo May

15. “Two monologues do not make a dialogue.” – Jeff Daly

16. “Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” – Plato

18. “Any problem, big or small, within a family, always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn’t listening.” – Emma Thompson

19. “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway

20. “You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” – Scott Peck

24. “Give me the gift of a listening heart.” – King Solomon

By Dr. Farooq Abdullah, India’s Minister of New and Renewable Energy   |   February 4, 2011   |

Dr. Farooq Abdullah, India’s Minister of New and Renewable Energy, wants his country to transform the promise of boundless and clean energy into reality

New Delhi, India — India is perceived as a developing country, but it is developing at a pace that is not matched by many others. We have experienced significant economic growth. Yet the fact remains that our growth is constrained by energy supply and availability. Although we have seen an impressive increase in installed capacity addition, from barely about 1,350 MW at the time of independence (1947) to about 160,000 MW today, over 90,000 MW of new generation capacity is required in the next seven years. A corresponding investment is required in transmission and distribution.

The increasing appetite for energy that has developed in the recent past has been further complicated by rapidly diminishing conventional sources, like oil and coal. To further add to the problems of increased demand and constrained supply, there are serious questions about pursuing a fossil fuel-led growth strategy, especially in the context of environmental concerns. The challenge facing a developing nation such as ours is to meet our increasing energy needs while minimizing the damage to the environment.

This is why, while striving to bridge our energy deficit, we want to increase the share of clean, sustainable, new and renewable energy sources. Whether or not renewable energy completely replaces fossil fuel, we are determined to develop renewable energy to its fullest potential.

Driving inclusive growth

India today stands among the top five countries in the world in terms of renewable energy capacity. We have an installed base of over 15 GW, which is around 9% of India’s total power generation capacity and contributes over 3% in the electricity mix. While the significance of renewable energy from the twin perspectives of energy security and environmental sustainability is usually well appreciated, what is often overlooked, or less appreciated, is the capacity to usher in energy access for all, including the most disadvantaged and the remotest of our habitations.

In its decentralized or stand alone avatar, renewable energy is the most appropriate, scalable, and optimal solution for providing power to thousands of remote and hilly villages and hamlets. Even today, millions of decentralized energy systems, solar lighting systems, irrigation pumps, aero-generators, biogas plants, solar cookers, biomass gasifiers, and improved cook stoves, are being used in the remotest, inaccessible corners of the country. Providing energy access to be most disadvantaged and remote communities can become one the biggest drivers of inclusive growth.

The National Solar Mission

(left) Selco solar panel installation | Photo: Selco Solar Light Ltd.

The Sun is the ultimate source of energy. The National Action Plan on Climate Change in June 2008 identified the development of solar energy technologies in the country as a priority item to be pursued as a National Mission. In November 2009, the Government of India approved the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.  This is a unique and ambitious transformational objective that aims to establish India as a global leader in solar energy by creating the policy conditions for its diffusion across the country, as quickly as possible…

Read complete article here

“Those who think that devotion to God and kindness to the jivas are mutually different from each other, and perform accordingly in their life, such persons will not be able to follow the devotional culture. Their performance is only a semblance of devotion. Therefore, all the types of beneficence to others, like kindness, friendliness, forgiveness, charity, respect, etc. are included in Bhakti. Charity of medicines, clothes, food, water, etc. shelter during adversities, teaching of academic and spiritual education, etc. are the activities included in the devotional culture.”

Aphorisms of the Truth – by Bhaktivinoda Thakura

“If we are without human feelings we cannot love God in the way in which we are meant to love Him – as men. If we do not respond to human affection we cannot be loved by God in the way in which He has willed to love us – with the Heart of the Man, Jesus Who is God, the Son of God, and the anointed Christ.”

Thomas Merton. Thoughts in Solitude. (New York: Farrar, Strauss, Giroux). p.13

The soundtrack wasn’t Hendrix or any other artificial sound. I was out splitting wood and the West wind, the purifying wind,  was blowing hard and it was a be still and know that I am God kind of day.  The swishing of the fir tree branches was the lead exploring tempo and counterpoint, while the steady roar of wind through the bare branches of deciduous forest supplied the bass with the depth of sound to drown out traffic noise from Route 250.  Last year’s gourd crop, cured dry or almost dry,  rattled against each other on the arbor to provide percussion.

I was chopping wood with my maul. I had had some trees pulled up near the house last year and they are dry enough to use.  There was some ash and locust. First I cut the fence post lengths out of the locust logs which can be seen lying next to the arbor waiting to be split into usable fence posts. Then I cut the remainder into firewood lengths.

After 10 weeks of consistently below normal temperatures, we got a sudden warm up that melted the accumulated snow and two days in a row set record high temperatures for those dates.  So this was a beautiful day, the cutting was finished, noisy chain saw set aside, and I was able to concentrate on splitting the cord wood by hand.

This kind of menial labor is very soothing for me. Other types of work like sales, working a computer, talking on the phone, meetings, driving in traffic — all these and most activities require attention from the mind. Splitting wood frees the mind, lets it develop bigger thoughts without intrusion. I find that restful and, if I can keep up a decent pace, I get an exercise high from it.

My medical condition prevents me from doing it all day long as I might have in the past, but if I go out and do what I can, take a break and get back when I can, over a few days the pile of wood does get bigger.

When I haul wood in from other locations I can only unload it on one side of the pile, but here I am bringing it in a wheelbarrow so I go to the far side of the pile and stack it there first, because I can easily get to it.

Note the three ends of rows of wood left over on the right.  I always put up more wood than I need for a winter so I have a jump on the next year, but this year I got into the extra wood and that is all that is left over.

We still have a lot of wood burning days left, but we have storage space in the house we replenish from the main pile, and I think there is enough there to get us through. We will start at that end of the pile and go the other direction next year, so we never have any wood older than 2 years in the pile.

I stack it level, but as I am stacking I leave the last layer on the top and finish it off with the inevitable weird shape pieces that are hard to stack.

My yearly goal is to have the  next year’s wood in the pile by the end of April, because once frost ends there is too much to do in the garden to worry about firewood.  Plus, even cured wood laying on the ground in the forest can be 12 % moisture, and in the pile by summer’s end will have only 8%. That is extra moisture that will steal heat and escape in the form of steam up the stovepipe so best to burn completely cured and dry wood.

Today it is snow on the ground again so I am confined by my lack of austerity to the house, but I can almost hear the music of the wind in my memory.


I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian ….any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list.

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

If I agreed with you we’d both be wrong.

We never really grow up, …we only learn how to act in public. (And some never learn!)

War does not determine who is right _ only who is left.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

The early bird might get the worm, …..but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Evening news is where they begin with ‘Good evening’, …..and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

How is it one careless match can start a forest fire; but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?

Some people are like Slinkies … not really good for anything, but you can’t help smiling when you see one tumble down the stairs.

Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.

I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted pay checks.

A bank is a place that will lend you money, if you can prove that you don’t need it.

Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says “If an emergency, notify:” I put “DOCTOR”.

I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

Why don’t political candidates wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers so we could identify their corporate sponsors before they payback with bailouts and tax cuts?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

“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.”

Letter from Tamal Krsna Goswami, on behalf of Srila Prabhupada
to Hari Sauri dasa, ISKCON Melbourne,
10 August 1977

Here is an example of someone taking the point Srila Prabhupada made by creatively using locally available materials:

“Thai monks from the Sisaket province have used over one million recycled glass bottle to construct their Buddhist temple. Mindfulness is at the center of the Buddhist discipline and the dedication and thoughtfulness required to build everything from the toilets to their crematorium from recycled bottles shows what creativity and elbow grease can accomplish.

“The Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew temple is about 400 miles northeast of Bangkok in the city of Khun Han close to the Cambodian border. Using Heineken bottles (green) and Chang Beer bottles (brown) the monks were able to clean up the local pollution and create a useful structure that will be a visual reminder to the scope of pollution and the potential we can make with limber minds.

bottle temple

“The water tower and tourist bathrooms are even made from beer bottle litter. The monks were able to have the local people bring them the building materials which beautifully reflect the Thai sun.”

beer bottle temple

Check out the Temple gallery on the next page…

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