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

Friday, October 31, 2008

Yoda Gita



Do or do not... there is no try

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering


For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship


Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealously. The shadow of greed, that is

A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless

Luke: I can’t believe it.
Yoda: that is why you fail

Remember, a Jedi's strength flows from the Force. But beware. Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side are they.

May the Force be with you

Ohhh. Great warrior.Wars not make one great.

Foreplay, cuddling - a Jedi craves not these things

Who's your Jedi master? WHO'S your Jedi Master?

Yoda is teaching us freedom from anger, pride, greed, lust, and fear (fear of death). Similarly, Lord Sri Krishna teaches Arjuna "Being purified by his intelligence and controlling the mind with determination, giving up the objects of sense gratification, being freed from attachment and hatred, one who lives in a secluded place, who eats little, who controls his body, mind and power of speech, who is always in trance and who is detached, free from false ego, false strength, false pride, lust, anger, and acceptance of material things, free from false proprietorship, and peaceful — such a person is certainly elevated to the position of self-realization" (BG 51-53)

Not only this, but Krishna goes on to say "Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear" (BG 66).

Our force is Lord Krishna and our Jedi master is Srila Prabhupada who is teaching us this eternal science

So tell me…what are the chances that a Hare Krishna can make a good Jedi?

Hare Krishna

Duty of every Indian


One of the Indian guests had a question.
"Prabhupada, you are giving a very simple process. Why there are no Indians coming? They are exposed to Krsna from their birth, still they are not interested. Nobody wants to listen."

Srila Prabhupada answered as he had in Toronto.
"Because they have become bada-sahib. Especially in the foreign countries, they become bada-sahib. So that is the misfortune of India. They are giving up their culture and being misguided. So if they actually feel that they must maintain their own culture, then it is not difficult. It is the duty of every Indian, as Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that. If that mentality is developed, that, 'In India we were born, we have got the greatest culture, recognized by all the world. So I must make my life successful by taking this culture and distribute it to the whole world.' That is real Indian culture."

He told his guest that they are thinking themselves poverty stricken, but it is only because they have given up their own culture. "Otherwise, there is no question of poverty stricken. So anyway this is Caitanya Mahaprabhu's message, that every Indian should take advantage of the great culture, Vedic culture, and make his life successful. And after acquiring mature knowledge he should distribute the knowledge throughout the whole world."

In reply to the man's inquiry as to how to get them interested, Srila Prabhupada repeated, "By preaching. If you preach, then you'll meet with so many obstacles, and you have to prepare yourself how to meet the obstacles. Then you become strong preacher. Resistance. There is no difficulty, but if there is difficulty, atheist class of men, and it is very difficult, so take innocent, those who are actually eager to know. Everyone should be inquisitive to know about the Absolute Truth, Brahman, but education is different nowadays. People are interested with hammer, how to play on hammer, that's all, technology. There is no question of Brahman. Let Brahman go to hell, now take out the hammer. That Russian emblem, hammer and scythe? That's all."

Hare Krishna

Prostitutes!


I thought this was interesting!

vāramukhyāś ca śataśo
yānais tad-darśanotsukāḥ
lasat-kuṇḍala-nirbhāta-
kapola-vadana-śriyaḥ
SB 1.11.19

Translation

At the same time, many hundreds of well-known prostitutes began to proceed on various vehicles. They were all very eager to meet the Lord, and their beautiful faces were decorated with dazzling earrings, which enhanced the beauty of their foreheads.

Purport

We may not hate even the prostitutes if they are devotees of the Lord. Even to date there are many prostitutes in great cities of India who are sincere devotees of the Lord. By tricks of chance one may be obliged to adopt a profession which is not very adorable in society, but that does not hamper one in executing devotional service to the Lord. Devotional service to the Lord is uncheckable in all circumstances. It is understood herewith that even in those days, about five thousand years ago, there were prostitutes in a city like Dvārakā, where Lord Kṛṣṇa resided. This means that prostitutes are necessary citizens for the proper upkeep of society. The government opens wine shops, but this does not mean that the government encourages the drinking of wine. The idea is that there is a class of men who will drink at any cost, and it has been experienced that prohibition in great cities encouraged illicit smuggling of wine. Similarly, men who are not satisfied at home require such concessions, and if there is no prostitute, then such low men will induce others into prostitution. It is better that prostitutes be available in the marketplace so that the sanctity of society can be maintained. It is better to maintain a class of prostitutes than to encourage prostitutes within society. The real reformation is to enlighten all people to become devotees of the Lord, and that will check all kinds of deteriorating factors of life.


Hare Krishna

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cybernetic consciousness

Today…our consciousness and intuition is tuned more to suit machines. We can relate more with machines than humans. On average everyday, we associate more with computers, television, cars, video games, cell phones, black berry’s, automated gadgets used in kitchens etc more than we associate with humans. The more we are tuning our frequency to machine language, the more we become like machines. We will forget how to talk, laugh and interact at the fundamental level. We will sleep, eat and take a break when the machine requires one. Our sentiments and emotions will become duller and less interactive. Ultimately, we will negate the concept of “personal” relationships and live in a fantasy world driven by fictional characters we see on TV, computers and video games. People who choose to believe a higher power will conveniently accept the impersonal philosophy because it will dovetail with their impersonal lives devoid of meaningful relationships.

We can see this today very much in big cities and corporate settings. People rarely speak with anyone on the street. They live in closed apartments and residences. Drive in isolated cars and sit in cubicles in front of computers. Their recreation would be most likely hiking in the mountains or viewing the scenic landscape or visiting the popular downtown building. Which ever way, people will be more comfortable to be among themselves and within themselves rarely bothering about the person standing next to him or her. In other words, we will turn into self-engrossed walking zombies who can careless about the external world. Our thoughts, views and priorities will be shaped by an unknown, impersonal editor or news anchor or author. We will trust a random website versus a real person. Our information will filter to us solely through an impersonal virtual medium of which we will be very comfortable. Our world will become like of one of those futuristic movies filled with robots except that human beings will become robotized.

Science and technology increases this cybernetic consciousness by isolating humans giving them a false sense of independency and security thus alleviating the need to associate and seek relationship with people. This impersonlistic tendency will only lead to an atheistic lifestyle entirely negating the concept of a Personal God. If the scientists do not intentionally take into account the socio-cultural impact of modern machines (that come in varying forms and fields), then we will have to deal with a generation that can rarely communicate let alone make decisions in a common table for the benefit of others.

This Krishna Consciousness movement teaches every human being on how to be “human” and that we are more than just a complex biological machine. The only way we can survive the onslaught of this socio-cultural mechanization is when we learn the fundamental functions of life – the science of the soul, supersoul and matter.

It is time we learn this eternal science!

Hare Krishna

The Dating Clock


Here is a critique of carbon dating. He is a Christian and perhaps his religion influenced his writings. I am not for or against his stand on carbon dating. I posted it just so you know carbon dating perhaps is not an absolute science (duh…). Perhaps some of you esteemed readers may find his points to be objective and true from a scientific perspective…or perhaps not! Either way…his views gives one more dimension to modern scientific analysis and methods. Hare Krishna

Much of the controversy between evolutionists and creationists concerns the age of the earth and its fossils. Evolution, depending as it does on pure chance, requires an immense amount of time to stumble upon anything remotely approaching the complexity we see in even the simplest living things. For over 100 years, geologists have attempted to devise methods for determining the age of the earth that would be consistent with evolutionary dogma. At the time Darwin's On the Origin of Species was published the earth was "scientifically" determined to be 100 million years old. By 1932, it was found to be 1.6 billion years old. In 1947, geologists firmly established that the earth was 3.4 billion years old. Finally in 1976, they discovered that the earth is "really" 4.6 billion years old. These dates indicate that for 100 years, the age of the earth doubled every 20 years. If this trend were to continue, the earth would be 700 thousand-trillion-trillion-trillion years old by the year 4000 AD. This "prediction," however, is based on selected data and certain assumptions that might not be true. As we will see, selected data and unprovable assumptions are a problem with all methods for determining the age of the earth, as well as for dating its fossils and rocks. It has all become something of a "dating game" in which only the evolutionarily-correct are allowed to play.

The most widely-used method for determining the age of fossils is to date them by the "known age" of the rock strata in which they are found. On the other hand, the most widely-used method for determining the age of the rock strata is to date them by the "known age" of the fossils they contain. This is an outrageous case of circular reasoning, and geologists are well aware of the problem. J.E. O'Rourke, for example, concedes:

"The intelligent layman has long suspected circular reasoning in the use of rocks to date fossils and fossils to date rocks. The geologist has never bothered to think of a good reply, feeling the explanations are not worth the trouble as long as the work brings results" (American Journal of Science, 1976, 276:51).

In this "circular dating" method, all ages are based on evolutionary assumptions about the date and order in which fossilized plants and animals are believed to have evolved.
Most people are surprised to learn that there is, in fact, no way to directly determine the age of any fossil or rock. The so called "absolute" methods of dating (radiometric methods) actually only measure the present ratios of radioactive isotopes and their decay products in suitable specimens -- not their age. These measured ratios are then extrapolated to an "age" determination. This extrapolation is based on the fact that an unstable (radioactive) chemical element, called the parent isotope, breaks down at a presently known rate to form a more stable daughter isotope. In the case of radiocarbon dating, an unstable isotope of carbon (C14) decays into nitrogen (N14). This currently occurs at a rate which would be expected to reduce the quantity of the parent C14 by half every 5,730 years (the half-life). In other words, the less of the parent isotope (and the more of the daughter isotope) we measure in a specimen, the older we assume it to be.

Radiocarbon dating is actually of little use to evolutionists. There are several reasons for this. First, no rocks and very few fossils contain measurable quantities of carbon of any kind. Second, because of the short half-life of C14, the radiocarbon method can only date specimens up to about 40,000 years of age. Essentially nothing of evolutionary significance is believed to have occurred in this "short" time frame. The most commonly used radiometric methods for "dating" geological specimens are potassium-argon, uranium-thorium-lead, and strontium-rubidium. All three of these decay processes have half-lives measured in billions of years. None of these methods can be used on fossils or the sedimentary rock in which fossils are found. All radiometric dating (with the exception of carbon dating) must be done on igneous rocks (rocks solidified from a molten state such as lava). These radiometric "clocks" begin keeping time when the molten rock solidifies. Since fossils are never found in igneous rocks, one can only date lava flows that are occasionally found between layers of sedimentary rock.

The problem with all radiometric "clocks" is that their accuracy critically depends on several starting assumptions which are largely unknowable. To date a specimen by radiometric means, one must first know the starting amount of the parent isotope at the beginning of the specimen's existence. Second, one must be certain that there were no daughter isotopes in the beginning. Third, one must be certain that neither parent nor daughter isotopes have ever been added or removed from the specimen. And fourth, one must be certain that the decay rate of parent isotope to daughter isotope has always been the same. That one or more of these assumptions are often invalid is obvious from the published radiometric "dates" (to say nothing of unpublished dates) found in the literature.

One of the most obvious problems is that several samples from the same location often give widely-divergent ages. Apollo moon samples, for example, were dated by both uranium-thorium-lead and potassium-argon methods, giving results which varied from 2 million to 28 billion years. Lava flows from volcanoes on the north rim of the Grand Canyon (which erupted after its formation) show potassium-argon dates a billion years "older" than the most ancient basement rocks at the bottom of the canyon. Lava from underwater volcanoes near Hawaii (that are known to have erupted in 1801 AD) have been "dated" by the potassium-argon method with results varying from 160 million to nearly 3 billion years. No wonder the laboratories that "date" rocks insist on knowing in advance the "evolutionary age" of the strata from which the samples were taken -- this way, they know which dates to accept as "reasonable" and which to ignore. Of one thing you may be sure: whenever "absolute" radiometric dates are in substantial disagreement with evolutionary assumptions about the age of associated fossils, the fossils always prevail.

As far as the plausibility of evolution is concerned, it really doesn't make any difference if the earth is 10 billion years old or 10 thousand years old. Indeed, if the whole of evolution were reduced to nothing more than the chance production of a single copy of any one biologically useful protein, there would be insufficient time and material in the known universe to make this even remotely likely. Time by itself simply does not make the hopeless evolutionary scenario of chance and natural selection more reasonable. Imagine if a child were to claim that he alone could build a Boeing 747 airplane from raw material in 10 seconds, and another were to claim he could do it in 10 days. Would we consider the later less foolish then the former, simply because he proposed spending nearly a million times more time at the task? Our Creator tells that "the fool has said in his heart, there is no God."

Originally published in St. Louis MetroVoice, August 1994, Vol. 4, No. 8

By Dr. David N Menton.Phd in Biology from Brown University

Friday, October 24, 2008

H.H.Jayapataka Swami Maharaj



Maharaj holding H.H.Radhanath Swami.

As we all know by now, H.H.Jayapataka Swami Maharaj is admitted in Intensive Care in Mumbai. He is in critical condition and we have to wait further news.

I pray to the Almighty Krishna to give maharaj more time on this planet to associate with his beloved disciples and god brothers and inspire all of us in our practice of Krishna Consciousness. Personally, I feel difficulty and pain to see such a great devotee leave the planet so soon. I sincerely hope it does not happen soon.

My first acquaintance with Maharaj was in 1999 in Chennai ISKCON where I specially attended his class on a week day. The attendance was slim and I was eager to meet one of Srila Prabhupada’s intimate disciples. It was a small class and very distinctly remember Maharaj’s advice on how to chant properly. Many of the disciples from Chennai are disciples of Maharaj. In fact, in 2000, I was encouraged to take initiation from Maharaj and I rejected saying I wasn’t ready for it yet.

After that, it was in June 2008 during the 24 hour Kirtan festival that I met him. He was completely different from how I remembered him to be. I found maharaj to be very jovial and actually funny. He was very jolly to be with…and I am sure many of his disciples will love his company.

I pray to Krishna that He allows Maharaj to live on this planet for some more time and encourage us more in Krishna Consciousness.

For updates on his health, please visit http://www.dandavats.com/

H.H.Jayapataka Swami Maharaj ki jay!
Srila Prabhupada ki Jay!
Sri Sri Gaura Nitai ki Jay!
Sri Sri Radha Krishna ki Jay!

Hare Krishna

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ritvik-vada


I was listening to Srila Prabhupada’s lecture and some part of the lecture, he talked about guru tattva. I normally do not dwell in Ritvik V non-Ritivik debate simply because I am not so qualified to talk philosophy and also I do not intend to unnecessarily waste my time on Ritivik vada. I know after Srila Prabhupada’s departure there has been so much confusion on guruship within ISKCON and is existing till today. Many sincere devotees left ISKCON for various reasons, some of which perhaps touch the issue of guruship and ritivkvada.

Anyways, I transcribed a small portion of Srila Prabhupada’s lecture word to word and as a reader, one can make his or her conclusions. As for me, it is very clear the desire of our Founder Acharya. A self-realized soul is perfect because he is completely fixed in Brahman (brahmanishtam). Therefore, his knowledge on the self, supersoul, and material nature per the teachings of previous acharyas is faultless. This also includes the concept of guru tattva. Srila Prabhupada gave this lecture in 1975 and to think he could give a completely opposite instruction two years later seems improbable. In my opinion, I think the instruction is very clear that one should accept a guru in order to understand the higher truth and that Srila Prabhupada wanted everyone to take the role of guru and preach the message of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Please read the small portion of the lecture I transcribed word to word. The lecture was given on December 21 1975 on Bhagavad Gita Chapter seven Text one.

If we follow the instruction of Bhagavad Gita and Krishna, then all problems will be solved. It is not a sectarian religious sentimental fanaticism, it is not that, it is a science, social science, political science, cultural science, everything is there. So our request is that every one of you become a guru. That is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s order. He wants that everyone must become a guru. How…that He says “amara ajnaya guru hana tara ei desa yare dekha, tare kaha, krsna upadesa”. This is guru, suppose your family members, so many living entities, your sons, your daughters, daughter in law, children, you can become their guru. Exactly like this you can sit down in the evening and talk about Bhagavad Gita yare dekha, tare kaha, krsna upadesa. You haven’t got to manufacture something. The instruction is there you simply repeat and let them hear, you become guru. It is not difficult at all, that is our preaching. We do not want to become alone guru but we want to preach in such a way that every chief man or any man, he can become guru and his surrounding, anyone can do that, even a kooli, he can also, he has got family, he has got friends so even though he is illiterate he can hear the instruction of Krishna and he can preach the same. This we want and we will invite all respectable gentleman, leaders to learn this. It is very simple….so our only request is the leaders of the society should take up the teachings of Bhagavad Gita very seriously, learn himself, and teach to others. That is Krishna Consciousness movement
Hare Krishna

Hare Krishnas rule!


The more I am living in this country, the more I am realizing that majority of the people have a spiritual yearning that they seem to fulfill in different places. People are attracted to their own or some popular versions of spirituality and fulfill their spiritual yearning. In other words, people can see that science is not able to answer all problems of life and hence they repose their residual (whatever science cannot answer) values on philosophy, religion or other esoteric concepts to complete their concept of life. Some, however, can careless and blindly adhere to science and technology and just live on the golden motto “we will solve the problems in the near future”. So the two broad categories of people either seek out spiritual values or repose them in popular concepts of religion, peace and love and the remaining just blindly follow modern science. Both groups have one thing in common…. both repose their faith (blindly) in different areas just to fulfill one ideal – that is – to enjoy the body, mind and intellect (sense gratification as we call it). This is the sole purpose of their lives. With this fundamental understanding, they select their avenues that best suit their nature to fulfill their base needs. From this root cause (sense gratification) sprout myriad departments of science, religion, spirituality and philosophy.

We can put all these in one big box and equate it with the Krishna Consciousness philosophy which fundamentally starts from a different place – that is – renunciation of sense gratification. We have to be careful because there are subtle differences in this one because even Buddhists and Mayavadis practice renunciation of sense gratification but they renounce to enjoy at the end. We as Vaishnavas, adherents of Krishna, renounce to please Krishna. We do not renounce to enjoy at the end, but renounce to please Krishna and in that pleasing we gain pleasure. So our fundamental derivation of pleasure is by seeing Krishna happy and people who fit in the other big box ultimately derive pleasure immediately or belatedly by making them selves happy.

So…yes, everyone is seeking pleasure (anandamayo 'byasat) but our pleasure is higher simply because we seek pleasure in Krishna’s pleasure who is unending (ananta), eternal (nitya) and supremely blissful (Ananda). Is there any pleasure that is unending, eternal and supremely blissful? Every other pleasure in comparison is puny and meaningless.

Even in sense gratification…the Hare Krishnas rule!

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I see no difference

Questions to Jesus

Matthew 22:35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.

Questions to Suta Goswami

There are many varieties of scriptures, and in all of them there are many prescribed duties, which can be learned only after many years of study in their various divisions. Therefore, O sage, please select the essence of all these scriptures and explain it for the good of all living beings, that by such instruction their hearts may be fully satisfied - SB 1.1.11

The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self - SB 1.2.6

Chant Hare Krishna and fulfill the greatest commandment and the supreme dharma!

Hare Krishna

Monday, October 20, 2008

Think Big!


There is so much talk and debate about Obama V Mc Cain. Who will be the next president? Will the next president have a positive impact on the economy, war etc etc. Seriously…I think the debate should be over Temporary V Eternal. If we can provoke the intelligence of people that there is actually life after death…then all these temporary issues will seem temporary and we will start to take due notice of the bigger picture and mould our current lives to fit that bigger picture.

Think big!

Hare Krishna

Friday, October 17, 2008

Triumphing over Death:Chant Hare Krishna


On Time
by John Milton

Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace;
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more than what is false and vain,
And merely mortal dross;
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain.
For when as each thing bad thou hast entombed,
And last of all thy greedy self consumed,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss,
And Joy shall overtake us as a flood;
When every thing that is sincerely good
And perfectly divine,
With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shine
About the supreme throne
Of Him, t' whose happy-making sight alone
When once our heav'nly-guided soul shall climb,
Then, all this earthly grossness quit,
Attired with stars, we shall for ever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, O Time.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

sum-substance of materialistic attitude


"They (material minded people) don't want to worship anyone; they want to worship their senses. That's all. Sense gratification. What is dictated by the senses, they agree to worship. Servant of the senses. In the material world nobody worships nobody; everyone serves his own senses. 'I like it.' That's all. There is a Bengali song, 'If it satisfies my eyes, why shall I not see? I shall see.' This is the sum-substance. If the senses want 'do this,' he will do it. And our Movement is that we shall not hear the dictation of the senses; we shall do what Krsna says. That is just opposite. So long I am carrying out the orders of the senses, then I am involved in this material birth, death, transmigration." - Srila Prabhupada

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Labeling



The propensity to label. In the material world, we label everything. Friend, enemy, good, bad, beautiful, gay, black, white etc etc. Of course…how else can we distinguish matter and material qualities? Therefore, labeling in itself is not bad or unfavorable. While trying to explain a phenomenon, we need to clearly define and part of defining; we label things, objects, people and everything under the sun. Because of this conditioning of labeling people, we create prototypes in our own mind and evaluate an object, thing or people based on that labeled prototype.

Politicians win lots of votes merely by labeling people. One politician will say “we are against gay marriage”. The other may say “we are against racism” etc etc. When people use such labels on other people, the subject becomes superficial. For example, when we say “against gay marriage”, what is it that we are talking about?
  • Is it that we are against two individuals (male or female) of the same species getting together…then it would be just a matter of liberty and free will? or
  • Is it that we are against the sacred concept of marriage that God intended marriage to be between man and woman? or
  • Is it that we are against illicit sexual relationships between people that it will defile the sacredness of marriage?

So, when someone uses the label “gay marriage”, it can be anyone of the above three points or a combination of all. The point is the listener will support or reject the idea of gay marriage based on how he or she defines the label “gay marriage” and depending on the conditioning of the audience, time and circumstance; this label will be defined in multifarious ways. The same can be argued in the aspect of religion. No one clearly knows what religion means yet we charade in public as if we know exactly what we talk. This is one reason why people are against spiritual knowledge because “religion” has a negative label in the community. It is considered dogmatic, archaic and less sophisticated.

Therefore, although labeling is necessary without which one cannot communicate efficiently, however, today labeling is the primary cause of miscommunication. If we have to cross this deep material conditioning of mental archetypes that come via labeling, then we should cultivate the qualities of tolerance and open mindedness. Not the type of tolerance where “everything is right and everything is ok”…but where we are informed of the eternal nature of things, and beings. When we are informed of our eternal nature, then everything we label will be connected to our eternal nature versus relative nature.

As part of our eternal nature, we should seek the essence of the thing or being and not get stuck in the external properties that define the object or being. Therefore, gay marriage or heterosexual marriage, or anything in between, what we care is the essence and that is the concept of illicit sexual relation.

Therefore, labeling people and judging them in accordance to our knowledge of the label is a sign of material conditioning. As devotees of the lord, we should not get caught up in the external qualities of a person (as that is influenced by time and matter) but see the eternal essence in the person and that the eternal essence emanates from the Absolute essence.

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Reality check


WASHINGTON: Multiple gunshots echoed in the upscale home of an Indian family in a quiet, gated, suburban Los Angeles community last weekend, echoing the troubled times in America.

When police turned up Monday morning after calls from a concerned neighbor waiting for a carpool ride, they found body of 45-year old Karthik Rajaram, an unemployed financial advisor, lying in one room with a handgun he had used to shoot himself dead.

With him lay his two youngest sons Arjuna (7) and Ganesha (12), both shot dead. In different rooms across the house they found the bodies of Karthik’s wife Subasri (39), his mother-in-law Indra Ramasesham (69), and his eldest son Krishna (19). They all appeared to have been shot to death by Karthik Rajaram.

Police also found two suicide notes and a will left behind by Rajaram. In them, he spoke of his financial difficulties and took responsibility for killing his family members, police said.

"This is a perfect American family behind me that has absolutely been destroyed," LAPD Deputy Chief Michel Moore told reporters. "It is critical to step up and recognize we are in some pretty troubled times."

Rajaram had an MBA in finance, and formerly worked for PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Sony Pictures, but had been unemployed for several months, according to local media reports citing authorities.

Investigators also determined that he was at least the part-owner of a financial holding company, SKGL LLC, which was incorporated in Nevada, ostensibly to hold his family assets.

The family appears to have been well-off at one time. According to the Los Angeles Times, they sold their home in Northridge in 2006 for $750,000, making a sizable profit on a home they purchased in 1997 for $274,000. They had also taken out two loans for $241,400. The family did not own the current home, which was rented.

The incident sent shock waves through neighborhood, the larger Indian community and American financial world on a day the monetary world saw yet another bloodbath. Indians are widely known and recognized as the most successful ethnic community in the U.S with the highest per capita income among all segments of the population, including Whites.

But the country is now starting to hear of many hard luck stories, including among Indians, although nothing like this. And not in the City of Angels, far removed from the frenzied financial world of New York.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Rajaram’s extreme action stemmed from the ongoing economic turmoil, but even the police, unusually, referred to the troubled times. And as the story burnt the wires, the online community debated the incident heatedly.

"All the talk of bailouts for these big financial companies take the front page on all the papers, but the impact of the economic crisis on individuals is sometimes overlooked. This is a sad and tragic reminder of how quickly people can spiral into a horrible place," one blogger lamented.

Neighbors said the Rajarams were a quiet, decent family who pretty much kept to themselves and did not socialize much. The eldest son Krishna, a Fullbright scholar, appeared to be visiting home and the parents seemed to have given up their master bedroom for him, police said.

Local school authorities said the two younger kids were also extremely bright and the parents had been very much involved in their education. The family did not appear to be particularly troubled.

According to the police, there was no evidence that Rajaram had sought help from mental health professionals. However, the context of the letters and the fact Rajaram had purchased the handgun as recently as September 16 indicated that his actions were "premeditated," they said.

"He had become despondent over his financial situation," Deputy Chief Moore related. In one of his letters, he talked of two options: taking his own life or taking his own life and that of his family. "He talked himself into the second strategy," Moore said.

One of the neighbors reported that Rajaram had spoken to her twice in the last two weeks asking whether she would be home this past weekend. He urged her to keep her side windows shut because he had heard of burglaries in the area. He seemed nervous -- shaking, pacing and taking notes on a notepad as he spoke to her, she told the LA Times.

She surmised after the bloody massacre that he was trying to have her close her windows so that she wouldn't hear anything.

Apparently, no one did, because it was not until Monday when another neighbor rang the Rajarams' bell to remind Subasri about the carpool ride did the tragic incident come to light. – courtesy:
www.Timesofindia.com

Although this is an extreme case, nevertheless the norm is people are in anxiety everyday just to survive. Why no one questions this anxiety is bewildering. Perhaps, the alternate scenario for the family is they may have lived a happy successful life in suburban Los Angeles. But really, is that success? Instead of dying now, they would have died sometime later. Either way, death is for sure. Why then do we not question the forceful nature of death upon us? The answer is our deep conditioning of definition of life. From the day we are born to the day we get old, we are taught to be somebody in the eyes of the world. So we are running behind this “somebody” which is “nobody” and we never stop to think “why am I running?” and “what am I running for?” Really…if we are little honest about the world around us, and use little common sense (no need PhDs)…we can save ourselves lot of pain.

If the story of this family is anything to learn, people (especially material minded people)…wake up! And question the reality we are put in…it is not pretty and it is time we find an exit strategy!

Hare Krishna