Association by Obedience

August 2, 1967  

Vrindaban, India

My Dear Students,

Please accept my blessings.

I am always thinking of you, and I am feeling separation. I wish to return at the earliest opportunity. I cannot stop my western world activities and I have taken leave from you for only six months; and it may be that on or before I will come to you again. So continue your activities with great vigor. I shall always pray to Krishna for your steady advance, but try to follow the principles which are necessary to strengthen oneself in the matter of spiritual advance.

Never think that I am absent from you. Physical presence is not essential; presence by message (or hearing) is real touch. Lord Krishna is present by His message which was delivered 5,000 years ago. We feel always the presence of our past Acaryas simply by their immutable instructions.

I hope you will understand me right and do the needful. Kirtanananda says from my bodily feature that I am improving.

I am also feeling like that.

ACB

Yogi Joke

Three yogis are performing a meditative vigil in a cave high in the Himalayas.

One day there is a sound outside of the cave. Six months later one of the yogis says, "that was a tiger."

The cave is silent once again.

About a year later, another yogi says, "that wasn't a tiger it was a lion."

Again the cave falls silent.

About two years later the third yogi says, "If you two don't stop arguing I'm leaving."

Immortal Longings

ER-20 Hi-Fi Ear Plugs

These are the ER-20 Hi-Fi Ear Plugs that retain good sound quality while dampening the overall volume. I've read a few recommendations by devotees that these do what they say. Now I've bought them and can confirm that they work fine. You can still hear the crisp sound of the cartels - just more softly.

Now I'm happy that I don't have to run and hide when they pull out the whompers at the Sunday Feast. Our temple has marble floors and glass walls which make a deafening reverberation for the heavy artillery.

They have a kid size too so I'm thinking of ordering them for our little one. He likes kirtans and dancing but we don't want him to go deaf so we carry him out of the temple room when things get extremely loud. (most festival and Sunday feast kirtans)

Personally, I don't understand how for some folks it seems VOLUME = BHAKTI but rather than contend with them I'll just wear these. If you are in the same boat as me (like to stay for the kirtans but also like protecting your hearing so that you can hear the kirtans in old age) I recommend them.

Here's the link where you can order them online from the USA. If you are in my area (New Govardhana or Brisbane temples) then let me know if you are interested and we can split the postage.

 

Powers of Observation

I usually give modern scientists a lot of criticism. Its like a pleasure sport. After all, a lot of the accusations I make against them are simply truths that they often skillfully try to hide from the public. Since so many people these days have placed almost a religious level of faith on the scientific communites' purported emipirical superiority, it is rather satisfying to point out their failures so that we can avoid any irrational fervor.

Scientific revelation is wonderful so long as we keep it in perspective and don't become presumptious about our powers of observation. We are fallible human beings. We make mistakes and we can become illusioned. This does not, however, mean that we always make mistakes or that all of our observations are worthless.

A nice way to illustrate this point is to consider the Hubble Telescope. Its position outside the Earth's atmosphere provides significant advantages over ground-based telescopes — images are not blurred by the atmosphere, there is no background from light scattered by the air, and the Hubble can observe ultra-violet light that is normally absorbed by the ozone layer in observations made from Earth.

Great telescope! But it took two multi-million dollar space shuttle missions to get it working properly because after its expensive launch into the Earth's orbit it was discovered that the primary mirror had been ground to the wrong shape. Oops!

But look at these amazing images of nebulae in deep space. If you click on an image it will open up a high resolution image in a seperate window or tab.

 

Hourglass Nebula

My grandfather tried to instill his fascination with the night sky into me when I was a wee lad. It must have worked because I think these images are awesome. You can see more of them here. These four images above aren't even close to definitive. They were just the ones from Wikipedia.

"Science can be created only by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding," he said. "This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion."

- Albert Einstein

 

Price comparison: LPG vs. Petrol

I converted a 1991 Toyota Camry Wagon with a 2.0 litre engine.

The conversion cost was $3000 + I paid an extra $250 for automatic valve lubrication device, new 'LPG specific' leads and distributer cap. I also paid the extra $200 for the donut tank to fit invisibly in my spare tire recess which was optional.

Total cost including labour = $3250.00

Minus $2000 rebate from Australian Government = $1250.00 all up out of my pocket.

Here's the fuel comparison with my car:

Petrol

53.3 litres = 480 km = 9 kilometres per litre

@ $1.20 per litre = price at the pump today = $13.35 per 100km

or $0.13 per kilometre

----------------------

LPG

41.28 litres = 322.5 km = 7.81 kilometres per litre

@ $0.52 per litre = price at the pump today = $6.65 per 100km

or $0.07 per kilometre

---------------------

If these fuel prices were to remain consistent (not likely) then I'd only need to drive 18,657 kilometres before the conversion pays for itself. After that it works out to be nearly 1/2 price fuel cost for the rest of the life of the car.

The car originally cost me $4200 with less than 120,000 k's on the odometer. If the car only goes another 81,343 kilometres then the fuel savings alone will pay for the cost of the car + LPG conversion. (Not considering the trade-in value of the car which is at least $100 for the scrap metal in a worst case scenario.)

Does LPG conversion sound like a pretty sensible thing to do?

Ys, Ekendra dasa

(Here's an article from The Age for further reading.)

PersonalDNA

I don't generally take this sort of thing seriously but this week my mother-in-law has pretty much taken over the house on her visit from New Zealand. I'm hiding out in my room and just spent about twenty minutes answering the very clever survey over at PersonalDNA by which they claim our "true self will be revealed".
If anyone gives a sniff they can read all about my freshly revealed true self here. Self realization has never been so easy! :)

Brilliance of the Gaudiya LIterature

"As soon as a single person will have conceived the sincere desire of undertaking the promulgation of the tidings of the Gaudiya Literature to the peoples of this world he is thereby enrolled among the agents of Divine Mercy with the power to forward the fulfillment of the expressed wish of the Supreme Lord. The Gaudiya Literature will not long remain confined to the Bengali speaking people. It will in a short time expand and display its full brilliancy through the medium of all the languages."

- Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura

Spark of Krishna's Splendor

I think I once read in Hari Bhakti Vilasa that its considered inauspicious to look at the sunset. If you follow such strict codes then don't look at this evening's beautiful view from the front of the house across the valley:

Bhagavad-gita 10.41

yad yad vibhūtimat sattvaḿ
śrīmad ūrjitam eva vā
tat tad evāvagaccha tvaḿ
mama tejo-'ḿśa-sambhavam

TRANSLATION

Know that all opulent, beautiful and glorious creations spring from but a spark of My splendor.

 

We're involved with something bigger than us.

Here's a letter that puts things into perspective a bit. The real force behind our preaching efforts is much bigger than us. When we presume that our manipulative endeavours to attract folks is where its at then we are only seeing the external situation.

As initiates into Caitanya Mahaprabhu's sampradaya we have a tremendous responsibility to be instrumental to the previous acaryas and not dilute their message with our own limited perspectives on 'what people can handle'. When we pray to become instrumental to their desires we then have a duty to faithfully represent them without interference. We also have a duty to the people we come in contact with to give them the opportunity to hear the teachings of self-realized souls with as little distortion from our conditioned perspective as possible. This outlook is where I understand empowerment to be available to us. Outside of this paradigm I only see short-lived manipulative endeavours that usually end up exploitative and disapointing for all participants.

Time, place and circumstance are only secondary and disposable considerations in relation to the above stated principle of transparent via-mediumship. Why imagine ourselves to have some special insight as to what attracts people? The world is filled with over 6 billion individuals with as many different perspectives. Why project our taste as an homogenously shared aspect of others' vision? Atmavan manyate jagat. (This refers to the illusion that 'the whole world thinks like me.')

So here's the letter from Srila Prabhupada to Madhudvisa (bolding added by me of course).

8 July, 1972 - London

My Dear Madhudvisa,

Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated June 30, 1972, and I have noted the contents.

I am very much pleased to see the photos of the Jagannatha cart being made by you in Melbourne, and I can understand that your energy and experience are being put to good use there in Australia. That is the secret to success, utilizing our God-given energy to please Krishna.

Regarding your question of dancing-show; whatever it may be, it may not deviate from the real Krishna Consciousness program. We are Hari Kirtana men, that's all. We can attract people by some gorgeous show, but inside there must be strict purity and seriousness, otherwise, we shall be attracted by the gorgeous show only.

There are two energies always working simultaneously, and Maya means when we diminish the spiritual energy, then automatically we become attracted to the external dress of Maya. So I do not care very much for these plays and dramas unless they are coming directly from the Vedas. If we can recite from Bhagavad gita the first chapter without any need for elaborate scenery or stage-props and gorgeous dresses, that is best.

Just like your Shakespeare. Macbeth may be recited by two men, without anything else, and simply by their acting ability and the meaningful words alone, they can very easily capture the entire audience and give them real substance. We have so many stories, like Jagai-Madhai, Krishna departing for Mathura, like that. Satire will not help us. Our message is very grave, and because it is the Absolute Truth, it will work without any artificial presentation.

Because they heard of our program in Bombay along with the Zavery sisters Manipuri Dancers, here in London they had arranged one program of lecturing by me along with a recital by one man playing on the vina just to attract attention to my speaking. I am not in approval of such arrangements, and it will be dangerous thing in future if we begin this type of program just to attract the masses.

Already I see this happening practically all over the Society, so better we stop it now and get ourselves firmly on the track chalked out for us by Lord Caitanya. We are simply Sankirtana men, our program is chanting, dancing, distributing prasadam, and speaking high philosophy, that's all.

Hoping this meets you in good health.

Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

 

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