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

Sunday, August 31, 2008

will your car airbag protect you?

The common response I get is “it is your belief system”. I am talking about the science of Krishna Consciousness. Whenever I speak about spirit and matter, the face I get is something like finding the square root of 197.009…that’s right total dumbfoundedness. People in general are not able to comprehend the nature of spirit and its relationship with matter. In other words, since many of us have little to no direct contact with spirit, we tend to disbelieve the existence of a soul. We want “hard facts”. We believe or disbelieve anything only if we have “hard facts”, things that can be seen, heard, or tested somehow through modern day gadgets. This they (the people) believe to be “knowledge” or an accurate representation of the world.

The same people and proponents of modern science support and study certain theories as “truth” when actually dug deeper, we find it is built upon “beliefs” and “assumptions”. For example, the big bang theory is a popular theory among the scientific world accepted widely and studied as truth in many schools across the world. However this theory is not conclusive and decisive in explaining the origin of the universe. The theory claims that our universe sprang into existence as “singularity” around 13.7 billion years ago. In other words, the universe expanded from one singular point of enormous density and temperature. The theory, however, does not explain the origin of singularity or what it is or where it came from. According to the methods of scientific research “The necessity of experiment also implies that a theory must be testable. Theories which cannot be tested, because, for instance, they have no observable ramifications (such as, a particle whose characteristics make it unobservable), do not qualify as scientific theories” (Intro to the Scientific Method, University of Rochester,NY). Big Bang theory clearly does not fit the above definition of scientific theories simply because the concept of “singularity” is unexplainable. But still the scientific world consider as the most popular theories among other theories on the origin of the universe. We can use the same logic for Darwin’s theory and other theories that have not been conclusively tested. Keep in mind, these theories do have various experimental evidences and proofs, however, it is not accepted as facts because we do not have conclusive evidences explaining the “full theory”. In other words, there are “building” and “progressive” evidences towards explaining the theories. If we stick to the definition of true scientific knowledge, these theories are nothing but an ambitious, optimistic and phantasmagoric mental speculative phenomenon cooked up and agreed upon by the highest echelon of the scientific community. We do not disagree that there is no evidence but there is not enough evidence to prove theory into fact. Let us put it this way, the amount of evidence we have for these theories today is not enough to hang a man for murder.

Here is another unsolvable mystery in the field of mathematics. “In the field of mathematics, which underlies all other branches of Science, the imaginary number "i," (the square root of minus one) is essential for most complex theoretical calculations. However this "imaginary" number cannot be proven by experimentation. It is also not possible to prove by experimentation the Third Law of Thermodynamics or Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. Yet these principles are absolutely essential for modern scientific theories” (gosai.com website)”

In the field of statistics, when we sample a population, we “believe” the sample represents the population (there is no definite way to prove that), we “assume” that for a given population distribution with a mean and variance, the sampling distribution with sample size (greater than 30) approaches a normal distribution (even if the population is not normal- in the real world the population is never normal). In other words, as the size of the sample increases, using the normal distribution curve, we can predict the population. This is called the central limit theorem and this is the fundamental concept in the field of statistics. The problem here is our main purpose of statistics is to predict the population (how then would we know its mean and variance), hence for calculating certain important values (such as standard error), we assume the mean and variance of the sample instead of the population mean and variance of the population in the “assumption” that the sampling distribution is a normal curve (normal curve is a curve with equal probabilities underneath the curve).

So we can say with complete confidence that modern science is not scientific after all. In other words, modern science operates on so many premises and assumptions. I will dare say this is true for absolutely all scientific disciplines in modern education. Hence we inexplicably come to the point called “faith”.

I guess my overall point is, if we dig deeper, there is no possible way to conclusively use scientific methods to predict or represent the actual truth. The field of mathematics and statistics is the foundation for all other fields, and both of them have assumptions that can NEVER be verified experimentally. Hence what we have is a set of principles that “closely” (the degree of closeness depends on the interpreter of the data) represents the truth. This is the TRUE science that is out there today. Yet we are ready to bet our lives on these set of loose principles (what we call modern science). We buy medicines thinking it will cure our disease, we get into a car thinking the airbags will protect us in the right time, we hit the brakes thinking the car will stop, we get into an elevator thinking it will go against gravity and take us to the top floor, we flush the toilet thinking our droppings will never be seen again….we believe, believe, and believe that the system will work. We believe the experts using their money, technology and brain power would have created a fool-proof system that “works”. But in reality not everyone is protected by airbags, not everyone is cured from the same pill, and not all toilets flush. Yet, we somehow think the “worse” will not happen to us. Do we ever think why the airbag is not working, why the pill is not working or why the toilet is not flushing…in other words if we are honest, we can get the answer. The science that created this system is not perfect as it is working on its own “belief system” and “assumptions” and since it is humanly impossible to test every product and every experimental subject, we are forced to assume certain things and the whole field of science is running on these “belief systems”. Therefore what we get is a compromised and generalized set of loosely arranged inter-relating “scientific” principles that “closely” represent the actual truth. That is why we have, today, crazy theories such as life coming from chemicals and the universe created by chance, while we all know through “common sense” and daily experience that no life has come from inert chemical and nothing creative can be accidental. If this is not “belief” then what is?

Is there “hard fact” that YOUR car airbag will protect you?


Saturday, August 30, 2008

why blame God?

The scriptures state that this material world is a prison house and that we are souls put here to reform ourselves. The scriptures also talk about a “dhira” - a sober person (person not bewildered).

If we simply seriously take to heart that we are imprisoned in this world and as a result suffering, we will immediately become sober about this place and less enthusiastic about material life as a whole. When we actually deeply realize our conditioned and imprisoned nature, we will no doubt take shelter of Krishna from our heart just to get out of this imprisonment. Yet Krishna is very kind to not reveal the true harshness of material nature (imprisonment) by keeping us in illusion (maya) of so called material happiness (something like anesthesia during an operation that dulls the pain).

Ultimately, we are illusioned not by Krishna’s will but by our will. Why blame God?

Friday, August 29, 2008


Minimalist by definition means to strip down to the fundamental aspects of life. Isn’t this how Krishna Consciousness teaches to live our lives?

Srila Prabhupada often talked about simple living and high thinking. Basically, Krishna Consciousness teaches us to live simple lives yet engage in high thinking. Material consciousness, on the other hand, is exactly the opposite where we are encouraged to live a life in “abundance” (whatever that means) giving no much thought to the consequences of our thoughts and actions. In other words, we are educated to live a life that is just about “us” thus increasing our attraction to the idea of “I” and “mine”. The entire bureaucratic system, religious system, social systems, etc are functioning in this day and age just to fulfill this idea of "abundant" lives.

Srila Prabhupada states in one of his lectures what it means to live a simple life. A simple way of life is a life of minimal usage. In other words, we become “minimalist”. For example, if one can sleep on a floor comfortable without much problem, then a minimalist will gladly sleep on the floor without much fuss. If one can drink water by cupping his palms, then what need is there for an artificial cup? A minimalist will depend less and less on material objects and depend more on nature and nature’s way of giving thus enabling to live a “simple” life. Srila Prabhupada continues that this way of life can create a situation where we can easily elevate our consciousness and depend on Krishna more and finally learning the art of complete surrender. At the end of the day, high thinking simply means, according to Bhagavad Gita, is to surrender unto the Supreme Lord without which we cannot break this cycle of birth and death.

Therefore, Srila Prabhupada exemplified this minimalist lifestyle when he was on this planet. He used the minimum (as much as needed) without wasting even a farthing. Just from an environmental and sustainability standpoint, this is how everyone should live, but Krishna Consciousness teaches us this way of life naturally. The four regulative principles is a minimalist attitude. We do not use our senses unnecessarily for frivolous subject matter such as illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat eating. If we can keep our body and soul without those activities, what then is the need for it? Therefore it is imperative we study the lives of great devotees as to what it means to live a minimalist life. This way we can live simple lives and engage in high thinking.

So….if we have the strength to walk….walk, why an artificial transport? A minimalist, basically, will not unecessarily engage in excess. In other words, will talk, eat, sleep, live as much as needed - minimally!

I guess, this is a minimlaist sloka

vāco vegaḿ manasaḥ krodha-vegaḿ
jihvā-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ
sarvām apīmāḿ pṛthivīḿ sa śiṣyāt

A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind's demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world. - NOI text 1

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Offering to His Divine Grace

namah om vishnupadaya krishnapresthaya bhutale
shrimate bhaktivedanta swamin iti namine

I offer my humble obeisances unto His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krishna on this earth having taken shelter at His lotus feet

Dear Srila Prabhupada

You descended into this world on this very auspicious day on a single mission – to fulfill Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Takur’s order and save the fallen souls such as myself.

There are no words or realizations that can measure the depth of your compassion and mercy on the conditioned souls. When I first came in contact with you through your book, for no apparent reason you showed immense compassion and love to me. I do not know how I will be able to repay your compassion and love.

While the whole world is going on with its own material plans, you showed the world and me how to live an austere yet happy life. How God is not an abstract object but a real person who cares and loves each and every single one of us. We could see God’s love through you and experience God’s love by your caring and loving nature. By your actions, and words you showed the world that being God conscious is the right thing.

Practicing Krishna consciousness in the proper mood of service and humility has been my biggest obstacle, yet you are so kindly tolerating my offensive mentality. In spite of all my short comings, you still engage me somehow in Krishna’s service.

Srila Prabhupada, you have been invisibly guiding me as a father I never had. On this auspicious day of your appearance, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you have given to this world and to me personally. Without you I would be like a lost ship without a compass. Although, I find practicing Krishna consciousness sincerely is a daily struggle, nevertheless, I also know by your grace that this is the right thing to do. Therefore, please engage me in your divine mission of spreading this Sankirtan Movement that Mahaprabhu initiated.

Please forgive me for my offensive mentality at your divine lotus feet.

Thank you so very much for your compassion to the fallen souls of this world. I do not know how to pay you back except to vow to be sincere in my Krishna Consciousness.

Thank you Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant

Friday, August 22, 2008

Prasada delight

South Indian meal with gulab jamun, sweet rice, and mango milk shake for the Lordships.

My wife made New York style bagels for travelling Vaishnavas. It tasted great just as it looks.
Hare Krishna

Monday, August 18, 2008

who is Krishna

I got this in the mail...

Who is Sri Krishna?

Sri Krishna is God - the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This fact is stated and corroborated in the Vedic scriptures and by various authorities. Lord Brahma in Brahma Samhita says, "Krishna who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body.
He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes
" (BS 5.1). In the Bhagavata Purana Krishna becomes the chief object of devotion. After describing various incarnations of the Lord such as Rama, Balarama, Vamana, Nrsimha, and Vishnu, Srila Sukadeva Goswami states, "All of the above mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions
or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Krishna is the original Personality of Godhead
" (SB 1.3.28).

Lord Shiva in Gita Mahatmya, states "Only one God - Krishna, the son of Devaki" (Verse 7). In the Padma Purana it is stated, "By scrutinizingly reviewing all the revealed scriptures and judging them again and again, it is now concluded that Lord Narayana is the Supreme Absolute Truth, and thus He alone should be worshipped". Similarly it is said in the Skanda Purana, "In the material world, which is full of darkness and dangers, combined with birth and death and full of different anxieties, the only way to get out of the great entanglement is to accept loving transcendental devotional service to Lord Vasudeva. This is accepted by all classes of philosophers".

The position of Krishna as God is confirmed by great personalities like Narada, Asita, Devala, Vyasa, Parasara, Brahma and Shiva. Finally Krishna Himself confirms this fact in the Bhagavad-gita to His friend and devotee, Arjuna. He says "I am the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods" (BG 5.29), that "There is no truth superior to Me" (BG 7.7) and - "I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me" (BG 10.8).

What is the position of Krishna?

As God, there is no one equal to or greater than Krishna. He is the original, unborn, eternal person, the most ancient, completely independent, and the cause of all causes. Parasara Muni, the father of Sage Vyasadeva and a great scholar , very nicely defines the position of Bhagavan (God) as one Who is complete in six kinds of opulence namely - wisdom, beauty, fame, power, wealth and renunciation. While there are many great personalities who are very famous or very wealthy, only Sri Krishna as God is replete in all six opulences.

The scriptures not only give us the unique position of Krishna but also give us a detailed description of all His aspects. They tell us that above this temporary material universe is an eternal spiritual world called Vaikuntha . Here Krishna eternally resides, served by Mahalakshmi , the goddesses of fortune.

Krishna has a form just like human but His body is spiritual and thus eternal. His complexion is dark-blue, like that of a rain-filled cloud and His eyes are like lotus petals. He is ever youthful, full of bliss and His beauty excels that of thousands of cupids. He likes to play the flute, He
sports a crown with a peacock feather and He is adorned by the exquisite kastuba jewel.

What is Krishna avatar?

In Chaitanya-charitamrita (2.20.263-264) states that the avatar, or incarnation of Godhead, descends from the kingdom of God for creating and maintaining the material manifestation. And the particular form of the Personality of Godhead who so descends is called an incarnation, or avatar. Such incarnations are situated in the spiritual world, the kingdom of God. When They descend to the material creation, They assume the name avatar.

The Srimad Bhagavatam states that there are countless incarnations just like the waves of the oceans. They fall in various categories like lila (pastime), yuga (period of yuga), manavantara (period of Manu), purusa (Vishnu expansions) and shaktivesa (empowered). These avatars perform various pastimes based on the time, place and circumstances, but their purpose is always the same - "to attract the conditioned souls back to their eternal spiritual abode".

The incarnations emanate from Vishnu. Maha-Vishnu is the original cause of all material creation and from Him Garbhodakashai-Vishnu expands and then Ksirodakasayi-Vishnu. Generally all incarnations appearing within the material world are plenary portions of Ksirodakasayi-Vishnu (also known as Hari).

However only once in a day of Lord Brahma (which lasts for 4.32 billion of earth years), does Mahavishnu descend in His original form as Krishna, as the avataree, the cause of all avartars. When Krishna appears all the incarnations join with Him. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the complete whole and all the plenary portions and incarnations always live with Him. So when Krishna appeared, He was Lord Vishnu Himself . While Krishna enjoyed His pastimes in Vrindavan, the killing of the demons was actually carried out as Vishnu. Since Krishna eternally resides in Vrindavan, when He left Vrindavan at the age of ten, it was His Vasudeva expansion that actually left.

Appearance of Krishna

In the era of the Svayambhuva Manu, prajapati Sutapa and his wife Prsni were instructed by Lord Brahma to have progeny. They performed severe austerities for twelve thousand years of the devatas to have Lord Vishnu as their child. Pleased by their austerities the Lord appeared and granted them this benediction. Since He gave them this benediction three times, in Satya-yuga He first appeared as the son of Prsni and Sutapa and was called Prsnigarba. In Treta-yuga they were Aditi and Kasyapa Muni and the Lord appeared as Vamana . Finally in the Dvapara yuga, Vishnu in His original form, appeared as Krishna to become the child of Devaki and asudeva.

Krishna appeared specifically on the request of Bhudevi, the presiding deity of the Earth planet. Distressed by the burden of many demons who had appeared as powerful Kshatriyas and were ruling the planet impiously, she assumed the form of a cow and pleaded to Lord Brahma for help. Lord Brahma with all the devatas prayed to Lord Vishnu in Svetadvipa by chanting the Purusa-sukta prayers. At this time the Supreme Lord informed Brahma that in order to establish religiosity and destroy evil, He would soon appear as His original Self. In the meantime the various devatas were instructed to take birth in various families in the Yadu dynasty and prepare for the appearance of the Supreme God.

Lifeline of Sri Krishna

Historically, Lord Krishna appeared in the Dvapara yuga, on the midnight of the 8th day of the dark half of the month of Sravan. This corresponds to July 19th in the year 3228 BC. He exhibited His pastimes for a little over 125 years and disappeared on February 18th 3102 BC on the new moon night of Phalgun. His departure marks the beginning of the current age of corruption known as Kali-yuga.

The great scholar Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti neatly outlines Lord Krishna's activities in this way. He was born in Mathura in the prison cell of Kamsa and carried to Gokul. The first three years and four months were spent in Gokula, then equal lengths of time in Vrindavan and Nandagram. At the age of eleven He left Vrindavan for Mathura where He lived for eighteen
years and four months, and finally ninety-six years and eight months in Dvaraka totaling about 125 years of manifest pastimes. At the time of Mahabharata, when Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-gita, He was about ninety years of age.

Pastimes of Krishna

The tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam describes the activities and transcendental pastimes of Sri Krishna. They are also described in the epic Mahabharata, specially in the Bhishma parva which also contains the Bhagavad-gita . The pastimes of Krishna appeal to the liberated souls, those that are trying to get liberated and also to the gross materialists.

The pastimes of Sri Krishna, known as Krishna-katha fall into two categories. Words spoken by Krishna, as the Bhagavad-gita and words spoken about Krishna, as in the Srimad Bhagavatam . Souls in the liberated stage derive great pleasure in relishing anything and everything related to
Krishna. For those that are trying to be liberated, Krishna-katha makes their path of liberation very clear. By studying the Gita one becomes fully conscious of the position of Sri Krishna ; and when one is situated at the lotus feet of the Lord, he understands the narration's of Krishna as
described in the Srimad Bhagavatam.

Even the gross materialists are attracted by the pleasure pastimes of Krishna with the Gopis and His wives. Even though the loving affairs of Krishna have nothing to do with the gross, mundane sex affairs, they attract the people engrossed in sense-gratification and gradually elevate them to higher levels of spirituality.

Causeless mercy of Krishna

Even though Krishna is completely self sufficient and self satisfied, He descends for the benefit of all the conditioned souls. His most endearing quality is that of "bhakta vatsala". His pure devotees are always trying to please Him, and He is always trying to please His devotees. Just as He lives in the heart of His devotees, His devotees constantly reside in Him.

Krishna is so merciful that He not only helps His devotees, but also those who are loved by His devotees. Krishna destroys evil by providing them with an opportunity to take up devotion.

On the greatly auspicious day of Krishna-Janamashtami, let us all pray to Sri Krishna for a drop of His causeless mercy, for only that alone is sufficient to take us out from this material word, back home, back to Godhead.

All glories to the appearance day of Lord Krishna ! All glories to Sri Krishna and His devotees !!!

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

initiation ceremony

This is not my initiation ceremony! This is my bother's day.

He lives in Scotland and got initiated last weekend by H.H.Jayapataka Swami Maharaj. Above you can see some pictures next to his Guru. He was elated and excited about his day. I hope you he fulfills his Guru's wishes.

His name is Achyuta Rupa Das and His wife's name is Ragavalli Devi Dasi.

All glories to the new initiates.
All glories to Maharaj!

Hare Krishna

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Terminal Restlessness

A story we should take seriously - Hare Krishna

Dear Prabhus,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! Please read this. Its a great example of what Srila Prabhupada was trying to save us from. Amazing stuff.
Hari Sauri Das

The Yamadutas at the Time of Death (Terminal Restlessness)
By Subhangi Devi Dasi

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupad! All glories to all of the Vaishnavas, especially the preachers who are saving the world from hell! All glories to your service!

Have you ever heard of terminal restlessness? Probably not, unless you are a doctor or a nurse. But although the name is new, the condition is described in Srimad Bhagavatam. Srila Prabhupada says:

"And similarly, miserable condition of death. When one is lying in coma, so many sufferings is going on, so many dreaming, the Yamaduta is coming. Sometimes the man on the deathbed cries, he's so much suffering but there is no remedy. Everyone is helpless. So that is the miserable condition of death..." Srila Prabhupada, Gorakhpur Feb 18, 1971

I will tell you how I found out about it, and this story is a classic example of the dreadful reality faced by all the suffering souls of this material world. It also shows clearly what Srila Prabhupada has saved us from and why we should feel eternally indebted to him.

It all started when I received a phone call from my parents saying that Dad was sick with cancer. I believe in omens, and my right eye started twitching profusely, so I knew that the outcome wouldn't be good. That was in the beginning of November.

But Dad was optimistic. He was sure he could overcome everything, as he had always been the controller in every situation and had faced many trials in life and overcome them all. Until now he seemed to be a lucky guy, enjoying good facilities and good karma in every respect. Little did he know that his good karma had come to a grinding halt. If Krsna wants to save you no one can kill you, but if Krsna wants to kill you no one can save you.

Dad had prostate cancer, and it had spread into his bones. He was having chemotherapy, but it failed twice. I rang one day, and he literally wept. "I'm dying," he said.

I felt compassion for him. He was helpless in the hands of cruel fate. I tried to help. "Well don't worry," I said. "There is reincarnation. You will be okay. Just pray. God is kind."

But it was little comfort to someone who was bewildered and didn't know God.

After that I felt that I was somehow connected to his suffering. I could feel all of his fear and anxiety. I would pray all the time. I didn't want to experience any of it, but I guess I was karmically connected to him, so there was no escape no matter how far away I was. The physical suffering was nothing compared to the mental torture he was experiencing. He became humble, and I dropped everything a couple of times and flew from Vrindavan, India to be with him.

In the past he had never wanted to hear anything about Krishna, so I had given up trying years ago. We never discussed the subject. I would just feed him prasad (he loved my cooking) and talk about other things. I had Vrindavan dust with me and some Yamuna water mixed with Ganga. There were also some small Jagannatha Deities. I deposited all these things in the house, hoping they would have an effect and using them whenever possible, in Dad's food and so on.

I kept praying and hoping that somehow I could convince him about Krishna before he died. He was so bewildered and humbled by his lack of control over the situation that he was willing to listen to some degree. He was clutching at straws.

I read him some Bhagavad Gita, and he said that it was comforting. I also read to him from Coming Back. He liked that because the idea of reincarnation was something positive to look for in the future, and he was desperate for that. I saw in there the chapter about Ajamila and felt I should read it to him, but thought maybe it was too much to thrust upon him. Besides, I was there, and because I was chanting everything it would be okay, or so I thought.

I really believed you could just chant Hare Krishna and all bad things would go away. I guess this is a superficial and neophyte viewpoint. The material world is such a heavy place, and with my great ego I, was overestimating my own purity. I realized later that I'm really not even a devotee. If you are incapable of saving yourself, how can you possibly save anyone else?

I had to fly back to Vrindavan several times, as I had family and business commitments, but the whole time I could feel him pulling me. I had zero mental peace during this time. I think he really wanted me there and was emotionally dependant on me, as I was the only one offering any tangible solutions.

People are basically not sympathetic either, and he needed a lot of understanding. I am not good at handling suffering, so this was difficult to bear seeing someone you care for suffering so much anxiety. I left my Jagannatha Deities there and asked them to forgive any offense but to please protect my father while I went back to India on business just for a couple of weeks.

Then my mother rang. She was at her wits' end. "Please come," she said. "He is in hospital now, and we need you here." I jumped on the first flight, and as soon as I arrived, I moved into the hospital with Dad. It was incredible how Krishna seemed to arrange it. They gave us a private room and let me sleep there and care for him. Nobody questioned my authority, and my mother just backed off and let me do anything. She is a Roman Catholic and doesn't usually allow me to speak about Krishna.

I realized that the karmis are so far into denial that they try to avoid the reality of death as much as possible, so it was a way out for her if I took the burden. She could go home and pretend nothing was happening, yet still know that Dad was being taken care of by me. Or maybe deep down she also felt desperate for his spiritual welfare, and I was the best solution they had. I'm not really sure. Once it all goes beyond their material perception and control, they become completely bewildered. I only know that I was able to fully take over the care of my father. Many people must suffer and die alone in hospitals going through what I am about to tell...

I slept next to Dad and tended to his every need. I managed to get Tulasi beads on him, which one demoniac nurse kept taking off. I got mental about it. Oh no, I thought, he is so sinful, he can't wear Tulasi. Then I just got in this mindset that I was going to be aggressive and keep those beads on him no matter what. She would take them off, and I would just smile sweetly and put them right back on.

I read some Bhagavad Gita to him. He didn't eat at all for the twelve days leading up to his death. For eight of those days he had only Ganga and Yamuna water and nothing else. I controlled everything that went into his mouth. I even started sprinkling Vrindavan dust in his water as well.

Toward the end, he was on another level, not of this world. He seemed to be perceiving things that other people couldn't. For example, every night I would put on a Shiva T-Shirt to wear to bed. There was a large picture of Lord Shiva on the front of it. My habit was to wait till he was asleep and in a subtle manner, sprinkle a little bit of Vrindavan dust on his head in case he died while I was asleep.

One night I had just sprinkled the dust, and he sprang up with a wide-eyed look of amazement. "Oh, you're all surrounded by dust," he said.

Another night, in the same way, he sprang awake and looked at my Lord Shiva shirt. "Careful!" he said. "There's fire coming out of your shirt." The day before he died, he said there were big dogs in the room and an ugly person floating outside the window.

The evening before his death he began to feel disturbed. "Untie my legs," he was saying to I don't know whom, and he was visibly distressed. My mother and my daughter decided to stay overnight at the hospital, which they didn't normally do. I drifted off to sleep and so did Mum.

At about 9.30 pm my daughter woke me up. "Mum," she said, "come quickly! Something's happening to Grand-dad."

I raced over to the bed and Dad was moaning. "Please, please," he was saying, "I beg you, let me loose, please let me loose." His tone was humble and terrified, and his eyes were lowered. He was to say these words many, many times over the next six hours. He was trying to jump off the bed and hide under his pillow. You have to understand that he was skin and bones. He couldn't even urinate without help, and here he was suddenly trying to get up and run off.

He was thrashing around like a mad man. This is really inauspicious, I thought. I grabbed him by the shoulders. "Dad," I said, "what's happening? You okay?"

He was terrified. "Oh Sue," he cried out, "I tried to get away, I really did, but they got me." His voice went up to a shout. "She's got me!" he yelled out.

At that time I should have realized what was happening, but the fact that he said, "She's got me" put me off, and somehow I got covered over, and for the next six hours I just tried to comfort him.

He cried out again and again. "Oh, for God's sake," he would shout, "just let me rest, just ten minutes. Please, I beg you." His tone of voice was terrified and all the while humble and begging. I would chant and he would relax a little. Then a nurse would come and distract me, and he would start again, thrashing and begging.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

He seemed exasperated. "I'm trying to tell you," he said, "but I just can't."

Then at 3 am it suddenly dawned on me that the Yamadutas (messengers of death) had him. It was so obvious, and I felt so foolish for not realizing it until now. I turned to my 13-year-old daughter and told her I thought the Yamadutas had him.

"Yes," she said. "I know. I woke you up because I saw three of them floating above his bed, and he was covering and looking up."

She had actually seen them. She described later how they looked, with boar-like tusks coming upward out of their mouths and glaring eyes. She had thought they were some kind of ghosts trying to steal his soul from his body. Of course, by Krishna's arrangement, my mother was sleeping, oblivious the whole time.

What to do? I thought. I started to pray to Krishna: "Oh, please let him go, Krishna." I was begging.

Then Supersoul would answer. "Why?" He would say. "He will only offend again."

Then I was really upset. I started praying to Yamaraja" "Please, Yamaraja..." And all the while, I was chanting. I told Dad I was sorry I hadn't realized sooner that they had hold of him. He nodded, traumatized. His whole death experience was hellish. I'm sorry that any souls have to experience such a thing and understand now why Srila Prabhupad felt such urgency to save everyone.

"Dad," I said, "do you want me to hold you and chant?" "Yes, yes," he said. "Have they still got you?" "No, they let me go."

Then I held him tight for the next three hours, and he slowly gave up his life, through his mouth, peacefully with me chanting right in his ear and dripping Ganga and Yamuna water into his mouth. I stayed fully focused on chanting very close to his ear until he breathed his last, at 6 am. He went straight out of his mouth and his eyes just closed.

Poor him! Cruel, cruel, hellish material world! It had been only seven months from the start of his illness, and the seventy-one-year story of his life was forcibly ended.

While he would be thrashing and crying out "Let me loose!" I'd ask the nurses what was happening.

"Oh, it's normal," they'd say. "He's just fighting it, and it happens to everyone. There's even a term for it. It's called terminal restlessness. And they give nurses' seminars about how to deal with it."

Well I've got news for you, folks. It's actually terminal Yamadutaness. Of course they are advised to just pump them full of morphine and ignore all their ramblings.

Another thing is that no one is meant to know about it. It was purely Krishna's mercy that we were able to realize it, and even then I almost missed it. For six hours I was confused and yet Dad was telling me quite clearly and begging for help, so some sort of maya is covering the whole thing and people aren't aware of it. Only the person who is going through it knows.

Mention is made of the dogs. A devotee told me afterwards that they were reading Yamaraja scriptures, which give detailed descriptions, and it is said that the hounds of hell come ahead several days before and sniff out where the rascals are dying.

There was also the fact that he said, "She's got me." Apparently the Yamadutas have their own society with wives, kids and everything. Since they are also living entities in this material world, they are born into that society.

I don't usually put pen to paper, as I don't feel at all qualified to do so, but mother Radha Kunda Devi Dasi encouraged me and said that this experience should be shared with all the devotees. So please excuse my shortcomings. I am not very philosophical or academic. Here are some of Srila Prabhupada's comments on the subject:

"To see the Yamadutas, or the carriers of order of Yamaraja, superintendent of death, to see face to face... At the time of death, when one very sinful man is dying, he sees the Yamaraja or the order carriers of Yamaraja. They are very fierce looking. Sometimes the man on the deathbed becomes very much fearful, cries, 'Save me, save me.'" Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, Denver, July 2, 1975

"But you take this mission and go everywhere, in every corner. I am thankful to you. You are already doing that, in Europe and America, [people are] deep asleep. Because people are sleeping under misguidance, and they are becoming candidate for being carried away by the Yamaduta. This is the position of the whole world, Yamaduta. Yamaduta will not excuse you, however you may be very proud of becoming independent. This is not possible. To save the human civilization, the rascal civilization, that 'There is no life after death, and you go on enjoying as much as you like,' this wrong civilization is [a] killing civilization. So you save them. You save them. Otherwise the Yamaduta is there." Vrindavan, September 5, 1975

"This man was like this, and he must be carried to Yamaraja for punishment..." Why punishment? No, to make him purified, it is said, 'Punishment required.' This is nature's law. Just like if you have infected some disease, the punishment is you must suffer for it. The punishment is good. If you have infected some disease, and when you suffer, that means you become purified from the disease. Suffering is not bad, to become purified. Therefore when a devotee suffers, he does not take it ill. He thinks that, 'I am being purified. I am being purified.'" Vrindavan, September 5, 1975

So I suppose that even though Dad had Tulasi beads on, he was a good man by ordinary standards, but he liked to hunt, and he had been a drinker, womanizer, and cow eater. And even though he had had all facilities for the last 28 years, he didn't surrender to Krishna. Even at the time of death, he didn't seem able to think of Krishna as the solution to his woes.

Srila Prabhupad sums it up in the purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 6.2.49: "At the time of death one is certainly bewildered because his bodily functions are in disorder. At that time, even one who throughout his life has practiced chanting the holy name of the Lord may not be able to chant the Hare Krsna mantra very distinctly. Nevertheless, such a person receives all the benefits of chanting the holy name. While the body is fit therefore, why should we not chant the holy name of the Lord loudly and distinctly? If one does so, it is quite possible that even at the time of death he will be properly able to chant the holy name of the Lord with love and faith."

Purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 6.2.15:
"Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail. If one practices chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, he is naturally expected to chant Hare Krsna when he meets with some accident. Even without such practice, however, if one somehow or other chants the holy name of the Lord (Hare Krsna) when he meets with an accident and dies, he will be saved from hellish life after death. One is immediately absolved from having to enter hellish life, even though he is sinful."

In the purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 6.2.7:
"The Yamadutas had considered only the external situation of Ajamila. Since he was extremely sinful throughout his life, they thought he should be taken to Yamaraja and did not know that he had become free from the reactions of all his sins. The Visnudutas therefore instructed that because he had chanted the four syllables of the name Narayana at the time of his death, he was freed from all sinful reactions."

In the same purport, Srila Prabhupada quotes the following verses:
"Simply by chanting one holy name of Hari, a sinful man can counteract the reactions to more sins than he is able to commit." Brhad-Visnu Purana

"If one chants the holy name of the Lord, even in a helpless condition or without desiring to do so, all the reactions of his sinful life depart, just as when a lion roars, all the small animals flee in fear." Garuda Purana

"By once chanting the holy name of the Lord, which consists of the two syllables ha-ri, one guarantees his path to liberation." Skanda Purana

I can only hope and pray that somehow my father had a small thought of Krishna because of my feeble efforts and the causeless mercy of Guru and Gauranga.

Anyway, I would like the feedback of all the devotees. Do others have similar experiences to tell? What do you all think about this topic?

Please all of you Vaishnavas pray for my father that he may have an opportunity to serve Krishna. I was thinking myself to be the big hero, going to save my father, only to find that I'm just a big bag of hot air zero. I am such a fallen rascal that I couldn't help him in his hour of need, and I hope this story helps others to advance their efforts in Krishna consciousness so that we can all help Srila Prabhupada in his mission to relieve all the sufferings of the fallen conditioned souls.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada, savior of the whole world!
Your fallen servant, Subhangi Devi Dasi

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Adi Shankara's stand

Sri Adi Shankaracharya who propounded the Advaita philosophy his whole life echoed the instructions of Lord Krishna's in his Gita Mahatmya (glorification of the Gita). Therein he states:

ekam shastram devaki-putra-gitam
eko devo devaki-putra eva
eko mantras tasya namani yani
karmapy ekam tasya devasya seva

Let there be one scripture, the Gita spoken by Lord Krishna; let there be one deva, the son of Devaki; let there be one mantra, the name of Lord Krishna; and let there be one work, service to Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Bhajagovindam from Adi Shankaracharya

Bhagavath Gita Kinchita Theertha
Ganga Jalalapi Kanika Peetha
Sakruthapi Yena Murari Samaracha
Kriyathe Thasyaya Menana Charcha!
Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam Govindam Bhaja Moodamathe!

To one who has studied the Bhagavad Gita even a little, who has sipped at least a drop of Ganges-water, who has worshipped at least one Lord Muraari, to him there is no quarrel with Yama, the Lord of Death.

Although his philosophy is one of covered atheism, he glorifies Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that it is the prime duty of every individual being to take up bhaki to Krishna. So he sings Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam three times just to show it as truth beyond any grain of doubt. Therefore chanting Krishna's Holy names (Hare Krishna maha mantra) is the essence of the entire Vedas and its conclusions (Vedanta).

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Personalism vs Impersonalism

Below is a question & answer between an impersonalist and a personalist (H.G.Sankarshan Das Adhikari prabhu). Awesome answer- Thank you.


Hari Om,
It was really funny to read your answer. With due respect I beg to differ. Two days back also I wrote about this. I will be repeating this since I am quoting straight from scriptures. There is no difference between Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu or Lord Brahma. None of them are demigods the way you have written. They are the symbolic representation of one truth, one reality Brahman. Everything in this world are HIS manifestations. In Hinduism people think there are millions of gods. Those who have studied some Puranas know that there is ONLY ONE God. But those who have studied scriptures-- Vedas and Upanishads go one step further and would say there is ONLY GOD nothing else.

So everything we perceive are His expression only. Since Vedas and Upanishads are the valid means of authority and Bhagavad-gita is in essence Upanishads only, so it is wrong to say in any other way. Since you believe in Lord Krishna, HE is Supreme. I believe in Brahman and so to me Lord Ganesh, or Lord Shiva or Lord Krishna are one and the same and are supreme. So please don't send wrong message through your answer. It is very painful. Pranams.


From: Bhaktivedanta Ashram--Austin, Texas USA

Please accept my blessings.

With all due respect to your good self, we beg to poignantly point out the discrepancies in your philosophical arguments.

You have stated that it is funny to read our answer, but we see how funny your statements are because while you claim to be quoting from scriptures, you do not give even one sastric reference. We back up our statements with direct sastric quotes, while you merely express your opinion. So it is quite funny that you would find our answer funny. This means you are finding the sastras to be funny. Actually to ignore the sastras and give more importance to mental concoction, as you are doing, is not funny; it is sad because the mental speculator remains entangled in the cycle of repeated birth and death.

Your first point is that there is no difference between Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu because they are all nothing more than symbolic representations of the one reality, Brahman.

Here you are denying the existence of personality. If even these greatest personalities of the universe have no separate personal existence, this means that none of us have any separate personal existence. This would mean that everything is simply one. But if it were in fact all one, how can you disagree with us? If it were all one, you would be forced by the absolute oneness of things to agree with everything that we say. The fact that you disagree with us immediately negates your argument of undifferentiated oneness.

Plus, if there were no difference between Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu, we would not find the following statement in the Rig Veda:

oṁ tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ sadā paśyanti sūrayaḥ

"The demigods are always looking to that supreme abode of Vishnu."
--Rig Veda 1.22.20

If the demigods and Vishnu were one and the same, the Rig Veda would not make this distinction.

You also state that none of them are demigods. This is also not a fact. Of course, that Vishnu is not a demigod is confirmed in the above verse because His abode is described as the supreme abode. But that Shiva and Brahma are demigods is confirmed in the following verse from the Varaha Purana:

nārāyaṇaḥ paro devas
tasmāj jātaś caturmukhaḥ
tasmād rudro 'bhavad devaḥ
sa ca sarva-jñatāṁ gataḥ

"Narayana is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and from Him Brahma was born, from whom Shiva was born."

That Krishna (the original form of Vishnu or Narayana) is the Supreme Lord is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (10.8) where the Lord says:

ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ

"I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts."

Here is a correct description of the Supreme Lord, given by the Lord Himself. The words sarvasya pra-bhavaḥ indicate that Krishna is the creator of everyone, including Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. And because these three principal deities of the material world are created by the Lord, the Lord is the creator of all that exists in the material and spiritual worlds.

In the Atharva Veda (Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad 1.24) it is similarly said:

"He who existed before the creation of Brahmā and who enlightened Brahmā with Vedic knowledge is Lord Śrī Krishna."

Similarly, the Nārāyaṇa Upaniṣad (1) states:

"Then the Supreme Person, Nārāyaṇa, desired to create all living beings. Thus from Nārāyaṇa, Brahmā was born. Nārāyaṇa created all the Prajāpatis. Nārāyaṇa created Indra. Nārāyaṇa created the eight Vasus. Nārāyaṇa created the eleven Rudras. Nārāyaṇa created the twelve Ādityas."

Since Nārāyaṇa is a plenary manifestation of Lord Krishna, Nārāyaṇa and Krishna are one and the same. The Nārāyaṇa Upaniṣad (4) also states:

"Devakī's son [Krishna] is the Supreme Lord."

The identity of Narayana with the supreme cause has also been accepted and confirmed by Śrīpāda Śankarācārya, even though Śankara does not belong to the Vaiṣṇava, or personalist, school.

The Atharva Veda (Mahā Upaniṣad 1) also states:

"Only Nārāyaṇa existed in the beginning, when neither Brahmā, nor Shiva, nor fire, nor water, nor stars, nor sun, nor moon existed. The Lord does not remain alone but creates as He desires."

You mention that Brahman is the one truth, the one reality and that everything in this world are HIS manifestations. You are telling us that persons are not really real, that they are just symbolic representations of Brahman. If you are quoting from scriptures as you say you are, where are the verses to back up your points? You have not produced them. In discussions of Absolute Truth we must quote the authoritative references. Otherwise if I simply give my opinion and you give your opinion, the debate with go on endlessly without any conclusion.

We must understand what is the Brahman from the authoritative scriptures, not from mental speculation. Brahman is described in the revealed scriptures as the transcendental effulgence emanating from the body of Lord Sri Krishna. In the Bhagavad-gita Sri Krishna states:

brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham

"I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman."
--Bhagavad-gita 14.27

And in the Brahma Samhita, Lord Brahma states:

yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi-
koṭiṣv aśeṣa-vasudhādi vibhūti-bhinnam
tad brahma niṣkalam anantam aśeṣa-bhūtaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

"I worship Govinda (Krishna), the primeval Lord, whose effulgence is the source of the nondifferentiated Brahman mentioned in the Upanishads, being differentiated from the infinity of glories of the mundane universe appears as the indivisible, infinite, limitless, truth."
--Brahma-samhita 5.40

You are correct in stating that there is only one God. But when say that only God exists and nothing else, you are quite wrong. The eternal individual of God and the living entities is confirmed by Lord Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita as follows:

na tv evāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ
na tvaṁ neme janādhipāḥ
na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ
sarve vayam ataḥ param

"Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be."
--Bhagavad-gita 2.12

You have stated, "Since Vedas and Upanishads are the valid means of authority and Bhagavad-gita Gita is in essence Upanishads only, so it is wrong to say in any other way."

But where is the proof? How can the Bhagavad-gita not be authoritative when it is accepted by all the great sages of India, even Shankaracharya, the founder of the impersonalist school? You may disagree with all the great Vedic authorities, that is your prerogative. But that does not mean that we are going to be misguided by such foolish speculations.

You mention, "Since you believe in Lord Krishna HE is Supreme. I believe in Brahman and so to me Lord Ganesh, or Lord Shiva or Lord Krishna are one and the same and are supreme.. So please don't send wrong message through your answer. It is very painful."

You may speaking on the platform of your belief, but we do not speak on such a platform. We are speaking from the solid ground of Vedic authority. To say that all the gods are one and the same, that they are all supreme is not a fact as confirmed by the many authoritative verses quoted above. Besides that, if all gods were the supreme, there would then be no Supreme God. Supreme means one without a second. Just like for example, how many supreme courts are there in India? There can only be one. Otherwise, if there more than one, it is not the supreme court. To say that everything is the supreme is a round about way of saying there is no supreme. In other words, it is simply covered atheism.

The fact that is that all different branches of Vedic wisdom are authoritative because they are all coming from Krishna as confirmed here:

vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham

"By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedānta, and I am the knower of the Vedas."
--Bhagavad-gita 15.15

We are sorry that you are feeling pained by the Vedic conclusion. But still it our duty to present as it is. It may not be pleasant when the doctor tell us that we have a serious disease, but it is his duty to honestly inform us. So in this well-wishing mood of sincere service we are informing you that you been misguided by impersonalist philosophy which emphasizes the impersonal nature of God over the personal nature of God.

In the final analysis, we can see that God is both personal and impersonal, but that His original personal nature is more important than His impersonal aspect. Actually it is a matter of common sense. We always see that personality predominates over impersonality. For example, how many persons do we know who are impersonal? There are many. And how many impersons do we know who are personal? None. Therefore God must ultimately be a person Who also has an impersonal aspect, not an imperson Who has a personal aspect.

I hope that this clarifies in your mind what is the ultimate Vedic conclusion and that this meets you in the best of health and in an ecstatic mood.

Always your well-wisher,
Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Monday, August 4, 2008

spark of Krishna's splendor

Anyone who has doubts about the Supremacy of Lord Krishna can clear their doubts by reading his opulances below. These opulances are but a fragment of His splendor.

I am the taste of water,
the light of the sun and the moon,
the syllable oḿ in the Vedic mantras;
the sound in ether
ability in man
original fragrance of the earth,
the heat in fire.
the life of all that lives,
the penances of all ascetics
the original seed of all existences,
the intelligence of the intelligent,
the prowess of all powerful men
strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire.
sex life which is not contrary to religious principles
the Supersoul seated in the hearts of all living entities.
the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings.
of the Ādityas I am Viṣṇu,
of lights I am the radiant sun,
of the Maruts I am Marīci,
among the stars I am the moon.
of the Vedas I am the Sāma Veda
of the demigods I am Indra, the king of heaven
of the senses I am the mind;
in living beings I am the living force [consciousness].
of all the Rudras I am Lord Śiva,
of the Yakṣas and Rākṣasas I am the Lord of wealth [Kuvera],
of the Vasus I am fire [Agni],
of mountains I am Meru.
of priests, know Me to be the chief, Bṛhaspati.
of generals I am Kārtikeya,
of bodies of water I am the ocean.
of the great sages I am Bhṛgu;
of vibrations I am the transcendental oḿ.
of sacrifices I am the chanting of the holy names [japa],
of immovable things I am the Himālayas.
of all trees I am the banyan tree
of the sages among the demigods I am Nārada.
of the Gandharvas I am Citraratha,
among perfected beings I am the sage Kapila.
of horses know Me to be Uccaiḥśravā,
of lordly elephants I am Airāvata,
among men I am the monarch.
of weapons I am the thunderbolt;
among cows I am the surabhi.
of causes for procreation I am Kandarpa, the god of love,
of serpents I am Vāsuki.
of the many-hooded Nāgas I am Ananta,
among the aquatics I am the demigod Varuṇa.
of departed ancestors I am Aryamā,
among the dispensers of law I am Yama, the lord of death.
among the Daitya demons I am the devoted Prahlāda,
among subduers I am time,
among beasts I am the lion,
among birds I am Garuḍa.
of purifiers I am the wind,
of the wielders of weapons I am Rāma,
of fishes I am the shark,
of flowing rivers I am the Ganges.
of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle,
of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the self,
among logicians I am the conclusive truth.
of letters I am the letter A,
among compound words I am the dual compound.
I am also inexhaustible time,
of creators I am Brahmā.
I am all-devouring death,
I am the generating principle of all that is yet to be.
Among women I am fame, fortune, fine speech, memory, intelligence, steadfastness and patience.
of the hymns in the Sāma Veda I am the Bṛhat-sāma,
of poetry I am the Gāyatrī.
of months I am Mārgaśīrṣa [November-December]
of seasons I am flower-bearing spring.
I am also the gambling of cheats
of the splendid I am the splendor.
I am victory,
I am adventure,
I am the strength of the strong.
of the descendants of Vṛṣṇi I am Vāsudeva,
of the Pāṇḍavas I am Arjuna.
of the sages I am Vyāsa,
among great thinkers I am Uśanā.
Among all means of suppressing lawlessness I am punishment,
of those who seek victory I am morality.
of secret things I am silence
of the wise I am the wisdom.
I am the generating seed of all existences.
There is no being — moving or nonmoving — that can exist without Me.

BG 7.8-11; BG 10.20-39

O mighty conqueror of enemies, there is no end to My divine manifestations. What I have spoken to you is but a mere indication of My infinite opulences. Know that all opulent, beautiful and glorious creations spring from but a spark of My splendor. But what need is there, Arjuna, for all this detailed knowledge? With a single fragment of Myself I pervade and support this entire universe. BG 10.40-42

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Turkish delight - Bakalava

Growing up in Kuwait, I used to relish this sweet authentically made in Turkish stores. So I thought of imitating it by making this Turkish Delight for our Lord Jagannath and company. My wife said it came out very nice and I second her decision. This sweet is very simple and worth taking the time to do!

Below is the recipe I used.

450g (1 pound) filo pastry (about 30 sheets)
250g (9 ounces) unsalted butter melted
250g (9 ounces) finely chopped walnuts (or almonds, pistachios or a combination)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) cinnamon powder
1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar

1.25 cups (310 ml) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) water
2 tablespoons (40 ml) lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) honey
1 tablespoon (20 ml) orange-blossom water (available at middle-eastern grocers)

1. Butter a 28cm x 18cm (11inch x 7inch) tin. If necessary, cut the pastry the size of the tin. Place one sheet of pastry on the bottom of the tin and butter it with a pastry brush. Repeat for 1/2 the pastry sheets (about 15).
2. Combine the nuts, cinnamon, and sugar and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top layer of buttered filo pastry. Continue layering the remaining pastry on top of the nut mixture, again brushing each layer of pastry with melted butter.
3. After the final layer of pastry is placed on top, brush it with butter. Carefully cut the tray of pastry into diagonal diamond shapes with a sharp knife, cutting directly to the base. Bake in a moderate oven (180 deg C / 355 deg F) for about 45 minutes or until the top is crisp and golden.
4. While pastry is baking, combine sugar, water, and lemon juice in a pan, stir over low heat to dissolve the sugar, and then boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the honey, stir to dissolve, and add the orange-blossom water. Pour the hot syrup over the cooked baklava. Let set for at least 2 hours, or for best results leave overnight for the syrup to be fully absorbed.

Hare Krishna

Friday, August 1, 2008