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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Local Defines What Is Local: A 2008 Festival of Inspiration Workshop

HG Tapahpunja Prabhu wants to let you know where we can pick up where Gandhi left off, using our rural communities as outreach powerhouses. You can find out at the upcoming 2008 Festival of Inspiration (May 9-10-11, live at New Vrindaban Dham in West Virginia). Tapahpunja's presentation will happen at 12:45 pm on Sunday the 11th, Mother's Day

Here's the rundown...

True to Srila Prabhupada’s predictions, more and more people are looking for shelter in rural communities. Are we ready to absorb Kali’s environmental and social refugees? Can we demonstrate how to settle people on the land? Can you look a young devotee family in the face and tell them that they must submit themselves to years of corporate wage slavery before they can afford property? The emerging alliance between religion and ecology is not an abstract fact, it’s a growing reality that will either negatively or positively influence how the public perceives the Krishna consciousness movement.

We have all the time tested answers but no working model and no strategy to empower devotees in land based, simple rural living. This workshop explores how to energize our rural communities through charitable redistribution of underused temple owned land. We discuss replacing predatory land policy with a strategy to share Krishna’s resources in an environmentally challenged world. It’s not about “owning land,” it’s about using Krishna’s property in Krishna’s service.

We will blow away the tired stereotype that KC farm communities are havens for philosophical dullards and retirees. The misconception that ISKCON is a predominantly Indian phenomenon will be laid to rest when we begin talking the language of environmental kinship with local neighbors and adjacent communities. Yes, that means
actually talking to the American guy next door. Country living minus vigorous preaching is sense gratification. Get over it. Privatization is a lonely dead end. We are—as Srila Prabhupada stated in an interview—“spiritual communists.”

For more info on the Festival, check out

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Let us remember on this day that Mother Earth is like us too. She is a devotee of Krsna, and she is most pleased when we offer her bounties to Krsna.

Developing our farm communities further and further, practically and intelligently, must be a leading priority of our sankirtana movement as our Mother Earth demands us to shift away from the burdens placed upon her by our over-mechanical, over-consuming culture.

If we can be more and more on the forefront of presenting the true spiritually based ideal-in-action of "Simple Living and High Thinking", then the boons for our society and for all living entities are boundless, as would be the pleasure of Srila Prabhupada.

Let us meditate on the words of Prabhupada, who amongst his many transcendental and ecstatic gifts was also an get-your-hands dirty environmentalist long before it was ever trendy to be "green."

...Being separated from family and property, they will take shelter in the hilly ranges or in the forest to get relief. This will be the position. Harassment, so much harassment, by nature, by government. So therefore for complete happy society, this Kåñëa consciousness movement is essential. All intelligent persons, they should join this movement and reform the present social, political, religious. All field of activities, they should reform. Then people will be happy. Not only happy in this life, but also next life. —Evening Darsana Washington, D.C. 8 July 1976

Prabhupäda: So one side, there is no rain; one side, there is no rice, especially in India; and one side, heavy tax. So they'll be all confused. They have already become confused. So in the confusion state it will be very difficult to make them Krsna conscious. Therefore preliminary help should be given.
Visnujana: Preliminary.
Prabhupäda: Yes. That they should not be in chaos and confusion. Otherwise, how the brain will work?
Visnujana: Yes. No one can give rapt attention without peace of mind.
Prabhupäda: Yes, yes. Our main aim is how to give them Krsna consciousness. But if they are already disturbed in every respect, then how they'll take it? Therefore we are taking these subjects, to help him to come to the Krsna consciousness. And this is the method-varnasrama.

Visnujana: ...This is the most auspicious work for now, is this remedial measure to stop the chaos in the world?
Prabhupäda: Yes.
Visnujana: That's most auspicious.
Prabhupäda: Most auspicious. Because if the people are in chaos, how they'll be able to accept the great philosophy? It requires cool brain.

Visnujana: ...When we first go to open a temple in a city we get an apartment or a storefront. But then, when more and more people come, then we should get land and cows and everything and...
Prabhupäda: Yes, yes.
Visnujana: ...and turn it into a society.
Hrdayänanda: Ah, that's wonderful.
—Morning Walk "Varnasrama College"
Vrndavana 14 March 1974

Prabhupäda: Yes. Our next program is to organize farming. Let anyone come. We shall give him free food and employment: "Come on." Not that "I want to work as a clerk in the city." You produce your own food. I give you ingredients. I give you land. And work for five, six hours, and take your food and chant Hare Krsna
Devotee: Anybody who comes to the farm has to agree to follow the four regulative principles? These people?
Prabhupäda: Yes. Otherwise you are not coming. Our main business is to make him Krsna conscious.
—Morning Walk
Perth 15 May 1975

Farm project is very nice. Krsna gives. Krsni-go-raksya-vänijyam vaisya-karma svabhäva-jam. [Bg. 18.44] "Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work for the vaisyas..."] This is economic problem solved. And brähmana, brain problem solved, and ksatriya, protection problem solved, and südra, labor problem solved. Four things combined together, live peacefully, happily. Chant Hare Krsna. Introduce this farm project.
—Evening Darsana
Mäyäpur 15 February 1977

Now, our next program will be to organize farming land to set an example to the whole world how people can be peaceful, happy, and free from all anxieties simply by chanting Hare Krishna Maha-mantra and living an honorable life in Krishna Consciousness. In India especially people are religiously inclined. They like to live in village and also like to love Lord Rama, Lord Krishna. This idealism is running through their blood and veins. We have to organize their natural tendency and elevate them again back to Home, Back-to-Godhead.
—Letter to: Kartikeya K. Mahadevia
Johannesburg 19 October 1975

Monday, April 21, 2008

Cause roses really smell like....

There's a lot of good old-fashioned hullabaloo about on the now-ever-more mainstream topics of climate change and environmental responsibility.

Movie screen and big big politicos will try to convince you that the tides are rising and the end is nigh, whilst so-called "rational" right-leaning scientists will then try to convince you that the world is not heating up, the ice caps aren't melting, our smokestacks are only doing good belching out dollars for the economy, and even worse, this whole shebang about our Mother Earth's sickness is actually one massive conspiracy to bring you further under their control.

Check out this piece on a recent study by the US National Science Foundation which details the effects of air-borne pollutants from such emissions as car exhausts on the scents of flowers, and the potentially disastrous effects to our natural ecosystems (and to a lesser extent, to our own ability to enjoy one of Krsna's best creations).

Why flowers have lost their scent

Pollution is stifling the fragrance of plants and preventing bees from pollinating them – endangering one of the most essential cycles of nature, writes Environment Editor Geoffrey Lean


Researchers say that pollution is dramatically cutting the distance travelled by the scent of flowers