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CHASING FOG Srimad Bhagavatam 11.10.2:
souls, who are dedicated to sense gratification, falsely accept the objects of sense pleasure as truth; thus, their endeavors are destined to failure.
16Rounds to Samadhi 16Rounds is published: ● To propagate spiritual knowledge and to educate all people in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world. ● To bring people closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler and more natural way of life. ● To expose the faults of materialism. ● To bring about the well-being of all living entities. 16Rounds is an independent magazine compiled, written, and published by a few Hare Krishna monks. It is produced in an attempt to beneﬁt its readers, for our own puriﬁcation, and for the pleasure of our spiritual grandfather, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder and spiritual guide of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). The ﬁrst copy is free. Additional copies of the same issue are $10 each. © 2013 16 Rounds to Samadhi. All rights reserved.
16Rounds Staff: Editor: Mahat Tattva Dasa Mahat is a monk and the president of the ISKCON monastic community in San Diego. Layout: Bhismadeva Dasa Bhismadeva has been a monk since 2008 and is currently living in the ashram at the Hare Krishna temple in San Diego.
English editor: Matthew McManus Born and grew up in Los Angeles. Graduated from San Diego State University in 2011. Currently a monk at the ISKCON ashram in San Diego.
Commentary: Here the process of becoming desireless is described. All material sense objects, including those perceived by their form, taste, flavor, touch, or sound, are temporary. We now, for example, see our family and nation, but ultimately they will disappear. Even our own body, by which we perceive them, will disappear. Thus, the inevitable result of material enjoyment is distress. Those who are pure can see the frustration of material life and thus they become free from material desire. Srimad Bhagavatam 11.10.3: One who is sleeping may see many objects of sense gratification in a dream, but such pleasurable things are merely creations of the mind and are thus ultimately useless. Similarly, the living entity who is asleep to his spiritual identity also sees many sense objects, but these innumerable objects of temporary gratification are creations of the illusory potency and have no permanent existence. One who meditates upon them, impelled by the senses, pointlessly engages his intelligence. Commentary: Because the fruits of
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org www.16ROUNDS.com 1030 Grand Ave. San Diego, CA 92109 Call/text 858-405-5465 facebook.com/16roundstosamadhi ADVERTISE www.16rounds.com/advertise Call/text Mahat at 858-405-5465. SUBSCRIPTIONS 10 issues = $25 www.16rounds.com/subscribe DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors.
material work are temporary, it ultimately does not matter whether or not one obtains them; the final result is the same. Materialistic activities can not award the highest perfection of life, Krishna (spiritual) consciousness. The material intelligence, impelled by the senses, strongly desires sense gratification. Such intelligence separates one from one's real self-interest. Thus the intelligence, absorbed in that which is materially favorable and unfavorable, becomes divided in pursuit of innumerable categories of material advancement. Such divided intelligence is spiritually impotent and cannot understand the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, Krishna. The devotees (transcendentalists or yogis in divine devotion), however, have their intelligence fixed on one point - Krishna. They meditate upon the Supreme's form, qualities, activities, and devotees, and thus their intelligence is never separated from the Absolute Truth. As stated in the Bhagavad-gita (2.41), "Those who are on the spiritual path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. On the other hand, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many branched."
If one is not Krishna (spiritually) conscious, he is uselessly dreaming without understanding his eternal situation. The material intelligence will always devise novel means for attempting to achieve happiness, and therefore one bounces from one fruitless program of sense gratification to another, ignoring
the simple fact that all material things are temporary and will disappear. In this way one's intelligence becomes infected with material lust and greed, and such infected intelligence cannot bring one to the true goal of life. One should hear from an authentic spiritual teacher whose intelligence is pure, and then one will come to the highest perfection of life. �
MEANING OF “16ROUNDS”
Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means “union” or “linking.” Meditation is a process of yoga by which the spiritual practitioner achieves union with the Divine. The recommended process of meditation for the age we are currently living in is mantra meditation. This process involves chanting of mantras. The Upanishads, the classical spiritual texts of ancient India, say that the best mantra is the Hare Krishna mantra: hare krishna, hare krishna, krishna krishna, hare hare, hare rama, hare rama, rama rama, hare hare.
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A “Mala” is a set of 108 beads strung on a thread, sort of like a rosary. The spiritual practitioner prayerfully and with great concentration recites/chants the whole mantra once for each bead of the mala. The mala or the string of beads is held in the ﬁst of the right hand and is meant to help us count how many times we chanted the mantra. It also helps engage the sense of touch in the process of meditation. Once we have chanted the mantra 108 times, or once for each bead, we have completed “one round.” Serious practitioners of this spiritual discipline take a vow to chant at least sixteen times round the mala every day; thus the name “16 Rounds.”
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SOCIETY Y. I'M "HOLD ON HONE P FROM ABOUT TO JUM N." A MOVING TRAI
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TRAVELER'S DIARY Unseen Poverty By Jessica Robbins
yourself in an old, vintagestyle train car for three hours, but you’re not sitting—you’re standing. You’re standing because the train is so jam-packed you cannot move without bumping another body. “Fortunately,” you think to yourself, “I am by the door, so once the train starts moving I will have some space.” Yet, just as the train begins to haul forward, five more people jump on as you desperately try to wave your hand to signal “no room, no room!” Not only will you be standing for three hours, but you realize you’re standing by the bathrooms as the scent of urine and other not-sofragrant bodily by-products barrage your nostrils. As people begin to light up their cigarettes, you contemplate trying to find some room on the floor to sit, but you reject that idea, unsure of what exactly you might be sitting on. At every dreaded stop, people rush in, yelling as
they try to sell their various foodstuffs and knick-knacks, pushing their way through the sea of people. Every now and then someone in aged and torn cloth comes up to you and tries to provide a service so as to claim their right for a donation. Resultantly, you hold tightly on to your belongings for the fear of idle pick-pocketing hands. And to top it off, you’re a foreigner on the train so everyone is staring at you as if you are some new born panda at a zoo.
entable feelings involved. In fact, everyone seemed at ease. Even those in aged and torn cloth were rather going blithely about what appeared like their normal, every day routine.
WHAT WOULD YOU THINK?
We have been blessed with many material resources; however, we should ask ourselves: “What am I doing with the assets I have been given?”
Well, in my case, welcome to India!
For those coming from highly complex, industrialized societies, with luxuries almost unimaginable to those in third-world countries, the above interlude probably sounds calamitous, hectic, and a situation to be avoided as far as possible. As for everyone else on the train, it was just another normal day—an every day part of life. No stress or lam-
As Americans though, there is typically a sense of entitlement when it comes to being plunged into such a situation where one’s standard of comfort is decreased. Why? Because we have so much facility in the West, that when something or someone comes in the way of it, we either resist or generally try to avoid it or them.
GLAD IT ISN’T ME
Are we simply living as misers? A miser, according to Merriam-Webster is someone who is “stingy with money,” and on a broader level, a miser means someone who does not use one’s
assets properly. The miser is always thinking, “What is in it for me?” In other words, the miser is small-minded, thinking only in terms of one’s own desires and whims. What a miserable condition! In America we see huge SUV’s driving around, giant three story houses with jacuzzis, two-car garages full of unlimited qualities of possessions, high-tech home security systems, water beds, closets full of expensive clothing, and the list goes on. And then, with the accumulation of wealth there are subsequent excursions to the movies, restaurants, and amusement parks. There is definitely no question of a lack of facility in the West, and some may even call it advancement of human civilization! If those with such facility were to see the people on that train, my guess is they would feel sorry for their poverty and think “thank goodness it’s not me.” The more compassionate individuals would want to help such people by giving charity. But we must realize that the Western countries are also impoverished. Their poverty, however, is of a much more subtle nature, one that is often over looked as such.
Did you know that antidepressant use has skyrocketed 400% since the early 1990’s? That means one in ten Americans use
anti-depressants. Along the same line, over 100 million prescriptions of benzodiazepine sleeping pills are prescribed in the US alone. Suicide, now the number one killer, is higher for those in the upper income level bracket. So what does this mean? Despite all material assets, money, and prestige, people are still so miserable and anxiety-ridden that they must take anti-depressants, sleeping pills, or even try to end their life! There is utter poverty of mental stability in the Western countries. Before we pride ourselves in our technological advances as we look at our fellow thirdworld countrymen, we must open our willfully closed eyes to our own poverties of heart and mind.
There are three types of charity. Food, shelter, clothes and hospitalization are charities for the body. Encouraging people to be goodnatured and friendly are charities of the mind. And to give someone knowledge and the facility to understand one’s spiritual needs and purpose in life are charities for the soul, which are the highest forms of charity because they provide one the opportunity to actualize one’s full potential. All three types of charity should ideally go on side by
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TEETERING ON THE EDGE… World Desire Cataclysm By Matthew McManus
past month, there have been a string of rapes in Asia that have roiled the region’s contemporary social and cultural paradigms. Unfortunately these rape cases that have ballooned into political watersheds, only compromise an iota of the rape cases reported, and compromise a
still smaller percentage of cases that are left unreported due to the cultural stigma on rape. For example, according to official figures, rape cases per year in India have increased from 2,487 in 1971 to 24,206 in 2011. Ironically, the ubiquity of rape and sexual assault has engendered a degree of negligence to those convicted of the bestial act, evinced through the election of politi-
cians who were previously convicted. However, due to the violent gang rape of a 23 year old student on December 16, there has been a public outcry for reform among the police force and government.
Increases in rape over the past four decades have resulted from a backlash between
the factions of Westerncentric contemporaries and Eastern-centric orthodox. Pop culture is opposed to the traditional views and attitudes on women and women’s place in society – an eminent and incendiary subject for both sides. The East, in adopting the Western standard of economy, is finding its social customs being jeopardized. Unfortunately, although both cultures claim to want what is best for women, it is the women who are being hurt and exploited, being splayed from both ends as if they were the rope personified in this tug of war between East and West.
BEST INTEREST OR SELF INTEREST
HURT AND EXPLOITED, BEING SPLAYED FROM BOTH ENDS AS IF THEY WERE THE ROPE PERSONIFIED IN THIS TUG OF WAR BETWEEN EAST AND WEST.
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It is self-evident that women need protection; women in Asia are protesting for protection and anyone who empathizes with them feels the same necessity; otherwise, rape or sexual assault against women would not be viewed as a malicious crime, but rather as a sport or pastime.
The Western paradigm, stemming from the feminist paradigm, is that women’s best interest is in having unrestricted freedom – in what they wear, whom they associate with, where they go, et cetera. Superficially, this appears to be liberation; however, if one is at all conscious and conscientious of industrialization, it is blatant that women are being greatly manipulated as commercial merchandise by the linchpin contributors to feminism, namely the Madison Avenue businessmen and their proponents. Although it appears like women’s rights have increased, what one instead finds is a gross perversion of freedom brought on by the same lustiness that impelled those men to gang rape. The intention of sexual manipulation and control is the same, but in society one is considered taboo and the other is vogue and chic. For the capitalist, the real injustice is that in a rape, the woman is not properly coerced with perquisites beforehand to perform sexual acts, which is non-different from institutionalized pros-
titution, but under the pseudonym of equality.
As we can see from historical analysis, as the religiosity and piety of society dwindles, the so-called freedoms for women increases. For a religious society, chastity of woman is upheld as a virtue, and hence, regulations were in place in the same ways I previously stated, to insure a congenial environment for spirituality. Those who subscribe to this traditional lifestyle, however, touting the chastity of women, can easily become corrupt and degrade into titular hypocrites, which is a reality that many people are realizing about their politicians, who have been publicly lambasted for their impassivity in response to the abuses of women.
The recent events are selfevident that protection of women is essential for society to function peacefully. But who is to provide protection when the dichotomy
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“YOGA IS SEX”???? An Overly Flexible Interpretion
By Vic DiCara (Vraja Kishor)
I tried to
read Melanie Klein’s recent article, published in Elephant Journal’s yoga section, titled “Yoga, Sex, and Feminism,” but I had to stop where her interviewee, Dr. Melody said:
“I know yoga to be, as Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati famously described, ‘a state where nothing is missing.’ [yogash citta vritti nirodha (Sutra 1.2)].” That is the most inaccurate translation of Sutra 1.2 I could imagine!
There are four words in the sutra:
The subject is “yoga.” This doesn’t need to be translated. Yoga is practically an English word.
The action performed by the subject is “nirodha.” This word means restraining, controlling, and eventually destroying entirely.
The object on which the action is performed is the “vritti” of the “citta.” The word vritti means occupation, characteristic, the way a thing operates. The word“citta” means heart, mind, memory, and/or intellect. Thus, Sutra 1.2 says, “Yoga means taking control of the way one’s mind operates.”
Yes, literally, yoga means union. And yes, the word
for a romantic couple is “yugala.” Sure, obviously, sex is a type of union. That doesn’t mean that Patanjali is talking about sex! In fact yoga has eight steps. I would hope someone who can quote the sutras would know that.
The first step is yama. Doesn’t Melody know what the five yamas are? Here are the first three, since the third is particularly relevant: 1. Ahimsa – non-violence – practical application: vegetarianism 2. Satya – truthfulness – practical application: no cheating
3. Brahmacarya – behaving as a soul, not a body – practical application: celibacy THIS is Yoga – taking conscious control of how your heart and mind work.
The third principle of the first step of yoga is to con-
REAL TANTRA WOULD SCARE THE CRAP OUT OF 90% OF US. trol how the mind reacts with sex. I don’t think “yoga is sex” is a message that gets this point across very well, Melody.
Sure, there is such a thing as tantra. (1) Those who practice it are an odd minority in Indian culture, and (2)
they are misunderstood by outsiders as a swingers club or some titillating orgy cult. Real tantra would scare the crap out of 90% of us. It is a very extreme way to control how the mind reacts with sex by participating in sex in very controlled, specific, and often outright, frighten-
In summary, “Yoga is Sex” sends a message that doesn’t accurately represent ANY yoga tradition – except the ones that started 40 years ago in the free-love soil. �
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SOMETHING YOU SHOULD NEVER SELL Dollars and Cents Don’t Always Make Sense By Giriraj Gopal Dasa
times we have heard the statement “money is the root of all evil.” However, it is not that money is the root of our wicked nature. It is just that, for many of us, money provides the symbolic measuring stick of how much personal power we have been able to acquire in this lifetime. If we look deeply into this ideology, we will see that actually this conception of life is the real root of all evil. H o w m u c h personal power do you
have to purchase medicine, purchase legal defense, or purchase the privilege to sleep in a comfortable home? These are some of the items that come to mind when we reflect on our financial status. In contemporary times, money c a n give us the luxury to travel abroad, access many levels of education, etc. In other words, as soon as we have it, we conceptualize a life in which our options dramatically expand, and we hope it will in turn increase
IN THIS WORLD THERE ARE TWO PEOPLE; THE CHEATERS AND THE CHEATED.
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our personal sense of freedom, power and prestige.
Yet, it amazes me how people in the name of acquiring such power are willing to sell themselves as implicit slaves, only to experience the anticipation of increased power and freedom, rather than the actual attainment of it. Meet the slaves of today. No longer are they bound by shackles and chains. There is a full variety of indentured servant positions to choose from: debt slaves, corporate slaves, government tax slaves, and the list goes on. And its purpose is to get a stack of paper back into the master’s pocket by buying the next version I-pad or another high-priced weekend trip to Disneyland; so we can sit back and have the sentimental feeling that we are advancing in life.
In America, there’s a talented young woman. She loves music, poetry, and artistic expression; she sees herself pursuing that passion as a way to attain higher self-expression. While growing up, everyone tells her that there her proclivities are valueless if she cannot eventually make a career out of it. So, she has to consider that information as her nature continues to drive her toward her life passion. She starts a band, premiers as the lead singer, begins toiling for modern “success,” playing every gig she can until a producer for MTV
comes one day and presents “the contract.” Champaign bottle pops, and she’s made it! She is a living success. She is a star. She is now rich and powerful according to modern standards, but wait a minute…. She’s ON CONTRACT. Now, to keep that high, holy position, she has to make an album that sells; then they give her a new songwriter, and a new fashion designer. She gets a total identity makeover. They replace the “s” with a dollar sign in her name. She is singing a repetitive “baby baby,” wearing a dog collar, and crawling on all fours in her latest music video because studies show that sexual innuendos and female degradation are what sells music. Now tell me, where is the passion? Where is the artistic expression? Where is her soul? That’s modern success for you. They are going to give you stardom, entrepreneurship, money, fans, and jets, but you have to bark like a dog. You have to get on all fours in the music video and you’re not allowed to be you. You have to sing their songs and be whom they tell you to be. And after all that, then you’ll be rich and powerful. Okay, what kind of power is that?
Music, art, and traditional craftsmanship have lost all intrinsic value today. If your talents have no connection to capitalism, business, or making a living in this country, then you are considered worthless to the system. If you cannot find some way to sell your mind, body, tal-
THEY ARE GOING TO GIVE YOU MONEY, AND FANS, AND JETS, BUT YOU GOTTA BARK LIKE A DOG. ents, your sex, everything for a silly stack of paper, then you’re not American. You are not normal; heck, you’re not even considered human. This is the ideology that is being taught today from every institutional platform.
In the world there are two people: the cheaters and the cheated. The cheaters of today are scientific experts at cheating you to think that you will have power and position, so you’ll be willing to sell your personal assets and work for peanuts. We see this trend not only in the music industry, but in every sphere of modern existence, we are starting to see this artificial emphasis on economic development as well. How many of us are going to sell our talents to this soulless machine that an
ignorant, materialistic, and selfish civilization has created? How many of us are going become slaves to the illusion of creating an ideal living condition through the mere acquisition of matter?
This is the way the world now works. But if you analyze the cheaters, they themselves are ultimately being cheated and controlled. How? Because everyone is being controlled by the pull of their own senses, and we can see that their own insatiable lust for power and prestige will eventually drag them to a pathetic condition of life. Nature’s workings are so powerful that it makes an ass out of everybody, because in order to experience some sense of materialistic happiness, you must acquire
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SOCIETY This then is an account of how 9/11—and events that followed—can be seen from one Krishna conscious point of view.
WHAT WE KNOW FOR SURE
The towers fell, and within weeks American troops were in Afghanistan, soldiers of a “global war on terrorism.” But to me—how should I say this?—it didn’t look real. That is to say, I felt a growing sense I was witnessing a colossal, and demonic, fraud.
Here is a note I wrote to myself to help piece together my thoughts, a few days after America went to war in Afghanistan. What we know for sure about the war: ©9
This is Mahat speaking, the editor of this publication. For a long time I wanted to publish this article, which was written in 2005 by a fellow monk. It seems to me that history never changes in its essence and this article gives a good insight into the human nature as it can manifest in sociopolitical dynamics. By the way, Gupta Nama, the article's author, is American-born Caucasian.
A DISTANT VIEW OF 9/11
“The policy of wise rulers has always been to disguise strong acts under popular forms.” Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800–1859) History of England, Volume 1
By Gupta Nama Dasa
a l l happened on 9/11, I was away from the United States—in the Middle East, to be more precise. I didn’t watch the catastrophe on television; I didn’t have one. (I almost never watch TV, and rarely read newspapers.) And I can tell you that from my detached and distant vantage point the events looked very different than to my friends in America.
(1) Political leaders cannot be relied upon to give a true picture of what they are doing and why. (2) The news media cannot be relied upon to give a true picture of what is happening and why. (3) America opposes terrorism of which America itself is the object.
(4) When America is not the object, America often shows itself indifferent to terrorism, or actively initiates or supports it.
(5) America, therefore, is not globally opposed to terrorism.
(6) That America’s goal is to rid the world of the evil of terrorism is therefore a falsehood. (7) We can presume, therefore, that America has other objectives. (8) America has substan-
tial economic and military interests in the Middle East.
(9) Regardless of what else is going on, America is unlikely to put those interests aside. (1) Political leaders cannot be relied upon to give a true picture of what they are doing and why.
I take this as axiomatic. The history of politics is largely a history of lying. And my mind turned back to something written by my spiritual teacher, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in his commentary on the Vedic scripture Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Writing in 1964 or ’65, he had depicted demonic, morally rotten ultra-materialists—in Sanskrit called asuras—in a way that now seemed helpful in sorting things out: “The asuras want to enjoy a life of sense gratification, even at the cost of others’ happiness. In order to fulfill this ambition, the asuras, especially atheistic kings or state executive heads, try to equip themselves with all kinds of deadly weapons to bring about a war in a peaceful society. They have no ambition other than personal aggrandizement, and thus mother earth feels overburdened by such undue increases of military strength.” Note that phrase: “They have no ambition other than personal aggrandizement.” We’ll come back to it later. (2) The news media cannot be relied upon to
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“The asuras want to enjoy a life of sense gratification, even at the cost of others’ happiness. In order to fulfill this ambition, the asuras, especially atheistic kings or state executive heads, try to equip themselves with all kinds of deadly weapons to bring about a war in a peaceful society. They have no ambition other than personal aggrandizement, and thus mother earth feels overburdened by such undue increases of military strength.” w w w . 1 6 r o u n d s . co m
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Teacher: "By material vision, beings are fundamentally different. By spiritual vision, beings are fundamentally equal."
ILLEGAL TRUTH Injustice Anywhere Is a Threat to Justice Everywhere By Mahat Tattva Dasa
a d d re s s ing the people of Newtown, Connecticut, and the parents whose children were murdered because of an incident, the thought of which would boggle the mind of even the stone-hearted, President Obama read a passage from the Bible.
“Scripture tells us to not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes on not what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary and what it unseen is eternal. Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, the eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 5:1). Clearly, when choosing this quote, our president was careful and sensitive enough to pick a passage that communicates a universal message, not a society or culture-specific one, but a passage that most spiritual and religious people would
When I heard that Mr. Obama would be going to Newtown to address its citizens, I was wondering what he would say to them. I was wondering what I would say if I had to speak to them. The situation was a difficult one. People were hurting so deeply that most of us can hardly even imagine it. I think our president chose a very appropriate message. What else could he have told them? What words could solace parents who lost their children, and lost them in such a tragic way? “Please cheer up. We will give you each $100,000.” No! That is not a good message. That message would deeply offend everyone. “Please cheer up, you can make new children.” Nope. Another horrible one.
“Please cheer up. Your children were merely a composition of chemical elements. There is nothing to lament about. The love for your children is not real. Emotions are nothing more than a product of chemical interaction in your brains.” Nope. It is not cutting it. Not at all. It would probably cause an international out-
Besides the spiritual message, I just don’t see what else one could say to the hurting people of Newtown. I think that the president’s message was also philosophically sound and deep.
Even though I was initially excited to hear such a beautiful message from our president, my next thoughts made me feel somewhat angry. Why are they not teaching this in schools? Why is spiritual thought not being taught in schools? Not only is it not being taught, but it is forbidden to teach spiritual science in the classrooms of America. By law, religion and State are separate.
Folks need to make up their minds. Which one is it? Is the spiritual thought real or illusory? If it is illusory, then our president, when addressing the people of Newtown, spoke a bunch of lies. If it is real, why does it not have a legal standing in the public lives of Americans? Did we make truth illegal? That thing which is forbidden to teach in schools,
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COVER STORY when convenient, is publicly spoken to people by no less of an important figure than the country’s president. Such hypocrisy. When folks want it, it is real. When they don’t want it, it is not real. You can’t be sitting on two chairs. You have to pick one. Decide whether the essence of our identities is spiritual or physical.
Commenting on the YouTube video of Mr. Obama’s speech in Newtown, a woman by the name of Jill wrote, “Powerful speech. Now let us see if his actions match the words. He MUST stop the drone attacks that are senselessly slaughtering Afghan and Pakistani children every day. No more!!!” Another woman, Rose, wrote, “What about protecting our children first?”
A fellow named Michael got very upset by this comment, “Noooooo! That is precisely the problem. All of the children of the world are the same. They do not choose which country they are born in.”
In 1990, America placed economic sanctions on Iraq, and pressured other countries to do the same. Consequently, from 1990 to 2003, Iraq was not able to export or import nearly anything. Iraq is a desert
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country whose economy largely depends on the export of their oil and import of food and other goods. As result of these thirteen-year long sanctions, according to a UNICEF report, 500,000 children under the age of five died. The Lancet, a British medical journal, published the figure of 567,000 children.
Many Americans, including President Obama, their
OBJECTIVE TRUTH, NOT THE ARBITRARY ONE
Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Justice, like truth, is universal. Killing American kids is as immoral as killing Iraqi, Afghani, or Pakistani kids. Justice, like truth, is universal. It does not matter what the skin color one has
humanity shining through, cried over the deaths of the 20 children in Newtown. Yet, that same humanity was stalled when the American public tolerated and some, like Ms. Madeline Albright, former US Secretary of State, even approved of half a million deaths of children under the age of five. I wonder whether Ms. Albright would have said that the deaths of children were worth it had some of those children been her own, or at least Ameri-
or where one might have been born, what kind of passport one may hold, etc. Justice, like truth, can never become a privilege of any group of people.
Crying over the death of 20 children is a sign of a healthy human. But failure to experience the same emotion over the deaths of another group of children is a sign of an incomplete human being. To be a healthy and complete human being
one has to see the universal truth; one has to see that the soul transcends the physical designations; one has to see that children killed by American drones are souls too. I just don’t see how the objective truth, not an arbitrary one, can ever be established without understanding the soul.
By material vision, beings are fundamentally different. By spiritual vision, beings are fundamentally equal and only peripherally different. The spiritual vision states that our physical bodies are different, but by our spiritual essence, the soul, we are all equal. The soul is not American, Afghan, Pakistani, or Iraqi. As long as one sees beings according to physical designations, one will be incapable of comprehending the universal justice and the objective truth. The only thing in common to all sentient beings is our spiritual essence, the soul. Unless this is being taught in schools and public places of education, justice and truth are not going to be possible. I cannot see how one can be a complete human without spiritual understanding. The soul, like justice and truth, is universal. Yet we are not allowed to teach this in our schools. �
SOCIETY TRAVELER'S DIARY
TEETERING ON THE EDGE...
Cont'd from pg. 5
Cont'd from pg. 6
that is pushing this issue is adulterated from both sides?
SUCH A QUEST ALLOWS ONE TO UNCOVER THAT HAPPINESS, WHICH DOES NOT DEPEND UPON OUR FLEETING ENVIRONMENTAL CIRCUMSTANCES side. However, charity for the body and the mind can only take one so far. Why? Because our needs are actually spiritual; therefore, the facilities of the mind and body are only beneficial insofar as they help us achieve our real needs. For example, we can clean a bird’s cage, and tell the little guy he’s such a great parrot, but if we do not feed him, what will become of his existence?
Similarly, if someone is drowning in the ocean and all we can do is rescue their coat and wallet from the stormy waves, what ultimate good does that do for the actual person? We must be weary of this type of coat compassion, because the coat of this body and mind are temporary. It is the soul, the conscious observer, which is of utmost importance. From this perspective, Vedic Indian culture is actually quite wealthy.
LOTUS AMONG THE MUD
From a material perspective we can see that India is suffering from poverty. However, there is a hidden wealth buried deep within the philosophy of its roots. The wisdom of yoga, coming from Vedic India, has inspired millions of people for millennia to aspire for and achieve perfection of one’s existence—finding true inner-fulfillment and pleasure
Instead of engaging one’s conscious experience in temporary, external sensory pleasures, one turns their consciousness inwards to look for pleasure within, from the beauty of the soul. Such a quest allows one to uncover that happiness, which does not depend upon the fleeting environmental circumstances; whether we have a nice job, house, spouse, body, and so on. Rather, one finds selfsatisfaction in the simplicity of living a devotional life in harmony with the Absolute Truth. Since living here in Mayapur, India, for several months, I have observed the principles of simplicity, selfsatisfaction, and self-control amongst the people here. Life is overwhelmingly complicated in the west, with so much competition and corporate greed that the mental health of the people resultantly suffers vehement damage from such a lifestyle, which is based on unrestricted consumption. The more I stay here, the more I can observe the stark contrast. That initial train ride was quite hectic and intense for me, but I now appreciate the great reprieve India has brought me from our technologically highmaintenance culture. So, although there is a lot of poverty in India, there is
THE MORE I STAY HERE, THE MORE I CAN OBSERVE THE STARK CONTRAST. also a lot less distraction, thus giving one the opportunity to spend time reflecting on one’s purpose, meditating, and for researching the nature of the Absolute Truth. Therefore, the spiritually impoverished Westerners actually have a lot to gain from the wealth of philosophy within India—just as much, if not more, than India has to gain from the West with all their material resources.
Statistics show that the monetarily wealthy Indians who have been whisked away by materialistic consumer culture and are now living a modern, spirituallyimpoverished American lifestyle here in India are also suffering from the same trends as mentioned above—experiencing the same anxiety-ridden mental health problems. This elucidates the point that mere material wealth and resources, when devoid of a spiritually-inclined lifestyle, cannot give full stability of mind and heart; whereas, the hearts and minds of those living in accordance with the higher principles of
spirituality are equipoised, despite the unexpected disturbances that life brings. In fact, even if such a person has nothing, they can be fully satisfied.
There’s a story of a lame man and a blind man. The blind man, needing some assistance across a bad piece of road, stopped the lame man to ask for help. The lame man replied that he could barely walk, let alone help anyone else. So they came up with a plan. The blind man said, "We may help each other. If you will take me on your shoulders, we will seek our fortunes together. I will be eyes for you, and you shall be feet for me." In this way they offered each other their mutual services. Similarly, the spiritual vision of the East must be combined with the material footings of the West in order for real, positive change to happen for humanity regarding the poverties of body, mind, and soul. �
The Bhagavad-gita, a compendium of timeless wisdom, gives us insight. According to the Bhagavadgita, establishing a culture of chastity is essential in safeguarding the population against hellish conditions of gross selfishness, culminating in criminal acts. The people become debased because sense gratification, rather than austerity and renunciation, are indoctrinated. However, when chastity is compromised, the problem becomes a vicious cycle: the lack of chastity among women in particular and all people in general, perpetuates hellish conditions in society and the hellish conditions in society engender degradation of women. Furthermore, because we live in society, by definition we are expected and forced to share varying degrees of our lives with other individuals; therefore, as individuals living in a society of hellish conditions, we must experience it through any of the six senses, including the mind;
this in turn affects us on a psychologically conscious or subconscious level.
It is not only women that seek protection. As men have the duty to protect women because they are liable to be taken advantage of by men, so women have the duty in protecting the men, from themselves, and their puissant proclivities to enjoy through manipulation. Therefore, if one understands the fragile balance to maintain the society at large, no longer can one take the holistic approach to be hortative. What is witnessed now in India is certainly applicable here in the States. Just as a wild fire consumes everything in its path without discrimination, no one is exempt from being burned by the fire of lust, and neither side, whether woman, man, West, East, contemporary or traditional can be said to be blameless when each faction has been compromised by material desires. �
SOMETHING YOU SHOULD NEVER SELL Cont'd from pg. 8
a slave mentality to buy into the illusion that material objects are making you happy. Similarly, the donkey carries a giant load for a cruel master, hoping to get some grass when grass is available practically at every step. Thus, the root of all evil is the love for terrestrial domination, and the foolish make themselves slaves in the pursuit of it.
What level of domination can we really achieve in this universe? Nature has us completely under her control. Every single person will die. At the time of death, everybody’s bank account is going to be the same; zero. Ultimately, we have very little control over our own
lives, what to speak of control over this universe.
In the past, people used to have some conception of spirituality or a connection with God, or at least people had some conception of a higher power, and a higher reason for existence. That metaphysical aspect of human culture was not only good for regulation of criminal activity on a social level, but it encouraged people to perform acts for a higher purpose, and to search for a deep, meaningful purpose outside of their own selfish, immediate gratification. The war against material nature is a false struggle for
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SOCIETY A DISTANT VIEW OF 9/11
Cont'd from pg. 9 give a true picture of what is happening and why. Another axiom. In the words of no less an American than Thomas Jefferson: “The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them, inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.” (3) America opposes terrorism of which America itself is the object. Well, obviously.
(4) When America is not the object, America often shows itself indifferent to terrorism, or actively initiates or supports it. Examples abound. America supports Pakistan, notorious for its ongoing terrorism in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
And America elsewhere? Shall we pick up another example?
Writing in the Sunday Times (London), here’s a British Army officer who in the 1980’s helped train backward Afghanis into effective modern guerrillas: “The Americans had been keen we teach them urban terrorism tactics too—car bombing and so on—so that they could strike at Russians in major towns. Person-
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ally, I wasn’t prepared to do that, although I realized that eventually they would find someone who was.” 1
(5) America, therefore, is not globally opposed to terrorism. Simple logic compels this.
And the rest of the story is simple logic too.
THE PEOPLE CALLED “DEMONS”
Now before we plunge ahead, for a moment let’s look again at that idea of asuras, or “demons.” The term here refers not to fiendish devils with horns, tails, and cloven hooves but to human beings who’ll do anything monstrous to serve their own ends: • The men who’ll cut the thumbs of village weavers so that cloth mills far away can turn a better profit.
• The heads of state who’ll shoot and starve three million of their own people. • The cigarette men who’ll pay psychologists and ad agencies to sell tuberculosis and cancer to children.
In the Bhagavad-gita, apart from all that’s said about spirituality, most of Chapter Sixteen tells of men demonic in nature, men proud, arrogant, conceited, harsh, and blind, men who’ll do the vilest things for wealth and power—liars, cheaters, and murderers, often quite sophisticated and refined, who’ll promote vi-
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cious enterprises that bring suffering and destruction to the world.
We know of such men: We recognize them easily among the leaders of countries other than our own.
SEND OUR BRAVE YOUNG MEN
Coming back to what I saw from my distant vantage point in the Middle East: The drama of the twin towers, the hijacked planes, and the burning Pentagon
too natural, too inevitable, too much like a script.
An unexpected horror, an unprecedented threat, had pulled all America together. An evil villain from Arabia—his next strike could be anywhere!—commands a shadowy network of fanatics sworn to destroy us. Our President vows to drive this evil from the world. Congress rises as one to stand behind him. Allies from around the globe join hands in a coalition. Men and planes and ships, tanks and
viet Union … west of India and China … and right in the middle of the world’s largest known reserves of oil.
ORWELL AND THE ARABS
As a teenager, I’d been sobered by George Orwell and his negative utopian vision of 1984. Do you remember Emmanuel Goldstein, enemy of the people, the plotting, scheming, deadly mastermind (nonexistent, to be sure) of whom the doublethinking followers of
"The Americans had been keen we teach them urban terrorism tactics too—car bombing and so on—so that they could strike at Russians in major towns. Personally, I wasn’t prepared to do that, although I realized that eventually they would find someone who was."
was so emotionally gripping, the outrage of the American people so strong, their resolve to protect their homeland and their way of life so determined that who could doubt the rightness of their cause?
Yet from far away in the Middle East, unplugged from the television, getting most news only in summary, I saw not details but broader patterns, patterns that seemed familiar, and unsettling. The sequences were too smooth,
guns and the latest high-tech gear move off in strength to Afghanistan to crush that evil force, wherever it may be.
In outline: A tragic disaster and a terrifying threat, and to protect all we hold dear and sacred we send our brave young men to what by coincidence is the most strategically and economically crucial part of the world. Southeast of Europe … northeast of Africa … south of Russia and the former So-
Big Brother were whipped up into constant hatred and fear? How curiously familiar.
Goldstein was Jewish, of course. Yesterday the Jews, today the Muslims. Now we have our Bin Laden, that deadly mastermind, always plotting and scheming the overthrow of the United States. He’s real. We’ve seen his picture. He hates us. He wants to destroy our democracy. We need to send our troops to go get him—corner him, surround
him, smoke him out. Yet the wily Arab escapes us.
What else might be escaping us here?
GLOBAL WAR AGAINST TERRORISM!
Before 9/11, if our President had told the American people we need to rush soldiers to Afghanistan and Iraq, would we have acquiesced? Yet after 9/11, to defend our homeland, our democracy, our American way of life—suddenly now all terribly at risk—we stood ready to send men, send planes, send weapons, spend any amount of money. Global war against terrorism! And note, if you will, that it’s a war that has no definable end. It’s not that the emperor can surrender his sword and the war will be over. Even killing or capturing Bin Laden, now we know, is no longer enough, for his evil network will live on, threatening our homeland, our democracy, our American way of life. And even if we were to crush Al Qaeda. . . . In other words: Now that the Cold War is over, the Global War on Terror has begun, and it will require our courage, our fortitude, our patriotism, our sacrifice—for years, for decades, perhaps for a generation or more.
SOCIETY Now we have our soldiers and weapons planted in the Middle East. And we’ll have to keep them there for who knows how long. Because the war on terror will be a long one. And we’ll need to be there “to keep peace in the region.” But that passage from the Srimad-Bhagavatam haunts me: The state executive heads “try to equip themselves with all kinds of deadly weapons to bring about a war in a peaceful society. They have no ambition other than personal aggrandizement…” Could it be true?
A HINT FROM BRITISH INTELLIGENCE Some months ago, on a flight from the Middle East to America, by chance I found myself sitting next to a tall, strongly built British fellow who, when I asked about his work, told me he worked for British intelligence. He was stationed in America—on loan, it seems—and was just returning there from Iraq. We chatted a bit, and I floated an offhand comment that perhaps the war in Iraq was less about weapons of mass destruction and more about petroleum. He corrected me: Not petroleum—geostrategy.
I’m sure that wasn’t classified information. And I didn’t probe for any. Nor did I really know what he meant. I now have a somewhat better idea.
There’s a fascinating book by Zbigniew Brzezinski, formerly National Security Advisor to President Carter, called The Grand Chessboard, published in 1997. There Dr. Brzezinski, obviously a brilliant man, articulates the core of America’s geopolitical agenda. In essence: For America to retain its standing as the paramount military, political, and economic power in the world it must exercise a controlling influence in Eurasia (the broad expanse
of the European and Asian continents).
“About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 per cent of the world’s GNP and about three fourths of the world’s known energy resources.” And on the grand chessboard of Eurasia, the fate of the Middle East—southeast of Europe … northeast of Africa … south of Russia and the former Soviet Union … west of India and China … (and right in the middle of the world’s largest known reserves of oil)—is obviously crucial.
tecting American lives and property"—but actually to secure a monopoly on the sugar crop—is mainline history. And other such examples (the Spanish-American War comes to mind) are not hard to find. That remark still haunts me: The state executive heads “try to bring about a war in a peaceful society. They have no ambition other than personal aggrandizement. . .”
I have nothing against America. Great country. But if I’m to believe the Bhagavad-gita—which I do—America (like every other country in the world) has two kinds of people: the godly and the demonic. And when leaders with demonic ambitions prevail, the limit
But I do trust the Bhagavad-gita. So I don’t trust men who’ve dedicated their lives to consolidating power and money. Once you get to a certain level—once you’re talking about billions of dollars and whole countries full of resources—the stakes get too high for me to trust that power-seekers and plutocrats act mainly for global benevolence. I’m sorry. In the words of the Bhagavad-gita, “They believe that to gratify the senses is the prime need of human civilization. And for that end they’ll pull money together by any despicable means.”
What is there they wouldn’t do? For wealth, for power, for lust, kings and heads of state have killed their fathers, sold their sis-
try, a team of researchers wrote in the November 2004 issue of The Lancet, the London-based medical journal, “Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 excess deaths or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.”
Further, most of those deaths were from violence, “and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths.” And still further: “Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children.”
That of course is beyond the 1,835 fatalities in the USled coalition as of this May (1,655 of them American) and the 12,348 Americans reported by the Department
"It is also a fact that America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America’s power, especially its capacity for military intimidation. Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public’s sense of domestic wellbeing." PRETEXTS FOR WAR Would the men who lead America in pursuing its objectives invade a sovereign Middle Eastern country on the pretext of combating global terrorism? Now that we know for sure that Iraq’s fearsome weapons of mass destruction never existed, the answer seems clear. For countries to attack one another on a pretext is nothing new. Other countries do it, and certainly America as well.
The notion that American leaders had foreknowledge of the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor is still a subject of dispute. That American Marines in 1893 invaded Hawaii on the pretext of "pro-
of the villainy to which those leaders may go defies our power to describe, or even fathom. “The demonic, their minds crippled, their souls lost, promote ghastly, noxious, horrible deeds that bring destruction to the world.”
THE WORDS OF THE BHAGAVAD-GITA
Yes, I believe that. I don’t trust conspiracy websites, or videos that purport to show the World Trade Center exploding from within, or the Pentagon being hit by a missile rather than a plane, or theories that the world is run by a handful of men sitting somewhere in New York. How can we know? 2
ters, locked their brothers in the Tower. What is there they wouldn’t do?
WHAT LEVELS OF LOSS?
Would the leaders of America invade a sovereign Middle Eastern country on the pretext of combating global terrorism? We’ve answered that already, haven’t we? We know from the war in Iraq. But for whatever the purpose, would America’s leaders sacrifice innocent civilian lives? We know that too.
After undertaking an onthe-ground survey of deaths in selected areas of Iraq and using the results to reckon the total deaths in the coun-
of Defense as wounded in action. Presumably, American political leaders who plan for war have reasonably accurate estimates beforehand of what the military and civilian casualties will be. And for the goals they hope to achieve they must think the losses worth it. What other losses might be worth it?
ONE OF THREE THINGS HAD HAPPENED
As I thought more, back in 2001, about how strange America looked from my perch in the Middle East and I thought about the World Trade Center attack and the global war on terror, and as
I thought about how certain vested interests stood so much to profit—from oil pipelines, from defense spending, from hidden agendas—it looked to me like one of three things had happened: • That evil renegade Osama Bin Laden had demolished the World Trade Center, and American political and military leaders had taken the opportunity to do precisely what they must have been hoping to do all along: send off their armies to secure military and political primacy in the Middle East. Or else—could people really do these things?—
• Not willing to wait for a pretext, forces within or affiliated with the American government had themselves engineered the attack. Or else perhaps a third alternative:
• “We’re going out of town on Tuesday, Osama. The key is under the mat.”
IN THE LOGIC OF WAR…
I might put the question like this: Would persons of a demonic character sacrifice two big buildings and the lives of 3,000 American civilians for the opportunity to secure political, military, and economic primacy in the oil-rich and geostrategically crucial Middle East? Back in 1997, Dr. Brzezinski had written:
“It is also a fact that America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America’s power, especially its capacity for military intimidation. Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public’s sense of domestic well-being.”
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ENGINEERED FOOD The Risks of Genetically Engineered Crops By Chand Prasad
iotechnology is a method of gaining and maintaining corporate control over food resources. It involves genetic engineering, i.e. taking genes from one species and inserting them into another. For instance, genetic material from an arctic flounder, which is resistant to freezing temperatures, may be embedded into a tomato plant to prevent frost damage. Genetic engineering involves substantial overhead expenses and is capital-intensive. In order to recoup these
costs and generate a profit, governments provide corporations a temporary monopoly on the new technology in the form of patents, and maintain legal structures for the enforcement of intellectual property rights. In addition to these legal mechanisms, biotech firms develop genetically modified (GM) varieties that are engineered with terminator technology, rendering harvested seeds sterile. Farmers cannot replant these seeds after harvest. Rather, they must continue purchasing
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from corporate suppliers.
Clearly, genetic modification (GM) differs greatly from traditional breeding practices. Specifically, genetic modification involves the altering of the genetic material in that organism in a way that does not occur naturally by mating, natural recombination, or both. In contrast, traditional breeding techniques allow reproduction to take place only between closely related life forms, e.g. tomatoes can cross-pollinate with other tomatoes but not with soybeans, and certainly not with pigs.
Genetic engineering violates natural boundaries within which reproduction occurs by crossing genes between unrelated species that would never crossbreed in nature, and it does so in an imprecise, potentially hazardous way. The genetic modification process is imprecise because it is impossible to guide the insertion of the new gene, and even if it was possible, genes do not work in isolation, but in highly complex relationships, which are not understood. Consequently, genetic alterations can lead to unforeseen interactions and unpredictable effects. The possibility exists that biotechnology will contribute to the already serious problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Genetic engineers use antibiotic marker
GENETIC ENGINEERING VIOLATES NATURAL BOUNDARIES WITHIN WHICH REPRODUCTION OCCURS, BY CROSSING GENES BETWEEN UNRELATED SPECIES THAT WOULD NEVER CROSSBREED IN NATURE. genes (which themselves were designed for antibiotic resistance) to transfer genetic coding from one life form to another. Antibiotics are then used to kill the cells whose genes were not successfully modified, thereby creating the possibility that bacteria living in the digestive tract of humans or animals could acquire antibiotic resistance from GMO foods eaten by the human or animal.
Virtually all genetically engineered crops contain genetic material from viruses, since the artificial insertion of virus genes is a very common practice in the production of transgenic crops. These virus genes may combine with genes from infecting viruses, and experimental evidence indicates the new viruses created in this way may be more infectious, cause more serious diseases, and have a tendency to cross species borders. For example, the most common virus DNA used in genetic engineering is the promoter of the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus (CaMV), which is used
in almost every case, including the Roundup Ready (RR) Soy of Monsanto, the BtMaize of Novartis, GE cotton and various varieties of GE Canola. CaMV has the potential to reactivate dormant viruses or create new viruses in all species to which it is transferred. Potential consequences include epidemics of new viruses and the development of cancer. According to Dr. Stanley Ewen, one of Scotland’s leading experts in tissue diseases, eating genetically modified (GM) food may lead to stomach and colon cancer. The CaMV virus used in GM foods is infectious, and could act as a growth factor in the stomach or colon, encouraging the growth of polyps. This is particularly troubling since the faster and bigger the polyps grow, the more likely they are to be malignant. Ewen recommended that the health of people who live near farm-scale GM crop trials be monitored, as their food and water will be contaminated by GM material, which could hasten the growth of malignant tumors.
GM products such as maize and soybeans are also fed to cattle. Cow’s milk, cheese, or even a lightly cooked, thick fillet steak could contain active GM material and derivatives that can be directly ingested by humans. Based on these risks, which extend to a wide range of GM food crops, Ewen recommended a ban on GM crop trials while their safety is tested on animals.
Commercial farming uses vast quantities of genetically modified organisms, thereby creating ample opportunity for generating new potentially hazardous organisms through recombination. Approximately 27 million acres of cropland in the United States is planted with RR soybeans, while in Canada canola accounts for about 7 million acres. Every cell in these genetically modified crops contains virus genes. There are about 50,000 plants in an average cornfield, with each corn
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SOCIETY A DISTANT VIEW OF 9/11
Cont'd from pg. 15 The italics are mine. The thoughts are his. I’m not criticizing Dr. Brzezinski or accusing him of anything. He is known as a political and military realist, and he’s just stating facts. But in the pursuit of power, what might persons of a demonic nature do? The Bhagavad-gita says of them, “They don’t know what they must do, nor what they must not.” Two big buildings, 3,000 civilians. In the logic of war, not much.
According to the Bhagavad-gita, “The demonic person thinks: ‘So much wealth do I have today, and I will gain more according to my schemes. So much is mine now, and it will grow in the future, more and more. He is my enemy and I have killed him, and I shall kill my other enemies also. I’m in control. I can enjoy. I am perfect, powerful, and happy. I am wealthy and aristocratic. Who else is there like me? I shall sacrifice, I shall give charity—and I shall rejoice.’ In this way, such persons are deluded by spiritual ignorance.”
WITH INSIGHTS FROM THE BHAGAVAD-GITA (AND OUR FRIEND FROM THE CIA)
Well, there you have it: one man’s odd view of 9/11, seen from a distance and with some insights from the Bhagavad-gita. What will I do about it? Not much. I’m not going to go off on a campaign, or devote my life to hopeless investigations, or hold hands in a circle with conspiracy theorists. The history of politics has always been a history of lies. Whatever happened on 9/11, my goals in life are the same, and they have nothing to do with staying forever in this material world.
But as long as I’m telling you the story, I might add one more little item.
I have a friend who under colorful circumstances developed an intimate friendship with a former CIA officer, a man who’d spent twenty-six years with the agency and had a one-dashone security clearance (as high as you can go). And that man, without unprofessionally disclosing details, would sometimes tell a bit about his life with the CIA.
Since the agency’s job, he said, was to gather intelligence, at least in part for national security, the people there were naturally strong for schemes that would help them keep closer tabs on American citizens: things like internal passports, for example. The problem, he said, was that as soon you’d try to move an inch in that direction, Americans would start hollering about infringements on their civil liberties, and so you’d have to back off.
And therefore, he said, the agency had this in mind: Employing “the strategy of tension” (create a problem so that people will embrace your solution), they intended to create an incident that would have the American people begging them to increase internal security. And I tell you this only because my friend told it to me, about a year or so before two airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center. WEBSITES:
Apart from the scriptural content of this article, you might have further questions about relevant material facts.
Among the websites that question the US government’s official version of the events of 9/11, many are afflicted by careless speculations and sophomoric rhetoric. Here is a site that is careful about its evidence and its
• www.WTC7.net. The collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 provides a good starting place for a deeper look at empiric facts. Here is another:
• www.journalof911studies.com A peer-reviewed scholarly journal.
On the other hand, among sites that look skeptically at critiques of the “official version” of 9/11, perhaps this is the best: • www.911myths.com If you’re going to “look deeper at empiric facts,” best to look at both sides.
In 2009 a team of wellcredentialed scientists studied samples of dust produced by the destruction of the World Trade Center. They discovered in all the samples distinctive red/ grey chips. From extensive tests, the team concluded that the red layer is “a highly energetic pyrotechnic or explosive material.” Their report, published in the peer-reviewed Open Chemical Physics Journal, is online here: www.benthamscience. com/open/tocpj/articles/ V002/7TOCPJ.pdf.
Also worthy of attention is the personal story of Barry Jennings, a New York City official who on 9/11 narrowly escaped from WTC Building 7. In a video interview, he later told of his experience. On 9/11 Mr. Jennings was the deputy director of the Emergency Services Department of the New York City Housing Authority. His account (as well as what happened afterward) raises significant questions about the fall of the building. You can see the uncut video interview and find out more at http://barryjenningsmystery.blogspot. com/. Though this is an “advocacy site,” questioning the official account of 9/11, at the top of the page it does a fine job of documenting Mr. Jennings’s story, a story neglected by the mainstream press.
1. Carew, Tom. “My life with the mujaheddin.”
2. “A handful of men in New York” aside, since the writing of this essay sober presentations of fact have obliged me to become less dismissive of suggestions that, for example, the collapse of the twin towers may have involved deliberate controlled demolition. For a summary of such ideas, see The New Pearl Harbor by David Ray Griffin, emeritus professor of philosophy of religion and theology at Claremont School of Theology. BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, A. C. Bhagavadgita As It Is. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1983.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, A. C. SrimadBhagavatam. Los Angeles: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1972–8. Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives. New York: Basic Books, 1997.
Carew, Tom. “My life with the mujaheddin.” The Sunday Times (London), September 23, 2003: News Review. Griffin, David Ray. The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11. Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press, 2004.
Jefferson, Thomas. Letter to John Norvell Washington, June 14, 1807. Macaulay, Thomas Babington. The History of England from the Accession of James II. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1849.
Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four, a Novel.London: Secker & Warburg, 1949.
Roberts, Les, et al. “Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey.” The Lancet 364, no. 9448 (2004): 1857–1864. �
SOMETHING YOU SHOULD NEVER SELL
Cont'd from pg. 13 existence. We are not meant to struggle, to suffer and die; yet, we have been plunged into the world of cosmic law, which we are now bewildered by, and thus forced to express ourselves in a competitive struggle for survival. People are locked away in an ideological prison that is separating them from understanding the fact that we are spiritual entities, and our real satisfaction does not lie in the shelter of materialistic comforts produced by the advancement of socalled modern scientists and political leaders.
The aspiration for financial security is really an aspiration based on fear; the fear of loss of identity. This particular fear is based on the idea that we are material entities. We are a bunch of atoms, molecules, and neurons have come together to create the person that we are, and when death comes, we will forever cease to exist. If we are to change the hellish, animalistic society we currently live in and change the drastic course of the world, we must be willing to give up the ignorance of our spiritual nature. Thus, thinking that we are merely “biological survival programs,” we seek to control, exploit, and exemplify the Darwinian model of survival of the fittest. At the same time, ironically. we foolishly demand peace and prosperity.
In this paradigm, if we stop to care outside of the dollar and cents game, if we stop to care about others, and if we stop to think about if it is morally correct to sell our talents, bodies, and sex for profit, then we are crazy, we are outdated, and we are irrelevant in today’s world. Thus, for the success of the Darwinian model, we sell our soul, morals, and original quest for self-realization.
In doing so, this expression known as evil, which is based on the ignorance of the eternal soul, collectively manifests into the selfish, dog-eat-dog world that we are now seeing. The world is thus becoming a manifestation of animalistic survival, where no one’s life is spared so another can gain just one more day of temporary, physical existence. Yet, if we are sincere in trying to understand that we are a spiritual spark of divinity underneath an external covering of flesh, then we will do the needful to wake up to our spiritual heritage before it’s too late. �
Cont'd from pg. 17 plant containing about 1 billion cells, with each cell containing one CaMV promoter which is prone to recombination into more hazardous viruses.
Biotechnology companies, backed by substantial financial resources to mobilize scientific opinion as well as political support, exert tremendous pressure on the government to support the development and adoption of GM crops. Commercial agriculture incurs risks that are completely unnecessary. Organic yields are at least as high as those of the genetically modified crops used in conventional farming. Organic farming is better able to withstand droughts, and is also relatively immune to the upcoming and inevitable shortages of petroleum supplies. In contrast, commercial agriculture depends heavily on petroleum-based chemical inputs, in the absence of which conventional crop yields would fall sharply. Finally, as taught by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada, the world produces more food than needed, and starvation is caused by unequal distribution, not by food scarcity. �
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I AM NOT THE BODY,YET MY HEALTH IS MY WEALTH Contradictory or Compatible Statements? By Sara Bock
spirituality places an emphasis on the concept that “we are not these physical bodies,” or in the words of the famous musician Sting, “We are spirits, in the material world.” Many forms of eastern spirituality share this common teaching that our true identity is spiritual. We are currently having a bodily existence, but the body is not our true identity; therefore, identification with the body is to be renounced. For a new spiritual practitioner, this concept of renouncing the body, if not guided properly with wisdom, can take one on a passionate ride of neglecting to care for one’s body, and therefore putting one’s health at unnecessary risk. We may think, “Well if I am not the body, I don’t need the body. I am going to prove to myself and/or to others that I am spiritu-
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ally advanced – that I don’t identify with my body - so I am going to neglect its needs and focus only on the soul.” While this may sound like a welcome challenge to the enthusiastic new spiritual practitioner, let us examine this situation with an analogy.
We all know that we are not our cars. We may own or lease cars, and use them to get from place to place, but the car is not who we are – we are people. Nevertheless, the car serves a valuable purpose – it takes us to places we need to go, and people we need to see. We can use the car to be of service to others, or to go to places of worship, and in such cases the car becomes a vehicle to assist us on our spiritual journeys. Although we know that we are not our cars, we don’t neglect to care for them, thinking, “I am not
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my car, so I will not fill up the gas tank, rotate the tires, or change the oil. I will just focus on my true identity of being a person.” If you think in that way, within no time, your car won’t be taking you anywhere, and you may not be able to as swiftly or conveniently accomplish your goals or mission (whether it be going to work, driving to care for others, taking a road trip, etc.). Similarly, if we neglect to care for the health of our bodies in the name of spirituality, we may inadvertently be placing unnecessary impediments on our spiritual paths. While it is true that ill health need not be an obstacle to spiritual practice (one can always internally meditate, pray, or worship, no matter the physical condition), to put ourselves into a state of ill health due to unnecessary neglect in
the name of renouncing the body, would not be a wise choice. If being of service to others is a part of your spiritual practice, think how much more service you can do for others with a strong and healthy body.
The human body is actually a precious gift. If you look around and observe animals, you will see that they can nicely eat, sleep, play, mate, and defend themselves, but they do not gather and discuss higher subject matters and question: who are we, why are we here, why do we suffer, why do we have to die, and where did we come from? They are focused on finding food, shelter, and during mating season, a mate. They also don’t create elaborate communities for worship of a higher being. The human body is unique in that it offers us a brain, mind, and communication
WE MAY THINK, "IF I AM NOT THE BODY, I DON’T NEED THE BODY. I AM GOING TO PROVE TO MYSELF AND/OR TO OTHERS THAT I AM SPIRITUALLY ADVANCED." system suited for inquiry into the purpose of life. Since we are not yet at the purely liberated stage of life (if we were, we likely would not be here having this earthly experience), we actually do require a physical body to move around in this world. If we have been so fortunate to have been given a human body, rather than an animal one (no offense intended against the animals), we should value the human body to the extent that it can help us (the soul) take a journey towards enlightenment. One way to value the body is to care for our health, not for the purpose of self indul-
gence, but with the intention of being of service to others, and using our bodies to inquire into the truth. How can we best care for our physical bodily vehicles? According to Ayurveda, our daily habits such as eating, sleeping, and working, greatly affect our state of health. Long term effects of repeated bad health habits (daily versus occasional skipping of meals, indulgence in sweets, overeating, sleep deprivation, etc.) can cause future health problems. To continue on a spiritual path for many years to come, rather than as a phase or short term engagement,
By Mahat Tattva Dasa
These are what I thought to be the wittiest comments on the photo I posted on my FaceBook page. The photo was taken by Rod Hamidi, at an art gallery installation of Andy Warhol's work in Los Angeles. The woman in the television is Ultra Violet, one of Warhol's superstars. Mahat: Old person talking to a young one: "What I once was, you are. What I am, you will become." Tulari Gerry: No matter where I go, there I am...
Nirmal Patel: Looks like a TV that predicts future.
Leslie MacPherson: Flat screen, flat screen on the wall, who's the fairest of them all? it is important to practice daily habits that can maintain the body in a healthy and strong state for the long run. Although a goal of spiritual practice is to eventually become transcendental to our physical and mental needs and act as a pure soul, it is more conducive to rise to a transcendental stage from the mode of goodness rather than from passion or ignorance. The mode of goodness implies living a regulated life (regular sleep-
ing, eating, and work habits), eating simple and healthy foods, and being honest and clean (see Bhagavad-gita, chapters 14 and 17, for details on the modes of nature). By living in goodness, we will gradually develop a clearer mind and healthier body with which to peacefully execute our spiritual practices. Think long term – be wise and develop habits now that can last a lifetime, and live a balanced and healthy life
with the ultimate goal of self realization. Real renunciation means to renounce attachment to and identifying the self as the body, not to artificially renounce the body. Although we are not these bodies, our health is still our wealth, for a healthy body and mind are the vehicles that can take us on our journey towards enlightenment. �
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