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

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Irish Brown Soda Bread

Last few days I was hankering for some bread not made of yeast. So I did some research and decided to make Irish Brown Soda Bread. Baking soda is the leavening agent along with buttermilk or liquefied yogurt. Anyways, below are the pictures and a brief description about the recipe.


Whole wheat flour - 3.5 cups
All purpose flour - 0.5 cups
Buttermilk or liquid yogurt - 2 cups or as much necessary to make a slightly wet dough
Sugar - 5 teaspoons (adjust to taste)
Salt - 1.5 teaspoon (adjust to taste)
Baking Soda - 1.5 teaspoon
Organic raisins - 1 cup (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 deg Fahrenheit. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add in the dry ingredients. Blend nicely
  3. Create a well in the middle and add the wet ingredient that is the buttermilk
  4. Mix nicely but DO NOT knead long like a regular dough. It is important not to knead too much as the bread will become hard and stiff. Just incorporate the ingredients nicely together and add flour till the dough is  not sticking. Make the dough into an oval like ball.
  5. Move the dough to a pan with parchment paper.
  6. Make an "X" on top of the dough so when the dough rises it will expand nicely.
  7. Leave the dough on the table top for around 30 minutes so the ingredients start to chemically react with each other. Some recipes skip this step. However, I allowed the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
  8. After resting for 30 minutes, bake the bread in the preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven. It can tested by inserting a toothpick in the center and if it comes out clean then it is cooked. Another way is to tap the base for a hollow sound. I tested using both methods.
  10. Very important: Leave the bread to cool completely for at least 2 hours. Then cut it into slices otherwise the bread will crumble and become powdery which will not be nice.
  11. Finally I applied some butter on top and offered to Lord Krishna.
The bread came out nicely for me and I had a peanut butter and jelly slice. I also had a cheese and olive slice. 

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

No more death!

Death is literally and symbolically morbid meaning it represents cessation of everything we experience, hence people say death is cruel. The scriptures say there is only one way to conquer over death, and that is to take shelter of Krishna who is also referred as Ajita. Ajita means one who can never be conquered by anything including death. Krishna is also referred as Swarat which means He is supremely independent not subjected to death. So by taking shelter of such an individual, we also can conquer death.

I was listening to Prabhupada lecture and found the below narration highly inspirational hence sharing here.

So mrtyu, death, is stopped as soon as you take Krsna consciousness very seriously, immediately, from that moment, as soon as you are initiated. You promise before the spiritual master, "Yes, I am initiated, I shall act like this," and if you follow, then your death is stopped from that point. No more death. No more death. Simply an official business, just like you sleep and again you awake, similarly, a devotee's death is like that. It is like sleeping, and next moment in the spiritual kingdom, immediately. Immediately. When he will rise, he will see that "I am with Krsna." This is the fact!

Srila Prabhupada Lecture - Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.8 -- Los Angeles, January 5, 1974

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Devotee Association - Most Essential Element in Krishna Consciousness

It is extremely essential to associate with the spiritual master and with Vaisnavas who are fully surrendered to the spiritual master.  Unless we associate with Vaisnavas, how will unqualified people like ourselves learn the proper code of conduct and come to serve Guru ?  We always need ideal examples. If we don’t associate with Vaisnavas who are fixed at the spiritual master’s lotus feet, attached to chanting the holy name, and fixed in the Lord’s service, we cannot ourselves become fixed at guru’s feet. We cannot learn to consider the spiritual master our well-wisher. We cannot understand that the spiritual master is as good as God.  We cannot develop the tendency to serve the spiritual master.  If genuine devotees who are fixed at the Guru’s feet teach us neither how to serve the spiritual master nor how to behave when we are with him, then even after receiving a bona fide spiritual master we may lose him.  We would be losing a coveted jewel if we were bereft of his service.

- Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur (Page No.17 and 18 of the book ‘Amrta Vani’)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Six Ingredients

Six ingredients in worshipping the Deity
  1. Water
  2. Aasana
  3. Cloth
  4. Lamp
  5. Food grains
  6. Betel nuts
Six ingredients for invoking auspiciousness
  1. Cow dung
  2. Cow urine
  3. Yogurt
  4. Milk
  5. Ghee
  6. Gorocana
Six ingredients in devotional path or bhajana marga
  1. Offering obeisances
  2. Offering prayers
  3. Offering the fruits of all activities
  4. Offering services
  5. Remembering the Lotus Feet of the Lord
  6. Hearing topics of the Lord
source: Sri Chaitanya Bhagavata Madhya Kanda Part One, Ch six Text 33 Purport

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Society of cheaters and cheated

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Maharaj is quoted as saying this human society (referring to modern society) is a combination of the cheaters and the cheated. Maharaj also is famous for saying that this material world is not a fit place for a gentleman.

Therefore, the only way a man can live "happily" in this world is if he is blind, ignorant and selfish or if he is a cheat himself. If a man is blind to other people's suffering, ignorant to the real problems of this world and selfish always worrying about his own needs and wants, then such a man can successfully and happily live in this world. Otherwise, the only other option is to cheat himself.

Any sane gentleman with an ounce of self-respect and gentlemanliness cannot and will not tolerate the modern day society of living- so much quarrel- so much hypocrisy. Therefore, the only recourse for such a gentleman is to become Krishna conscious. Krishna conscious means God conscious!

Hare Krishna

Monday, May 13, 2013


In the Isopanishad, it is said that God the Supreme Being is complete and perfect and all His creations are complete and perfect. It implies that there should be no food shortage or food poverty in His creation. People should not go hungry for want of food. Nature is so perfect and unlimited that man can use Nature's bounty to sustain and grow himself. Why then is there food poverty? It is not because nature is inadequate or incomplete, it is because man who has the freedom to control, misuses his control out of greed and takes more than he needs thus creating a an artificial gap between resources, and people. Such unscrupulous leaders and guides of society who have the power to control the resources are the main culprits behind food poverty.

Despite the mismanagement of natural resources, the UN has taken a bizarre step to reduce food poverty. It is recommending human beings to eat insects. Gradually, the so called leaders of society are leading the way for people to degrade into animalistic lifestyle (mode of ignorance or tamo guna) . Human beings are meant to eat grains, fruits, roots, nuts, and milk products (mode of goodness or satva guna) and not animal flesh or insects. It is the grossest form of food habit. However, by planting the seed to eat insects, down the road, perhaps in two or three generations this sort of cuisine will be a normal practice.

Below is the article where insect eating is recommended.

The 200-page report, released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, on May 13 at the organisation's Rome headquarters, called for restaurants, chefs and food writers to promote the eating of insects, in a bid to fight world hunger and global warming.

"Insects are everywhere and they reproduce quickly," the FAO said, adding they leave a "low environmental footprint."

They provide high-quality protein and nutrients when compared with meat and fish and are "particularly important as a food supplement for undernourished children".

Insects are "extremely efficient" in turning feed into edible meat, converting feed mass into meat four times more effectively than cows. The report suggests this would allow food to be produced more cheaply, with fewer emissions. Insects are high in protein, and can also be rich in copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.

Entomophagy, or the practice of eating insects, has a long history, and is currently practiced by two billion people world wide. The report counts around a thousand edible insect species, from the small grasshoppers served "toasted in a little oil with garlic, lemon and salt" on the streets of Oaxaca, to the fly eggs, gathered from stagnant water, that Montezuma enjoyed for breakfast, which the report optimistically terms "Mexican caviar".

The FAO admits that consumer disgust will remain a barrier to their adoption into the Western diet.
However, squeamish westerners may already be practicing entomophagy unawares. Some degree of insect contamination is considered inevitable in large scale agriculture. The United States Food and Drug Administration considers wheat flour with an average of 75 or fewer insect fragments per 50 grams, and tomato juice with no more than one maggot per 100 grams, appropriate for human consumption.

Source: The Telegraph

Hare Krishna

Thursday, May 9, 2013

An inner still voice

I have a belief - a belief based on personal experience and introspection. Although this belief stems from my experience in life, hence very much subjective to myself, still, I also believe this could be true to every single being in this creation - A generalization that breaks all norms of modern scientific rigor.

Although I still find it hard to accept certain things that happened to me in my life still somewhere I know it was and is the perfect arrangement of destiny. Over the many years, I have had my share of misgivings which has led me to intense burst of anger and anguish followed by remorse and inner contemplation. In my phase of contemplation, I most often than not agree to how things pan out, even though painful. I invariably agree to the perfect arrangement simply because of the realization I get at the end. The final realization I always get benefits me in my spiritual realization of God. Such realizations are perfect thus making the incidents perfect because to realize God is the ultimate purpose of human life.

When we accept the ideal of God realization as the ultimate purpose of human life, then, whatever good or bad happens to us, we will gradually learn the art of not finding fault with our immediate causes of our problems. In the same vein, we will also not be passionate about seeking solutions to our problems, Rather we will cultivate the tolerance to accept our situation as it is and in that peaceful state of mind introspect our inner self. During this time of introspection or contemplation, we will hear an inner voice reverberating -a voice solacing us, guiding us, and ultimately teaching us the real principle of human life. This inner voice cannot be the mind or intelligence because in a bad situation, the mind and intelligence is disturbed, and beyond this disturbance, we will hear an undisturbed still voice.

Personally, I believe this inner still voice to be the voice of God Krishna. I believe every living being gets this inner voice especially during the time of despair. This still voice of God has a purpose - a deeper purpose beyond all the temporary duties of this world. God loves us so much He guides us in many ways. He will send a messenger, speak through the scriptures, come Himself and/or ultimately guide us from within. We only have to be ready to listen and take guidance in a humble manner without our own dictation, and when we do, our life incidences' will be signposts guiding us towards one purpose - that is - back home to the loving arms of God Krishna.

All our problems pale in front of God's oceanic love for us.

teṣām evānukampārtham
aham ajñāna-jaṁ tamaḥ
nāśayāmy ātma-bhāva-stho
jñāna-dīpena bhāsvatā

To show them special mercy, I (Krishna), dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.- BG 10.11

Hare Krishna

Friday, May 3, 2013

Societies based on unique birth-print

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" - Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, 1776 ACE

According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me” - Lord Sri Krishna, Bhagavad Gita (4.13), 3100 BCE

Krishna’s statement is categorically opposite to what Jefferson has stated above. In fact, it is self-evident from society that men are not treated equally implying they are not created equally. Existence of slavery was one example. Another one is the issue where men and women and different races get different incomes despite having the same qualifications. Broadly, one can say there is discrimination based on skin color, external beauty, IQ levels, job skills, religion etc. One’s social and economic status is dependent upon these criteria and one is discriminated based on it.

Not everyone is interested to become a doctor, or accountant, or lawyer or entertainer etc. Human beings have a natural inclination towards certain fields of knowledge and consequently engage in that field. That natural inclination begins right from birth. So if these inner qualities are from birth, then all men actually are not created equally rather they are born with innate qualities which are unique and individualistic to the person right from birth. Every individual creates a unique birth-print on this world.

Krishna’s model of this world of divisions of society based on nature acknowledges that unique birth-print and hence is a more accurate portrayal (self-evident) of reality versus the Utopian idea of equality. Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness are possible only if beings are treated fitting their inner nature. Therefore discrimination and differentiation is an inevitable truth. Modern society woefully falls short of creating conditions or environments that suit the differences among men.

In the Vedic society, however, there were eight broad divisions which were clearly demarcated. The four social orders were the intellectuals, the administrators/soldiers, the businessmen/farmers, and the laborers/technicians who served the above three. Then there were the four spiritual orders which were the celibate students, married householders, intern-renunciates and full renunciate monks. These broad eight divisions were clearly demarcated based on one’s desire to work and spiritual values. When the demarcations are clearly established, there is respect for one another and happiness is automatic.

The fact that today’s society is ridden with so many social mores is enough evidence to conclude that artificial equality among human beings creates friction and hence not working. It is therefore scientific to create a society where all types of people are respected for who they are and treated appropriately for who they are. Only such societies can actually yield liberty and happiness.

Hare Krishna