last updated 26th February 2010

Kazakhstani online petition

Kazakhstani online petition

By Radha Mohan Dasa

Please visit NOW and click the link to the new petition, or go straight to the petition webpage:

Please sign it soon as you can, and please tell as many people as you can about it.

Background: Workers and police arrived on 15th June at the village near Almaty, Kazakhstan, where the embattled Hare Krishna commune is based to demolish twelve more Hare Krishna-owned homes. “The houses were literally crushed into dust. By ten o’clock it was all over,” said ISKCON spokesperson Maksim Varfolomeyev.

The temple, which the devotees have been ordered to destroy, has not been touched but the devotees fear it could be the next target. Human rights activist Yevgeny Zhovtis is outraged at the continuing destruction. “The authorities are showing that they will do what they want, despite the international outrage at the earlier demolitions of Hare Krishna-owned homes.” He believes the local administration chief “doesn’t care about the political damage to Kazakhstan’s reputation – or to its desire to chair the OSCE.”

ys Radha Mohan das

The tragedy of the Krishna community in Kazakhstan

THE KRISHNA COMMUNITY NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT This Krishna community may be driven away from their property and homes at any moment. To assist in relocating dozens of faithful and their temple,

This Video is a "Must see"

Kazakhstan Allots Only 1 Hectare to ISKCON After Confiscating 48
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By Rati Manjari Dasi on 2 Jan 2010

The latest news about the long-running battle between the Government of Kazakhstan and ISKCON’s “Krishna Society” has just come in: the Government now wants to allot devotees only one hectare of land as compensation for the forty-eight hectares they confiscated and the twenty-six homes they demolished back in late 2006.

In its most recent correspondence with the Kazakhstan government, the Krishna Society requested that it be allowed to keep just fifteen hectares of its original forty-eight hectare plot.

In response to this appeal, national, provincial and district authorities of the Kazakhstan government established a State Commission on November 15th to resolve the issue.

Members of the Commission visited the current ISKCON farm, which presently occupies the fifteen hectares the Krishna Society requests it be allotted. This includes a small building which is currently used as the place of worship, a barn for keeping cows, a field for growing cattle feed, an apple orchard planted by the society, and vegetable and flower gardens.

These facilities have been created and maintained by the Krishna Society for the past ten years and involved great financial and human resources. However, when officials arrived to observe and measure the lands occupied by the Society, they measured only the exact area of the temple building and barn­approximately one hectare.

One month with no communication from the Government followed. Finally on December 11th Mr. Tulesov, a Deputy Chairman of the National Religious Committee, met with ISKCON leaders to announce the Commission’s decision. He showed them plans of the one hectare area including only the temple building and barn, and completely cutting off all facilities for the cows and agriculture.

Despite all the previous agreements regarding land for cows and for the construction of a new temple complex, it was all that the government had decided to allot the Society.

The government no longer intends to entertain the idea of allotting land for cows, said Mr. Tulesov. Instead, it wants to divide ISKCON’s fifteen hectares into small plots to be given to needy persons in the local Karasai District.

ISKCON’s leaders knew from past experience that this was an unlikely story, and told Mr. Tulesov as much. The government had made the same claim when it confiscated ISKCON-owned land before, yet rather than being given to poor citizens of the Karasai District, this land is now owned and being developed by rich Almaty City dwellers.

Mr. Tulesov conveyed to the government ISKCON’s disapproval of its decision. The government’s response came on December 15th: The Krishna Society should either accept the one hectare of land, or vacate from the property.

This is a familiar repetition of the Krishna Society’s struggle over the past four years since the Kazakh government destroyed twenty-six practioners’ homes and confiscated forty-eight hectares of legally registered property. The land was transferred to the land reserve of the Kazakh government for resale, and the Krishna followers who had been left homeless were never given humanitarian aid or compensation.

And so, the battle continues.

Woman's Prayers Lead to Massive Fine in Kazakhstan

By on 17 Feb 2010

American college students meet with Russian youth at the only Baptist church in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Unless she succeeds in her appeal, Zhanna-Tereza Raudovich will be due to pay a massive fine for hosting a Sunday morning service in her home attended by several local Baptist women and their children.

Also, the government version of a new Code of Administrative Offenses, now in Parliament, continues almost unchanged the penalties for religious activity in the current Code and adds a new offense of "inciting social, racial, national, religious, class and clan superiority."

The 17 January worship service in Raudovich's home was raided by local police and she was fined three days later. She belongs to the Council of Churches Baptists, who reject state registration in all the former Soviet republics where they operate. They insist that such registration represents unwarranted state interference in their internal affairs.

The police who raided Raudovich's home in the village of Ayteke Bi in Kazaly District of Kyzylorda Region drew up an official record that "they had discovered an illegally functioning religious community."

Raudovich was found guilty on 20 January by Judge M. Zhubanganov at Kazaly District Court of violating Article 374-1 Part 1 of the Code of Administrative Offences (leadership or participation in the activity of an unregistered social or religious organisation) by conducting the Sunday service. She was fined 100 times the minimum monthly wage or 141,300 Tenge (5,713 Norwegian Kroner, 699 Euros or 955 US Dollars). She appealed against the fine to Kyzylorda Regional Court, where her appeal was scheduled to be heard on 11 February.

It remains unclear how Raudovich could pay the fine. She has six children and does not have a job, fellow Baptists pointed out. "This is the sixth such fine she has faced. The family has no items of value, so court executors have not been able to confiscate anything up till now to pay off the earlier fines."

Hare Krishna in Kazakstan:
Kazak Edition of Bhagavad-gita presented to Srila Prabhupada.
This is now the 55th language in which Bhagavad-gita has been printed.

Read HERE how the original issue began in Kazakstan

Read HERE what the previous articles from November 2006 were

Iskcon Kazakstan



Urgent: Illegal Mining of Braj Hills - Immediate  Attention Required

Jai Shri Radhe

The MLA of Kaman, Rajasthan Zahida Khan has taken her own delegates to Smt. Sonia Gandhi Ji to force and threaten her to reverse the decision taken by chief minister of Rajasthan, to make the holy hills of Braj area a reserved forest.
Zahida Khan is doing so as her husband and her relatives are owners of such mines which is destroying our Heritage.

As you all know about the Mass Agitation led by 1000's of Sadhus, Saints and devotees on Nov. 10th in Kaman. Shri Ramesh Baba Ji Maharaaj himself sat for hunger strike along with 1000's of devotees and after 26 hours, Rajasthan Govt. declared  holy hills of Braj area as a reserved forest.

To make sure that we stand together and will not tolerate this, we need to apply pressure to Govt. in next 48 hours. We need to do the same thing that we did last time.  You have following options:

 Please cut and paste the letter below and fax directly to Sonia Gandhi at 91-11-23018651 / 23018650. We highly encourage you to fax directly as this will have greater impact on them. If you cannot do it, you may have following options.
If you are in USA and do not have international fax service, you can send you fax to us locally at  001-270-458-1894 and we will forward it on your behalf.
If you represent an organization in any capacity, please use your official letter head for fax purpose. Again you can send your fax to us locally or directly to Sonia Gandhi.
If none of the options above are practical for you, please send us a scanned copy of your letter at We will fax it on your behalf.

Letter to Sonia Gandhi Ji

Smt. Sonia Gandhi Ji,

Firstly,we wish to compliment you on the firm decision taken by your esteemed Party as regards to saving and preserving the Sacred and Environmentally fragile hills of Kaama – Bharatpur in Rajasthan by showing their genuine intention to declare the area as reserved forest.

However, we also want to bring to light the unholy nexus between some members of your party who in active collusion with illegal miners are heading a misleading crusade in favor of mining.

This team is lead by the local MLA Zahida Khan. Her husband and relatives own 6 big  leases.

She is allegedly involved in heavy illegal mining in Kaama Tehsil in Bharatpur particularly in Garh, Hazaari Baas, Dholawas, Chindawata, Nagra Mukharib.
She also holds a crusher setup under the name Braj Mewat Crusher which is owned by her husband where entire illegal mined material is being processed.
The issue of unemployment which Zahida Khan is advocating doesn't have any ground as hardly 1700 people are employed in business of illegal mining. Most of them are daily waged migrant labors that belong from Bihar & Madhya Pradesh.

The entire campaign against declaration of holy hills of Braj as reserved forest is being plotted by few money centric people who are involved in massive destruction of ecology and religious topography of the area. Their claims about unemployment do not have any sanctity and are far from reality.

Fabricated issues raised by mining mafia and Zahida Khan doesn’t have any gravity in front of more global, wider and vital agenda of protection and preservation of holy hills of Braj  as millions of devotees  &  environmentalist  worldwide are associated with it and have shown serious concern over restoration of these marks of ancient religious heritage.

As per Government order, all mining leases were canceled  dated 8-2-2008 and entire area measuring 5232 hectare was transferred to forest.

 Sadly, the mining is still going on (on a larger level) despite the blanket ban and High Court and Supreme Court Orders.
You might recall how senior functionaries of your party had supported action against mining in the Parliament.

The area concerned attracts 60 -80 million tourist and pilgrims every year. The hills have immense reverence in the sacred scriptures.

We urge you not to fall prey to the misleading facts presented by the greedy miners and unscrupulous party people.

 The Rajasthan government had already converted the entire area into forest land two years ago. The current Congress government has already begun the process of converting it into a Reserved Forest, thanks to the balanced approach of the chief minister of Rajasthan Mr. Ashok Gahlot.

Thanking you in anticipation, we remain, sincerely your subjects

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Meditation Can Strengthen The Body’s Immune Function

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, November 29, 2009: Newer research from the University of Wisconsin shows a meditation habit can strengthen the body’s immune function, plus increase brain performance in the form of electrical activity. It validates the mind-body dynamic of meditation.

To gauge immune function, the researchers measured antibodies in the blood that fight flu and other infections.

Volunteer subjects in the study who meditated had significantly higher levels of these healthful antibodies than non-meditators in just one to two months. And participants who meditated for two months had significantly higher levels of antibodies than individuals meditating for just one month.

The region of the brain most activated by meditation is the left frontal area associated with positive emotions and anxiety reduction.

courtesy of Hinduism Today

Prayer Can Help You Recover

NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 17, 2009: A growing body of studies show that different kinds of spiritual practices, ranging from prayer and yoga to music and touch therapy, facilitates healing in cardiac patients. Not surprisingly, the role of spirituality and prayer in health and healing has been an area of widespread interest for ages.

A notable number of studies done throughout the world on the effectiveness of prayer in the healing process have shown that spiritual practice actually produces a real effect over and above the effect of placebo. Findings presented by doctors and researchers at a recent meeting (organized by Escorts Heart Institute in association with the World Academy of Spiritual Sciences, Cardiology Society of India and HEAL India) also established the nexus between science, spirituality and healing.

“Spirituality is as much about a disciplined balanced approach to life as it is about pursuit of things metaphysical. In its various manifestations for example, prayer and music has a considerable impact in promoting healing. Music helps to relieve stress, which works wonders for the cardiovascular system,” said Dr Ashok Seth, Chairman, Escorts Heart Institute.

The results of a new 150-patient pilot study, which integrated herapies like guided imagery, breath control, touch therapy, and offsite prayer with traditional ones, were promising. While increasingly popular outside of mainstream medicine, this is one of the first efforts to study the impact of noetic therapies using rigorous, scientific research methods, the results of which have been published in the American Heart Journal.

courtesy of Hinduism Today

Climate Change Is Forcing Humans And Tigers Into Closer Contact

UNITED KINGDOM, December 2009: Climate change is forcing humans and tigers in the Sunderbans delta of eastern India into closer contact - and attacks on people are on the rise. Royal Bengal tigers which roam through the vast mangrove forests at the mouth of the river Ganges are coming into closer contact, and conflict, with humans. Dozens of people are killed every year by tigers in the Sundarbans. And local villagers say the number of attacks is increasing.

The last official census in the Sundarbans, carried out in 2004, suggested that there were 279 tigers in the forests. “Our basic message is if you save the tiger, the mangrove will be saved, and the mangrove will save you,” says Col. Shakti Banerjee of the Wildlife Preservation Society of India.

Col. Banerjee also points out that nearly all the attacks occur when humans enter the forests, not when tigers intrude into the villages. But there’s little doubt that the two species have to co-exist in a shrinking space.

“Climate change is causing accelerated sea level rise and an increase in the salinity of the southern Sundarbans,” says Professor Pranabes Sanyal of Jadavpur University in Calcutta. “That in turn is causing the migration of the tigers from the southern islands towards the north, close to the human habitation. That’s why we have this man-animal confrontation - and the confrontation is increasing.”

courtesy of Hinduism Today

Indians In The Matter

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, November 29, 2009: The bronze Nataraja in its famous tandava pose gleams golden as it catches the first rays of the sun. Scientists, walking briskly to their labs through the chilly mist, cast quick glances at the statue, sitting above the tunnel where two proton beams are colliding at the rate of 40 million hits per second. This is where an explosion in a pipe on November 10 last year brought the world’s biggest scientific experiment ever to a halt.

But, the Nataraja, gifted to Cern or the European Centre for Nuclear Research five years ago by India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), is not the only Indian presence here. More than 100 Indian scientists have been working since the day the large hadron collider broke down last year. This happened just as 6,000 scientists were starting an experiment that hoped to find Higgs Boson ­ the so-called god particle ­ by creating conditions similar to that of the Big Bang some 13.7 billion years ago.

“India’s biggest contribution has been its scientists,” says Nick Chohan, a British scientist who worked with Indians to fix magnets that direct the proton beams in the tunnel. “Without their work, this experiment would not take off again. They came here in groups and worked round the clock in shifts and we fixed the problem.”

courtesy of Hinduism Today

25,000 Indian-Origin British Doctors To Return To India

NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 4, 2010: Nearly 25,000 British doctors of Indian origin are set to return to India within two to four years and some of them are “most likely to join the seven AIIMS-like institutions” proposed to be set up by the central government.

“There are around 15,000 young Indian-origin doctors undergoing training in different parts of Britain who will return to India,” Ramesh Mehta, president of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, said. “Also, at least 10,000 senior doctors of Indian origin who are retiring from their jobs in the UK, are set to return to India,” said the doctor, currently on an Indian tour.

Mehta said the ministry told the association that there will be a problem in finding quality doctors to man the seven new medical colleges modelled after the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). “We believe that these young doctors who are undergoing training in the UK currently, can be of great help in the new AIIMS-like institutes,” he added.

courtesy of Hinduism Today

Soul Under Scalpel

Dr. Allan Hamilton: The Scalpel and the Soul

By Valerie Reiss for on 12 Apr 2008
Dr. Allan Hamilton

In 30 years as a Harvard-trained brain surgeon, Dr. Allan Hamilton has not only seen disease and healing--he's also glimpsed the mystical side of medicine. After suffering a devastating back injury while serving in Desert Storm, Dr. Hamilton learned to be a patient. It infused his life with new purpose: While in a body cast, he invented a now widely-used method for treating tumors. As a medical professor at the University of Arizona, he teaches surgeons to avoid fatal mistakes. And he runs an equine-assisted therapy program for cancer patients and survivors at Rancho Bosque outside of Tucson.

Dr. Hamilton's new book is, "The Scalpel and the Soul: Encounters with Surgery, the Supernatural, and the Healing Power of Hope." He recently talked to Beliefnet about his most inspiring patients, how to stay positive in medical settings, and the spirituality they didn't teach in medical school.

What inspired you to write about your spiritual experiences as a surgeon?

I felt I had gone far enough in my career that I could say I was totally unprepared for the spiritual challenges that I encountered in taking care of my patients. When people are facing a severe illness or a major surgery, that may be may be one of the most significant opportunities for spiritual transformation that they will encounter.

So as a doctor, if you don't take that into account, you’re missing a big piece of the picture?

I tell residents, if you gave me two patients with identical problems and one of them had family at the bedside with a lot of laughter, plus photos and a quilt from home, and next door was another patient who was alone every time I came by­I’m going to be very nervous about the isolated patient's mental status.

Have you observed that affecting their physical outcome as well?

Well, there are plenty of studies that have shown that depression is associated with decreased immunity. So I want to harness all of the positive emotional energy I can in a patient to get better. If there’s not a lot of energy there, or if it's very negative, that’s going to make the task of getting them through surgery and having a good recovery much more difficult.

In the book you talk a lot about hope. There's one moving story about a patient named Donald.

That was one of the saddest experiences I have ever had as a physician, and probably one of the most insightful. This was a young man I got very close to. He was an avid fisherman. And he had a malignant brain tumor. He did very well with the surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. This was a kid with an irrepressible spirit--it was exactly the kind of shining emotion that you love to see.

And one day he took me aside and looked me square in the eye and said, “When it’s time for me to 'go fishing'--and you know what I mean--tell me.” I gave him my word that I would.

Over several more years there were problems, but we fought them off. But, finally, the tumor was really invading his brain. One morning I said, "I promised you that I would tell you when it was time to go fishing. It is now time.”

He went home, and the next morning his mother called and told me that he had died. You could say he died of his disease. He didn’t. He died because I cut his string of hope. It taught me how powerful that is, and that nobody, no physician, ever has the right to take away somebody’s hope. As well as intentioned as it might have been, I literally just snipped it, and it was a mortal snip.

But you also want to honor a request like that.

Yes, you do. In retrospect, he was saying, “You tell me when you’ve given up hope, and then I’ll give up mine.” If the conversation had been in those words, I would have said, “I’ll never give up hope.”

Can you talk about the patient whose brain had to be shut down so you could repair an aneurysm?

This is a technique that’s used on a handful of difficult cases. They put the patient on a heart pump, then cool down the blood. The heart flutters and stops. There’s no blood flow to the brain, and no electrical activity in the brain. Now you can operate on a very significant blood vessel while no blood is flowing through it.

Once the procedure is finished and you realize you’re within the time limit of 20 minutes or so, everybody breathes a sigh of relief. And then the team gets ready to slowly warm the patient up. Sometimes there’s some banter. One of the nurses said she was getting
engaged, and that they had gone to this restaurant, and had gotten the ring at this particular store, etc.

When the patient woke, she reported the entire conversation. While her heart was stopped, while her brain had no activity, she somehow remembered that conversation.

And that is scientifically impossible. If the brain is essentially dead, then how can it make a memory? A case like that shakes you up. You’re getting very close to the Holy Grail: "Is this what we mean by a soul? Is this what we mean by an entity that can exist separate from the physical body and the brain?"

And what do you do with that, personally?

People think of science as rolling back the mystery of God. I look at science as slowly creeping toward the mystery of God.

Here I have an example of consciousness existing outside of the body and any physical parameters that we associate with somebody being conscious. That really changes how I look at what happens when the functions that we associate with life disappear.

How can patients preserve their spirituality in a traditional medical setting?

1) First, hospitals do not like individuality. They’re trying to turn you into a number. That’s the last thing I want. So lose the hospital gown. A gown that opens up in the back with your butt hanging out, and that is how you’re supposed to walk down the hallway to get exercise after surgery is ridiculous. Get your sweats. Get your T-shirt. Get your sneakers and start thinking like an athlete. Start thinking like somebody who’s getting better.

2) If you have your favorite quilt, sleep under that. Surround yourself with things that remind you of the positive influences in your life. I tell patients they have to take responsibility for surrounding themselves with positive energy. If you have a special picture or positive music, bring those in.

3) Create your own healing ceremonies. If prayer is important, use it. Have a family circle. Very often I’ll say, "Let’s circle up and have everybody tell the patient how important that person is to them and how they’re looking forward to them getting better."

4) Hospital food is terrible. They cook everything vital out of it. Have your family make meals and bring them in. Eat food that’s organic and in its natural, potent state, with all the minerals and vitamins.

5) Get out as soon as you can. Hospitals are bad for everybody, but they’re especially bad for people who are sick. They’re toxic. Go home where positive influences are concentrated.

How can patients coach a doctor who is not interested in any of this stuff?
One, you’ve got to have a doctor you feel comfortable with. I’m always amazed that patients are turning their lives over to somebody, and then they go, "I don’t feel comfortable with them."

The second thing is that the patient has the right to say, “Here are some things that are really important to me.” For example, many people want to have specific music played during surgery, and a lot of doctors may pooh-pooh that. I don’t. That’s the patient’s prerogative.

And last but not least, you’ve got to hire a tough guy. You appoint a guardian angel, and their job is to make sure that you are respected as an individual. If you want crystals organized on your bedside table and they’re supposed to stay that way, then you put somebody in charge of saying, “This is very important, and we are going to respect that, and so is the medical staff.”

In 2004 you had your own surgery, how did that change your view of medicine?

One of the most important experiences a physician can have is becoming a serious patient.

In this case, I broke my back and had 10 hours of surgery. I lost half my blood volume during the surgery and I wasn’t sure I was going to walk again.

For so long, my identity had been wrapped up in being a surgeon, in trusting my physical strengths. Then all of a sudden, you’re just one of the people in the hallway shuffling along with a cane and you realize that the hospital staff and doctors are not looking at you anymore as a physician.

But patients began to look at me differently too. They’d give me this little secret smile, that said, “We know what we’re going through, don’t we?”

And it really changed my feelings about medical errors. I had a couple [mistakes] happen. Here I am, a surgeon in the hospital, and I still can’t stop a mistake here, a mistake there. If I can’t, how can an ordinary patient? I realized this was something that I'd to dedicate myself to.

You’re still teaching?
Yes, and I spend a lot of time working with surgeons, simulating mistakes, and asking, “How could we do this differently?” I study how jet pilots are trained. The amount of people dying in the United States due to hospital errors is the equivalent of a 747 falling out of the sky every single day, 365 days a year. [Medical error] is becoming the fourth leading cause of death. We would never set foot on a jet if that was happening every single day. And yet, we have no choice.

Is there anything you want to add?
At some point, we are all going to face a severe challenge to our mortality. And that is a very frightening moment, but it is also a moment in which there is tremendous potential to change our lives. I have not met one cancer patient who said, “I wish I could go back and not have cancer." Their values and what they wanted to do with their lives changed.

So, as terrible as a severe illness or major surgery may be, it may be the great opportunity to find your passion, figure out what is important to you, and what you're going to devote yourself to. Ultimately, that’s what we’re all looking for.


February 23, 2010,

By Krishna Pokharel, The Wall Street Journal

VARANASI, India­More than a million devout Hindus bathed in the Ganges River Friday, braving the risk of terrorist attack, stampede and petty crime for the chance to wash away the sins of a lifetime and open the gateway to heaven after death.

But perhaps the greatest threat to the devotees who flocked to Haridwar, India, on one of the most auspicious days of the triennial Kumbh Mela festival, was the water itself.

The river is intensely polluted with sewage and industrial waste. Water-treatment facilities have been unable to keep up with India’s rapid growth, often held back by a shortage of funds and other resources.

A dip in the Ganges River in India is believed by devotees to wash away all sins. But increasingly it has become heavily polluted with sewage and industrial waste. Now, a $4 billion government program aims to clean the river.

Now, the spiritually cleansing waters of the Ganges are about to get some cleaning of their own. The Indian government has embarked on a $4 billion campaign to ensure that by 2020 no untreated municipal sewage or industrial runoff enters the 1,560-mile river.

Only 31% of municipal sewage in India undergoes treatment, according to the Central Pollution Control Board, a government agency in New Delhi, while the rest gets discharged into the country’s rivers, ponds, land and seas, contaminating underground and surface waters. More than 500,000 of the 10.3 million deaths in India in 2004 resulted from waterborne diseases, according to the most recent comprehensive mortality data from the World Health Organization.

The filth in the Ganges holds special resonance for this majority-Hindu nation. The Ganges basin supports more than 400 million of India’s 1.1 billion people, the majority of whom are Hindus, who revere the river as “mother” and “goddess.”
Cleaning the Holy Ganges

The cleanup initiative, which is supported by the World Bank, includes the expansion of traditional treatment facilities and, for the first time in India, the introduction of innovative river-cleaning methods.

Veer Bhadra Mishra, a 70-year-old priest and hydraulics engineer in Varanasi, the holy city downstream from Haridwar, has been a prominent advocate of treatment methods used abroad but not yet in India. His plan: to introduce a system to divert sewage and effluents, before they enter the river, to a series of specially designed ponds, for treatment and ultimately to be used use in irrigation or directed back into the river.

His efforts were mired in court and by opposition from local bureaucrats. The bureaucrats had a “difference of opinion” with Mr. Mishra about the best way to clean the river, says Ramesh Singh, general manager of Ganga Pollution Control Unit, the local government body charged with running government treatment facilities in Varanasi.

Mr. Singh says the technologies already in use were time-tested and reliable, but suffered from a lack of trained manpower and proper infrastructure, and a shortage of funds for equipment maintenance.

Last summer, after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh identified cleaning up the river as a national priority, the government in New Delhi increased funding to operate and maintain conventional treatment facilities, and also approved Mr. Mishra’s plan­giving $184,000 to his organization, the Sankat Mochan Foundation, for the design of a new sewage treatment plant.

The foundation is working with GO2 Water Inc., a Berkeley, Calif., wastewater-technology company. In the plan, 10.5 million gallons of sewage a day­13% of the daily output from Varanasi’s 1.5 million people­will be intercepted daily at the riverbank, and diverted. In a nearby village, water will pass through a series of ponds, where sunlight, gravity, bacteria and microalgae will clean the water. A larger pond system is planned, to process 33% more of the city’s sewage.

The treatment system “will be the best solution for dealing with huge amount of domestic sewage being discharged into Gangaji and other rivers in India,” Mr. Mishra said, using the honorific “ji” with the river’s local name, Ganga.

In Haridwar, the National Botanical Research Institute is developing a wetland with local species of reeds to absorb the polluting elements from the wastewater, according to U.N. Rai, a scientist heading the project. Other wetlands will be developed in other areas “to ease the current pollution load in the river,” Mr. Rai says.

The load is heavy. On a recent winter morning in Varanasi, lab technician Gopal Pandey descended the stone stairs of Tulsi Ghat, one of the holy city’s 84 bathing platforms, to fetch some Ganges water for testing at the Sankat Mochan Foundation, an organization run by Mr. Mishra.

In the laboratory, Mr. Pandey found that each 100 milliliters of the river’s waters were laden with 29,000 fecal coliform bacteria, which potentially cause disease. India says a maximum of 500 per 100 milliliters is safe for bathing in the river. Another sample from downstream, after the Ganges meets a tributary carrying a black mass of thick industrial effluents, showed 10 million bacteria­mostly E-coli­in the same amount of river water. Mr. Pandey’s verdict: “The pollution is at very, very dangerous level.”

Is There Such a Thing as Life After Death?

By Laura Fitzpatrick for on 22 Jan 2010

Image: ERproductions Ltd / Blend Images / Corbis
Thousands of people have reported "out of body" experiences while at the brink of death.

Is there life after death? Theologians can debate all they want, but radiation oncologist Dr. Jeffrey Long says if you look at the scientific evidence, the answer is unequivocally yes. Drawing on a decade's worth of research on near-death experiences ­ work that includes cataloguing the stories of some 1,600 people who have gone through them ­ he makes the case for that controversial conclusion in a new book, Evidence of the Afterlife. Medicine, Long says, cannot account for the consistencies in the accounts reported by people all over the world. He talked to TIME about the nature of near-death experience, the intersection between religion and science and the Oprah effect.

Medically speaking, what is a near-death experience?
A near-death experience has two components. The person has to be near death, which means physically compromised so severely that permanent death would occur if they did not improve: they're unconscious, or often clinically dead, with an absence of heartbeat and breathing. The second component [is that] at the time they're having a close brush with death, they have an experience. [It is] generally lucid [and] highly organized.

How do you respond to skeptics who say there must be some biological or physiological basis for that kind of experience, which you say in the book is medically inexplicable?
There have been over 20 alternative, skeptical "explanations" for near-death experience. The reason is very clear: no one or several skeptical explanations make sense, even to the skeptics themselves. Or [else ]there wouldn't be so many.

You say there's less skepticism about near-death experiences than there used to be, as well as more awareness. Why is that?
Literally hundreds of scholarly articles have been written over the last 35 years about near-death experience. In addition to that, the media continues to present [evidence of] near-death experience. Hundreds of thousands of pages a month are read on our website,

In the book you say that some critics argue that there's an "Oprah effect": that a lot of people who have had near-death experiences have heard about them elsewhere first. How do you account for that in your research?
We post to the website the near-death experience exactly as it was shared with us. Given the fact that every month 300,000 pages are read [by] over 40,000 unique visitors from all around the world, the chances of a copycat account from any media source not being picked up by any one of those people is exceedingly remote. Our quality-assurance check is the enormous visibility and the enormous number of visitors.

You say this research has affected you a lot on a personal level. How?
I'm a physician who fights cancer. In spite of our best efforts, not everybody is going to be cured. My absolute understanding that there is an afterlife for all of us ­ and a wonderful afterlife ­ helps me face cancer, this terribly frightening and threatening disease, with more courage than I've ever faced it with before. I can be a better physician for my patients.

You say we can draw on near-death experiences to reach conclusions about life after actual death. But is that comparing apples and oranges?
Scientifically speaking, interviewing people that have permanently died is challenging. Obviously, given that impossibility, we have to do the next best thing. If these people have no brain function, like you have in a cardiac arrest, I think that is the best, closest model we're going to have to study whether or not conscious experience can occur apart from the physical brain. The research shows the overwhelming answer is absolutely yes.

You raise the idea that your work could have profound implications for religion. But is whether there is life after death really a scientific question, or a theological one?
I think we have an interesting blend. [This research] directly addresses what religions have been telling us for millenniums to accept on faith: that there is an afterlife, that there is some order and purpose to this universe, that there's some reason and purpose for us being here in earthly life. We're finding verification, if you will, for what so many religions have been saying. It's an important step toward bringing science and religion together.

Is there any aspect of human experience that you don't think science can touch?
Oh, absolutely. What happens after permanent death ­ after we're no longer able to interview people ­ is an absolute. To that extent, the work I do may always require some element of faith. But by the time you look at [the] evidence, the amount of faith you need to have [to believe in] life after death is substantially reduced.

More HERE - Reincarnation pages

Science Misses The Point

Science is Over- Rated!
For the most part modern man has replaced religion with science. We put our faith in it and spend so much money for new research it is not unreasonable to suggest we worship science. Science has such an iron grip on society that the Christian faith is struggling desperately to figure out how to reconcile Biblical theology with the information Scientists are declaring as absolute certainties. The most obvious example of this is the battle between Evolutionists and the traditional seven day creationists. One of the ways creationists attempt to reconcile this difference is by expanding the idea of a 24 hour day into "Days" that last for a millennia. The Christians "Scientists" who produce the "Creation" magazine are even bolder. They assert that conventional methods like radioactive dating, archeology and the fossil record are NOT supported by rigorous empirical science! They insist that we must therefore discard those theories in light of the Bible's declaration that the world is slightly older then just 5000 years!
Many of the computer scientists I work with as a Database Engineer for the UA NVY Port Hueneme Survace Warefar Center consider themselves to be hard core rational scientific thinkers. Some may hold on to a simplified concept of a "Higher Power" but for the most part they fall into the category of: "If I can't see it with some type of measurable instrument, then it' doesn't exist! Religion, Faith, and particularly the concept of God are all therefore considered by these folks as psychological crutches for the emotionally weak. They contend that those things which can't be repeatedly measured and studied with traditional scientific methods all fall into the category of "Blind Faith".

What my colleagues and their friends the Athiests always fail to realize is that modern day Science is subordinate to philosophy. A rigorous thinker knows that before one assumes that scientific research will provide us accurate information about the subtle nature of our human condition, we must first philosophically inquire to see if it is even possible of doing that. When we look as science from a philosophical point of view we can quickly understand what the problem is with relying on science in order to understand the world we live in.

Silly Rationalists!
What the "Rationalists" are unable to address is how is it possible for the flawed human being to understand anything correctly? It doesn't matter how many people you put into a scientific laboratory to study an event, every one of those researchers are handicapped by: 1) Imperfect Senses, 2) The inclination to Cheat. 3) The possibility of making mistakes, and the 4) Propensity to perceive things incorrectly due to illusions. Since the beginning of he Industrial age we have seen how some of the things that were promoted based on "Scientific Evidence" has had to be recalled later due to one of these unavoidable human flaws.

Therefore at best, science means mealy guessing. If we want to understand things correctly, we MUST approach an absolute source that is beyond the flaws of human endeavor. Of course this flies right in the faith of all the New-Age pseudo-spiritualists who preach everything can be found within you thru self-examination or by silent meditation. However serious transcendentalists do not try to rationalize away the influence of the Four Flaws. When someone actually grasps this important point, they can immediately realize that the Prophets of the New Age don't know what they are talking about either!

Science Stumbles over Consciousness
We have become so enamored by the bluffing nature of speculative science many people fail to see the obvious glaring omissions by those who worship high science. The truth is that scientists can not explain where consciousness originated from, and what its constitutional nature is. They may be able to pinpoint where the various nerve endings that animate our senses are in the brain but they do not know where the amalgamation of mind, intelligence, and ego (Consciousness) actually resides in the body! Yet everyone experiences consciousness so we know it exists!
Science can't tell us much abut consciousness, but that is the primary subject of all Vedic knowledge. From the Bhagavad Gita we learn that the Soul exists eternally as the non-material spark, and it is that soul which is responsible for animating the entire body.
Sun Verse.

Science Misses the Point
Science is preoccupied with only studying Krishna's inferior material energy which it temporary and therefore illusionary. The irony is that the general pubic funds all sorts of scientific research but for the most part Science is reticent about no being willing to study the nature of the soul with the same type of alacrity it has for splitting the atom. After all, if the soul is eternal, then knowing where it will be heading after this body collapses should be of great interest to us all. Unfortunatly the science we see practied today is a classic example of what the metaphor, "Arranging pool chairs on the deck of the Titanic!" is referring to!

Main Article by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Science Misses The Point
Modern Science: Simply Bluffing
This conversation between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and Thoudam Singh, Ph.D., took place in Bhubanesvara, India, on February 3, 1977
Dr. Singh: Many of my scientific colleagues say that intelligence is simply a molecular interaction within the brain.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: Some molecular interaction may be occurring, but the interaction is not simply molecular. Intelligence has to do with the soul, not simply with the brain.
Dr. Singh: They say the brain is the source of intelligence.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: No. Take electricity, for example. Electricity moves between gross elements and through a gross wire. But the electricity itself -- it is not those elements, not that wire. It is subtle.
Dr. Singh: Yes, it is subtle, but --
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: You cannot see this subtle thing directly; you can see it only when it interacts with something gross. But the subtle thing is independent and distinct from the gross things.
Dr. Singh: That is actually true. That's a fact. For example, when we speak of Newton's law of gravitation, we can establish a mathematical formula, but we do not know how gravitation acts.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: Not directly seen.
Dr. Singh: Yes. Even though gravitation does exist, we can't really see it. Modern science admits that. Newton himself admitted that.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: So although we cannot see the soul directly, why not admit that it exists? The soul is the most subtle, but we can see it through its effects. So why not admit it exists?
Dr. Singh: Yes. Far too many scientists have left the soul out of their discussion of reality. Instead, they try to reduce reality to matter. And yet we see the existence of the soul. It is beyond our comprehension, but it exists. We should not ignore the soul simply because it is inconceivable.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: Actually the soul is conceivable, because we can understand much about it by observing the way it interacts with matter. Yet largely the soul is outside our experience.
Dr. Singh: Yes.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: So the soul is not inconceivable. It is conceivable.
Dr. Singh: Oh, yes. Again, if we take the example of physical phenomena and laws, we can perceive that they exist, but precisely how they exist we do not know.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: That is another thing. But you have to admit they exist. And we have to accept that the soul exists.
Dr. Singh: Yes. That is the missing point in modern science.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: The mind exists, the intelligence exists, the sense of ego exists, the soul exists-although they are not entirely perceivable by our gross senses.
Dr. Singh: So consciousness, the soul, exists -- independent and distinct from matter.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: Yes. This you have to bring into the scientists' discussion. Now they should begin to inquire, How does the soul enter the subtle material situation? How does the soul create and enter a subtle or mental body? And how does this subtle body create the gross situation, the gross body? At the present moment, the scientists are stressing the gross situation. But the subtle situation -- they have no knowledge. And yet the subtle situation can be perceived.
Dr. Singh: Yes, that is true.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: So you have to convince other scientists. This subtle mental, intellectual, and psychological situation is so very important. It can carry the soul to the spiritual world. But one has to make himself fully spiritualized, fully devoted to the Lord. At the time you pass from your gross body, if you have made your subtle body fully spiritualized, then it will carry you to the spiritual world.
So just consider how critically important is this Krsna conscious culture, this spiritual culture. Just consider. And yet these so-called scientists who are setting society's cultural tone -- they know nothing of this true culture. Nothing.
We can perceive two energies -- para and apara, the higher and lower -- spirit and matter. And we get confirmation from Lord Krsna. In Bhagavad-gita He discusses His two energies in these very terms, para and apara: higher and lower -- spirit and matter. So the soul in the material world is situated between this apara, or inferior, material energy and the para, or superior, spiritual energy. This subtle situation, his subtle body, is his medium back to the spiritual world. If the soul makes his subtle body -- his mind, intelligence, and self-identification, or ego -- spiritualized, then he goes to the spiritual world.
You see? If the soul spiritualizes his mind and intelligence and ego -- if he focuses them on his actual, spiritual identity and his loving relationship with Krsna the Supreme Spirit -- then he will be transferred to the spiritual world. This you have to prove or demonstrate in scientific terms. These pseudo-scientists are seeing simply the gross situation, the gross body. That's all.
They see the gross body functioning for some time and then ceasing to function, and they think, "This person was living, but now he is living no more." No, the soul is always living. But now he is being carried to another situation, another life, by the subtle situation he created in this life.
These pseudo-scientists are thinking, "This gross situation, this gross body, is finished -- everything is finished." That's not the fact. Krsna confirms,
dehino 'smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara
tatha dehantara-praptir dhiras tatra na muhyati
"As the soul passes, in this lifetime, from a childhood body to a teenage body to an old-age body, so at the time of death he passes into still another body."- Bhagavad-Gita Gita As It Is Chapter 2 "Contents of the Gita Summarized", Text 13. LINK:

Dr. Singh: That is a drawback in modern science.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: Without this spiritual perspective, everything they say is a drawback. Simply bluffing:
yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah
harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna manorathenasati dhavato bahih
"All the demigods and their exalted qualities, such as religion, knowledge and renunciation, become manifest in the body of one who has developed unalloyed devotion for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva. On the other hand, a person devoid of devotional service and engaged in material activities has no good qualities. Even if he is adept at the practice of mystic yoga or the honest endeavor of maintaining his family and relatives, he must be driven by his own mental speculations and must engage in the service of the Lord's external energy. How can there be any good qualities in such a man?" -Srimad Bhagavat Purana Canto 5, "The Creative Impetus" , Chapter 18, "The Prayers Offered to the Lord by The Residents of Jambudvipa", Text 12. LINK:
Anyone who does not use his human intelligence to spiritualize himself, to become a devotee of the Lord -- his whole life is a drawback.

"Modern Science – Simply Bluffing"
(Back To Godhead Magazine – 22-07, 1987)

Teaching Teens About Abstinence May Delay Sexual Activity, Reduce Risk Behaviors

February 23, 2010

This is an interesting piece of research by , John B. Jemmott, III, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, looking at sexual health and training, especially around the issue of teaching abstinence rather then safe sexual health; or a combination of the two.

The research outcomes were stated as follows:

At the study’s outset, 23.4 percent of the teens reported that they were already sexually active.

At the two-year follow-up, students who received the abstinence-based intervention and had not been sexually active at the study’s outset were significantly less likely to have initiated sexual activity (33 percent) or to have recently had sex (20 percent) compared to the those who received the health promotion intervention; among students in the control group with no prior sexual activity, 49 percent reported first sexual contact and 29 percent recently had sex. None of the other interventions had a significant effect on the initiation of sexual activity when compared to the control condition. The researchers did not compare the four HIV-prevention interventions with each other on any outcome measures.

The researcher outlines that the significance of this research is as follows:

According to the researchers, their study shows that a theory-based, abstinence-only intervention may be an effective method for delaying sexual initiation in middle school students who are not already sexually active. They also emphasized that the abstinence-based intervention used in this study was not designed to meet federal criteria for abstinence-only programs. Thus, it is not subject to the criticisms those programs face. Similarly, the results of the abstinence-based intervention cannot be generalized to all abstinence programs or to all populations.

It is of interest that HDG A.C.Bhaktivadanta Swami Prabhupada was promoting abstinence from sex life before any teaching staff looked at this issue, at the time many see as the start of the sexual revolution; The time of free love and sexual experimentation was promoted as a life choice, this lecture in 1966 demonstrates this:

So according to Vedic civilization, this training was given, student life, complete abstinence from sex life, then vanaprastha life, complete abstinence, and sannyasa life, complete abstinence. The whole training was to abstain, to cure. Because… The same example: In diseased condition we cannot enjoy the foodstuff which we take. When we are healthy, we can enjoy the taste of the foodstuff. So we have to cure. We have to cure. And how to cure? To be situated in the transcendental position of Krsna consciousness. That is the cure. So Krsna advises here anyone who is able to tolerate the urge of sense pleasure. But we have to mold our life in such a way that we should be able to tolerate. Tolerate. That will give us our advancement in spiritual life, and when we are situated in spiritual life, that enjoyment is unending, unlimited. There is no end. Exactly similar verse is there in Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Bhagavad-gita 5.22-29 ­ New York, August 31, 1966

It’s just a thought that by taking a spiritual life we are protected from so many things, if we just surrender and follow instruction.

You can read the whole article via this link: teaching teens about abstinence may delay sexual activity reduce risky behaviors.

Over 24 Million Men Face a Lonely Future

CHINA, January 22, 2010: [HPI note: The trend of sex-specific abortions affects India, too, and could bring similar results to India's population.] More than 24 million Chinese men of marrying age could find themselves without spouses in 2020 due to gender selection abortions by the previous generations.

A study done by the government-backed Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, named the gender imbalance among newborns as the most serious demographic problem for the country’s population of 1.3 billion. “Sex-specific abortions remained extremely commonplace, especially in rural areas,” where the cultural preference for boys over girls is strongest, the study said while noting the reasons for the gender imbalance were “complex”. Researcher Wang Guangzhou said the skewed birth ratio could lead to difficulties for men with lower incomes in finding spouses, as well as a widening age gap between partners.

courtesy of Hinduism Today

Study Indicates Australian Aborigines Could Be of Indian Origin

Science Daily on 23 Jul 2009

Genetic research indicates that Australian Aborigines initially arrived via south Asia. Researchers have found telltale mutations in modern-day Indian populations that are exclusively shared by Aborigines.

Dr Raghavendra Rao worked with a team of researchers from the Anthropological Survey of India to sequence 966 complete mitochondrial DNA genomes from Indian 'relic populations'. He said, "Mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from the mother and so allows us to accurately trace ancestry. We found certain mutations in the DNA sequences of the Indian tribes we sampled that are specific to Australian Aborigines. This shared ancestry suggests that the Aborigine population migrated to Australia via the so-called 'Southern Route'".

The 'Southern Route' dispersal of modern humans suggests movement of a group of hunter-gatherers from the Horn of Africa, across the mouth of the Red Sea into Arabia and southern Asia at least 50 thousand years ago. Subsequently, the modern human populations expanded rapidly along the coastlines of southern Asia, southeastern Asia and Indonesia to arrive in Australia at least 45 thousand years ago. The genetic evidence of this dispersal from the work of Rao and his colleagues is supported by archeological evidence of human occupation in the Lake Mungo area of Australia dated to approximately the same time period.

Last Nepal King Breaks Ancient Taboo

KATMANDU, NEPAL, February 9, 2010: Almost two years after he was stripped of his crown and became a commoner, Nepal’s deposed king Gyanendra hit the headlines Tuesday with reports that he had attended, for the first time in the history of Nepal’s Shah dynasty, a religious fair in a town till now considered out of bounds for his family.

Escorted by bodyguards and aides, the 62-year-old ousted king drove himself to Panauti on Monday, a town 22 miles southeast of Kathmandu, to attend the Makar Mela, a Hindu fair held every 12 years. In the past, legend had it that Panauti was a forbidden area for the Shah kings of Nepal since it was the domain of Hindu god Narayan and the kings of Nepal were considered incarnations of the same god.

The former king, breaking the taboo, said he was visiting the fair as a common citizen attending a religious event and not as a king.

Nepal’s history is often closely woven with legends and curses. North of Kathmandu lies a colossal statue of Vishnu, another incarnation of Narayan, lying in a bed of serpents on a pool. The Budanilkantha temple is the only one in Nepal that was forbidden to the royal family of Nepal after a legend arose that the king would die if he ever gazed on the 15 feet high statue.

courtesy of Hinduism Today

“Allah” Ruling Causes Unrest in Malaysia

BANGKOK, THAILAND, January 11, 2010: An uproar among Muslims in Malaysia over the use of the word Allah by Christians spread over the weekend with the firebombing and vandalizing of several churches, increasing tensions at a time of political turbulence. The attacks, unlike anything Malaysia has experienced before, have shaken the country, where many Muslims are angry over a Dec. 31 court ruling that overturned a government ban on the use of the word Allah to denote the Christian God.

Though that usage is common in many countries, where Arabic- and Malay-language Bibles describe Jesus as the “son of Allah,” many Muslims here insist that the word belongs exclusively to them and say that its use by other faiths could confuse Muslim worshipers.

The tensions are shaking a multiethnic, multiracial state that has tried to maintain harmony among its citizens. Analysts say this is the first outright confrontation between Muslims and Christians.

courtesy of Hinduism Today

Yoga Courses Reduce Jail Time

MADHYA PRADESH, INDIA, January 22, 2010: For every three months spent practicing yoga postures, balance and breathing exercises, the prisoners in the state of Madhya Pradesh can cut their jail time by 15 days. Authorities say the lessons help to improve the prisoners’ self-control and reduces their aggression.

Some 4,000 inmates across the state are benefiting from the program, and many go on to become yoga instructors. The state’s inspector general of prisons, Sanjay Mane, said, “Yoga is good for maintaining fitness, calming the behavior, controlling anger and reducing stress. “When a prisoner attends yoga sessions and fulfills some other conditions, he will be considered for a remission if his jail superintendent recommends his case.” Prisoners can also gain credit for attending adult literacy courses or studying for degrees.

courtesy of Hinduism Today

Mayapur GBC Meetings: Day 9

By Sraddhadevi Dasi on 19 Feb 2010

On February 14th, all members of ISKCON’s Governing Commission attending the Annual General Meeting in Mayapur, India assembled in the center of a construction zone. It was the site of the long-awaited Temple of Vedic Planetarium (TOVP), a massive and impressive temple dedicated to displaying the Vedic view of the spiritual and material worlds.

The TOVP will become the new home to Sri Sri Radha Madhava, Sri Pancha Tattva, and Sri Narasimhadeva, the Deities of ISKCON Mayapur. According to Srila Prabhupada’s desire, however, the TOVP will also house a functioning planetarium, exhibit halls, a library, and classrooms dedicated to the research of and education on Vedic cosmology and science.

Construction of the temple officially began this year. The grounds of ISKCON Mayapur’s campus that extends from Srila Prabhupada’s Bhajan Kutir to the Chakra Building lengthwise, and between the Conch and Lotus Buildings widthwise, have been cleared and are now home to two lofty pile drivers. To create the foundation for such a massive structure, 2,600 tubes will be hammered sixty feet into the ground. The tubes are then filled with concrete and reinforced with stainless steel rods. To ensure the longevity of the building, six million dollars of the TOVP budget will be spent on stainless steel.

February 14th marked the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium’s inauguration ceremony, and thus the entire GBC body was asked to participate.

A simple pandal tent was set up for the ceremony in the center of the building’s footprint, now outlined in chalk. GBC members were seated in two rows as Hari Sauri Dasa introduced Niranjan Babu, the Vastu expert and Vastu consultant for the project. Niranjan Babu is considered one of the leading Vastu experts in India. He is also the son of famed astrologer BV Raman and is the chief editor and publisher of the Astrological eMagazine.

Hari Sauri Dasa explained that while the construction team is building the physical foundation of the temple, Niranjan Babu is helping to establish the metaphysical foundation of the TOVP. To create this metaphysical foundation, nine holes were prepared within the marked footprint of the temple. Four marking the cardinal directions, four the intermediate directions, and one in the center. Likewise, nine square copper plates, one for each hole, with Vastu markings on top, were also prepared before the ceremony.

As kirtan began under the shade of the pandal, GBC members and members from the TOVP team were individually invited to help place a specific copper plate into each hole. Crowds of devotees ran to one location after another as the plates were successively placed, and everyone enthusiastically chanted the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra as each plate went into the ground.

The inauguration ceremony concluded with an opulent feast, sponsored by the TOVP team and served out in Gada prasadam hall to all of the devotees in Mayapur. For more information on the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium project, please visit

Read more on Chanting Hare Krishna HERE:

Airport Body Scanners Violate Islamic Law, Muslims Say

By Niraj Warikoo for on 17 Feb 2010

A sample scan using millimeter wave technology.

Saying that body scanners violate Islamic law, Muslim-American groups are supporting a “fatwa” – a religious ruling – that forbids Muslims from going through the scanners at airports.

The Fiqh Council of North America – a body of Islamic scholars that includes some from Michigan – issued a fatwa this week that says going through the airport scanners would violate Islamic rules on modesty.

“It is a violation of clear Islamic teachings that men or women be seen naked by other men and women,” reads the fatwa issued Tuesday. “Islam highly emphasizes haya (modesty) and considers it part of faith. The Quran has commanded the believers, both men and women, to cover their private parts.”

The decision could complicate efforts to intensify screening of potential terrorists who are Muslim. After the Christmas Day bombing attempt in Detroit by a Muslim suspect from Nigeria, some have called for the use of body scanners at airports to find explosives and other dangerous materials carried by terrorists. Some airports are now in the process of buying and using the body scanners, which show in graphic detail the outlines of a person’s body.

But Muslim groups say the scanners go against their religion. One option offered to passengers who don’t want to use the scanners would be a pat down by a security guard. The Muslim groups are urging members to undergo those instead.

Currently, there are 40 full-body scanners at 19 airports in the U.S., said spokesman Jim Fotenos of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). There are plans for 450 more body scanners in U.S. airports, he said.

In a statement, the TSA said it is committed to keeping passengers safe and also protecting their privacy.

"TSA's mission is to keep the traveling public safe. Advanced imaging technologies are an important tool in a multi-layered security system to detect evolving threats such as improvised explosive devices. TSA's use of these technologies includes strong protections in place to safeguard passenger privacy. Screening images are automatically deleted, and the officer viewing the image will never see the passenger.”

The TSA stressed that the body scanners are “optional to all passengers.” Those who turn them down, “will receive equivalent screening that may include a physical pat-down, hand-wanding, and other technologies. Physical pat-downs are performed by Transportation Security Officers of the same sex as the passenger in a private screening area, if the passenger requests.”

Body scanners “do not produce photos,” the agency said. Rather, the images “look like chalk outlines.”

Body scanner images are available at

Everything You Ever Needed to Know About the Kumbha Mela

NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 22, 2010: Whether you are just curious about the Kumbha Mela, or plan to attend, this very large and inclusive website is a wealth of information. An on-going slideshow in the center of the page is a colorful jumping off point. A series of photos highlight the four locations where the Melas occur, define Sanskrit words and give a short synopsis of the origin of the largest gathering of people for religious purpose anywhere on our planet.

If you’re one of the millions of pilgrims, you will find detailed instructions on the bathing ghats, the auspicious bathing dates and a map to show you how to get there. If you’re looking for a place to stay, names, addresses, phone numbers, number of rooms and beds are listed in detail for ashrams, dharmasalas, hotels and lodges in Rishikesh and Haridwar. Public service information such as police, hospitals, help lines, phone books and email directories are also available.

Whether you are the pilgrim or just a curious spectator, do not miss viewing the photo and video galleries. They are an inspiring chronicle of the millions who have traveled from far and near to worship the divinity within.

courtesy of Hinduism Today

UK Hindus and Scotland Yard Launch Hindu Forum

LONDON, UK, February 15, 2010: The Scotland Yard has joined forces with London’s Hindu community to “discuss the safety concerns of Hindus in the UK”. Over 100 people representing London’s Hindus joined Scotland Yard officers and members of parliament last week to mark the inauguration of the Hindu Consultation Forum. The meeting, held in Northwest London, home to one of the largest communities of Hindus in Britain, was told the Hindu community does not put demands on the police or any other government department.

The Hindu Consultation Forum was set up last year to tackle the crime and safety concerns within Hindu communities in London and to help improve its confidence in Scotland Yard. According to police, it has marked “a significant milestone” in the relationship between Scotland Yard and London’s Hindus. Joint Chair of the HCF, Denise Milani, who is also Director of Diversity in the police force: “There are over 300,000 people from the Hindi community in London so they are a very important part of our city’s vibrant diversity. He said Scotland Yard will continue to meet with the forum to discuss “what can be done to help improve the safety of Hindu people in London”.

The joint chair of the forum Gulzari Babber said apart from safety issues, the forum will also discuss how to increase the number of Hindus in the force, which is responsible for policing the British capital and its surrounding areas. “The purpose of the formation of the Forum is to promote positive relationship and engagement between the Metropolitan Police Service and London’s Hindu communities and to work in partnership to deliver the Met’s Equality Scheme,” Babber said.

courtesy of Hinduism Today

Tamil Temple Consecrated In Myanmar

MYANMAR, January 30, 2010: Tamils in Myanmar consecrated a renovated Perumaal temple in Yangon on Wednesday morning. Several thousand Tamils participated in the ceremonies. A 13th century Tamil inscription in Myanmar records that a Perumaal temple patronized by Tamils existed at the earlier capital at Pagan.

The temple for Kalyaana Vengkadeasap Perumaal (Thirumaal or Vishnu in his form found at Thiruppathi), accompanied by Alarmeal Mangkai (the lady on the flower: Thirumakal or Lakshmi), is situated 6 miles from Yangon at a place called Thirukkampai, which is known as Little Tamil Nadu.

Seven Paddaachchaariyaars, who came from Tamil Nadu performed the ceremonies. Paddaachchaariyaars are authorities in performing consecration of Vaishnava temples of the Dravidian style in the Agamic way of South India (it is Sivaachchaariyaars in the case of Saiva temples).

The interaction between Myanmar and Tamils go back to the times of the advent of maritime activities in the Bay of Bengal, as trade winds and currents were particularly conducive for swift and direct communication between Myanmar which was known in Sanskrit as Swarna Bhumi (the land of gold) and the ancient Tamil country.

For more on the Tamil/Myanmar connection click on the url above.

Ancient Hindu Temples Unearthed in Indonesia

YOGYAKAKARTA, INDONESIA, December 24, 2009: The Yogyakarta Prehistoric Legacy Conservation Center has found a Ganesha statue and Siva linga-yoni structures at the site of a newly discovered structure believed to be part of an ancient temple. Head of the center’s protection working group Indung Panca Putra said the findings led the excavation team to conclude that the site, located in the Indonesian Islamic University campus on Jl. Kaliurang, Yogyakarta, was from a Hindu kingdom.

The Ganesha murthi was found facing west with an elevation of 17 degrees from the north. As of Wednesday the hands of the murthi were not unearthed as part of the body was still buried. The lingam structures were found near Ganesha. The excavation team have also uncovered 16 pieces of parts of a temple wall. “We will study the findings in order to decide how to proceed on this dig,” Indung said.

Compared to previous discoveries of Hindu temples in the region, this site is considered less elaborate. “The Ganesha, for example, is around 33 inches high while Prambanan Temple’s Ganesha is as tall as an adult,” Indung said. The ornaments, he added, were also simpler. These traits, according to Indung, show that the newly found temple served a smaller area. “If Prambanan Temple served an entire kingdom, for example, then this site would have served a village,” he said.

Indung, however, said his colleagues haven’t been able to estimate the age of the temple structure. He added that based on the existing discovery, the site dated back to the ancient Mataram period between the 9th and 10th centuries.

courtesy of Hinduism Today

Vedic World Heritage links:

See our pages supporting these views HERE: (Vedik World Heritage)
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How British Misguided the World on Vedic History

Children 'believe sheep lay eggs'

Eggs come from sheep, crisps are made of plastic and butterflies produce cheese - these are just some of the wrong answers given by children in a test of their knowledge of food sources, it was revealed.

The survey of more than 1,000 school children showed that nearly two thirds struggled to identify the origins of the everyday foods they eat.

Some thought beef burgers came from McDonalds or Burger King, that yoghurts were made using turkeys or ducks, ham came from the Co-Op, bacon from horses, goats or peacocks and cheese originated from butterflies, rats or mice.

Less than one in four knew that beef burgers are sourced from cows, with 29% saying beef burgers came from pigs.

More than 1,100 youngsters from Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset, between the ages of six and eight, were questioned for the research commissioned by rural insurance firm Cornish Mutual.

The survey was used to determine their level of awareness and knowledge of vegetables, dairy products and meat produce and to see if they were able to recognise how they are sourced.

Other bizarre responses from pupils included children believing rabbits, plastic or sheep were the main ingredient of crisps (two thirds correctly identified potatoes).

Some thought ice cream was made with cheese, air, fish or potatoes (43% correctly said milk or cream).

But children's overall level of recognition of vegetables was high, ranging from 98% for carrots and sweetcorn to a low of 44% for swede/turnip.

Levels of animal recognition were even higher, with all pupils correctly identifying cows, 99% for pigs, 98% for chickens and 97% for sheep.

Hare Krishna Vegetarian Food Relief for Haiti

I received this letter from a friend.


"Hare Krishna Food for Life Global has established our first base in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with the help of Ekendra Prabhu and the Hungarian team led by Koda Nitai. Many volunteers will come to the Food for Life Santo Domingo headquarters in next days.

On Saturday evening we distributed 100 portions of hot meals in the local hospital, organized by Ekendra and local devotees. There are a lot of Haitian refugees here in Santa Domingo and local hospitals and humanitarian aid agencies can not take care of everyone, so Food for Life is providing tasty prasadam (sanctified vegetarian food) for some of them.

Food for Life Global is continuing to receive volunteer applications and donations from all over the world to support our efforts. A new web site will soon be created to fully document the progress of our team.

Your donations are still crucial at this stage of the development and we sincerely thank all who have already come forward to support FFLG. Please continue to give whatever you can and remember: FFL can serve more than 100 meals in a crisis like this for as little as $25. So your dollars will go a long way.

We are also appealing to the public to supply our team with the best quality produce. If you are able to donate bulk organic produce or grains, please contact our office now because we have a plane standing by in Florida ready to fly over supplies.

If you would like to volunteer you can contact us at

or go to this web site:

If you would like to donate you can wire the funds to the Food for Life Global - Emergency Relief Fund:

J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, Address: New York, NY 10017, Routing: 021000021, Account Owner: Food for Life Global,Account Name: Emergency Relief - 820603645.

If you would prefere to wire in Euros you can donate to Food for Life European Office account with SEPA payment:

Hrana za zivljenje - Food for Life Èernetova 11, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia IBAN: SI560201 0025 7730 518 SWIFT: LJBASI2X PURPOSE: HAITI Bank: NOVA LJUBLJANSKA BANKA d.d. Tax number: 40564371

Donors can also donate online at

We would appreciate if you could post this information to your local Food for Life office, temple, put it on your website, inform the media and let us know if you need any more information for the local, regional or national Haiti Relief Food for Life campaings.


Matej Poljansek, Director for Europe, e., e:, w:, Food for Life Global, +447891555652, +38641777426,

The New Carnivores:
By Steven J. Rosen (Satyaraja Dasa)

At first I thought it was my imagination: Walking New York City streets, I heard more than a few people talking about newfound flesh delicacies, from brains to brisket. "Maybe it's a coincidence," I thought. "Perhaps I just happened to hear the ramblings of some highly experimental meat eaters." Looking in several restaurant windows, spying their fancy menus, I saw other suspicious looking food items: clod, flatiron, tongue, shank, bone marrow, and even heart, parts of a cow I'd rather see only where nature intended them -- instead of on my plate. And this was pervasive, not just in one or two food establishments.

Of course, I'd heard about the strange food choices of carnivores around the world for years -- such as the demand for sauteed iguana meat in Central and South America; fried grasshoppers in Africa; lamb and calf brains in Middle Eastern countries; chicken heads, live shrimp, and dog meat in Korea and China; and chocolate-dipped ants in Japan, to name a few. But here in my home town?

Recent articles in the New York Times and the Post clinched it: "We're having a meat wave" was the catchy title of one report. "It adds up to the offal truth," read another. Apparently, according to reporter Carla Spartos, "macho meat eaters are entrail-oriented," looking for previously untasted body parts -- the stranger, the better. She writes about Scott Gold's new book, The Shameless Carnivore, among others, where we learn that high-class food connoisseurs are now demanding things like duck hearts, pork cheeks, and -- dare I say it -- cock's combs.

Gold is a card-carrying member of "the New Carnivores," as he puts it -- adventurous meat-eating New Yorkers who find "as much pleasure in plucking duck hearts off of a skewer as they do swilling martinis at Sparks." He writes that the phenomenon has been gaining ground in other sophisticated cities around the world, where, as mentioned, outlandish meat products have traditionally been consumed with some regularity -- but now it's considered trendy. And New York is quickly becoming the epicenter, especially in terms of odd flesh choices as a statement of hipness.

Clearly, this is an instance of Kali-yuga run amok. The age is progressing (or regressing) at a rapid rate. The simple meat-and-potatoes carnivorous diet of yesteryear is now being replaced by unseemly body cuisine that would make Lucifer cringe. Let's be clear, though: It's not that eating brains or guts or other unusual body parts is somehow worse than eating epidermis; it's just that it offends our sensibilities more -- we're not used to it, and it signals a moving forward of the age of degradation and horror: Vaishnava texts tell us that at the end of Kali-yuga, many thousands of years from now, humankind will reach the point of raising children simply to eat their flesh!

But even this new stage of carnivorous behavior, as it presently stands, shows a certain horrific thoughtlessness, both in terms of healthy eating and in the inevitable results -- karmic reactions -- of a meat-centered diet. "I've eaten 'headcheese'* before," says Justin Glazer, a 26-year-old member of Steak Society, a meat-eating club founded by grads of Baruch College's MBA program. "I didn't really like it," he says, "but I eat first, think second." No argument here.

Numerous physicians and medical experts, however, are arguing, calling this new trend "devastating" and "a portent of evil things to come." Neal Bernard, M.D., Michael Klaper, M.D., John A. McDougall, M.D., and many others are speaking out, trying to stop this experimental meat eating before it's too late. Their arguments are not only health oriented, as one might expect, but also draw on the language of decency. It's simply not right, they say, and a reaction awaits all who indulge.

Yoga texts have been saying these things for years. Just as the Bible teaches the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” -- the Mahabharata (5.39.57), predating the Bible, teaches a similar truth, and in almost the exact same wording. Yogis and spiritual adepts in India extend the teaching to its logical limits, showing kindness to all species of life – and this, of course, means vegetarianism. It’s hard to be kind to animals if you’re eating them!

In other words, if you don't want someone eating your entrails, don't eat the entrails of others. Simple enough, no?

The “do unto others” ethic is reflected in the origins of the Sanskrit word for meat, mamsa, which means “me-he” – or, by implication, “The fate of this animal will also be mine.” This etymological derivation of the word can be traced to the Manu-samhita (5.55): “He will eat me in the next world, whose meat (mamsa) I eat in this world. This is why meat is called mam-sa, or ‘me-he’.” The Golden Rule is clearly at work here. If what I “do unto you” is to eat you, then you have every right, in some future life, to “do the same unto me” – to eat me. In other words, the karmic reaction for eating a living being is evident in the language itself – “I will be eaten in the same way that I eat others – even if they are animals.”

Thus, true yogis oppose killing for many reasons. They know that every action holds within it an avoidable reaction (karma), and that the idea of reincarnation – of taking birth commensurate with our deeds -- follows karma like the butcher does his meat. Thus, that which we do to others will be done to us -- this is the universal law of cause and effect, echoing, once again, the Golden Rule. In other words, killing begets killing, and since there are many lives in which to reap what one sows, violence and killing eventually return to those who are violent and to those who kill, if not in this life then in the next one.

Ahimsa is often said to mean “nonviolence,” but, more specifically, it refers to “non-aggression,” and it is a high priority in the practice of yoga and Eastern spirituality. The distinction between nonviolence and non-aggression should be clear. Violence is sometimes necessary, as, for example, when a loved one is attacked and protection is required, or when life is threatened and self-defense becomes natural or obligatory. In such cases, violence may be in order. But aggression never is, at least when it comes to harming others.

Qualities such as gentleness, humility, and compassion -- and all related characteristics -- are necessary components of ahimsa, without which, one is not really practicing spiritual life proper, and so devotees put a premium on such behavior. In all yogic traditions, we see cows as symbolic of all finer qualities, and as representing the animal kingdom as a whole. For this reason, dedicated yogis particularly venerate cows as an emblem of ahimsa. The yogic position is clear: As she is dear to Lord Krishna, the divine cowherd, so should she be dear to us all.

In India, to this day, cows are appreciated for their practical value as well, with the five health-giving products that come from their bodies – urine, cow dung, milk, ghee, and yogurt – used in numerous ways. Amazingly, these items, especially urine and dung, have been found effective (and cost efficient) as fertilizer, compost, medicines, pest repellents, cleansing products, and biogas fuel. The cow is also considered sacred as a natural mother for human society – as one’s biological mother weans her young on breast milk, so does the cow nurture us in the same way. Caring for mother cow is thus seen as an important component of ahimsa. For this reason, cows shouldn't be eaten at all -- what to speak of the gory insides and obscure offal that are now part of the New Carnivores' repertoire.

It should be noted, however, that while ahimsa is considered important in yoga practice, it always remains subservient to love of God, or union with the Supreme, which is the core of the tradition. The Vaishnava scriptures do not limit their discussion of food to the avoidance of killing and the virtues of a vegetarian diet. According to traditional texts, one should offer all food as a sacrifice to God: “All that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform,” Lord Krishna says, “should be done as an offering unto Me.” (Bhagavad-gita 9.27) Krishna does not eat meat, and He would look aghast at the new menus in New York.

The Gita specifies exactly what should be offered: “If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, I will accept it.” (9.26) Other references in the Vaishnava literature confirm that fruits, vegetables, grain, nuts, and dairy products are fit for human consumption. Followers of the Gita thus refrain from meat, fish, poultry, and eggs, since these are not sanctioned by either the scriptures or the sages. A vegan diet also fits nicely with Vaishnava dietary prerequisites.

The Bhagavad-gita further declares that one who lovingly offers food to God according to scriptural guidelines is freed from all sinful reactions and consequent rebirth in the material world: “The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is first offered in sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.” (3.13) The remnants of such devotional offerings are called prasadam (literally “the Lord’s mercy”).

Sin is a heavy word, and it comes with a lot of baggage. But who wouldn't think of sin when confronted with the new wave of meat eating emerging in the Big Apple? It's all part of a trend toward decadent forms of pleasure, a no-holds-barred attempt to titillate the senses. "You can't overestimate the pleasure the contemporary carnivore takes in saying they're going to eat a cock's comb. It's like the modern equivalent of eating a 5-pound lobster," says Josh Ozersky, who documents the City's more primal meat eating haunts as editor of the blog Grub Street and as author of "Meat Me in Manhattan." His latest book, "The Hamburger," just hit bookstores nationwide. And he is getting rave reviews.

But not by Krishna. Yogic texts have warned us about sense pleasure left uncontrolled, and medical journals are full of statistics about the virtues of a non-meat diet. If we weren't meant to eat meat, it's reasonable that meat eating would wreak havoc on our bodies. And it does.

In conclusion, just as yogis generally promote vegetarianism within the context of prasadam, they also acknowledge the benefits of a vegetarian diet as a stepping-stone to spiritual perfection. In the Bhagavad-gita (Chapter Seventeen), Lord Krishna Himself acknowledges that food can be divided into three categories, that of goodness, passion, and ignorance. Clearly, the effects of eating food in passion and ignorance, which includes the eating of meat, has adverse affects on the human condition. Conversely, say these same yogic texts, eating food in goodness -- fruits, nuts, vegetables, whole grains, milk, and so on -- sets the stage for transcendence, wherein one has the opportunity to become more appreciative of spirituality in general.

True, until a devoted soul comes along and offers the food to Krishna, or God in any of His/Her manifestations, making it prasadam, one is likely to have a set stage with no actors and no performance. That is, vegetarianism may position us for higher material aspirations and predispose us to God consciousness, but without the touch of God, through the agency of His devotees, we are not likely to get all that can be gotten from a vegetarian diet. Why not, suggests the Bhagavad-gita, get the most out of our vegetarianism by offering our food to God?

The official fetish animal of the modern carnivore movement, says Ozersky, is the pig. I think Krishna would find a certain poetic justice in that, since it takes a piggish mentality to feast on gross body parts. But more, those who enjoy at an animal's expense will likely end up on their best friend's plate, if they just wait a few years.

* Headcheese: Sausage or jellied loaf made from the meaty bits of the head, usually of a pig.
Steven Rosen (Satyaraja Dasa) is an initiated disciple of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He is also founding editor of the Journal of Vaishnava Studies and associate editor for Back to Godhead. He has published twenty-one books in numerous languages, including the recent Essential Hinduism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008) and the Yoga of Kirtan: Conversations on the Sacred Art of Chanting (FOLK Books, 2008).

Why is India vegetarian friendly?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

India seems to be the only country that houses the most vegetarians than any other country in the world. Given that more than half of the population eats meat. Well, it’s simply the numbers game when it comes to India. Only by India’s sheer strength of population that there are more vegetarians in India than the rest of the world combined. According to a 2006 survey by ‘The Hindu’ newspaper, it was found that 40 percent of the Indian population. That makes it some 400 million Indians are vegetarians.

Vegetarianism in India has been a lifestyle for centuries. Hence there is no beef or pork in any McDonald's in India. In fact the only non-vegetarian items as in McDonald’s India’s online menu have chicken and fish. To a kiwi friend of mine who visited Mumbai recently, the menu in McDonald’s had very little meat options and disappointing to his palate. In saying that, even a traditional non-vegetarian in India is more dependent on vegetarian food as on most of the days he is dependent on a vegetarian diet. Even on meat eating days like a Sunday most dishes are vegetarian except for one or two side-dishes with meat. Non-vegetarians in India typically consume meat only once or twice per week and it wouldn’t be totally off the mark to assume that meat may be regularly consumed by less than 30 percent of the Indian population due to its higher cost.

The reasoning behind the practice of vegetarianism is wide-ranging though influenced mainly by the tenets of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism or Sikhism. The other compelling reason is the affordability of non-vegetarian food. Health and social consciousness increasingly play a part in bringing about a change in the Indian psyche towards a vegetarian lifestyle. It’s fashionable for Bollywood stars to say they are vegetarians. “Vegetarianism is becoming a way of life now, not just in food but also in lifestyle products as people care more about health, environment and animals. They do not want to brush their teeth using bone-powder, they want to exclude leather from their furniture,” says NG Jayasimha, campaign manager, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India.

Add to this the corporate strategies that hinge on vegetarianism for products like toothpaste, ice-creams, skin care products, soaps, apparels etc. Here’s an example of how big brands have joined the vegetarian bandwagon. Pizza Hut has at least 60% of its sales in the Indian market to vegetarian food items. McDonald’s vegetarian selections account for around 50-65% of total sales. Colgate India carries the ‘always 100% vegetarian’ label on the carton. Baskin Robbins has 100% vegetarian ice-creams which are advertised in a big way. The world-famous-in India celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor also mentions interesting facts about the Indian ‘vegetarian-friendly’ society. “If I release a book on ‘non-vegetarian’ recipes, even then 70 out of 100 dishes would be vegetarian than just purely non-vegetarian dishes.”

India as a vegetarian country draws her veggie-food culture in a big way from her religions. The earliest records of vegetarianism as a way of harmonious living by a significant number of people come from ancient India. The rise of vegetarianism in India goes back to more than 500 BCE, which saw the rise of Buddhism and Jainism preaching the principle of ahimsa or non-violence till today.

The spiritual traditions right from the days of Emperor Ashoka in 300 BCE which assert the principle of Ahimsa (non-violence) being the highest dharma (Ahimsa paramo dharmah) led to Article 51A (g) of the Indian Constitution which enjoins on every citizen to have the fundamental duty to show compassion towards all living creatures. "You must not use your God given body for killing God's creatures, whether they are human, animal or whatever" advises the Yajur Veda. Shri Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs says, “You kill living beings, and call it a righteous action. Tell me, brother, what would you call an unrighteous action.”

The Vedic scriptures of India, which predate Buddhism, also stress nonviolence as an ethical foundation of vegetarianism. "Meat can never be obtained without injury to living creatures," states the Manusmriti - the ancient Hindu code of ethics, "Let one therefore shun the use of meat." Even in the Mahabharata there are many injunctions against killing animals.

Saints and sages believed that eating vegetarian food to be a part of purification, bestowing good health and a restful mind. Our bodily constitution and mental framework are determined by what we eat. The great Indian mystic Osho shares, “Vegetarianism is nothing but a by-product of deep meditation. If a person goes on meditating, by and by he will see that it has become impossible to eat meat.” Mind-Body guru Deepak Chopra says “In general, it is obvious that a vegetarian diet is healthier, it is better for ecology, and less violent on life as a whole. Eating habits are based on culture, geography and influenced by religion.”  In Sikhism the langar food served at Gurudwaras is always vegetarian. All the food offerings in a Hindu worship can only be vegetarian.

Given all this, the one thing in favour of the Indian vegetarian lifestyle is the fact that it has a positive impact on climate change. Could the world leaders at Copenhagen not have ignored this about Indian lifestyle as one of the many strategies to save the planet? Or should they heed to Albert Einstein’ advice as one of the many planet saving strategies, when he said “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."

After all that is said than done, vegetarianism or otherwise like many things in life is simply a matter of taste, choice, habit, availability and reasoning.

A Vegetarian Supper Club Where You Eat With Your Hands

WASHINGTON D.C., January 27, 2010: An intriguing secret supper club which has launched in D.C. Called “Hush,” it blends storytelling with organic and vegetarian Indian cooking from the area of Gujarat. Its gatherings have a number of mysterious rules: you sign up in advance, find out the exact location just 48 hours ahead of time. Similar types of clubs have taken off in various cities nationwide.

The club’s website says, “The Washington, DC restaurant scene sorely lacks the kind of authentic, filling, and unique meals that only home kitchens can provide. HUSH wants to add spice, both literally and figuratively, to your DC dining experience. So I have opened my home to hungry, adventurous mouths. I will cook up Indian vegetarian meals, made from family recipes with generations of flavor. My mother is my guru and guide. The menus will vary by season, but you will not find most dishes in any restaurant. But HUSH is about more than home-cooking. With every meal, I will tell the tale of its origins. I will even show you the art of eating with your hands.”

The group’s Web site further outlines details.

courtesy of Hinduism Today

Stop Eating Meat and Save the Planet

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, January 25, 2010: Delegates arriving at the gates of the climate conference in Copenhagen last month were met by women in furry animal suits holding placards showing pictures of lambs, cows and pigs and warning, “Don’t Eat Me.” These activists say that one of her principal goals is to fight environmental disasters, and her representatives in Copenhagen appeared eager to spread the message that methane, which is belched in large quantities by cows and other livestock raised for the meat and dairy industries, is among the most potent planet-warming gases.

But the virtues of vegetarianism as part of the battle to curb climate change are far from being an issue just for the spiritually inclined. Long before the summit meeting in Copenhagen, rising demand for meat and dairy products, particularly among the burgeoning middle classes in countries like China and India with fast-developing economies, meant that links between climate change and food policy were becoming an important element in the debate over what to do about the rising levels of greenhouse gases. The issue appeared to have gained traction in the weeks leading up to the Copenhagen conference, with prominent figures from the worlds of science and entertainment stepping into the fray.

Early this month, the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health said it would study the effect of meat output on climate change in light of requests from its member countries. “It’s a question that needs to be studied with a lot of distance,” Bernard Vallat, the organization’s director-general, told a news conference, according to Reuters. “We want to make a modest and independent contribution,” he said. Mr. Vallet said that one of the thorniest issues was how to involve agriculture in efforts to reduce gases while maintaining food security.

courtesy of Hinduism Today

Rigorous argument for the existence of God using chemistry and physics

From Madhavendra Puri das: Dear Maharajas, Prabhus and Matajis,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

In the 1970s I worked as a physicist for Hughes Research Laboratories. In 1982 I joined ISKCON and worked with Drutakarma Prabhu and Sadaputa Prabhu on Origins Magazine and Forbidden Archeology. After decades of research I finally discovered a rigorous argument for the existence of God using physics and chemistry. I am now finally ready to do what Srila Prabhupada wanted us to do, namely travel, lecture, challenge and defeat atheistic views using fully rigorous science. My new website ( presents the rigorous argument. Please contact me if you want me to come and give lectures. If anyone wants to make pictures for my website, that would help people without a science background to better understand the argument.

Your servant,
Madhavendra Puri das

Health Care Reform and the “V” Word“v”_word

By Sesa Dasa on 1 Oct 2009

We’re spending $147 billion to treat obesity, $116 billion to treat diabetes, and hundreds of billions more to treat cardiovascular disease and the many types of cancer that have been linked to the so-called Western diet.

Kudos to Michael Pollan. His September 9, 2009 Op-Ed contribution to the New York Times, Big Food vs. Big Insurances, raises unspoken, yet hard to ignore, issues in the US Health Care Reform debate. Pollan points out, “The American way of eating has become the elephant in the room in the debate over health care.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of health care spending now goes to treat “preventable chronic diseases.” Not all of these diseases are linked to diet ­ there’s smoking, for instance ­ but many, if not most, of them are:

We’re spending $147 billion to treat obesity, $116 billion to treat diabetes, and hundreds of billions more to treat cardiovascular disease and the many types of cancer that have been linked to the so-called Western diet. One recent study estimated that 30 percent of the increase in health care spending over the past 20 years could be attributed to the soaring rate of obesity, a condition that now accounts for nearly a tenth of all spending on health care.

A certain degree of anticipation grew in my heart as I read through Pollan’s two page article. It all made good sense to me, preventable diseases – yes, obesity – yes, diabetes – yes. Then, quite abruptly the article ended, leaving me somewhat puzzled and disappointed. You see, I was waiting for the “V” word but it never manifested.

How could he ignore vegetarianism?! Pollan argues his point convincingly by focuses on the numbers, the costs to health care insurers and the politics of government and agribusiness. Yet, with the exceptions of couple of unelaborated references to soda, fast food, and fresh produce he too seems to avoid speaking about the actual elephant in the room. The “elephant” is what we eat.

“Let me read this thing again,” I thought, “maybe I missed something.” To my relief, I found that I had missed a key point in Pollan’s piece. My relief turned into enthusiasm when I realized what Pollan was actually doing. He wasn’t avoiding the elephant in the room; he was opening the door for me (and others) to specifically add the “V” word to the debate. We all have a role to play in health care reform. Such a major change in direction for a society like the US is not going to happen unless we all add our own special viewpoint to the debate. Yes, I will take this opportunity to follow Pollan’s lead by presenting numbers specifically linked to vegetarianism and health as opposed to the money and politics he focuses on.

In a recent study conducted by Susan E. Berkow and Dr. Neal D. Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reported at, the authors found that the body weight of both male and female vegetarians is, on average, 3 percent to 20 percent lower than that of meat eaters:

Obesity is one of the most pressing health problems in the United States and will soon become the country’s leading cause of preventable deaths,” says Deborah Wilson, M.D. writing for the Vegetarian Starter Kit, published by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “Because vegetarian diets are the only diets that work for long-term weight loss, it’s no surprise that population studies show that meat-eaters have three times the obesity rate of vegetarians and nine times the obesity rate of vegans…Adopting a vegan diet won’t just help you slim down, it will also help you fight an array of ailments, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and more.

In the July 2009 issue of its journal The American Dietetic Association (Volume 109, Issue 7, Pages 1266-1282) published its official position on Vegetarian diets:

It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.

A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat (including fowl) or seafood, or products containing those foods. The results of an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease.

Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than nonvegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Features of a vegetarian diet that may reduce risk of chronic disease include lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals.

Clearly, there is a link between vegetarianism and better health, and better health translates into lower health care costs. Great, so with regard to health care reform, lower health care costs, going vegetarian is a platform on which everyone wins.

Still, a question lingers in my mind. Why did Pollan stop short of using the “V” word? Are there some who don’t win with regard to vegetarianism and health care? Perhaps Pollan was intimidated by those who don’t see a win. Vegetarians remember all too well how the meat industry jumped on Oprah Winfrey back in the 90’s when she questioned meat industry health and safety standards. Oprah could afford to fight the lawsuit, perhaps Pollan can’t. Faced with opposition from this powerful wing of the agribusinesses Pollan mentions, perhaps his strategy of opening the door for broader participation in the debate also includes bringing in more diverse voices to achieve more collective strength to combat a powerfully entrenched meat industry.

The health benefits derived from vegetarianism certainly go far beyond simply what we ingest. Both our external environment and internal environment, or consciousness, impact our physical health. This is a fact also recognized by nutritionists. Holly Alley, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition Specialist, Department of Food and Nutrition at the University of Georgia, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, Cooperative Extension Services summaries how these two environments contribute to good health (

People become vegetarians for many reasons. These may include religious reasons (Hindu, Moslem, Buddhists, Seventh Day Adventist), health, fad, economic, or moral [against the killing of animals] reasons…These health benefits found in vegetarians may not be solely due to diet. Lifestyle habits other than diet, such as exercise, religious practices, smoking, and alcohol can also influence health. The research does not always separate out whether it is the diet alone which makes the difference or whether these other lifestyle factors also play a part.

Who can deny that lifestyle factors do play a part in our health? Accepting that they do play a part in our health, then the voices of their advocates must be part of the debate. Arguments of concern from those who are vegetarians because of the devastating effects meat eating has on our global environment, arguments of passion from those who are vegetarians because of religious reasons, and arguments of sensitivity those who are vegetarians because of the terrible cruelty and violence inflicted upon animals must be added to the medical arguments on the benefits of vegetarianism. Only such a collective effort will fully expose the elephant in the room, and lead to improved health care for all Americans.

Gee, I feel better already.

Safety of Beef Processing Method Is Questioned

By MICHAEL MOSS for New York Times. on 30 Dec 2009

In July, school lunch officials temporarily banned their hamburger makers from using meat from a Beef Products facility in Kansas because of salmonella.

Eight years ago, federal officials were struggling to remove potentially deadly E. coli from hamburgers when an entrepreneurial company from South Dakota came up with a novel idea: injecting beef with ammonia.

The company, Beef Products Inc., had been looking to expand into the hamburger business with a product made from beef that included fatty trimmings the industry once relegated to pet food and cooking oil. The trimmings were particularly susceptible to contamination, but a study commissioned by the company showed that the ammonia process would kill E. coli as well as salmonella.

Officials at the United States Department of Agriculture endorsed the company’s ammonia treatment, and have said it destroys E. coli “to an undetectable level.” They decided it was so effective that in 2007, when the department began routine testing of meat used in hamburger sold to the general public, they exempted Beef Products.

With the U.S.D.A.’s stamp of approval, the company’s processed beef has become a mainstay in America’s hamburgers. McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast-food giants use it as a component in ground beef, as do grocery chains. The federal school lunch program used an estimated 5.5 million pounds of the processed beef last year alone.

But government and industry records obtained by The New York Times show that in testing for the school lunch program, E. coli and salmonella pathogens have been found dozens of times in Beef Products meat, challenging claims by the company and the U.S.D.A. about the effectiveness of the treatment. Since 2005, E. coli has been found 3 times and salmonella 48 times, including back-to-back incidents in August in which two 27,000-pound batches were found to be contaminated. The meat was caught before reaching lunch-rooms trays.

In July, school lunch officials temporarily banned their hamburger makers from using meat from a Beef Products facility in Kansas because of salmonella ­ the third suspension in three years, records show. Yet the facility remained approved by the U.S.D.A. for other customers.

Presented by The Times with the school lunch test results, top department officials said they were not aware of what their colleagues in the lunch program had been finding for years.

In response, the agriculture department said it was revoking Beef Products’ exemption from routine testing and conducting a review of the company’s operations and research. The department said it was also reversing its policy for handling Beef Products during pathogen outbreaks. Since it was seen as pathogen-free, the processed beef was excluded from recalls, even when it was an ingredient in hamburgers found to be contaminated.

The Beef Products case reveals a schism between the main Department of Agriculture and its division that oversees the school lunch program, a divide that underscores the government’s faltering effort to make hamburger safe. The U.S.D.A. banned the sale of meat found to be contaminated with the O157:H7 strain of E. coli 15 years ago, after a deadly outbreak was traced to Jack in the Box restaurants. Meat tainted with salmonella is also a hazard. But while the school lunch program will not buy meat contaminated with salmonella, the agriculture department does not ban its sale to the general public.

Even so, E. coli outbreaks nationwide have increased in recent years. And this summer, two outbreaks of particularly virulent strains of salmonella in hamburger prompted large recalls of ground beef across several states.

Although no outbreak has been tied to Beef Products, officials said they would thoroughly scrutinize any future industry innovations for fighting contamination “to ensure that they are scientifically sound and protect public health,” and that they were examining the government’s overall meat safety policies.

The founder and owner of Beef Products, Eldon N. Roth, declined requests for interviews or access to the company’s production facilities. Responding to written questions, Beef Products said it had a deep commitment to hamburger safety and was continually refining its operation to provide the safest product possible. “B.P.I.’s track record demonstrates the progress B.P.I. has made compared to the industry norm,” the company said. “Like any responsible member of the meat industry, we are not perfect.”

Beef Products maintains that its ammonia process remains effective. It said it tests samples of each batch it ships to customers and has found E. coli in only 0.06 percent of the samples this year.

Read more about this article in New York Times. >

Op-Ed: Food for the Soul

By Nicholas D. Kristof for The New York Times on 23 Aug 2009

On a summer visit back to the farm here where I grew up, I think I figured out the central problem with modern industrial agriculture. It’s not just that it produces unhealthy food, mishandles waste and overuses antibiotics in ways that harm us all.

More fundamentally, it has no soul.

The family farm traditionally was the most soulful place imaginable, and that was the case with our own farm on the edge of the Willamette Valley. I can’t say we were efficient: for a time we thought about calling ourselves “Wandering Livestock Ranch,” after our Angus cattle escaped in one direction and our Duroc hogs in another.

When coyotes threatened our sheep operation, we spent $300 on a Kuvasz, a breed of guard dog that is said to excel in protecting sheep. Alas, our fancy-pants new sheep dog began her duties by dining on lamb.

It’s always said that if a dog kills one lamb, it will never stop, and so the local rule was that if your dog killed one sheep you had to shoot it. Instead we engaged in a successful cover-up. It worked, for the dog never touched a lamb again and for the rest of her long life fended off coyotes heroically.

That kind of diverse, chaotic family farm is now disappearing, replaced by insipid food assembly lines.

The result is food that also lacks soul ­ but may contain pathogens. In the last two months, there have been two major recalls of ground beef because of possible contamination with drug-resistant salmonella. When factory farms routinely fill animals with antibiotics, the result is superbugs that resist antibiotics.

Michael Pollan, the food writer, notes that monocultures in the field result in monocultures in our diets. Two-thirds of our calories, he says, now come from just four crops: rice, soy, wheat and corn. Fast-food culture and obesity are linked, he argues, to the transformation from family farms to industrial farming.

In fairness, industrial farming is extraordinarily efficient, and smaller diverse family farms would mean more expensive food. So is this all inevitable? Is my nostalgia like the blacksmith’s grief over Henry Ford’s assembly lines superseding a more primitive technology? Perhaps, but I’m reassured by one of my old high school buddies here in Yamhill, Bob Bansen. He runs a family dairy of 225 Jersey cows so efficiently that it can still compete with giant factory dairies of 20,000 cows.

Bob names all his cows, and can tell them apart in an instant. He can tell you each cow’s quirks and parentage. They are family friends as well as economic assets.

“With these big dairies, a cow means nothing to them,” Bob said. “When I lose a cow, it bothers me. I kick myself.” That might seem like sentimentality, but it’s also good business and preserves his assets.

American agriculture policy and subsidies have favored industrialization and consolidation, but there are signs that the Obama administration Agriculture Department under Secretary Tom Vilsack is becoming more friendly to small producers. I hope that’s right.

One of my childhood memories is of placing a chicken egg in a goose nest when I was about 10 (my young scientist phase). That mother goose was thrilled when her eggs hatched, and maternal love is such that she never seemed to notice that one of her babies was a neckless midget.

As for the chick, she never doubted her goosiness. At night, our chickens would roost high up in the barn, while the geese would sleep on the floor, with their heads tucked under their wings. This chick slept with the goslings, and she tried mightily to stretch her neck under her wing. No doubt she had a permanent crick in her neck.

Then the fateful day came when the mother goose took her brood to the water for the first time. She jumped in, and the goslings leaped in after her. The chick stood on the bank, aghast.

For the next few days, mother and daughter tried to reason it out, each deeply upset by the other’s intransigence. After several days of barnyard trauma, the chick underwent an identity crisis, nature triumphed over nurture, and she redefined herself as a hen.

She moved across the barn to hang out with the chickens. At first she still slept goose-like, and visited her “mother” and fellow goslings each day, but within two months she no longer even acknowledged her stepmother and stepsiblings and behaved just like other chickens.

Recollections like that make me wistful for a healthy rural America composed of diverse family farms, which also offer decent and varied lives for the animals themselves (at least when farm boys aren’t conducting “scientific” experiments). In contrast, a modern industrialized operation is a different world: more than 100,000 hens in cages, their beaks removed, without a rooster, without geese or other animals, spewing out pollution and ending up as so-called food ­ a calorie factory, without any soul.

Thousands Protest Cow Slaughter on Streets of Hyderabad

By Rajarama Dasa on 19 Dec 2009

Currently in India Cow slaughter is banned except in two states: the states of West Bengal and Kerala.

On November 15th, 2009, the streets of Hyderabad were painted with saffron color when thousands of devotees of Mother Cow took to the streets demanding a total ban on cow slaughter and a declaration that the cow be named as India’s national animal.

The massive Vehicle Rally was headed by Bhakti Raghava Swami, who was recently appointed the Minister for ISKCON’s Varnashrama-based Rural Development Ministry in India.

Speaking on the occasion to newspaper reporters just before the start of the rally, Swami stated that unless and until people realize the importance of cow protection and make a collective effort to protect the cows, we should not expect peace and prosperity in today’s troubled world. He went on to explain that the welfare of a nation begins with the welfare of her cows.

Quoting from the Bhagavad-gita, he reminded those present that Lord Krishna descends from time to time to punish the miscreants, to give protection to His devotees and to re-establish the principles of dharma. Bhakti Raghava Swami said that as devotees of Lord Krishna it is our fundamental duty to strive for cow protection. He concluded by stating that Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, ISKCON, introduced the noble service of cow protection not only in India but also in the western world where beef has become the staple diet.

The TV and Print media of Andhra Pradesh covered the rally very extensively thereby taking the message of Cow Protection to millions of viewers.

The rally started from Marredpally, passing through the main streets of Secunderabad and Hyderabad with about 100 motorcycles, 25 cars, 5 buses and 6 mass transport vehicles, along with hundreds of people wearing attractive T-shirts depicting a beautiful picture of our Mother Cow and a declaration stating “I will protect Mother Cow.”

Devotees, Youth, Women, Children, Environmentalist and Animal rights activists participated in the rally enthusiastically.

Later in the evening, Bhakti Raghava Swami attended a mammoth public meeting of “Vishwa Mangala Gou Grama Yatra” where about 10,000 people had gathered. Swami shared the dais with Raghaveshwara Bharati, who is leading the 108 day Ratha Yatra across India. Addressing the public meeting, Swami congratulated Sri Raghaveshwara Bharati for taking up this program and stated that the Vishwa Mangala Gou Grama Yatra is aptly named because cow protection is meant for the welfare of the entire universe (Vishwa Mangala).

He stressed that only when cows are protected and our villages safe and taken care of can there be real happiness and harmony in this world. Bhakti Raghava Swami reiterated the 3 Point Formula of Land, Cows & Krishna as the only solution to all the problems mankind is undergoing today.

One of the objectives of the yatra is to solicit signatures totaling 21 crores or 210 million from those caring for our Mother Cow calling for a total ban on cow slaughter in India. The signature campaign ends in January 2009. To show solidarity for protecting our Mother Cow who is the fundamental pillar of dharma, you can participate in this herculean endeavor by signing online at the official website of the organizers,

Direct link:

“Eat Less Meat” Says Burger Chain

December 17th, 2009

The BBC's Tom Burridge dines out at a Swedish fast-food chain that is trying to discourage people from eating too much meat by publishing the carbon footprint of each item on its menu.

As soon as I am through the door of the brightly lit Max Burger restaurant in central Stockholm, spokesman Par Larshans insists I eat not one, but two of their fast-food snacks.

Max Burgers' carbon labels are getting them a lot of publicity

The first is a falafel burger. The second is a half beef/half soya burger. They're tasty... but I'm a carnivore who is not planning to go vegetarian any time soon.

I watch as burgers are assembled behind the counter by a line of workers and wrapped at an incredible speed.

It's the illuminated menu, above their heads, that is the real reason for my visit. Max Burger claims to be the first restaurant chain in the world to publish CO2 emissions on its menu.

From the methane produced by the cows, to the machinery used on the farm, through to the emissions produced by the abattoir and the lorries which move the meat around - the weight of CO2 represents the carbon footprint of that meal.

'Less-meat' products

Beef production emits high levels of carbon dioxide when compared to other foods. So why on Earth does a restaurant chain that sells mainly beef want to advertise how bad its products are for the planet?

Par Larshans insists they are not "shooting themselves in the foot" and is quick to remind me of the "less-meat products" on the menu.

We think you need to be honest with the customer. We hope to change the whole of the fast-food industry by this," he said.

"We want people to eat less meat."

Max Burgers' carbon labels are getting them a lot of publicity, which no doubt does them no harm.

They do however also seem to epitomise the country's enthusiasm for environmental food labelling. A recent survey in Sweden found that 92% of people wanted more information about the "green credentials" of the food they were buying.

Simple benchmark

Customers seem generally positive.

"It's a very interesting concept," says one. "We have to start somewhere... I think it will affect what people will order."

Another questions how accurate the figures are, but she likes the idea that you can "see the impact of what you're eating, on the environment."

Her companion is also keen to find out his "energy consumption," as he puts it, but then asks: "How much is a gram of CO2?"

Carbon labelling on products began four years ago in Britain

This is one of the main problems for the increasing number of food manufacturers who put a carbon footprint on their products.

The figures on the label do not mean a huge amount to most people.

This - and the fact that calculating carbon footprints is a complex and costly process - is why two food organisations in Sweden are now working on a simpler label which they hope people will find easier to understand.

The labels will be called climate labels - not carbon labels - and are designed to set a simple environmental benchmark for food production in Sweden.

Any product reaching certain standards in terms of farming, production, packaging and transportation will carry the new label.

The secret, according to Swedish author Jessica Cederberg Wodmar, who has written a book on the subject, is coming up with a labelling system that is easy to understand and credible.

"The problem is that no-one has come-up with a label that sets a standard that everyone else wants to use," she said.

If the new Swedish labels are a success, however, she fully expects to see them copied in other countries around the world.

The full report can be seen on World News America on Tuesday 8th December at 7pm ET / 4pm PT and again at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT; BBC WORLD NEWS - Wednesday 9th December at 0000 GMT; BBC NEWS CHANNEL (in the UK) - Wednesday 9th December at 12.30am

Beyond Vegetarianism

 By Stephen Knapp

            On the spiritual path those who are the most inclined to lead a peaceful existence that respects the value of all life often adopt the vegetarian lifestyle. For some people this is a very big step. This is in accordance with the yogic principle ofahimsa, which is to observe nonviolence and abstain from injuring any being in any way. However, many people ask what about the plants that are killed in the process of cooking vegetarian foods. Don’t they suffer? And don’t we get reactions for that?

            The basic law of nature is that every living being lives off the weaker living entities. But there is a way of living so that we all can benefit, that we all make spiritual development. And this spiritual lifestyle is a way in which that can happen. The way this works is in the process of bhakti-yoga, wherein devotion goes beyond simple vegetarianism, and food becomes a method of spiritual progress for both those who prepare and eat the food, and those living beings that are used in the preparations.

For example, in the Krishna temples, food is offered to the Deities in a special sacrament, after which it becomes prasadam. This means the mercy of the Lord. Thus, the food we eat after it is offered to the Lord becomes a means for our purification and spiritual development.

            In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna says, “All that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering to Me.” So, offering what we eat to the Lord is an integral part of bhakti-yoga and makes the food blessed with spiritual potencies.

The Lord also describes what He accepts: “If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.” Thus, we can see that the Lord does not need anything, but if one offers fruits, grains, and vegetarian foods, He will accept it. The Lord does not accept foods like meat, fish, or eggs, but only those that are pure and naturally available without harming others. So, we offer what Lord Krishna likes, not those items which are distasteful to Him. We also do not use garlic, onions, or mushrooms when we prepare food for Krishna, for these are considered to invoke passion or are from impure sources, which similarly affect our consciousness. Foods for Krishna should be in the mode of goodness, sattvic foods which when we accept as prasadam also elevate our own consciousness.

So, on the spiritual path, eating food that is first offered to God is the ultimate perfection of a vegetarian diet. The Vedic literature explains that the purpose of human life is reawakening the soul’s original relationship with God, and accepting prasadamis one of the ways to help us reach that goal.

The food is meant to be cooked with the consciousness of love, knowing that it will be offered to Lord Krishna first, and only after that distributed to ourselves or guests to take. The ingredients are selected with great care and must be fresh, clean and pure vegetarian. Also, in cooking for Krishna we do not taste the preparations while cooking. We leave the first taste for Krishna when it is offered to Him.

After all the preparations are ready, we take a portion of each one and place it in bowls on a special plate that is used for this purpose only and take it to the altar to offer it to the Deities or pictures of Krishna.

            Then the preparations are presented with special prayers as we ask that God accept our humble offering. The most important part of the offering is the love with which it is given, and then the Lord accepts it. God does not need to eat, but it is our love for God which attracts Him to us and to accept our offering. Even if the most sumptuous banquet is offered to God but without devotion and love, Krishna will not be hungry to accept it. It is our love, our devotion and bhakti, which catches the attention of Lord Krishna who is then inclined to accept our service.

            After He glances over and tastes the loving offering of vegetarian preparations, He leaves the remnants of the food offerings for us to honor and relish. Krishna’s potency is absorbed in that food. In this way, material substance becomes spiritualized, which then affects our body and mind in a similar and most positive and elevating way. This is His special mercy for us. Thus, the devotional process becomes an exchange of love between us and God, which includes food. And that food not only nourishes our body, but also spiritualizes our mind and consciousness.

            By relishing the sacred food of Krishna prasadam, it purifies our heart and protects us from falling into illusion. In this way, the devotee imbibes the spiritual potency of Lord Krishna and becomes cleansed of sinful reactions by eating food that is first offered in sacrifice to God. We thus also become free from reincarnation, the continued cycle of birth and death. This process prepares us for entering the spiritual world since the devotees there also relish eating in the company of Lord Krishna.

            However, what does this do for the plants that are offered? They are also living beings. In this process, not only do we make advancement, but all of the plants that are used in the preparations as an offering to God are also purified and reap spiritual benefit. They are used and offered to God and thus make progress in the same way we do. That is why this is beyond mere vegetarianism in which we may live more simply and nonviolently, but in this process, everything we use in the service of the Lord becomes spiritualized.

            If we merely cook for ourselves, we become implicated in karma or the reactions if we cause the harm of any living being, even plants. The vegetarian lifestyle surely causes less karma than the unnecessary slaughtering of innocent animals. However, the system of first offering food to the Lord and then taking prasadambecomes the perfect yoga diet and frees us from such karma.

            Therefore, the cooking, the offering, and then the respectful eating or honoring of this spiritualized food all become a part of the joyful process of devotional service to the Lord. Anyone can learn to do this and enjoy the happiness of experiencing the potency of Krishna prasadam.

[Available at:]

Ayurveda Cooking New Buzz In Moms Kitchen

NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 4, 2009: Taking grandmas home remedies to a grander level, ayurvedic cooking - all about the right mix of spices and foods is the new buzz in the kitchen.

Cooking the ayurveda way is sheer chemistry: Food properties, what type goes with which spice, how to snap the time, temperature and mix right and mapping all this to a persons constituency. Its about rediscovering basic principles, says 27-year-old Kaushani Desai, a Mumbai SNDT Food & Nutrition graduate, now ayurveda cooking instructor.

Modern-day nutrition paradigm is fundamentally flawed, says Desai. It categorizes people on the basis of their disease. So all diabetics are clubbed together , as are heart patients. But thats not how it is in real life. Ayurveda works on the principle that every individual is unique in how he responds to food.

courtesy of Hinduism Today

Want to Drop Your Carbon Emissions? Stop Eating Beef, India’s Minister Declares

NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 22, 2009: Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, a vegetarian himself, was not invoking any ancient Hindu scriptures, but what he said would certainly warm the cockles of those hearts who consider eating beef an anathema.

Citing measures for developed countries to cut carbon emissions he said, “It has been seen that developed countries which eat beef have the maximum amount of emissions. They can cut down on emissions, if they stop eating beef. The single-most important cause of emissions is eating beef,” Ramesh said.

Ramesh quoted a number of studies and global climate change expert R.K. Pachauri to support his view, but the issue has been debated for years. Last year, a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization study found that meat production accounts for nearly a fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions that are causing temperatures to rise, causing erratic rainfall, higher sea levels and stronger storm events.

courtesy of Hinduism Today

What Are We Really Eating?

By Madhava Smullen on 25 Jan 2008

Image: Gavin Bell

We live in a world of enticingly packaged, processed foods where nobody really cares what they’re eating, so long as it looks good. As a child, I remember seeing a guest on a TV chat show say that they were allergic to various products, and therefore had to check the ingredients on everything when they went shopping. “Oh my God!” the host exclaimed in horror. “That must be such a pain! I could never do that!”

More recently, I was traveling in California with some friends and decided to visit Universal Studios in Hollywood. When hunger struck, we searched for the most vegetarian restaurant we could find and discovered one with a delightful buffet-style line featuring a variety of salads, pasta and pizza.

The girl at the counter filled up our plates with pasta once she’d let us know, none too confidently, that it didn’t contain eggs.

Then the fun really started.

“Do you know if there’s animal rennet in the cheese?” My friend Janmastami asked.

The girl looked blank. He tried to rephrase the question. “What is the cheese made with?”

This time she stared at him with an expression reserved for the severely mentally retarded. Her jaw slackened a little. Her eyes opened wide.

“Cheese is made with milk,” she said. “Milk comes from a cow.”

If only it were that simple. As a vegetarian, I may find this kind of routine ignorance funny – at least in retrospect – but it doesn’t inspire confidence in our eating establishments. Food companies themselves, while presenting a slightly more sophisticated front, aren’t much better. For a start, there is no law in any country that requires retailers to mark their products as vegetarian.

When you do find a “vegetarian” label, it’s simply a voluntary practice on the part of the manufacturer, and doesn’t reflect any universally agreed upon standard. Different manufacturers have their own opinion on what is or isn’t vegetarian, so even if a product announces to you that it’s fine for you to eat, it may actually contain, for example, animal-derived glycerine. Certain labels, like that of the Vegetarian Society in the UK, are reliable – but ISKCON devotees must be sure to double check, as the manufacturers generally consider eggs suitable for vegetarians.

So what can you do? Shock that poor TV host from the eighties, and check your ingredients every time. It’s the only way. Checking once and creating a list of “safe” products isn’t reliable, as manufacturers often change the ingredients in a product without warning – for instance, a rennet-free cheese may start using rennet again at any time.

But you’re still not in the safe zone yet. When you do check your ingredients, you’ll probably find that most of them might as well be written in Arabic. Packages don’t inform you that your ice-cream contains a gelling agent derived from animal ligaments, skins, tendons, bones and hooves. No, that would take up far too much space, and ruin your appetite. So instead, they use a neat little word like “gelatine.” You might be surprised to know how many ISKCON members don’t know this – a disturbing thought.

Here are some more common animal ingredients you should watch out for:

Cochineal, also known as E120, is a red dye often used in ice-cream, yogurt, glacé cherries, jams and drinks. Sound delicious? You’ll stop licking your lips after you’ve heard that it’s made from the crushed female un-hatched larva of the Cochineal beetle.

Animal rennet is an enzyme made from the stomach of calves and lambs, and is often used in cheese. Fortunately, it’s usually listed in ingredients as “animal rennet,” since rennet can also be made from vegetables.

Gylcerine is a type of animal fat that is often blended with vegetable fats. Many soap products contain it, and do not always state whether it is plant or animal-based. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer. Glycerine is also found in some chewing gums.

Lecithin is found in egg yolks, the tissues and organs of many animals, and some vegetables such as soybeans and corn. It’s often used in butter and margarine, and other foods high in fat and oils. If it’s vegetarian, the ingredients will state “Soy Lecithin.” Luckily, Lecithin is usually made from soy these days.

Beware of the phrase “Natural flavors,” on a product. Sounds friendly, doesn’t it? But often, these will be derived from beef or other meats. Contact the company and ask them what they use in their natural flavors. They may not always tell you, but the more people that do this, the more they’ll be likely to start making it available knowledge.

The world of processed foods is a strange one that seems to be intent on making sure you don’t know what you’re putting in your mouth. Today’s world, as Srila Prabhupada’s guru Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati so succinctly put it, is “No place for a gentleman.” But while you’re here, you would do well to brush up on your knowledge of animal ingredients.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have a comprehensive list that should get you started. Good sources of additional information are the Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients and the Consumer's Dictionary of Food Additives, available at most libraries or bookstores. And of course, if you have a question regarding an ingredient in a product, just call the manufacturer.

Vegetarian Menu in American Hospitals

By Sally Andersen for VegDaily on 19 Nov 2009

Image: VegDaily
Vegetarianism is considered a healthy, viable diet. Necessary nutrients, proteins, and amino acids for the body's sustenance can be found in vegetables, grains, nuts, soymilk and dairy.

Hospitals are catching on to the fact that meat is not good for the environment, their budget, their patients’ health, or even the animals!

Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) has introduced the Balanced Menus Challenge, a program that asks health care institutions to reduce their meat purchases by 20% within 12 months of taking the challenge.

So far, 14 hospitals across the U.S. have taken the challenge and will be offering more plant-based meals. The change with also include creating more meals with less meat the American Institute for Cancer Research’s New American Plate, which states that meat should not take up more than 25% of your plate and that vegetables should cover at least 50%.

HCWH says that “reducing meat purchasing at health care facilities is a potent food service climate change reduction strategy as well as an opportunity for hospitals to model healthy eating patterns for patients, staff and visitors.”

India Tells West to Stop Eating Beef

By Dean Nelson for Telegraph on 20 Nov 2009

The environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, said if the world abandoned beef consumption, emissions would be dramatically reduced and global warming would slow down.

"The solution to cut emissions is to stop eating beef. It leads to emission of methane which is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide," he said.

"The best thing for us, India, is we are not a beef-eating nation.

The United States, the world's largest emitter along with China, is also the world's greatest beef-eating nation and consumes 25 per cent more than Europe.

His comments follow a call last month by Lord Stern, the author of a British Government study on climate change, for people to give up eating meay to reduce emissions. "Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases," said Lord Stern. "It puts enormous pressure on the world's resources. A vegetarian diet is better."

Hindus are forbidden to eat beef and India has more vegetarians than any other country in the world. More than 30 per cent of its 1.1 billion people do not eat meat at all.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, livestock is responsible for 18 per cent of the the Earth's greenhouse gas emissions. Cows produce harmful methane gas and environmentalists argue beef production causes greater damage than any other farming because it requires far more land and water than for any other form of animal husbandry.

The Stepping Stones to Real Cow Protection (Part 1)

The Stepping Stones to Real Cow Protection (Part 2)

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A simple village man once wanted to serve the greatest person.  He approached the mayor of his town and asked to be given some work.  While serving the mayor, the village man noticed the mayor giving tax money to a visitor.  He asked who the visitor was, and the mayor told him that he was a representative of the governor.  "Is the governor greater than you?"  "Oh yes, he is greater than me," the mayor said.  "Then I want to serve him," said the village man.  The appreciated the man's honesty and recommended him to the mayor.  The village man served the governor for some time.  Then one day a visitor arrived accompanied by some horsemen.  The governor welcomed the visitor graciously and treated him with all respect.  When he had a chance, the village man asked the governor who the visitor was.  "He is the king's viceroy," said the governor.  "And who is the king?" the man asked.  "He is the ruler of the whole land," said the governor.  "He is very great."  "Is he greater than you?" the man asked.  "Oh yes, I am just his servant."  "Then I would like to serve him."  The village man was talented and so, to please the king, the governor sent the village man to him.  The man served the king for some months, and then one day the king told him to ready the chariot.  A great sage had arrived in the kingdom and the king wanted the sage's advice on how to rule.  The village man watched as the king approached the saintly person and offered respect.  The king then sat and listened to the sage discourse for some time.  Then, as the king was preparing to return to his palace, the village man approached the sage and asked if he were the greatest person.  The sage said, no, he was only a menial servant.  "So please tell me, who is the greatest person?"  "To find the greatest person, you must go to the temple of Narayana," the sage told him.  Without a moments delay, the man set off walking.  It was evening when he arrived, and the temple doors were closed.  The man knocked on the door for a long time.  Finally a temple priest came and told him to go home and return the next day.  Not having any place to go, the man lay down by the gate and went to sleep.  Before sunrise, some brahmanas from a nearby village passed the temple and saw the man sleeping.  They noticed that covering the man's body was one of the Deity's chadars.  "He is a thief!" they said.  In anger they woke the man and asked them where he got the chadar.  The man was mystified and told them he did not know where the chadar had come from.  The brahmanas then tried to open the temple door and discovered it was locked.  They then realized that Lord Narayana Himself had placed the chadar over his servant to keep him warm while he slept.  The brahmanas asked the man where he came from, and he told them his story.  The man was then accepted into the temple and trained to serve the Deity.  In this way the man came to serve the greatest person.

MORAL:  We should understand what we are doing in this Krsna consciousness movement, and that this is the culmination of all work and endeavour, devotional service to Lord Krsna.

See similar inspirational snippets HERE:

The phaomnneil pweor of the hmuan mnid: Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig!
Mybae the I can sotp slpel ckchenig?

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