Thursday, December 11, 2014

Texas Faith 136: A cup of coffee and other holy rituals

Dallas Morning News,
Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.

Every faith has its rituals. Hopefully these help put us in the mind of being with God and make us more present in our prayer.
Our lives have their little rituals too.
In a recent article,Rabbi Patrick “Aleph” Beaulier wrote about the ritual of a morning cup of coffee.
The coffee is a pleasure certainly, but it is also a moment set aside, at best, for a little peace, perhaps silence and reflection. These moments apart are important to our lives as people of faith, as people who are trying to draw ourselves nearer to God. We have our rituals in our religious ceremonies too, often freighted or filled with symbolism and intended, in their own way, to draw us away from the run of our thoughts and into the peace we hope faith will bring.
How can our little daily rituals bring us closer to God? How can we make sure that, in everyday moments, we are building our path to the divine?
 












NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas 

In the Bhagavad Gita Śrī Krishna states in the ninth chapter that the art of doing everything for His sake is the perfection of yoga. In fact this is the perfection of life. To be 24 hours a day engaged in consciousness of Krishna, God. Our daily habits play a huge role to cultivate this consciousness. Upon waking a bhakta first chants the Lord’s holy names and bows with his head down before even leaving the bed. Followed by an early morning shower to not only keep the body clean but to refresh one’s consciousness. Kirtan and prayers begin at the temple at 4:30 am followed by a 2 hour session of meditation. Then again there is kirtan at 7 am followed by a class on the ancient Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. The bhakta follows a similar program in the evening as well, creating a sandwich of transcendental experiences.

 
Speaking of sandwiches this brings up another related topic. Everyone has to eat but food is not simply something for the belly, food is often a practical means to express love. Who better to love than the supreme loveable, Krishna? God is the root of everything, by watering the root all the leaves can be satisfied. Therefore the bhakta does not eat any food that cannot be first offered to God with love. Thus they abstain from eating animals. So not the act of eating can be a spiritual engagement but even the shopping, the cooking, and prep work as well. This is the art of Bhakti, to learn the ancient and blissful science of doing everything in the service of God.
 





To see all responses of the TEXAS Faith panel click here.


4 Minute Krishna Podcast @ BKS Iyengar Yoga - Wine VS Yoga

Texas Faith 135: When is a city ban on feeding the poor an infringement on religious liberty?

Dallas Morning News,

Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.

When is a city ban on feeding the homeless in a public place an infringement on religious freedom?

In Florida, a 90-year-old WWII veteran was arrested for feeding the homeless at a public park. He’s been doing it for over 20 years through a program called Love Thy Neighbor. But a new ordinance in Fort Lauderdale has put a mountain of obstacles in the way, making it virtually impossible for the group to operate as it has.

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

On one side are local businesses that fear feeding the homeless in a conspicuous place was bad for business and tourism. On the other side are advocates of Love Thy Neighbor who say the group is within its constitutional rights. The city tried to balance the interests of both sides with rules aimed at moving such homeless programs into houses of worship or private property. But the organization wants to continue feeding the homeless as it has, in a seaside public park.

   The clash between religious rights and the public interest is a common story line. We’ve weighed in on the dustup in Houston in which the city tried to subpoena the sermons of evangelical ministers opposed to a gay-rights ordinance. And every week, it seems, there’s a new report in which the advocates of religious liberty decry a rule or action at a public school.

Religious liberty isn’t absolute. There’s no right to hold a serpent-handling service at Disneyland. Or to shout “fire” in a crowded church because your religion told you to. Or to build a megachurch in a city neighborhood with a parking lot for only 10 cars.

In the case of feeding the homeless in Fort Lauderdale, the name of the organization is from a biblical injunction. Its mission is an act of faith. And if some businesses are inconvenienced or tourists would prefer not having to see the homeless by the beach, whose rights should prevail?

That’s this week’s question: Is a city ban on feeding the homeless in a public place an infringement on religious freedom?

 

NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas 

 

Every body needs a head. So similarly, every society needs saintly intellectuals for guidance. Leadership without such guidance is like a body without a head. Leadership is like the arms of the social body which provides protection and business class is like the belly which facilitates the distribution of goods. All parts of the body are important but the head is the most important for it is the head of body that provides intelligence.

Intelligence means the ability to accommodate and manage two opposing values. It also means the ability to discriminate that which is śreyas, of long term substantial benefit, and preyas, immediate or short term gratification. The short term benefit of commerce is important but it is considered shallow in comparison to charity which can have long lasting or even eternal benefits.

Krishna states that charity, when done properly, even purifies great souls. To completely ban charitable distribution of food in relation to the value of commerce is sign of the lack of saintly intelligent guidance among our leaders.

 

To see all responses of the TEXAS Faith panel click here.

TEXAS FAITH 134: How should we incorporate faith into a secular political world?

Dallas Morning News,


Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.
The writer Karen Armstrong recently noted that it was through bitter experience the west learned to separate the state from religion and wonders why Muslims have "found it impossible to arrive at this logical solution to their current problems."
"Why do they cling with perverse obstinacy to the obviously bad idea of theocracy? Why, in short, have they been unable to enter the modern world?"
We've all asked these questions so often. If only these extremists would lay down their arms and embrace plural, diverse societies, they would see the benefit.
But as Armstrong so clearly writes, the path to our sort of secular and plural society, where we try to divide politics and religion, has been anything but bloodless.
"If some Muslims today fight shy of secularism, it is not because they have been brainwashed by their faith but because they have often experienced efforts at secularisation in a particularly virulent form. Many regard the west's devotion to the separation of religion and politics as incompatible with admired western ideals such as democracy and freedom."
Acknowledging this past is important, even if it is unlikely to impress fanatics and extremists.
Perhaps more helpful questions for us are these: how do we, as people practicing and preserving our faiths, segregate the political from the spiritual in our own lives? What lessons can we offer those who want theirfaith to infuse all elements of their lives and are skeptical of a society and political system that calls for secularism? Are we fooling ourselves that we can have both? Are we cheating one aspect of our lives, spiritual or civic, to serve the other? - Dallas Morning News
NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas 
The mature fruit of the concept of separation of church and state is realized when the leadership guides by being God-conscious examples. The original intention of the concept was not to deny or ignore God, but rather to inhibit the government from forcing a particular sectarian religion. However our founder fathers have put forward this propaganda, "In God We Trust." In governmental decisions one is forced to deal with metaphysical subjects, such as rights. A human, an embryo, nor an animal's right to life cannot be established by mere science. It is therefore necessary to approach the such subjects with metaphysical wisdom and mercy from God.

To see all responses of the TEXAS Faith panel click here.

Friday, November 28, 2014

25 Fun and puzzling Krishna Trivia Questions - #20 is my fav

  • 1 Answer

    ‪#‎KRISHNATRIVIA‬ At what store, in what city did Arjuna first meet Krishna? And what sparked their friendship?
  • 2 Answer

    KRISHNA TRIVIA: What fruit lost the battle with Krishna's quads during his pre and early teens? Clue: Nectar of Devotion. ‪#‎krishnatrivia‬
  • 3 Answer
    KRISHNA TRIVIA: With what 5 arrows does Krishna pierce the hearts of His devotees?
  • 4 Answer
    KRISHNA TRIVIA: What name did one of Śrīla Prabhupāda's relatives give him when he was born?
  • 5 Answer
    KRISHNA TRIVIA: Does anyone remember what Krishna did when Rukmini fainted from His teasing?‪#‎krishnatrivia‬
  • 6 Answer
    Philosophy Trivia: How does the disagreement between Māyāvādī impersonalist philosophers (absolute monist) and Vaiṣṇavas (inconceivable dual & non-dual existence) prove that the Vaiṣṇavas are right?
  • 7 Answer
    KRISHNA TRIVIA: Where is Śrīla Prabhupāda's place of worship, his office, and his home?
  • 8 Answer
    KRISHNA TRIVIA: Which story in the Bhāgavatam features a dragon? Closed book test only. No internets either.
  • 9 Answer
    KRISHNA TRIVIA: What did people call Nityananda Prabhu when he went to school, how was he addressed? Ref Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Adi līlā
  • 10 Answer
    KRISHNA TRIVIA: What happens when you bathe Krishna and his land with Ganga and celestial cow milk?
  • 11 Answer
    KRISHNA TRIVIA: Who does Krishna tell? "You are more dear to me than Balarama."
  • 12 Answer
    KRISHNA TRIVIA: Who is Kamsa actual father?
  • 13 Answer
    KRISHNA TRIVIA: What made Narada laugh when he visited Krishna in the many palaces in Dwaraka?
  • 14 Answer
    KRISHNA TRIVIA: Why did the demigods warn Kaṁsa about Devakī?
  • 15 Answer
    KRISHNA TRIVIA: What is the weapon of Lord Chaitanya? (Ref: Jīva Gosvāmī's Kramasandarbha and/or Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta)
  • 16 Answer
    KRISHNA TRIVIA: beyond the 1/4 is the 3/4. Explain.
  • 17 Answer
    KRISHNA TRIVIA: Why is Śrī Krishna ontological position called fourth dimension above that of His Maha Vishnu form? (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta)
  • 18 Answer
    KRISHNA TRIVIA: What color is Krishna's hair? (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2nd canto 2nd chapter)

  • 19 Answer

    ‪#‎krishnatrivia‬ Who are the six Vegans that you have to get to listen to you before you can be a real teacher? Let's see who get it first.
  • 20 Answer
    KRISHNA TRIVIA: Which avatar stops beings in invisible cloaking spaceships from interplanetary galactic genocide by the strength of his transcendental fashion show?

    If you already heard the answer from me don't post it.
  • 21 Answer

    ‪#‎KRISHNATRIVIA‬: What the name of the holiday that happens today (Halloween 2014) that inspired Rādhāranī to dress in a costume as a cowherd boy?
  • 22 Answer
    KRISHNA TRIVIA: what is the description of Mother Yaśodā skin color? Hint, answer can be found in the Nectar of Devotion & Krama Dipika
  • 23 Answer
    TRIVIA: What color turban did Krishna like to wear in Vrindavan?

  • 24 Answer 
    ‪#‎KRISHNATRIVIA‬ What unique Sanskrit word was used to describe the Yadus in Ch 70 of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam?
  • 25 Answer
    TRIVIA: why did the demigoddesses in Dvarpara Yuga pray for the Buddha Avatar?