Gaudiya Touchstone | Issue 3

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Issue No.3

UFOs - Is Anyone Out There?

W W W. D E VAV I S I O N . O R G

Senior Editor

Swami Narasingha

Associate Editors

Swami Giri Swami Srirupa Madhava Priyanana

Science Editor

Swami Vishnu

Health Editor



Swami Giri Sanatana

Layout and Design

Rasikananda Gaura-Gopala

Art Department

Dominique Amendola


Rammohan Nila Newsom Dustin Ellison Swami Giri Satyaraja Kirtanananda


Advaita Acharya Kirtanananda

Contents 01 03 13

Editorial Varna & Ashrama Rejected

Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Sri Guru Tattva - Part 2

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada


A Dispute About Sri Sri Mahaprabhu


The Case of Subhadra


Vedic Monotheism


The History of Numbers - Part 2


UFOs - Is Anyone Out There?


Where are All the Aliens?


Why do You Exist?


The Colour of Renunciation


Satkona - Star of David or Star of Goloka?


Colours of India


Krishna in Tanjore Art

133 135

Words of Wisdom Dangers of Aspartame


Culinary Magic

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura Swami Narasingha

Swami Narasingha Swami Vishnu

Swami Narasingha Robert Lanza Robert Lanza

Swami B.V. Giri

Swami Narasingha

Nila Newsom

Dominique Amendola



Editorial This third issue of Gaudiya Touchstone completes our first year of publication and we are happy to announce that our reader reception has been exceptional and we are anticipating even more success in the coming year. The cover story of this issue explores the possible reality of the UFO phenomena and it is followed up by two short articles by prominent scientist Robert Lanza — Where are all the Aliens and Why do you Exist? From the archives and words from our Guardians, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada dismisses the importance of varnashrama, Sarasvati Thakura explains Sri Guru-tattva and Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes about A Dispute About Sri Sri Mahaprabhu — all excellent articles filled with spiritual knowledge and revelation. In mathematics, Swami Vishnu completes part two of The History of Numbers. In The Colour of Renunciation, Swami Giri takes us on a journey in antiquity and uncovers the real colour of clothing for those in the renounced order of life, sannyasa. In Star of David or Star of Goloka we learn that the symbol of Judaism (the Star of David) used by Jews for centuries is a much older Vedic symbol and has been used in India by Hindus, Buddhists and Vaishnavas for several millennia. The photo spread by Nila Newsom highlights the colours for which India is so famous and brings us there thru his amazing images. Dominique Amendola gives a beautiful description and history of Krishna in Tanjore Art. And keeping us ever aware of the dangers to our health, Priyanana uncovers The Dangers of Aspartame — let the healthy-minded be advised. We hope our readers will relish this issue of Gaudiya Touchstone and continue to give us their support during the upcoming year. OM TAT SAT Swami Narasingha

This book was probably the first literary work by A.C. Bhativedanta Swami Prabhupada after he accepted sannyasa in 1959. The book deals with the divine conversation between Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Raya Ramananda on the banks of the Godavari River, and is considered by Gaudiya Vaishnavas to be the acme of all theistic conceptions. Available here for Purchase



hile on tour of South India, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arrived on the banks of the river Godavari, where He met Sri Ramananda Raya, a great devotee of Sri Krishna. Lord Chaitanya expressed a deep desire to hear about Sri Krishna from the lips of Ramananda Raya and requested that Ramananda recite a verse from the revealed scriptures concerning the ultimate goal of life. Ramananda then replied: sva-dharmacarane vishnu-bhakti haya If a person performs the prescribed duties of his social position, he awakens his original Krishna consciousness. Supporting his statement, Ramananda then cited a verse from the Vishnu Purana (3.8.9): varnashramacharavata purushena parah puman vishnur aradhyate pantha nanyat tat-tosha-karanam


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The Personality of Godhead Lord Vishnu is worshiped by the proper performance of prescribed duties in the system of varna and ashrama. There is no other way to satisfy the Personality of Godhead. One must be situated in the institution of the four varnas and ashramas. Hearing this statement from Ramananda Raya, Lord Chaitanya replied that the system of varnashrama-dharma was external and thus it was not acceptable. Lord Chaitanya also rejected the statement of Ramananda because the system of varnashrama-dharma is now jeopardized by the influence of the present age of Kali, the age of quarrel and fighting. In the Bhagavad-gita, the Personality of Godhead declares that the varnashrama system is created by Him, although He is aloof from such a system. Because the varnashrama system is a creation of the Personality of Godhead, it is not possible to do away with it. However, the nefarious activities of the people of the age of Kali can jeopardize the varnashrama system. We have purposely used the word jeopardized because the whole system still exists but in a reflected form. In the varnashrama system of social management, the aim of life is to attain the favor of Lord Vishnu, the all-pervading Personality of Godhead. Unfortunately, at the present moment the aim of life is to displease the all-pervading Godhead and thereby suffer perpetually under the laws of material nature. The goal of the varnashrama system is to peacefully perform the prescribed duties of humanity and thereby achieve the highest success, namely the favor of Lord Vishnu. But when the aim of life is the planned exploitation of material nature, all life is jeopardized on account of the human race fighting with the laws of nature. The arrangement of nature is so strict that even a slight violation of the laws of nature can do great harm to a conditioned human being. Human beings must always consider themselves to be living under the stringent laws of nature. They must always remember that their plans for breaking nature’s laws will bring about tremendous hardship. Regrettably, human beings under the deluding influence of material nature want to lord it over the laws of nature, and, as such, they are more and more entangled in conditioned life. Foolish human beings do not see the defect of their so-called advancement of knowledge. The most difficult problems of life are birth, death, old age,


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and disease. These four problems are a permanent settlement for the conditioned soul. Human beings want to lord it over the laws of nature but their so-called advancement of scientific knowledge cannot solve these problems. A continuous increase of world population to the proportion of three births in every second has puzzled the brains of the leaders of society. To solve the problem of birth, they put forward rascal plans of birth control under the name of family planning, yet the problem is unsolved. By the laws of nature, the population is ever-increasing in spite of all their scientific plans and schemes. On the whole, the problem of birth has remained unsolved. Mother Nature’s Atom Bomb The death problem is also not solved. None of the scientific knowledge of the human being has solved the death problem. The advancement of material knowledge can simply accelerate the problem of dying; nobody can save a person from the cruel hands of death. The discovery of the atom bomb and similar other great inventions of the fertile brain of the scientist has simply increased the death problem. The foolish scientists do not know that the atom bomb is actually the scheme of Mother Nature, who is sure to kill the demoniac population when it increases disproportionately. Modern economists also believe in the laws of nature and confirm that unrestricted birth increases in the human population will certainly result in famine, pestilence, epidemics, and war. So, the so-called civilized states’ plan of killing human beings by atomic and hydrogen bombs is actually the plan of Mother Nature to punish the foolish miscreants. Everything is automatically executed by Mother Nature as soon as the human being is in violation of her laws. However, foolish people, out of their undue vanity, think that the plan is made by them. To execute her stringent punishment, Mother Nature dictates to the human brain the ability to invent the atomic bomb. Foolishly, the human being wants to take the credit for such inventions, which are meant only for punishment. We learn this fact from the Bhagavad-gita (3.27), wherein it is said that everything is done by prakriti or Mother Nature. But the foolish living entity, puffed up by the vanity of learning, falsely considers himself the Creator.


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The Problem Remains the Same Without going further into the details of birth and death in terms of modernized scientific plans, it can safely be said that the problem of birth and death remains in its original proportion. Nothing has been done to increase or decrease the problem. The problem of old age and disease is also not solved. The more the inventions of modernized science are made, the more relative diseases increase proportionately. We can again conclude that birth, death, old age, and disease are the sum total of all the problems of material existence and can never be solved by any plan made by human beings. If a human being wants to solve all the problems of material existence, he must abide by the advice of Godhead that only by full surrender unto Him can one be saved from the stringent conditions of the material laws of nature. Perverted Castes The system of varnashrama-dharma as it is mentioned in the scriptures aims at achieving the favor of Lord Vishnu. This is the only solution to the problem of birth and death. The jeopardized system of varnashrama-dharma has produced a perverted form, commonly known as the caste system. The caste system is now represented by the political diplomats, the soldiers, the capitalists, and the laborers. The politicians or the best planning brains of the human race have taken the position of brahmanas. Surely the brahmana possesses the best brain for solving the problems of human life, but the politicians are simply using the best part of their brains for executing their own selfish plans. Avoiding the orders of the Supreme Godhead, they only bring disorder to the society.


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The military arrangement is a false representation of the kshatriyas, who are meant to give protection to the public at large. However, the military leaders of every country are sucking the blood of the masses by imposing heavy, unbearable taxes, instead of giving any actual protection. The capitalists, who represent vaishyas, instead of accumulating wealth for carrying out the will of Lord Vishnu, are amassing huge wealth for their own sense gratification. As a result of this, many problems, such as political policies that exploit the masses, have sprung up in all parts of the world. The laborers are a perverted representation of the shudras, who are serving the capitalists under the pressure of many obligations. They are always groaning to make an adjustment to the labor problem by raising political issues. The system of varnashrama-dharma has not been ostracized as some may wish, but the whole system has now been pervertedly represented by politicians in the position of brahmanas; military men in the position of the kshatriyas; individual capitalists in the position of the vaishyas; and the ordinary laborers in the position of the shudras. The whole system is perverted by the lawbreaking attitude of mankind. This is spoiling the atmosphere of peaceful progress in human life. At present, the system of perverted varnashrama-dharma cannot in any way please the Supreme Godhead Vishnu. Thus no one can escape the police action of Mother Nature, regardless of how expert one may be in material science. Real Varna and Ashrama The varnashrama system, originated by the Personality of Godhead, is spiritually significant because when all the varnas and ashramas cooperate, society facilitates deliverance from the clutches of maya or illusion. This is done by all varnas and ashramas carrying out the plan of Godhead. The brahmana is considered the mouth of the ViratPurusha (the cosmophysical feature of the Personality of Godhead). The kshatriyas are the arms, the vaishyas are the stomach, and the shudras are the legs. The functioning of the mouth is recognized by sound. Therefore, the function of the brahmanas or sannyasis is to transmit the transcendental sound of the Vedas so that every human being can know


“Every human being will attain the highest goal of life simply by worshiping the Personality of Godhead, from whom all the living entities have come into being and by whom the whole cosmos is generated and again withdrawn.� what is what in relation to the Supreme. By transmission of transcendental sound, human beings will know their actual identities as superior in nature to matter. Thus they will know their eternal relationship with Godhead. Knowing this, they will be engaged in carrying out the plan of Godhead, instead of serving the deluding energy with a false notion of lording it over her. Carrying out the plan of Godhead will help the conditioned soul get out of the clutches of the deluding energy and enter into the kingdom of God for an eternal life of bliss and knowledge. Every living being is struggling in this material world for eternal life, knowledge, and bliss, but is bewildered by the deluding energy. The plan of Godhead is so designed that in the human form of life one can get out of the entanglement of material existence. Because the kshatriyas are the arms of the Virat-Purusha, it is their duty to protect the whole body and cooperate with the mouth, stomach, and legs. The system of varnashrama

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is a spiritual plan of cooperation for mutual benefit, and therefore it is essential that it be maintained in its original dignity. As it stands now, it is perverted and diseased. The so-called brahmanas have become detached from the body of the Virat-Purusha because they do not transmit the transcendental sounds of the Vedas. A head that is cut off from the body certainly cannot produce any sound. Such a dead head, although called a brahmana, has no real value as a head. Similarly, those brahmanas who simply claim to be so by a custom of hereditary right also have no value as brahmanas, because they have no power to function as the mouth of Godhead. In the same manner, whoever fails to carry out the plan of Godhead as part and parcel of the Virat-Purusha must be considered fallen and detached from his position. Such separated parts are of no value as mouths, arms, stomachs, or legs. Varna and Ashrama Rejected Thus Lord Chaitanya rejected Ramananda’s proposal, because in the age of Kali the varnashrama-dharma is so degraded that any attempt to restore it to its original position will be hopeless. He also rejected varnashrama-dharma because it has no value in relation to pure devotional service. The second, more important consideration is that even if the varnashrama system is observed strictly, it still cannot help one to rise to the highest plane of transcendental service to Godhead. The Virat-Purusha is a material conception of the Personality of Godhead and is just the beginning of spiritual realization. The topmost spiritual realization is attraction for devotional service to the Personality of Godhead. Such attraction for devotional service is the only necessity for the living being and it automatically brings a sense of detachment from all other activities. The Personality of Godhead is worshiped by pure devotional service and He becomes available to His devotees through such devotion. Pure devotional service is produced by cultivation of pure knowledge and activities under the regulative principles of the scriptures. Thus the varnashrama system is explained in relation to pure devotion by Bhagavan Purusha, the Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna, who descended to this material world for the deliverance of all fallen souls. The Bhagavad-gita (18.45-46) states:


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sve sve karmany abhiratah samsiddhim labhate narah sva-karma-niratah siddhih yatha vindati tac chrinu yatah pravrittir bhutanam yena sarvam idam tatam sva-karmana tam abhyarcya siddhim vindati manavah “Every human being will attain the highest goal of life simply by worshiping the Personality of Godhead, from whom all the living entities have come into being and by whom the whole cosmos is generated and again withdrawn.� Worshiping Godhead by prescribed duties is the beginning of devotional service, and all the great sages like Tanka, Dramida, Bharuci, Bodhayana, Guhadeva, and Kapardi have approved of this system of gradual progress. All the ancient authorities have commented upon the Vedas in accordance with this principle. The authorities of the Ramanuja sect of Vaishnavas also affirm the above: The easiest way of attaining the Absolute Truth is to culture knowledge about the Absolute Truth as it is described in the scriptures while simultaneously performing one’s prescribed duty. This process is almost a direct realization of the path of devotional service. Realization of the Absolute Truth by proper observance of the varnashrama system does not mean to accept only the renounced order of life sannyasa, but it means that everyone can attain the highest goal by the performance of his own duties. Proper performance does not necessarily mean to take sannyasa. Ramananda Raya, after being asked by Lord Chaitanya to define the highest standard of perfection in human life, had taken up the cause of ordinary people and supported the utility of varnashrama-dharma by quoting the Vishnu Purana. He said that the performance of duties according to varnashrama-dharma should be taken as the highest perfection of life. Yet because the varnashrama-dharma system is a problem within the material world in the age of Kali, Lord Chaitanya wanted to distinguish it from the devotional activities,


which are transcendental by nature. Taking into consideration the transcendental nature of devotional service, which is the highest perfection of life, Lord Chaitanya declared the system of varnashramadharma to be external. Lord Chaitanya wanted human beings to make further advancement in the process of spiritual realization than what is possible by the performance of varnashrama-dharma. Although the aim of varnashramadharma is to satisfy the all-pervading Godhead Vishnu, it does not explicitly mention devotional service rendered directly to the Personality of Godhead. Without being specifically engaged in devotional service, even the proper performance of varnashramadharma may lead one to accept either the impersonal or personal feature of Godhead. Impersonal realization of the Absolute Truth will mar the progress of devotional service. Therefore, Lord Chaitanya did not wish to risk the human life in that way, and thus He rejected varnashrama-dharma as external. Lord Chaitanya’s rejection of the value of varnashrama-dharma indicated that Ramananda should suggest a more comprehensive process of self-realization.


Sri Guru-tattva Part 2 Questions and Answers Between Sri Rajendranath Pal Chaudhuri Mahashaya and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada

Srila Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada: A materialistic Smarta who is opposed to devotion to Krishna should never be considered as a guru. Only one who is most dear to Krishna – krishna-prestha (beloved of Krishna), can be Gurudeva. Externally it may seem to be the same as being under the influence of a mundane guru (laukika) or hereditary guru (kaulika), but in actuality one is never deceived when he seeks refuge at the lotus feet of the guru who is krishna-prestha. In the realm of madhura-rati, it is Srimati Varshabhanavi, Krishna’s ananda-dayinishakti (pleasure-giving potency) who is considered to be the guru-tattva. She has two manifestations – one is Sri Nityananda Prabhu and the other is Sri Gadadhara or Sri Gaurasundara who has taken the heart and halo of Sri Radha. Those who take refuge under Sri Baladeva-gopi Ananga-manjari accept Sri Baladeva Nityananda Prabhu as their guru, and they also accept Sri Varsabhanavi-devi as guru. The reason is that except for allegiance to Sri Varshabhanavi, Sri Ananga-manjari has no separate fulfillment. Many have performed bhajana under the shelter of Sri Jahnava, the shakti of Sri Nityananda. In raga-marga, allegiance to Sri Gadadhara and the proper understanding of the four types of pure devotional rati found in the associates of Sri Nityananda, Sri Gauridasa Pandita etc. should be clearly understood. The service rendered by Govinda Dasa and Kashishvara etc. exists in accordance to the difference in the manifestation of purnabhava. Worshippers in madhura-rasa can be freed from the temporary ego of being a husband in this world by taking shelter of Sri Varshabhanavi, considering Krishna to be their only consort. Through the process of bhajana, those worshippers in vatsalya-rasa will be relieved from the temporary ego of father-son relationships by taking shelter of Sri Nanda-Yashoda and thinking of Krishna as their most affectionate son; through


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Certainly this particular gopi has perfectly worshiped Govinda, the all-powerful Controller, since He was so pleased with Her that He abandoned the rest of us and brought Her to a secluded place. (Bhag. 10.30.28) bhajana, those who take shelter of Sridama and Sudama and worship in the mood of sakhya-rasa are delivered from the attraction of transient friends by accepting Krishna as their one and only dearest friend. Those in dasya-rasa who take shelter of Raktaka, Patraka, Chitraka, Vakula etc. will be saved from temporary master-servant relationships by considering Krishna as their only master. Shanta-rasa is the mood of


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neutrality and this includes the cow-herding stick, buffalo horn, flute etc. Compared to Shanta-rasa, dasya-rasa etc. has more affection. With the exception of Sri Radha-Govinda, everything else is asat. One must accept the efficacy of the associates of Gauranga by rejecting asat-sanga. When one adopts an ‘opaque face’ to judge guru-tattva and sees that someone only has one eye, someone has a beautiful form, someone is poorly educated, someone is powerful etc. such considerations solely based upon sense perception give rise to confusion in deliberating guru-tattva. Some accept Blavatsky as their guru; some accept Epicurus, while others accept Hegel, Kant etc. as their guru. Whoever can satisfy my senses is my guru – rather than following such a path of self-destruction, one should diligently take shelter of the feet of the associates of Sri Gaura. The eternal auspiciousness of the jiva is found in those who speak of nothing except for the worship of Radha-Krishna. If a guru claims to be Radha-Krishna, Nanda-Yashoda or Sridama-Sudama, he must be considered to be extremely laghu asat-sanga (the most degraded type of bad association) and should be rejected immediately. Srila Dasa Goswami states in his Manah-shiksha: na dharmam nadharmam shruti-gana-niruktam kila kuru vraje radha-krishna-prachura-paricharyam iha tanuh sachi-sunum nandishvara-pati-sutatve guru-varam mukunda-preshthatve smara padam ajasram nanu manah O Mind, don’t concern yourself with the pious and impious deeds described in the Vedas. Rather, intently serve Sri Sri Radha-Krishna in Vraja. Always remember that the son of Sachi is the son of Maharaja Nanda and that my guru is most dear to Lord Mukunda. (Manah-siksa 2) There is a belief that one should not perform bhajana of Radha-Krishna while living in this world – give up such a notion and come to Vraja! Vraja means to go; iha asmin jagati tanum vistaraya – the form of that world is forever expanding. Vrajamandala does not simply consist of soil, water and mud. The Bodhayana-bhashya was found at a place called Vrijavraron in Kashmir at Sharadapitha. Based upon this, Ramanuja composed the Sri-Bhashya. Shankara’s commentary attempted to eliminate this scripture from Kashmir. However, whoever is inimical towards the Absolute Reality is incapable of harming Him. May there always be


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abundant service offered to Sri Radha-Govinda! May there always be the study and teaching of Srimad Bhagavatam! The works of Chandidasa, the poems of Vidyapati, Sri Jagannatha-vallabha Nataka, Krishna-karnamrita and Sri Gita-govinda – these five books, along with the Srimad Bhagavatam, have delineated service to Sri Radha-Govinda. It is mentioned in Jagannatha-vallabha Nataka that Sriman Mahaprabhu accepted these books with great love. However, only those who have finished the study of the Upanishads, Gita etc. and have achieved the adhikara to study the Tenth Canto of Srimad Bhagavata, and whose adhikara arises for lila-rasa are eligible to even touch this nataka. Dhira-samira is where the gopis of the general category are attracted by the flute song of Krishna and gather for love-sports at night. Yet the rasa-sthali on the banks of Sri Radha-kunda, where the noon pastimes are enacted, is the topmost. Mathura, the birthplace of Krishna, is higher than Vaikuntha, Vrindavana is higher than Mathura, Govardhana is higher than Vrindavana, and at Govardhana, Radha-kunda is the highest. Gaudiya Vaishnavas never visit Chandra-sarovara at Sakhi-sthali which is near to Govinda-kunda. Amongst the eight yutheshvaris, Chandra, Saibya and others have circulated anti-propaganda about Radha-kunda. The acme of Vrindavana is Radhakunda, below that is Govardhana. Sriman Mahaprabhu forbade His followers to climb upon Govardhana Hill to take darshana of Gopala. Chandra, the rival gopi of Sri Radhika, wanted that Krishna should be confined in her groves. But Krishna played a trick. He said, “I have all attachment for you. I won’t go to Radha-kunda.” Thus by deluding the group of Chandra, He managed to leave Chandra-sarovara. At present, another sampradaya has taken this place and has adopted a position contrary to that of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. By reading Sri Govinda-lilamrita one can learn about Sri Krishna’s madhyahnika-vihara (noon pastimes) at Sri Radha-kunda. We find in the Srimad Bhagavatam: ananyaradhito nunam bhagavan harir ishvarah yan no vihaya govindah prito’yam anayad rahah Certainly this particular gopi has perfectly worshiped Govinda, the allpowerful Controller, since He was so pleased with Her that He abandoned the rest of us and brought Her to a secluded place. (Bhag. 10.30.28)


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Accompanied by the musical sounds of the vina, drum and flute, and the tinkling of the Gopis’ karatalas and anklebells, which reveal His charming smile and the movements of the vine of His charming three-fold bending transcendental form – may the wonderful dancing of Murari eternally bring bliss to the three worlds. (Jagannatha-vallabha Nataka 1.1) This verse indicates the superiority of the place of noon pastimes in comparison to the place of nightly pastimes. When the rasa began at the rasa-sthali, the general gopis began dancing; attracted by the sound of Krishna’s flute they gathered and met at the rasa-sthali. They cannot imagine the service attempts rendered by those gopis that have taken shelter under Sri Radhika. Without the shelter of Sri Radhika any attempt to independently attain union with Krishna (sambhoga) goes against the mode of worship (bhajana-pranali) followed by the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. By understanding that Sriman Mahaprabhu is the combined form of Radha and Krishna, His most surrendered followers acquire the eligibility to realize the esoteric mode of worship (bhajana-rahasya) of Radha-Govinda. Any attempt to worship


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Krishna independently, abandoning the shelter of Sri Gaurasundara, who is absorbed in the bhava of Sri Varshabhanavi, is not approved by Sri Varshabhanavi Herself. Therefore, this does not bring any genuine happiness to Krishna. Chandidasa, Vidyapati (the poet of Mithila), Jagannatha-vallabha, Krishna Karanamrta (which was sung on the banks of the Krishna-veni River) and Sri Gita Govinda – these five works express nothing but Krishna. (At this point in his talk, Srila Prabhupada, in a wonderful state of bhavavesha, or divine emotions, referred to various lyrical verses from those books such as Vidyapati’s Tatala saikate, Meghair-medurambaram and lalita-lavanga-lata from Gita Govinda and Dishatu- sharma etc. from Jagannatha-vallabha). tatala saikate bari bindu sama suta mita ramani samaje tohe visari mana, tahe samarpala ab majhu habo kon kaje Burning on the sands of a hot beach, I have offered my mind unto the association of sons, friends and wife, yet they are simply like a drop of water. Now what can I do to be relieved of this great misery? (Vidyapati) meghair meduram-ambaram vana-bhuvah shyamas-tamala-drumair naktam bhirurayam tvameva tad imam radhe griham prapaya ittham nanda-nideshatash chalitayoh pratyadhva-kunja-drumam radha-madhavayor jayanti yamuna-kule rahah kelayah “The heavens are overcast with thick clouds. The forest seems dark with the hue of the Tamala trees. This young boy Krishna is afraid of the darkness of night. Thus, O Radha, You should take Him home with You!” Thus Their love arose as They passed through the forest. All glories to the pastimes of Radha and Madhava who sport on the banks of the river Yamuna. (GitaGovinda 1.1) lalita-lavanga-lata-parishilana-komala-malaya-samire madhukara-nikara-karambita-kokila-kujita-kunja-kutire


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viharati harir iha sarasa-vasante nrityati yuvati-janena samah sakhi virahi-janasya durante The breeze that touches the tender clove creepers gently drifts from the Malaya hills. The arbors resound with the sound of the cuckoo and the humming of honeybees. During this beautiful spring, when love cannot endure separation, Hari is playing and dancing with young damsels. O my friend Radhika – go and meet Him.” (Gita-Govinda 1.28) svaranchita-vipanchika-muraja-venu-sangitakam tri-bhanga-tanu-vallari-valita-valgu-hasolbanam vayasya-kara-talika-ranita-nupurair ujjvalam murari-natanam sada dishatu sharma loka-traye Accompanied by the musical sounds of the vina, drum and flute, and the tinkling of the Gopis’ karatalas and ankle-bells, which reveal His charming smile and the movements of the vine of His charming three-fold bending transcendental form – May the wonderful dancing of Murari eternally bring bliss to the three worlds. (Jagannatha-vallabha Nataka 1.1) It was the duty of Srila Damodara-svarupa to sing all these songs at all times in keeping with the divine bhava of Sriman Mahaprabhu. 1) Purva-raga - alambana and uddipana. (Purva-raga refers to the feeling that arises in the hearts of the Divine Couple when they hear about each other, before they actually meet. Alambana means the basic cause for divine love and uddipana refers to those things that stimulate divine love for Krishna.) 2) Bhava-pariksha - The type of attachment [anuraga] that shows the deep love that Sri Krishna feels for Sri Radha and the deep love that Sri Radha feels for Sri Krishna. 3) Bhavavesha - The attraction that Sri Krishna feels for Sri Radha and the attraction that Sri Radha feels for Sri Krishna. 4) Abhisara - Union.


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Know the acharya to be My Self. Never envy the acharya; never blaspheme him or consider him to be an ordinary man. Because the acharya channels the infinite, He is greater than the sum total of all the finite. Thus, he is more important than all the gods. (Bhag.11.17.27) 5) Sangama - Sri Radha-kunda is found in the village of Arit; at this place Krishna killed the demon Arishtasura. At that time, an elderly gopi by the name of Madanika gifted Sri Radha into the hands of Sri Krishna as a reward for killing Arishta. Then the rasa was performed at this place. A dance filled with divine mellows is known as rasa. These five sections are there in Jagannathavallabha Nataka. These need to be discussed. However, eligibility also needs to be considered. One should take shelter on the banks of this kunda. (Mahamahopadeshaka Acharyatrika Prabhu [a.k.a Sri Kunja-vihari Vidyabhushana] further elaborated upon the statements of Srila Prabhupada and continued to analyze the subject matter for Rajen Babu’s understanding) Acharyatrika Prabhu: While remaining in this world, attached to the material rasa found in relationships with wife and children etc. and being tormented by various types of anarthas, any endeavor to explore transcendental vraja-rasa and any attempt to equate them will simply result in producing vairasya (animosity towards genuine rasa). Thus, it is essential that after surrendering at the lotus of sad-guru, we perform shravana and kirtana according to our eligibility as instructed by Sri Guru.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

Prabhupada: Vishnu and vishnu-maya – it is essential to deliberate upon these two tattvas. That which gives illusory pleasure and is measurable by the mind is not Absolute – it is non-Absolute. The only function of the unalloyed soul is to serve the Absolute. Rajen Babu: Isn’t it possible for a person with meager knowledge to become a guru? Prabhupada: No. There is no place for laghutva within gurutva. One should know that there is not a trace of spirituality when the disciple detects faults such as poverty, meager knowledge and deviations from the proper code of conduct within the guru, and considers the guru to be a recipient of his mercy, while the guru also considers himself most fortunate on receiving a certificate from the disciple. The sole aim of both is to serve their own senses. An evaluation of the guru and disciple is not based upon such sense-gratification. Worldly ‘gurus’ who teach us how to play the sitar or teach us how to swim, as well as hereditary family gurus who promote our gross and subtle sense gratification are not in the same category as spiritual gurus. It is not the duty of the mahanta-guru to eagerly involve himself in maintaining a mundane wife and children. Various types of laghutva enter into those who do not cultivate Krishna consciousness (krishnanushilana) twenty-four hours a day. Gurudeva does not wait to attain a certificate from his disciple. He has no time to lend his ear to useless talk. He is indifferent to others. Rajen Babu: If the guru has borrowed money and is heavily in debt, is it proper to help him become free from debt by giving him money? Prabhupada: He should be considered as fallen if he accepts money from his disciple in order to save his material wealth. The only property of a spiritual guru is spirituality; the only duty of a true disciple is spiritual service. In regards to the financial obligations of this world, the guru is never a debtor. Worldly things are absent in him and cannot touch him. One should not compare the attempts of the sad-guru to collect ingredients for serving Krishna with the guru-bruva’s greed for accumulating material wealth. One cannot be a guru is he is devoured by the desire for material wealth. Maintaining a mundane mentality and the mentality of being a guru, results in a mentality that leads us to hell.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

gurusu nara-matir yasya va naraki sah If one considers the spiritual master as a mundane person, one becomes a resident of hell. (Padma Purana) Acharyatrika Prabhu: A mundane mentality arises when one considers the mahantaguru as belonging to the brahmana caste. Sri Bhagavan tells Uddhava: acharyam mam vijaniyam navamanyeta karhichit na martya buddhyasuyeta sarva-deva mayo gurum Know the acharya to be My Self. Never envy the acharya; never blaspheme him or consider him to be an ordinary man. Because the acharya channels the infinite, He is greater than the sum total of all the finite. Thus, he is more important than all the gods. (Bhag.11.17.27) Prabhupada: A national guru, a guru of a particular caste, a guru who teaches the sitar – they all treat Krishna as an object of their enjoyment. None of them are spiritual gurus. Acharyatrika Prabhu: The status of a Goswami is simply not restricted to a particular ancestral line. A father performs devout worship – he is said to be a bhakta and he is respected. Yet his son performs no bhajana, so he cannot expect to receive the same respect as his father does. Deliberations on the pure devotional conclusions (shuddhabhakti-siddhanta) of Mahaprabhu are completely different from the considerations of fallen jivas that are attached to this world. Rajen Babu: What is the difference between a grihasta and a griha-vrata? Prabhupada: The difference lies in krishna-bhajana. Bhajana should not be taken as a trivial plaything. Illegible writing is writing and proper writing is also writing. Yet one conveys no meaning and the other has significance. The notion of considering both as equal has been prevented by the words of Vyasa:


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

archye vishnau shila-dhir gurusu nara-matir vaishnave jati-buddhir vishnor va vaishnavanam kali-mala-mathane pada-tirthe ‘mbu-buddhih sri-vishnor namni mantre sakala-kalusha-he shabda-samanya-buddhir vishnau sarveshvareshe tad-itara-sama-dhir yasya va naraki sah One who thinks the Deity to be made of wood or stone, who thinks of the spiritual master as an ordinary man, who thinks the Vaishnava to belong to a certain caste or thinks of charanamrita or Ganges water as ordinary water should be understood to be a resident of hell. (Padma Purana) It is the Smartas idea to attach greater value to the apparent side. That is their primary duty. We need not take the road to hell by wasting our time in idle and trifling activities in the name of doing bhajana. Rajen Babu: But those who are grihastas also reside with their wife and children. Prabhupada: A true grihastha remains fixed in thoughts of performing hari-bhajana. The Vaishnava view should not be confused with the non-Vaishnava view. A five-yearold child may vocalize a drama of Shakespeare, but only an adult can truly appreciate it. Acharyatrika Prabhu: It is necessary to observe which direction a mundane social guru takes and which direction a spiritual guru takes.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

Rajen Babu: What is the harm if one takes instruction from a spiritual guru and takes mantra from a social guru? Prabhupada: If you go in that direction then you cannot advance towards Vraja – you will not progress; you will remain in one place by dropping your anchor and will never be able to lift it. What will be the benefit for you to go somewhere else? You will be quite satisfied with what you already have. Rajen Babu: If one does not accept spiritual initiation, is it possible to be aware of any type of spiritual truth (tattva)? Prabhupada: There will be no shravana, and the opposite result of such beneficial things will be attained instead. The duty of light is to remove darkness. If one remains in the midst of darkness, how will it be possible to attain light by allowing darkness to prevail? Acharyatrika Prabhu: A mundane guru considers the mantra only as shabda (sound) and not as shabdi (He who is known by sound) Prabhupada: The mantra is non-different from the shabdi. There is no difference between the aprakrita-shabda (transcendental sound) and shabdi.

FOOTNOTES griha-vrata – A materialistic householder. guru-bruva – A guru in name only. mahanta-guru – The topmost spiritual master. purna-bhava – Completely immersed in loving mellows for the Lord. raga-marga – The path of spontaneous devotion.


One who thinks the Deity to be made of wood or stone, who thinks of the spiritual master as an ordinary man, who thinks the Vaishnava to belong to a certain caste or thinks of charanamrita or Ganges water as ordinary water should be understood to be a resident of hell. (Padma Purana)


AD Sri F

our years have passed sin cave after a pause in pr of certain Vaishnavas, I visit regarding certain issues. I an acharya have concluded worshipped by separate man no need to perform any aus

Before judging whether th come to such conclusions, has this question been rais mantra or not? Did this part this issue with a simple he intention other than that of the debate manifest from t within the Gaudiya Vaishna some time, I came to the co

If he had such a motivation the appropriate faults that e many faults that have arisen the last four hundred years. elements completely is the p of the acharyas. What is the one who acts in order to te Simply by creating controv

Dispute about i Sri Mahaprabhu

nce I was performing bhajana in a lonely reaching work. Recently, on the request ted a certain locality and I became upset heard that some of the descendents of d that Sri Sriman Mahaprabhu is not ntras and on His appearance day there is sterity accompanied by fasting.

he acharyas descendents are qualified to I wanted to mention something – why sed whether Mahaprabhu has His own ticular descendent of the acharya present eart, or was he enthused by some other pure transcendental subject matter? Did the motivation of removing some fault ava sampradaya? After analyzing this for onclusion that it did not.

n, he would surely have tried to rectify existed. Dear Devotees! There have been n within the Gaudiya sampradaya during . To eradicate those faults and unwanted primary responsibility of the descendents e meaning of the word ‘acharya’? Only each others about dharma is an acharya. versy in order to improve the condition

By Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

of one’s family does not make one eligible to occupy the position of an acharya. Those who have gained the position of an acharya in the Gaudiya sampradaya should try to eradicate the faults that exist within the sampradaya. I will now mention a few of those faults. Nowadays, the Vaishnavas of the Gaudiya sampradaya can be divided into four divisions, namely: 1) Respected acharyas that give initiation into the mantra (Mantra-acharyas) 2) Vaishnavas who are invited and subsist on the basis of collecting alms. 3) Those situated in Varnashrama who have gained expertise in reciting the Bhagavata 4) People identified as Vaishnavas by caste (Jati-Vaishnavas). Among these four divisions of Vaishnavas, those who behave against the principles of bhakti are the root cause of the faults existing within the sampradaya. I will not speak inimically against any particular person, so if my words are against anyone’s conduct, then I ask his kind forgiveness. With a good heart and good intention, I will try to discuss the primary faults existing in the aforementioned four divisions of devotees. Respected initiating acharyas are expected to be exemplary as per the shastras and should


initiate suitable candidates into the mantra. Regarding this, although there is mention of mutual examination from both sides in Sri Hari-bhakti-vilasa, it is not applied in real life. When the relationship between the guru and disciple is made without proper consideration of mutual qualification, then this creates a poor precedent and leads to further degradation within the sampradaya. Where there is no consideration of proper qualification or eligibility, everything goes in vain. Alas! How the pure Vaishnava religion preached by Sri Sri Mahaprabhu has been polluted! Vaishnavas who subsist on collecting alms have also deviated from proper consideration of eligibility which has led to various unwanted faults manifesting in the sampradaya. Before one takes shelter of subsisting on alms, one must be qualified for this particular ashrama. Nowadays such considerations are no longer observed. Since there is a dire scarcity of proper understanding of devotional conclusions amongst Vaishnavas situated within varnashrama, they have become devoid of discriminating between the honest and the crooked; they associate with anyone and everyone and show undue respect without proper consideration, leading to the pollution of their mind. To purify the mind, the living entity has to take shelter of pure devotion – yet this is not happening and the result is a deficiency of saintly association. Nowadays due to the negligence of the Mantra-acharyas, there has almost been a


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

complete deprivation of pure devotional conclusions amongst the Vaishnavas. The Caste-Goswamis, despite being deprived of pure devotion, demand to be honored as Vaishnavas and such demands have also been honoured by those Vaishnavas situated in varnashrama who lack the proper faculty of discrimination. I have just given a glimpse of the above faults. If necessary I will surely analyze all of them in detail on a case-by-case basis. To eliminate all these faults, it is essential to organize a conference of the abovementioned four divisions of Vaishnavas and organize a meeting to rectify the faults found within the sampradaya. With gratefulness, I would like to humbly request that venerable Mantra-acharyas initiate such a meeting to take careful steps in rectifying the abovementioned faults. Among the Mantra-acharyas, those who have unique devotion to Sri Gauranga will naturally be inclined to keep their lineage free of deceit. The unfortunate thing is that instead of taking adequate steps to rectify the faults within the sampradaya, vain disputes are raised about Sriman Mahaprabhu which I fail to understand. If there is no dispute about the fact that Sriman Mahaprabhu is Himself the Supreme Lord, the son of Nanda, then in regards to Him, there is bound to be inevitable differences between regulated worship (vaidhi-bhakti) and spontaneous worship (raganuga-bhakti). Is there a necessity to raise such a controversy before one follows these steps? The devotees on the path of raganuga-bhakti have not adhered, nor will ever adhere to the rules and regulations prescribed by those acharyas in vaidhi-bhakti. Sri Kaviraja Goswami has said: shastra yukti nahi mane raganugara prakriti Those of the path of spontaneous devotion do not care for the injunctions of the scriptures or logical arguments. (Cc. Madhya 22.153) If the organizer on the path of vaidhi-bhakti attempts to make arrangements for the path of raganuga, he will be like a potter trying to make curd – such arrangements will never be successful. Just as it is unfair for those devotees on the path of raganuga to criticize the injunctions followed by devotees of the path of vaidhi, similarly it is not appropriate for Mantra-acharyas that follow vaidhi-bhakti to try to create regulations for the devotees on the path of raganuga. This only results in dissension without any fruitful result. I would humbly suggest that nobody should try to destroy the separate paths of worship that are already followed for the regulative and spontaneous worship of Sriman Mahaprabhu. I will be more than happy if I am not required to speak further on this topic.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

Those of the path of spontaneous devotion do not care for the injunctions of the scriptures or logical arguments. (Cc. Madhya 22.153)


The Case of


by Swami Narasingha


his article is called ‘The Case of Subhadra’ because what started off as a seemingly simple question with what would appear to be a straightforward answer, turned out to be a case study. The initial question was, “Is Subhadra Yogamaya?” The answer many of us have heard is “Yes” and rightfully so. But it is not as easy as all that. A simple ‘Yes’ doesn’t work in all circumstances. When we hear the name Subhadra what comes to mind? Naturally one thinks of the sister of Krishna. So what is the history of Krishna’s sister? Where is she born? Who are her parents? What potency is she? There is Krishna’s sister who is born simultaneously with Krishna in Gokula in the house of Nanda Maharaja. There is Krishna’s sister who marries Arjuna in Dvaraka, who was born of Rohini in Mathura, and there is Krishna’s sister who stands between Krishna and Balarama on the altar in Jagannatha Puri. But are all these the same personality? Now with the help of shastra and previous acharyas we will examine the Case of Subhadra. Srimad Bhagavatam, Hari-vamsha and Mahabharata are three principle shastras that mention Krishna’s sister. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted Srimad Bhagavatam as the amala-purana (spotless purana) so we will quote Bhagavatam first.


bhagavan api vishvatma viditva kamsajam bhayam yadunam nija-nathanam yogamayam samadishat

G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

To protect the fearful Yadus from Kamsa’s attack, the Supreme Soul of all, ordered Yogamaya as follows. (Bhag.10.2.7) gaccha devi vrajam bhadre gopa-gobhir alankritam rohini vasudevasya bharyaste nanda-gokule anyas ca kamsa-samvigna vivareshu vasanti hi O My auspicious potency, who are worshipable for the entire world and whose nature is to bestow good fortune upon all living entities, go to Vraja, where there live many cowherd men and their wives. In that very beautiful land, where many cows reside, Rohini, the wife of Vasudeva, is living at the home of Nanda Maharaja. Other wives of Vasudeva are also living there incognito because of fear of Kamsa. Please go there.� (Bhag. 10.2.7) devakya jathare garbham sheshakhyam dhama mamakam tat sannikrishya rohinya udare sanniveshaya Within the womb of Devaki is My partial plenary expansion known as Sankarshana or Shesha. Without difficulty, transfer Him into the womb of Rohini. (Bhag. 10.2.8) athaham amsa-bhagena devakyah putratam shube prapsyami tvam yashodayam nanda-patnyam bhavishyasi O all-auspicious Yogamaya, I shall then appear with My full six opulences as the son of Devaki, and you will appear as the daughter of Mother Yashoda, the queen of Maharaja Nanda. (Bhag. 10.2.9) arcishyanti manushyas tvam sarva-kama-vareshvarim dhupopahara-balibhih sarva-kama-vara-pradam By sacrifices of animals, ordinary human beings will worship you gorgeously, with various paraphernalia, because you are supreme in fulfilling the material desires of everyone. (Bhag. 10.2.10) namadheyani kurvanti sthanani ca nara bhuvi durgeti bhadrakaliti vijaya vaishnaviti cha


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

kumuda chandika krishna madhavi kanyaketi cha maya narayanishani sharadety ambiketi cha In different places on the surface of the earth, people will give you different names, such as Durga, Bhadrakali, Vijaya, Vaishnavi, Kumuda, Chandika, Krishna, Madhavi, Kanyaka, Maya, Narayani, Ishani, Sharada and Ambika. (Bhag. 10.2.11) Above, Srimad Bhagavatam says that the daughter that was born to Nanda and Yashoda was indeed Yogamaya but she is not known as Subhadra. The word bhadra used in verse 10.2.7 means auspicious. In verse 10.2.11 Krishna says that in the material world his Yogamaya potency will be known as Durga, Bhadrakali, Vijaya, Vaishnavi, etc, but again Subhadra is not mentioned.

Mahamaya Chastises Kamsa

In his Sarartha-darshini commentary to verse 10.2.10 Vishvanatha Chakravarti says: “Your amsa, material maya, will be taken by Vasudeva to cheat Kamsa. You will be worshipped in various forms at the Vindhya Hills and other places. All men will worship you because you are the supreme goddess of those who have all types of material desires.�

It seems clear that the daughter born to Yashoda was indeed Yogamaya, but that the female child that Vasudeva took to the palace dungeon of Kamsa was Mahamaya, the external potency of Krishna. In neither instance is she known as Subhadra. Hari-vamsha says as follows: lebhe jyeshtham sutam ramam saranam shatham eva cha durdamam damanam shvabhram pindarakam ushinaram chitram nama kumarim cha rohini tanaya dasha chitra subhadra iti punar-vikhyata kuru-nandana


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

Vasudeva begot his eldest son Rama (Balarama) in Rohini; and their other sons are: Sarana, Shatha, Durdama, Damana, Svabhra, Pindaraka, and Ushinara; O descendant of Kuru, they also had a daughter by the name of Citra, who is renowned by the name of Subhadra. (1.35.5-6) Mahabharata says as follows:

Arjuna with Subhdra Devi

mamaisha bhagini partha saranasya sahodara yadi te vartate buddhirvakshyami pitaram svayam

This is my sister, O Partha, and born of the same mother as Sarana (this refers to Rohini, the mother of Sarana). May you be blessed. Her name is Bhadra and she is the favorite daughter of my father. (Adi-parva 221.17) Hari-vamsha mentions Krishna’s sister as being Subhadra and Mahabharata mentions Krishna’s sister as being born of Rohini. Both these references are to Krishna’s sister born in Mathura to Vasudeva and Rohini who later married Arjuna in Dvaraka, not to the twin of Krishna born to Yashoda and later taken to the dungeon of Kamsa. From previous acharyas we have quotes regarding Subhadra, some stating that she is Yogamaya, some that she is Mahamaya and some that she is bhakti-svarupa. The exercise is in how to harmonize the statements of different acharyas. Some quotes from A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are as follows: Subhadra is Yogamaya, The spiritual energy is called Yogamaya. And she had 16 different expansions. Out of these 16 expansions, Subhadra is also an expansion. The Mahamaya of the material energy is also expansion of the energy of Yogamaya; and both Yogamaya and Mahamaya are equally important to Krishna as much as any government department is equally important for functioning the government. (Letter to Madhusudana – Montreal 29th July 1968)


Regarding your question about Subhadra and Durga, they are not at all the same. Durga’s other name is Bhadra, not Subhadra, and Durga’s activities are within the material world. Subhadra does not work as Durga. Subhadra is internal energy, and Durga is external energy. As energy they have a relationship as much as we are energies of Krishna, but the energies are working in different capacities. (Letter to Hamsaduta – LA, 9th Feb.1969) Regarding your question, ‘Is Subhadra, Lord Krishna’s sister, the same as Durga or Maya?’ the answer is that originally Krishna’s energy is one; that is spiritual energy. But according to different functions, the Maya is represented differently. In the material world the energy is called Bhadra, and in the spiritual world the same Maya is called Subhadra. The only distinction is ‘su’ and without ‘su’. ‘Su’ means auspicious. So in the spiritual world the same Maya works auspiciously, and in the material world the same Maya works inauspiciously. (Letter to Upendra – LA, 5th July 1969) In 1872 Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote an essay for a newspaper in Cuttack, Orissa about the Deities of Jagannatha, Subhadra and Baladeva as they are manifest in the temple at Jagannatha Puri. An excerpt follows: “In the middle room (of the temple), there is an elevated seat on which stand four different forms, viz., Jagannatha, Balarama, Subhadra and Sudarshana. According to the Vedanta, God is one without a second, but He has infinite


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energies and attributes which are not fully known to man. But then man perceives only three energies in God, because he has no other corresponding sides to understand the other powers. From one of the energies proceeds matter in all its different forms and properties and this energy is styled the maya-shakti of God. From the second energy proceeds all spiritual creation, in all its relations and phases. This power is entitled the jiva-shakti of God. Mahamaya Devi The third energy perceivable by man is the energy of Will, which is called chit-shakti. God moving in creation is what is meant by this infinite energy. Jagannatha is the emblem of God having no other form than the eyes and the hands. They mean to show that God sees and knows and creates. Balarama is jiva-shakti of God; Subhadra is the maya-shakti and Sudarshana is the energy of will.� (The Temple of Jagannatha at Puri, 1872) Before bringing this article to a conclusion we shall also quote from the archives of the acharya, Swami B.R. Sridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja as follows: Subhadra-devi represents the lila of Krishna. She is there in Dvaraka. She has got no administrative function. Subhadra is not Yogamaya. Subhadra has got no mundane function. She is there in dvaraka-lila of Krishna. Subhadra-devi has been said to be the representation of bhakti in general, devotion. Balarama, Jagannatha, Subhadra. Guru, bhakti and Krishna -- the ultimate end, the devotional process and Baladeva as guru to help. Subhadra – bhakti-svarupa. Not shakti or other svarupa. Subhadra was not in Vrindavana, she was born in Mathura.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

From our previous Gaudiya Vaishnava acharyas we have three opinions on the ontological position of Subhadra. Prabhupada says she is Yogamaya. Bhaktivinoda says she is Mahamaya. And Sridhara Maharaja says she is bhakti-svarupa. How to harmonize? Subhadra is Yogamaya when she appears in Gokula and she is Mahamaya when she is taken to the dungeon of Kamsa in Mathura. Prabhupada is referring to Subhadra in Gokula and Bhaktivinoda is referring to her capacity in Mathura. After chastising Kamsa in her multi-armed form while in the dungeon in Mathura, that supremely wonderful Goddess (Mahamaya) left that place to go to the Vindhya Hills to be worshiped in the forms of Durga, Bhadrakali, etc. Hence, she did not return as such to take part in the lila of Krishna. Sridhara Maharaja calls the Subhadra born of Vasudeva and Rohini in Mathura, after Krishna had killed Kamsa, bhakti-svarupa. This refers to Subhadra not only as a shakti, Yogamaya, but as bhakti-svarupa indicating that Subhadra not only manifests as Yogamaya acting merely as a facilitator of the devotional service to Krishna, but she herself is also bhakti-svarupa — a personification of pure loving devotion to her brothers Krishna and Balarama. Thus Subhadra is there on the altar with Krishna and Balarama in Jagannatha Puri. She is sometimes considered as Yogamaya, Mahamaya or bhakti-svarupa. In some instances Devaki is called the mother of Subhadra, but this is due to her being a co-wife of Vasudeva along with Rohini and others. Although the biological mother of Subhadra was Rohini, she is taken to be the sister of Krishna in the same way that Balarama (also born of Rohini) is taken to be Krishna’s brother. Ultimately, the internal energy of Krishna is one, which manifests as many according to the Lord’s will and the requirement of His lila (achintya-bhedabheda). It has also been noted that the use of the word ’yogamaya’ in the vocabulary of the acharyas is interchangeable with the word ‘mahamaya’. Accordingly, the sister of Krishna is one-energy manifesting as different personalities (Yogamaya, Mahamaya and bhaktisvarupa) according to the required service.


Vedic Monotheism

Excerpted from Chapter Three of Bhagavad gita, with the Anuvritti Commentary of Swami Narasingha

VERSE 10 saha-yajnah prajah srishtva purovacha prajapatih anena prasavishyadhvam esha vo’stv ishta kamadhuk In the beginning of creation, Brahma created mankind along with the system of sacrifice and said, “Through this sacrifice may you prosper. May it fulfill all your desires.”


VERSE 11 devan bhavayatanena te deva bhavayantu vah parasparam bhavayantah shreyah param avapsyatha By pleasing the demigods, they will also please you. By mutually pleasing each other, you will attain the highest benefit. VERSE 12 ishtan bhogan hi vo deva dasyante yajna-bhavitah tair dattan apradayaibhyo yo bhunkte stena eva sah Being satisfied by your performance of sacrifices, the demigods will bestow unto you all the necessities of life. But one who enjoys these gifts without offering them to the demigods is a thief. VERSE 13 yajna-shishtasinah santo mucyante sarva-kilbishaih bhunjate te tvagham papa ye pacanty-atma-karanat Enlightened individuals are liberated from all types of karma by accepting the remnants of foodstuffs offered in sacrifice. However, those who cook for themselves perpetuate their own bondage. VERSE 14 annad bhavanti bh端tani parjanyad anna-sambhavah yajnad bhavati parjanyo yajnah karma-samudbhavah All living beings subsist on food, and food is produced by rain. Rain is produced due to the performance of sacrifice, and sacrifice is born of prescribed activities.


Anuvritti In verse ten Brahma is mentioned as the creator. According to the Vedas, Brahma is the first living being in this universe and is manifest directly by Vishnu. Brahma’s function is as the secondary creator of the planetary systems. In modern times, some atheistic thinkers, such as Professor Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist from Oxford University, have conceded that aliens from another planet may have possibly seeded life on earth. Farfetched as this may sound to some of us, the idea does come very close to the truth. The ancient texts of India state that Brahma resides in the highest realm in the universe known as Satyaloka. Some of the offspring of Brahma known as the Prajapatis are then sent forth to seed life throughout the cosmos. But rather than look at Brahma as an alien, the Vedic texts describe him as the father of all living beings in the material world.


Since western civilization first came into contact with the pantheon of Vedic demigods there has always been the speculation that the Vedic people, often referred to as Hindus, were pagans – pagan meaning the worshipers of many gods and not one Supreme God. Thus western observers conclude that monotheism, the worship or reverence of one Supreme God, originated with the Abrahamic religions of the west. This however is not a fact. The Vedic pantheon does indeed include many lesser demigods, but the Vedic texts are quite clear that there is only one Supreme Being or Super Consciousness that is above all. That is always referred to as Brahman, Paramatma, Bhagavan, Vishnu or Krishna. For example, the Rig Veda (1. 22. 20) states as follows: tad vishnoh paramam padam sada pashyanti surayah diviva chakshur atatam The divine feet of Vishnu are like the sun above our heads, above all. His holy feet are like the vigilant eye of a grand guardian over our heads like the sun. Srimad Bhagavatam says: ete chamsha kalah pumsah krishnas tu bhagavan svayam The various avataras are either plenary expansions or parts of plenary expansions. But Krishna is the original source of all these avataras. (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.28) Historically speaking, it is wrong to say that monotheism was developed by Abrahamic civilizations independent of any outside influence. In fact, the Abrahamic religions borrowed the idea of monotheism from the Persians after King Cyrus subjugated Babylon and Judea circa 500 BCE. Prior to the arrival of the Persians, and continuing into the 2nd and the 3rd Centuries, Judaism and Christianity were known to have belief systems based on one or more gods. Thus, monotheism only gradually developed among the Abrahamic religions. Since the monotheistic concept found in the Vedas is much older than the Abrahamic religions, it is only logical to conclude that the latter borrowed their thinking from


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the former. During the interim, the Persians, under the influence of Zoroaster, took the monotheistic philosophy from India and then transmitted it to the Middle Eastern civilizations. Indeed, monotheism has always been the central theme of India’s Vedic literature.









made of bliss, knowledge and

eternity. He is the origin of

all. He is the Master of the cows and the senses. He has

no other origin and He is the

primeval cause of all causes. (Brahma-samhita 5.1)

However, failing to look deeply into the philosophy of the Vedas or possibly being culturally intimidated by the superiority of Vedic knowledge as opposed to western philosophies and religions, Eurocentric academics and fundamental religionists have marginalized the ancient Vedic civilization of India. The German scholar Max Muller propagated further misinformation on this subject in the 19th century with the invention of the Aryan Invasion Theory, stating that Vedic civilization did not originate in India. Yet all this is quite far from the truth. According to Muller, the aryans were a nomadic tribe from Europe who invaded India. Yet there is no evidence that the aryans were nomads. In fact, to suggest that a nomadic tribe of barbarians wrote literature of such profound wisdom as the Vedas defies imagination.

Furthermore, within the Vedas, there is no mention whatsoever of an original homeland, and archeologically there is a complete lack of evidence to prove an invasion ever occurred. It can only be concluded that the aryan people and Vedic knowledge were always indigenous to India. The Vedic knowledge is that Vishnu/Krishna is Supreme and the lesser gods and goddesses such as Brahma, Shiva, Ganesha, Kartikeya, Kali and Sarasvati etc. are


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actually servants of the Supreme Being and are empowered with the duties of managing the universal affairs of material nature. In the above verses Sri Krishna recommends that offerings should be made to the demigods and thus the demigods will be pleased to bestow unto humanity all the necessities of life. This is, in short, a universal law of taxation. In other words, we must give the demigods their dues. It is also intrinsic to the nature of the atma, to perform service and sacrifice. Constitutionally the atma, being part of the organic whole (the Absolute Truth), is duty bound to serve the whole, both in this life and in eternity. When sacrifice or offerings are made to Vishnu such as fruits, vegetables etc. then one’s senses become purified by eating the remnants of such offerings. But if one takes the things of this world without first acknowledging to whom they actually belong, then one simply incurs a karmic reaction. This also includes our daily food that should first be offered to Vishnu/Krishna. It will be explained by Sri Krishna later in Bhagavad-gita that these food offerings should comprise of vegetables, fruits, milk products, flowers etc. Non-vegetarian food items cannot be offered to Vishnu or Krishna – consequently the servants of Vishnu/Krishna are vegetarian. Krishna will also explain that those who serve the Absolute Truth are not duty bound to serve the demigods, nor are they bound by any other social consideration.

When sacrifice or offerings are made to Vishnu such as fruits, vegetables etc. then one’s senses become purified by eating the remnants of such offerings. But if one takes the things of this world without first acknowledging to whom they actually belong, then one simply incurs a karmic reaction. 46

The History of Numbers Part-2

Swami Vishnu

Continued from History of Numbers part -1

Glorification of the Decimal Number System


he Indian numerals and the positional number system were introduced to the Islamic civilization by Al-Khwarizmi, the founder of several branches and basic concepts of mathematics. Al-Khwarizmi’s book on arithmetic synthesized Greek and Indian knowledge and also contained his own fundamental contribution to mathematics and science including an explanation of the use of zero. It was only centuries later, in the 12th century, that the Indian numeral system was introduced to the Western world through Latin translations of his Arithmatic. Michel de Montaigne, Mayor of Bordeaux (France) and one of the most learned men of his day, confessed in 1588 (prior to the widespread adoption of decimal arithmatic in Europe) that in spite of his great education and erudition, “I cannot yet cast account either with penne or counters.” That is, he could not do basic arithmetic.6

Dantzig notes in regards to the discovery of the positional decimal arithmetic, “… it assumes the proportions of a world-event… without it no progress in arithmetic was possible.”7 Pierre-Simon Laplace, the famous 19th century mathematician, explained: “The ingenious method of expressing every possible number using a set of ten symbols (each symbol having a place value and an absolute value) emerged from India. The idea seems so simple nowadays that its significance and profound importance is no longer appreciated. Its simplicity lies in the way it facilitated calculation and places arithmetic foremost amongst useful inventions. The importance of this invention is more readily appreciated when one considers that it was beyond the two greatest men of antiquity, Archimedes and Apollonius.” 8 Ifrah describes the significance of this discovery in these terms: “Now that we can stand back from the story, the birth of our modern number-system seems a colossal event in the history of humanity, as momentous as the mastery of fire, the development of agriculture, or the invention of writing, of the wheel, or of the steam engine.” 9

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Indian mathematicians used their revolutionary number system to advance human knowledge at great speed. The Sthananga Sutra, an Indian religious work from the second century AD, contains detailed operations that involve logarithms to the base 2. Modern texts credit the discovery of logarithms to the Scottish mathematician John Napier, who published his discovery in 1614. Indian knowledge of logarithms thus precedes Napier’s discovery by more than 1,000 years.

Panini’s Systematization of Sanskrit & The Binary Number System Panini’s precise systematization of the Sanskrit language in the 4th or 7th century BCE is widely considered as a forerunner of the Backus Normal Form (discovered by John Backus in 1959), which forms the basis of the current computer language. Panini is recognized as one of the foremost geniuses of ancient India and is credited with the systematization of Sanskrit as a language. Panini’s work was so thorough that no one in the past 2,000 years has been able to improve on it. He codified every aspect of spoken communication, including pronunciation, tones and gestures. NASA scientist Rick Briggs, as part of his NASA research, showed that Sanskrit is the most perfectly suited, unambiguous, language for programming Artificial Intelligence.10

Jain mathematicians (6th-7th century BCE) have the distinction of being a bridge between the Vedic Period in mathematics to the so-called Classical Period. They are also credited with extricating mathematics from religious rituals. The Jains’ fascination with large numbers directly led them to defining infinity into several types. Pingala (300 to 200 BCE), a well-recognized Jain mathematician, although not strictly a mathematician but a musical theorist, is credited with first using the Binary numeral system in the form of short and long syllables, making it similar to Morse code. He and his contemporary Indian scholars used the Sanskrit word śūnya to refer to zero or void. He is also credited with discovering the “Pascal triangle” and the Binominal


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coefficient. Basic concepts of the Fibonacci numbers have also been described by Pingala.

The Binary Number System Discovered in Europe 2,000 Years Later Two thousand years later in 1679, the prominent mathematician, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz, prompted by such huge mistakes as Columbus finding the West Indies in the Americas when in fact he thought he was in Japan, decided to stop human error with a better numerical system. In the process he invented the binary number system which allowed the representation of all numbers with only ones and zeros. A simple diagram illustrates this easily. Our habit is to think in tens, hundreds, thousands, etc. However, the number nine written in binary is 1001. The first column (from the right) counts how many ones, the second, how many twos, then how many fours, eights etc. Thus nine in binary is one eight, no fours, no twos and one one [1001]. This system provides the most efficient way of adding and subtracting numbers and is ideally suited for the computer, although Leibnitz never built the binary machine that he designed at that time. It wasn’t until


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1944, in the midst of World War II that the world’s first binary computer, Colossus, was developed in Blecksly Park, England, utilizing the simple system of electrical currents being either off or on as representing zero or one. In this binary format millions of rapid calculations were made, allowing the Allies to crack the German coded messages with such skill that they often knew the contents of these messages even before Hitler did.

The Decimal Number System Spreads to Muslim Countries Usage of the decimal number system spread to muslim countries where scholars were amazed by its usage and simplicity. By 776 AD the Arab empire was beginning to take shape. The Arabic world, in comparison to Europe, was much more accepting of the Indian system — in fact, the West owes its knowledge of the scheme to Arab scholars. Arabian scholars were always prepared to give Indian scientists credit for their number system. An early Arabian work states that, “We also inherited a treatise on calculation with numbers from the sciences of India, which Abu Djafar Mohammed Ibn Musa al-Charismi developed further. It is the most comprehensive, most practical, and requires the least effort to learn; it testifies for the thorough intellect of the Indians, their creative talent, their superior ability to discriminate and their inventiveness.” 11 On the other hand, the Europeans response to the extraordinary cultural and scientific achievements of India during the British occupation of India, was to postulate the Aryan Invasion Theory — that India’s wondrous heritage came from Europe. Although this theory remains a controversial issue, more recent archaeological, linguistic, genetic and other evidence has effectively shown that there is no substantiation for this Aryan Invasion Theory. The earliest known use of the Indian decimal number system in Europe is in a Sicilian coin of 1134; in Britain the first use is in 1490. Around the middle of the tenth century al-Uqlidisi wrote Kitab al-fusul fi al-hisab al-Hindi which is the earliest surviving book that presents the Indian system. In it alUqlidisi argues that this system is of practical value: “Most arithmeticians are obliged to use it in their work: since it is easy and immediate, requires little memorization, provides quick answers, and demands little thought ... “ 12


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In the fourth part of this book al-Uqlidisi showed how to modify the methods of calculating with Indian symbols, which had required a dust board, to methods which could be carried out with pen and paper. This requirement of a dust board had been an obstacle to the Indian system’s acceptance. For example As-Suli, after praising the Indian system for its great simplicity, wrote in the first half of the tenth century: “Official scribes nevertheless avoid using [the Indian system] because it requires equipment [like a dust board] and they consider that a system that requires nothing but the members of the body is more secure and more fitting to the dignity of a leader.” al-Uqlidisi’s work is therefore important in attempting to remove one of the obstacles to acceptance of the Indian nine symbols. It is also historically important as it is the earliest known text offering a direct treatment of decimal fractions. Another reference to the transmission of Indian numerals is found in the work of alQifti’s Chronology of the scholars written around the end of the 12th century. This publication quotes much earlier sources.13 It was not simply that the Arabs took over the Indian number system. Rather different number systems were used simultaneously in the Arabic world over a long period of time. For example there were at least three different types of arithmetic used in Arab countries in the eleventh century: 1 - A system derived from counting on the fingers with the numerals written entirely in words—this finger-reckoning arithmetic was the system used by the business community 2 - The sexagesimal system with numerals denoted by letters of the Arabic alphabet 3 - The arithmetic of the Indian numerals and fractions with the decimal place-value system.


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Persian author Mohammed ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi wrote a book, often claimed to be the first Arabic text written including the rules of arithmetic for the decimal number system, called Kitab al jabr wa‘l-muqabala (Rules of restoring and equating) dating from about 825 AD.14 Although the original Arabic text is lost, a twelfth century Latin translation, Algoritmi de numero Indorum (in English Al-Khwarizmi on the Hindu Art of Reckoning), gave rise to the word ‘algorithm’ deriving from his name in the title. Furthermore, from the Arabic title of the original book, Kitab al jabr w’al-muqabala, we derive our modern word ‘algebra.’ 15 The imam and emir of the believers, al-Ma’mun, encouraged me to write a concise work on the calculations al-jabr and al-muqabala, confined to a pleasant and interesting art of calculation, which people constantly have need of for their inheritances, their wills, their judgements and their transactions, and in all the things they have to do together, notably, the measurement of land, the digging of canals, geometry and other things of that kind. 16 Al-Khwarizmi developed this numerical system further with quadratic equations, algebra, etc — enabling science, mathematics and astronomy in Islamic countries to dramatically develop. However, on the other side of the Mediterranean, Christian Europe doggedly continued with the awkward Roman numerals for centuries.

The Pope & Fibonacci Try to Introduce the Indian Decimal Number System into Europe It is astonishing how many years passed before the Indian numeral system finally gained full acceptance in the rest of the world. There are indications that it reached southern Europe perhaps as early as 500 CE, but with Europe mired in the Dark Ages, few paid any attention. The first surviving example of the Indian numerals in a document in Europe was, however, long before the time of al-Banna in the fourteenth century. The Indian numerals appear in the Codex Vigilanus copied by a monk in Spain in 976.17


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Significantly, the main part of Europe was not ready at that time to accept new ideas of any kind. Acceptance was slow, even as late as the fifteenth century when European mathematics began its rapid development, which continues today. During this time counting tables were used by “bankers” in medieval Italian cities for exchanging currencies. If they cheated their table would be broken and this banker was then know as rukta or broken (banka-rukta), an early version of the modern word ‘bankrupt.’ That the European monks depicted Indian numerals in a variety of orientations is clear evidence that they did not understand the usefulness of place-value number systems. Calculations in Europe were still made on calculation boards. Among the first uses of the Indian system in Europe was the introduction of Indian numerals for checker board calculations by Gerbert of Aurillac, who became Pope Sylvester II in 999. When he encountered Indian numerals in Arabic manuscripts held in a Spanish monastery he introduced round tokens with Indian numerals to his calculation board. However, this system encountered stiff resistance, in part from accountants who did not want their craft rendered obsolete, to clerics who were aghast to hear that the Pope had traveled to Islamic lands to study this foreign method. Because of this Islamic connection it was widely rumored that he was a sorcerer, and that he had sold his soul to Lucifer during his travels. This accusation persisted until 1648, when papal authorities reopened Sylvester’s tomb to make sure that his body had not been infested by Satanic forces.18 The early Christian world view was largely a product of Aristotelian conceptions, where the Earth was the center of the universe, set in motion by an “unmoved mover,” or God. Because there was no place for a void in this cosmology it followed that


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the concept of zero and everything associated with it was a godless concept. Eastern philosophies however, rooted in ideas of eternal cycles of creation and destruction, had no such qualms. Leonardo of Pisa, also known as Fibonacci, the young son of an Italian diplomat, who is now regarded as one of the greatest mathematicians of all time, discovered the “Arabic numerals” in the port of Bijaya, Algeria. The Indo-Arabic system was re-introduced to Europe by Fibonacci, in his 1202 CE book, Liber Abaci (Book of the Abacus or Book of Calculating), which was a showcase for the Indian numerals, with emphasis on its usage by merchants.19 Although this work persuaded many European mathematicians of the day to use this “new” system, usage of the ten digit positional system remained limited for many years, in part because the scheme continued to be considered “diabolical,” due to the mistaken impression that it originated in the Arab world (in spite of Fibonacci’s clear descriptions of the “nine Indian figures” plus zero).20 Decimal arithmetic began to be widely used by scientists beginning in the 1400s, and was employed, for instance, by Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and Newton, but it was not universally used in European commerce until after the French Revolution in 1793.21 Nicolas Copernicus, said to be the founder of modern astronomy, in his great work De Revolutionibus, published not long before his death in 1543, presented his (at the time) heretical idea that the earth rotated on its axis and traveled around the sun once yearly. This went against the philosophical and religious beliefs that the Catholic Church and all of Europe had held during medieval times.22


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Copernicus never knew the great stir his work caused, but two other renowned Italian scientists, Galileo Galilei and Giordano Bruno, wholeheartedly supported Copernicus’s system and suffered greatly at the hands of the church’s inquisitors for daring to oppose the Church’s views and stultifying authority. Both were tortured extensively, Bruno for daring to go even beyond Copernicus to claim that space was boundless and that the sun was and its planets were but one of any number of similar systems. Bruno, after eight years in chains, was burned at the stake—his life a testimony to the drive for knowledge and truth that marked the incredible period of the Renaissance. The old and frail Galileo was put in prison for the duration of his life. Nearly four hundred years later the Catholic Church grudgingly admitted that Galileo was right. Nor was the usage of this streamlined decimal number system of counting easily accepted in Christian dominated Europe. Florence, Italy, banned the usage of this new number system in 1299 CE. Such attitudes forced the continuing usage of the awkward and difficult Roman numerals. However, use of the calculation board and of the abacus coexisted with the Indian number system for centuries. Because most people in medieval Europe were illiterate (in addition to superstitious) and the Indian calculation method required the writing down of numbers, the abacus remained the preferred tool in commerce and administration. Science, on the other hand, adopted the Indian place-value number system early. Despite many scholars finding calculating with Indian symbols helpful in their work, the business community continued to use their finger arithmetic throughout the tenth century. Abu’lWafa, who was himself an expert in the use of


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Indian numerals, nevertheless wrote a text on how to use finger-reckoning arithmetic since this was the system used by the business community and teaching material aimed at these people had to be written using the appropriate system.23 The parallel use of competing systems for calculation and measurement is not an unusual occurrence. The use of the Fahrenheit temperature scale by the public of the USA and the Celsius temperature scale by the scientists of the USA is another current example. Scientists like Copernicus, Brahe and Kepler understood the superiority of the Indian number system over the Roman numbers and used it for their detailed observations and calculations. Medieval publications demonstrate the use of the Indian method parallel to the use of the abacus and calculation boards during their time. When James Cook in 1776 planned the voyage that brought him to Australia, the financial commitment was comparable to the commitment made by the USA and the USSR to get a man to the moon. Yet the Colonial Office prepared his budget with tokens on a checker board. The use of the abacus or calculation board for administrative purposes continued in Europe until 1791, when the French National Assembly, which was set up through the French Revolution two years earlier, adopted the Indian calculation method for France and banned the use of the abacus from schools and government offices. Government offices in England continued to calculate taxes on calculation boards for another decade. The Catholic Church had always regarded charging interest on loans as sinful but with the Reformation in the late Middle Ages, the church became business friendly, dropping its rejection of capitalism. With this new interest in capitalism and the necessity of calculating interest and compound interest, the old Roman numeral system failed badly and the new system was finally accepted. This also allowed European ships to sail afield once they were able to calculate their position consistently and easily. Finally, the Copernican revolution shook European mathematics free from the shackles of Aristotelian cosmology. RenÊ Descartes in the 17th century invented his cartesian coordinate system of positive and negative numbers with zero at it’s center. This combined algebra and geometry and led the way to calculus and a complete acceptance of the decimal number system in the western world. 24


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Other Scientific Contributions of India Subsequent phases of developments in mathematics are found in Vedic texts, along with ritual practices, as well as in the Puranas. Calculations for the precise building of ritual altars were important, for obvious reasons. Arithmetical principles such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions, cubes, squares and roots were developed during these periods: Narada Vishnu Purana (~1000 BCE). Geometric principles are found in the Sulva Sutras, authored by Baudhayana (800 BCE) and Apasthamba (600 BCE). In 510 CE, the Indian mathematician Aryabhata explicitly described schemes for various arithmetic operations, even including square roots and cube roots — schemes likely known in India earlier than this date. Aryabhata’s actual algorithm for computing square roots is described in greater detail in a 628 CE manuscript by a faithful disciple named Bhaskara I. Additionally, Aryabhata gave a decimal value of pi = 3.1416. Ifrah further confirms that Aryabhata’s works would have been impossible without the usage of zero and the place-value system.25 One of India’s greatest gifts to the world is in the field of mathematics. The adoption of zero and the decimal placevalue system in India unbarred the gates of the mind to rapid progress in arithmetic and algebra. India pioneered almost every field of mathematics, from the numeral system and arithmetical principles of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, to the invention of zero and the notion of infinity, to the power and place value and decimal systems, geometry and many of the theorems traditionally attributed and named after the Greeks or other Europeans. Algebra, trigonometry and even significant parts of calculus were all developed by Indians to a significant degree of finesse, all long before any country or individual that the Europeans have given such credits. This author has taken the liberty of directly quoting from some of the references given here, such as the quotations by some scholars or historians and, when necessary


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actual descriptions of the mathematical notations (rather than paraphrasing them). I am indebted to the original authors for their scholarly writings, without which justice could not have been done in narrating the contributions of Indians in Mathematics through history.

R E F E R E N C E S F O R PA RT I I 6-- Ifrah Ibid, p. 577. 7-- Tobias Dantzig and Joseph Mazur, Number: The Language of Science, Plume, New York, 2007. This is a reprint, with Preface by Mazur, of Dantzig’s book as originally published by MacMillan in 1930. 8-- Hogben, Mathematics for the Million, London, 1942. 9-- Ifrah Ibid, p. 346-347. 10-- Rick Briggs, Roacs, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffet Field, California, Knowledge Representation in Sanskrit and Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence Magazine, Volume 39, Spring 1985. 11-- Woepcke, F., Menoire sur la propagation des chiffres indiens, Journal Asiatique, 6e serie, 1863. 12-- A S Saidan (trs.), The arithmetic of al-Uqlidisi. The story of Hindu-Arabic arithmetic as told in ‘Kitab al-fusul fial-hisab al-Hindi’ Damascus, A.D. 952/3) (Dordrecht-Boston, Mass., 1978). 13-- al-Qifti, Chronology of the Stars, 12th century: 14-- Mohammed ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, Kitab al jabr wa‘l-muqabala (Rules of restoring and equating), 825 AD (original Arabic text is lost).


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15-- Algoritmi de numero Indorum (in English Al-Khwarizmi on the Hindu Art of Reckoning), a twelfth century Latin translation of Kitab al jabr. 16-- Benoît, P. and F. Micheau (1995), The Arab Intermediary. In: M. Serres (editor): A History of Scientific Thought, Elements of a History of Science. Blackwell, Oxford, 191 - 221. (Translation of Éléments d’Histoire des Sciences, Bordas, Paris, 1989) 17-- Codex Vigilanus, Completed by three monks in 976, the Codex Vigilanus is an illuminated compilation of historical documents from the Visigothic period in Spain. 18-- Ifrah Ibid. 19--Liber Abaci, Fibonacci: ASIN/0387954198/fibonacnumbersan, translated by L E Sigler, Springer Verlag (2002), 672 pages, available for the first time in English in 2002 celebrating it’s 800th anniversary, as a translation with notes of Fibonacci’s Liber Abaci (The Book of Calculating) from 1202 but revised in 1228. 20-- David E. Smith, History of Mathematics, Volume 1, (Dover, 1958 reprint of 1923): 21-- Ifrah Ibid, pg. 590. 22-- Nicolaus Copernicus, De Revolutionibus orbium coelestium, 1530. 23-- Abu’l-Wafa, Kitab fi ma yahtaj ilayh al-kuttab wa’l-ummal min ‘ilm alhisab (Book on what Is necessary from the science of arithmetic for scribes and businessmen), between 961 and 976. 24-- Richard Webb, New Scientist, Nothingness: Zero, the number they tried to ban, November 22, 2011: number-they-tried-to-ban.html?page=1 . 25-- Ifrah Ibid, pg. 497-498.


UFOs - Is Anyone Out There? By Swa m i N a ra s i n g h a







re we the only intelligent life in the Universe? Some people would think so, others not. If there is intelligent life on other planets and possibly more intelligent than we, have these intelligent beings visited our planet before? Many people believe they have. UFOs and alien encounters became the stuff of legend in the 20th century. Books, YouTube videos, newspaper articles, journals, websites and Hollywood blockbusters abound on the topic of UFOs and alien encounters. Occasionally a report or sighting of UFOs from the highest levels of government, particularly the military, hits the evening news causing a big stir but then vanishes and is forgotten almost as quickly and mysteriously as the elusive UFO itself. It is sometimes hard to figure out just what this is all about. Are these the tricks of hoaxers out for a good laugh? Could alleged UFO sightings be the delusions of paranoid schizophrenics? Or is the plot more sinister? Are governments hiding the facts about UFOs and alien encounters? What is actually going on? What can we believe regarding the UFO and alien phenomena? Some researchers have pointed to ancient world civilizations such as those in Egypt and Mesoamerica and concluded that aliens definitely visited Earth people in the past and possibly passed on to them a superior technology. When looking at those research materials it seems that the argument for alien visitation is stronger than the evidence itself, which is usually an obscure stone etching found somewhere in an ancient Egyptian temple or Mayan tomb. Of course researchers could be correct in their speculation about tomb carvings but a more compelling evidence of intelligent life in the universe, other than

our own, are the ancient Vedic and Puranic literatures of India. In many instances these literatures clearly state that there is intelligent life on other planets. For example Bhagavad-gita states that Sri Krishna spoke the science of self-realization in a previous time to the ruler of the Sun, Vivasvan. imam vivasvate yogam proktavan aham avyayam vivasvan manave praha manur ikshvakave’bravit I disclosed this imperishable knowledge of yoga unto Vivasvan, ruler of the Sun. He then taught it to Vivasvata Manu, who then instructed the same knowledge to Ikshvaku. (Gita 4.1) Similarly, the Bhagavata Purana records the following: deva-dvisham nigama-vartmani nishthitanam purbhir mayena vihitabhir adrishya-turbhih lokan ghnatam mati-vimoham atipralobham vesham vidhaya bahu bhashyata aupadharmyam When the atheists, after being well versed in the Vedic scientific knowledge, annihilate inhabitants of different planets, flying unseen in the sky on well-built rockets prepared by the great scientist Maya, the Lord will bewilder their minds by dressing Himself attractively as Buddha and will preach on sub-religious principles. (Bhagavata Purana 2.7.37) The renowned Indian scholar and acharya Jiva Goswami, while commentating on this verse, has stated that this incident of Buddha is not the same as the Buddha in our historical context but a Buddha from another Kali-yuga. However, it is important to note from this verse of the Bhagavata that intelligent life from other planets may travel to various planets in space ships that are invisible to the naked eye. Could the same be a clue to the UFO phenomena today?


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In Vedic cosmology there are higher and lower planets in the universe, the higher planets being inhabited by pious intelligent life and the lower planets being inhabited by atheistic intelligent life. The atheists are known in the Vedic literature more for their destructive and evil tendencies than for their humanistic and philanthropic tendencies. This is stated in Bhagavad-gita as follows: etam dristim avastabhya nastatmano’lpa buddhayah prabhavanty-ugra-karmanah kshayaya jagato’hitah

Atheists with deprived and small intelligence flourish and engage in malicious activities for the destruction of the world. (Gita 16:9)

The atheists become expert in yantras or the science of machines where as the devas [intelligent life from higher planets] are expert in mantra and do not need the assistance of machines such as fire combustible engines or even electrical ones to move about from planet to planet. Nor are they destructive and violent wherever they go. tara-hema-maharatna-vimana-shata-sankulam jushtam punyajan a-stribhir yatha kham satadid-ghanam The airplanes (vimanas) of the celestial beings are bedecked with pearls, gold and many valuable jewels. The celestial beings are compared to clouds in the sky decorated with occasional flashes of lightning. (Bhagavat Purana 4.6.27) To continue stating Vedic literature as evidence of interplanetary travel and intelligent life on other planets would turn this article into a sizable book — so let us suffice to say that from the Vedic point of view, intelligent life exists on other planets and may have the technology for interplanetary travel either thru yantras or mantras. That said of the ancient references, what are the most reliable references that we can find today to support the existence or UFOs and alien intelligence? From my research I found that the most profound UFO event in modern times was that of a supposed UFO crash in which alien bodies were reportedly recovered near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.


On July 8, 1947, the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) public information officer Walter Haut in Roswell, New Mexico, issued a press release stating that personnel from the field’s 509th Bomb Group had recovered a crashed “flying disk” from a ranch near Roswell, sparking intense media interest. The following day, the press reported that the Commanding General of the Eighth Air Force (Roger M. Ramey) stated that, in fact, a radar-tracking balloon had been recovered by the RAAF personnel and not a “flying disc.” The Roswell incident was quickly forgotten and almost completely ignored, even by UFO researchers, for more than 30 years. Then, in 1978, physicist and ufologist Stanton T. Friedman interviewed Major Jesse Marcel who was involved with the original recovery of the debris in 1947. Marcel expressed his belief that the military had covered up the recovery of an alien spacecraft. His story spread through UFO circles, being featured in some UFO documentaries at the time. In February 1980, The National Enquirer ran its own interview with Marcel, garnering national and worldwide attention for the Roswell incident. Additional witnesses added significant new details, including claims of a huge military operation dedicated to recovering alien craft and aliens themselves, at as many as 11 crash sites, and alleged witness intimidation. In 1989, former mortician Glenn Dennis put forth a detailed personal account, wherein he claimed that alien autopsies were carried out at the Roswell base.


Reports of the Roswell crash varied from the crash simply being that of a high altitude weather balloon, to the crash being that of an alien space ship in which bodies of dead aliens were recovered. What followed for decades was a flurry of information, misinformation, disinformation, books, testimonies and Hollywood movies. In the end, although many people in the UFO community believed the crash was that of an alien flying saucer and that the government was covering it up, most thoughtful people were simply left scratching their heads or just wrote the incident off as per the RAAF version. The Roswell incident was 65 years ago and although certainly one with many intrigues it was trumped in 2004 when the Mexican Department of Defense acknowledged a profound UFO sighting. The sighting was a high level incident in which a Mexican Air Force plane and its crew were involved in a situation with several UFOs while doing routine surveillance in an anti-drug operation. When details including video and radar tracking data were release to the mainstream media by the Mexican Department of Defense confirming the existence of UFOs the doubts of many were swept away. Yet the skeptics remain. Another astonishing support which I came across for the existence of UFOs in modern times and to support the allegations that the American government suppresses and hides such information from the public comes none other than from the American astronaut Edgar Mitchell who during the Apollo 14 mission became the sixth human being to walk on the Moon.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

Mitchell has publicly expressed his opinions that he is “90 percent sure that many of the thousands of UFOs recorded since the 1940s, belong to visitors from other planets” and that UFOs have been the “subject of disinformation in order to deflect attention and to create confusion so the truth doesn’t come out”. This is quite a statement especially coming from a man who was an American astronaut, who walked on the Moon and who holds science degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Carnegie Institute of Technology and the U.S Naval Postgraduate School. Indeed, an impressive set of credentials. Dateline NBC conducted an interview with Mitchell in 1996, during which Mitchell discussed meeting with officials from three countries who claimed to have had personal encounters with extraterrestrials. He offered his opinion that the evidence for such “alien” contact was “very strong” and “classified” by governments, who were covering up visitations and the existence of alien beings’ bodies in places such as Roswell, New Mexico. He further claimed that recovered UFOs had provided “sonic engineering secrets” that were helpful to the U.S. government. In 2004 Mitchell told the St. Petersburg Times that a “cabal of insiders” in the U.S. government were studying recovered alien bodies, and that this group had stopped briefing U.S. presidents after John F. Kennedy. Mitchell stated, “We all know that UFOs are real; now the question is, where do they come from?” In 2008 Mitchell was interviewed on Kerrang Radio. Mitchell claimed the Roswell crash was real and that aliens have contacted humans several times, but that governments have hidden the truth for 60 years. He stated “I happen to have been privileged enough to be in on the fact that we’ve been visited on this planet, and the UFO phenomenon is real.” In reply, a spokesman for NASA stated, “NASA does not track UFOs. NASA is not involved in any sort of cover up about alien life on this planet or anywhere in the universe. Dr. Mitchell is a great American, but we do not share his opinions on this issue.” In an interview with Fox News of that same year Mitchell clarified that his comments did not involve NASA, but quoted unnamed sources, since deceased, at Roswell who confided to him that the Roswell incident did involve an alien craft. Mitchell


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

also claims to have subsequently received similar confirmation from an unnamed intelligence officer at the Pentagon. If one does a Google search for UFOs one will receive approximately 4,120,000 returns — many of those are affirmative. As Edgar Mitchell has said, “We all know that UFOs are real; now the question is, where do they come from?” For many people there is hope that these aliens from another world come to us in peace with greater knowledge than our own but from the Vedic point of view it would be expected that the supposed alien visits to our planet in flying saucers are from lower not higher planets and thus would be more apt to be hostile than friendly or benevolent. Not to sound the alarm, but such malevolent visitors have been here before.



n Star Wars, the bars are bustling with all types of alien creatures. And then, of course, there’s ET and the Cone-heads. Both renowned physicist Stephen Hawking and the late astronomer Carl Sagan believed that mathematics make the existence of aliens very likely. In fact, Hawking thinks they might raid Earth’s resources, take our ores, and then move on like pirates. “I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach.” For years, NASA and others have been searching for extraterrestrial intelligence. The universe is 13.7 billion years old and contains some 10 billion trillion stars. Surely, in this lapse of suns, advanced life would have evolved if it were possible. Yet despite half a century of scanning the sky, astronomers have failed to find


Where Are All the Aliens? Why NASA and SETI haven’t found extraterrestrial life

by Ro b e r t La n z a , M . D . any evidence of life or to pick up any of the interstellar radio signals that our great antennas should be able to easily detect. So where are they? Some scientists point to the “Fermi Paradox” noting that extraterrestrials should have had plenty of time to colonize the entire galaxy but that perhaps they’ve blown themselves up. It’s conceivable the problem is more fundamental and that the answer has to do with the evolutionary course of life itself. Look at the plants in your backyard. What are they but a stem with roots and leaves bringing nutrients to the organism? After billions of years of evolution, it was inevitable life would acquire the ability to locomote, to hunt and see, to protect itself from competitors. Observe the ants in the woodpile—they can engage in combat just as resolutely as humans. Our guns and ICBM are merely the mandibles of a cleverer ant. But what’s the next step in the evolution of life? According to all our science fiction novels,


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

our destiny is to journey to Mars and beyond. Yet as we build our spacecraft, we’re about to be broadsided—from a different direction—by the most explosive event in history. But it won’t be rockets that take us to the next step. Sometime in the future, science will be able to create realities that we can’t even begin to imagine. As we evolve, we’ll be able to construct other information systems that correspond to other realities, universes based on logic completely different from ours and not based on space and time. Over 200 years ago, Immanuel Kant declared that space and time were real, but only indeed as properties of the mind. These algorithms are not only the key to consciousness, but why space and time - indeed the properties of matter itself—are relative to the observer. Biocentrism tells us that space and time may not be the only tools that can be used to construct reality. At present, our destiny is to live and die in the everyday world of up and down. But what if, for example, we changed the algorithms so that instead of time being linear, it was 3-dimensional like space? Consciousness would move through the multiverse. We’d be able to walk through time just like we walk through space. And after creeping along for 4 billion years, life would finally figure out how to escape from its corporeal cage. Our destiny would lie in realities that exist outside of the known physical universe. Like breathing, we take for granted how our mind puts everything together. I often wake up from dreams that are as real as everyday life. For instance, in one dream, I remember looking out over a crowded port with people in the foreground. Further out, there were ships engaged in battle. Although I was in bed with my eyes closed, I was able to run and move my arms and fingers. My mind had somehow created a fully functioning body and placed it in a virtual world (replete with clouds in the sky) that was indistinguishable from the one I’m in right now. I could even feel the pebbles under my feet, merging this 3D world with my “inner” sensations. Life as we know it is defined by this spatial-temporal logic, which traps us in the universe we know. But like my dream, quantum theory confirms that the properties of particles in the “real” world are also observer-determined. Other information systems surely exist that correspond to other physical realities. In fact, the simplest invertebrates may only experience existence in one dimension of space. Evolutionary biology suggests life has progressed from a one-dimensional reality, to two dimensions to three dimensions, and there’s no scientific reason to think that the evolution of life stops there.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

Perhaps across space, more advanced intelligences have taken the next evolutionary step. Perhaps they’ve evolved beyond the three dimensions we vertebrates know. Such advanced civilizations would certainly have changed the algorithms so that instead of being trapped in the linear dimensions we find ourselves in, their consciousness moves through the multiverse and beyond. Why would Aliens build massive ships and spend thousands of years to colonize planetary systems (most of which are probably useless and barren), when they could simply tinker with the algorithms and get whatever they want? Life on Earth is just beginning to send its shoots upward into the heavens. We’ve even flung a piece of metal outside the solar system. Affixed to the spacecraft is a record with greetings in 60 languages. One can’t but wonder whether some advanced civilization will come upon it. Or will it just drift across the gulf of space? To me the answer is clear. But in case I’m wrong, I have a pitch-fork guarding the ore in my backyard.


Why Do You Exist? For over 300,000 years we’ve looked to the sky and gods for answers. We invented fire, landed on the moon, and even flung a piece of metal outside the solar system. But despite the development of super-proton-antiproton-synchrotrons, and now, superconducting-supercolliders that contain enough niobiumtitanium wire to circle the earth sixteen times, we have no more of an understanding of why we exist than the first thinkers of civilized consciousness. Where did it all come from? Why are we here?

by Ro b e r t La n z a , M . D . i n B i o c e n t r i s m

G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e


e’re like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” who went on a long journey in search of the Wizard to get back home, only to find the answer was inside her all along. The farther we peer into space, the more we realize that the secret of life and existence can’t be found by inspecting spiral galaxies or watching distant supernovas. It lies deeper. It involves our very selves. We’ve looked at the world for so long that we no longer challenge its reality. Here is the Universe: our sense organs perceive atoms and galaxies to some 14 billion lightyears, although we can’t see with the eye of reason, that the world is for us merely a bundle of sensations unified by laws which exist in our understanding. We can’t see the laws that uphold the world; and that if they be removed, the trees and the mountains, indeed the whole Universe, would collapse to nothing. “We are too content with our sense organs,” Loren Eiseley once said. “It’s no longer enough to see as a man sees — even to the ends of the universe.” Our radio telescopes and supercolliders merely extend the perceptions of our mind. We see the finished work only. In this world, only an act of observation can confer shape and form to reality — to a dandelion in a meadow, or a seedpod, or the sun or wind or rain. Anyway, it’s impressive, and your cat or dog can do it, too. And perhaps even the spider, there on her web, moored outside my window. We’re more than we’ve been taught in biology class. We’re not just a collection of atoms — proteins and molecules — spinning like planets around the sun. It’s true that the laws of chemistry can tackle the rudimentary biology of living systems, and as a medical doctor I can recite in detail the chemical foundations and cellular organization of animal cells: oxidation, biophysical metabolism, all the carbohydrates, lipids and amino acid patterns. But there’s more to us than the sum of our biochemical functions. A full understanding of life can’t be found only by looking at cells and molecules. Conversely, physical existence can’t be divorced from the animal life and structures that coordinate sense perception and experience (even if these, too, have a physical correlate in our consciousness). It seems likely that we’re the center of our own sphere of physical reality, connected to the rest of life not only by being alive at the same moment in the Earth’s 4.5 billion year history, but by something suggestive — a pattern that’s a template for existence itself.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

Science has failed to recognize those properties of life that make it fundamental to our existence. This view of the world in which life and consciousness are bottom-line in understanding the larger universe — biocentrism — revolves around the way our consciousness relates to a physical process. It’s a vast mystery that I’ve pursued my entire life with a lot of help along the way, standing on the shoulders of some of the most lauded minds of the modern age. I’ve also come to conclusions that would shock my predecessors, placing biology above the other sciences in an attempt to find the theory of everything that has evaded other disciplines. We’re taught since childhood that the universe can be fundamentally divided into two entities — ourselves, and that which is outside of us. This seems logical. “Self ” is commonly defined by what we can control. We can move our fingers but I can’t wiggle your toes. The dichotomy is based largely on manipulation, even if basic biology tells us we’ve no more control over most of the trillions of cells in our body than over a rock or a tree. Consider everything that you see around you right now — this page, for example, or your hands and fingers. Language and custom say that it all lies outside us in the external world. Yet we can’t see anything through the vault of bone that surrounds our brain. Everything you see and experience — your body, the trees and sky — are part of an active process occurring in your mind. You are this process, not just that tiny part you control with motor neurons. According to biocentrism, you’re not an object — you’re your consciousness. You’re a unified being, not just your wriggling arm or foot, but part of a larger equation that includes all the colors, sensations and objects you perceive. If you divorce one side of the equation from the other you cease to exist. Indeed, experiments confirm that particles only exist with real properties if they’re observed. As the great physicist John Wheeler (who coined the word “black hole”) said, “No phenomenon is a real phenomenon until it is an observed phenomenon.” That’s why in real experiments, the properties of matter - and space and time themselves — depend on the observer. Your consciousness isn’t just part of the equation — the equation is you. Even Steven Weinberg, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979, concedes in his book Dreams of a Final Theory that there’s a problem with consciousness, and despite the power of physical theory, the existence of consciousness doesn’t seem derivable from physical laws.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

“It will remain remarkable,” said Nobel physicist Eugene Wigner, who helped lay the foundations for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics “in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the conclusion that the content of the consciousness is an ultimate reality.” The answer to life and the universe can’t be found by looking through a telescope or examining the finches of the Galapagos. It lies much deeper. Our consciousness is why they exist. It unifies the thinking and extended worlds into a coherent experience and animates the music that creates our emotions and purposes — the good and the bad, wars and love. It doesn’t load the dice for you to play the game of life. True, there’s pain and strife everywhere. But as Will Durant pointed out, we need to see “behind the strife, the friendly aid of neighbors, the rollicking joy of children and young men, the dances of vivacious girls, the willing sacrifices of parents and lovers, the patient bounty of the soil, and the renaissance of spring.” In whatever form it takes, life sings because it has a song. The meaning is in the lyrics.

Science has failed to recognize those properties of life that make it fundamental to our existence


The Colour of A

sk any person in India what is the colour of renunciation and they will invariably answer ‘saffron’. Saffron is a colour signifying sacrifice, piety and all things sacred. It is a colour that is worn by sannyasis of every sampradaya - Hindus wear it, Buddhists wear it and Sikhs wear it. It is also prominently included in the tricolour Indian flag, indicating how the leaders of the country must be indifferent to material gain and work diligently for the benefit of others. But is saffron really the colour of renunciation? The word ‘saffron’ comes from the Old French safran, based on the Arabic word zafaran. The saffron plant is known as the Saffron Crocus and each flower has three red stigmas that are plucked and dried. These dried stigmas are used as a spice in cooking, for perfumes and for medical preparations. Saffron was also used as a colouring agent for almost 3000 years throughout Central Asia.

Renunciation By




However, cloth that is dyed with saffron becomes bright yellow, and yellow is not the colour of the garments worn by sannyasis. Thus, saffron is actually a misnomer for the colour of renunciates. So what colour did sannyasis wear in Vedic times? What was the name of that colour and how was it made? If we look in the Vedic dharma-shastras we find an abundance of references that refer to the colour of the sannyasa-ashrama. In Sanskrit the word used for the colour of a sannyasi’s robe is kashaya. stutva hamsam suktairmano vaishnava-paurushaih mundah shikhi va kashayi patri dandi grihad-vrajet After chanting the Vishnu-sukta and Purusha-sukta in the mind, let him depart from home dressed in kashaya, carrying a bowl and a staff, and with his head completely shaved or wearing a shikha (Kratu) sarvarambhan-utsrjya tridanda-kundika pakshma-pavitra-prayojanapekshi mundah kashaya-vasa bhaiksha-vrittir Abandoning all household rituals, he relies upon the use of a tridanda, a water pot, a sacred thread, a water strainer, shaves his head, wears cloth the colour of kashaya and subsists on begging. (Sankhayana and Likhita) kashaya mundi tridanda kamandalu patra pavitra paduka-asana kantha matra The articles consist of kashaya cloth, a shaven head, a tridanda, a water pot, a bowl, a water strainer, a pair of shoes, a seat and a shawl. (Angiras)


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

tatra kutichaka nama putradibhih kutim karayitva kama-krodha-lobha-mohamada-matsaryadin-parityaja vidhivat-sannyasam kritva tridanda jala-pavitra kashaya-vastra-dharanih Those sannyasis known as kuticaka are those who request their sons to build them a cottage; they give up lust, anger, greed, illusion, madness and envy etc. They renounce the world thus and carry a tridanda, a water-strainer and wear cloth dyed the colour of kashaya. (Parasara) bahudaka-nama tridanda kamandalu pakshma-pavitra shikya kashaya-vastra dharino The sannyasis known as bahudakas carry a tridanda, a kamandalu, a waterstrainer made of fine cotton, a shoulder bag and they wear kashaya cloth. (Parasara) tridandam jala-pavitram shikyam patram kaupinam kashaya-vastram agnisamnidhau samsadhyanagninamagnyut-padanam ekagni-vidya neneti He should place the tridanda, water-strainer, shoulder bag, bowl and kashaya cloth in front of the sacred fire. A man without a sacred fire should set one up. (Katyayana) kashayam eva karpasam vasam kantham ca dharayet valkalam vajinam vapi kausham shanamayam tu va The sannyasi should wear a shawl, kashaya cloth, tree-bark, deerskin, kushagrass of hemp. (Likhita) We also find references in the Upanishads: atha bahudaka nama tridanda kamandalu shikha yajnopavita kashaya-vastra dharino The bahudaka sannyasis carry a tridanda, a kamandalu, they maintain their shikha and sacred thread and kashaya cloth. (Bhikshukopanishad 3)


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

kashaya-vasah satatam dhyana-yoga-parayanah gramante vriksha-mule va vase devalaye ‘pi va Wearing kashaya cloth, and devoted to yoga and meditation, the sannyasi may take shelter at the outskirts of a village, the shade of a tree or even in a temple. (Narada-Parivrajaka Upanishad 5.34) The Puranas also state: shikhi yajnopaviti syat tridandi sa-kamanduluh sa pavitras ca kashayi gayatrin ca japet sada

A tridandi-sannyasi keeps his shikha as well as his sacred thread after renunciation, He also carries a kamandalu. He wears cloth, the colour of kashaya and remaining fixed in purity, he chants the gayatri mantra and always chants japa. (Skanda Purana, Suta Samhita) According to various Sanskrit dictionaries, kashaya is a red-brown hue - very different to the pink, peach and orange dyes that we see Vaishnavas wearing nowadays. The Sri Vaishnava acharya, Yadava Prakasha, in his famous work Yati-dharma Samucchaya, explains how the colour kashaya is produced: yadyapi kashayam ityavisesheshenoktam tathapi gairikakhya dhatuna ratktam kartavyam. Even though the word kashaya is used (in the Dharma-shastras) without further detail, one should dye the cloth with the red mineral known as gairika. (Yati-dharma Samucchaya 8.64) The Dattatreya-samhita also explains: mokshashrame smritam vastram raktam gairika-dhatuna The smrti prescribes a cloth dyed with the mineral known as gairika for those who are in the order of life devoted to liberation.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

Gairika (Hindi: geru) is known in English as Red Ochre or Iron Oxide (Fe203). It is a natural non-toxic mineral pigment found with other iron-titanium oxide minerals. We find in the works of the Vaishnava acharyas that gairika is used to decorate Sri Krishna. One of the names of Krishna found in the RadhaKrishna Sahasranama Stotram is Gairika-chitrita-vapu -Â One whose body is decorated with designs made from gairika. Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura writes in his Vraja-riti-chintamani: yad-dhavato gairika-hinguladya manahshilakhya haritala mukhyah ati-priyah shyama-sharira-shobha lobhaya kurvanti vidhu-priyanam The minerals such as gairika, kum-kum, yellow arsenic and red arsenic found on Govardhana Hill are all very dear to Sri Shyamasundara as they decorate His body for the pleasure of His beloved Gopis. (VRC. 3.5) The Vaishnava poet Govinda Dasa also sings: girika gairika goraja gorocana gandha garabhita vesha Krishna is decorated with gairika, gorocana, anointed with sweet perfumes and dressed in graceful garments.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

Gairika has been used by various cultures throughout the worldÂ

Artists in Ellora and Ajanta used gairika as paint.

The Picts and Celts used gairika to paint themselves before going into war.

Neanderthals used Gairika in death-rites 200,000 years ago.

In Germania (Ancient Germany), gairika was used to redden carved runes in order to instill life into them.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e


The North American Indians applied gairika to their bodies – hence the first European settlers referred to them as ‘Red Indians’.

Women of the Himba tribe in Nambia use gairika to decorate their bodies and hair.

In Chinese medicine gairika was used to calm the liver and cool the blood.

The Maoris of New Zealand used gairika extensively as war paint, for painting their canoes and as an insect repellant.

G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

In Ancient Egypt gairika was used as rouge and lip gloss for women.

Gairika has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for enhancing red blood cells and curing anemia.

Cro-Magnons used gairika in wall paintings in Southern Europe 32,000 years ago.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

In the ancient Mediterranean world, gairika was the most commonly used material for painting walls. It was also used for painting many murals and frescos.

Medieval and Renaissance frescos such as the one painted by Giorgio Vasari on the walls of the Hall of 500 in Florence were made mainly by earth pigments, such as gairika.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

From this we can see that gairika was one of the earliest natural pigments used by mankind. Today, most textile manufacturers use chemical dyes to color their products. This is because it is much easier, faster and the range of colours one can create is much broader. Synthetic dyes also last longer than natural dye. However, the downside is that many chemical dyes are harmful to the environment and poisonous. Prominent cloth dyes such as Dioxin, Azo III A1 and A2 and Formaldehyde can be absorbed through the skin and act as carcinogens. When Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura inaugurated his preaching mission, Sri Gaudiya Matha, his sannyasis and brahmacharis used gairika to dye their cloth. Nowadays however, gairika has gone out of vogue and synthetic dyes of all different shades and colours have become the norm for renunciates of all Vaishnava societies. Renunciation means simplicity and what could be simpler than using natural minerals provided by Mother Nature herself as opposed to artificial chemicals?



Trail Biking




sa satko

Star of David


Star of Gol




The Star of David ( in Hebrew, the Magen David or Shield of David) is renowned as the sacred symbol of the Jewish faith. Indeed, the Star of David is the distinguishing feature on the Israeli flag and as an ornament of jewellry the Star of David is proudly worn by millions of devout Jews worldwide. Yes, the Star of David is purely Jewish. Or is it? Recently, while visiting the holy city of Jerusalem, I purchased a silver pendant of the “Star of David” from a local shopkeeper and when I put it around my neck I was asked: “Why are you wearing a Jewish symbol?” To this I replied: ”This is Sat-kona, the symbol of Goloka, the abode of Krishna.”

Swami B.G. Narasingha

G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e


his article is about the origins of Sat-kona (the Star of Goloka or Goloka-yantra), its transcendental significance, its historical use in Vedic and other ancient cultures, its use in Christianity and Islam, and its eventual adoption by the Jewish faith in the 17th century as a popular symbol of Judaism. Symbols have long been a part of the histories of the world's great civilizations and Satkona is no exception. Before it appeared in the west, from the most ancient of times to the present day, Sat-kona has been at the heart of spirituality in India. The Sat-kona (the six pointed star with a hexagram within, defining sacred space), is constructed by joining two perfect triangles — one pointing upward signifying Purusha and the other pointing downward signifying Prakrti. It is the oldest spiritual symbol known to the world. Sat-kona has been around since the beginning of the universe. We do not expect to find any archaeological evidence to support this statement, however, from shastra, Vedic literature, the evidence is there.

In the oldest known Vedic literature, Sri Brahma-samhita (in that it has been attributed to Lord Brahma and composed shortly after creation), the Sat-kona is mentioned in a description of the supreme abode of Goloka, the abode of Krishna. karnikaram mahad-yantram sat-konam vajra-kilakam sadanga-satpadi-sthanam prakritya purushena ca premananda-mahananda-rasenavasthitam hi vat The center of the divine lotus is the core — Krishna’s residence. It is presided over by the Predominated and Predominating Moiety. It is mapped as a hexagonal mystic symbol (sat-konam). Like a diamond, the effulgent Supreme Entity of Krishna, the Fountainhead of all divine potencies, presides as the central pivot. The great mantra of eighteen syllables (Gopala-mantra), which is formed of six integral parts, is manifest as a hexagonal place with six-fold divisions. (Sri Brahma-samhita 5.3) tat-kinjalkam tad-amsanam tat-patrani sriyam api The core of that eternal holy abode which is called Gokula is the hexagonal land of Krishna’s abode. The stamens or petals are the residences of the cowherds or Gopas, who are Krishna’s own, His dear most friends and high


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

loving devotees that are a part of His own self. Those abodes appear like many walls, all beautifully effulgent. The extensive foliage of that lotus constitutes the sub-forests that are the abodes of the loving damsels of Krishna, headed by Sri Radhika. (Sri Brahma-samhita 5.4) In the practice of devotion (krishna-bhakti) three important items are given to the devotee to help him/her realize the Supreme Reality, i.e. mantra, yantra and Sri Murti. Mantra is the sound representation of the Supreme Reality, yantra is the mechanized or symbolic representation of the mantra and the Sri Murti is the three dimensional (personal) form of the mantra made manifest to the senses of the devotee to receive his or her service. Overall, in contemporary Gaudiya Vaisnavism, yantras are no longer in vogue as they were in olden times. Preference has been given to Sri Murti who is worshiped with the appropriate or corresponding mantras. Although yantras are for the most part no longer in use amongst Gaudiyas, this was not always the case. In bygone days all branches of Vaishnavism were frequently found to use yantras in their daily worship and meditation. The description given in the purports of Brahma-samhita says that the Gopala-mantra (klim krishnaya govindaya gopijana-vallabhaya svaha) manifests as the six sides of the hexagonal figure (Krishnaya, Govindaya, Gopijana, Vallabhaya, Sva and Ha) and that the bija (klim) is the central pivot. Sat-kona is set up in such a way that those who attend the yantra by meditation and who are deeply aspiring to enter into Krishna’s divine pastimes must first realize six objectives of the mantra, i.e. 1) the intrinsic form of Krishna (Krishnaya), 2) the intrinsic form of Krishna’s pastimes in Vraja (Govindaya), 3) the intrinsic form of Krishna’s intimate attendants, the Gopis (Gopijana), 4) the intrinsic form of full selfsurrender unto Krishna, in the wake of those who are Krishna’s beloved (Vallabhaya), 5) the pure soul’s intrinsic form of divine cognition (Sva), and 6) the intrinsic nature of the soul to render transcendental loving service unto Krishna (Ha).


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

One who by virtue of being well established in such realizations of the mantra attains firmness (nistha) in the soul’s engagement of divine service (abhidheya) and ultimately achieves the supreme goal of life (prayojana) by being engaged in spontaneous transcendental loving service to Krishna in the ego of a maidservant of Srimati Radharani. At the stage of practice (sadhana), by the grace of the mantra assisted by Sat-kona, the manifest pastimes of Krishna in Gokula may appear in the heart of a devotee. And at the stage of perfection (siddhi) a devotee may realize the unmanifest pastimes of Krishna in Goloka. At the beginning of the 20th century the great Gaudiya Vaishnava acarya, Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was inspired by the descriptions of Krishna’ supreme abode in Brahma-samhita and thus incorporated the Sat-kona into the Gaudiya Matha logo. Indeed the logo of the Gaudiya Matha is in itself a Vaishnava yantra.

At the center of the hexagonal in the Gaudiya Matha logo, Sarasvati Thakura placed the bija-mantra Om (in place of klim) along with nama. In the six points (sat) of the Sat-kona he placed the six opulences, i.e. fame (yasa), beauty (sri), knowledge (jnana), renunciation (vairagya), wealth (aisvarya) and strength (virya).


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

In line with the purports of Bhaktivinoda Thakura in Brahma-samhita, Bhaktisiddhanta inserted Om in place of Klim to show that Klim and Om are non-different. Sahajiyas, and others of his time were of the habit of neglecting mantras such as Om and Brahmagayatri, whereas Bhaktisiddhanta was of the practice to show how everything in its deeper meaning is related to Krishna. Bhaktivinoda’s purport states as follows: The Gopala-tapaniya Upanisad states, tasmad omkara-sambhuto gopalo visvasambhavah, klim omkarasya caikatvam pathyate brahma-vadibhih. Omkara means Gopala, who is both Potency and the Potent, and Klim means Omkara. Therefore, Klim or the primary desire seed (kama-bija) expresses the transcendental reality of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna. (Sri Brahma-samhita, purport, Verse 4) Furthermore, Sarasvati Thakura used the Sat-kona yantra as the floor plan for the temple of Sri Sri Guru-Gauranga-Gandharvika-Giridhari at Sri Caitanya Matha in Mayapura. In the Vaishnava canon we find mention of numerous yantras such as the Visnuyantra, Laksmi-yantra, Gopala-yantra, Radha-yantra, Sudarsana-yantra and Gayatriyantra, etc.

Vishnu Yantra

Lakshmi Yantra

Gopala Yantra


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Radha Yantra

Sudarshana Yantra

Gayatri Yantra

The following is a verse in praise of Sudarshana from Sri Vaishnava pancharatrika texts mentioning Sat-kona:

sankham chakram chapam parasumasimisum shula pashankushastram bhibhranam vajrakhedau hala mushalagada kuntam atyugra dhamstram jvala kesham tri-netram jvalad anala-nibham hara-keyura bhusham dhyayet sad-kona samastham sakala ripu jana prana samhara chakram

O great Chakra, remove the life of all our enemies. I meditate upon You, residing in the middle of the Sat-kona holding conch, chakra, bow, axe, sword, trident, noose, goad, missile, thunderbolt, plough, pestle and mace. You have terrible fangs, fiery hair, three eyes and you have the intensity of a raging inferno and You are adorned with ornaments and necklaces.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

The above-mentioned yantras are today mostly used by orthodox sections of Vaishnavas in India (Sri Vaishnavas and Madhvas) and are more or less ornamental, rather than functional, in the daily sadhana of Gaudiya Vaishnavas. But in due course these yantras may again find their way back into more popular usage.

Buddhist Yantra

Jain Yantra

Hindus, Jains, Tantrics, Smartas, Mayavadis, Shaktas, Shaivaites and Buddhist sects in India, Nepal, China, Tibet, Sri Lanka and other countries in Asia use and have used the symbol of Sat-kona throughout the ages. Tracing the Sat-kona through history has been an interesting research project. It was not possible for us to find all the places or cultures across the ages that employed the Sat-kona in their symbolism. Nonetheless, it became evident that Sat-kona had enjoyed a most extensive use both in the ancient and modern world — from the temples of India, to the Ring of Solomon, from the Carthaginians, to the Greeks, Romans, Christians (Catholic, Orthodox and Coptic), Muslims and Medieval Alchemists.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

Indeed, all the examples of Sat-kona that we turned up in our research were not necessarily of a particular religious or spiritual significance and could easily be seen as simply ornamental, such as some of those used in Roman mosaics, etc. Some of the more interesting specimens of the Sat-kona that we did discover are as follows:

Sumeria In the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin there are several cylinder seals, dated to c. 2500 BCE, decorated with celestial symbols showing stars with six, seven, eight and more points. These stars appear there in an astrological context or in an astronomical context. Among them there is a circle surrounded by six triangles, which are like the Sat-kona.

Assyria A Sat-kona can be found on the ‘Black Obelisk’ of Shalamaneser III in Iraq. This obelisk was erected in the Assyrian city of Nimrud as a public monument in 825 BCE at a time of civil war. In one of the panels on the monument there is a six-pointed star with a hexagram above King Jehu’s head.

Minos In the Heraklion Museum in Crete there is the ancient Phaestos Disc made from fired clay. The disc has many carvings. One of the carvings is a circle with six dots in the shape of Sat-kona with a seventh dot in the center. Although at a glance the arrangements do not jump out at us as a Sat-kona, still scholars assure us that it is. This disc dates back to 1700 BCE.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

Carthage Coins have been discovered in Carthage (modern day Tunisia in North Africa) bearing the Satkona insignia. These Phoenician coins date back to the 5th Century BCE.

Japan The Kagome Crest can be found in some of oldest Shinto shrines in Japan dating back to the 5th Century BCE. At the Ise Grand Shrine that was built for the Imperial House of Japan, a symbol resembling the Sat-kona is carved on all the lamps along the approaches to the shrine.

Greece In the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York there is a Greek Terracotta Drinking Cup, which is dated to ca. 560 BCE. This cup shows Hercules fighting an Amazon. In the middle is a six-pointed star. Aside from the inner hexagram, the stylized composition imitates Sat-kona when lines are drawn between: arms, toes, heads and knees.


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Sri Lanka A Sat-kona yantra was found at Kataragama in Srilanka, a famous pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists. The carving dates back to the 3rd Century BCE. This carving with a Tamil ‘Om’ in the center is found in the Museum für Völkerkunde, Basel.


Several Stars of David (Sat-kona) of great antiquity have been found in Israel but all of them date back to before the Jewish faith had actually adopted the symbol to represent them. Sat-kona has been found engraved on jar handles at Gibeon, Israel, and dated to the late period of the Israeli Kingdom of the First Temple (6th Century BCE). However, archeologists reckon that they were copies of Greek emblems from Thasos and Carthago that served for the marking of wines. Other Sat-konas have been found in Caperneum but may have belonged to Roman temples. On a wall of a room in Meggido there was found a Sat-kona drawn in lines. This has been dated as 8th Century BCE. At Jericho a very large size Sat-kona, the most famous in Israel, was found at Hisam’s Palace. The Muslim ruler Al-Walid ibn Yazid built the palace in 743 CE.


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Egypt A Sat-kona was found on seals dating back to the 3rd Century BCE in Egypt as well as weights dating back to the 2nd Century BCE.

Rome Throughout the Roman Empire there were discovered tons of archaeological findings with the shape of the Sat-kona. For example more than ten such mosaics were discovered in Pompeii, Italy, and since they had been ruined by Mount Vesuvius Volcano eruption in 79 CE they can certainly be dated to the first century CE. Similar mosaics were discovered in Gaul (Latin: Gallia), Hungary, Greece, Syria, Turkey and Tunis. Other such archeological findings from this period were discovered in Roman temples in Jordan and in Lebanon.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

Mexico The Mayan citadel of Uxma in Mexico shows several examples that resemble the Sat-kona. It is believed by Mesoamerican scholars that these symbols represented the sun. Uxmal was built around 700 CE.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

India In his book The Sacred Bride, Dr. Manoshi Bhattacharya wrote that the earliest evidence of the Sat-kona symbol was found among coins from the excavation of the city of Ujjain in India. The coins have been dated to be 2000 - 3000 years old. These coins came into the possession of Colonel James Tod, the Political Agent to the Western Rajput States of India in the early 1800s. Also in India, at Hisam Palace the Moghul Emperor, Akbar (16th century CE) rode into battle and presided over his court with the Sat-kona embossed on his royal shield.


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With a little research one can find images of Sat-kona almost everywhere and sometimes in the most unsuspecting places such as on the American one-dollar bill. There the symbol is placed above the American Eagle by aligning 12 stars in the shape of Sat-kona with a 13th star in the middle. This very much resembles the Sat-kona of the ancient Phaestos Disc.

Some other interesting places where Sat-kona has appeared are as follows

Fort Santiago

Mongol Coin (500CE) 103

Sinca - Veche Romania (100 CE)

Saxon spearhead (200 CE)

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3 Cent U.S. Coin (1851 CE)

St Peters BasilicaRome (500 CE)

Christian Tomb - Wales (100 CE)

Bakhchysaray Mosque(1500 CE)

Akbar’s Palace at Fatehpur Sikri (1500 CE)

Saminids Coin - Iran (800 CE) 104

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Sat-kona has also enjoyed popular use among alchemists. Alchemists of old and particularly those from the 5th century to the 15th century in Europe and the Middle East were very consistent in their use of Sat-kona. For most cultures the Sat-kona symbolized male (the upward triangle) and female (the downward triangle) or just something auspicious, but for the Alchemist the Sat-kona symbolized fire and water. Alchemists also used the Satkona to represent the six planets (each of the 6 points) and the sun was in the middle of the hexagram. The symbol universally represented the art of Alchemy for Muslims, Christians and Jews as the representation of the combination of opposites and transmutation. In Medieval Europe the Sat-kona was also accepted by common people as having healing powers and being able to ward off demons. For the Jews themselves the use of Sat-kona as the Star of David was a gradual development beginning with the Talmud sometime in the 3rd century CE. The Talmud mentions the Magen David (Shield/Star of David) but without connection to its shape. Later in the 6th century the Kabbalah again mentions the Star of David. However, the Star of David only takes shape for the first time between the 12th and 14th centuries. It so happens that during the Middle Ages, the “Star of David” was frequently found on churches (such as Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome) and even in mosques, but was absent in synagogues. It was also conspicuously absent as a symbol in Jewish books and on ritual objects. From ancient times to the Middle Ages, the Jews possessed no particular national or religious symbol. It was generally the Menorah (seven flame candle stick) that was commonly associated with the Jews.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

In 13th century Spain the Sat-kona was known as the Ring of Solomon (Seal of Solomon) by the Jews; from the 13th until the 15th century, both names were used simultaneously, Ring of Solomon and Star of David. It was only later that the term Star of David gradually became dominant in Ashkenazi Jewish communities, while King Solomon’s Seal became identified with the pentagram (5 pointed star). As a popular Jewish symbol, Sat-kona did not find its place permanently in Judaism until European Jews adopted it in 1648 CE. The beginnings of Sat-kona as a Jewish symbol are told in the following narrative. The history of the contemporary Star of David begins in Prague. During the last part of the Thirty Years War, the Swedish army besieged Prague. The town was mostly defended by the citizens’ militia, including a Jewish unit. When the Swedes did not succeed in taking the city, German Emperor Ferdinand III wished to assign honor flags and other decorations to all the various units of the citizens’ militia. This included the Jews. The Emperor couldn’t decide on what symbol to put on the flag, which was to be assigned to the Jews. Even the emperor’s ‘court Jews,’ the Openhaimer Family were perplexed on what to do. After some discourse it was decided that the two intersecting triangles, once believed to have been used by King David and also by King Solomon, was adopted’. The Jewish community liked this symbol and it spread to those towns that had ties with Prague, and began to be used in synagogues and during festive occasions. The new symbol became so popular that rumors circulated that it had magical powers. Stories of the power of the Star of David spread as far as Yemen where it was even said that the ancestor of the Rothschild family had succeeded in exorcizing the devil from the emperor’s daughter by the power of the Star of David.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

The Biblical (Old Testament/Torah) myth of King David begins when David as a simple shepherd boy slays the Philistine giant, Goliath. David fell Goliath with a stone from his sling and then cut off the giant’s head. David was promoted to commander of the armies of King Saul and married into the king’s family. Later Saul was killed in battle and David became King and the myth says that God shielded David during his many battles. The Sat-kona has been adopted by Jews to represent the protection or shield that God provided for David.

King David was succeeded by his son Solomon. Ancient myth alludes to King Solomon possessing a ring of magical powers. The myth of the Ring of Solomon was principally developed by Arabic writers who claimed that God gave the ring to Solomon. The ring is said to have had the name of God engraved upon it. But this posed a problem with the Jewish community as Jewish law forbade the Jews to write the name of God. Thus it was conceded that the six pointed star and later the five-pointed star is what King Solomon had inscribed on his ring. Medieval Jewish, Christian and Islamic legends believed that King Solomon commanded demons and spoke with animals by the power of his ring.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

Ring of Solomon

Ring of Solomon

One Islamic narrative says that the demon Sakhr deceived one of Solomon’s sisters into giving him (Sakhr) the ring. Sakhr then ruled for forty years while Solomon wandered the land in poverty. Eventually Sakhr (for some unknown reason) threw the ring into the sea, where it was swallowed by a fish, caught by a fisherman, and served to Solomon. Having thus retrieved the ring Solomon then punished Sakhr by making him to build a great mosque for Solomon. Although this story sounds quite similar to that of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, scholars are of the opinion that the myth was actually derived from the Greek story of the Ring of Polycrates, related by Herodotus in the 5th century BCE. That Sat-kona became a universally auspicious and spiritual symbol throughout the ancient world there can be no doubt, but it is in the motherland of India that Satkona was used and continues to be used most extensively.


Bolshoi Theater

Church Car ving

India - Satkona Bell

Nepal Coin - 1666 CE


Bulgarian Roman Mosaic

Bulgarian Christian Hex

Egypt Fatmit weight 10th CE

Great Seal of the U

Mamluk Weight 1200 CE

Moghul Sculptur

Nepal Temple

Nepal Temple




Hanuman Temple - Kathamandu


Mohghul Sculpture

Om Satkona - Kerala


Homa Kunda- Satkona Style

Nepal Temple

Orthodox Church St.Petersburg


Orthodox Church Gate -St.Petersburg


Stained Glass Hexamgram Church

Vishnu Pada - Satkona


Purana Qila - Delhi

Roman Mosaic

Satkona - Hampi

Seal of the Alchemist John Dee, 17th Centu

Sudarshana Deity

Sudarshana Deity

ur y


Roman Mosaic - Sicily

St. Petersburg Government Building

Tile - Egypt 15th CE

Roman Mosaic Hexagram - Spain

St. Theodosia Church Constantinople

Tomb - Ireland

Wheel and Star hexagram - Kerala


Colours of India From the crowded marketplaces filled with spices, produce and flowers to the stunning landscapes of this tropical land, everywhere you turn, vibrant colours and intriguing sites meet the eye. India was once known as the nation of spices and silk, a land of rich culture. It is still very evident today, as you travel through the subcontinent and see how every festival and activity is wrapped in a veritable rainbow of colours. There is an overflowing reservoir of fantastic imagery just waiting to be captured on camera. – Nila Newsom

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VEDICSCIENCES.NET Scientists have long held that the universal creation is describable by simple mathematical formulas. Recent discoveries in algorithmic information theory have definitively shown that this is not so. Where do we go from here? With the advent of Quantum Mechanics it is no longer possible to reject consciousness from an all-encompassing scientific world-view. The ancient vedic sciences provide us with answers to the great mysteries of life. The Vedic culture has provided many important contributions to modern science, mathematics, architecture as well as many other fields. connects the eternal Vedic truths and the modern scientists’ quests to provide a comprehensive description of reality.

This excerpt from the video Scientific Verification of Vedic Knowledge, demonstrates that The Aryan Invasion Theory as proposed by British Indologists is a total fabrication emerging from their Eurocentric bias.

G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

Krishna In Tanjore Art By Dominique Amendola


he Tanjore School of art was born on the banks of the river Kaveri in South India. The Tanjore style of painting is a peculiar, ancient, miniature type of painting. Tanjore painting is a key form of classical South Indian art native to the town of Thanjavur or Thanjavoor (Anglicized as Tanjore) in Tamil Nadu, India, about 300 Km. from Madras (Chennai). The name Thanjavur comes from "Tanjan", a legendary asura. Tanjore was the capital of the Chola Kingdom, which has made significant contributions to Indian art and architecture. The art form dates back to the 16th century, during the reign of the Marathas, a period when the Nayaks of Thanjavur encouraged art. The Thanjavur Nayaks were the rulers of Thanjavur between the 16th and the 17th century. Tanjore Paintings are known for their surface richness, vivid colors and compact composition. Essentially serving as devotional images, the themes of most of these paintings are gods, goddesses and saints. Tanjore paintings are in fact panel paintings (done on solid wood planks) and hence were also referred to as ‘palagai padam’ (pictures on a wooden plank). Tanjore paintings are rich in looks because of the 24 carat pure gold foil, Jaipur Glass, colored glass, valuable stones, the vibrant colors, the jewelry decoration, the subject (Gods or Goddesses in the painting) and the teak wood frame used in each painting. Other courtly and secular portraits were also created. Every Tanjore painting is worked on with a lot of patience, in order to give the best depiction of the subject.

Lord Krishna painted in the Tanjore style


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

The Paintings The Tanjore painting style is a beautiful miniature type of art. The Maratha princes were great admirers of that style. There are no written records as to who started that form of painting. However, there are evidences which support that the paintings evolved with the skill and talent of a few communities, which were not local to Thanjavur. Both the Rajus in Thanjavur and those in Trichy, near Thanjavur and also the Naidus in Madurai, practiced the art of making Tanjore paintings. These paintings were masterpieces – rooted in tradition. The art was sacrosanct for just a few master craftsmen who remained mostly anonymous.

Contemporary Tanjore painting Antique Tanjore painting Tanjore artwork is one of the many indigenous art forms for which India is noted. This form of art developed at the height of cultural evolvement, during the period of the Gupta Empire. It developed out of the Bhakti Movement. However it is to be noted that even the Vedas have a mention of ratna-jadita-citra or jewel encrusted paintings. Unfortunately no such examples are available, perhaps due to the fact that this art encrusted with jewels became the prey of thieves.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

The Tanjore School flourished under the royal patronage of the Maratha kings and reached its pinnacle during the rule of Sarfoji Maharaja, a great patron of the arts. Later this school of art fell upon bad days, during which the workmanship suffered. No longer serving the purpose of icons, the images were mass-produced with cheap materials.

Example of Tanjore art during this period


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

History and Revolution

Tanjore Royal Palace was once ruled by the Cholas The Maratha rule of Tanjore lasted for about 2 centuries from the late 16th century. The Tanjore school of painting evolved in a period full of political chaos in South India. There are some examples of this art in the Saraswati Mahal Library in Tanjore set up and developed by Maharaja Sarfoji. This monarch, who reigned from 1798 to 1832, is the one to whom we owe the Ganesh shrine in the Tanjore Big Temple. He played an important part in the history of this art also. Thanjavur paintings are found in great literatures such as the Sanskrit work Prabotha Chandrodayam that has a few pages of Thanjavur Paintings, Marathi translations of the Mahabharata and the Bhagavatam with the art works of the painter Madhava Swami dated 1824 A.D. We also find paintings of gods & goddesses occurring in the wooden covers of every part of an edition of the Rig Veda made in Maharaja Sarfoji’s time.


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

Maratha princes, the Nayaks of the Vijayanagar dynasty, the Rajus communities of Tanjore and Trichi and the Naidus of Madurai patronized the art of Tanjore painting from the 16th to 18th centuries. Tanjore paintings are deeply rooted in tradition and still innovative within limits. This art is sacred and dedicated. In October 1799, Raja Serfoji II, ceded the Tanjore district to the British East India Company in absolute sovereignty. The Raja retained only the capital and a small tract of surrounding country. He died in 1833 and was succeeded by his son Sivaji, who died in 1855 without an heir. With the extinction of this royal line, the golden age for the art of Tanjore paintings came to an end. After that only cheap imitations were mass-produced for the enjoyment of the populace.

Tanjore painting triptyque (3 panels)


G a u d i y a To u c h s t o n e

Radha Krishna in the traditional style of Tanjore Scholars say that a red background is the distinctive mark of Tanjore paintings, but green is also sometimes used. Lord Vishnu, appropriately enough, is colored blue, and Lord Nataraja (Shiva) chalk white. Yellow was used for goddesses. The sky, of course, is blue, but black is employed only on occasions. There are conventions in regard to the use of embossing and bejeweling. But these do not appear to be followed very strictly anymore. The style of the Tanjore paintings below follows the conventional way — traditional but not antique.


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Gaudiya Touchstone

The Blind Men and The Elephant It was six men of Hindustan To learning much inclined Who went to see an Elephant Though each of them was blind That each by observation Might satisfy his mind.

Is mighty plain!” quoth he: “Tis clear enough the Elephant Is very like a tree!”

The Fifth who chanced to touch the ear, Said: “Even the blindest man Can tell what this resembles most: The First approached the Elephant, Deny the fact who can, And happening to fall This marvel of an Elephant Against his broad and sturdy side, Is very like a fan!” At once began to bawl: “God bless me! But the Elephant The Sixth no sooner had begun Is very like a wall!” About the beast to grope, Than seizing on the swinging tail The Second, feeling of the tusk, That fell within his scope, Cried, “Ho! What have we here “I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant So very round and smooth and sharp? Is very like a rope!” To me tis very clear This wonder of an Elephant And so these men of Hindustan Is very like a spear! Disputed loud and long. Each in his own opinion The Third approached the animal, Exceeding stiff and strong, And happening to take Though each was partly in the right The squirming trunk within his hands, And all were in the wrong. Thus boldly up and spake: “I see, quoth he, “The Elephant So oft in theologic wars, Is very like a snake!” The disputants, I ween, Rail on in utter ignorance The fourth reached out his eager hand, Of what the others mean, And felt about the knee And prate about an Elephant “What this most wondrous beast is like Not one of them has seen! 134


DANGERS of A S PA R TA M E A B i t t e r S w e e t Tr u t h

By Priyanana HEALTH WARNING!!! “All that is sweet isn’t nectar,” words I once heard from a wise man. In the case of aspartame, the commonly used artificial sweetener, savoring your favorite sweet treat could be bad for your health or even life-threatening. Aspartame, first marketed under the brand of NutraSweet, is a highly controversial chemical substance found in a wide variety of processed food products today. Because aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar but with only 1/32 of the calories, the use of aspartame is widespread especially in the low calorie, diet and sugar-free food categories such as diet sodas, bottled beverages, candy, chewing gum, yogurt, and nutritional bars. In 1985 the National Cancer Institute in the United States reported an alarming increase of brain tumors and brain cancer over that of previous years. Professor H.A.


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Roberts, Director of the Palm Beach Institute for Medical Research found this trend particularly disturbing. Roberts also found that other forms of cancer, those occurring outside the brain, remained the same but brain cancer had risen sharply. Why? Dr. John W. Olney professor of neuropathology and psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis suggested aspartame to be a likely candidate for the rise in brain cancers. In 1983 the US population began ingesting large quantities of aspartame, a chemical substance never before consumed by humans. In 1984 Americans consumed 6,900,000 pounds of aspartame. The amount of consumption doubled to 14,000,000 pounds in 1985 and continued to climb in subsequent years. For Dr. Olney and his research team there was little doubt. There was a direct connection between aspartame consumption and the rise of brain cancer. In the first six months coinciding to the release of aspartame in food products in the United States, the brain tumor rate had already jumped 10%, diabetes jumped 30% and brain Lymphoma had jumped 60%. Within a few years 80% of all complaints handed in to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA involved foods containing aspartame. Of course, the rise of cancer and the overall decline in healthy Americans was passed on to more culpable causes like over consumption and lethargic lifestyles. But for some, suspicions that aspartame was the ‘evil doer’ remained at the center of the debate. So what is aspartame? Can consuming aspartame on a regular basis really do you harm? Urban legend, medical research and many websites claim that aspartame is responsible for multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus, and methanol toxicity causing blindness, spasms, shooting pains, seizures, headaches, depression, anxiety, memory loss, birth defects, tumors, cancer and death. Indeed, Dr. Russel L. Blaylock, a certified neurosurgeon says that aspartame toxicity varies according to the toleration of the individual. Some people may notice very little of anything but a majority of people will have one or more symptoms. Dr. Blaylock says that because aspartame is a poison that effects protein synthesis, because it effects how the synapse operate in the brain and because it effects DNA, aspartame can


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therefore effect numerous organs. Thus aspartame can produce a lot of what looks like unrelated symptoms, but when studying the list submitted to the FDA, most of the symptoms are neurological or connected to the nervous system. Dr. Ralph S. Walton confirms that aspartame has a degenerating effect on our brain functions. Walton says that it has been known for quite sometime that when you intake excessive amounts of aspartame in conjunction with carbohydrates that you will decrease the availability of L-tryptophan in the brain, which is the building block for serotonin, an important ingredient for a healthy brain. Let’s take a look at the composition of aspartame. Aspartame is a chemical and not a naturally occurring product. Some reports say that aspartame is commonly synthesized from the fecal waste of genetically modified E. Coli (Escherichia Coli) bacteria. Aspartame is composed of 50% phenylalanine, 40% aspartic acid and 10% methyl ester. As soon as methyl ester is swallowed, it becomes free methyl alcohol, methanol or wood alcohol. Methanol is a real poison. Once in the body, the 50% phenylalanine turns into aspartylphenylalanine diketopiperazine (DKP). DKP is widely accepted as carcinogenic, a cancer-inducing agent. Soon after entering the human body, methanol breaks down into formaldehyde and formic acid. Formaldehyde is the primary chemical used in the embalming process of dead bodies and formic acid is used in the leather and textile processing industry. Even a layperson can understand that these heavy chemicals would tend to be anything but healthy once taken into the body. So why do we consume aspartame? The answer isn’t entirely the fault of the food industry. Yes, aspartame is 200 times cheaper than using sugar, which offers greater profits, but responsibility also rests on the consumer. For the consumer aspartame is like a medieval indulgence certificate — consume all you want and remain thin and trim. The consumer has succumbed to lust and lost control of the tongue. Add inattention, general ignorance and laziness to that and the American consumer has made the aspartame industry among the most profitable of all time. Now faced with mounting cancer risks some consumers are asking more questions and demanding to know the truth about aspartame. But the battle isn’t over just yet, in fact its just beginning.


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Aspartame has quite a harrowing and checkered past. No other product in history has undergone such vast testing and re-testing, arduous Federal litigation, and astounding controversy. This story is replete with scientific fraud, corporate payoffs to government officials, and suppression of evidence to name a few. The following is a condensed timeline that chronicles the advent, ups and downs, and eventual official approval of, according to Monsanto, “The most tested product in history.” The G D Searle Pharmaceutical Company research scientist named James Schlatter inadvertently discovered aspartame in 1965. He was working with amino acids in the quest to find new ulcer treatments. He discovered the sweet taste after licking his finger to pick up a piece of paper. In 1967 G D Searle approached the biochemist Dr. Harry Waisman, a respected expert on the toxicity of phenylalanine, requesting him to conduct a study of the effects of aspartame on primates. Dr. Waisman fed a mixture of aspartame and milk to seven monkeys, resulting in the death of one while five others suffered grand mal epileptic seizures. In 1971 Dr. John Olney informed G D Searle that aspartic acid causes holes in the brains of infant mice. Despite Waisman and Olney’s findings, Searle applied for FDA approval in 1973, omitting the monkey and mice lab findings from their reports. By 1974 aspartame received its first approval for use in dry foods by the FDA commissioner, despite the commissioner’s own scientists finding major discrepancies in the data provided by Searle. Mid-1975 to early 1977 were litigiously challenging years for G D Searle. Those years were fraught with serious investigations into irregularities found in 25 key studies, aspartame being temporarily withdrawn from the market, official findings of fraudulent testing procedures, data manipulation, knowingly misrepresenting product testing, and Grand Jury proceedings. These


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indictment proceedings against G D Searle were led by US Attorney Samuel Skinner, who was requested to look into allegations of concealment of facts, misrepresentation of findings, and the making of false statements about the safety of aspartame. (Keep the name Skinner in mind.) The later part of 1977 gave rise to the famous Bressler Report, which concurred with earlier reports of incongruous scientific data, the FDA’s exoneration of Searle, and the official investigation getting dropped due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. Soon after, senior scientist Jacqueline Verrett testified at a US Senate hearing that her team was pressured into validating data from experiments that were clearly a ‘disaster’ and it also came to light that assistant US Attorney William Conlon (another name to remember for later), dragged his feet on the aspartame issue giving time for the statute of limitations to run out. In September 1980 the FDA’s own PBOI (Public Board of Inquiry) unanimously voted against aspartame’s approval. Enter Donald Rumsfeld, Searle’s new CEO, who used his Republican political ties to push through the official approval of aspartame. In January 1981 the newly sworn-in President Ronald Reagan silenced the current FDA commissioner and quickly replaced him. Searle then reapplied for approval the day after Reagan was sworn in and Arthur Hull Hayes, the new FDA commissioner, deadlocked the 3-2 vote for approval by adding one more pro-scientist and then overrode the deadlock of the board to approve Searle’s petition. In October 1981 the FDA gave their seal of approval to aspartame. Now that is some serious political wrangling! It should be noted that Arthur Hull Hayes resigned as the FDA commissioner under a cloud of controversy about his taking unauthorized rides aboard a General Foods jet (General Foods was and remains a major purchaser of aspartame). He then took a position as senior scientific consultant with Burston-Marsteller, the chief public relations firm for both Searle and Monsanto. As for Samuel Skinner and William Conlon (remember them?), they went to work for Sidley and Austin, Searle’s very own law firm! In 1984 the plot thickens, as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) put out a report called “Evaluation of Consumer Complaints Related to Aspartame Use,” which


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reviewed 213 of 592 cases and noted that the re-challenge tests showed that sensitive individuals consistently displayed the same adverse symptoms every time they ingested aspartame. The reported symptoms included: aggressive behavior, hyperactivity, memory loss, liver impairment, disorientation, extreme numbness, loss of depth perception, excitability, severe mood swings, cardiac arrest, seizures, and suicidal tendencies. Even in the face of these alarming case histories, the CDC officially concluded that aspartame was safe for public ingestion. Three years later in 1987, a US Senate hearing was held to address the issue of aspartame safety and labeling. Searle was in the hot seat again to defend themselves against their awry testing procedures and the ‘psychological strategy’ they used to ensure FDA approval for aspartame. Shockingly in the course of the trial it became known that aspartame was once on a Pentagon list of potential biochemical warfare weapons. Nearly a decade later in December 1996, aspartame found itself on US national prime-time television. The well-known news program 60 Minutes aired a segment that showcased the results of a study conducted by Dr. Ralph G. Walton, professor of clinical psychology at Northeastern Ohio Universities. Dr. Walton reviewed 165 separate studies published in the preceding 20 years in peer-reviewed medical journals. Seventy-four of the studies were industry funded, all of which attested to the safety of aspartame. Eighty-four non-industry funded studies cited adverse health effects to aspartame ingestion. The remaining seven studies were conducted by the FDA — six of which found aspartame to be safe for human consumption. This should come as no surprise, as the FDA has a public track record of pro-industry bias. Interestingly, the only studies ever referenced in aspartame’s defense are the industry-funded ones and it is these same studies that are given the greatest amount of credibility and importance during approval processes and in official safety reviews.


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Aspartame has been widely touted as a safe and even healthy alternative to sugar and has been approved by the US FDA for use in food since 1981. Manufacturers argue that the instability of aspartame is irrelevant since its constituents are all found naturally in food. This is only half the story, they leave out the important fact that in food, amino acids like aspartic acid and phenylalanine are bound to proteins, which means that during digestion and metabolism they are released slowly into the body. In aspartame, these amino acids are in an unbounded form that release large quantities of these chemicals into the system much quicker. Furthermore, the methanol present in natural foods like fruits, for example, is bound to pectin and also has a co-factor, ethanol, to mitigate some of its side effects. Aspartame has no such system of ‘checks and balances’. Phenylalanine also affects the ratio of norepinephrine and serotonin that can bring on mood disorders, such as panic attacks. According to neuroscientist Russell Blaylock, aspartame is an excitotoxin (a chemical transmitter that allows brain cells to communicate). He says that “Even a minute overconcentration of these chemicals causes the brain cells to become so over-excited that they very quickly burn themselves out and die.” Aspartame manufacturers claim that it is incapable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, but Dr. Blaylock explains that the bloodbrain barrier becomes more porous from exposure to pesticides, hypoglycemia, immune disorders, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s strokes, and medical drugs. So for people with these conditions who ingest aspartame, the level of excitotoxins increases and has detrimental effects on the brain. The four main claims that the makers of aspartame make to the public in favor of its use are: that it does not contribute to tooth decay, does not have an aftertaste, can extend the sweetness of certain flavors, and that it is desirable for those who need to lose weight due to its low caloric content. This all sounds really good...right? Yet why is it that 80% of the yearly consumer health complaints to the FDA are aspartame related? And if this supposedly benign and government approved substance is so safe, then why has it been directly linked to fibromyalgia, arthritis, Lou Garig’s, lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, brain tumors, eye disorders, short term memory loss, grand mal seizures, mental retardation, cardiac arrest, impaired thinking ability, organ failure, and cancer? Not surprisingly, if you type the word ‘aspartame’ into a Google search bar the words ‘side effects’, ‘cancer’, ‘dangers’, and ‘poisoning’ are the first to pop up.


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Is the FDA really looking out for our health and best interest? Or is something else going on for profit that is being concealed from us? Perhaps we will never really know for sure what exactly is going on behind the FDA curtain, but it is quite clear that just because something is officially approved as safe for human consumption does not necessarily mean that it is truly safe. The mountain of evidence that points to aspartame being an extremely questionable and likely lethal substance cannot be ignored. Since we cannot put our faith in the FDA to protect our health, we the people need to take matters into our own hands and educate ourselves as to what we are choosing to put into our bodies. Otherwise, as consumers we are nothing more than upgraded lab-rats for the food industry. Aspartame is no longer just an American problem as its use is now worldwide. It is of utmost importance that we ask questions, read labels and know where our information is coming from. Choose wisely. Note: The editors highly recommend that our readers watch the compelling documentary “ Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World� available at the following url:

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Culinary Ma We highly recommend you use organic, natural and whole food ingredients as much as possible.


This month our Cul Govindaji Gardens, S us how to make seven tr

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linary Magic comes from the kitchen of South India, where Shyamasundara shows raditional recipes from Karnataka. 144

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Puliyogare ( Tamarind Rice) Ingredients 1 1/2 cups white rice 3 cups of water 1/4 cup seeded tamarind pulp 1/4 cup hot water 1/4 tsp cumin seeds 1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds 2 tbsp raw sesame seeds 4 tbsp grated dried coconut 3 tsp masala powder salt according to taste 2 tbsp jaggery (Unrefined cane sugar) Asafetida(Hing) - 1/2 tsp 3-4 tbsp coconut oil 1 tsp mustard seeds 2-3 tbsp raw peanuts 8-10 small curry leaves


Rasam Powder 1 tsp oil 1 tsp mustard seeds 1/2 cup whole coriander seeds 6 whole dried hot red chilies 1 tsp whole black peppercorns 1 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds 2 tsp cumin seeds a pinch of turmeric a pinch of Asafetida 5-6 curry leaves

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Method 1. Wash, drain and dry the rice. Boil 3 cups of water in a 3 litre thick bottom cooking pot. Add rice. Stir and allow it to boil for about 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to a simmer, put on a tight fitting lid and leave undisturbed for 5-10 minutes or until rice is dry and tender. Remove the rice from the heat, cover and set aside for 15 minutes. Then spread out the rice on a plate to cool it down so that the rice doesn’t get mushy when mixing with tamarind syrup. 2. Meanwhile, combine the tamarind pulp with 1/4 cup of hot water and leave to soak. 3. Dry roast cumin seeds, black peppercorns, fenugreek and sesame seeds in a small heavy pan over moderately low heat. Stir constantly for about 3-4 minutes until the spices become aromatic and darken a few shades. Remove the seeds and spices from the pan and allow them to cool. Grind them in a small blender until they are powdered. Combine them with grated dried coconut and mix well. 4. For making the rasam powder heat the oil in a heavy pan over moderate heat. Saute the mustard seeds until they crackle. Add all other ingredients and stir well. Reduce the heat and roast all the spices until they are brown (for about 3 mins). Remove the spices from the pan, spread on a plate and allow them to cool. Grind them to a powder. 5. Strain the tamarind pulp through a strainer. Squeeze and scrape the underside of the strainer, collecting the juice and discarding the pulp. Combine the thick tamarind juice with the rasam powder, salt, jaggery and simmer the mixture over moderate heat in a small heavy bottomed sauce pan until it is concentrated. Remove from the heat. 6. Pour the ground spices and coconut mixture into the tamarind syrup and mix well. 7. Pour the coconut oil into the small pan in which you roasted the spices. Place over moderate heat. When the oil is hot add the peanuts and stir fry until they are golden brown (about 2 mins). Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Continue heating remaining oil and add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the


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seeds crackle pour the tamarind syrup into the pan and stir well for about 5 minutes. Add salt to taste. 8. Mix the rice with the spicy tamarind syrup. Then add the roasted peanuts to the rice. Mix well and serve immediately.

Important tips: The original color of puliyogare is dark brown hence the darker the tamarind the darker the colour. Red chilies - Chilies play an important role as some chilies are hotter and spicier and give out less colour. Some of them have a totally different taste so check the spiciness of your chilies at home and then reduce or increase their number. The chilies used here are less spicy and give more colour. We are trying to get a combination of tanginess, spiciness and sweetness so depending upon the taste desired add chili powder or salt or jaggery. Sesame seeds - Make sure the sesame seeds are fresh because if they are old and slightly smelly it could ruin the puliyogare. If you are using black sesame seeds taste them before you use as sometimes they can be bitter.


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Vada & Chutney Ingredients 1 1/2 cups urad dal 1/2 tsp of baking soda 3 tbsp fresh coriander 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger Salt to taste 2 hot green chilies, minced 2 tsp grated fresh coconut 1/2 tsp black peppercorns, crushed Coconut oil for deep frying


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Method 1. Wash and soak the urad dal in water for about 7-8 hours 2. Drain all the water and grind to a smooth paste. Add water little by little while grinding as the consistency should be a thick paste. 3. Pour the dal paste into a bowl. Then add crushed pepper, coconut, ginger, green chilies, fresh coriander, salt, baking soda and mix well. 4. Prepare a bowl of water, before starting the frying. 5. Heat the oil in a 3 inch deep frying pan until the oil is piping hot. Reduce the flame to medium. 6. Meanwhile you can start preparing to shape the vada. Before shaping the vada place a thin wet cloth on a flat surface or you can also use a greased banana leaf. Dip your hand in the water bowl. Scoop up a lemon sized ball of batter and pour it on the wet cloth. Wet your fingers again and make a hole in the center of the batter with your forefinger. Note: Wet your hands every time you shape the batter into a vada as the batter will be very sticky. 5. Now slowly drop the vada into the hot oil and fry it on both sides on a medium flame to a golden brown color. Deep fry 5-6 vadas per batch depending on the size of the vessel.

Important Tips:

A. If urad dal is soaked for over 7-8 hours, the vadas absorb less oil and are tastier than the vadas prepared from dal soaked for only 2 hours. B. The consistency of the batter is important. It should be a fine paste without grains and make sure you do not add too much water to the batter as you will not be able to shape the vadas C. Make sure the oil is not too hot for frying as it might burn the vadas and also the vadas may not cook properly inside


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Coconut Chutney: Ingredients 1 cup grated fresh coconut 2 tbsp fried/roasted gram dal 2 tbsp fresh coriander, minced 1 green chilly Water as needed 1/2 tsp mustard seeds 2 tsp coconut oil for seasoning 3-4 curry leaves Salt to taste Pinch of asafetida 1. Grind fresh coconut, gram dal, fresh coriander, green chilly, salt with water to a smooth paste. Add more water if required after grinding. 2. Heat oil in a small frying pan and drop in the mustard seeds, curry leaves and a pinch of asafetida. Once the mustard seeds start to splutter remove from the heat and add it to the chutney. Note: with the same procedure you can make mint chutney. Just replace coriander leaves with mint leaves


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Kosambari (Moong dal Salad) Ingredients 1 cup yellow moong dal 1 cucumber peeled and finely chopped 1/2 cup grated fresh coconut Salt to taste 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) 2 tbsp grated carrot (optional) 1 tsp mustard seeds 1 tbsp coconut oil 1/2 lemon squeezed (2 tsp) 2 hot green chilies, minced a pinch of asafetida


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Method 1. Soak the dal in water for about an hour. Then drain all the water and pour it into a mixing bowl. 2. To this add fresh coconut, cilantro, cucumber and mix well 3. Heat the oil in a small frying pan. Add mustard seeds and asafetida. Once the seeds splutter add the green chilies and fry for about 15 seconds. 4. Pour it over the dal mixture. Add salt and lemon juice. Mix well and serve. Note: With the same procedure, you can make salad (kosambari) with chana dal (Bengal gram) and sprouted green gram .

Important Tips: Add cucumber just before serving as cucumber mixed with salt will make the salad watery.


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Bele Holige (sweet paratha) Ingredients 11 /2 cups Maida or all purpose flour 1/4 tsp turmeric 3-4 tsp ghee or vegetable oil 1 cup toor daal 1 1/2 cups grated fresh coconut 4-5 cardamom pods crushed and powdered 1 cup jaggery Ghee for frying Oil for soaking Milk for serving


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Method 1. First make the dough by mixing maida, turmeric and oil with warm water. The dough should be little softer than a chapati dough. Soak the dough in oil for at least 5-6 hours to make it stretchable and elastic. Knead once again and divide the dough into 8 balls. 2. To make the filling, cook the toor daal in a pressure cooker (3 whistles). If you are not using a pressure cooker soak the daal in water overnight and then cook in water until it is soft and tender. Once cooked drain the water and set the daal aside. 3. Grind the daal in a mixer or a food processor to make it very smooth. 4. Add jaggery powder, coconut and cardamom. The jaggery makes the daal a little watery, so it needs to be continuously stirred on a low heat, until it is consistent enough to make a ball. Allow it to cool for about 15 mins. 5. Divide the filling into 8 portions. On a greased banana leaf roll out a ball of dough about 10 cm wide with a rolling pin (you can use your hand also to spread out the dough). Place a portion of the filling in the centre of the rolled dough and cover it completely by folding it on all the sides. (As is done for aloo paratha). Gently pat to flatten it and roll with a rolling pin into about 8-10 inch circles. 6. Follow the same procedure for the rest of the dough. Place each holige (paratha) in a non-stick frying pan on a low heat, to avoid burning. Transfer the holige along with banana leaf onto the frying pan and then peel off the leaf slowly leaving the rolled dough on the pan. Apply ghee to both sides of the holige while frying. Fry until it gets dark brown on both sides. Serve it hot with ghee and warm milk.

Important Tips: Do not overcook the daal as it makes the filling too watery


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Gasagase Payasam(Poppy seeds kheer) Ingredients 1/4 cup poppy seeds 1 tbsp white rice, uncooked 1 cup grated fresh coconut 1/4 cup dry coconut 1/4 cup jaggery 1/2 cup milk 2 cups water 4-5 cardamom, powdered

1. Dry roast poppy seeds and un

2. Finely powder the roasted po

3. Add grated fresh coconut, d liquid from this paste to a small

4. Boil 1/4 cup water, add jagg remove any grit.

10-12 cashews (optional)

5. Place a heavy bottomed sauce syrup, cardamom and water and well. Boil for another 10 mins.

Ghee for tempering

6. Fry cashews in a small frying

4-5 strands of saffron (optional)



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ncooked rice until they are crisp and change color lightly

oppy seeds and rice into a blender without adding any water

dry coconut, some water and grind to a smooth paste. Using a strainer squeeze out the l bowl and keep it aside. Repeat the process 2-3 times.

gery allow to dissolve. When fully dissolved, remove from the fire , strain the syrup to

e pan on a medium flame and pour in the strained liquid from the paste. Add the jaggery d boil for 20-25 mins. Keep on stirring to avoid burning. Finally add warm milk and mix

g pan in ghee and pour the fried cashews into the khir.


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Panaka Ingredients 6 cups water 1 cup jaggery 4 cardamom pods 1 tsp black peppercorns 2-3 tsp grated ginger

Method Mix cardamom, black pepper and grated ginger. Grind them to a paste with little water. Dissolve jaggery in 6 cups of water for about half an hour. Strain the paste into the mixture of water and jaggery and mix well. Strain the overall panaka through a finely perforated strainer to filter out any dirt.


“Science of the Sacred” is a must read for those interested in knowing about India’s unique and interesting achievements in the scientific field. This publication provides a foundation for expanding our awareness of the reality around us ­— beyond modern scientific theories, to those grounded in the ancient Vedic scriptures and their scientific presentations. Over the ages, innumerable luminaries, scientists, and intelligentsia who are recognized for their contributions to society have praised the accuracy and profundity of the Vedas. Browse the ancient traditions of Sacred Dance, Vedic Mathematics, Vastu Shastra, Vedic Science, Transcendental Sound and much more.

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Sri Sri RadhaDamodara Mandir

Established by Srila Jiva Goswami in 1542 in the holy dham of Vrndavan, the Deities of Sri Sri Radha-Damodara were given to Srila Jiva Goswami by his guru, Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhupada and have been worshipped here since then. The bhajana-kutira and samadhis of Srila Rupa Goswami as well as the samadhis of Srila Jiva Goswami, Krishna Dasa Kaviraja Goswami, Bhugarbha Goswami and the bhajan kutir of Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are present here also on the temple premises.


This year’s Karttika schedule at Sri Sri Radha-Damodara Temple. Vrindavan 25th October 26th October 29th October 6th November 10th Novermber 13th November 14th November 17th November 21th November 24th November 26th Novermber 28th November

Ekadashi Sri Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami’s Disappearance Day Sharada Purnima Appearance of Sri Radha-Kunda Ekadashi Dipavali Annakuta Srila Prabhupada’s Disappearance Day Gopashtami Ekadashi Sri Radharani Lotus Feet Darshan (Subala-vesha) Rasa Purnima

All Devotees are Welcome to Participate