When Bhakti Brihat Bhagavat Swami started the ISKCON LEADS training program in March 2009, on the recommendation of the GBC succession committee, it was with Srila Prabhupada’s words reverberating clearly in his mind.
“Just as all parts of the body cooperate to keep the body fit, in the ideal state all sections of society cooperate under the leadership of the brahmanas,” wrote the ISKCON Founder in his book Beyond Illusion and Doubt. “At present this Krishna consciousness movement is training brahmanas. If the administrators take our advice and conduct the state in a Krishna conscious way, there will be an ideal society throughout the world.”
Now at the end of its first year of three, ISKCON LEADS’ mission is to systematically train and educate dynamic, cultured, and effective spiritual leaders who will inspire devotees to take ISKCON to the position of world prominence that Srila Prabhupada envisioned.
“ISKCON LEADS—or ISKCON Leadership Education And Development System—is an effective acronym because it conveys the ethos of our leadership training both in the acronym and the full name,” explains secretary Vamsi Vadana Dasa.
Currently offered only in India, the ISKCON LEADS training program includes three modules and 17 courses, all taught at regional divisions in Mumbai, Delhi, Tirupati, and Mayapur.
“The five courses of Module One, Interpersonal Spiritual Development, each cover one of the “Five Most Potent Forms of Devotional Service” described in the Caitanya-caritamrta,” Vamsi Vadana says. “Which are associating with devotees, chanting the holy name of the Lord, hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam, residing in a holy place, and worshiping the Deity with faith and veneration.”
Apr 22, 2010 — BANGALORE, INDIA (PRLOG) — The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, on its Foundation day, bestowed the Distinguished Alumnus Award 2010 to Sriman Madhu Pandit Dasa (a.k.a Madhusudan Sivasankar), Founder Chairman, the Akshaya Patra Foundation and President of ISKCON – Bangalore.
The institute recognised and honoured Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa for "his contribution to humanitarian services and organic farming", said the citation. This is the highest honour the Institute bestows on the Foundation Day. The institute honours five alumni every year and the others who received the Distinguished Alumnus awards this year along with Madhu Pandit Das are Dr Nitish Thakor, Professor, John Hopkins University, R.Chandra Shekhar, IAS, Secretary, Department of Information Technology, Government of India, Adil Zaimulbhai, Managing Director, Mckinsey India and Colin H Gonslaves, Founder, India Centre for Human Rights and Law.
As a pre-degree student, he was selected by the highly reputed National Talent Search program of the country. He completed his B.Tech in Civil Engineering from IIT-Mumbai in the year 1981. Having found the path that answered his quest for the Absolute Truth, right after his days in IIT-Bombay, Madhu Pandit Dasa dedicated his life to serving the mission of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He has nearly three decades of self less work behind him.
He has demonstrated ability in building organizations of excellence in the non-profit sector and is held in high esteem for his contribution to the society, in humanitarian, cultural and spiritual spheres. He has been instrumental in conceiving and implementing many social initiatives that have, are and will change the lives of million of people in this country. Besides impacting the social sector, his innovative presentation of utilizing the mesmerizing technological medium has rekindled and re-energized the interests in our rich Indian culture.
He designed and built one of the most popular cultural centers, ISKCON Sri Radha Krishna temple in Bangalore, which was inaugurated in 1997 by the then President of India. The successful completion of this project was nothing but the result of applying his training in IIT on a foundation of spiritual maturity for a selfless cause.
Sri. Madhu Pandit Dasa said, "I am very humbled and honored on being conferred the Distinguished Alumnus Award on the 51st Foundation Day of IIT Mumbai. This recognition is considered by me to be the blessings my worshippable Lord Sri Krishna and the blessings of the millions of children we feed in Akshaya Patra."
IIT Bombay celebrated its 51st Foundation Day with Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Director, Prof M Barma, as Chief Guest.
Simon and Maggie go vegetarian, proving a meat free diet is far from bland and boring. While vegetarianism has always being part of Indian and Asian culture, it didn’t really kick off in the west until the 1960’s, when a meat free diet became more accessible.
One of Australia’s greatest exponents of vegetarian cuisine is legendary Hare Krishna Chef, Kurma Dasa, aka Phillip Gordon. One of the movement’s longest serving Australian devotees, Kurma has been extolling the virtues of a vegetarian lifestyle for over thirty years and has written several classics on vegetarian cookery and hosted the TV show Cooking with Kurma.
A Shower of Divine Compassion -- Collected Poems of Srila Prabhupada
The collected poems of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Expressions of devotion to Lord Krishna and His mission. A truly beautiful, uplifting and inspiring book.
From the Publishers:
Just when Srila Prabhupada's followers might have thought that all his literaty works had been gathered and published, we are surprised and pleased to receive this complete collection of his poetry, compiled and translated by Dasaratha-suta Prabhu. It is not that ISKCON has never seen these poems; Srila Prabhupada himself presented some of them to his disciples, and others have been available in the Bengali Vaisnava Songbook for years. Now, however, for the first time they have been collected in one book and presented in English.
With great reverence we place before you this anthology of Srila Prabhupada's poems. Most are written in Bengali, one is in English and the final one is in Sanskrit.
All the Bengali poems are currently included in the ISKCON Mayapur Bengali songbook, Bhakti Giti Sancayana, and are well known and sung by the Bengali devotees. However, they have been inaccessable to the English-speaking devotees, even though more than thirty years have passed since Srila Prabhupada's disappearance in 1977. I pray that these confidential writings of our spiritual master, finally coming to light at this late hour, may increase the devotional mood of the devotees worldwide.
Throughout time, pure devotees of Lord Krishna have composed poetry describing devotional service to Him.
This collection of poems reveals the heart and feelings of Srila Prabhupada, the guru who first spread Krishna consciousness worldwide.
"The froth upon the seawater arises one moment and disappears the next;
the play of Maya's worldly illusion is just like that." (from section 4 - "Froth on the Seawater")
Whoever daily fights the battle of life only for Lord Krishna's sake discovers prosperity, mystic perfection, and transcendental knowledge in the palm of his hand." (from section 13, "The Message of the Bhagavad-gita")
Bhakti is fast becoming the best source of free vegetarian food on campus. As Ajay Mangal, CC ’10, remarked, “If you’re allergic to delicious, this [Bhakti] isn’t the place for you.” However, Bhakti is about more than food—it is also one of Columbia’s strongest spiritual communities.
Two beloved Hare Krishna monks run the club: Dave, who never fails to throw in a joke, and Pandit, a true sage and father figure. Although some students might be initially worried about the strange orange outfits these monks don, their open-minded approach to all backgrounds, all belief systems, and all faiths quickly breaks down these barriers. Bhakti reaches in seconds what it sometimes takes years to achieve in diversity training: a safe environment that is free of judgment, allowing students to be themselves, without stress. It’s kind of refreshing after spending time on the campus of, reportedly, the country’s second-most-stressful university, in the midst of the world’s busiest city.
Students put up walls—through habits, silence, or attitude—when stressed. After Bhakti removes the cause, a flood of pent up emotions, feelings, and ideas rush out that most of us don’t even realize are there. Bhakti gets students talking about hushed issues like mortality, anger, or fear, without generating the heat of debate or pushing a religion.
Bhakti’s voice in the exchange of ideas is meaningful. In addition to offering a safe environment, Dave and Pandit offer a perspective relatively unknown to the typical westernized student. The level of difference in worldview is epitomized by Krishna, the supreme deity of this sect of Hinduism. He is not portrayed as a martyr suffering for human sins, nor is he spiteful or angry; rather, Krishna is always smiling and often portrayed dancing and playing a flute. This contrast effectively opens the minds of students and offers an alternative way of looking at life, which is invaluable, regardless of one’s personal belief system. Students are trying out more than just new food—they’re trying out a new mindset.
The ancient Vedic culture, traced by anthropologists as well as spiritualists to an era several millennia ago, was a culture rich in spiritual insights, social and political order, customs, poetry and music, says one of its followers, BV Tridandi Swami.
One aspect of Vedic culture which everyone can relate to even in the modern day is the power it gave to the vibration of sound, he says. The Vedic culture recognised sound as the medium connecting the spiritual world with the material world in which we all strive to survive in the face of the complexities we commonly grapple with.
Tridandi Swami was born in 1949 to English parents in Canada and first came in touch with the Vedic teachings in 1975.
In 1979 he became a full time practitioner of Bhakti yoga, joining a farming community of devotees in Murwillumbah, Australia.
- Sunday, April 18, 2010 — parade starts at 10:15 am (that means you should ideally be there by 10 am)
- In Balboa Park, the parade proceeds from the Natural History Museum, west to the Art Museum, south past the Organ Pavilion, ending at the Children’s Area between the Puppet Theater and the Auto Museum in Pan American Plaza
Today in the rural area between Navadwip and the town of Krishnanagar, sixty percent of the children drop out of school before the age of twelve, and more than half of the women are illiterate. Some seventy thousand villagers in the region drink arsenic-contaminated water, twenty-three thousand of them showing skin infections and lesions.
Within Ten Miles of Mayapur follows the work of Sri Mayapur Vikas Sangha (SMVS), a non-profit organization based in Iskcon Mayapur. Its mission is to fulfill Srila Prabhupada’s desire that no one should go hungry within a ten-mile radius of the ISKCON temple. For the last ten years, SMVS has worked to end the economic and social causes of poverty in the region. It is an NGO in West Bengal and has received grants from funding agencies worldwide including the United Nations.
Posted April 8, 2010
With the blessings of Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga, seventh issue of Varnasrama Newsletter: THE EIGHT PETALS for Vishnu Mas is available at: www.varnasrama.org/files/Vishnu_Mas.pdf
The issue in consideration focuses on ‘Village’.
The next issue will focus on 'Family System'. Everybody is welcome to give their suggestions, share important information or just voice out their opinion on the newsletter in the form of an article, mail, report etc. or even in the form of a prayer for a tiny person who ambitiously aspires to serve Srila Prabhupada! (Click here for the full article)
Click here to download the Mantralogy Spring 2010 Magalog (PDF 3.5mb).
Thank you for staying in the loop.
A team of devotees from Bhaktivedanta Manor headed by Ramanuja Prabhu, disciple of HH Giriraja Maharaja, have set up a TV programme called "Hare Krishna Culture" which is already being broadcast on Satellite TV. This programme is dedicated to ISKCON and His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Founder-acarya of ISKCON). It is being run under the name Hare Krishna Mission Ltd and it is a completely non-profitable organisation run entirely by volunteers.
This programme has lectures by senior devotees of ISKCON, kirtans from around the world, and interviews and footage of Srila Prabhupada by ISKCON Cinema. It has been very warmly received by devotees and the general public, with very good reviews in the UK and Europe.
It can be viewed in UK and Europe on a free Sky channel called MATV, channel 793 at 10.00 am every Sunday, repeated on Wednesdays at 4.30 am (UK time).
In this interview, Parliament participant Jambavati dasi discusses her own understanding of her tradition and her experience at the Parliament.
While we live on the Earth and use its products, the solid forms of Krishna’s energy can remind us of Him.
It may seem there can be nothing more ordinary, more the essence of matter, or more mundane than the Earth. But when we take a moment to notice and reflect, our awareness of the ever-present Earth can easily stimulate the most elevated plane of spiritual consciousness. Krishna has categorized His gross material energies as five: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. In modern terms these energies are called solids, liquids, radiant energy, gases, and space. Therefore, Krishna’s energy of “earth” refers to all matter in a solid state. Yet, because the planet Earth is the biggest example of this energy, we will here use the planet as symbolic of solid matter in general.
Krishna, the Supreme Lord, is both identical with and separate from His energies. By meditating on His energies, therefore, we can learn much about Krishna and appreciate His presence. Krishna recommends such meditation throughout the scriptures. For example, at Kurukshetra He tells the cowherd girls of Vrindavana, His beloved devotees, to always feel His presence through His energies. Prabhupada comments: “This important instruction by Lord Krishna to the gopis can be utilized by all devotees engaged in Krishna consciousness.… The cosmic manifestation is nothing but a display of Krishna’s energy, and because the energy is not different from the energetic, nothing is different from Krishna. When this absolute consciousness, Krishna consciousness, … is present, then we are not separated from Krishna.”
The Planet Earth Reminds Us of the Lord
Rocky peaks of the Olympic Mountains, wearing hair of snow, poke through the clouds on the horizon, viewed across the water from where I walk on Vancouver Island in Canada. Huge, solid, beautiful, majestic, those towers of earth draw one’s eyes again and again.
Other than occasional dramatic displays such as cloud-piercing mountains, the Earth often goes unnoticed in daily life. But the Earth exhibits qualities that can easily remind us of the Lord’s qualities. For example, the Earth is solid and dependable, and Krishna is so dependable that even demonic beings know that if they follow universal rules, the Lord will not harm them. Anyone can depend on Krishna to accept offerings made with faith and devotion, regardless of the person’s background or material qualifications.
His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaja is the President-Acharya of the Sri Chaitanya Gaudiya Math and the Founder of GOKUL-Global organization of Krishnachaitanya’s Universal Love.
Here are some interesting facts about Hare Krishna Food for Life:
Some of history’s most devastating disasters have befallen the world in recent years. In each case, Food for Life volunteers were there, bringing comfort and sustenance to the poor, the frightened, and the homeless.
* 2008 – Food for Life served freshly cooked vegan meals to survivors of Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike in the southern United States.
* 2007 – Bangladesh: Hundreds of thousands of survivors were left homeless after the deadliest cyclone to hit Bangladesh in a decade. Soon after the dust settled, Food For Life volunteers were on the ground with a truck full of food to feed the hungry people.
* 2005 – Pakistan: Following the Pakistan earthquake, Food for Life volunteers worked side-by-side with local military and police personnel, distributing drinking water, food, tents and blankets.
* 2005 – Mississippi and Texas: When Hurricane Katrina struck with deadly force, Food for Life volunteers were among the first responders, distributing up to 800 freshly cooked meals daily to needy families in Mississippi and Texas.
* 2004 – 2005 Sri Lanka and India: A killer Tsunami wreaked incomprehensible devastation, resulting in the deaths of nearly 200,000 people. Once again, Food for Life volunteers joined the relief effort on the very day of the disaster, providing thousands of meals daily, along with medical care, clothing and shelter.
* In the 1990s, Food for Life volunteers risked their lives in the war-torn countries of Chechnya, Bosnia and Abkhazia, distributing food to needy and frightened civilians.
In total, Food for Life has distributed more than 750 million meals since its inception.
8,321,806 | Mangalacaran
4,051,700 | Sri Guru Parampara
4,466,867 | Gurvastakam
5,084,609 | Sri Guru Vandana
6,504,911 | Gurudev Boro Kripa Koro
5,840,630 | Gurudev Kripa Bindu Diya
6,122,939 | Srila Prabhupad Padma Stava
4,221,419 | Sri Rupa Manjari Pada
4,816,478 | Sri Vaishnava Vandana
7,129,577 | Ohe Vaishnava Thakura.mp3
5,519,957 | Deva Bhavantam Vande.mp3
2,703,956 | Narada Muni
2,870,756 | Nama Sankirtana
10,450,148 | Mathura Virahocita
443,278 | Vande Krishna
3,736,031 | Gopinatha
4,595,284 | Bandhu Sange
16,011,318 | Narasingha and Jaya Dau
11,033,948 | Mangala Gitam
10,498,937 | Dasavatar Stotram
5,523,576 | Sri Jagannathastakam
11,411,356 | Sri Damodarastakam
3,091,489 | Sri Chouragraganya Purushastakam
3,259,488 | Sri Madhurastakam
3,459,280 | Sri Krishnachandrastakam
3,355,205 | Sri Yamunastakam
4,219,541 | Sri Govardhan Vasa
3,147,474 | Sri Vrinda Devystakam
2,907,570 | Sri Vrindavanastakam
3,611,409 | Sri Vraja Raja Sutastakam
2,315,326 | Sri Nandanandastakam
6,393,155 | Sri Gour Govinda Arati
5,200,118 | Sri Vraja Dham Mahimamrita
1,292,411 | Bhoga Arati
3,466,232 | Yasomati Nandana
5,164,673 | Gaura and Yugala Arati
3,463,730 | Sri Tulasi Kirtana
5,607,944 | Sri Tulasi Arati
1,853,777 | Sri Shiksastakam
4,844,417 | Pita Varana Kali
2,978,759 | Dekhiya Arunodoya
3,083,843 | Tuhun Doya Sagara
2,862,833 | Radha Snata Vibhusita
4,792,292 | Sri Krishna Kirtana Yadi
2,413,724 | Dhenu Sahacara Sange
4,831,907 | Prabhu Tava Pada Yuge
2,531,735 | Radha Kunde Suminala
4,555,853 | Anadi Karama Phale
2,847,404 | Sri Radhika Grihe Gela
4,516,655 | Aparadhe Phale Mama
2,890,772 | Sri Radhika Sayam Kale
8,438,957 | Gaite Gaite Nam
3,816,929 | Radha Krishna Upadese
604,361 | Ami Krishna Pada Dasi
3,773,561 | Vrinda Paricarya Paya
6,218,432 | Krishna Jinaka
5,004,128 | Sundara Lal
5,149,498 | Kripa Karo Syamsundar
5,691,175 | Krishna Nama Tu Bhajale
2,339,498 | Radhe Syam Syam Syam
1,379,513 | Jay Radhe Jay Radheradhe
Some pictures of the of Srila Bhakti Kumud Santa Gosvami Maharaja on his appearance day.
Kolkatta, fourth of April 2010
Q. Can you get peace in today's "make money fast" world?
Gurudev:One surely can,provided he or she controls the senses.In today's godless society,everybody is basically lustful.Lust stimulates sense enjoying propensity.This in turn,makes a person greedy and an avaricious person is prepared to commit any sin.How can a
sinful person experience peace?We are slaves to our slaves and impulses-the cause of all hysterical activities that result in depression.All our sense organs are like venomous serpents and difficult to control.If one can control one's tongue by taking Krishna Prasadam and chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra,he or she can control the other senses and live peacefully.
But with the inundation of plastics, in form of bags, cups and plates, now even the holy places are inundated with felth. We have choose some of those Holy Places to show an example that clean we can be and how different the atmosphere is when the Holy Place is clean. We are printing some flexs to invite people to deposite the garbage in bags with can be collected. In many cases our volunteers collecting garbage, local people join in with entusiams. In the case of the kundas - lakes, we also clean inside the water, and the s amount of garbage surfist from the ground. This is just a humble effort to fullfil the vision of cleanlines top by our spiritual teacher.
Hare Krishna followers eschew gambling, alcohol and drugs, eating meat and sex for pleasure.
“When I was about 19 I was in high school and a friend of mine was going to the Hare Krishna temple in Cape Town. I would go with him, and I used to love the meals and singing. Then gradually I started reading the books and doing the chanting as well. Eventually I decided it was something I wanted to do on a permanent basis,” the 25-year-old says.
“At first my parents didn’t like it … they didn’t know much about it, they were unsure but gradually they could see how much of an impact it was making so they accepted it. They saw the positive changes it was making to my life.
‘‘The lifestyle, which is backed up by with so much of the philosophy that the Hare Krishnas live by, is very detailed and very regulated. It really shapes and moulds your life and whatever activity you’re performing.
“It’s a very blessed lifestyle one can actually have, especially at a young age. In the beginning I wasn’t used to waking up so early in the morning. I wasn’t brought up vegetarian ... change happened over time, it was a gradual change.
“At this point I feel this is it for me. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life, but if I move to another country and I have to work then I’ll support myself with a job. But pretty much everything else will still be intact, my spiritual life will still be my main goal.”
The Hare Krishnas set up more than their normal lunch buffet Monday.
The third annual Festival of India, which took place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., featured four different tents with educational displays where students could ask questions about Krishna beliefs or learn about vegetarianism, reincarnation and the Illustrated Bhagavad Gita sacred text.
About 100 students stopped by the tents throughout the day.
The event was sponsored by the Krishna House, an outreach center where students can live or learn about the beliefs of the Hare Krishnas.
Billy Frasier, a mechanical engineering junior, was on his way to Library West when he stopped to look at the Illustrated Bhagavad Gita tent.
“It’s all very strange to me,” he said. “The idea of reincarnation and karma and Hare Krishna. I couldn’t even think about going vegetarian.”
The event did not just feature educational displays.
This is a practical cookbook, designed to help you prepare authentic Indian meals in your own home and to acquaint you with the tradition behind India’s great vegetarian cuisine. It explains not only the techniques of Vedic, or classical Indian vegetarian cooking, but also the Vedic art of eating, which nourishes both the soul and the body and mind.
India is the home not only of vegetarian cooking, but also of the science of healthful living. The scripture known as the Ayur-veda, is the oldest known work on biology, hygiene, medicine, and nutrition. This branch of the Vedas was revealed thousands of years ago by Sri Bhagavan Danvantari, an incarnation of Krishna. “Old”, is not the same as “primitive”, however, and some of the instructions of the Ayur-veda will remind today’s reader of modern nutritional teachings or just plain common sense. Other instructions may seem less familiar, but they will bear themselves out if given the chance.
Graphic art and branding, film-making, online TV and much more: The Vaishnava Resources Exhibition
This weekend we’re having a Vaishnava Resources Exhibition at the Bhaktivedanta Manor. Its an opportunity for creative devotees to show what they’re offering to the community and a time for networking and offering encouragement to innovative preaching.
After the morning session we’ll be going over to the new Krishna-Avanti Primary School for a guided tour, giving many devotees their first opportunity to view this architectural and educational marvel.
Sri Sakshi Gopala
The Chess Match
The Syamantaka Jewel
The Test of Bhrigu Muni
The Boatman and Scholar
The Cobbler and Brahmin
The Drowning Man
The Genie in the Lamp
The Wrong Bank Account
Soul Time 1
Soul Time 2
The Bird in the Cage
Most of my productions were recorded in England with the help of many friends
All of the musicals and dramas are about pastimes of the Lord or His devotees
In the comedies I have tried to get one or more philosophical points across
Most of the productions have been recorded with the staging in mind.
You may freely use them as a soundtrack for a performance
They are ideal to be used in a big venue or tent
They are available on CD and mp3
Volunteers of the ISKCON Prison Ministry daily correspond with hundreds of inmates all over the States and other countries and send them devotional material; Prabhupada's books, Back To Godhead magazines, DVDs, music and lectures CDs, pictures, as well as japa and neck beads. Hundreds of inmates take up the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and many become life-long, dedicated devotees of the Lord. Some inmates even take initiation, sometimes while still in prison."
Chanting a mantra or hymn softly and slowly is called japa, and chanting the same mantra loudly is called kirtana. For example, uttering the maha-mantra (Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare) very softly, only for one’s own hearing, is called japa. Chanting the same mantra loudly for being heard by all others is called kirtana. The maha-mantra can be used for japa and kirtana also. When japa is practiced it is for the personal benefit of the chanter, but when kirtana is performed it is for the benefit of all others who may hear.
In the Padma Purana there is a statement: “For any person who is chanting the holy name either softly or loudly, the paths to liberation and even heavenly happiness are at once open.”
Nectar of devotion: Japa
"Hare Rama, Hare Krishna, Rama Rama, Hare Hare...", his gentle baritone fills the air as he plucks a plaintive riff -- in the American bluegrass tradition -- on his guitar.
The bhajan takes on a blues type note. And the crowd cheers.
Meet Dialopatey, the 54-year-old jazz saxophonist and guitarist from the Democratic Republic of Congo who is in Vrindavan recording an album with his multi-ethnic devotional band "Vrajabadhu".
"It is a religious fusion soul-jazz and funk rock band featuring the violin, guitar, drums, saxophone, harmonium and the mridangam. We combine Afro-American music with the Indian kirtan in braj bhasa and Sanskrit. The band was born in Hungary before coming to India and roping in local musicians," Atey told IANS during a visit to New Delhi.
The operation is manned entirely by volunteers, and has the goal of ensuring there are no hungry tummies within 10 kilometers of the building the lunches are served.
I've never written about how much I like Second Life. (I really like it.) Second Life is an online, virtual reality community. When I was sick with cancer, it was a really wonderful way to keep my mind busy with challenges and talk with devotees around the world. I'd like to share some pictures of the Second Life (SL) temples with you and some of my realizations about SL. You can click on any of these pictures to see them a little larger.
In SL my name is Dasi Lane. This picture on the right is what I look like there. When I joined, you didn't have too many choices for your name and this seemed like another way to say bhakti marg. Once you're there, you create an "avatar" for yourself to be able to move around and interact with your environment. You can buy clothes and create things for yourself and the world around you.
I've met so many devotees there. People all around the world--England, Spain, Australia, India, and the US. True, we're goofing around, but we're trying to be devotees in this virtual world, too.
When I first started this, I never realized that temples would disappear and so I don't have many pictures of the first temples I saw. Isle of Krishna and Gauranga Bay were some of the first ones. But, Prabhupada's Lotus Room was by far the best. I celebrated Janmastami there last year (see post for September 14, 2008) and gave a class in real time. We even had a kirtan. The Lotus Room has since disappeared due to the change in US currency exchange, but other temples have sprung up.
There's a sweet treehouse temple with Jagannatha and Panca Tattva Deities. One devotee has put together pictures and movies of the Khumba Mela and displays them in a tented bazaar setting.There's another sweet little temple with Jagannatha Deities and beautiful pictures inside of Krishna.
Then there are the larger temples for the "Hindu." Interestingly enough, the Maha Mantra and Srila Prabhupada are also represented there.
Some people have laughed when I tell them that I go to SL. It's not such a "spiritual" practice. Not to justify it, but I think it's just as "spiritual" as what I do here in real life (RL). Hmmm.
In SL I have an avatar to interact with, in RL I have a body which I also use to interact with. The "I" here is me, as spirit/atma. Moving around in SL is with intent, same as in RL. Atma is "doing" things with intent. In SL, one time I transported from one place to another and realized that I hadn't really gone anywhere, I was just seeing something different. Same as in RL. The "virtual" aspect of reality is more apparent in SL than RL. In SL I can jump off buildings and walk in water without any problems. In RL we can do this without any damage to atma, too. Not that I'm going to be jumping off buildings any time soon, but I think you get it.
The illusion of me is just as clear in SL as it is in RL. Is bhakti just as real in SL as in RL? Yes, I think it is. One time in SL, a devotee made a ghee lamp that could be picked up and wrote a script that made the avatar circle the arm as if offering it. She also included a bell for the left hand with a ringing sound. I was so excited, I went to every temple in SL and offered this ghee lamp to every temple. For a while, when I was sick, that was my morning program--to go to all the temples and offer a ghee lamp. It was so exciting. I could even fly above the ground and offer it to everyone and everything below me. Bhakti, SL or RL, so exquisite.