Category Archive for : ‘Articles’

02

September

My First Janmastami

 

Back in 1972 I was a 17 year-old sea cadet. My ship had docked in Bombay and I stepped onto that exotic shore in search of reasonably priced souvenirs. Under the intense encouragement of a shopkeeper I came close to purchasing a fine ivory chess set costing most of my week’s wages before I spotted a little figurine of Krishna. He exerted a strange attraction over me and after handing over my hard-earned rupees I left with him in my pocket. The god of love, I thought. I could do

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01

September

Liberating the Liberators

It is interesting that the US and UK style themselves as “liberators” of Iraq. Subtly implied in this euphemistic term is the assumption that we are ourselves already liberated, in a position to bestow our happy state on others. And that is surely a commonly held assumption in the West. We view ourselves as having the most progressive and free societies. But how true is this?

A popular newspaper columnist recently wrote a

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01

September

The Greatest Good Fortune

Dear Srila Prabhupada,

Please accept my humble obeisance. All glories to you.

Lately, I have been reflecting on my good fortune in meeting your divine grace. Sastra tells us we have been languishing in material existence for countless millennia. I made a rough calculation for how long we in this present age have been around and found it pretty scary. We learn from the Bhagavatam that we jivas are injected into the creation at the beginning of Brahma’s life. He is now in his fifty-first year and just one of his days

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10

December

COME OUT OF THE DARKNESS

Perhaps one of the saddest parts about growing up is learning that Father Christmas is not real. I recall a few years ago hearing how a teacher had been hauled across the coals for revealing this terrible truth to his class of six year olds, after outraged parents had bombarded the school with complaints.

I was never a big believer in Santa myself. I think it dawned on me at an early age that a portly gentleman bearing a huge sack on his back somehow would not fit down the chimney,

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04

August

The Answer Lies in our Hands

What if there was one simple solution for all your problems? Something so easy that even a child could do it? Something which costs nothing, is available to everyone and ultimately ends all suffering? Well, before you decide to follow the standard dictum that if it sounds too good to be true then it most likely is, ask yourself a couple of questions. Firstly, do you know who you really are? I don’t mean a man, woman, black, white, John, Jill or Javed—no, I’m talking about the real you, beyond

12

May

Why are we averse to authority?

It seems many of us do not like the government telling us how we should conduct our lives. The current lockdown has elicited vigorous opposition in certain corners of the media, and indeed on many streets around the world. The suggestions that a vaccine may become mandatory, if and when it is eventually developed, will no doubt create even bigger waves of resistance. Professor Ian Philip, a health expert at Sheffield University and government advisor, said, “The real challenge is that people don’t want to hear messages from government…”

I am

08

May

Vulture Civilisation

Listening today to a lecture by Srila Prabhupada, my esteemed teacher, I was struck by a brilliant analogy he gave. First, he cited a verse from Vedic literature which basically states that the attempt to improve one’s material situation amounts to nothing more than ‘decorating a dead body’. In other words, the material body is destined to die today or tomorrow. It is always dead, in one sense, as it is only animated by the soul within, which is who we are. As C.S.Lewis famously said, ‘You don’t have a

30

December

The Supreme Person

In its most recent survey on the subject of God, the National Centre for Social Research found that some ninety percent of us claim to be believers.  One in five even said they had no doubts about God’s existence. Such statistics are perhaps surprising, given that education today tends to steer us toward more atheistic notions such as the’ Big Bang’ and evolution. Surprising also in the face of the widely touted suggestion that religion is the cause of most conflicts, a suggestion seemingly reinforced by the ferocity of some

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22

September

Winning life’s battles

The first question often asked about the Bhagavad-gita is why was it spoken on a battlefield? Despite a common view that religion is a major cause of war, the general view is that the two should remain separate. Religion or spirituality should result in peace not conflict. If one’s spiritual practises bring about the bloodthirsty desire to eliminate the followers of some other faith then they must be suspect. That would surely seem to make sense.
Nevertheless the Gita did arise from a war, the great Battle of Kurukshetra. Not only

29

May

The greatest gift (Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2, 21 May 2015)

When my children were small they pooled their resources one year to purchase for my birthday a fine looking tie pin in the shape of a golf bag and clubs. Actually I’ve never played golf in my life, and as far as ties go, since my schooldays when they were obligatory, I have made a point of avoiding them. Anyway, although the tiepin was of little use to me I was thrilled to receive it, as it was given with love. I still have it safely stored in my very