Tag Archives: #vaishnavas

MAGIC TOWN

By Gurudas
aka Roget Siegel

Oh country village
tulsi forest
named Vrindavan

Even the rocks are alive
for the pleasure of Govinda
the trees
are swaying hairs
twisted in a dance
with the Lord

Birds fly in and out
of the window
of my adobe hut
In Vrindavan animals and humans
interact
geckos on walls
sparrows in the houses
monkeys swinging on electrical wires
bats flying
owls eating
peacocks calling
buffalo soaking
donkeys hauling
cows mooing
camels snorting
elephants trumpeting
horses neighing
as fathers watch
their children play
riding on a water buffalo’s back
in the Jamuna river

A clay pot
made of earth
is used and broken
merging back into the earth
A pair of shoes
or winter hat
are tailored from start to finish
children learning numbers spiritually
one God
two to love
three Dieties
Brahma Shiva and Vishnu
four Kumaris
five Rishis
six Goswamis
seven Temples
eight Gopis
nine gates of the body
ten directions

Auspicious guides
talk to me within
everything in order
exemplified by
all the new baby animals
that come out seasonally
when it’s their time

Positive portents
flags waving
full water buckets
elephants spewing water
saints singing

Ill omens show too
empty water pots
flags drooping
owls screeching
barking dogs
clouds raining blood
the left side of a face twitching
people cheating

We are minor players
darkness to light
eternal prayers
all day and night
We see the stars
and dance in the full moon

Goswamis and ancient sadhus
walked these sands
and form the backbone
of our path
pilgrims pray
while babas laugh

Let my love
in compassion’s ray
uncompromising
as nature’s play
come inside me and stay

Elusive Blue Boy
whom I don’t know
I can feel your shelter
in this protective place

Why then do I run away
from your home?
What compels me
in crowded cities?
Seduced by secondary illusions
accepted as primary importance
life’s cosmetic shadows
mix with soot
neon rays swallowed by
cracks in yellowing walls

Oh green hills I hear your call
I remember forest groves
where divinity romps
and magic pastimes abound

I snuggle in
Your milky bosom
softly I drink your essence
security in every drop
of holy water

Cows freely give religiosity
flowing from Surabi’s
milky drops

Chintamani
Your touchstone nectar
makes the lame walk
and the blind to see
Your silk like hair
is swaying kusha grass
the very straw mats
that sages pray on

Lying down on golden sands
as nearby Jamuna’s river shores
black and white striped birds
dive into Your watery mouth
Kalindi or jamuna you
flow to reunite with Mother Ganges
getting together
in Pravag’s Kumba mela place

Above demigods are
pulled by snowy swans
and scented water fountains
spray in celestial gardens
whilst they shower
us with rose petals
from above

we taste the tears of joy
from the great Rasa dance
as Krishna dances with the Gopis
with each cow girl individually
under the full moon light

Chakora birds eat moon beams
during all night chanting kirtans
I shared my heart
with ex-kings
and singing saints

Encircling you my holy Vrindavan
on parikrima path
in fresh morning’s dew
my bare feet
touching your white sands
makes me weep
Your sweetened countenance
is reflected in your pearly shores
or Madhuban forest glen
playing hide and seek

You offer Annapurna’s peaks
like a babe
I wander and drink
from mountainous breasts

In mystic forests
desire trees abound
kadamba and champa
hold the stolen clothes
of the Gopis
as they bathe
in the Jamuna River
lazily we play
and love in your boughs
dream in your branches
and wade on your banks

Soma elixir divine appears
fruits jump into my mouth
everyone is cared for
like sticks pilgrims pray
lying prone
praying for the touch of Govinda
of Your red lotus feet
on their reverent forms

So you can embrace
and know us all
even the small grasses
jump into place

humbly awaiting
your foot’s embrace
heaven’s grace
from Your pores
the struggle gone
in your sheltering doors
ecstasy abounds
in chanting dance
oh country village
a magic romance

Vrindavan, India 1974

For all his books please visit www.Gurudas108.com

Join us to counteract the perils of illusion and material nescience

By Gurudas

Dear ‘Vedic Care’ volunteers, well-wishers and newcomers,

‘The Hidden Persuaders’ by Vance Packard (1957), is a book that exposes the insidious tactics of the advertising industry and how they’re used to influence political decisions and to get people to buy products in a consumer society; how advertisers use psychological methods to tap into our unconscious desires in order to “persuade” us to buy the products they’re selling.

“A brisk, authoritative and frightening report on how manufacturers, fundraisers and politicians are attempting to turn the American mind into a kind of catatonic dough that will buy, give or vote at their command” — The New Yorker.

The book reveals how “motivational research,” works, or the psychological technique that advertisers use to probe our minds in order to control our actions as consumers. Through analysis of products, political campaigns and television programs of the 1950s, Packard shows how these insidious manipulation practices, that have come to dominate today’s corporate driven world, began.

In another book, ‘The Waste Makers,’ Mr. Packard exposes planned obsolescence, which is the manufacturing of products to slowly break.
In other words, the products are designed to eventually malfunction, so the consumer has to buy more and more.

The changing of styles is also planned. Get the “latest” model of such and such. It may not be better, but people are induced to purchase the latest refrigerator, television or car.

This is an indication of what was predicted in the ‘Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam’ as one of the attributes of Kali Yuga. Misinformation and lying become rampant to fool people into doing what is against their nature.

Politicians and dictators have studied and implemented these tactics of “motivation research” and “planned obsolescence.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam, an epic philosophical and literary classic.
This ancient text touches upon all fields of human knowledge. Translated by
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

In wars, radio and television stations were taken over and announced falsely that troops have retreated to undermine the enemy. It worked. Life, products and ideas become shoddy and watered down.

The difference between spiritual ideas and practices are that they are eternal in nature and made to last, whilst the temporary nature is “planned obsolescence,” designed to break, and not lasting.

Krishna has given us the positive alternative for counteracting material nescience, and the means to make our own life and practices sublime, and lasting. The ends and the means are the same in spiritual life.

www.vediccare.org

We at ‘The Vedic Care Charitable Trust’ are dedicated to make things pure, and lasting. Please join with us to counteract the perils of illusion and material nescience.

Why an AYURVEDIC DIET ?

BECAUSE IT’S GOOD FOR YOU!

Ayurvedic Food Combining

For many, the concept of food combining—the idea that some foods digest well together while others do not—is entirely new, and somewhat foreign. But according to Ayurveda, it is an essential part of understanding how to eat properly, just as discovering one’s constitution and state of imbalance is important for one’s Ayurvedic self-discovery. Careful food combining can dramatically improve the quality of digestion, support the body in receiving a deeper level of nourishment, and positively impact our overall health.

However, most people in the modern world are accustomed to eating a number of foods that do not usually digest well together (like fruit with nuts, or beans with cheese). So why does it matter? The Ayurvedic perspective is that each food has a distinct combination of tastes and energies—and a corresponding effect on both the digestive system and on the body as a whole. Combining foods with radically different energetics can overwhelm the digestive fire (agni) and can cause indigestion, fermentation, gas, bloating, and the creation of toxins.1 This is why proper food combining is so important. Of course, certain combinations disturb the digestive tract more than others—an important consideration if this practice is entirely new to you. Regardless of your particular habits or symptoms, paying attention to how you combine foods can provide a valuable opportunity for insight, healing, and improved health. Remember, food combining is not about imposing black and white rules. It is one among many powerful Ayurvedic tools for improving digestive health and overall wellness.

A Balanced Approach to Food Combining

It is usually best to embrace the idea of food combining slowly and gently, allowing plenty of time to make the necessary adaptations. Some of the recommended adjustments are relatively simple; others can require a major recalibration in our habits, or be met with resistance. Often, simply developing an awareness of the improper food combinations that you eat somewhat regularly is a great place to start. Notice which foods you combine that may be difficult to digest together, and how often you indulge in them. Become aware of how you feel afterward. Do these choices affect your energy level, your digestion, your elimination, the coating on your tongue? Are particular combinations more noticeably influential than others? These are all important pieces of information. They can confirm the importance of proper food combining and can help each of us to identify the food combinations that are the most disruptive to our systems.

When you are feeling motivated and decide that you are ready to start adapting your diet to accommodate more supportive food combinations, consider tackling just one change at a time. Perhaps you’ll start by eating fruits alone, rather than in combination with other foods. Over time, you can gradually progress toward the ideal. While it would certainly be nice to avoid improper food combinations altogether, reducing their frequency can also be incredibly beneficial. If you do find that some specific food combinations are more problematic for you or your loved ones than others, focus your efforts on changing just those in the beginning. The most important first step is to become aware of your needs and your habits; from there, you can evolve an approach to food combining that works for you.

Combinations to Reduce or Avoid

The following list highlights incompatible foods and offers suggestions for more appropriate combinations. It is meant to be a helpful guide, not an exhaustive list. In fact, you may be aware of other combinations that do not work for your body. Honor those instincts. Because this resource is meant to help you determine optimal combinations at a glance, there is some repetition. Combinations listed in all caps are particularly challenging.

Compatible and Incompatible Foods: A List

Yes, some of these are staple combinations in many households. Pizza and a number of other beloved Italian dishes combine nightshades with cheese. And who among us hasn’t enjoyed beans with cheese at some time or another? Then there’s the fruit and yogurt taboo… So much for about 80% of all available store-bought varieties of yogurt; next time you indulge in a fruit-flavored yogurt, pay attention to how your digestion feels afterwards.In addition, there are some specific preparations that are challenging when combined with particular foods.

Supportive Food Combinations in Ayurveda
All of these rules can feel overwhelming, even irritatingly complicated. But, the rationale behind proper food combining really does make sense. Ultimately, combining mismatched foods generates ama , a toxic substance that is often at the root of imbalance and disease.2 But, for those of you who would like to understand a little more about HOW and WHY these food combinations tax our bodies, here are a few specific examples:

Bananas and Milk

Though commonly eaten together, bananas and milk are challenging to digest together because their qualities are so different. Bananas are heating while milk is cooling. That alone is problematic. Further, bananas become sour as they break down. So now our digestive fire has to process a sour substance and milk at the same time. Ever added a squeeze of lemon to milk? Or maybe you’ve poured a little milk into a tangy, fruity tea… only to watch it curdle instantly? What happens to these mismatched foods in the digestive tract is not much different. When bananas and milk are eaten together, their opposing qualities tend to smother the digestive fire and can disrupt the balance of intestinal flora, which results in the creation of toxins. This combination also frequently causes congestion, colds, coughs, allergies, hives, and rashes.2 A similar situation arises when we combine any sour fruit with milk.3

Eating Fruits Alone

The reason fruits are best enjoyed on their own is that fruit is usually somewhat acidic, fairly simple to digest, and often digests quite quickly. When fruits are eaten with other foods, there is usually a significant discrepancy between the amount of time required to properly digest the fruit versus the more complex food. Inhibited by the more complex food, the fruit tends to move through the digestive tract too slowly and can cause fermentation, gas, and bloating. In addition, the combination typically introduces a number of conflicting qualities into the digestive tract all at once, which has the potential to overwhelm or stifle the digestive fire.

Nightshades and Cheese

This combination is simply too taxing for the digestive fire. A nightshade is a common name for a member of the plant family Solanaceae, which includes potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, cayenne peppers, paprika, tobacco, henbane, belladonna, datura, and over 2,500 other plants. Nightshades contain alkaloids, primarily as a means of defense against being damaged by insects. The alkaloids can be anywhere from mildly to fatally toxic to humans. As a result, diverse cultures around the world have long held an intriguing relationship with the nightshade family. Some have been used to make poisons, some contain incredibly addictive compounds such as nicotine, some are mind altering, and others create an incredible sensation of heat in the mouth.4 The bottom line is that nightshades contain a complex array of compounds that, once ingested, lead to a potentially dramatic cascade of chemical reactions in the body. Ayurvedically speaking, all nightshades are believed to be somewhat difficult to digest and to have the capacity to disturb the doshas. When we mix these inherently challenging nightshades with cheese—which is heavy, oily, and also difficult to digest—we can quickly overtax the digestive fire.

Beans and Cheese

Beans and cheese are similar in that they both tend to be heavy and are often difficult to digest. In order to break down properly, they both require a good deal of digestive strength. But, the similarities end there. Beans tend to taste mostly astringent and sweet, can be either heating or cooling (depending on the type of bean), and usually have a pungent post-digestive effect. Cheese, on the other hand, tastes predominantly sour, is almost always heating, and usually has a sour post-digestive effect. The post-digestive effect of different foods occurs once that food has moved into the colon; it affects the urine, feces, sweat and tissues—sometimes even at the cellular level. Two foods with distinct post-digestive effects are typically quite different from one another. This is the case with beans and cheese; when they are eaten together, they tend to overwhelm and confuse the digestive fire. Meanwhile, their combined heaviness makes them even more difficult to process, often resulting in poor digestion and the accumulation of ama.

Ease Into It

Embracing the wisdom of food combining slowly helps us to cultivate a refined awareness around how our dietary choices affect us. This heightened sensitivity can be an invaluable asset, regardless of how quickly we are able to replace improper food combinations with more supportive ones. Be gentle with yourself, progressing at a pace that works for you. You might find it helpful, on occasion, to take a moment to reflect on how your digestion and your overall sense of wellness have changed over time. Proper food combining tends to awaken the body’s innate intelligence, so for most, embracing good food combining habits gets easier with time and practice.

Much of the information contained in this article came from Dr. Vasant and Usha Lad’s cookbook: Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing. Our deepest gratitude to them both for sharing an enlightened understanding of how to eat Ayurvedically.

RECOMMENDED
An Ayurvedic Approach to Losing Weight

MORE FOR YOU
The Importance of Healthy Digestion
The concept of agni, the Sanskrit word for “fire,” is rather essential to the Ayurvedic tradition. Ayurveda views agni as the very source of life. It is said that a man is as old as his agni and that when agni is extinguished, we die. Perhaps even more significantly, Ayurveda teaches us that impaired agni is at the root of every imbalance and disease. So the importance of agni in Ayurveda simply cannot be understated.

Thank you ~ Banyan Botanicals

Please come learn more with us at our Vedic Care Retreats.
Next one this Summer!

Kirtan & Healing Retreat with Gurudas
August 1 – 4, 2019 near Madrid, Spain

Gurudas in Spain ~ 2019

Kirtan & Healing Retreat with Gurudas
August 1 – 4, 2019 near Madrid, Spain

DON’T MISS …

Four days and three nights at a historical finca near Brihuega, in Central Spain with Gurudas, one of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s earliest disciples.

Gurudas will be sharing a wealth of experience, past-times and his personal seminar, ‘We Are The Healers’.

The location is a beautiful Spanish farm with classic architecture about 100 kilometers east of Madrid, Spain’s capital city.

There’s a small farm community with flower and vegetable gardens, a beautiful goshala – place to care for cows – right across the road from the farm’s central focus, a beautiful temple.

There are approximately twelve cows and two bulls that are pampered, so milk is abundant. The farm is about 300 hectares in size with many hills, so wonderful nature walks are also available.

The Retreat offers: Vegetarian and Vegan Organic Meals, Daily Nature Hikes through Beautiful Country, Bhakti Yoga Classes, Srila Prabhupada Katha, ‘We’re the Healers’, Guided Meditation and Kirtan (Spiritual Music Sessions).

HOSTING AND GIVING SEMINARS

Gurudas, the 7th initiated disciple of HDG Srila Prabhupada. See him in the ‘New York Times’ here. He’s also the ‘Vedic Care’ Founder, an Author, Photographer and Counselor. Check out the Vedic Care’s ‘Back to Godhead’ article here.

The program is being assisted by Aradhana Devi Dasi ~ Bhakti Yogini, Film Actor & Producer and Co-Founder of The Vedic Care Charitable Trust.

ROOMS ~ SEMINARS ~ PRICES

Packages include: accommodation, breakfast, lunch and a light dinner, kirtans, Guruda’s seminars and Srila Prabhupada katha talks.

Not included: Flights, Professional personal consultations with Gurudas (minimum donation of €20), pickup/drop-off at the Madrid International Airport with our transport (upon request).

For seminars only and special packages Contact Us.

All about in English here and in Spanish here.

Yet We Go On

By Gurudas:

In thanks to the volunteers of the Vedic Care Cooperative

YET WE GO ON.

We have a simple vision
To care for one another

It is a challenge
In the mist of apathy
Injustice
Attacks
Complacency

Yet we go on.

The adversity to be compassionate
in this advancing world of Kali Yuga
Is the most blatant
Non act

If you’re not part of the solution,
you’re part of the problem
Now even more Quarells,
War

Crudeness and rudeness
Of so called world leaders
Injustice
Crooked politics

Decreasing rainforests
One football field a second
Loss natural medicine

Global warming

and apathy to Mother Bhumi (Earth)

in the midst of all of this

We as a empathetic group:
The Vedic Care Coperative VCC
We still care
and
Yet we go on

Whilst we continue to care and triaj for many
On little money
We volunteer our time
Expertise,
Wisdom
Experience
Compassion
Because we care.’

True Vaishnavas giving all
for love of Radha Krishna and Gurus

Yet we go on.

We have endured
Burning vehicles
Loss of jobs
Prejudice
And being taken advantage of by
Greedy insensitive
Demons

We have endured
Jail time and separation from family
having only one orange
That tasted like a feast in 16 hours
And the only thing left when stripped of dignity and country
Was faith in Radha Krishna and the holy names

and we come out stronger,
and we have endured
Personal health injuries
Being misunderstood
And vilification
And more apathy
until you all get older and sick

And yet we go……

The VCC

And we will continue to go on

Love, Medicine, and Music: The Flipside of the Sixties

An Evening with Gurudas Prabhu 2018

Dear Devotees and Readers,

Please accept my humble obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Thinking back to the evening, amid the music and the stories, and the sense of shared space and warmth that comes with gatherings such as this, one quote from Gurudas Prabhu has remained with me above the others, “We have family, now we need community.”

In some ways the sentiment might be baffling.  What is a community if not a kind of family?  Yet, as Gurudas Prabhu spoke on a time gradually fewer will be able to remember, fondly wearing the hat of his beloved Guru, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, I began to understand.

Much like today in many ways, 1960’s America was nothing if not a time of change.  Revolution followed revolution as a disenfranchised youth sought change and reformation in every place that offered it, and some, like Gurudas Prabhu, sought a spiritual revolution, a revolution of the heart through a radical decision to be happy without everything American consumerism told people they needed.

Many encountering what came to be known as the “Hare Krishna Movement,” or Gaudiya Vaishnavism in non-colloquial terms, had families, but family, like many people find, isn’t always the same as community, isn’t always the same as a group of people from different backgrounds and experiences choosing to be with each other out of love rather than obligation.

As Gurudas Prabhu told stories and shared memories of meeting the Beatles, his friendship with George Harrison, and his personal relationship with His Divine Grace, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, what stood out was his gentle love and affection for everyone he spoke of.  In a time when practitioners were being kidnapped off the streets to be held by the police or their families, coming from a background of social and civil activism, Gurudas Prabhu seemed to have never hardened, instead telling story after story of how Bhakti Yoga became revolutionary to so many, as Srila Prabhupada taught his clumsy and heartfelt disciples that in Bhakti Yoga there would be no difference between the men and women, no value to be put on class or race, that to be gentle with themselves and to learn was enough.

With shining eyes, as he discussed his early memories, Gurudas Prabhu said, “don’t beat yourself up—do things sincerely.  We are children.” When many find it easy to stress the aspects of discipline or austerity in a practice, the urge to put rules above affection, Gurudas Prabhu painted a unique picture of the social stresses of the time through a distinctly personal lens, that allowed no room for distancing the people of the 1960s from the social and historical personalities it’s viewed through now.  Because for Gurudas Prabhu, as he recalled his friends, his journey, and his guru, what he shared were memories and all that comes with them, rather than a speech or a lesson.

As we closed the evening with more kirtan and food, everyone sought to make sure Gurudas Prabhu received his refreshments first.  Yet as other students and myself sat on the floor to sing more kirtan while food was being served, Gurudas Prabhu held a pair of kartals with great care and seated himself on the floor with the rest of us, food temporarily forgotten as he sang with all of us, his smiling face that of a joyful youth.

A man who learned that the permission to be happy and serve the ones you love was a revolution to last generations, carried on the back of a gentle Swami from Kolkata to California, to meet Gurudas Prabhu and so many others as they were.  “We are children”, he said.  “Just do things sincerely.”

Thank you so much to ASSG, SOAC, and the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and everyone from CSI who helped out for sponsoring this experience and allowing this event to be possible, and thank you, most sincerely, to Gurudas Prabhu himself.  The evening you gave to our campus and our humble club was an experience as valuable as it was special, and truly an evening to be cherished beyond all words.  Being able to share these aspects of Bhakti Yoga with the CU Boulder community was an honor made possible by all of you.

Sincerely with Affection,
Your Servants,
Panchali Walford & The CU Boulder Bhakti Yoga Club

To order Gurudas’ books, click here.

Peace is preferable to War

San Franscisco, June 2nd, 2018.

After 50 years of service to Krishna and Prabhupad I am saddened by the divisiveness of his family.

I am tired of the sectarianism, that separates rather then unites us.
We can do so much if we cooperate with the principals that Prabhupad gave us.

There are so many devotees feeling alone and apart. These schisms are based on adopting body consciousness which boxes people into surface identities that separates us.

Krishna’s variety encourages celebrating our differences rather than hating the unknown… This is counterproductive and not Vedic, which encourages sanatan dharma,  which transcends and supersedes this mundane thinking.

When so many people are trying to serve Krishna but in slightly different ways, instead of conflict on the mental platform, we can cooperate better. In other words, why can’t we get along?

We started as a growing family and helped Prabhupad and yes we grew because Krishna blessed our endeavors. We grew on the simple principal – das and das and “love and trust”.

As we grew like all movements and groups, some get titles, property wealth, false adoration, e.g. power. These hard hearted devotees take advantage of the soft hearted adherents. Many over the years have ignored our principals, so much so that changes were made to Prabhupad’s words, ideals and plans.

The soft hearted ones are true bhaktas and bhaktis as we were devotees and not business people per se. Of course all types are needed, but the merchant Vaisha types took advantage of the simple Brahmin devotees.

So I have seen this phenomena before: The beginning zeal and idealism tarnish into complacency and power struggles based on the ego false separations; but even the Bhagavad Gita started on a battle field, so it is under Krishna’s purview and these quarrels are material nature. But we could and should know better.

Prabhupad was our example on good manners and good management.

So I am sadden by so many mistakes and even insidious acts over the years, a far cry from Vaishnava ethics and behavior. Yet we have evolved and despite the mistakes, the broken marriages, the mistreatment of woman, children and men… Yes, also impersonalism in the guise of personalism and complacency.

Yet we have started farms, restaurant and schools, etc etc. etc. and grew in spite of a somewhat dysfunctional family, we are. We have grown. And as I travel around the world, I see great hope for our movement and our future. And any movement is made up of individuals. E.G: The army uniform and the person in the army are different. People and governments etc.

So we devotees, as individuals have rebelled against bad behavior, and carried on our Sadhana practices, which transcends sectarianism; we persevere through troubled waters, resolute in purpose, Bhakti Yoga or Love for Radha and Krishna; Our unified goal. And if we love them, then we can love others here on this planet, seeing into hearts and souls rather then dwelling on surface bodily perceptions.

So many devotees have left the ashrams and communities and forged ahead on their own. It is challenging to be transcendent of the material world (as we know better) when we are in the midst of nescience.

That is why community is important.

And yes, we have grown and yes, started so may projects including planetariums, but neglected one thing and that is devotee care.
So I started the idea and some very sincere souls coalesced together to help me actually begin to care by identifying those devotees who are isolated and poor and neglected – after years of service – by the insensitive authorities.

So by Krishna’s, Radarani’s,  Prabhupad’s  and Bhakti Tirtha Swami’s blessings and empowerment I started out. Planting the message of devotee care. Aradhana Devi Dasi, a once successful model and actress reached out to become our C.E.O. and together we formed the Vedic Care Charity.

We have ambassadors and well wishers all over the world, and we’re grateful. We have many amazing carers and doctors,  we’ve a few competent Administrators, and Matthew J. Morreale is our office affairs assistant.

But even today as we are helping people, we are mistrusted and sometimes attacked or more often, met with complacent interaction waiting for each other to support us.
Lots of lip service but few real supporters.
I believe in deeds not words.
So we are caring for people today, when many devotees who have served for many years are neglected and are kicked out of the temples, put out to pasture or thrown on the garbage heap of callous society,  alone,  and afraid.

We at the V.C.C., are here for you!

We have trained professionals who are doing out-reach now. Caitania Priya dd and Chaitanya Swarup das are caring personally and running our medical front: and with Rama Narashima das (UK), Mathura Lila (Canada), Devaki dd &  Stritama dasi  (Florida),  Bhagavati dd (Belgium), Prashanti dasi (Texas), Ram Tulasi das &  Ananda Shakti dd (Oregon),  Gopaswami das & Krishna Caranaravinda dd (France), Jaya Krishna das (Florida), Vasanta das (California), Heather Holman (Arizona) and Bhakti das (NY);  they are all carers or trained counselors facilitating this project.

We’ve helped fifty devotees in great need in the past two years alone, some for much longer. To mention a few: Mahananda das (ACBSP), Krsna Pryia dd, Caruhasa dasa (ACBSP)Mahaksha das (ACBSP), Ishan Chaitanya das, Bhakti Vasudeva Swami (Iskcon), Manohara dd, Jatayu das (ACBSP) and many more who prefer not to be mentioned.

Now we are working towards our first retirement village and care facility in Sedona, Arizona.

Please come to our seminars and please donate your time or funds (Lakxmi).

Thank you very much,

THE IMPORTANCE OF CHARITY

By Ananta Sesa Dasa

The question of charity has long been of concern within the Krishna Consciousness movement. Should a devotee give in charity, and if so, how and to whom? In answering these questions, let us consider a couple key passages.

Acts of sacrifice, charity, and penance are not to be given up, but should be performed. Indeed, sacrifice, charity, and penance purify even the great souls (Bhagavad-Gita 18.5).

So, the Bhagavad-Gita instructs the devotee to perform acts of charity, which are beneficial to the improvement of the soul. However, it also warns that charity must be given in the proper mode.

Charity in the mode of goodness is given out of duty, at the proper time and place, to a worthy person, and without expectation of return (Bhagavad-Gita 17.20).

In the purport to this passage, Srila Prabhupada writes: “charity given to a person engaged in spiritual activities is recommended.” This means that charity is a positive and purifying activity when used correctly.

It is sometimes asked why the devotees of Krishna do not engage in charity work like other religious organizations. Prabhupada would often speak against “mundane charity”, arguing that we cannot do anything to improve the material condition. So, donating money to homeless shelters, cancer research or the police officers benevolent fund will do little but mask the symptoms of the real disease that is playing mankind. Instead, one should engage in real charity—something that will help mankind overcome the material condition and find his way back home to Godhead.

Money should be given to promote Krishna Consciousness around the world—to support those who travel to preach, distribute books, and offer prasadam—in short, to support those things that will awaken the dormant Krishna Consciousness that lies within all.

Prabhupada explained the idea like this:
It is impossible to improve people’s material conditions. Material conditions are already established by the superior administration according to one’s karma. They cannot be changed. The only benefit we can render to suffering beings is to try to raise them to spiritual consciousness…If one is at all sympathetic or able to do good to others, he should endeavor to raise people to Krishna consciousness
(Srimad Bhagavatam 5.8.10, purport).

While it is very important to promote Krishna Consciousness, it is equally important to provide the services necessary for devotees to stay on the path of Krishna Consciousness. This is why organizations such as the Vedic Care Charitable Trust qualify as worthy charities. The VCC does not support mundane activities, but rather, it supports transcendental ones.

The VCC is not a mundane charity, nor does it encourage fruitive activities. It works to support those devotees who dedicated their lives to the service is Krishna. It operates on the principle of “das anu das”, the notion that we are the “servants of the servants”, a concept strongly promoted by Srila Prabhupada.

The VCC seeks to establish retirement villages and hospice facilities where devotees can associate with other devotees, regularly chant and hear about the glories of the Lord, and be fed only Krishna prasadam. Far too many devotees leave this body in the company of strangers, materialists who know nothing of devotional service, and some may begin to falter in their faith due to lack of genuine association. The VCC is working to change all of that.

Your donations and service do not support medical research, animal slaughter or financial greed. Your donations to the Vedic Care Charitable Trust only go to support the cause of Krishna Consciousness and all of the devotees who have served. Please consider making a donation or offering your service to this worthy charity today. Hare Krishna!

Please visit the Who-We-Serve page @ www.vediccare.org/who-we-serve or the VCC Out-Reach program page @ www.vediccare.org/out-reach-teams.

Geopathic Stress & Earth Acupunture

Travels with Gurudas in Europe

Travels with Gurudas in Europe

By Gurudas, edited by Anata Sesa das

Bhakta Chaitanya Swami met me in Montreal for a festival of India, and he invited me to the summer festival in Lithuania. Since I experienced other festivals in The Ukraine, and Czech Republic, I agreed to go with him. At the other festivals, I was impressed with the enthusiasm, discipline and receptiveness of the participants. 
As a result, I asked if I could go to the Czech Republic as well. I had visited there four times previously, and had many friends in that part of the world. The trip was arranged, and the challenges in traveling became lighter due to the grace and mercy of Krishna and Prabhupada.

I met Prabhupada when he came west. Working together, we started, formed, and built the beginning foundation of Krishna consciousness in the Western world and then internationally. We started with nothing– just the Swamiji. We had no tulsi beads, mridanga’s, kartals, prayers books, elders to learn from, no movement, no money or anything. What we had was the Swami who gave us the Vedic culture. Prabhupada once said, ” I gave them something tangible–the Vedic culture.”

As I experienced Krishna’s love inside and out, I wished to give both Radha and Krishna’s love to everyone. This love is present whenever I see new temples, with old familiar photos of my parampara gurus, beautiful decorated Deities, and Prabhupada sitting there regally. I feel that divine love in other places half way around the world when devotees speak the same language through prayers, bhajans, kirtans and service attitudes.

Prabhupada gave me the principal das anu das, which means, we serve each other with love. Due to this principle, I want to see the successes of my spiritual family.
 Therefore, when I see progress such as Govinda’s restaurants, bakeries, farms,  prasadam factories, beekeepers, children, people hugging, people smiling, people ecstatically dancing with an attitude to serve,  it brings joy to my heart.
 In spite of growing pains, and some mismanagement, I see ongoing progress of Krishna consciousness in the West.

This was the wish of Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati. The essence is the same as when Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu changed people’s lives through the Maha Mantra. His efforts brought the holy names to every town, village and country. All of this was accomplished because of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and it is still going on


.

After landing in Latvia, we were met with smiles respect and garlands. We rode to Riga, where I was greeted with a kirtan party, and given a tour of the Riga Krishna temple. The building included a restaurant, an ayurvedic clinic, residential quarters for men and woman, and a very nice room for me. I was informed by the lovely lady hostess, that my Braja brother Dina Bandhu would be sleeping across from me later that night. Old friends and new friends are met on these magical Krishna tours.

The next morning, we piled into a van with Dina Bandhu, His assistant Arjun, the wife of the driver and his child sat in the front seat, and other devotee girls sat in the back seats. We stopped and had a prasadam picnic near a sea-side resort. We explored the resort, and then went on to Vilnius, Lithuania. Once again, we were greeted by a kirtan party (just like the old days). I was escorted to a very nice suite. It had one room with a desk, couch, and table. There was also a kitchen and sleeping quarters. The site had workshop rooms, p

ools and saunas. A lake and forest were nearby.
While in Latvia, I had two assistants assigned to me.

The next morning, Bhavananda, one of the assistants, took me to me to a large tent wherein about 800 devotees were ecstatically chanting and dancing. It contained an altar with all our inspirations decorated beautifully. There were also altars on the side.

While there, I proposed several seminars:
1) “Prabhupada is with us”
2) “Every town and village” {the history of Krishna Consciousness in the Western World}
3) “Krishna Consciousness is a great and joyful adventure”.


I spoke morning, evening and in between, while the younger devotees lapped up the nectar like kittens. The various Swamis also appreciated the talks, and asked questions from me. This is a list of the Maharajas present: Shubha Swami,
Dhirashanta Swami (He was with me as a bramachari during the early days in Vrindavan), Niranjan Swami, Sat Chid Ananda Swami, Chaitanya Swarup Swami, Chaitanya Swami, and Dina Bandhu.

The morning kirtans involved lively dancing and nourishing holy names. There were also gifts presented by many, including some artists. Kunda data devi dasi (Kamile Tamosulnaite) gave me some art etchings as a gift.

We rode to Riga with a nice family. The driver was a gifted astrologer and palmist; while his mother was an elderly devotee. Another bright-faced Bramacharini squeezed in. As we entered Riga, and crossed the river, I saw the old and new towns. The temple was in a great location. Kirtan and smiling devotees greeted me again in Riga. In fact, warm welcomes seemed to great us at each placw we visited.

I gave the evening class.  As someone in Britain once said, “Gurudas mixes Prabhupada and Krishna.” When I discuss Prabhupada as a person, I speak of his courage, humor, wit, intelligence, compassion, and open mindedness. The third generation of devotees only know Prabhupada through his wonderful writings. Many realizations come from this awesome and instructive perspective, so when they see Prabhupada in his personal way, they understand his real greatness. They see that he practiced the shastras daily, and they see how he manifested the Vedic culture in the modern materialistic world. People say that “my realization and flavor of Krishna Consciousness has changed for the better,” and “I feel you have brought Prabhupada to us.”

Most of the Eastern European devotees lived under strict totalitarian regimes, they already lived simply, and so they eagerly accept the simple living and high thinking, as well as the exoticness of the Krishna consciousness philosophy.


We went early to the airport, where we took Ryan airlines to Prague (or Narayan airlines, as we like to say). In Prague, we met some old friends and recorded a few bhajans such as “Gauranga Bolite Habe”, “Gurudev Kripa”, “Nitaipada Kamala”, and the “Hare Krishna Maha Mantra”. After the recording session, I gave a class at the Prague temple.

Jay Gurudev, a College Professor, arranged for me to stay in a college facility in a room overlooking a running track and footbal field. The Prague skyline could be seen in the distance as soaring swallows zipped near the window.

The next day, I had breakfast with Prema Priya and Puniya  Palika . Their daughter was getting married in a few weeks. After breakfast, Puniya Palika and I walked through a green park and past an old monastery. Then we got on the bus (they don’t charge seniors) and rode to a Krishna temple in Prague. At the temple, I met Sridhar Swami from Poland, who was at Chestahova in 1976 when Avenesh Chandra, Bhakti Bhibhava Swami, Suhotra and I were there. Chitrashekar was also present.

A photographer from Poland picked us up in a car, and we rode to the riverside docks. Puniya Palika arranged a boat ride. Then we met Captain Milan, and meandered peacefully in the middle of the river. This allowed us to see Prague, the beautiful city of towers, from another perspective. Thank you Krishna for opening doors, introducing me to people, allowing me to serve, and taking me on boat rides.

The next day I saw my old friends from Prague, and I gave the Sunday love feast talk. One of the old friends at the Prague temple was Kate, who ran a hotel castle, and theater. She is probably going to live at the Prague farm to continue her devotional life.

Padapangana took us to Nava Sady, a village where many devotee families live and work at the Damodar prasadam, catering and manufacturing plant. I was given a tour of a building next door that was new since the last visit. Panga told me of a big factory in a nearby town that was a possible site for the Vedic Care Charity (www.VedicCare.org).

I usually stayed with Lila Purosshattam, but Stitha Krishna Swami was staying there, so I stayed with Pada Panga and his family. They showed me before and after photos of the temple. There were two abhisheks, and one julan ceremony taking place. Maharaja and I sat on the vyas together. I like him because he is genially humble, curious and scholarly.

During the morning class on Janmashtami, the devotees asked me what quality of Srila Prabhupada impressed me the most? I responded, “His mercy”, and everyone laughed. Then I spoke about Prabhupada’s forgiveness, mercy, and inclusiveness. My friend, Shymananda, gave me a Venu Gita by Shivaram Swami that I read on the ride. I enjoyed devouring the nectar just in time for Janmashtami.

Padapankija told me that he bought another building in a nearby town, and asked if I would like to see it for a possible care facility. Purroshattam, Stitha Krishna Swami, Shymananda, Puniya Palika and I rode to the factory building. It is huge and can have many uses. We again talked about using the building as a care for devotees facility. Such a facility could house a school, care rooms, and a multi-faceted healing center (which could include Vedic arts and culture healing workshops). There would also be room for administrative offices and an organic farm plot. We will see what Radha Krishna have planned for us.

After the Vyas Puja feast, we rode to the Prague  Krsna Dvir farm with my good friends Pada Pankaja, Puniya Palika, and Shyamanada. We stopped at a Govinda’s restaurant in a nearby town and I saw my old friend Lilla Shakti, wife of Priya Kirti. She ran over and embraced me. Their son, Vamsi, smiled and greeted me.
He had two ice creams with umbrellas, and I always have a gift for him, so we made a paper car and boat. Later, I remembered how to make a paper airplane for him. I discovered that the Govinda’s restaurant also fed homeless people after closing.

I stayed with a wonderful family: Keshava Puri, Yoga Mayyee and Bhakta Mayee. Bhakta Mayee was a special child, who also warmed up to me as I was playful with her. They were formal at first, but soon they relaxed and we became a family, which I considered a great compliment. They took me to a Castle on the way to the post office. Deena Bhandu was arriving, so we reunited at a lunch from the devotees that run the Balaram restaurant in Prague.

On Sunday, I was visited by Martin Bursik, the minister of the Environment in the Czech Republic, and his wife.  Two other friends happened by. Ladislav Heryan , or Ladin as he is known, is a priest for the youth, and the other was a priestess from the Ukraine.

I opened up the Trutnov Open Air Music Festival with them two years earlier. She held the Ukrainian flag, and a 32-person kirtan band appeared on stage. We reminisced and exchanged many ideas. Martin had once met the Dalai Lama, and had a ring given to him. When their child chimed in sweetly I said, “She is the future.” They excitedly said, “That is what the Dalai Lama said to her also.” We proposed to form a gathering with the theme “Spirituality and the Environment”, and invited the Dalai Lama as well.

I am especially fond of Priya Kirti and family and we talked about starting a Vedic care project over lunch prasadam. Kesava Puri drove us back to Prague, I stayed at the college and gave two classes at the Prague temple, and a love feast with Nara Hari and Maha Duti Swami.

The next day, at the Airportin Belgium, there was a terrorist alert and I had to move through security twice. Finally, I spied a tilak and a devotee wearing it, and he helped out with suitcases. We rode through the Belgium countryside and a WW II battlefield before arriving at Radhadesh. Aradhana, who so expertly arranged everything, was meeting me from England. She is very thoughtful and expert, so the classes, meetings and tours at Radhadesh were paced nicely.

In fact, she facilitated my whole trip wonderfully. I toured the wood furnace, solar heating, the guesthouses, seminar hall, restaurant, boutique bakery, art gallery and museum.


Bhagavati, a wonderfully intelligent and competent devotee, has already been assisting devotees who died in Radhadesh. She is maintaining a room in cooperation with us at the Vedic Care. She is a devotee of Kadana Kanana Swamiji, who I had met before, (so another old Swamiji friend–there are so many). He sings like an angel and has overcome many obstacles by Krishna’s protection and Grace.

Ram das and Dhiti Dasi, artists from California, were teaching an art class and we became friends. Other devotees, such as President Manohar das and Mahaprabu were hospitable. We had some meetings regarding care for devotees as a possible college course. Eventually.  Dina Dayal, the director of the Bhaktivedanta College, took me on a tour to nearby rock formations.

We met with Bhagavati many times in an attempt to secure our plan to continue her service of care.  She had served three dying devotees recently, and it is important to secure more rooms for this purpose.

 Aradhana and I rode the train to London. It was a pleasant and easy ride from St. Pancreas station to London. My friend Yasodananda was there and greeted us.
That night, there was a house gathering with more Prabhupada katha.

The next morning, we attended a Srimad Bhagvatam class at Sri Sri London Iswara temple in Soho. Aradhana arranged a two-day filming with Barnaby at Birkbeck University, followed by an evening gathering

 on Radhastami in London. Deena Bandhu gave me his last copy of Vraja lilla and I gave a two-hour talk during which I read from Bhakti Rasamirtra Sindhu, Venu Gita and the Vraja lilla. I shared how Radaharani is the giver of compassion, and manifested Vrindavan for Krishna’s pleasure, and her wonderful qualities.

After some more filming, we took a train to Elstree and lunch at Sri Kama’s and Kishore’s. Then we visited Bhaktivedanta Manor, George’s garden, and did some filming in Prabhupada’s rooms. We then met with Gaura and talked about how they would adopt care for elderly devotees.  He also proposed a book launch tour for my up-coming book of my classic photos of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.

An evening gathering at Gangamata’s Gauidiya Math was very nice.
 I had a morning meeting with Rama Narishima, Aradhana, and Radha Priya dd.
Then we traveled to Gatwick, where as usual, my competent wearer of many hats helped rearrange suitcases crammed with many gifts and appreciations.

As always, it is rewarding to bring Prabhupada’s compassion, mercy, humor, flexibility, adventurous curiosity, and open mindedness to many. One can witness the transformation as the flavor of Krishna changes from the awesome and stern instruction to real personalism, love and understanding of how it began.
I watched as stoic faces changed into smiles, tears and laughter as they met Swamiji. This is my and our legacy.