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Phone Home

Phone Home

One of the most difficult things to accept in life is loss; loss of a loved one, a friend, a child a pet, or even loss of a home or city or country—perhaps in the case of war—whatever the loss, it is often very difficult to bear. We come into this life not realizing that we will be constantly in a state of flux, everything moving and changing around us; nothing is permanent, all seems impermanent.

I think so many people suffer from depression and stress for just this reason; they can’t seem to find anything to hang onto that gives them a sense of stability. Just when you think you are home-free, something goes wrong and loss rears its ugly head in your life.

But there are some things which are eternal, some things all of us can get a grip on which will always be with us. And when we discover them and get a good hold on them in our minds and hearts, things in our lives can really stabilize.

The Sanskrit word for eternal is sanatana. And there are three eternals we can learn about and hang onto which can give us strength and stability while we traverse this changing world. One is sanatana-dhama, which means the eternal sky. The eternal sky is the place where life never changes. It is the realm of God which is purely Spirit. It is a place we can eventually, after this life ends, go to if we focus our life on another eternal, the sanatana-dharma.

Sanatana-dharma means eternal relationship. It refers to the relationship we have as created beings to our Creator. Of course there will always be people who say we just somehow magically poofed into existence, but most people believe in a higher power, and this sanatana refers to that and our relationship of service to God. We are here to act like God, to love and be kind and compassionate to those around us. To create a better world for others in whatever way we are good at. For we all have gifts and it is up to us to use them for the betterment of all life on this planet, not just our home. So in that way, we are Godly and focussed on God and reminding ourselves daily of our sanatana-dharma, our eternal Servant of the Creator relationship. So do everything for God. Think about God, pray or talk to God. Do for God and God’s other creations. And love. Love all! Send love out! Be love in action. Love God with all your heart and mind and soul. Love God. Daily.

God created us to be with Him/Her eternally, not to be wandering around in some wacky wasteland of chaos, wondering what the heck we are doing here. And so instead of wondering, we need to start establishing a relationship with the Godhead and reaching out for our Creator so we can re-connect and get our lives back on track.

The third eternal is this. Because we are also sanatana, we are an eternal soul. Sanatana-jiva. We are an eternal creation which never dies, ever. We are made out of the same stuff that the Godhead is, sanatana material, spiritual building blocks, which can never be destroyed. We are spiritual aka sanatana energy and even the scientists know energy can only change its form it cannot be destroyed.

So here we are, our sanatana-jiva has taken on a different form having morphed into something that has outer clothing, an outer shape and size which doesn’t in anyway appear Godlike or “in His image” and we are seemingly stuck in it. But are we really? Stuck? No. We just need to focus on the eternal. The sanatana, the eternal God, location and our eternal soul, and put them all together and change our world to a better one.

How do we do that? The easiest is by phoning home. That’s where the mantra comes in. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama , Hare Hare,

That’s God’s phone number. It will ring in the sanatana-dhama. It will revive your sanatana-jiva when you say it. It will remind you of your sanatana-dharma when you do it, and help you find stability and strength in a world of torment and chaos.

So phone home everyday. Talk to God and reestablish your eternals. You are not alone. You are just an extra-terrestrial. You’re from another place.

Phone home!

Hare Krishna.

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You Can Make a Difference!

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You Can Make a Difference!

Perhaps you’ve noticed these days, that there is a huge trend toward criticism, pretty much everywhere. From daytime and nighttime talk shows, to news broadcast panels, the television offers up daily commentaries on people, places and things. Everyone has an opinion and they love to see only the negative.

And then there is social media. From twitter rants, by everyone from the average guy to a future U.S. President, to Facebook bullying by school kids, everyone wants their opinion heard and agreed with. And heaven help you if you don’t agree, the language and comments keep coming. I’m rather amazed at how nasty people get when they have an opinion and someone doesn’t agree with it. It also surprises me that many Facebook users don’t realize if you post something and a comment comes in on your post that is horrible, or you don’t like, you can simply delete that comment off your post. I do it all the time. No swearing, no pro-Fascism, no bullying, no rants. They get deleted.

What has our society come to where everyone thinks it’s acceptable to speak like this?

I think the media plays a huge part to begin with. If you look at the television, the shows available these days are mostly about violence and killing. So many of them have death and destruction in them. Most of it seems gratuitous. They are horrific.

And then there are the video games. Wow! War zones, killing, zombies. Everything imaginable and full of darkness.

If this is what is feeding our lives on a daily basis, this would explain the darkness of mouth and mind that surrounds us. If all you hear is swearing, then that is all you will speak. If all you see is violence, then that is how you will behave.

Unless you have an alternative.

God consciousness offers an alternative. It doesn’t matter what religion you are part of, being conscious of God as a part of your life, on a daily basis, can set you apart from the crowd and lift you out of the darkness.

Those devotees of God who call the Godhead Krishna, chant the Maha Mantra, a Mantra which uses the names of God to link them with the Godhead Itself. The mantra goes like this: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
The Mantra basically not only says the names of God, but also asks God to allow the speaker to be useful to God. It’s kind of like calling God up on the telephone and asking what the Divinity would like you to do for Them today. You don’t have to be a Hare Krishna to chant this Mantra. Anyone can do it.

Other religions use mantras, or repetitive prayer, to assist them in their daily life as well. The Catholics pray the Rosary, which includes the prayer Jesus taught his followers to pray: “Our Father Who art in heaven etc. The Rosary also includes the Apostles Creed, which is a statement of belief, the Gloria, which is a praise prayer, the prayer of Fatima, a prayer to Christ, the Hail Mary, a statement of praise dedicated to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and a number of other prayers which can be said before and after. All of this aims to keep the Catholic Christian’s mind squarely on Jesus and His family, especially his mother, who just like Radharani in the world of the Krishna devotee, can intercede with God on behalf of the believer.

I do not know the prayers to Allah, but I know that the Muslims also pray on beads and do repetitive prayers. So do the Buddhists. I am sure there are others, but I apologize as my knowledge is limited.

So, believers in God have options to keep their minds out of the gutter and out of the world of criticism and scorn and ridicule. But does that mean they always will? Not necessarily.

Just like everyone else, believers in God can get right in there criticizing and tearing their neighbour apart just like everyone else. Actually some religions make it a habit to pull down their fellow believers just because they don’t call God by the name they do. This needs to stop.

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s a war zone out there. The dark side seems to be winning and one of the ways it’s succeeding is by keeping the good guys warring amongst themselves. If you keep your opposition preoccupied with their own troubles or under constant attack for their perceived crimes, you can do whatever you want with the rest of the world. And so the dark side is keeping religions under attack from the secular world and each other.

If we hope to ever see this darkness end, we first have to choose our allies, and then stop attacking them. Christian, whether Catholic or Protestant, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Gaudiya Vaisnava, Baha’I, tribal faiths, and pagan groups, and the many I have missed, need to unite as spiritual brothers and sisters, and fight the good fight together. If we don’t start linking hands and stop criticizing everyone we know and don’t know, we will never see the light of God again on this planet. Because it’s looking pretty bad out there, people.

So stop criticizing everyone you know and don’t know. Stop picking on people because they are different. Start gratitude journals. Start seeing the good in things around you. Refuse to talk about crime and killing and destruction. Don’t give it any energy! Recognize the best in people and leave the worst to sort itself out. Stop gossiping about your neighbour. Keep your opinion to yourself. Be a friend by exerting yourself. Stop waiting for the other guy and expecting everyone to come to you. Take care of your neighbour as yourself. Basically, be the person you know you are capable of being, but have been too lazy to be.

It’s time to rise up and act like God would like us to act. Be Godly in mind, speech and behaviour. Walk the walk of God and talk the talk of God. Do whatever it takes to change your little part of the world. You can do it!
You can make a difference!
Hare Krishna!
Abhidheya dd

The Kali Yuga and The Bible

The Kali Yuga and the Bible

This morning while reading the Bible, I realized something which had escaped me until now. At the end of Chapter Five of Genesis—the first book of the Bible—the life spans of the characters mentioned, go from almost one thousand years to one hundred and twenty years as announced by God to Noah in Genesis 6:3. Wow, I never noticed it before.

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Right there, about five hundred years into Noah’s life, God says, “I’m changing things up!” And then drops everyone’s lifespan to one tenth, and drowns most of the earth and its creatures except for a chosen few.
Thus the Dvapara Yuga ended and the Kali Yuga began. So that would put Noah about 3100 BCE.

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Interesting how the scriptures line up!
According to the Bhagavad-Gita 8:17: “In the Dvapara Yuga, the copper age, the principles of religion are reduced to one-half. The average lifespan of a human being is one thousand years and the process for attaining self-realization and worshipping the Godhead, is by worshiping God in the temple.
In the Kali Yuga, or the Iron Age, the principles of religion are reduced to one-fourth, and will gradually be diminished to zero. (Yikes!) The average lifespan is one hundred years, and self-realization is attained by hearing and chanting the names of God.”

When you check the research of copper vs iron, one of the first things you notice is that the end of the copper era passed through the Bronze Age first and then on to the Iron Age.

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And why was this? I think they started to hone their techniques for protection even more than before, especially since we know the incarnation of the Lord had left the earth, so it was up to mankind to protect itself. Arrows and spears passed pretty easily through copper armour. Bronze armour was a bit more durable. But iron, now there was the tough stuff. Pretty hard to shoot an arrow through an iron breastplate.
And so the age of serious human warfare began.

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In our time, warfare is an industry. In the Bhagavad-Gita, there were career army just like there are today, but in those days they were of a particular class of individuals called Kshatriyas.
I come from a line of those. Warriors who see battle, leadership and right from wrong as part of our inner workings, not just a career choice made to get a good pension. My clan is the Murray clan who fought with Wallace at the end and then some of us packed up and left Scotland and went to Ireland—Eire, not Northern Ireland. The Murrays were noted as a clan who liked to fight, lol, and were darned loyal. I would have to agree with that. My dad certainly said it enough.

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My grandfather was a career man in the British army, my dad was a training sergeant in the tank corps during WWII and my adopted sister was in the signal corps. I myself studied law enforcement and aimed toward a career in police work but was sidelined by vision troubles. I did, however, work with the police locally, in a different capacity, for several years, helping to put a sizeable number of criminals in prison. But that’s another story.

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I remember as a child going to the Royal Ontario Museum and seeing the great hall of armour as you walked in the main entrance. It was incredible! Years later, they renovated the ROM and removed that exhibit, hiding it somewhere I could never find. I was devastated. I really think they totally ruined the place. But that is just my opinion.

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Anyway, I think it’s very interesting how the two sets of scriptures line up and reveal the same thing. Gives more credibility and a common denominator to them both.

Hare Krishna,
Abhidheya dd

Thoughts on the Bhagavad-Gita Chapter Three: Text One

Thoughts on the Bhagavad-Gita Chapter Three: Text One

Bhagavad-gita As It Is (1972)by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

 

image Chapter Three:. Karma-yoga

TEXT 1
arjuna uvāca
jyāyasī cet karmaṇas te
matā buddhir janārdana
tat kiṁ karmaṇi ghore māṁ
niyojayasi keśava
SYNONYMS
arjunaḥ—Arjuna; uvāca—said; jyāyasī—speaking very highly; cet—although; karmaṇaḥ—than fruitive action; te—your; matā—opinion; buddhiḥ—intelligence; janārdana—O Kṛṣṇa; tat—therefore; kim—why; karmaṇi—in action; ghore—ghastly; mām—me; niyojayasi—engaging me; keśava—O Kṛṣṇa.

TRANSLATION
Arjuna said: O Janārdana, O Keśava, why do You urge me to engage in this ghastly warfare, if You think that intelligence is better than fruitive work?

PURPORT
The Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa has very elaborately described the constitution of the soul in the previous chapter, with a view to deliver His intimate friend Arjuna from the ocean of material grief. And the path of realization has been recommended: buddhi-yoga, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Sometimes Kṛṣṇa consciousness is misunderstood to be inertia, and one with such a misunderstanding often withdraws to a secluded place to become fully Kṛṣṇa conscious by chanting the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa. But without being trained in the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, it is not advisable to chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa in a secluded place where one may acquire only cheap adoration from the innocent public. Arjuna also thought of Kṛṣṇa consciousness or buddhi-yoga, or intelligence in spiritual advancement of knowledge, as something like retirement from active life and the practice of penance and austerity at a secluded place. In other words, he wanted to skillfully avoid the fighting by using Kṛṣṇa consciousness as an excuse. But as a sincere student, he placed the matter before his master and questioned Kṛṣṇa as to his best course of action. In answer, Lord Kṛṣṇa elaborately explained karma-yoga, or work in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, in this Third Chapter.

Thoughts

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One of the most important things to remember when reading any holy book of spiritual teachings is that the book should be here to assist every individual as a tool to use in their day to day life. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out how to do that, if the texts are ambiguous in any way, or very historical in their presentation. But this text seems to me to be pretty obvious in at least one of its lessons.

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Arjuna, the main character here, is trying to use the idea of religion to cop out of his life as a career soldier. He is trying to avoid going to battle because of who his opponents are. And while that may seem like a reasonable idea to the modern man who regularly changes his mind and career choice, in the world of spiritual lessons, it’s not wise.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I try to run away from something I don’t want to do, wherever I go, the thing I was trying to escape is always waiting for me in another form wherever I end up. It seems to be the nature of the beast. And so I’ve learned not to bother to try to run away. I may delay the inevitable but I know I’m just going to have to face it eventually.
So here in this verse and this chapter, we are given the idea that religion can’t be a cop-out from life. It can be an assistant, but not an excuse to run away. Especially if you are already ensconced in a solid career, like our main character is here.
It’s one thing to have a calling and head out into sacred life and be a nun or monk or priest etc. It’s another thing to just use it as an excuse to run away.

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Spiritual teachings should help us to deal with the rough things in life not give us a hiding place where we can stick our heads in the sand.
It’s ok to stop and meditate and talk to God, like Arjuna is doing here, but you eventually must deal with the situation. And that can be done more easily with the help of God. We have a little form of God inside us–whom the Christians call the Holy Spirit—who is always available to listen to and talk with us. The Vedas teach us that this entity is called Paramatma. It is a mini version of the great soul of God, tucked in the hearts of every living creature, and available to us as our own Personal God.

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It’s difficult sometimes to talk to what we imagine as a huge entity somewhere in the Great Beyond. But it’s much easier to talk to a being who is right inside of us, watching what we do. If you could imagine two birds sitting in a tree. One doing all sorts of things, singing and building a nest and raising a family etc. And then there is this other bird, sitting in the same tree, watching, and offering bits of wisdom when the first bird asks for it.
Well, we all are living in this situation even though most of us do not know it.
We have another bird, another entity, living in our own tree of life, our body, and it is there to talk to us and listen to us and watch us. It is our friend and it is eternal, just like our own soul.

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So, before you decide to skip town because things are really rough around you, sit down and be still and talk to God, the little bird within your own tree, and ask God what to do.
Don’t run away. Nothing will change. Your lesson will still be waiting for you at the end of the road. You can’t use religion as a cop-out. It won’t work.

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God will always be there. You just have to talk to Him/Her. You just have to speak and ask and then most importantly, you must listen.
One thing I’ve noticed is how quiet the voice of God is, and how peaceful. The Christians refer sometimes to the idea of “soaking” in the Spirit, and I have experienced that. It’s like being totally immersed in peace. Like a really great Reiki treatment. Relaxing and so peaceful. So when you talk to God, listen for the voice that makes your soul feel at peace. That is the voice of God.

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Hare Krishna,
Abhidheya dd

What’s It All About?

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What’s It All About?

Chapter 2: Contents of the Gītā Summarized

TEXT 9
sanjaya uvaca
evam uktva hrsikesam
gudakesah parantapah
na yotsya iti govindam
uktva tusnim babhuva ha
SYNONYMS
sañjayaḥ uvāca—Sañjaya said; evam—thus; uktvā—speaking; hṛṣīkeśam—unto Kṛṣṇa, the master of the senses; guḍākeśaḥ—Arjuna, the master at curbing ignorance; parantapaḥ—the chastiser of the enemies; na yotsye—I shall not fight; iti—thus; govindam—unto Kṛṣṇa, the giver of pleasure; uktvā—saying; tūṣṇīm—silent; babhūva—became; ha—certainly.
TRANSLATION
Sañjaya said: Having spoken thus, Arjuna, chastiser of enemies, told Kṛṣṇa, “Govinda, I shall not fight,” and fell silent.
PURPORT
Dhṛtarāṣṭra must have been very glad to understand that Arjuna was not going to fight and was instead leaving the battlefield for the begging profession. But Sañjaya disappointed him again in relating that Arjuna was competent to kill his enemies (parantapaḥ). Although Arjuna was for the time being overwhelmed with false grief due to family affection, he surrendered unto Kṛṣṇa, the supreme spiritual master, as a disciple. This indicated that he would soon be free from the false lamentation resulting from family affection and would be enlightened with perfect knowledge of self-realization, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and would then surely fight. Thus Dhṛtarāṣṭra’s joy would be frustrated, since Arjuna would be enlightened. by Kṛṣṇa and would fight to the end.

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How many times have we heard ourself say, “Okay, that’s it! I’m done! I can’t do it anymore. I’m tired. I quit.”
In this age of seeming chaos and destruction, where everything from environmental disasters to terrorism pepper the everyday news, things can often feel overwhelming. In our own personal lives, issues of finances, health, career and family can also burden us daily.
Life can be pretty difficult sometimes.
Two of the core teachings from the Gita could probably be summarized with the words, “When life gets rough, don’t quit.” And “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.”
You see Arjuna, the main character in this book, is facing some pretty tough times. He’s on a battle field and most of his family is on the other side ready to kill him.
Hmmm… Sound familiar? Haven’t we all faced that one at least once in our life? I know I have.
And while Arjuna’s war actually involved weapons and killing, our own battles can often feel just as deadly. And in some cases, depending on our situation, they may be.
But the Gita teaches us in the upcoming verses that life is important and we shouldn’t just quit when we are frightened or seem overwhelmed. Everything has a purpose. It’s not whether we win or lose, it is truly how we play the game.
As the verses unfold, the Bhagavad Gita lays out a whole plan for surviving the battles and scars of daily life, and gives us the knowledge that the material world is a temporary location and there is something far greater at stake than just our physical survival. There’s a way back to Eden, to paradise, to heaven, so we should be diligent not to screw that up.
So don’t give up. Stand your ground. Be strong. Fight the good fight. God is on your side. Worry about how you take each day not if you will be successful in the big “material win” at the end of it. And make sure you are kind and compassionate and help your neighbours along the way.
Reading the Bhagavad Gita can help you understand what’s really going on out there in the world and within your own self, and also what is truly important.
Chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hara Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, can also help put your mind at peace and get you in touch with the energy of love, the Godhead. It’s a miracle cure for what ails you. For chanting, or praying the names of God, is one way to connect with the Source.

So start the New Year with a different outlook on life. Don’t give up. Don’t worry.

Chant and be happy!
And as my Guru would say: May the Source be with you!
Hare Krishna!
Abhidheya Devi Dasi

Who Do We Tell

Who Do We Tell

Bhagavad-Gita As It Is: Chapter 1:46: From the purport:
“Such a kind and soft-hearted person, in the devotional service of the Lord, is fit to receive self-knowledge.” From the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

I have read in many ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) publications, that it is considered to be a sin to try to teach certain kinds of people about God or Krishna, or to expose the representations of the Lord to those kinds of individuals. I didn’t understand that concept when I was younger. Now that I’ve been on the planet over sixty years, it all makes sense to me.

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There’s an old saying, “ You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” Anyone who has ever tried to wrestle a two-thousand pound animal and force them to do anything will understand that statement. There’s just no way. You can totally exhaust yourself trying to do something very futile. Such is the nature of the one who is ‘not ready’.

Stubborn as a mule. Boys on a beach try to coax a recalcitrant animal into action. Photograph, early 1900's. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Stubborn as a mule. Boys on a beach try to coax a recalcitrant animal into action. Photograph, early 1900’s. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

I’m always surprised to see, especially on social media, how the atheists come flying out of the box with swords swinging, every time the word God is brought into the topic. And I’m equally shocked at the behaviour of many so-called believers. They, too, get so enveloped in the moment, they lose total perspective and stop ‘walking’ their supposed talk. One can see easily how wars start, especially wars about religion.

So, teaching someone about faith, or God, or anything to do with religion can be a very tricky thing. You have to take it cautiously.

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The quote at the beginning of this article uses the words “ kind and soft-hearted person, in the devotional service of the Lord.” When you first read that, you might think it means they are already ‘fully enlightened’ beings and so, why would they need more instruction? But that is not what it’s referring to.
It takes a lot of work for an individual to reach the stage where they are open to new ideas and spiritual growth. It doesn’t just happen quickly for most people. And once a person is ready for more input of that nature, you find they are already in the ‘service of the Lord’, sometimes even without knowing it. They are the compassionate ones who recognize pain and need in others and are trying to help. They are facing challenges in their own lives which have made them question more and more the nature of their own existence.

When that person shows up, they are who you can offer assistance to, and never fear to take to a church or temple.

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I have been an animal rights activist and vegetarian most of my life. I recently met a nice couple and had a chance to visit with them for awhile. The fellow was fine when I mentioned I was a vegetarian. But his wife, literally yelled out, “ I could never not eat meat!”

Hmmm…not someone I should try to tell about anything to do with the topic of vegetarianism, just yet. At least not…overtly. My instruction would be more subtle and I would come from the direction of cost effectiveness, environmental destruction, comparison to domestic pets etc. It would be a long and arduous route and I would have to want to get very close to that person. But just as the Vedas teach there are literally thousands of different types and levels of humans, well, not all of them are people I want to become really close friends with. So perhaps I will just pray for her. That works too.

It’s important to be aware and beware when trying to pass on knowledge of higher learning to anyone. Always keep yourself balanced. Don’t lose perspective. Don’t get too attached to the results. Let it go if they don’t want to hear. Don’t make their karma, your karma.

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I am very grateful to the Lord in my heart who has gently guided me into understanding that I cannot change the whole world and it is not my job to do so. I can only try to make the ripples in my own pond quiet and calm, and not tidal waves.

Hare Krishna,
Your servant,
Abhidheya Devi Dasi

Some Interesting Video Links

The Mahabharata vedic knowledge ancient History Documentary

 

 

Varanasi, India: “Beyond” by Cale Glendening, Joey L., Ryan McCarney

 

Krishna History or Myth

 

Is Rama just a Myth or really a historical Figure? Lets Find it out

 

Kumbha Mela Festival 2013, by Stephen Knapp