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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

illicit and illegal 'ex continued

In my previous post, I copied and pasted the purport to SB 3.30.28. There Prabhupada defines and reveals his mood on the concept of illegal and illicit sex. Please see that post if you dont understand what I am saying.

I would like to add some more of my thoughts from this purport. Here is the purport again.

Materialistic life is based on sex life. The existence of all the materialistic people, who are undergoing severe tribulation in the struggle for existence, is based on sex. Therefore, in the Vedic civilization sex life is allowed only in a restricted way; it is for the married couple AND ONLY for begetting children. But when sex life is indulged in for sense gratification illegally and illicitly, both the man and the woman await severe punishment in this world or after death. In this world also they are punished by virulent diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea, and in the next life, as we see in this passage of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, they are put into different kinds of hellish conditions to suffer. In Bhagavad-gītā, First Chapter, illicit sex life is also very much condemned, and it is said that one who produces children by illicit sex life is sent to hell. It is confirmed here in the Bhāgavatam that such offenders are put into hellish conditions of life in Tāmisra, Andha-tāmisra and Raurava. - SB 3.30.28

If we further read, following illegal and illicit we get further insights into the mood of the author. He says "punished by virulent diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea". This statement is followed after defining illicit and illegal sex. Syphillis and gonorrhea are two types of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) apart from herpes, chlamydia and AIDS to name a few. STDs occur when a person has sex with multiple partners at mulitple times without restrictions.

The mood of the author is clear on sex in that he does not want us to have sex enough to suffer from STDs. Surely having regulated sex life with the spouse is much better than unrestricted sex with anyone.

I think that sex inside marriage but for gratification is much better than sex with anyone anytime. Even within marriage, if sex is conducted on a regulated fashion is much better than unrestricted sex within marriage. However, if one wants to cultivate pure love for Godhead, that standard, then, is sex within marriage and only for procreation purposes better yet is complete celibacy.

The author clearly starts from a pure standard and continues to immesurable suffering in the form of syphilis and gonorrhea. Not everyone who has sex ends up with syphilis and gonorrhea. Therefore from a Krishna Con standpoint, the mood of a spiritual aspirant should be towards the end of restricted sex to having children eventually leading to celibacy versus the other way. This is the essence I take from this purport.

Hare Krishna

illegal and illicit 'ex

Now...I dont mean to beat a dead horse or revive a sensitive subject matter. However, I thought these words are very pertinent to our previous discussion on illicit sex.

So here is the paste. In this purport, Prabhupada clearly uses the conjunction "and" and not "or" which means we have to satusfy both conditions for the function to be true. This purport is from SB 3.30.28. This is the entire purport for the text.

Materialistic life is based on sex life. The existence of all the materialistic people, who are undergoing severe tribulation in the struggle for existence, is based on sex. Therefore, in the Vedic civilization sex life is allowed only in a restricted way; it is for the married couple AND ONLY for begetting children. But when sex life is indulged in for sense gratification illegally and illicitly, both the man and the woman await severe punishment in this world or after death. In this world also they are punished by virulent diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea, and in the next life, as we see in this passage of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, they are put into different kinds of hellish conditions to suffer. In Bhagavad-gītā, First Chapter, illicit sex life is also very much condemned, and it is said that one who produces children by illicit sex life is sent to hell. It is confirmed here in the Bhāgavatam that such offenders are put into hellish conditions of life in Tāmisra, Andha-tāmisra and Raurava. - SB 3.30.28

So by using the conjunction "AND" and adverb "ONLY"...Prabhupada is clearly and categorically defining the criteria for what is considered licit sex. According to vedic civilisation, this is considered restrictive sex life. Now, if sex within marriage and not for procreation is defined licit (from KC standpoint), then Prabhupada does not have to use the word "only" as a stress as an adverb modifying the verb "beget". From the above sentence, the word beget is functional only for children and within marriage. In my opinion, the word "only" clearly reveals Prabhupada's definition of sex life.

To add, interestingly, after the highlighted sentence, Prabhupada follows with two words "illegal" and "illicit". If we study these two words in context to the previous statement, I intepret the words"illegal" as sex not among married couples and "illicit" as sex not for begetting children. If others have other opinions, please feel free to add.

Many times Prabhupada has either used sex within marriage or begetting children separately as definition for licit sex. This is the first time I am seeing both (marriage and children) in the same sentence. So I thought to paste it here.

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pressure rises to stop antibiotics in agriculture

FRANKENSTEIN, Mo. – The mystery started the day farmer Russ Kremer got between a jealous boar and a sow in heat.

The boar gored Kremer in the knee with a razor-sharp tusk. The burly pig farmer shrugged it off, figuring: "You pour the blood out of your boot and go on."

But Kremer's red-hot leg ballooned to double its size. A strep infection spread, threatening his life and baffling doctors. Two months of multiple antibiotics did virtually nothing.

The answer was flowing in the veins of the boar. The animal had been fed low doses of penicillin, spawning a strain of strep that was resistant to other antibiotics. That drug-resistant germ passed to Kremer.

Like Kremer, more and more Americans — many of them living far from barns and pastures — are at risk from the widespread practice of feeding livestock antibiotics. These animals grow faster, but they can also develop drug-resistant infections that are passed on to people. The issue is now gaining attention because of interest from a new White House administration and a flurry of new research tying antibiotic use in animals to drug resistance in people.

Researchers say the overuse of antibiotics in humans and animals has led to a plague of drug-resistant infections that killed more than 65,000 people in the U.S. last year — more than prostate and breast cancer combined. And in a nation that used about 35 million pounds of antibiotics last year, 70 percent of the drugs went to pigs, chickens and cows. Worldwide, it's 50 percent.

"This is a living breathing problem, it's the big bad wolf and it's knocking at our door," said Dr. Vance Fowler, an infectious disease specialist at Duke University. "It's here. It's arrived."

The rise in the use of antibiotics is part of a growing problem of soaring drug resistance worldwide, The Associated Press found in a six-month look at the issue. As a result, killer diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and staph are resurging in new and more deadly forms.

In response, the pressure against the use of antibiotics in agriculture is rising. The World Health Organization concluded this year that surging antibiotic resistance is one of the leading threats to human health, and the White House last month said the problem is "urgent."

"If we're not careful with antibiotics and the programs to administer them, we're going to be in a post antibiotic era," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, who was tapped to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this year.

Also this year, the three federal agencies tasked with protecting public health — the Food and Drug Administration, CDC and U.S. Department of Agriculture — declared drug-resistant diseases stemming from antibiotic use in animals a "serious emerging concern." And FDA deputy commissioner Dr. Joshua Sharfstein told Congress this summer that farmers need to stop feeding antibiotics to healthy farm animals.

Farm groups and pharmaceutical companies argue that drugs keep animals healthy and meat costs low, and have defeated a series of proposed limits on their use.

Read rest of the story here - link

Hare Krishna

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The culture of prescription drugs

Following up on my previous post of eat.sleep.walk. I stressed the necessity of proper living can solve most of our health problems. I also talked about prescription drug abuse. As a disclaimer, I would like to say I am no health nut who is in perfect shape. In fact, I dont follow any strict health regiment. These are just my thoughts on reducing so much difficulty financially and physically if we simply make a mental shift on health.

Currently, at least in the US, people in general are in a grave illusion that prescription drugs actually can eliminate health problems (whatever it may be). In fact, this notion is blatantly supported by the drug companies (obviously) and subtly supported by the medical industries including your neighbor friendly nurse and doctors. The minute you have a doctor's appointment, 9 out of 10 times, you will be asked to take medication. Rarely are patients advised to change their lifestyle habits. Head ache - there is a drug, cough - take a drug, stomach ache - take a drug etc. Because it has become a culture, younger generation think it is normal to drug up for every health blemish. This attitude is dangerous as chemicals are "unnatural" to the otherwise "natural" makeup of the human body.

I can share my own story. Once I was seriously ill I was put on large doses of steroids in relatively short time and my immune system completely shut down. Just one visit to the bathroom, I got urinary-tract infection and was urinating blood (most excruciating pain). Of course, the doctors knew about these side-effects only to be given another set of drugs to counteract the urinary-tract infection. This is a small incident, however. My point is, just as we are mechanizing the planet by man-made materials at the macro-level, we are chemicalizing our body at the micro-level.

Please don't get me wrong, medicine is important but just as anything else, it has to be given in proper amounts depending on individual patients. Today, doctors rarely spend time with patients trying to understand his/her body structure and lifestyle behavior. This time spent by the doctors is absolutely crucial to understand how much drug to administer and what, to a patient. If I remember correct (please correct me if I am wrong), there was a time when the doctor actually wrote down the actual formula of chemicals to make the drug and hand that medical prescription to the chemist. The chemist seeing the hand written formula of chemicals of the doctor made the exact amount with the exact dose suiting the need for an individual patient. In other words, the drug was especially customised for the patient. Therefore the position of the doctor and the chemist was very highly placed in society. Today doctors just recommend brands of drugs as they are tested by drug companies based on statistical research. This generalization assumes the bodies of all human beings are same, their lifestyle habits/culture is standard and ultimately the drug will react exactly the same on everyone. If there is an anomaly, another drug is prescribed and so the cycle continues till there is relief. As a result of this two things happen; over-dosage and addiction. Over dosage does not necessarily mean death but can also lead to chemical dependancy. The chemicals eventualy store up in the fine tissues of the body eventually causing long term irreversible damage. Today, I have cataract in both my eyes as a result of a treatement I took 10 years before and I am only 34.

Today, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (US government's National Center for disease control and prevention called CDC), more than 50% of Americans use at least one prescription drug. Most of them are related to obesity (cholesterol), diabetes, depression and heart disease. If we analyse the average American lifestyle, according to Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) a nationally funded CDC project, 55% of adults in the US have had at least one drink of alcohol within the past 30 days in 2007. If one actually studies the average lifestyle, almost most of them drink alcohol. More than 75% of adults in the US (2007) consume fruits and vegetables less than 5 times per day. Obviously, most of them consume meat. Infact, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, on average, every American consumes 222 lbs of meat (chicken, turkey, veal, lamb, beef, and pork) per year. This data is for 2007. This number has increased from 144 lbs per person per year in 1950 to 222 in 2007. An increase of 55%. Plus if we take into account the aspect of sedantary lifestyle (no physical activity), we end up with a rather obese population. Yes, according to 2007 BRFSS National data, approximately 2 out of every 3 American is either obese or overweight (technically definitions of obese and overweight are slightly different).

In spite of the glaring facts, neither the doctors nor the drug companies promote peventive measures such as healthy eating and lifestyle. I think the Obama administration spoke about preventive health care as better health care than access to health care. This destructive eating and living habits by common man has forced him/her to seek the "magic pill" only to increase and increasingly depend on the consumption of drugs to solve all sorts of minor/major health problems. Hence, today, I am convinced that prescription drugs causes more side-effects and harm to the human body than its original intent. Hence the only solution is to alter one's eating, sleeping and walking habits thus maintaining a vibrant and health lifestyle.

Ultimately, if we think about it, the choice is ours. The only way we will be motivated to go away from a glutonous lifestyle is if we understand there is a higher purpose than merely fulfilling bodily demands. In other words, I am not against fulfilling bodily demands. But when fulfilling bodily demand is made the goal of human life, then the tendancy is why not fulfill it in the best possible way...hence the unrestricted desire to satisfy (aka sense gratification). This mood of unrestricted sense-gratification is reflected in the statistics above. Therefore, the only way to reverse this chronic and dangerous trend is by instilling in people that there is more to life than just eating and sleeping nicely. That knowledge of higher purpose is comprehensively explained in the science of Krishna Consciousness.

By chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, one can invoke that higher purpose thus satisfying all gross and subtle demands. One need not resort to overdose of anything material - be it food or prescription drugs.

Please chant and be happy!

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Eat. Sleep. Walk

In the USA, especially, I have noticed a culture that people “have” to take prescription drugs to solve their health problem. The advertisements on Tv are mostly from the Food and Drug Industry. There are myriad of drugs for headaches to heartburns to improve libido to cancer. People are convinced that by taking these chemicals, they will live healthier and happier. I am surprised at how most of them do not evaluate their own life style such as eating fatty foods and less mobility. We are trained to sit in the house, car, cubicle. Walking has become boredom or recreation. In other words, we either complain that we have to walk two blocks or we walk for recreational/fitness purposes. Walking in itself as a function is losing its value due to alternate modes of transportation. The only walking done today is within rooms or between cubicles.

More and more people care less about living a simple and healthy lifestyle. This concept seems “new age philosophy” something like practicing “yoga”. All we have to do is eat how much ever is necessary and sleep how much ever is necessary. The human body, for the most part, if it has a healthy lifestyle, will heal on its own. Therefore, people are under an illusion thinking that prescription drugs will alleviate their headache or stomachache. Well…perhaps they can care to reduce their coffee intake or eat little enough to propel through the day versus drinking “jugs” of coffee and umpteen sugar intake and what to speak about “pop” soda such as coke and pepsi. Anyways, my point is chemical drugs cause more harm than good. Yes, they can remove the problem temporarily but the permanent fix is only if we change the way we eat, sleep and walk. These are simple things to adapt.

Because of this overall culture of taking drugs to solve problems, we have umpteen cases of overdose. Of course…this issue comes into the limelight when celebrities are involved (ex Michael Jackson and may be Brittany Murphy) . The only way to solve this problem of drug abuse is to fundamentally educate people from very young age on the importance of proper eating, sleeping and walking.

Although this sounds simple, why don’t people see through it? - Because the purpose of human life is sense-gratification. Henceforth, its consequences are not so important. Doctors and drugs are seen as panacea to health problems. Today (just my gut feeling), I think that 95% of the health problems can be solved if we eat, sleep and walk properly and timely.

Hare Krishna

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Pleiadeans

Ever since I was young, I was fascinated by UFOs and ETs. Lately I have been reading the Billy Meier case and his contacts with the Pleiadians. Billy Meier an elderly Swiss farmer came into contact with the Pleiadians as early as 1942. Ever since, there have been numerous contacts and still continuing. Billy has taken numerous photographs and videos on Pleiadian space ships and all we need to do is google it to see the actual pictures. The pictures have been proven authentic through various scientific photograph testing techniques conducted by leading agencies.

Billy has studied under a swami in India also, for some years. The primary purpose as I understand is the contacts are going on to disseminate spiritual information which is fundamentally based on the fact “we are not this body but consciousness”. Sadly, however, the Pleiadians follow Impersonal philosophy. They do not accept a personal God but “creation” as the ultimate source of power and that this “creation - the supreme consciousness” is maintaining and destroying.

Pleiadeans come from a star cluster in the constellation of Taurus approximately 400 light years from earth. They are also known as the “seven sisters”. Anyone who has in- depth knowledge about Vedic astronomy perhaps can see if there is any relation to the “seven sister” Pleiadian star cluster with the “sapta rishi mandalam” (seven sages). Pleiadeans look like human beings who live for 1000 years and are very spiritual in their lifestyle.

As always, I try to see if the truth they speak has basis with Vedic truths. Surprisingly there are many relationships especially on the fundamental point of body and soul. Another stark relationship I discovered was on creation itself. According to Pleiadeans, this is what they have to say about creation

In order for us to perceive how it is possible that we are a part of Creation, we must first understand what Creation is. In the Pleiadian worlds, if you were to attend one of their schools or read their books you would find the following understanding of the concept of Creation. A Universe is a material thing created from an idea of Creation, which is the spiritual energy that contains the intelligence and knowledge to make it. It is necessary for Creation to make a Universe as part of its process of evolution. Our Universe is contained inside of a very large Universe called the Absolutum, by the Pleiadians. It is believed that we share this Absolutum along with 10 to the 49th power (10 with 49 zeros), number of other Universes,. Each one is separated by thick bands of spiritual energy called push belts.

Each Creation has a cycle of life which evolves continually. The current Creation that we live in is believed to be on a cycle of life that will last 311,040,000,000,000 years. We presently are in the 47 trillionth year of that cycle. This has been established through the technology of the Pleiadians by benefit of their ability to travel in time to research the facts. The cycle of the material Universe, is to expand outward and then to contract back into itself. The current cycle of the Creation will last 311 trillion, 40 billion years and then it will sleep an equal amount of time.

There is an original Creation that helps create all other Creations. Once a Creation has finished its cycle and has come back together in perfect harmony, it then creates the spiritual energy (thought) that becomes the next Creation. First, the new Creation is only a thought. It has reason and understanding. It reasons until it has cognition of its next step. Creation is already setting a pattern of spiritual growth through cognition. Creation then creates the space where the new Creation will exist

The age of creation (311.4 trillion years) according to their calculation amazingly matches exactly with the life of Brahma according to Vedic calculations. Also, the concepts of creation are very much in harmony with the concepts of creation as enunciated in the Vedas. Of course, the Vedas are eternal and does not deem mundane comparisons in one sense, but for people who are seeking, it is vital for their faith that through triangulation, we can see that data matches.

The Pleiadians also mention about Jmmanuel or Jesus Christ. They say that Jesus Christ’s real name is Jmmanuel and he was created through a combination of an earth mother and celestial father (some one from another planet, not earth). The Gospel of Talmud of Jmmanuel talks about the full teachings of Jmmanuel (the alleged real Jesus). I read most of it and Jmmanuel is a impersonal grihastha who finally settles in Kashmir. All his teachings echo our version of Impersonalism. Although Jmmaneul does not explicitly talk about maya, he stresses on the concepts of consciousness separate from bodily wants and that the goal of humans is to revive their pure spiritual consciousness.

Interestingly, the Talmud says that it is not Judas Iscariot who betrays Jmmanuel (Jesus) but someone from the Temple who has a similar name. In fact, Judas is one of the most faithful of the 12 apostles and actually meets Jmmanuel later in India. Later, the loyal Judas return west and pens the Talmud of Jmmanueal in Aramaic and hides it in secret location only to be revealed later to Billy through his ET contacts.

Back to the story, after crucifixion, Jmmanuel eventually goes to Kashmir, India. His mother Mary accompanies Jmmanuel in his journey to the east but dies on the way. Jmmanuel marries his wife Mary Magdalene and have children. Today, there is a tomb in Kashmir of Jmmanuel. In fact, Jmmanuel goes to Purushottam dham Jagannath Puri, visits Lord Jagannath. It is said he stayed there for 6 months.

Anyways…anyone who is interested in this can google some key words and surely you will have plenty of interesting information.

Hare Krishna

Thursday, December 10, 2009

sex within marriage = sex for procreation

Whenever I found time, I sparingly read GK das’s post on the subject matter of illicit sex. Below are my thoughts.

In India, at least where I grew up, one can find remnants of Vedic culture prominent even today in small towns and villages. What to speak of 60-70 years before; before the advent of globalization and technology. It was very much old school traditional lifestyle. So in India, when people marry, husband and wife had sex for children and not otherwise. In other words, the common practice, there was no question of contraceptives (any family planning methods), although, currently things are changing due to birth control measures adopted by the government. But generally, the culture was that people married and sex was common for ONLY begetting children.

Sex outside of marriage was considered a social stigma unless one pays a prostitute but not in the traditional sense. Boys and girls were never allowed to mix freely and this was the case for me also when growing up. One can say there were lots of restrictions for boys and girls to mix freely in public as it is practiced in western culture generally. The trend, although, is changing due to influx of cable and internet.

Therefore, when a reference is made by Srila Prabhupada to sex outside of marriage, it is spontaneously considered illicit but when a reference is made to sex inside of marriage, it spontaneously means to beget a child (b'cos the idea of contraceptives were not common). Therefore when Prabhupada refers to illicit sex such as the conversation with the reporter, he defines illicit sex as sex outside of marriage and does not mention about procreation. However, the concept of procreation is implicit when he mentions sex within marriage because culturally speaking; there was no question of contraceptives especially if one grew up in India in the early and mid 1900s. Of course, there are always anomalies…but by and large the generation that belonged to my grandparents never contemplated the use of contraceptives. Sex within marriage and sex for procreation were not two different things but meant the same thing for people from that time period and from India.

So whenever SP says sex within marriage or sex only for procreation actually means the same thing because sex within marriage in those days were meant only for procreation and never considered otherwise. There was never a need to explicitly state “for procreation” for all one needed to know is if one is married or not. That is why the average household size of a normal Indian family in the early and middle 1900s were 4 or 5 at least and people lived in “joint family” system which currently the system is completely gone. The only way one could maintain such big families is if one lived within a joint family system. Due to socio-economic reasons this concept has been completely eroded and hence families want to have sex but not children hence the idea of contraceptives became popular. With this shift in culture, all of a sudden a refinement in the definition of illicit sex is necessary. If it was in a joint family system, uncle, aunt, grandparents all will take care of the child while the biological parent can spend time otherwise.

My mother’s family I think is a family of 6 children and my father is 4. Families with 8 or 10 children were considered very common in India during the British Raj. Why this big size…that is because contraceptives were never used among married couples and hence the idea of illicit was never there within marriage but existed only out of it.

This is exactly why SP never explicitly distinguishes sex inside marriage as different from procreation purposes only…rather he uses them interchangeably simply because sex within marriage and sex for procreation colloquially means the same thing.

And this is what Krishna Himself says in the Gita 10.28

Personally…I don’t think there is any contradiction or confusion on the definition of illicit sex but if I cannot follow that standard then that is a different conversation!

Hare Krishna.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lord Krishna Existed - School Texts are Wrong

By Raj Nambisan for rediff.com on 29 Aug 2009

Did Krishna exist? Most certainly, says Dr Manish Pandit, a nuclear medicine physician who teaches in the United Kingdom, proffering astronomical, archaeological, linguistic and oral evidences to make his case.

I used to think of Krishna is a part of Hindu myth and mythology. Imagine my surprise when I came across Dr Narhari Achar (a professor of physics at the University of Memphis, Tennessee, in the US) and his research in 2004 and 2005. He had done the dating of the Mahabharata war using astronomy. I immediately tried to corroborate all his research using the regular Planetarium software and I came to the same conclusions [as him]," Pandit says.

Which meant, he says, that what is taught in schools about Indian history is not correct?

The Great War between the Pandavas and the Kauravas took place in 3067 BC, the Pune-born Pandit, who did his MBBS from BJ Medical College there, says in his first documentary, Krishna: History or Myth?

Pandit's calculations say Krishna was born in 3112 BC, so must have been 54-55 years old at the time of the battle of Kurukshetra.

Pandit is also a distinguished astrologer, having written several books on the subject, and claims to have predicted that Sonia Gandhi would reject prime ministership, the exact time at which Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati would be released on bail and also the Kargil war.

Pandit, as the sutradhar of the documentary Krishna: History or Myth?, uses four pillars -- archaeology, linguistics, what he calls the living tradition of India and astronomy to arrive at the circumstantial verdict that Krishna was indeed a living being, because Mahabharata and the battle of Kurukshetra indeed happened, and since Krishna was the pivot of the Armageddon, it is all true.

You are a specialist in nuclear medicine. What persuaded you to do a film on the history/myth of Krishna? You think there are too many who doubt? Is this a politico-religious message or a purely religious one?

We are always taught that Krishna is a part of Hindu myth and mythology. And this is exactly what I thought as well. But imagine my surprise when I came across Dr Narhari Achar (of the Department of Physics at the University of Memphis, Tennessee, in the US) and his research somewhere in 2004 and 2005. He had done the dating of the Mahabharata war using astronomy.

I immediately tried to corroborate all his research using the regular Planetarium software and I came to the same conclusions. This meant that what we are taught in schools about Indian history is not correct.

I also started wondering about why this should be so. I think that a mixture of the post-colonial need to conform to western ideas of Indian civilisation and an inability to stand up firmly to bizarre western ideas are to blame. Also, any attempt at a more impartial look at Indian history is given a saffron hue.

I decided that I could take this nonsense no more, and decided to make films to show educated Indians what their true heritage was. The pen is mightier than the sword is an old phrase but I thought of new one: Film is the new pen.

Any ideas I have will receive wide dissemination through this medium.

I wanted to present a true idea of Indian history unfettered by perception, which was truly scientific, not just somebody's hypothesis coloured by their perceptions and prejudices.

There is a controversial point in your documentary where someone Isckon monk alludes to Krishna as being the father of Jesus. How can you say that since there is an age gap of roughly 3000 years between the two spiritual giants?

Is Krishna the spiritual father of Jesus? That is what the person who was training to be a Roman Catholic priest, and who now worships Krishna, asks. The answer comes within the field of comparative religion and theology.

The Biblical scriptures qualify Jesus as the son of God. Most Indians have no problems accepting this as Hindus are a naturally secular people. However, then the question that arises is, if Jesus is the son, then who is the Father or God Himself?

Now, Biblical scriptures do not really give the answer except to say that the Father is all-powerful and omnipresent. Now, of course, we know that Jesus does not say that he is omnipresent or omnipotent.

Now, no scripture can live as an island, all by itself, and the Srimad Bhagavatam and other scriptures such as the Bramha Samhita all call Krishna as an all powerful, omnipresent being.
So, if we use these words of Bhagavatam, there can be no other truth, which means that Krishna is the father of all living creation.

But it does not mean that Jesus is not divine. Jesus is indeed divine. What I liked about the monks in my documentary is that they do not denigrate Jesus although they worship Krishna as God. They keep Jesus in their hearts, while worshipping Krishna. What could be more secular or more Christian?

3067 BC is when the Mahabharata war took place, says Dr Achar. How did he arrive at this?

There are more than 140 astronomy references in the Mahabharata. Dr Achar used simulations of the night sky to arrive at November 22, 3067 BC, as the day the Mahabharata war began.
He used the references common to Udyoga and Bhisma Parvan initially, and so Saturn at Rohini, Mars at Jyestha with initially only the two eclipses, Lunar at Kartika and Solar at Jyestha.
Let me tell you how rare this set of astronomical conjunctions is.

The Saros cycle of eclipses is periodic at 19 years and so is the Metonic cycle of lunar phases.
So if I say that Amavasya has occured at Jyestha, then this will occur again in 19 years, but if I say that a solar eclipse has occured at Jyestha, then this occurs again at Jyestha only after 340 years. Add Saturn at Rohini and we take this to 1 in 7,000 years. This set of conjunctions takes all of these into consideration, but also takes all the other data into consideration.

So now, we know about Balarama's pilgrimage tithis and nakshatras, and believe it or not, all that fits the 3067 BC date perfectly.

And to top it all, so does the repetition of the three eclipses described at the destruction of Dwarka 36 years later.

This would explain why so many other researchers tried and failed to find the date of the Mahabharata war as it is based on such a unique set of astronomy that it occured only once in the last 10,000 years.

So essentially, your thesis is that since the Mahabharata war actually happened, as confirmed by astronomical deduction, Krishna was also a living entity since he's the fulcrum of the Great War?

Not just that, but the fact that archaeology, oral and living traditions point to the same. And yes, we cannot separate the Mahabharata war from Krishna. If one is shown to have happened, then the other must be true as well.

What's your next project?

The next project is called Indian Jesus. It is already 80% complete. It is very controversial but needed to be done. Living in India convinced me that there are definitely many paths to God. Anybody who lives in India and does not subscribe to that concept should be termed intolerant, but instead the opposite is happening. There are some people today who call their God as God and mine as the devil, this is unacceptable, and I will see to it that those intolerant concepts are demolished. I long to see a one borderless world where we live in mutual respect. I cannot say much on the project but to say that I will prove that the underlying basis of religions is the same.

There is talk of a banyan tree which the documentary says was a witness to the Battle of Kurukshetra, where 4 million people are said to have died in 14 days. Where exactly does this exist? Has the tree been carbon-dated to confirm its age?

There is indeed a banyan tree at Jyotisaar in Kurukshetra which is worshipped as such. This concept is similar to the tree in Jerusalem, which is thought to have witnessed Jesus's arrival. Carbon-dating of this banyan tree is unlikely to give any concrete answers. I have included it in the documentary to show the living tradition of India --- like worship of the Ganges cannot be carbon-dated to give any answers.

There is a gentleman named Ram Prasad Birbal, who said he has found many bones which are said to belong to the Kurukshetra battle. Has this been scientifically proved?

Ram Prasad Birbal is a resident of Kurukshetra. I am not aware of carbon dating of those bones. But I am informed that thermo-luminescent dating of other relics as well as carbon-dating at other sites in Kurukshetra have given dates far older than the Indus valley civilisation. Further, Euan Mackie, an eminent archaeologist, had found a clay tablet of Krishna's Yamalaarjuna episode at Mohenjedaro, a site of the Indus Valley civilisation proving that even in 2200 BC, there was a culture of worshipping Krishna.

You said Hinduism spread across South East Asia in those times ... how big was this religious empire?

The Hindu religious empire extended across the whole of the Asian sub-continent to South East Asia, from Afghanistan to Thailand (where Ramayana and Krishna are still shown through dances), Burma, Cambodia (Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon, etc), Vietnam, Laos (little Kurukshetra and temples), Malaysia (which was Hindu until recent) up to Java (more temples), Bali (where Hinduism is still the religion) and Indonesia, where Bhima's grandson is said to have performed a thousand fire rituals at Yogyakarta. Afghanistan was of course home to both the Yadu race and Shakuni (Kandahar or Gandhar).

Dr Achar said the Kurukshetra war must not have happened on a full moon day...

The Mahabharata war did not start on an Amavasya. That is straight forward.
Krishna tells Karna "Saptama chappi divasat Amavasya Bhivasyati" and says that Karna should tell Drona and Bhisma to do the ayudha (weapons) pooja on that date. But not start fighting the war on that date.

Your documentary says India did not have a tradition of putting down everything in writing till 325 BC, when Alexander the Great arrived. How did you come to this conclusion?

This is what the current scientific belief is. Although people have talked about deciphering the Indus Valley "script", there is no straightforward conclusion about the same, so we stuck to the "official line" there. We will deal with these issues in a future documentary.

S R Rao, the marine archaeologist from the National Institute of Oceanography, found a 9th century building, and an entire city. Where was this and when did he find it?

S R Rao found the sunken city of Dwarka a few years ago at Beyt Dwarka in the early 1990s

Apparently, this city near Dwarka was set up 36 years after the Mahabharata war. Is this the summation of Rao?

It is believed that due to damage and destruction by the sea, Dwaraka has submerged six times and the modern-day Dwarka is the 7th such city to be built in the area. Scientifically speaking, we see that 36 years after the war there were the same repetitions of an eclipse triad as we have shown in the documentary.

From Dwarka to Kurukshetra is more than 1,000 km. How do you think Krishna travelled to help the Pandavas?

As a scientist, I believe that they travelled on horses which would enable them to reach pretty quickly. If you consider 1,000 km, that should take him 7 days if he had a string of horses. Of course if you take faith into account, then it could happen in a twinkling of an eye.

What's the link between the two comets that Sage Vyasa talked about, the retrograde motion of Mars (Mangal or Kuja) at Antares (Jyestha) to all this

The idea that comets are harbingers of doom is well-documented. The thing is that there is a set of statements describing comets and their positions. Only Dr Achar has arrived at the correct deduction, that those sentences in Bhisma Parvan relate to comets, not planets --- which is where previous researchers found it difficult.

We know that Halley's comet was seen in that year as well.

Dr Achar interpreted verses from the Bhism Parvan and Udyog Parvan to arrive at various conclusions. One of them is that when Saturn in at Aldebaran (Rohini) it brings great bad tidings. The last time this happened was in September 2001, when 9/11 happened. When does this happen next?

Actually Saturn at Rohini is long known to be a bad omen by astrologers. Rohinim Pidyannesha Stitho Rajan Shanischarah. This transit happened in 1971 where a million or so were killed, and again in 2001 September, when 9/11 happened. The next time is in 2030/2031 AD approximately

When is the next time Mars will be in Antares?

Mars at Jyestha has to be taken in conjunction with the other things mentioned by Karna when he talks to Krishna, as it occurs every year. In any case, those people were great astronomers and not just warriors, so we don't know what the extent of their knowledge was regarding these events, In my personal humble opinion it was perhaps even better than that which we have today.

The sweetness of Hare Krishna

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


While the Lord is praised through His many names, the name of Govinda has special merit, said Padur Rangarajachariar. Since Lord Narayana supported the Manthara mountain on His back in Koorma avatara, He is Govinda. ‘Go’ also means Earth. Since as Varaha, He rescued Bhooma Devi from the clutches of the asura, He is Govinda. Since He measured the Earth in three steps, He is Govinda. ‘Go’ also means cow. Since as Krishna, He was a cowherd, Krishna may also be referred to as Govinda. He is Govinda because He gives us the power of speech. It was Lord Narayana who suggested to Indra that he fashion the Vajrayudham from Dadichi’s backbone. The Vajrayudham is also called ‘Go’. Hence the Lord, upon whose suggestion Indra made the ayudham, is called Govinda.

Govinda is the name we must utter before we eat anything. The story of Kshatrabandhu shows the significance of the Govinda nama. Kshatrabandhu was a cruel man, who robbed those who passed through the forests. But when he learnt the name Govinda from a sage, he was saved. Tondaradippodi Azhvar celebrates this incident in his Tirumaalai.

When Draupadi is disrobed by Dushasana, she cries, “Govinda, Pundareekaksha, raksha maam saranaagatam.” Thus she is saved by uttering the name Govinda. Pillai Lokacharya observes that it was the Lord’s name that saved her. Adi Sankara in his Bhaja Govindam, shows us the importance of worshipping Govinda.

Nammazhvar says that we must always serve the Lord who resides in Tirumala, and we must do so without a break, and without expecting anything in return. Andal in Her Tiruppavai describes Him as “kurai ondrum illaada Govinda” — Govinda the blemishless One. She refers to Govinda in three verses of the Tiruppavai. Again in the Nachiar Tirumozhi, Andal dreams of union with Govinda.

The name Govinda brings to our mind Lord Srinivasa of Tirumala. Tirumala is mentioned in ancient Tamil works like Silappadikaram, and also in Puranas like the Bhavishyothara Purana and Varaha Purana, attesting to the antiquity of the place.

source: The Hindu

Monday, November 2, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Eight Meaty Facts About Animal Food

WHERE'S THE GRAIN? The 7 billion livestock animals in the United States consume five times as much grain as is consumed directly by the entire American population.

HERBIVORES ON THE HOOF. Each year an estimated 41 million tons of plant protein is fed to U.S. livestock to produce an estimated 7 million tons of animal protein for human consumption. About 26 million tons of the livestock feed comes from grains and 15 million tons from forage crops. For every kilogram of high-quality animal protein produced, livestock are fed nearly 6 kg of plant protein.

FOSSIL FUEL TO FOOD FUEL. On average, animal protein production in the U.S. requires 28 kilocalories (kcal) for every kcal of protein produced for human consumption. Beef and lamb are the most costly, in terms of fossil fuel energy input to protein output at 54:1 and 50:1, respectively. Turkey and chicken meat production are the most efficient (13:1 and 4:1, respectively). Grain production, on average, requires 3.3 kcal of fossil fuel for every kcal of protein produced. The U.S. now imports about 54 percent of its oil; by the year 2015, that import figure is expected to rise to 100 percent.

THIRSTY PRODUCTION SYSTEMS. U.S. agriculture accounts for 87 percent of all the fresh water consumed each year. Livestock directly use only 1.3 percent of that water. But when the water required for forage and grain production is included, livestock's water usage rises dramatically. Every kilogram of beef produced takes 100,000 liters of water. Some 900 liters of water go into producing a kilogram of wheat. Potatoes are even less "thirsty," at 500 liters per kilogram.

HOME ON THE RANGE. More than 302 million hectares of land are devoted to producing feed for the U.S. livestock population -- about 272 million hectares in pasture and about 30 million hectares for cultivated feed grains.

DISAPPEARING SOIL. About 90 percent of U.S. cropland is losing soil -- to wind and water erosion -- at 13 times above the sustainable rate. Soil loss is most severe in some of the richest farming areas; Iowa loses topsoil at 30 times the rate of soil formation. Iowa has lost one-half its topsoil in only 150 years of farming -- soil that took thousands of years to form.

PLENTY OF PROTEIN: Nearly 7 million tons (metric) of animal protein is produced annually in the U.S. -- enough to supply every American man, woman and child with 75 grams of animal protein a day. With the addition of 34 grams of available plant protein, a total of 109 grams of protein is available per capita. The RDA (recommended daily allowance) per adult per day is 56 grams of protein for a mixed diet.

OUT TO PASTURE. If all the U.S. grain now fed to livestock were exported and if cattlemen switched to grass-fed production systems, less beef would be available and animal protein in the average American diet would drop from 75 grams to 29 grams per day. That, plus current levels of plant-protein consumption, would still yield more than the RDA for protein.

From "Livestock Production: Energy Inputs and the Environment"
By David Pimentel

source: Cornell University Science News

Cows, Environment, Food and People

U.S. could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eat, Cornell ecologist advises animal scientists. Future water and energy shortages predicted to change face of American agriculture.

Grain-fed livestock consumes resources far out of proportion to the yield, accelerates soil erosion, affects world food supply and will be changing in the future.

"If all the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million," David Pimentel, professor of ecology in Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, reported at the July 24-26 meeting of the Canadian Society of Animal Science in Montreal. Or, if those grains were exported, it would boost the U.S. trade balance by $80 billion a year, Pimentel estimated.

With only grass-fed livestock, individual Americans would still get more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of meat and dairy protein, according to Pimentel's report, "Livestock Production: Energy Inputs and the Environment."

An environmental analyst and longtime critic of waste and inefficiency in agricultural practices, Pimentel depicted grain-fed livestock farming as a costly and nonsustainable way to produce animal protein. He distinguished grain-fed meat production from pasture-raised livestock, calling cattle-grazing a more reasonable use of marginal land.

Animal protein production requires more than eight times as much fossil-fuel energy than production of plant protein while yielding animal protein that is only 1.4 times more nutritious for humans than the comparable amount of plant protein, according to the Cornell ecologist's analysis.

Tracking food animal production from the feed trough to the dinner table, Pimentel found broiler chickens to be the most efficient use of fossil energy, and beef, the least. Chicken meat production consumes energy in a 4:1 ratio to protein output; beef cattle production requires an energy input to protein output ratio of 54:1. (Lamb meat production is nearly as inefficient at 50:1, according to the ecologist's analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics. Other ratios range from 13:1 for turkey meat and 14:1 for milk protein to 17:1 for pork and 26:1 for eggs.)

Animal agriculture is a leading consumer of water resources in the United States, Pimentel noted. Grain-fed beef production takes 100,000 liters of water for every kilogram of food. Raising broiler chickens takes 3,500 liters of water to make a kilogram of meat. In comparison, soybean production uses 2,000 liters for kilogram of food produced; rice, 1,912; wheat, 900; and potatoes, 500 liters. "Water shortages already are severe in the Western and Southern United States and the situation is quickly becoming worse because of a rapidly growing U.S. population that requires more water for all of its needs, especially agriculture," Pimentel observed.

Livestock are directly or indirectly responsible for much of the soil erosion in the United States, the ecologist determined. On lands where feed grain is produced, soil loss averages 13 tons per hectare per year. Pasture lands are eroding at a slower pace, at an average of 6 tons per hectare per year. But erosion may exceed 100 tons on severely overgrazed pastures, and 54 percent of U.S. pasture land is being overgrazed.

"More than half the U.S. grain and nearly 40 percent of world grain is being fed to livestock rather than being consumed directly by humans," Pimentel said. "Although grain production is increasing in total, the per capita supply has been decreasing for more than a decade. Clearly, there is reason for concern in the future."

source: Cornell University Science News

The Low-Carbon Diet

Change your lightbulbs? Or your car? If you want to fight global warming, it’s time to consider a different diet.

Full disclosure: I love to eat meat. I was born in Memphis, the barbecue capital of the Milky Way Galaxy. I worship slow-cooked, hickory-smoked pig meat served on a bun with extra sauce and coleslaw spooned on top.

My carnivore’s lust goes beyond the DNA level. It’s in my soul. Even the cruelty of factory farming doesn’t temper my desire, I’ll admit. Like most Americans, I can somehow keep at bay all thoughts of what happened to the meat prior to the plate.

So why in the world am I a dedicated vegetarian? Why is meat, including sumptuous pork, a complete stranger to my fork at home and away? The answer is simple: I have an 11-year-old son whose future—like yours and mine—is rapidly unraveling due to global warming. And what we put on our plates can directly accelerate or decelerate the heating trend.

That giant chunk of an Antarctic ice sheet, the one that disintegrated in a matter of hours, the one the size of seven Manhattans—did you hear about it? It shattered barely a year ago “like a hammer on glass,” scientists say, and is now melting away in the Southern Ocean. This is just a preview, of course, of the sort of ecological collapse coming everywhere on earth, experts say, unless we hit the brakes soon on climate change. If the entire West Antarctic ice sheet melts, for example, global sea-level rise could reach 20 feet.

Since the twin phenomena of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Gore, most Americans have a basic literacy on the issue of climate change. It’s getting worse, we know, and greenhouse gases—emitted when we burn fossil fuels—are driving it. Less accepted, it seems, is the role food—specifically our consumption of meat—is playing in this matter. The typical American diet now weighs in at more than 3,700 calories per day, reports the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, and is dominated by meat and animal products. As a result, what we put in our mouths now ranks up there with our driving habits and our use of coal-fired electricity in terms of how it affects climate change.

Simply put, raising beef, pigs, sheep, chicken, and eggs is very, very energy intensive. More than half of all the grains grown in America actually go to feed animals, not people, says the World Resources Institute. That means a huge fraction of the petroleum-based herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers applied to grains, plus staggering percentages of all agricultural land and water use, are put in the service of livestock. Stop eating animals and you use dramatically less fossil fuels, as much as 250 gallons less oil per year for vegans, says Cornell University’s David Pimentel, and 160 gallons less for egg-and-cheese-eating vegetarians.

But fossil fuel combustion is just part of the climate–diet equation. Ruminants—cows and sheep—generate a powerful greenhouse gas through their normal digestive processes (think burping and emissions at the other end). What comes out is methane (23 times more powerful at trapping heat than CO2) and nitrous oxide (296 times more powerful).

Indeed, accounting for all factors, livestock production worldwide is responsible for a whopping 18 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gases, reports the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. That’s more than the emissions of all the world’s cars, buses, planes, and trains combined.

So why do we so rarely talk about meat consumption when discussing global warming in America? Compact fluorescent bulbs? Biking to work? Buying wind power? We hear it nonstop. But even the super-liberal, Prius-driving, Green Party activist in America typically eats chicken wings and morning bacon like everyone else. While the climate impacts of meat consumption might be new to many people, the knowledge of meat’s general ecological harm is not at all novel. So what gives?

Roughly three percent of all Americans are vegetarians, according to the Vegetarian Resource Group, a nonprofit that educates people on the benefits of a meat-free diet. Part of the reason, I know, is the unfortunate belief that vegetarianism is a really tough lifestyle change, much harder than simply changing bulbs or buying a better car. But as a meat lover at heart, I’ve been a vegetarian (no fish, minimal eggs and cheese) for seven years, and trust me: It’s easy, satisfying, and of course super healthy. With the advent of savory tofu, faux meats, and the explosion of local farmers’ markets, a life without meat is many times easier today than when Ovid and Thoreau and Gandhi and Einstein did it. True, many meat substitutes are made from soybeans, a monocrop with its own environmental issues. But most soy production today is actually devoted to livestock feed. Only 1 percent of U.S. soybeans become tofu, for example.

One day I get carryout veggie Pad Thai. The next I cook stir-fried veggies at home with soy-based sausage patties so good they fool even the most discriminating meat connoisseurs. Bottom line: Of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my life, vegetarianism doesn’t even make the chart.

Some folks, I realize, have a deep-down, gut-level (so to speak) reaction to vegetarianism as “unnatural.” We humans have canine teeth, after all. We evolved to include meat in our diets. To abandon such food is to break thousands of years of tradition and, in some cases, ritual behavior bordering on the sacred.

All true. But we also evolved as people who defecated indiscriminately in the woods and who didn’t brush our teeth. Somehow we’ve moved to a higher level on those counts. Now, with potentially catastrophic climate change hovering around the corner and with our briskets and London broil helping to drive the process, it’s time to evolve some more.

A compromise in recent years, of course, has been the idea of animals raised locally and organically. Becoming a “locavore” who eats regional fruits and vegetables in season as much as possible makes abundant sense, of course. And animals from your area can lower the environmental impacts of your diet in many ways while simultaneously saving cherished local farmland and progressive farm families.

But with global warming, here’s the inconvenient truth about meat and dairy products: If you eat them, regardless of their origin and how they were produced, you significantly contribute to climate change. Period. If your beef is from New Zealand or your own backyard, if your lamb is organic free-range or factory farmed, it still has a negative impact on global warming.

This is true for several reasons. Again, the biological reality of ruminant digestion is that methane is released. The feed can be local and organic, but the methane is the same, escaping into the atmosphere and trapping heat with impressive efficiency. Second, no matter the farming method, livestock makes manure that produces nitrous oxide, an even more awesomely impressive heat trapper. Livestock in the United States generates a billion tons of manure per year, accounting for 65 percent of the planet’s anthropogenic nitrous oxide emissions.

Even poultry, while less harmful, also contributes. Ironically, data released in 2007 by Adrian Williams of Cranfield University in England show that when all factors are considered, organic, free-range chickens have a 20 percent greater impact on global warming than conventionally raised broiler birds. That’s because “sustainable” chickens take longer to raise, and eat more feed. Worse, organic eggs have a 14 percent higher impact on the climate than eggs from caged chickens, according to Williams.

“If we want to fight global warming through the food we buy, then one thing’s clear: We have to drastically reduce the meat we consume,” says Tara Garnett of London’s Food Climate Research Network.

So while some of us Americans fashionably fret over our food’s travel budget and organic content, Garnett says the real question is, “Did it come from an animal or did it not come from an animal?”

Which brings us back to vegetarianism and why I live a meat-free life. The facts speak for themselves. If we really want to fight climate change, we should change our lightbulbs and purchase hybrid cars and, above all, vote for politicians committed to a clean energy future. But we should also eat less meat, a lot less, or none at all.

I believe consumer habits are starting to change similarly to the way they’ve shifted with compact fluorescent bulbs. Ten years ago people complained about the harsh quality of light from fluorescents and the hassle of switching them out. But the bulbs are now made to produce a much warmer quality of light and the price has come down. What’s more, in seven years of using only CFLs at my home, I’ve never had a guest make a single comment.

In the near future, as we increasingly discuss the climate “facts” of meat consumption, and as veggie cuisine gets still easier at home and at restaurants, we’ll see more and more people changing their diets in the same way they’re switching to CFLs in droves now. Of this I’m sure.

But when it comes to food, the facts are not enough for many people. Of this I’m also sure. A holistic nutritionist in my neighborhood says one’s ideas about food reside in the same part of the brain that houses our ideas and beliefs about religion. It’s not all rational, in other words. Facts abound about the harm of fatty, sugary foods, yet the obesity epidemic grows. And I can’t count the number of environmental conferences I’ve attended where meat was served in abundance. Even Michael Pollan’s 2006 bestseller The Omnivore’s Dilemma, wherein he dissects with encyclopedic thoroughness the eco-hazards and animal cruelty issues surrounding meat and egg production—even this book astonishingly mentions the words global warming only two times and climate change not at all. In 464 pages. That’s highly unreasonable, in my view.

All of which is to say that for people to care, the climate–food discussion must be about more than just facts, more than pounds of greenhouse gases per units of food. It’s got to be about morality, about right versus wrong. And I don’t mean the usual morality of environmental “stewardship.” Or even the issue of cruelty to farm animals. I’m talking here about cruelty to people, about the explicit harm to humans that results from meat consumption and its role as a driving force in climate change. Knowingly eating food that makes you fat or harms your local fish and birds is one thing. Knowingly eating food that makes children across much of the world hungry is another.

I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the mid-1980s, living in a tiny rural village where the staple crop was hand-tilled corn. It was harvested twice a year, in May and December. This meant the two annual “rainy seasons” had to begin right on time, in January and September, and continue for several months afterward. Any deviation from this rainfall pattern virtually guaranteed a lower corn harvest. And given the total absence of grocery stores, community granaries, or the money to buy extra food even if it existed, this meant hunger.

A signature impact of global warming, of course, is a dramatic shift in precipitation patterns worldwide, including longer and more severe droughts as well as extreme rainstorms and flooding in non-drought areas. Many scientists believe these impacts are already being felt by farmers worldwide and could spell future disaster, especially for subsistence farmers like those I lived with in Africa. Global wheat prices have jumped about 100 percent in the past year in part because a record drought in Australia—made worse by global warming—has devastated farmers across the continent. Food production in China alone could drop 10 percent as early as 2030, United Nations scientists warn.

The people I lived with in Africa contribute almost nothing to the problem of global warming, through their diet or otherwise. Coal-fired electricity versus wind power? They don’t have electricity. SUVs versus hybrid cars? They don’t have cars—none at all, or roads for that matter. And meat consumption? Tiny, tiny portions maybe twice a week.

If we in the West don’t alter course in the coming years, if we allow extreme global warming to become reality, an impact on the U.S. diet could very well be a great reduction in the amount of meat on our tables—a reduction imposed on us by nature instead of achieved by us through enlightened lifestyle changes. The wide and guaranteed availability of agriculturally productive land may simply cease. The crop yields we see now could shrink significantly, thanks to everything from weird weather to pest invasions. But it’s a safe guess to say we’ll have space for a national diet of plant-based foods (some crops are expected to benefit from global warming), just not the option of consuming all those animals.

But in the Congo and other poor countries, in places like Bangladesh and Peru and Vietnam, where meat consumption is already low, severe climate change means food off the table. It means hungry children. It means the rains don’t come on time or at all in tiny villages like the one I lived in. It means, in the end, cruelty to people.

Are we clear now on the raw facts and urgent morality of our present meat consumption in America?

We need much more than just a few magazine readers to voluntarily stop eating meat, of course. It’s a good start, but what we really need are national policies that encourage lower meat consumption by everyone. This could be achieved using fees or other market mechanisms that properly price greenhouse-gas emissions according to the harm they cause. The bad news, I suppose, is that the cost of meat could rise. The good news is we would finally have a fair and honest way to judge its danger, and thus more incentives to do the right thing, more incentives to switch to a healthy and convenient vegetarian diet of the sort I’ve joyfully embraced for years, despite my great appreciation for the taste of meat.

We could also, as a nation, just eat a lot less meat as an alternative to full vegetarianism. Anthony McMichael, a leading Australia-based expert on climate change and health issues, has crunched the numbers. He estimates that per capita daily meat consumption would need to drop from about 12 ounces per day in America to 3.1 ounces (with less than half of it red meat) in order to protect the climate.

I suppose I could measure out 3.1 ounces of meat per day, cook it, eat it, and still feel morally okay. But frankly I’d rather just go without. I’d rather be a vegetarian. It’s easier to explain. It’s easier to defend. And I just plain like it.
source: Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, is the author of The Ravaging Tide: Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Coming Death of America's Coastal Cities (Free Press).

Cow 'emissions' more damaging to planet than CO2 from cars

Meet the world's top destroyer of the environment. It is not the car, or the plane,or even George Bush: it is the cow.

A United Nations report has identified the world's rapidly growing herds of cattle as the greatest threat to the climate, forests and wildlife. And they are blamed for a host of other environmental crimes, from acid rain to the introduction of alien species, from producing deserts to creating dead zones in the oceans, from poisoning rivers and drinking water to destroying coral reefs.

The 400-page report by the Food and Agricultural Organisation, entitled Livestock's Long Shadow, also surveys the damage done by sheep, chickens, pigs and goats. But in almost every case, the world's 1.5 billion cattle are most to blame. Livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together.

Burning fuel to produce fertiliser to grow feed, to produce meat and to transport it - and clearing vegetation for grazing - produces 9 per cent of all emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. And their wind and manure emit more than one third of emissions of another, methane, which warms the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide.

Livestock also produces more than 100 other polluting gases, including more than two-thirds of the world's emissions of ammonia, one of the main causes of acid rain.

Ranching, the report adds, is "the major driver of deforestation" worldwide, and overgrazing is turning a fifth of all pastures and ranges into desert.Cows also soak up vast amounts of water: it takes a staggering 990 litres of water to produce one litre of milk.

Wastes from feedlots and fertilisers used to grow their feed overnourish water, causing weeds to choke all other life. And the pesticides, antibiotics and hormones used to treat them get into drinking water and endanger human health.

The pollution washes down to the sea, killing coral reefs and creating "dead zones" devoid of life. One is up to 21,000sqkm, in the Gulf of Mexico, where much of the waste from US beef production is carried down the Mississippi.

The report concludes that, unless drastic changes are made, the massive damage done by livestock will more than double by 2050, as demand for meat increases.

source: The Independent

Beef Industry Fact Sheet

The U.S. beef industry is worth an estimated $175 billion with cattlemen conducting business in all 50 states and operating 800,000 individual farms and ranches.

In July 2003, there were 104.3 million cattle in the United States.

35.7 million cattle were harvested in 2003.

2002 data shows there were 805,080 cow/calf operations and 95,189 feedlots in the United States according to CattleFax.

While the United States has less than 10 percent of the world's cattle inventory, it produces nearly 25 percent of the world's beef supply according to 2002 USDA data.

The U.S. produced 27.1 billion pounds of beef in 2002.

There are 1.4 million jobs attributed to the beef industry.

The cattle industry is a family business. Eighty percent of the cattle businesses have been in the same families for more than 25 years; 10 percent fore more than 100 years.

Cattle are produced in all 50 states and their economic impact contributes to nearly every county in the nation and they are a significant economic driver in rural communities.

America’s demand for beef has increased more than 15 percent since 1998.

Consumer beef spending has grown $14 billion compared to the 1990s according to CattleFax.

Beef is the number one protein in America according to USDA consumption data. In 2002, the average per capita consumption of beef was 64.4 pounds according to USDA consumption data.

Steak is the single most popular beef dish in-home, eaten more than once a month by the average person. Hamburger is the second most popular in-home item (8.9 percent of all eating occasions) - NPD/National Eating Trends, 2002.

Beef exports, during 2003, were worth approximately $2.664 billion, variety meat exports were worth $601 million and tallow exports were worth $325 million.

During 2002, beef exports represented 9 percent of U.S. domestic beef production (2.45 billion pounds vs. 27.1 billion pounds).

source: Beef USA - Beef Industry Fact Sheet

The Greenhouse Hamburger

Pound for pound, beef production generates greenhouse gases that contribute more than 13 times as much to global warming as do the gases emitted from producing chicken. For potatoes, the multiplier is 57

Beef consumption is rising rapidly, both as population increases and as people eat more meat.

Producing the annual beef diet of the average American emits as much greenhouse gas as a car driven more than 1,800 miles.

Most of us are aware that our cars, our coal-generated electric power and even our cement factories adversely affect the environment. Until recently, however, the foods we eat had gotten a pass in the discussion. Yet according to a 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), our diets and, specifically, the meat in them cause more greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide, and the like to spew into the atmosphere than either transportation or industry. (Greenhouse gases trap solar energy, thereby warming the earth's surface. Because gases vary in greenhouse potency, every greenhouse gas is usually expressed as an amount of CO2 with the same global-warming potential.)

The FAO report found that current production levels of meat contribute between 14 and 22 percent of the 36 billion tons of "CO2-equivalent" greenhouse gases the world produces every year. It turns out that producing half a pound of hamburger for someone's lunch a patty of meat the size of two decks of cards releases as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as driving a 3,000-pound car nearly 10 miles.

In truth, every food we consume, vegetables and fruits included, incurs hidden environmental costs: transportation, refrigeration and fuel for farming, as well as methane emissions from plants and animals, all lead to a buildup of atmospheric greenhouse gases. Take asparagus: in a report prepared for the city of Seattle, Daniel J. Morgan of the University of Washington and his co-workers found that growing just half a pound of the vegetable in Peru emits greenhouse gases equivalent to 1.2 ounces of CO2 as a result of applying insecticide and fertilizer, pumping water and running heavy, gas-guzzling farm equipment. To refrigerate and transport the vegetable to an American dinner table generates another two ounces of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gases, for a total CO2 equivalent of 3.2 ounces.

But that is nothing compared to beef. In 1999 Susan Subak, an ecological economist then at the University of East Anglia in England, found that, depending on the production method, cows emit between 2.5 and 4.7 ounces of methane for each pound of beef they produce. Because methane has roughly 23 times the global-warming potential of CO2, those emissions are the equivalent of releasing between 3.6 and 6.8 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere for each pound of beef produced.

Raising animals also requires a large amount of feed per unit of body weight. In 2003 Lucas Reijnders of the University of Amsterdam and Sam Soret of Loma Linda University estimated that producing a pound of beef protein for the table requires more than 10 pounds of plant protein with all the emissions of greenhouse gases that grain farming entails. Finally, farms for raising animals produce numerous wastes that give rise to greenhouse gases.

Taking such factors into account, Subak calculated that producing a pound of beef in a feedlot, or concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) system, generates the equivalent of 14.8 pounds of CO2 pound for pound, more than 36 times the CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emitted by producing asparagus. Even other common meats cannot match the impact of beef; I estimate that producing a pound of pork generates the equivalent of 3.8 pounds of CO2; a pound of chicken generates 1.1 pounds of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gases. And the economically efficient CAFO system, though certainly not the cleanest production method in terms of CO2-equivalent greenhouse emissions, is far better than most: the FAO data I noted earlier imply that the world average emissions from producing a pound of beef are several times the CAFO amount.
Solutions?What can be done? Improving waste management and farming practices would certainly reduce the "carbon footprint" of beef production. Methane-capturing systems, for instance, can put cows' waste to use in generating electricity. But those systems remain too costly to be commercially viable.

source: Scientific American

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I am confused?

Why is it difficult to follow the one Supreme Authority Personality of Godhead?

Why “all paths lead to the same goal” or “follow the religion of your heart” etc attractive. In my head, it does not even make common sense?

I venture to think are people even serious to know God or is it just another superficial politically correct stand to take to be accepted by many?

Hare Krishna

7 questions

Seven questions that keep physicists up at night

1. Why this universe?
2. What is everything made of?
3. How does complexity happen?
4. Will string theory ever be proved correct?
5. What is the singularity?
6. What is reality really?
7. How far can physics take us?

Source: newscientist.com

with their speculative background...I guess the physicists will never sleep unfortunately!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Truth or Lie

Truth or lie is a relative phenomenon depending on the source. However, it is our own false-ego that accepts or rejects it.

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If I am honest...

I have had my fair share of moments over the years. Some good and some bad. In my bad times, I have lost money, time and friends. I used to get angry, upset and emotional. I tried to find solutions by brooding over the incident. After coming to Krishna consciousness, I still do these things.

So what is the difference between the before and after of Krishna consciousness, before, I did not know the real solutions to the problem, and after Krishna consciousness I know.

If I am honest, I will apply the solution, I will dig deeper and change the faults within me. The world is what it is…a good student will learn from it and not find fault! Easier said than done…but at least we can try.

Hare Krishna

Monday, October 26, 2009

Illusion of man and mind

There is a tendency to think that I have worked hard for my job, house, family and money. If I have a problem, I have the wherewithal to seek help from appropriate government or non-profit agencies. Deep within, there is a sense that we (mankind) have worked hard on our own to get where we are now…so why is there a need for God in this picture.

Therefore, ultimately, the topic of God does not seem very urgent as opposed to other immediate concerns facing me, my family, my community, state, country and the world. In other words, the hand of God in my daily practical life and the life of others seems invisible and hence there seems to be no need for God beyond religious or sentimental or educational (academia) purposes. Due to this apparent lack of urgency, to understand God in the real way is being postponed to another day by the masses.

One of the biggest obstacles to spread God consciousness is this illusion of the independent self-made man and the lethargy of mind.

Hare Krishna

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gita Wordle

click image for larger view

BG 2.14-30

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Quantum physics Vs Bhagavad Gita

What do we mean by materialist science? Materialist science takes it as its basic axiom that everything is matter. We have literally managed to train a whole generation of students on the idea that everything is material, but this Newtonian world view that has shaped our understanding for centuries is now giving way to the revelations of quantum physics which goes beyond materialism; to show that consciousness, not matter, is the ground of all being.

- Quantum physicist Dr. Amit Goswami, Ph.D

yathā prakāśayaty ekaḥ
kṛtsnaḿ lokam imaḿ raviḥ
kṣetraḿ kṣetrī tathā kṛtsnaḿ
prakāśayati bhārata

- BG 13.34, spoken by Krishna 5000 years ago

O son of Bharata, as the sun alone illuminates all this universe, so does the living entity, one within the body, illuminate the entire body by consciousness.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Krishna knows

As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (10.10), the Lord gives intelligence to the pure devotees so that they may be elevated to the highest perfectional stage. It is confirmed herein that a pure devotee, who constantly engages in the loving service of the Lord, is awarded all knowledge necessary to reach the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For such a devotee there is nothing valuable to be achieved but the Lord's service. If one serves faithfully, there is no possibility of frustration because the Lord Himself takes charge of the devotee's advancement. The Lord is seated in everyone's heart, and He knows the devotee's motive and arranges everything achievable. In other words, the pseudo devotee, who is anxious to achieve material gains, cannot attain the highest perfectional stage because the Lord is in knowledge of his motive. One merely has to become sincere in his purpose, and then the Lord is there to help in every way.

- SB 3.13.49

Thursday, October 8, 2009

NASA Set to Dive Bomb the Moon

A NASA spacecraft and its trusty rocket stage are drawing ever closer to the moon to intentionally crash to their doom Friday, all in the name of science.


Its not enough bombing planet earth in the name of science...now the bombing culture is going cosmic...God knows where this will end!

Hare Krishna

Monday, September 28, 2009

Words to meditate upon...

The greatest cause of anxiety is endless expectations.

Power, morality, peace etc. can be attained by other processes, but becoming a prisoner in the heart of his devotees is only possible through pure devotional service.

Sincerity in sadhana and eagerness to serve is the basis of one's relationship with the spiritual master.

It is too late to avoid reaction, but not too late to come to the right conclusion.

The more you become advanced, the more you become responsible even for little things.

Once our dreams are fulfilled misery begins.

As soon as we think anything is ours, pride enter our heart.

Compassion is an essential element of love.

Taking birth in kali-yuga itself shows that we have no qualification; Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu therefore manifests ultimate mercy.

Inner fulfillment gives strength to fight maya.

Krishna may crush our ego, pulverize it, crush it to powder, make it into granules, (the question is) do we still continue to remain faithful to Krishna?

Death is like a storm which will sink everything in the river of time; boat is the human body.

by H.H.Radhanath Swami

Friday, September 25, 2009

Saigon Execution

You see the above picture...it is the famous "shot" taken by Eddie Adams during the Vietnam war. It is called the "Saigon Execution".

Apparently, it took 1/500th of a second speed to capture the photographic still. It takes that much amount of time for our life to flash in front of us...literally speaking for the poor Vietnamese who was executed. His life was captured in that 1/500th of a second.

All our lives are worth that much amount of time 1/500th of a second - a flash. If we live for 100 years, from the perspective of Brahma (secondary creator), we are like his saigon execution. Thats right...our 100 years is equivalent to 1/500th of Lord Brahma's second - has no meaning!!

Please make it meaningful - chant Hare Krishna!

Hare Krishna

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Please Sign to Stop Slaughter!

Please go to the online site and sign a petitiion against modernization of a slaughterhouse in Mumbai, India.

Thank you.

The link - http://www.petitiononline.com/prtst12d/

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Vaishnava Sanga

Once the great sage Narada was intrigued by a doubt. He was sure that Lord Vishnu would clear it for him. He proceeded to the Ocean of Milk and found his Lord reclining on the giant hooded serpent-bed Shankarshana, His beautiful consort, Lakshmi devi beside Him.Sage Narada made his obeisance to Lord Vishnu and put his question to Him.“Oh Lord, what is the value of Vaishnava Satsang, the Association of Vaishnava Devotees?”

Lord Vishnu smiled charmingly and said, “I will answer your question. But first you must do something for me. Look at that village on planet Earth. Can you see a small worm crawling on the ground over there?”With his yogic vision, Sage Narada perceived it and nodded.“Go over there and ask your question of that worm. I’m sure you’ll get your answer.” Sage Narada was puzzled, but he nevertheless did as instructed. In response, the worm looked up at him, promptly rolled over and died.

Sage Narada was shocked. He hurried back to Lord Vishnu and told Him what had happened.Lord Vishnu merely smiled and told him, “Oh, is that so? Never mind. Now do one more thing. Go over to that cow-shed you see over there, in that town. A calf was born there a while ago. Please ask the same question of that calf.”Sage Narada was still recovering from what had happened earlier.“Oh no, my Lord! What if that calf dies as well? I cannot risk committing the unforgivable crime of ‘go-hatya’!”Lord Vishnu however, was able to persuade him and sage Narada left on his new mission. Warily, he made his way into the cow-shed. It was in the middle of the night and he approached the calf unnoticed. He put the same question to the calf. In response, the calf looked at him with its large brown eyes. And then rolled over and died!Sage Narada was horrified.

Using all the yogic powers at his disposal, he fled the scene and arrived at the abode of Lord Vishnu, shaking with fear.“Oh my Lord! What have I done! The worst sin expected of anyone; the killing of the animal most dear to you!”Lord Vishnu pacified the trembling sage and assured him that no sin would accrue to him.“And in the bargain, my Lord, I haven’t even got the answer to my question?!” sage Narada complained.Lord Vishnu smiled and told him that he would have to do just one last thing for him.“You see that vast kingdom over there? The Queen has just given birth to her first child. All you have to do is ask that child your question and you will get your answer.”“No, my Lord! Please don’t ask me to go there. I have no doubt that some harm will befall that child as well. I simply cannot take that chance.”But Lord Vishnu remained adamant. What could the sage do?

Nervously, he set forth towards planet Earth.Arriving on the balcony where the young prince was lying unattended, sage Narada cautiously approached him. The baby looked at him and gurgled with joy.Hesitatingly, the great sage asked the child, “What is the value of Vaishnava Satsang?’The child looked at sage Narada, and to his surprise, began to speak.“O great Sage. Your question has already been answered. When you, the greatest of Vaishnavas, had first granted me your association, I was an insignificant worm. As a result of my contact with you, I left that body and was awarded the body of the most pious animal, the calf.You graced me with your association once more, and I left that body to gain the birth of the prince and heir of this vast kingdom. And by your causeless mercy, you have granted me your exalted association yet again.Now I have no doubt that this is my last birth on this Earth. Your association will help me attain that Supreme Destination; the abode of Lord Hari Himself!”

And this is the value of Vaishnava Association. We develop in all ways; spiritual as well as material.

Hare Krishna

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Krishna - a safe haven

The greatness about Krishna Consciousness is, if practiced properly, removes all anxieties from work and life. It gives one a true sense of assurance, safety, peace and ultimately happiness. After all, we are searching for a safe haven in all our activities. A place we can call home and people to share our feelings and emotions. Krishna Consciousness provides such a haven. The simple truths, simple thoughts and ultimately simple living provide a safe haven. The simple truth that we are not matter. The simple thought that we are servants of sweet Krishna. The simple life that we collect enough to maintain the body and soul and distribute the sumptuous.

If we think about it, all our daily activities are performed with one motivation – to be happy. Happiness can come when there is peace of mind. But how can there be peace if everything is constantly changing from good to bad to good? Therefore peace can be attributed to stillness or lack of change. This material world, however, is founded upon constant change thus making all our experience (good or bad), and knowledge temporary. In this temporary setting, trying to find permanent peace and happiness is akin to Fool’s Paradise.

Krishna Consciousness is permanent beyond the waves of time. It gives us a peace of mind leading to happiness. In Krishna Consciousness, we can find the eternal home and eternal relationships where we can share our emotions.

Find your eternal place in Krishna.

Chant Hare Krishna and be happy

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Beautiful Prayer by Takurji

The human form of life is the rarest opportunity for attaining spiritual perfection. But now I am lamenting, because I've somehow or other been born with such an opportunity, and I wasted it by never worshiping Lord Krsna. Oh, to whom shall I tell the tale of this misery?

Having married and entered into the entanglements of materialistic family life, I passed my time in vain. I never got any tangible gain or permanent benefit, only trouble and botheration.

What kind of world is this anyway? It seems to be just like a magic lantern show that I saw at a carnival, wherein so many shadows and optical illusions dance magically before my eyes. I feel great attachment and identification with such a world, and thus day after day passes by fruitlessly, without any purpose whatsoever.

When this body drops dead on the ground then what will remain mine? At that moment, all of my sons and dearest loved ones will not be able to give me any happiness.

I work hard just like an ass every day, and now I am wondering for whom am I working so hard? I am still surrounded by so many illusions.

I waste every day in useless, insignificant work, and I waste every night controlled by sleep. And in every 24 hours I never for one second consider that cruel death is sitting very close by my side.

I live a very carefree life-style, sometimes eating a lot, or eating a little if I feel like it, sometimes I see nice things around the town, or sometimes I do not go out at all, sometimes I wear opulent clothing, or if I'm in the mood, I'll wear something simple. I live so carefree that I never consider that one day I will have to give up this body.

My poor heart is plagued by constant anxieties about the maintenance and daily turmoils created by my body, my house, my wife, my family members and my social obligations. All these anxieties are pinching me and destroying all my intelligence.

Alas, alas! What a remorseful situation has arisen! I am absorbed in all this trouble, but I never consider that all these things are temporary and subject to perish very soon. After I'm dead and gone, where will all of my material opulences remain?

When my body will be thrown int the pit at the cremation grounds, it will simply lie there motionlessly. Then many crows, vultures, ants, and worms will come and playfully sport there.

All the stray dogs and jackals will then become very much delighted, and in great ecstasy they will make a festival ground out of my body and will have a huge celebration and feast.

Just see, this is the ultimate destination of this material body. And the most amazing thing is that all of my material opulences, house, family and friends have exactly the same destination.

Therefore I ask of anyone who has any sharp intelligence: please give up all of these temporary illusions presented by maya, and kindly search after the means to get pure devotion to Lord Krsna, for this is the only really tangible eternal truth.

By Srila Bhaktivinod Takur