38) Millions of people are suffering every moment- remember to reach out.
Friday, April 15, 2011
38) Millions of people are suffering every moment- remember to reach out.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Nobody, not a single person, is bad in an absolute sense. We are all part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, how is it even possible for us to be evil? We are all gold pellets- some of us have big blocks of clay and mud around us and some others have almost none- but regardless of the amount of clay, we are all gold pellets. If I throw away a gold pellet because it has soil around it, that simply is an indication of my short sightedness, rather than the worthlessness of gold pellet. When we judge people as bad or imperfect, (I often do) we are simply discarding gold, calling it mud. And sometimes, it so happens that gold forgets itself and identifies with the mud around it. No matter how much you remind it, it is not ready to accept or acknowledge that it is gold. So often this happens with people- we start it young. We tell children to be class topper or athlete, or in whatever way we define success and when they fall short of it, we tell them they are worthless. Ofcourse, we don't do it knowingly- but by our sneering comments and comparisons, we make our gold pellet feel like mud. In time, they forget their real identity and start believing that they infact are mud blocks. Oh what pity it is!!! Then we wonder in our head how these gold pellets can behave like mud.... and then conclude that perhaps they really are mud blocks!!!
Accept without reservations.
May I be careful enough to let any external factors affect my internal peace.
Worry, sadness, resentment, greed- these are invasions that can claim our life- May I guard my soul with the Mercy of my Beloved.
May I realize that sometimes it is better to let go than to hold on - May I be blessed with the knowledge to know this on time.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
This is a paper I wrote for a class I took in Fall 2009- "Cross- Cultural Leadership". I am posting it here since it has been quite a while since I posted something on the blog. Its not exciting, interesting or even well- written, so read if you must; I take no responsibility for your choice of how to spend your time ;)
Friday, March 28, 2008
“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” Paul McCartney, singer.
Slaughterhouses are licensed institutions of violent torture, atrocities and murder. They are one of the leading causes of diseases and death, not only for poor animals but also for humans. Hence, they must be closed down for the greater good. Various studies have pointed out that physiology and anatomy of human body is that of a herbivore. When we kill millions of innocent animals for consumption, we are going against our inherent peaceful nature and harming ourselves in the process. Non- vegetarianism is one of the leading causes of life threatening diseases like atherosclerosis, obesity and consequently stroke or cardiac anomalies. Another reason is the ethical question of whether killing a life for one’s own sense gratification is justified. Animals’ intelligence is under scrutiny at times, but the real question is if they experience pain. Inflicting pain upon helpless animals just to satiate our selfish motives is indeed wrong. Slaughterhouses are the result of speciesism, which believes only one’s own species has the right to live. In addition, there is an observed pattern of relationship between criminality, violence and the non- vegetarian diet. Thus, slaughterhouses are a bane to the society and must be closed down.
Supporters of slaughterhouses states reasons such as meat being a part of healthy diet and advertise meat as a titillating treat for the taste buds besides being a source of employment. However, critical analysis proves that these arguments are not valid. Legumes, milk and milk products offer the protein that our body needs. Dr.Paavo Airola, a leading authority on Nutrition and Natural biology says, “ The official recommendation for protein has gone down from 150g recommended twenty years ago to 45g today . . . you can get it from a very 100% vegetarian diet” (67). This statement clearly refutes the argument that meat is vital for our health and affirms that plant food can supply 100% of the nutrients required. Infact, one takes corn, squash and beans, it provides all the 20 essential amino acids required by body. Some of the strongest animals on the planet, like elephants, are pure vegetarians. On the contrary, the meat of any four-legged animal is bad for the body. Recently discovery channel broadcasted three television shows about the harmful effect of meat, especially red meat on human body. A meat-based diet is the biggest cause of heart problems, which in turn is the largest killer disease in US.
Similarly, the argument that slaughterhouses are major economic pillars and part of our tradition is not strong either. The work force currently employed in slaughtering business can find employment in agriculture and farming industry. When consumption of vegetables and fruits increases, the need of work force will increase, which can be met by those rendered jobless. Another counter argument is that humans have always been eating meat. They question the authenticity of turning against animal killing in the modern age. Since ancient times men have killed and eaten animals. However, it was not a large-scale massacre as today. Meat was not the staple food. It was an occasional indulgence. Moreover the meat frequently came from ones own farm. But today, animals are tortured in the name of animal farming, which culminates in their death in slaughterhouses. None of the reasons put forward by the supporters of slaughterhouses are valid and hence we must close down slaughterhouses.
Furthermore, the ill effect of meat consumption on human body is an important reason to close down slaughterhouses. Governments, as well as various organizations, spend millions of dollars to fight the fat clogged arteries, obesity and the spectra of diseases it brings. The single step of closing down these giant killing houses can be a lasting solution to this problem. Though these diseases are not exclusively found in those consuming a non- vegetarian diet, it is predominantly found in this group of population. If killing animals are unavoidable for the sustenance of human species, then we could have justified the need to kill. However, numerous researchers have repeatedly stated that the structure and built of human body is similar that of a herbivore. The prominent Swedish scientist Karl von Linne states, “Man’s structure, external and internal, compared with that of the other animals, shows that fruits and succulent vegetables constitute his natural food” (qtd. in Dasa 22). The anatomy and physiology of man, like his lips, teeth, alimentary canal etc, are designed to be vegetarian. Many studies have also pointed out that vegetarians are healthier and generally have sharper analytical abilities. The predominantly vegetarian populations show lower incidences of chronic diseases like cardio vascular disorders, hypertension and even cancer. The huge volume of data pointing meat based data as a major reason for various diseases endorses the closing down of slaughterhouses for greater good.
Moreover, slaughterhouses are the results of human impudence and feeling of superiority, which is an example of speciesism. Speciesism refers to the elite feeling of a certain species and consequent exploitation of other species. People in general are against all types of sectarian mentality based on race, religion or nationality; but many people conveniently overlook speciesism. As long as a living being is not human, the idea of rights does not exist – not even the right to live. Slaughterhouses are “concentration camps” for animals. In an essay titled On Eating Flesh, the Roman author Plutarch wrote: “For the sake of little flesh we deprive them (animals) of sun, of light, of the duration of life they are entitled to by birth and being” (qtd. in Dasa 27) . For the selfish motives of sensual pleasure, humans deny animals their right to a normal life. We confine them, torture them and kill them with no consideration and respect to their identity. The right to live is universal. Certain violence can be accepted for the protection and sustenance of one’s own life, but taking life for one’s selfish indulgence is crime. Therefore, slaughterhouses must be shut down.
Besides, there is a direct link between food consumed and criminal tendencies. Many cultures of the world, especially occidental cultures, like Vedic civilization, Buddhists, Jains etc are aware of this connection for thousand of years. The food has a gross part, which nourishes the body, and a subtle part that nourishes the mind. Food that are in mode of goodness like vegetables, fruits and milk makes one peaceful, alert and tolerant while food in the mode of ignorance and passion like meat, eggs and alcohol makes one dull, violent and restless, in addition to shortening the life span according to the aforementioned cultures. Today crime and quarrel have shot up exponentially – one of the contributing factors can very likely be the obsessive non- vegetarianism. In early 20th century British Surgeon Dr. Robert McCarrison, stationed in North India observed the astounding health of local tribe ‘Hunzas.’ Many lived past 100 years of age and chronic diseases such as cancer or hypertension were virtually unknown. Intrigued by this observation, he conducted a controlled experiment. He chose 2 groups of albino rats and fed one group with the food that villagers consumed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and milk. The other group fed on meat, caffeinated drinks and refined flour. In 2 years, the first group practically became disease free, gentle and tame. They had lower infant mortality and lower number of deaths. On the other hand, the 2nd group became very restless, violent and unhealthy. By the 16th day of experiment, the stronger among them attacked and ate the weaker ones. (Gaumont and Buttram 126). This was a revelation for him and should become for us too. The food we eat influences of physical body as well as mind. Numerous surveys have concluded that a predominantly vegetarian diet makes a person more focused, alert and lively. Slaughterhouses promote meat eating, consequently affecting human nature adversely and hence they must be closed down.
However, the most important reason to ban slaughterhouses is the extreme cruelty done to animals. Slaughtered animals die a very painful death. Their tails are cut off; dangled by legs and quite often see other animals in front of them being killed. The recent recall of beef by United States Department of Agriculture is interesting for reasons more than one. CNN sites “Authorities said the video showed workers kicking, shocking and otherwise abusing "downer" animals that were apparently too sick or injured to walk into the slaughterhouse.” It is appalling to human conscience that the withdrawal was because cattle treated in aforementioned manner could pose a health hazard. No one seems to be bothered about the ethical issue of mistreating a living being that way. The report continues, “Federal regulations call for keeping downed cattle out of the food supply because they may pose a higher risk of contamination from E. coli, salmonella or mad cow disease because they typically wallow in feces and their immune systems are often weak.” Picturing our food to be in such a transitional state is not very palatable. What is more concerning is that always the focus stays on the comfort of humans and we are neglectful of the pitiable plight of another living being. Abolishing slaughterhouses can be a welcome step to bring back the human conscience that has become merciless.
The reasons to abolish slaughterhouses are many and so are the resultant benefits. Lambs, cows and pigs have just as much as pain as a cat or dog. Many of us have pets and support organizations like SPCA ( Society for prevention of Cruelty to Animals). We should realize killing of animals for food in the presence of alternate sources is a barbarian mentality. Slaughterhouses are bane to the society. They cause distress for both the killer and the killed. Animals have the right ti live just as we do. Unjustified killing is wrong. Killing an unarmed being is a greater wrong. Slaughterhouses are the epitome of such an atrocity and hence, they must be abolished. Every time a juicy beef rib is offered, pause to ponder- this animal could be alive if it were not for human greed. The animal may not be a scientist or a writer, but it is a parent or a child and immensely loved by its family. Humans do not have the right to snatch away the life of these harmless beings. Only we have the power to stop -- the power to protect their lives, and ours!
Saturday, February 10, 2007
I was not sure if i should write about my experiences of Lord's mercy- it should be something between me and my Lord. But then i met many people who are intelligent and good- yet unable to have faith on Divine mercy. I have seen followers of many sectarian beliefs spreading their faith- on the basis of some divine interventions. I deeply appreciate their efforts- because seeing their experiences many others are encouraged to take up devotional service. Vedas- the most ancient books known to man- clearly declares who the Supreme Lord is. Sri Isopanishad boldly states
anādir ādir govindaḥ
Krsna who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes.
If i try to quote about Krsna's supremacy - I can spend a life time doing that. So let us try something which is comparatively easier- Lord Krsna's mercy upon me, on someone who has no qualification whatsoever to be loved by the Lord of all worlds and yet is loved and protected with at most mercy. I will keep on adding to this page and its my request to the reader to please add incidents from your life where you have felt Lords mercy on you. Let us spread the word in whatever meek way we can- to Glorify the sweet Lord and to make everyone luckier to be the beloved of the Supreme Lord- Sri Krishna. I should rephrase the sentence- 'cos Krishna is always bestowing His Love upon all of us- but we are unable to receive it. So let us try to tune everyone to receive His love and mercy , by developing faith in Him and Love for Him.
Let me give a small introduction about my infancy , childhood and teenage to illustrate the situation I grew up in. In terms of scriptural studies and philosophical understanding of Krishna Consciousness- I had no experience. Krishna was in my life cos I found Krishna attractive. As my mother was working- I grew up with my grandmother. And near our house we have a Sri Krsna temple. Though my grandmother is more inclined to worshiping Mother Goddess, somehow or other from whatever description she gave me of Krsna made me interested in Krsna. He seemed to be more personal- I felt other Gods ( read demigods) about whom she spoke about, were giving things, taking things, killing enemies- but I did not find anyone sharing a personal level of interaction in Their leelas (pastimes). I was a reserved child when i was small ( i more than made up for it when as I grew up ;-) ) and Krsna fitted the picture of a friend who was always approachable- Who would listen to me, who I could go to at any point of time. I also got a deity of Krsna- and I am still very attached to that deity. I used to offer Food to Him,sleep Him, bathe Him.Many many instances I saw whenever I asked Him something- I don't even have to ask- by just wishing they would materialize. By repeated display of Him answering the prayers , I never got a chance to doubt Him even as I grew up and lost innocent trust. Whatever faith I have in Krsna is sheerly because He gave it- I am a rascal who might have doubted, but my Merciful Lord never gave me a chance. In this article I would talk about few of the instances when I felt Lords mercy on me- there are many- but let me be selective. Its not arranged chronologically- just a random recall of memories.
This is something that happened in 2005. I was in India, doing Bachelors in Homoeopathic Medicine and Surgery. My second semester exams were going on and simultaneously I had to attend a class by '' The Art of Living'' foundation. I used to have some complaints in breathing and my mother had enrolled me in the program in the hope that I may get better. Incidentally it so happened that my semester exams and this course coincided. My mother was adamant that I should attend the course and I had no option but to obey her. I had been almost negligent throughout the semester and so was not at all up to date with my portions. Everyone considered me as a good student and it mortified me to just think of letting their expectations down. Initially I had practical and theory viva for Materia medica and Organon of medicine ( homoeopathic subjects) and it was not so tough. But then I was to have Physiology and Biochemistry exam! We did not have any leave between exams- it was continuous and by the time i got back from the place of my course ( after college) it would be well past 10.30 pm or 11. I was so tired. I just prayed to Krsna to please help me out of this soft spot - and I slept. Next day morning I woke up, got ready and left to college. Upon reaching college I was so tensed and was practically in tears. Our Physiology and Biochemistry was taught by 4 teachers. So for this exam we were to be questioned by 2 teachers on the portions covered by 4 teachers. I randomly opened 3 pages ( from about 150 pages of portions) and read. When my turn came other than few questions which i knew- and the questions exclusively from the 3 pages i read. I got the highest score in my class for that paper.
I was in distress, I called for Lord, acknowledged my incapability and depended He would take care- He just Did!!!
# 2 #
I had been a sick child- probably because I was not given breast milk, mother being away- or to be really correct- because of my previous Karma. While I was in my 9th grade in school and we were having a vacation Lord inspired me to learn to write with left hand- I am a right handed person by nature. So I spend 1 month learning this art- by the time vacation finished I could legibly write with left hand. I started my 10th grade and 2 months into the term I fell sick. I had problems with my joints especially on right hand side. I got so sick that my joints became painful and rigid to the extend that I could not even hold a pen. At this time I could use left hand to write, which was not as much in a bad condition as my right. My Lord had inspired me and prepared me to take this crisis on- valiantly. I did well in my 10th exam, especially considering that everyone thought I would not be able to write the exam. With Lord as my guide, I knew not what limitations were!!!
If I number and write my experiences of Lords mercy there are just too many- and many of them involve third persons. And I do not want to bring in others name in this public blog page. Also many of the mercy I received are not readily distinguished as mercy by everyone- Everytime I prayed for something I have received, but when I was not sure of what to ask Lord took best decisions for me. I have been perplexed, i have been confused about why and how things were happening- I have wondered if this is in best interest- but Lord have always guided me right. My requests whenever foolish , were denied. And I have always realized later how those denials were the most merciful giving.
I wanted to Love Lord but was trapped in monistic philosophy from all sides and Lord send me an angel to show me right way. Later,I came to US- leaving an incomplete Bachelors degree, in the hope of meeting devotees in US- and my first sunday in Florida- I was in temple attending my first sunday program, being in Kirtan , seeing a Sannyasi lead a Kirtan for the first time in my life.
Krsna is wonderful and there is no one more wonderful than Him- I am reiterating what many great men have said millions of times- still I feel its ever new..... As every moment of life unfurls, inspite of all the strife, discord and confusion- I still see my Lord's wonderful smile, and can't help but to be lost in His Charm!
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Today let us talk about one of the hottest topics of all times- EGO- We might be hearing that word way too often than we would want to ''Miss. Pretty has a puffed up ego'' ''He is so egoistic'' '' The relationship is crumbling cos of ego clash''. So now- let us get them right- Let us understand what is Ego.There are two types of Ego- True Ego and False Ego ( Psychologists talk about Id, Ego and Super ego- that is superficial;in fact they are sub divisions of False ego- I am talking about the two important variants which practically makes the difference) If you have read Vaishnav Philosophy u might have read about souls constitutional position as a servant of Lord.For those who have not heard- let me try to explain in a nutshell- Vaishnav philosophy projects very divine and confidential theory explaining the original position of every soul. It logically explains how we are not the body we presently reside in- our real position is in the transcendental world- world of eternal knowledge and bliss. We are the servants of Supreme Lord-now don't jump into conclusions comparing servant master relation in the world we presently live. In the transcendental abode servant is striving to please master and the master is even more engaged to please and protect the servant. In material world- especially in earth- the principle reigning is mutual utilization and exploitation- but that is not the case in transcendental world- a Vaishnav feels happiest to be the servant of the servant of the servant of Lord. And Lord is not like some Robot manufacturer- who build Robots to serve -without them personally having any individuality. Lord allotted each soul the freedom to think and decide.Krsna is not an authoritative autocrat ordering around. He is the most benevolent, forgiving and loving father. We see Lord Krsna giving the entire discourse of Bhagavad Gita- and towards the end at 63 verse of 18th chapter Lord says- '' Yathecchasi Thatha kuru'' After carefully thinking DO AS U WISH TO DO. Lord is Omnipotent- Arjuna had just seen Lord in His Universal Form- Lord could just dictate what to do and Arjuna would have done it- But no- Lord gave the freedom to choose- this independence, this individual space is the cause of Ego. We know we have certain area of freedom where we can exercise the power of free will Lord granted Us. True ego is to surrender to Lord as His servant and act according to His instructions, to please Him and His devotees. This is healthy ego- understanding ones constitutional position and acting accordingly to respect it. ( This is like we say in medical field- there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol- one makes u healthy , other makes u sick! ) Now the problematic one- false ego- note that it is not called bad ego- but rather false ego. It is another fact that thriving in false ego is bad. False ego stems when there is veil over our true ego- due to some souls' desire to Lord over the material nature. These souls ( every living soul in all bodies- plants, animals and humans in material world are included in the list) want to enjoy separately from Lord. They revolt, why should they be obeying and serving- they want to be served as well. Lord is very merciful- He doesn't suppress their desire- Lord do not take back the free will He gave- so He leaves us to material world to let us enjoy accordingly to our wish. If u wished to fly for example, u get a body of bird, if u wished to have sexual pleasures u may be given body of elephant( cos in elephant community usually one male lords over a group of females) if u wished to eat a lot- u r given a body suitable to satisfy that desire most. From these bodies we pass over thousands and thousands of bodies to finally reach human body . ( Remember that none of the steps are irreversible- if one does some abominable sinful activity as a human he will get lower birth next life) Ya- so we come to this material world with the false ego- to be Lords and not servants. But our innate nature to serve remains - we see even cats and dogs caring for their young ones etc- still we , being clouded by the material modes of nature keep trying to be masters.
Lord Krsna explains to his dear friend Arjuna-''I am also the knower in all bodies, and to understand this body and its knower is called knowledge. That is My opinion.This body, O son of Kuntī, is called the field, and one who knows this body is called the knower of the field. (BG 13.2-3)The five great elements, false ego, intelligence, the unmanifested, the ten senses and the mind, the five sense objects, desire, hatred, happiness, distress, the aggregate, the life symptoms, and convictions — all these are considered, in summary, to be the field of activities and its interactions.(BG 13.6-7)The five great elements are a gross representation of the false ego, which in turn represents the primal stage of false ego technically called the materialistic conception, or intelligence in ignorance. This, further, represents the unmanifested stage of the three modes of material nature. (from purport by Srila Prabhupada).And Lord Krsna also declares that absence of ego is a symptom of knowledge.
So we clearly see that false ego is the intelligence in ignorance. Now are you disillusioned by the usage of phrase ''intelligence in ignorance"? Don't be- the 3 modes of nature are - Goodness, Passion and ignorance. We act on any of this platform while we are in the material world. When we do something out of true compassion, understanding the situation in its entirety, our position and deciding in proper consciousness- that is mode of goodness. When we do something to gain, to build, to possess, for opulence and power- that is said to be in mode of passion .Mode of ignorance is one in which we act without thinking, or without understanding the real situation or our position, not considering the consequences of action and with harmful intentions - then it is said to be in mode of ignorance. So intelligence in ignorance is explained on this ground- a person might be very intelligent- like those who planned the 9/11 attacks- it was brilliant brains- but can we say they are really intelligent? No- their intelligence is in mode of ignorance- whatever reason they did it for- since it was harming others, since it was so destructive- it is ignorant intelligence. So false ego is also like this - intelligence in ignorance. We are not realizing our true original position. We are identifying with the body and acting. Suppose we are in fancy dress competition wearing a Surgeons costume- it is fine as long as we realize its just the costume- but if we get carried away by it and try to do operations identifying oneself as surgeon- then it will wreck havoc for us and others around us- this is an example of false ego. We are not Indian or American or Male or female- these are like our costumes- when we start identifying with these costumes- we are said to be in false ego. Now let us examine how false ego is affecting us in gross manner- there is poverty in world since those in opulence are hoarding money. The rich people are making more and more money to store for their children and coming generations- they identify the particular body as "I"- and everything related as "my". There are wars between countries- cos men are wrongly patriotic, they want to possess more land, more power, more resources. Pakistan and India, America and Iraq- why, why are they in feud?India says Kashmir is mine and Pakistan says Kashmirs belongs to them- what fun! DOes land belong to anone? It is Gods possesion- we will live here and die. We dont possess anything. Can we stop wind from Pakistan from entering India, Birds from Pakistan from entering India? Humans are also Lords creation just like birds or animals- but having higher intelligence. So what is intelligent about fighing over possession of something which donot belong to either party? Can anyone take anything they win from these wars, when they leave body? So these are all the vices of false ego- It is this false ego that makes people fight, people jealous, revengeful, bitter- cos people simply want to establish they are great and worthy to be adored and served. They see themselves as independent entities worthy of being served. Lord not being a dictator allows us to continue this- to act according to our whims- till we surrender to Him. Lord has given promise that once we give up everything else and surrender to Him there is nothing we have to worry about- He will take care of us and it is said that once we return to Godhead we will be forever placed- we will never fall down again- Thats understandable- Once bitten twice shy.
So the whole point of human life is to escape - to rescue ourselves from the false ego and be seated in our constitutional position. All the problems in this world can be solved by simply understanding the principle that we are not masters.What seems to belong to us now- is temporary- we are keeper- not owner. We cannot have control over many things in life- if we understand this plain , simple and obvious fact- half the battle is won. It is not that our parents want us to spend time uselessly on pointless pursuits- they did not buy computer for us to play computer game without any regulation or to browse internet without monitoring- but still most kids do- Lord did not make us wrongly egoistic - but we perverted and used a gift of our identity.We are being the stubborn, ignorant children of a very loving, wise Father. By understanding these points- we can win over false ego to good extend and thats why spread of Krsna consciousness can aid in world peace and harmony. If world takes up Krsna consciousness, people would be trying to serve each other, please each other- happy at another's gain, happy at another's fortune- always giving and never demanding!Let us all unanimously Chant "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare" and be forever Blissfully happy!