Krishna Consciousness & Ecological Awareness


Shambu the Bull in Danger of Slaughter
May 17, 2007, 2:08 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
Haribol Prabhus,

I have recently been informed about Shambu the Bull, who is part of a faith
community that is being targetted for slaughter from the Welsh and UK
government. This bull has reacted to a TB test. It has also reacted to a
second test. The government has issued a notification of their intention to
slaughter this bull.

The community are practitioners of karma and bhakti yoga and as such they
allow their animals to live out their full lives. The community has moved
the bull into their temple room and are prepared to resist moves to
slaughter the bull.

The implication for the ISKCON herds especially in the UK and perhaps Europe
is that if this cow is slaughtered for potentially carrying TB then if any
ISKCON or other protected herds get TB or other similar diseases then they
will also be liable to be slaughtered.

The community are asking for support which at this time means they are
asking for people to sign their online petition.

Please spare a few minutes to check out the website, see the latest
development and sign their petition.

It is very important that we help this community as far as we can.

Their website is as follows:

http://www.skandavale.org/shambo.htm

ys syamasundara dasa
Farm Manager
Bhaktivedanta Manor
UK
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Varnasrama Without Cow Protection: Surrealism In Action
May 17, 2007, 2:02 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

By Ekendra Das

Have a look at this painting called The Persistance of Memory by the famous surrealist Salvador Dali. How does it capture you? Does it even draw your attention at all?

Many people find this painting captivating and definitive of the surrealistic movement in art. Here you have something familiar and distinctive – a clock. Clocks of this sort are usually found hanging on walls; yet here one is melting whilst hanging from the branch of a dead tree. Taking something out of context and superimposing it into an artificial environment is one aspect of surrealism. Even though it is sometimes said that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, this concept in relation to application of the Varnasrama culture in modern times is what I want to focus on in this article.

To help us to understand the four different divisions of varna Srila Prabhupada gave us the analogy of a human body. He likened the head of the body to the brahmanical or intellectual class of people. The arms of the body are compared to the ksatriya or administrative/warrior type of person. Just as arms can be used to activate, enforce and defend – the ksatriya class dutifully protects and administrates social injunctions under the guidance of the intellectual class. The vaisyas are like the stomach of the body. Those in this merchantile order are expected to generate an economy based on agriculture and are also expected to protect cows. The sudras are considered to be the legs of the body rendering their service by performing labour in support of the other social divisions.

Thus all four social divisions function as a whole just as the different parts of the body comprise a singular entity. So, despite that the four varnas are considered divisions of human society, they are inseperable and inter-dependent. To try to take the head, for instance, without the stomach renders a useless body. This is called ardha-kukkuṭī-nyāya, “the logic of half a hen” wherein one is impressed by the egg laying capacity of one part of the chicken but not so enthusiastic about the head which requires to be fed – so the logic is to chop off the head to remove the unwanted part .

Acknowledging the correlation between the four varnas, the question then arises “Does the existence of one particular class of people depend upon the existence of the other three?” The answer is plainly, “No“. A head is a head just like a brahmana is a brahmana like a clock is a clock. Obviously an individual with distinctive intellectual capacity is who he/she is. Division, therefore, of a group of people into different classes of society solely according to their innate qualities and abilities is feasible.

Do the activities of one particular social order depend upon the activites of the other three?” This is an entirely different question altogether. Previously we questioned whether or not a brahmana could exist without the other types of people. Why not? “Can, though, a brahmana perform his function without the other social orders?” Not sustainably. This is largely due to performing their function out of context – just like the clocks in the image above. We can say – brahmana – but if the brahmana’s activities are not beneficial what to speak of in consideration of the complete social body then this definition falls into the realm of the surreal.

Article continued at: www.gopala.org/node/29

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earthling (urth ling), n. 1. An inhabitant of earth.
May 11, 2007, 5:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

“This is the single most powerful and informative movie about society’s treatment of animals. A must see for anyone who cares enough to know.”
– Woody Harrelson

EARTHLINGS is a feature length documentary about humanity’s absolute dependence on animals (for pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and scientific research) but also illustrates our complete disrespect for these so-called “non-human providers.” The film is narrated by Academy Award nominee Joaquin Phoenix (GLADIATOR) and features music by the critically acclaimed platinum artist Moby.

With an in-depth study into pet stores, puppy mills and animals shelters, as well as factory farms, the leather and fur trades, sports and entertainment industries, and finally the medical and scientific profession, EARTHLINGS uses hidden cameras and never before seen footage to chronicle the day-to-day practices of some of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely entirely on animals for profit. Powerful, informative and thought-provoking, EARTHLINGS is by far the most comprehensive documentary ever produced on the correlation between nature, animals, and human economic interests. There are many worthy animal rights films available, but this one transcends the setting. EARTHLINGS cries to be seen. Highly recommended!

Check out the 7 minute trailer at: http://www.isawearthlings.com/trailer.html

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We Must Do Something
May 8, 2007, 7:00 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

By Adi Radhika Dasi, 2007. May 02.
http://smileofkrishna.com/?p=74

It is the nature of human being… till it comes to ourselves, we do not care.

Monday morning we returned back to our village; Krishna-valley. We were quite sleepless and tired, we rested and yesterday we went out for a walk, chanting Hare Krishna mantra. We mentioned to each other of the clean air, fresh aromas, sweet chirping of the birds after the city life of Istanbul and we felt very good. We are able to rediscover the values of our environment only when we stay away. We met with neighbours, villagers, chatted long and laughed.

As our steps continued on the way, a kind of sadness wrapped the happiness I had like a heavy mist slowly slowly sitting down in the evening. Since we left to Turkey – nearly two months – there had been no rain. I dont know whether we mentioned or not, but this winter I lived the first winter in my life without snow. Rain was also quite rare. We continued walking. Everywhere my eyes could reach was carrying the serious signs of drought. All the flowers were budded and blossomed from the unusual warm weather, and the leaves were tired and pale looking. Distinct cracks were lying on earth. I thought… we are in the month of May. What will happen in August?

Inspite of this hard climate condition, we cheered up seeing our young trees growing very nicely and we reached the Goshala. When the temperature doesnt drop down enough in winter, the pests and microbes continue living and this causes various environment problems. In the beginning of spring, our cows got cold for a serious period. We lost our Advaita. We continued walking and to the side of Goshala we saw our sweet calves. We watched, caressed and then walked to the garden of cows. I thought… it takes sensitivity to see how the nature is distressed, but an animal’s distress, her face expression is with us. I have never seen our cows this much tired and stressed. The suffering of the mother earth was appearing through their hearts. I felt pain.

Upon returning home in the evening, while I was washing my hands, a terrible feeling of shame covered my heart. Was it me deserving this water, while outside many living entities are in drought? In seconds, I faced with the fact that global warming, climate change, kyoto protocol… – few of the countlessly named condition we have been hearing around us- HAD REALLY COME.

I dont know how I slept… but as I woke up in morning, I turned to my husband and said, “we have to do something.” Water means life. So, how does this water come? From where it comes and gives life?

There is a verse from Bhagavad-gita in my mind;

annad bhavanti bhutani
parjanyad anna-sambhavaha
yajnad bhavati parjanyo
yajnah karma-samudbhavaha
BG 3.14

“All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rains. Rains are produced by performance of yajna [sacrifice], and yajna is born of prescribed duties.”

Purport by Srila Prabhupada:
Food grains or vegetables are factually eatables. The human being eats different kinds of food grains, vegetables, fruits, etc., and the animals eat the refuse of the food grains and vegetables, grass, plants, etc. Human beings who are accustomed to eating meat and flesh must also depend on the production of vegetation in order to eat the animals. Therefore, ultimately, we have to depend on the production of the field and not on the production of big factories. The field production is due to sufficient rain from the sky, and such rains are controlled by demigods like Indra, sun, moon, etc., and they are all servants of the Lord. The Lord can be satisfied by sacrifices; therefore, one who cannot perform them will find himself in scarcity—that is the law of nature. Yajna, specifically the sankirtana-yajna prescribed for this age, must therefore be performed to save us at least from scarcity of food supply.

And in Bhagavad-gita 9.19, Krishna says; “O Arjuna, I give heat, and I withhold and send forth the rain.”

I am thoughtfull… surely, we deserved this situation and we deserved even much more. We exploited the nature recklessly and we never even questioned, how, why and who is giving us this opulence? Have we ever become grateful to the rain, fruit and the earth? We are eating what we sow.

In such extreme conditions, some of us blame God, telling He is bad, or even He does not exist. However, the first step of spiritual life is humbleness. It continuously fills our hearts with joy however hard the conditions are. In Vaisnava culture this is described as being lower then a blade of grass.

I am happy, Krishna is giving us this big opportunity. Now it is time to really be conscious every moment, to be heartily grateful and to develop our humbleness. Lets do sankirtana; lets remember Him, lets gather together and chant His holy names.

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"You’re a Cow Herder Now, Young Skywalker."
May 7, 2007, 4:13 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I am a self-confessed city boy, shamefully and shamelessly addicted to the many maddening modern comforts of the Western world. Still, I am drawn to the pastimes of the cowherd boy like the tidal pools under a full moon.

I am thinking my past life consisted of being a simple village boy in India, doing a lot of farming, a little devotional service, and one particular visit to Mumbai where I became so fascinated by the neon lights and mach-speed delights that when I left that particular body, I said “No thanks, my Lord. I wanna go to America!”

Therefore, there I went, and by the inconceivable mercy of Gaur-Nitai, I’m now here in the New V trying to pay my sweet penance for that choice.

Outside of my recent difficulty in just trying to move one cow, I have never ever been involved in any kind of organized exodus of a group of holy heifers. It didn’t begin well. Our first two initial efforts to get the guys and gals out of the Govardhana Goshalla grazing ground was met with indifference and a lot of insolence. Three times I pretty much fell knee-deep in the cold mud-dung combination that posed as solid ground.

Our boss-das Jaya Prabhupada was very confused about the udder lack of cooperation going one between man and animal. Usually, he has no problem getting the herd into the barn. Plus, the guys and gals were hungry for fresh grass and knew where to go. So, why the fuss? We blamed it on Alycia’s bright-yellow jacket, and with a rousing cry of “third time’s the charm!”, we gave it another go and got the herd out and on the march.

What I thought was going to be a mellow day under the blue sky quickly turned into a intense workout as the herd crossed the field towards the forest path. Sprinting, yelling, sweating, pleading. A number of the gals decided to go off in each possible direction and munch away at the feast at their feet.

Out of breath, but starting to feel an internal glow, I began to understand that we were not leading the pack, but following the hoofsteps. As the herd hit the path, I noticed two cows deciding to take the scenic route off the beaten path through the forest, so I took charge and care and followed.

After being led-through about three dozen thorn-bushes, we came to a very steep hillside that my bovine companions decided to scale, all of us doing this scaling with varying degrees of difficulty and determination. Here, I faced my mortality in a way I have never faced it before.

One of the young ladies was having a bit of a deal getting her four legs up the steep hill. I came near her and gave her some verbal encouragement, at one point standing directly behind her as she slowly made her way up.

For one small moment, I realized I was standing steeply downhill behind a 2000-pound cow, who if she slipped and came backwards, would crush my poor, useless body into mulch. I politely but quickly moved aside, and we eventually hit the path again.

After that experience, I realized that I had no choice in this matter and other larger matters. I must only put my faith in following Krsna and His cows, because they know where they are going, and I certainly have much less of a clue.

The task at hand eventually began to wash away some of the fatigue of the soul. The natural surroundings beckoned deep serenity, the old cabins and houses of past devotional scenes loomed with ghostly mystery.

A walking stick in my left hand, chanting Hare Krsna on my right hand, cows in front of and behind me, I whispered that now would be a perfect time to leave this mortal frame, but, alas, there is still a lot more work to do.

My pace began to match one particular cow, red-hair with a bad, cloudy eye. I took particular care to let her know we were almost there, suggesting to her to stop at nearby water puddles for what seemed like a much needed drink.

She didn’t heed, and simply marched forward. I checked off another lesson in staying on the straight-and-narrow path towards the goal of Godhead, not straying off into side roads for comforts I don’t essentially need.

We finally hit the Palace Road, and I watched in glee as a large dump truck had to slow its pace to near nil in order to accommodate the six or so cows moving at their own natural pace in front of it. Chalk up a small victory for the future I want to see.

Into the pasture behind Bahulaban, a few stragglers bringing up the rear. Sweet success for all. One of the perfections of devotional service this was. Actual practical hard-working Krsna-pleasing engagement.

One realization: A cow-herder is much like the sannyasi. Both carry a big stick. Both wander the wildernesses of this planet. The cow-herder herds cows to where they need to go. The sannyasi herds the lost human souls to where they need to go. Both jobs are quite difficult, but they are the essence of doing the needful.

As we walked and hitch-hiked back to the New V, Jaya Prabhupada regaled us with stories of his conversion to the Vaisnava sphere, saying he had once been a wandering craft-making hipster whose line to all others was that “I’m looking for a new planet.” One day, he picked up Easy Journey to Other Planets, and the rest has been golden for him.

He might agree with me here, but in the fine two-and-four step of herding Radha Vrindaban Chandra’s beloved holy heifers, there is nothing wrong with being on this planet at this particular time in the ol’ grand scheme of things.

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Rise of Cow Slaughter in India
May 5, 2007, 2:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It may be hard to believe, but “Independent” Hindu India now kills more animals than ever before. Even more than the enslaved India under Christian British rule, or even the very ruthless Moslem emperors . . .

More animals have been butchered in the last decade than any previous decade in India’s history!!

After independence, we have tried to catch up with the industrialization of the 20th century. For that we needed foreign machinery, for which we needed foreign exchange, for which we had to export many of our resources — even the ones scarce to our poor masses or important to our future generations. Most lately we have resorted to exporting meat. The government has issued licenses to huge slaughterhouses with an eye on the market in Arab countries. We have ignored that ours is a culture of nonviolence and this business does not fit in it at all. This has raised a big cry in the animal-loving community of Hindus and Jains. Here are some of their thought-provoking views.

Article continued at: http://jivdaya.org/rise_of_slaughter_in_india.htm

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Air Quality Awareness Week
May 4, 2007, 7:50 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
The National Weather Service has designated this week Air Quality
Awareness Week. There are many kinds of air pollution. The
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calculates the Air Quality
Index for five major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act:
ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, sulfur
dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Ozone and particle pollution are two
common pollutants found in many parts of the country.

Ozone is a colorless odorless gas. It's the same kind of gas that's
found in the ozone layer. But in the ozone layer - high in the Earth's
stratosphere - ozone protects us from the sun. At ground level, where
we live, ozone pollution is unhealthy to breathe. Ground-level ozone
forms when pollutants from cars, trucks, power plants, industries,
and some consumer products "cook" in the sun. Ozone usually peaks
during the afternoon hours, when sunlight is the most intense.

Particle pollution consists of microscopic particles in the air. It can
be a problem in the winter or summer, depending on where you live.
Particle pollution causes haze, blurring the view in many cities and
national parks. And like ozone, it's not healthy to breathe.

You can help reduce pollution in your community by following these
guidelines. These recommendations are especially important when
ozone is expected to be unhealthy:

Conserve electricity and set your air conditioner at a higher
temperature.

Choose a cleaner commute-share a ride to work or use public
transportation.

Combine errands and reduce trips.

Bicycle or walk to errands when possible.

Defer use of gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment for
later in the day, or for days when the air quality is better.

Refuel cars and trucks after dusk.

Limit engine idling.

Get regular engine tune ups and car maintenance checks
(especially for the spark plugs).

Avoid spilling gas and don't top off the tank. Replace gas tank cap
tightly.

Properly dispose of household paints, solvents and pesticides.
Store these materials in airtight containers.

Paint with a brush, not a sprayer.

Buy low VOC paints for indoor and outdoor painting jobs.

You can help prevent or reduce unhealthy levels of particle pollution
with these actions: :

Reduce or eliminate fireplace and wood stove use.

Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.

Avoid burning leaves, trash and other materials.

Use household, workshop, and garden chemicals in ways that keep
evaporation to a minimum, or try to delay using them when poor
air quality is forecast.

Replace your car's air filter and oil regularly

You can track Air Pollution by checking out this website:
http://www.airnow.gov/
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