Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Sunday, June 29, 2008

seriously caroby and fudgy!

Last week, my wife made some delicious fudgy carob glazed carob cupcakes

Adapted from Vegan with a vengence (Fauxstess cupcakes)

Chocolate (Carob) cup cakes (we used carob powder for the entire preparation)

1 ½ cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa or carob powder
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup soy milk or milk
¼ cup canola oil (We substituted with 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce and just 1/8 cup oil)
½ cup + 2 tablespoon sugar (or ½ cup pure maple syrup + ¼ cup sugar)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Line a twelve-muffin tin with paper liners (We skipped this) and spray the liners with canola oil.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, carob powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl combine milk, oil, maple syrup, sugar, vinegar, and vanilla, and beat at medium speed with an electric hand held mixer( We did it manually) for 2 minutes. Add dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, mixing as you go. Beat for about a minute.

Fill the cupcake liner until ¾ th full. Bake for 28 minutes, until a tooth pick comes out clean. Transfer to the cooling rack.

Chocolate fudgey frosting (from la dolce vegan)

¾ cup water
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa or carob powder
¾ cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 cup cornstarch
1/8 cup vegan margarine or you can use butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the water, carob powder, sugar, salt and cornstarch. Slowly bring to a boil, whisking constantly for 3-4 minutes to avoid sticking. Once it starts to thicken, remove from heat and stir in margarine and vanilla. Refrigerate far at least an hour before frosting the cake.

Overall, it didnt take much time, seriously caroby and fudgy!

Hare Krishna

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Secret

The secret to advancing in Krishna Consciousness is revealed here in by Srila Prabhupada. This quote applies to every entity aspiring to be devotees of Lord Krishna.

At the end of the lecture, Ranacora asked a question of Prabhupada. "when you become initiated by the spiritual master, does he take all of your karma, even if you might perform sinful activities - does he take the suffering you might have received?"

Prabhupada replied heavily, "You must simply become ruled by your spiritual master." Those words by Srila Prabhupada entered the heart of his disciple, and his glance cut through all impersonalism.

From Prabhupada Nectar by HH Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Processed Meats dangerous for human consumption

Have you ever wondered why the consumption of processed meats is so strongly linked to cancers of the colon, breast, prostate and pancreas? The evidence continues to mount, as demonstrated by a recent study showing a 67% increase in pancreatic cancer for people consuming moderate amounts of processed meat on a frequent basis. (Pulse; 4/23/2005, Vol. 65 Issue 16, p10).

Conventional medical doctors and nutrition researchers tend to put the bulk of the blame on the saturated fat content of processed meats, but that ignores two notable culprits that I think are far worse offenders when it comes to human health. Let's take a closer look at these two problems with processed meats.

The first problem is found in the fats of these processed meats. The problem isn't the fat molecules themselves, but rather the toxic chemicals, heavy metals and environmental pollutants that are found inside those fat molecules.

You see, fat tissues -- whether in a cow or a human -- tend to concentrate whatever pollutants are found in the mainstay diet of the animal. A cow eats literally tons of grass in its lifetime, and in doing so, it collects and concentrates low-level pollutants found in its diet. For non-organic beef, it's quite common to find trace amounts of heavy metals (mercury, cadmium), pesticides, and even PCBs. That's because, for non-organic beef, feed practices are rather horrifying. You'd be shocked to learn what's perfectly legal to feed to cows intended for human consumption.

So while conventional doctors tend to put the health risk blame on the saturated fat found in meat products, I think it has a lot more to do with the toxic substances concentrated in those fat tissues. A cow is much like a land bottom-feeder, and eating meat from a non-organic cow is a lot like eating shrimp from the bottom of the ocean.

These toxins, when consumed, are clearly and unquestionably linked to cancers as well as nervous system disorders that can accelerate Alzheimer's disease and dementia. They also stress the liver and impair immune system function. The human body should never be exposed to mercury, PCBs or the rocket fuel chemicals that are now almost universally found in cows' milk products across the country (in a 2005 Texas Tech University study, perchlorate was detected in 46 of 47 store-bought samples of cows' milk across 11 states).

The second (and more important) reason processed meats are so strongly correlated with cancer is, I believe, the continued use of a cancer-promoting additive called sodium nitrite.

This ingredient, which sounds harmless, is actually highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system. There, it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc with a number of internal organs: the liver and pancreas in particular. Sodium nitrite is widely regarded as a toxic ingredient, and the USDA actually tried to ban this additive in the 1970's but was vetoed by food manufacturers who complained they had no alternative for preserving packaged meat products.

You can find sodium nitrite in nearly every packaged meat product imaginable. It's listed right on the label of products like bacon, breakfast sausage, beef jerky, pepperoni, sandwich meat, ham, hot dogs, and even the meats found in canned soups. If you and I walked into any grocery store in America, I could show you hundreds of products that contain this ingredient right now. And I believe this sodium nitrite is the primary cause of pancreatic cancer in humans who consume even moderate quantities of processed meats.

If sodium nitrite is so dangerous, why does the food industry use it? Simple: this chemical just happens to turn meats bright red. It's actually a color fixer, and it makes old, dead meats appear fresh and vibrant. Thus, food manufacturers insist on using sodium nitrite for the simple reason that it sells more meat products. Consumers are strongly influenced by the color of grocery products (which is why Florida oranges are often dipped in red dye, by the way), and when meat products look fresh, people will buy them, even if the true color of the months-old meat is putrid gray.

There are other problems with processed meats, nutritionally speaking. Meat has zero fiber, for one thing. But in terms of the major causative factors of disease in the human body, I believe the two primary culprits are the heavy metals and toxins concentrated in the fat tissues of cows, combined with the sodium nitrite additives used by meat processing companies to preserve their products and give them enhanced visual appeal.

And thus, the saturated fat argument is a distraction from the real causes of cancer that the U.S. beef industry doesn't want to talk about. It's not the saturated fat that causes pancreatic cancer. For example, coconut oil consumption wouldn't cause a person's risk of pancreatic cancer to leap 67%, although it's still saturated fat. The real cause of the cancer, I believe, is what's found INSIDE the fat, and what's ADDED to the meat during processing and packaging.

- by Mike Adams - http://www.healthranger.org/

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

An instruction we should never forget!

"These books are for you," Prabhupada said as he pointed to several of the books he had written. "Do not make it an export business. They only buy and sell to others. For themselves they have no use." Prabhupada imitated a devotee distributing his books, "Please take this book. It is very important." He then took the customer's role: "Oh, it is important? What is it about?" Prabhupada again switched roles. "I don't know, it is for you!" We all laughed sheepishly. "My only criticism of the devotees is that they think my books are for distribution and not for reading."

Prabhupada wanted his disciples to become philosophically strong by studying his books. Sastric study grants us the ability to preach, fixes our intelligence, and purifies our hearts. At this time Prabhupada also asked the devotees,"Why are we so interested in book distribution? Because it is distribution of knowledge. It is distribution of knowledge."

From the "My Glorious Master" by HG Bhurijana dasa

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

24 Hour Kirtan Festival ki jay!

I and my wife went to New Vrindaban this weekend. I will try to sum it up in one word - BLISSFUL!

It was one of the best kirtans i have ever heard. The tempo was always on the high with devotees dancing. My favorite kirtans were by Niranjan Swami, Radhanath Swami and Sivarama Swami. They were great. All the Florida and New york devotee kirtans were exceptional too. Overall it was endearing to the heart and joyful to the soul.

During the day on saturday, the kirtan was accompanied by thunderstorms and rain. It cooled down the ground but due to the thunderstorms, the electricity got cut. I thought that the tempo of the kirtan would go down and that we would somehow finish the festival. I was wrong...the tempo went up and up and H.H.Sivarama Swami was roaring inspite of no microphone and speakers. Devotees were still dancing and nothing changed. I danced and danced but was also cautious as i had my drive back. After driving 14 straight hours and barely getting proper sleep for 2 nights, i was still filled with so much energy, i had no idea how i could dance (or let us say just jump up and down) for so long hours and be a part of the kirtan. I guess the kirtans in the association of devotees makes all the difference!

Personally, the trip was great especially I and my wife had the opportunity to meet my guru maharaj personally not once but twice and be a part of his kirtans and lecture. I also associated with my godbrothers and seeked blessings from my senior godbrothers.

All glories to the devotees who organized such an amazing event and all glories to the devotees who sang in the 24 hour kirtan. All glories to Niranjan Swami, Radhanath Swami and Sivarama Swami for the heart drenching Krishna Kirtans!

Below are some pictures my wife took during the stay.

H.H.Jayapataka Swami giving class

The pooja before the commencment of the 24 hour kirtan. H.H.Jayapataka Swami can be seen before breaking the coconut. There were other swamis performing the same.

Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Chandra beautifully dressed on saturday.
Maharaj engaging the crowd during kirtan

ecstatic devotees!
H.H.Sivarama Swami performing kirtan
Evening outfits for the Lordships
H.H.Sivarama Swami during Kirtan
This is the sunday morning close to the end of 24 hours. This mandap is just outside the entrance of the main temple
Maharaj ending the 24 hr kirtan festival with his kirtans!
After the kirtan ended, maharaj gave a super class on the siginficance of chanting of the Holy names.

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Krishna Consciousness is not religion but science

When we talk to people about Krishna Consciousness, immediately, they label it and put it in a box called religion and immediately people think this is just another religion or belief system!

I don’t have anything against the word religion except according to today’s standard of religion; it is just another avenue for sense gratification. Like we use our wife, husband, children, work, everything and everyone around us for our own gross and subtle sensual gratification, similarly, today people use God and religion for the same purpose – gross and subtle sensual gratification.

Therefore, this is a big stumbling block in our efforts to preach this knowledge of the soul, matter and Supersoul. On the other hand, when people talk about physics, chemistry or biology or architecture, then it becomes a discussion on science and technology which is secular, based on hard facts and hence forthcoming.

Science is very popular today because anybody from any background can test any theory and any hypothesis and verify the results for themselves. It is beyond race, color, religion and nationality and is completely based on observable and measureable facts. On the other hand, religion is promoted as sectarian and “my God is better than your God” attitude.

Last weekend I was trying to distribute some books and came across a practicing Christian woman who was surprisingly very forthcoming about other prayer techniques. Anyways, in the course of the conversation, she mentioned how Christians are taught in Church to not accept or believe anything beyond the Bible. Therefore, practicing Christians are conditioned from a very young age to just not question other pathways. I asked her why this is so and she replied that it is because their faith will become weakened. So actually, this is the test of our faith, if what we study in church does not answer all phenomenon of life, then obviously something is missing somewhere along the line. This method of learning is true in all organized religion.

Therefore, science views this mentality as dogmatic or sectarian and beyond verifiable parameters. In other words, religion is a belief system and nothing more.

Sadly this attitude today is the cause why we have so many “Holy” wars simply because people do not take the time off to actually study and intellectually analyze the higher dimensions and if they actually did that….ultimately they have to come to the rationale presented by Srila Prabhupada in his books.

May be…to accept Krishna as the Supreme God takes leap of faith, however, to accept there is a God or Supreme authority beyond this mundane creation is not very difficult to understand. To understand that we are not this material body but spiritual entities (soul) independent from our body is also not difficult to understand.

In other words, anyone studying Srila Prabhupada books openly, honestly and sincerely has to accept the logic presented in his books. Yes, his books are based on science and logic and not just blind faith.

Like I mentioned in the beginning, any scientific study starts with a hypothesis (a belief/faith on reality) and a verifiable method to test the belief/faith (hypothesis). Our hypothesis is that we are not this body and that we are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord Krishna. Krishna is non-different from His names simply because Krishna is Absolute. The verifiable method to prove this is by chanting

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

daily sincerely loud enough so one can hear distinctly each word. As we chant Krishna’s names, we will purify our heart and eventually see Krishna face to face. This is not a matter of belief but a matter of fact as teachers of this knowledge before (more than 5000 years of practice) have experienced it. Therefore following in their footsteps properly, it is just a matter of time we will experience it too.

For example, when I was in High school, I was taught by my physics teacher that light is a spectrum with different wavelengths. Now, as far as I was concerned, I had to believe what the book says and what the teacher said till I did the experiment in the lab myself and from belief it became a fact. This is how we gain knowledge. Just like my physics teacher learnt from his physics teacher and verified it by experiment, similarly I believed my teacher and verified it by experimenting.

Similarly, I believe my spiritual teacher on God and chanting God’s names just as he believed his spiritual teacher. This tradition of knowledge has been transmitted for so many generations dating as back as 3000 BC. Just as my spiritual teacher has realized a higher truth...similarly following in his footsteps, just a matter of time i will too.

So..folks…Krishna Consciousness is just not another religion where it professes something or someone as God and that people have to accept it completely on blind faith. No…Krishna Consciousness is based on deep philosophy written by great saints and has been practiced for more than 5000 years. It is based on sound theory and practice. It is purely based on the scientific principles of the mind and body. It is based on the impact of sound has on mind and body. While modern science has just scratched the surface of impact of sound on creation, Vedic science upon which Krishna Consciousness is based has explained very nicely the impact of sound on creation, mind and body.

So this transcendental sound vibration of

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

is not sectarian and is free and anyone and everyone from all walks of life can study, read, and chant this mantra to see if this great science of Krishna is verifiable or not! The proof is indeed in the pudding!

Please read the philosophy contained in the books of Srila Prabhupada to understand the theory better and please chant regularly and see the difference for yourself.

You can access free online books - http://www.krishna.com/en/taxonomy/term/58

or buy books from the following site - http://www.thekrishnastore.com/Page.bok?template=Shops_BBT

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fatal Theory

In the spiritual plane, the primary aphorism with which we operate is “aham brahmasmi”. From here, all spiritual knowledge starts. However, on the material plane, the fundamental aphorism is “aham matter” (sorry folks, I don’t know the sanskrit for matter) which is diametrically opposite with the postulates of people seeking God (true seekers and not pseudo-religionists which by the way constitute 99% of world religion today…anyway that is a different post).

One more problem as I see, is material scientists equate religion only to the Judeo-Christian tradition and anything beyond this is either mythology or esoteric (out-of-the box) and hence not taken seriously. Since the Judeo-Christian religions have a very brief history in the grand scheme of things and do not adequately explain anything (seriously) except for moral principles for human beings, lacks the sophistication that modern science possess. Therefore modern scientists think their religion (modern science) excels and outclasses every other religion (God related). Due to this ignorance from the religionists and the scientists, today we have crazy theories and ideas.

Anyways, to the point, for spiritualists, the definition of life is pretty straight forward, that spirit is different from matter and that spirit is part and parcel of God and matter is His inferior energy. Different spiritual pathways may not exactly say it like I wrote it but something to that effect. Overall, they accept the concept of matter, spirit and God are independent but inter-related.

Now, for the “aham matter” people (scientists and pseudo-religionists) the definition of life becomes baffling. It is funny because, scientists are releasing theories after theories trying to explain life and in spite of it being obvious, still they are not willing to accept that life is actually something different from matter. But since they do not want to accept this obvious and “on the face” difference, they are “struggling” to somehow connect life to matter and chemical combinations.

So I did a google and found out that (to my surprise), (a) there are so many theories and combination of theories; (b) different people from different subjects like biology or physics or chemistry define life from the view point of their respective fields; and (c) there is no one common definition or consensus as of this very moment as to what exactly is life? If you are interested, you can read this newpaper online article on life on msnbc - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20249616/

The only thing all scientists from natural biologists to physicists to chemists agree is life fundamentally boils down to nucleic acids (chemicals).

In one place, a person writes life is essentially made of fundamental units such as nuclei, electrons and the beautiful molecules they form.

Richard Dawkins in one his books argue that life is essentially bunch of DNA and the purpose of life is to propagate this DNA.

Cell theory which we all studied in high school states that cells, carbohydrates, lipids, DNA, nucleic acids, and proteins are building blocks of life.

Erwin Schrodinger (a famous physicist and Nobel Laureate) wrote a book called “what is life” and he explains the Theory of Negative entropy or negentropy which basically is the opposite of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. In plain terms, life should conform to the physics of the physical world. The assumption of course is living organisms are fundamentally composed of nothing more than the same molecules also found in non-living matter.

There was another theory (called Living systems) by another scientist using the same assumptions but just a different explanation and interpretation.

Overall, the whole educational system with all its departments (from kindergarten to 12th grade to Phd) teach students this “fact” of life that we are fundamentally nucleic acids and life is explained accordingly. Departments from sociology to life sciences to the physical and biological sciences operate under this theory.

Therefore, in the world today, in the name of science and religion we are taught to live absolute atheistic lifestyles and hence as a result indulge in mass slaughter of animals, deforestation, racial apartheids, genocides, child abuse, homicides, terrorism, human trafficking, prostitution, drug lords, war lords, poverty, rape, abortion etc etc etc…why… simply because all the scientists, elitists, politicians and pseudo-religionists are taught, teaching and strengthening this one fundamental point that essentially we are made of nucleic acids and therefore on the basis of “natural selection” and “survival of the fittest” concept, we have the rights to exploit, beat and kill each other to survive because our only goal in this life is to somehow just outclass our fellow living being (sorry…bunch of nucleic acids) so we can “live” peacefully. The problem still gets worse or in other words the urgency not felt because people from religion, philanthropy and humanitarians also operate under this “fatal theory” that life is a bunch of chemicals.

As Richard Dawkins says in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene which argues that "life is simply a means of propagating DNA, with every creature ruthlessly determined to continue its own line"

Most of the materialists (scientists and religionists) some where along that line agree to the above point. For example, we can break a car or burn paper and or abort babies all in the same vein simply because we are encouraged and taught to believe that life is just made of chemicals that fundamentally constitute living organisms and non-living matter and hence not a big deal anyways!

Indeed, as Srila Prabhupada said that this Krishna Consciousness movement will save mankind from its darkest hour.

It is more than ever that we are at a point in our times where the knowledge of soul, matter and supersoul has to be propagated far and wide.

Hare Krishna

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Secret of Love

Learn by Krishna Consciousness how to love Krishna and how to love your country, your society, your friends, everything. But without loving Krishna, you cannot really love. Loving Krishna is the secret.

Because I love Krishna I have come to your country. Otherwise, I had no reason to come to your country. We are preaching this Krishna consciousness movement because we love everyone. We don’t make any distinction. We love animals also. We don’t like to see animal killing. That is part of our message: “No meat eating.” Why? To save the animals also. We love even the ant – because we love Krishna.

This is the technique of Krishna consciousness: If you learn how to love Krishna, then you will love everything. Otherwise, your love will be localized and you will be frustrated. It is most scientific. And our process is very simple: Chant Hare Krishna. That’s all. Krishna and Krishna’s name are identical. So chanting with Krishna: you are directly in touch with the root of the everything.

By advancing in love for Krishna you can love your society, your country, your community, your family, your husband, your wife, your children, your friend – everything. That love is complete, purnam. And it will never end. Love of Krishna is so complete that if you go on distributing this love, it will never be expended. The complete supply will remain.

- Srila Prabhupada
Back to Godhead magazine July/August 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

confession time

I have been writing blogs for more than six months now and just recently hit my 100th post…not that I am proud about it just mentioning it!

I have been posting many articles on humility, pridelessness etc etc that extol the qualities of pure devotion. Some people may have thought (especially to my two brothers) that I have become a saint!

Chill out guys…nothing has changed except for few grey hairs on my scalp. I am the same old idiosyncratic erratic person who you grew up with. I can join a college and then…as you may know will drop out of it just to drive my father crazy and burn his hard earned money. After all…what are sons for?

Anyways, writing the qualities of pure devotion is just a stark reminder to myself that I have tones of homework to do to please Guru and Krishna.

Now that my confession is over…my request to one and all (especially to Vaishnavas) to give me sincerity within my heart to serve Guru and Gauranga in a proper mood of service.

Hare Krishna

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pizza Italiano

Last weekend, i made Pizza for Lord Jagannath. I topped the pizza with red pepper, green pepper, Kalamata olives and green chillies. The cheese toppings are shredded mozerella, Romano, and Paramesan cheese.

I followed Kurma Prabhu's recipe. You can find it here - http://food.krishna.com/node/372
It took me about 2 hours overall but was worth the work!

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Three pillars of religion

  • Humility
  • Tolerance &
  • Pridelessness towards all living beings

Hare Krishna

Monday, June 9, 2008

Plato's Phaedo

Socrates (469BC – 399 BC) philosophized on many things including the immortality of the soul. He believed that the soul is eternal and survives physical death. Plato, his student, narrates the final days of Socrates in his famous dialogue called Plato’s Phaedo. The dialogue is told from the perspective of one of Socrates' students, Phaedo of Elis. Having been present at Socrates' death bed, Phaedo relates the dialogue to Echecrates, a fellow philosopher.

Below are some excerpts from the dialogue that describes Socrates philosophy on the immortality of the soul.

On the topic of suicide, his discussion with his disciple Cebes

While the philosopher seeks always to rid himself of the body, and to focus solely on things concerning the soul, to commit suicide is prohibited as man is not sole possessor of his body. For, as stated in the Phaedo: "the philosopher more than other men frees the soul from association with the body as much as possible" (64e-65a). Body and soul are separate, then. The philosopher frees himself from the body because the body is an impediment to the attainment of truth. The philosopher acts as such in order that the body will not distract the soul from attaining virtue and knowledge. For, while the body is incapable of distinctly perceiving truth about anything, the pursuit of truth is the philosopher's task. During the Apology, Socrates says of this task, "God orders me to fulfill the philosopher's mission of searching into myself and other men." (Apology, 28e-29a)

The philosopher, then, will accept that he can come closest to true knowledge in death for he will no longer be distracted by the body. As the philosopher seeks death his entire life, he should greet it amicably and not be discouraged upon its arrival. However, it is impossible to be alive without the existence of the body. Death, then, the separation of body and soul, is the philosopher's ideal. He will have lived his entire life preparing for and hoping for death. And, so, while, as Socrates best discusses in the Apology, no living man, be he a poet, sophist, or even Socrates himself, is capable of really knowing anything, the philosopher will see death as a haven for the soul. In death only, the soul may possibly come to actually gain true knowledge.

However, man should not kill himself. Socrates cites the traditional argument that man ought not to kill himself because he possesses no actual ownership of himself, as he is actually the property of the gods. He says, "I too believe that the gods are our guardians, and that we men are a chattel of theirs" (Phaedo, 62b). To this, Cebes assents. For, the body is the property of the gods, and man would be punished were he to destroy something that he does not truly own. Then, it may be concluded that man should not kill himself because he will be punished by the gods. The philosopher, then, will greet death, but not hasten to its arrival. For, while he has spent his life preparing for and awaiting its arrival, it is not virtuous to bring about its occurrence.

Cyclical argument

Socrates introduces his first argument for the immortality of the soul. This argument is called the cyclical argument. It supposes that the soul must be immortal since the living come from the dead. Socrates first lays out the argument. He says: "Now if it be true that the living come from the dead, then our souls must exist in the other world, for if not, how could they have been born again?" (Phaedo, 70c-d). Socrates then gets Cebes to conclude that the dead are generated from the living, through death, and that the living are generated from the dead, through birth. The souls of the dead must exist in some place, then, for them to be able to return into life.

In the above argument, Socrates does not explicitly talk about the transmigration of the soul from one body to another, but rather assumes that the soul exists somewhere and takes a physical body at birth. This argument does not necessarily show that the soul continues to exist once a man has died.

Theory of Recollection

Regarding this theory, Cebes states"...your favorite doctrine, Socrates, that our learning is simply recollection, if true, also necessarily implies a previous time in which we have learned that which we now recollect. But this would be impossible unless our soul had been somewhere before existing in this form of man; here then is another proof of the soul's immortality." (Phaedo, 72e-73a)

The theory of recollection runs basically that as it has been shown that it is possible to draw a true answer out of a person who seems to not have any knowledge of the subject prior to his questioning, this person must have gained this knowledge in a prior life, and now merely recalls it. Indeed, as he has now been able to answer correctly, it must be the case that his answer arose from recollection of knowledge gained during a previous life. Socrates presents this argument to Meno in the Platonic dialogue of the same name. In it, he concludes, "The soul, then, as being immortal and having been born again many times and having seen all things that exist, whether in this world or in the world below, has knowledge of them all." He continues to state emphatically that "all inquiry and all learning is but recollection" (Meno, 81d).

In this theory, Socrates clearly states that the soul must have had previous lives to have gotten prior knowledge thus implying that the soul transmigrates from one body to another. However, his disciple Cebes puts forth his doubt that the soul may have lived any number of lives prior to the one in question that does not necessarily mean that it will continue to exist following its subsequent death(s). And so, Socrates presents his third argument for the immortality of the soul.

Affinity argument

Socrates shows that the soul most resembles that which is invisible and divine, and the body that which is visible and mortal. From this, it is concluded that while the body may be seen to exist after death in the form of a corpse, as the body is the mortal of the two and the soul is the more divine, the soul must outlast the body.

This argument, while explaining the properties of the soul does not, however, explain clearly the immortality of the soul. Cebes continues that though the soul may outlast certain bodies, and so continue to exist after certain deaths, it may eventually grow so weak as to dissolve entirely at some point. From here, Socrates continues to give his final proof of the immortality of the soul.

Argument from Form of Life

Socrates shows that the soul is immortal as it is the cause of life. He begins by showing that "if there be anything beautiful other than absolute beauty it is beautiful only insofar as it partakes of absolute beauty" (Phaedo, 100c). Consequently, as absolute beauty is a Form, and so is the soul, then anything which has the property of being infused with a soul is so infused with the Form of soul. "Will not the number three endure annihilation or anything sooner than be converted into an even number, while remaining three?" (Phaedo, 104c). Forms, then, will never become their opposite. As the soul is that which renders the body living, and that the opposite of life is death, it so follows that, "...the soul will never admit the opposite of what she always brings." (Phaedo, 105d) That which does not admit death is said to be immortal. The soul does not become dead as the even does not become odd. Therefore, the soul is immortal. For, it is exactly that which does not die. Socrates thus concludes, "Then, Cebes, beyond question, the soul is immortal and imperishable, and our souls will truly exist in another world." (Phaedo, 106d-107a)

In plain terms, the soul is the cause of life. The soul when enters dead matter animates and brings life to matter. Since the soul is the cause of life, therefore, by nature it is opposite to non-life or death, hence has to be immortal.

We have seen that Socrates has no doubt that the soul is immortal. The following are some of his thoughts on afterlife

Socrates' idea that those who are truly virtuous during life will be eternally free from the body. As to be truly virtuous during life is the quality of a great man, then each of the men mentioned above, insofar as they are great, will perpetually dwell as souls in the underworld. However, regarding those who were not virtuous during life, and so favored the body and pleasures pertaining exclusively to it, Socrates also speaks. For those that were not great during life, however, once dead, the swift return to the world of the living is assured. For, these people will not have succeeded in freeing their soul from their body while alive. Of those souls that are not free, Socrates speaks. He says that such a one as this is:

"...polluted, is impure at the time of her departure, and is the companion and servant of the body always and is in love with and bewitched by the body and by the desires and pleasures of the body, until she is led to believe that the truth only exists in a bodily form, which a man may touch and see, and drink and eat, and use for the purposes of his lusts, the soul, I mean, accustomed to hate and fear and avoid that which to the bodily eye is dark and invisible, but is the object of mind and can be attained by philosophy; do you suppose that such a soul will depart pure and unalloyed?" (Phaedo, 81b)

Persons of such a constitution will be dragged back into corporeal life, according to Socrates. These persons will even be punished while in Hades. Their punishment will be their own doing, as they will be unable to enjoy the singular existence of the soul in death because of their constant craving for life. For, these are the souls "...of the evil, which are compelled to -- in payment of the penalty of their former evil way of life...until...they are imprisoned finally in another body" (Phaedo, 81d-e). The soul is immortal and the course of its passing into the underworld is determined by the way in which it last behaved while alive. The philosopher then, and indeed any man similarly virtuous, in neither fearing death, nor cherishing corporeal life as something idyllic, will be eternally unperturbed in death, and his afterlife will be perfect. For this reason, the philosopher practices the disengagement from the soul during life, in order to attain the virtue that will provide him with eternal reward, while not committing suicide, as argued above. Such is the nature of the afterlife as espoused by Socrates in Plato's Phaedo.

Socrates was a great thinker and philosopher of his times and after. His thoughts and words have influenced time and people. However, from the vantage point of Vedic thinkers, Socrates’s philosophy is at best introductory. In other words, the Vedanta sutras start with “aham brahmasmi” while Socrates had this dialogue with his disciples in his final days. Socrates has just discussed chapter two of the Bhagavad Gita with his disciples. However, Socrates thought nothing great of himself. He believes he possessed no wisdom.

Below are some excerpts on his humility and fearlessness at the time of death that is an indication of a sadhu (or shall we say philosopher according to Socrates).

According to Plato's Apology, Socrates' life as the "gadfly" (as the gadfly stings the horse into action, so Socrates stung Athens), of Athens began when his friend Chaerephon asked the oracle at Delphi if anyone was wiser than Socrates; the Oracle responded that none was wiser. Socrates believed that what the Oracle had said was a riddle, because he believed that he possessed no wisdom whatsoever. He proceeded to test the riddle through approaching men who were considered to be wise by the people of Athens, such as statesmen, poets, and artisans, in order to refute the pronouncement of the Oracle. But questioning them, Socrates came to the conclusion that while each man thought he knew a great deal and was very wise, they in fact knew very little and were not really wise at all. Socrates realized that the Oracle was correct in that while so-called wise men thought themselves wise and yet were not, he himself knew he was not wise at all which, paradoxically, made him the wiser one since he was the only person aware of his own ignorance.

Socrates' death is described at the end of Plato's Phaedo. Socrates turned down the pleas of Crito to attempt an escape from prison. After drinking the poison, he was instructed to walk around until his limbs felt heavy. After he lay down, the man who administered the poison pinched his foot. Socrates could no longer feel his legs. The numbness slowly crept up his body until it reached his heart. Shortly before his death, Socrates speaks his last words to Crito: "Crito, we owe a cock to Asclepius. Please, don't forget to pay the debt." Asclepius was the Greek god for curing illness, and it is likely that Socrates' last words were implied to mean that death is the cure, and freedom, of the soul from the body.

Although from a different time, and place, Socrates preached the fundamental principles of spiritual life that we are not body but soul and that one should live a virtuous life to let go of the body - fundamental teaching in Vedic literatures. He was ready to face death to uphold these values- a true philosopher and preacher of spiritual values.

Hare Krishna

courtesy: wikipedia

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The enemy within

My mind is very stubborn and wandering. It is very difficult for me to constantly engage in one of the nine forms of devotional service. Krishna Consciousness is a constant struggle for me. In other words, I am fighting my own self, that’s right my mind and senses are my own enemies. When the enemy is within, then it disguises itself to help you and you trust your enemy only later to be deceived, left alone and cheated. It is frustrating…so our only hope is we somehow depend on Krishna’s mercy through Guru and Vaishnavas.

The more we associate with the instructions of Guru through Vani, then our stubborn mind will slowly deprogram itself and start to reprogram itself to the tune of the divine instructions of Guru ultimately awakening the sleeping soul. Therefore through the medium of sound, we can control our stubborn mind and awaken our soul and attain our pure original consciousness – that is Krishna Consciousness.

A prayer I like to meditate on,

Pratijna tava Govinda na me bhaktah pranasyati
Iti samsmrtya samsrtya pranan sandharyamy aham

O Govinda, Your promise is that your devotee will never perish. By remembering this over and over again, I am able to retain my life-airs.

Hare Krishna

Saturday, June 7, 2008

budding Vaishnava

This is my brother's son and is a video showing his skills in playing the mrdanga. My request to all Vaishnavas is to please bless this soul to become a pure devotee of the Lord and spread the glories of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu!

Hare Krishna

Thursday, June 5, 2008

unscientific science

Irreducible complexity (IC) is an argument made by proponents of intelligent design that certain biological systems are too complex to have evolved from simpler, or "less complete" predecessors, through natural selection acting upon a series of advantageous naturally occurring chance mutations. It is one of two main arguments intended to support intelligent design, the other being specified complexityThe eye is a famous example of a supposedly irreducibly complex structure, due to its many elaborate and interlocking parts, seemingly all dependent upon one another. It is frequently cited by intelligent design and creationism advocates as an example of irreducible complexity.

Counter argument
There has also been a theory that challenges irreducible complexity called facilitated variation. The theory has been presented in 2005 by Marc W. Kirschner, a professor and chair of Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, and John C. Gerhart, a professor in Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley. In their theory, they describe how certain mutation and changes can cause apparent irreducible complexity. Thus, seemingly irreducibly complex structures are merely "very complex", or they are simply misunderstood or misrepresented. - wikipedia

The above is an example of how scientists argue and counter argue on evolution. “Natural selection among species” can be accepted as an undeniable fact only if there is direct evidence through direct observation or fossil records.

Scientists counter argue against intelligent design by conducting mutations inside their own labs (controlled environments). In other words, they replicate nature by intervening at the genetic level. So what then is so natural about this process? It is artificial selection of the gene pool in a controlled environment that requires higher intelligence. So no matter how valid evidences they collect, it is all artificial.

The scientists, then, make a huge leap of faith by saying this occurs randomly in nature naturally over millions of years and with this narrow frame of mind go out in the fields to collect fossil records (neglecting other types of evidences they actually find which are diametrically opposite to their hypothesis).

This is neither scientific nor common sensical…now if this is not blind faith, then what is? and this is being taught to children in school as fact?

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Love affair that is called ISKCON

The love affair between Lord Krishna and Srila Prabhupada took the shape of what we now call ISKCON. This love is ever increasing and we, the followers can be a part of this love as long as we are faithful, loyal and loving to our eternal guru that is Srila Prabhupada.

Srila Prabhupada started this movement to facilitate this love between the individual living entities and Krishna under the care and guidance of an expert teacher that is Srila Prabhupada.

Just as a lover will send gifts to His beloved, similarly, Srila Prabhupada is sending so many living entities as gifts to the Lotus Feet of Lord Krishna as an expression of His love towards the Lord. Hence we are eternally indebted to our Guru that is Srila Prabhupada.

This symbol of love – ISKCON is to be cherished and propagated to all the lands so everyone is given the opportunity to be a part of this divine loving interchange between Lord Krishna and Srila Prabhupada. Let us pay our tributes to our Guru that is Srila Prabhupada.

While there may be apparent mundane problems within ISKCON, still, this house that Srila Prabhupada built for the world is by no means mundane but a spiritual storehouse of treasure of unalloyed love towards that Supreme Absolute Truth. For making this treasure of love accessible to everyone and allowing everyone to be a part of this divine lila, let us pay our tributes to our Guru that is Srila Prabhupada.

Let us pay our tributes again and again to our Guru that is Srila Prabhupada by sincerely chanting

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Hare Krishna

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Mediterranean Lunch

My wife and I prepared a Middle Eastern type lunch last week. My wife made the delicious Greek style soup and the herb roll bread. I made falafel and hummus as fillers.

The soup, herb roll, and hummus were taken from Kurma das prabhu.

Greek style white bean and vegetable soup - Fasoulada

Any white bean are preferred such as cannellini, black eyedbeans, lima, navy or haricot beans. Beans soaking time is one hour or over night.

2 cups white beans of your choice
8 cups water
1 teaspoon asafetida
1.5 cup copped pealed tomatoes
3/4 cup diced carrot
1 cup chopped celery including leaves
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2-3 tablespoon virgin olive oil
1/4 freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugat
1.5 teaspoon salt
chopped parsley for garnish

Pressure cook the soaked beans. Heat the oil, saute the vegetables, add the remaining ingredients and return the pan to full heat bringing to boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until vegetables are tender. Add the beans and stir in the salt. Serve the soup hot and garnish with parsley.

Chickpea and Sesame Paste Dip (Hummus bi Tahina)

200g dried chickpeas, that's one very heaped metric measuring cup
¼ cup lemon juice
½ teaspoon yellow asafetida powder (to replace two cloves garlic)
6 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon salt

Soak the chickpeas in cold water overnight or at least 12 hours. Drain and place the chickpeas in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water, about three times the volume, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for an hour or until the chickpeas are tender, topping up with water if necessary.

Drain the chickpeas, reserving the cooking liquid. Cool slightly then rub the chickpeas well to loosen the skins. Cover with cold water and the loose skins will rise to the surface. Scoop them off and discard.

Place the peeled chickpeas in a food processor with the lemon juice, asafetida, tahini and half of the salt. Process to a smooth puree, adding some of the reserved cooking liquid if necessary to achieve a smooth result. Add the remaining salt if it needs it.

Falafel (googled it)

2 cups dried chickpeas (soaked overnight and boiled the next day)
1 teaspoon Asafetida
3 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons All purpose flour
Oil for frying

Combine chickpeas, asafetida, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper (to taste) in medium bowl. Add flour.Mash chickpeas, ensuring to mix ingredients together. You can also combine ingredients in a food processor. You want the result to be a thick paste. Form the mixture into small balls, about the size of a ping pong ball. Slightly flatten. Fry in 2 inches of oil at 350 degrees until golden brown (5-7 minutes). Serve hot.