June 2011

From a blog a couple of years ago


Just the Monday we honored the great Vaishnava Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura. A week earlier I was gifted with one of his amazing works, the “Sri Caitanya Siksamrta”.

I thought that I should just browse through the book. As I was in the middle of some other books. However book itself told me not to read it. As checked the index index I found this interesting topic, ‘Studying Many Scriptures’
this is what is said,

“The devotees should only learn the scriptures concerning bhakti (loving service to God) and those works that conform to the conclusions of bhakti. However, because of a lack of time, to read small parts of large works without completing a full study is not advised. Devotees should read a work thoroughly. Otherwise, they will become uselessly opinionated, professional debaters. Some people take pleasure in arguing with any statement they hear, whether good or bad. This is forbidden for devotees.”

After reading this I decided to finish the books that I am working on so that I can give proper attention to this wonderful work when I am done.

Hare Krishna
Your humble servant,
Nityananda Chandra Das


While those limited to the provincialism of country music and rock and all its variations  may not have heard of her, Jackie Evancho is taking the opera and classical music world by soft storm.

Here is Jackie singing my favorite song, Schubert’s Ave Maria.  Try to imagine how great it would sound in a higher quality reproduction.

Although only 11 she sings with a depth of emotion of a mature adult.  She is billed as the voice of an angel. When I first heard her sing I thought she had to be lip syncing because that sound couldn’t be coming out of that little girl.

Though extremely talented and well coached, that alone doesn’t explain it.  In her own words, she says “When I start to sing I get overwhelmed by a powerful force and I feel comfortable and happy. ” Now to me that sounds like a soul that has been here before and bringing its emotional memories to the moment, memories from a lifetime, not limited to 11 years this time around.

Check out highlights of  the concert she did for PBS. Hint, unless you have a heart of stone, bring Kleenex.

BTW, if someone wanted to send me a copy of her CD, I would accept it.

While the US gets left in the dust as Japan, Germany, Spain and Italy all have more installed solar  photovoltaic energy than the US  and China is all in on solar manufacturing, conservative US politicians, the running dogs of the dirty energy industry (fossil fuels) argue about light bulbs, say solar ” isn’t there yet” and green jobs don’t exist.

Meanwhile reality begs to differ.  See the article below from Climate Progress.

Washington, D.C., United States – With roughly 93,500 direct and indirect jobs, the American solar industry now employs about 9,200 more workers than the U.S. steel production sector, according to 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics. The American steel industry has historically been a symbol of the country’s industrial might and economic prosperity. But today, the solar industry has the potential to overtake that image as we build a new, clean-energy economy.

Last week, Germany’s economic development agency announced similarly big news: There are now more than 100,000 workers employed in the German solar PV industry alone. Why is that so significant? The U.S. figures take into account solar jobs in PV, solar hot water and concentrating solar power; Germany is only factoring in solar PV.

And as a reader over at Clean Technica observed: “The US has about 312 million people while Germany has 82 million, about 25% as many people…. That makes the German solar industry more than four times as large an employer than US steel based on country size.”

A couple words of caution: These figures are comparing solar manufacturing, sales and installation to steel production alone. If one were to factor in products made from steel, the industry would be up around 160,000 workers.

With that said, the solar industry is just getting started here in America. Solar is a high-growth industry with the potential to create millions more jobs in a diverse range of sectors; while still an extraordinarily important industry, steel is not.

Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association, explains the significance:

Whether it is construction contractors, plumbers, electricians, assembly-line workers or even lawyers and accountants, solar is creating new opportunities at a time when so many Americans are looking for some good news on the job front. In just three short years, the solar industry has grown from a small start-up to an industry that now employs more Americans than U.S. steel production.

Yet, even with such a big milestone for the U.S. economy, political leaders like Louisiana Representative John Fleming are questioning the “so-called green jobs that we’re yet to see produced.”

The bigger question for Mr. Fleming and other doubters is: Which curve do you want to place your bets on?

The continued growth in U.S. solar?

Or the uncertain future for U.S. steel? (The black line represents the U.S. and the red line is China.) Sadly, without leadership on a long-term renewable energy policy, the split between America and China below may just play out in the solar industry as well.

Every week people coming to New Vrindaban rely solely on GPS for directions and get lost.

Friday before the 24 Hour Kirtan ambulances came onto the ridge and turned around at the temple and left. They had gotten a call from some pilgrims on their way to New Vrindaban who told them they were near NV after having some heart issues and driving off the road.

Turns out they were near Dallas, West Virgina instead and had gotten there following the instructions on the GPS.

Please tell anyone who asks for directions to NV to NOT rely on their GPS — it will be wrong. Even if it gets you here it can send you down back roads instead of the main roads because it looks shorter to the GPS. Shorter isn’t necessarily quicker in West Virginia.

Tell them to follow the directions on the website.


Those will get them here the best way.

This is a generic problem in areas like West Virginia that aren’t laid out on a grid. Vidya brought me the attached  picture. It was taken at a private lane near Oglebay Park, a large tourist destination on the north side of Wheeling.

So it isn’t only NV. :-)

When I have baked white cakes
And grated green almonds to spread upon them;
When I have picked the green crowns from the strawberries
And piled them, cone-pointed, in a blue and yellow platter;
When I have smoothed the seam of the linen I have been working;
What then?
To-morrow it will be the same:
Cakes and strawberries,
And needles in and out of cloth.
If the sun is beautiful on bricks and pewter,
How much more beautiful is the moon,
Slanting down the gauffered branches of a plum-tree;
The moon,
Wavering across a bed of tulips;
The moon,
Upon your face.
You shine, Beloved,
You and the moon.
But which is the reflection?
The clock is striking eleven.
I think, when we have shut and barred the door,
The night will be dark

“This loss of practical knowledge sets up precisely the kind of situation I hinted at earlier, where a disruption in the complex systems that deliver our essentials results in the masses panicking because they have no clue what to do. They’ve never had to use live-off-the-land skills, so they don’t even know where to begin.”

How fragile we are: Why the complexity of modern civilization threatens us all

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com

The fragility of our modern human civilization did not become clear to me until I began living full-time in South America. As a resident of Vilcabamba, Ecuador, I’ve grown accustomed to the idea of knowing where the things I consume come from.

The water I drink, for example, comes from a hole in the ground that taps into a water table replenished by the clouds hanging over the Podocarpus National Forest to the East. I can make a logical connection between the clouds, the rainfall, and the water in my glass. And if the well pump fails, I know I can always carry a bucket to the river a few hundred meters away and scoop up virtually unlimited quantities of water that recently fell out of the sky.

During a recent trip to Tucson, however, I found myself hesitating when I turned on the kitchen faucet. I paused, marveling at the magic of this water which apparently appears from nowhere. And it’s always there, reliable and uninterrupted. That’s when I noticed myself asking the commonsense question: “Where does the water come from around here?”

I had no idea.

The realization astonished me. I lived in Tucson for over five years and yet the thought suddenly occurred to me that if the water stopped magically flowing out of these pipes, I had absolutely no idea where to physically find water beyond the bottled water in the grocery stores, and that wouldn’t last very long.

Sure, I know where the rivers are in Tucson, but these desert rivers are bone dry river beds for all but a few days of the year. And yes, I know how to get water out of cactus, but it’s hard work, and the water isn’t pure water. Try to live off cactus juice for a few days and you’ll end up with severe diarrhea (which is dehydrating).

This thought never hit me when I lived in America, but now it struck me hard: Life in many U.S. cities is extremely fragile. Much of the abundance and convenience of city life is pure illusion, conjured up by a system of underground pipes that deliver water to your home and another set of pipes that magically dispose of your flushed liquid waste. A set of wires brings electricity that makes your home livable (at the great expenditure of energy for heat or cooling), and cheap gasoline makes it possible for fresh produce to magically appear in the grocery stores that feed us all with food from who-knows-where.

Take away any one of these — electricity, water, sewers, fuel, food — and virtually every U.S. city becomes an urban death trap for all its citizens.

It’s not just Tucson, either: The entire American Southwest is extremely fragile when it comes to supporting life. The same story holds true with Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego and many other cities and towns of all sizes. The population currently living in the Southwest USA is far greater than what those geographic regions could support on their own: It is the mass-importation of water, electricity, food and fuel that makes life possible there.

And all those mass imports are extremely fragile.


In this video the speaker explains how Krishna’s Rasa Lila can be viewed as an organizational model.

Thanks to Chaitanya Mangala for the link and transcription

Question starts at 3:00 minutes:

Menaka Doshi’s Question:

Is there the embodiment of an ideal organization anywhere in [Indian] mythology? Does mythology talk about the perfect organization, the perfect business, the perfect enterprise?

Devdutt Pattanaik’s Answer:

Yes it does. First let’s ask, why does an organization exist? An organization exists because we can’t cope with the forest, the wild nature. Wild nature frightens us. We want to feel safe and secure and therefore we create an organization. The problem with organizations is that they end up domesticating people. We don’t like domestication because we want to be ourselves.  We are born free and we want to live free lives. We are trying to negotiate the path between the forest and the organization. Between being wild and being domestic.

To me, the best representation of this is Krishna’s Rasa Lila. What is Rasa Lila? Rasa Lila is a dance. It is a dance which takes place in the forest.  The forest is a place of fear.  It takes place at night.  It takes place outside the village, which means it is outside the organization.  So, there is no formal organization out there and yet everyone who is participating in the Rasa Lila is completely unafraid.  There is no fear.

They are dancing and having a good time and yet there is perfect organization. They form a circle, which means there is an organization there.  They are all circled because they are equidistant from the leader, who treats them equally, yet each one feels special. That is Krishna in the center and these are the Gopis dancing around Him. In this wild forest they are not afraid at all and there is no reason for them to be there. They are not bound by custom, law, systems, processes or obligations. They are they by their own free will and yet complying and creating this perfect circle. Nobody is coming in to disturb the circle. In fact, if one does that Krishna disappears. The fear returns.

What I’m asking is if the forest is like the market place can my leader be like Krishna? A person who gives me complete freedom to do what I want yet I voluntarily align with the system. It means I come on time and go on time and do 100% work not because I’m obliged by a contract but because of devotion with passion, with Bhakti. That’s the goal of our philosophy; to do it with integrity and devotion not because a law tells me to do so. Can we achieve that? Well that’s the promised land of India.

Yesterday I told how I was dancing like I was thirty again.  What wasn’t like being thirty was waking up the next morning with one foot cramped up and walking being very difficult. Vidya took pity on me and massaged it and I was stretching it every which way I could think of.

It took walking around about 10 yard sales, a Farmer’s Market and going through Gabriel Brother’s discount clothing store to work it out to the point where I could walk without visibly limping.

At Gabe’s I ended up buying two T shirts. Normally the most I ever pay for a T shirt is 50 cents at a yard sale but I splurged big time on these buying them off the $2 rack.  Vidya got one that said “Eat Sleep Farm” which was great. I got this one which I wore to the 24 Hour Kirtan:

I got another one but a poll of about 30 devotees at the kirtan ran over 90% who thought it would be inappropriate to wear to the temple:

I tend to agree.

FYI, for those who noted the FFA reference, that is Future Farmers of America, and was probably sold originally as a fundraiser for their organization. I am a former member.

One nice thing about the 24 Hour Kirtan is that anyone you talk to is an interesting person and that is mostly what I do, hang around outside and visit with devotees.

I will share what was probably the most interesting bit of conversation. I was talking to a bunch of gurukulis, including one who grew up in the Mayapur gurukula. I am bad at names and if I ever even heard his I have forgotten it but he is serving  in Atlanta now.

The point that was interesting is that I mentioned to him that my gurukuli son had been a cop in Atlanta and was now a cop in John’s Creek, a suburb of Atlanta on the north side.

He got an almost stunned look on his face and repeated, “John’s Creek?” I said yes and he said that he had been given a traffic ticket by Madhu about a year, year and a half ago!

He remembered because when he looked at the 6 foot blond white guy who gave him the ticket and then saw the officer’s name on it was Madhu, he had thought to himself “That isn’t an Amercian name,” and had almost asked if he was a gurukuli but hadn’t.

He said that there were now 3 or 4 gurukulis who are police officers in Atlanta and asked for Madhu’s contact information. I didn’t know it off the top of my head so gave him my card and said he should contact me and I would give it to him. So Madhu, if someone contacts you there is an opportunity to met some of your peers in the Atlanta area, peers in the sense of being gurukulis who are cops.

As the evening came about, my foot was feeling fine so  I headed to the temple room and danced for well over a half hour until I was exhausted. I sat and rested for a while and amazingly enough got some more energy  and then danced some more. The second time I was missing some marks and not feeling sharp and smooth, but I still enjoyed it.

So guess what happened? This morning I woke up and again can hardly walk. I mentioned this to Vidya, hoping you would again be sympathetic and give it a massage but this time she more or less rolled her eyes and give me the look like (and this is purely my interpretation)  if I was so dumb as to do the exact thing again and hadn’t learned my lesson from the day before, then I probably needed to suffer.  :-)

BTW, any of her friends who read this there is no need to tell her I said this. :-)

Well, I better get rolling if I want to catch the end of the kirtan. Dancing might not be on the menu, but maybe…

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