Spirit Matters

Feeding the real hunger

One of the main problems of life we all face is filling our bellies. We have to eat and this hard fact forces most of us out of bed and off to work every day. However, while almost a billion people worldwide are struggling to solve the eating problem and are suffering malnutrition, here in the affluent West many of us have found a new predicament in the shape of too much food. Eating disorders and obesity are reaching epidemic levels in today’s society. Here in the UK obesity causes

Grow food not factories

 

Recently Prince Charles, an avid advocate of organic farming, took his holistic message to India. On a visit to the Punjab he promoted his own “New Food Foundation” and inaugurated its Indian equivalent, the ‘Bhumi Vardaan Foundation”. Brightly garlanded with marigolds, and to the accompaniment of a cacophony of assorted instruments, he strolled about in the hot Punjabi sunshine sharing his thoughts on agriculture with local organic farmers.

Some might see a certain irony here. India has always been a mainly agrarian economy, with some 70% of its people still involved

Who am I?

Pause for Thought  on BBC Radio 2

My spiritual master Srila Prabhupada was once asked to speak to a group of school children. “Who is the most intelligent student here?” he asked. A sea of modest blank faces stared back but eventually one child was thrust forward by his obliging friends and Prabhupada said to him, “Please point to your head.”

The bemused boy, expecting a sterner examination of his intellectual powers, duly complied. His next challenge was to point to his arm, followed by his leg, stomach and chest. Having sailed

Lessons from Life

Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2, Sun 4th May

Recently I took delivery of a new mobile phone. Quite a complex affair, boasting a range of amazing new features. Being a typical male with a stubborn resistance to being told how to do anything, I tossed aside the instruction manual and set about figuring it all out. Soon I had managed to have a conversation with the phone itself, take a close-up photo of my hand, and record a short film of the clutter on my desk – but had not

Sri Jagannathastakam

1)
kadacit kalindi-tata-vipina-sangitaka-ravo
mudabhiri-nari-vadana-kamalasvada-madhupah
rama-sambhu-brahmamara-pati-ganesarcita-pado
jagannathah svami nayana-patha-gami bhavatu me

With songs and sweet music, strolling gaily through groves, by the Kalindi.
A bee seeking nectar from the lotus-like faces of the gopis.
Praising him are Shiva, Brahma, Indra, Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi.
Jagannatha Swami, Lord of all beings, be visible to me.

2)
bhuje savye venum sirasi sikhi-puccham kati-tate
dukulam netrante sahacara-kataksam vidadhate
sada srimad-vrndavana-vasati-lila-paricayo
jagannathah svami nayana-patha-gami bhavatu me

Sporting fine silken cloth, peacock plumes on his head, a flute in his hand.
Sending sidelong glances at his dear devotees, who around him stand,
Most pleased with these pastimes performed in Vrindavan dhama eternally.
Jagannatha

Pastimes in the Spring

VASANTA RASA
By Srila Narottama das Thakur

1.
Vrndavana ramya-sthana dibya-cintamani-dhama
ratana-mandira manohara
abrta kalindi-nire raja-hamsa keli kore
tahe sobhe kanaka-kamala

Vrindavan, resplendent abode, of transcendental touchstone,
Jewelled temples divine, enchanting the mind
Yamuna with gentle waves flows, where swans swim within shaded groves.
A lotus of gold on that water shines.

2.
tara madhye hema-pitha asta-dale bestita
asta-dale pradhana nayika
tara madhye ratnasane bosi achen dui-jane
syama-sange sundari radkhika

Golden altar within its whorl, where eight bright petals unfurl,
where stand the sakhis led by Lalita.
Sitting in the centre of them, on a throne of brilliant gems,
are the radiant Shyama and Radhika.

3.
o-rupa-labanya-rasi amiya poriche khasi
hasya-pariasa-sambhasane
narottama-dasa koy

Songs of the Saints

Prayers are of course a personal affair. Praying is a time for the soul to connect with God, offer him heartfelt praises and seek his mercy. Whilst this is certainly beneficial, in Vaishnavism it is also recommended that one offer the prayers composed by great saints. Such prayers always express appropriate sentiments, whereas in our conditioned state it is possible that material desires and sentiments will creep into our offerings. The Lord is pleased by pure devotion and therefore by offering the pure words of self-realised souls we can please

Mahabharata

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The Kauravas attempt to strip Draupadi during the gambling match in Hastinapura.

Hey Govinda!

What are we teaching our children?

These days to argue against evolution is a good way to be labelled hopelessly ignorant of reality. Amongst the scientific community it has practically assumed the status of revealed truth. Even much of today’s theology somehow fits itself around the theory of evolution, although when first presented by Darwin it was hotly disputed by most religionists of the time.

Some still do oppose the theory, but often only on the basis of scriptural statements, which today does little more than prove you are a dogmatic fundamentalist, some kind of quaint “flat-earther”.

But

Why are there different religions?

The other day I popped into a local grocer to pick up a few things. The assistant, seeing me in robes, immediately said, “Your book is wrong.”

Interesting greeting, I thought, but I merely smiled. Over the years I have become used to people reacting to my unusual appearance in all kinds of ways. Once a group of children in a small northern town asked me if I was from another planet.

Of course, I laughed at that one, but the assertions that my faith is in some way wrong, as with