Hari Bolo Friends of the Vedas!
Please accept my respects. All glory to the transcendental light of the Bhagavad-Gita as It Is!
On Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 7:30pm
Come join this wonderful evening that includes:
Congregational Mantra Meditation
A short study in Sanskrit
A FREE Vegetarian Feast and
A Bona-fide Sat-sanga where we will discuss:
"The Purpose of Education" Income oriented erudition leads to a meaningless life of quite desperation while those well schooled about their primordial relationship with the Supreme Lord have inspired entire kingdoms! Start re-shaping civilization with a good education at the next AVA meeting and become a positive inspiration for all of humanity! 7:30PM / 687 West Villanova Rd. - 640-0405 Always Free!
Temple Bhajan Band Performs at 52 Weeks of Peace Yoga Studio
This Friday Evening, August 28th the "Temple Bhajan Band" will perform at the 52 Weeks of Peace Yoga Studio at 408 "G" Bryant Street in Ojai California. They will sing ancient Vedic mantras, sacred prayers, and wonderful bhajans using tranditional Indian instruments including the esaraja, tamboura, kartals, mrdunga and harmonium. This is a bonnafide kirtan group properly representing the Brahma-Madhva Gaudia Vaishnava tradition which reaches back to the dawn when our universe was first created by Lord Brahma Himself! The program begins at 7pm and a $10 donation is requested at the door. For more information please call: (805) 646-7000
Living Peace in Ojai 2009 Celebration September 19, 20, 21
I would like to encourage all the local readers of the AVA newsletter to consider attending the Living Peace In Ojai celebrations planned for the weekend of Septermber 19th, 2009. This program offers a good opportunity to expand ones awareness of many international traditions and a variety of ways one can realign their consciousness to a more congenial world view. In the past I worked with the people who are responsible for putting this program together and they are all high spirited and well intended creative thinkers.
For more information please connect to their website at: www.livingpeaceinojai.com More information about the Vedic Concept of Living Peace is available under the HOTLINKS section of this newsletter.
Prelude to This Month's Feature Article
Spiritual Education from an Un-Accredited Source?
There are schools, colleges and universities located in major cities all over the world. Within each of those educational institutions classes are held in virtually every subject one could think of but only a very small percent offer classes that rigorously investigate the purpose of life and the science of the soul.
Of course one can pick up a copy of the "Whole Life Times," "What is Enlightenment Magazine" or the "Yoga Journal" and read all sorts of interesting metaphysical articles, but one should not make the mistake of thinking that is equivalent to a bonna-fide Spiritual education from a accredited reliable source.
Historically there has been a steady stream of colorful charismatic characters ready to take center stage at the local Meditation hall, Country Retreat, Yoga Studio or New Age church to present what they "Think" is true. Frequently a portion of what these teachers say IS true, which is why they can sometime attract large followings. But understanding one aspect of how a plane works is not as relevant as how to fly it safely, why it was made, and most importantly, how to make sure it is heading where you want to go!
No one would select a heart surgeon based on a cheap B&W display ad in the back of the local metaphysical tabloid, but there is a huge portion of the population that is willing to do that when it comes to trying to better understand how they can improve their lives. Why is that?
Where Can One Get A Reliable Spiritual Education?
Realistically speaking, there are only a very few places one can go to gain a rigorous education about the nature and origin of the soul. Traditionally it is either a large University or a religious school which offers serious studies in philosophy or religion. However as the world evolves, these types of studies are becoming more scarce simply because there aren't many careers that require a deep understanding of how Benedict Spinoza is different from Jean Paul Sarte.
Even if one does get admitted into a course of study from a reputable institution, the integrity of what they are capable of teaching is intrinsically jeopardized due to our own limited human condition.
Philosophy is an important subject to understand, but without some type of external divine input, it is flawed by the influence of human speculation. This is actually a symptom of our propensity to cheat. We may not really know anything about the subject at hand yet if we are asked to speak on it, many people will simply "Guess", or use deductive logic to try and say something that sounds intelligent. This is an example of cheating, one of the four human flaws.
The obvious truth is that one can only philosophize about things that are known to the human intellect. No matter how lofty the essays of Emanual Kant are, or esoteric the writing are of David Hume, their work can not give information about that which is beyond the scope of their human logic.
Similarly Religion, beliefs, and contemporary theology is plagued and compromised by the overwhelming influences of raw human sentiment. This continues to be an ongoing problem today as is evident by all the strange advertisements related to spiritual healing found in the magazines mentioned above.
So what's a sincere soul suppose to do? Who is qualified to teach about the nature of the soul, the purpose of life, and our destiny after death? How can we get accurate information about these important subjects?
Certified Vedic Authorities Mandatory for the Serious Transcendentalist
The Vedas provide a clear and logical answer to that question.
tvayy ambujaksakhila-sattva-dhamni samadhinavesita-cetasaike
tvat-pada-potena mahat-krtena kurvanti govatsa-padam bhavabdhim
"O lotus-eyed Lord, by concentrating one's meditation on Your lotus feet, which are the reservoir of all existence, and by accepting those lotus feet as the boat by which to cross the ocean of nescience, one follows in the footsteps of mahajanas [mahat- krtena: great saints, sages and devotees]. By this simple process, one can cross the ocean of nescience as easily as one steps over the hoof print of a calf. – Srimad Bhagavat Purana Canto 10, "The Summum Bonum" Chapter 2, "Prayers by the Demigods for Lord Krishna in the Womb" - Text 30. LINK: http://vedabase.net/sb/10/2/30/en
The use of the word Mahajanas (Maha/great:janas/person) is very significant in this verse. If you want to learn about any subject, you must approach the person who is an expert in that subject, not just any wishful thinking wanna-be or self declared expert who sells crystals and has a store front in Sedona.
For example in many industries there are people who have become certified in a particular field of knowledge. They are the ones manufactures recommend we go to if we have questions or difficulties related to their product. That's why people spend a lot of money to become a "Certified Microsoft Software Engineer," or to be recognized as a particular "Automobile Dealership", or to become a "Factory Authorized" repair shop.
Those well studied in a particle field of medicine are awarded the title Doctor while others who study law and pass the State Bar are acknowledged with the title "Esquire." Engineers who can prove their skills in understanding basic applied physics are given a license to build the structures we live and do business in. No sane person would get into a plane built by just any fool who says he built tree houses as a kid! No! We demand that planes are not only designed by qualified aeronautical engineers, but that they are fully tested and regularly inspected by highly trained safety engineers before we get in them!
The literally incarnation of God, Veda Vyasa understood this important principal when he compiled the Vedas. He knew that if he did not clearly designate WHO was qualified to comment on the Vedas, then because of our inherent cheating propensity, all sorts of self declared experts could claim to be His representative and take advantage of innocent "seekers" by misrepresenting what he wrote for their own selfish reasons. This is in fact exactly what has already happened for those who do not know about the authorized way to study the Vedas.
Religion Gone Amuck…
There are many individuals who appear to be teaching things which originated from the Vedas, but because the general public does not know who the factory authorized certified representatives are for presenting Vedic knowledge, they are very misled about important subjects like the creation of this universe, the highest meditation, the goal of Yoga, and who the personality of God is.
This phenomenon also explains for why there is so much controversy, division, and inconsistency in Christian theology. In today's world everyone is free to extract whatever esoteric meaning they want from the Bible. Although the Catholic Church tried desperately to maintain an unbroken heritage of understanding consistent with the teaching of the 1st century Paul, the greater public no longer recognizes it as the sole authority on the teachings of Lord Christ. Consequently there are all sorts of bizarre groups that use the Bible to endorse their particular agenda by citing selected verses from it to an indiscriminate audience. For example the Klu-Klu-Klan, the Neo-Nazies,c/o Tom Metzcar, The Peoples Temple c/o Jim Jones and the Branch Dravidians c/o David Koresh used their own twisted interpretations of the Bible to rationalize some of the most horrible and crazy things one human being could do to another!
Twelve Authorized Agents of Vedic Knowledge
Out of the eighteen chapters in the Bhagavad Gita, three of them have the word "Knowledge"in the title.
Chapter Four: Transcendental Knowledge
Chapter Seven: Knowledge of the Absolute
Chapter Nine: Most Confidential Knowledge
The Bhagavad Gita is written entirely in Sankrit, so for nearly all of us in the Western world we must rely on someone else to translate it's meaning accurately. At this point however, an attentive reader should be asking; "How can I be sure that the person who is translates it has done so properly, and didn't distort it's meaning" just like the Bible was by the four organizations illustrated above?
To guard against this type of perverted scriptural distortion, Veda Vyasa clearly states who He authorized to properly explain and comment on the Vedic literature that originated with him.
dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam
na vai vidur rsayo napi devah
na siddha-mukhya asura manusyah
kuto nu vidyadhara-caranadayah
"Real religious principles are enacted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although fully situated in the mode of goodness, even the great rsis who occupy the topmost planets cannot ascertain the real religious principles, nor can the demigods or the leaders of Siddhaloka, to say nothing of the asuras, ordinary human beings, Vidyadharas and Caranas."
svayambhur naradah sambhuh
kumarah kapilo manuh
prahlado janako bhismo
balir vaiyasakir vayam
dharmam bhagavatam bhatah
guhyam visuddham durbodham
yam jnatvamrtam asnute
"1) Lord Brahma, 2) Bhagavan Narada, 3) Lord Siva, the 4) four Kumaras, 5) Lord Kapila [the son of Devahuti], 6) Svayambhuva Manu, 7) Prahlada Maharaja, 8) Janaka Maharaja, 9) Grandfather Bhisma, 10) Bali Maharaja, 11) Sukadeva Gosvami and 12) I myself know the real religious principle. My dear servants, this transcendental religious principle, which is known as bhagavata-dharma, or surrender unto the Supreme Lord and love for Him, is uncontaminated by the material modes of nature. It is very confidential and difficult for ordinary human beings to understand, but if by chance one fortunately understands it, (from one of the above 12 mahajanas) he is immediately liberated, and thus he returns home, back to Godhead." – Srimad Bhagavat Purana Canto 6, "Prescribed Duties for Mankind," Chapter 3, "Yamaraja Instructs His Messengers," - Text 20-21. LINK: http://vedabase.net/sb/6/3/20/en
What this means is that is it absolutely mandatory that any serious student of the Vedas hear from someone who has been trained via an educational linage that originated with one of the above mentioned twelve Mahajanas. (Authorized Great Personalities.) The Sanskrit word used in this regard is "Sampradaya" and it means: "a disciplic succession of spiritual masters, along with the followers in that tradition, through which spiritual knowledge is transmitted, and handed down without changes from each teacher all the way back to its respective originator." (One of the 12 Mahajanas)
One of the leading Vaishnava Saints, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura authored the Sri Sri Gurv-astaka. In this beautiful melodious prayer chanted every day by Vaishnavas to their spiritual master he states:
saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya vande guroh sri-caranaravindam
"The spiritual master is to be honored as much as the Supreme Lord, because he is the most confidential servitor of the Lord. This is acknowledged in all revealed scriptures and followed by all authorities. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master, who is a bona fide representative of Sri Hari [Krsna]." - Sri Sri Gurv-astaka. Text Seven
Here we are unambiguously instructed that the spiritual master and the parampara-acarya, should be respected exactly like the Supreme Personality of Godhead! That's because without their grace, it simply isn't possible for a person to independently penetrate the illusion of material conditioning.
Four "Ivy League" Spiritual Schools
Currently there are four legitimate sampradayas of Vedanta and each one is headed by a prominent historical acarya. (One who teaches by example.) These are 1) the Sri Sampradaya, whose acarya is Ramanuja; 2) the Brahma Sampradaya, whose acarya is Madhva; 3) the Rudra Sampradaya, whose acarya is Visnusvami, and 4) the Kumara Sampradaya, whose acarya is Nimbarka. Every Vedantist school is known for its siddhanta or essential conclusion about the relationships between God and the soul, the soul and matter, matter and matter, matter and God, and the soul and souls.
The viewpoints expressed by the American Vedic Association are consistent with the teaching of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami who was initiated in the Bengali branch of Madhva's sampradaya known as the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya, or the Caitanya Sampradaya.
Therefore anyone who is serious about understanding the esoteric conclusions of the Vedas must take shelter of one of the four sampradayas available today. That is how one can properly grasp the most confidential aspects of spiritual life.
In the Padma Purana it is also clearly stated;
sampradaya-vihina ye mantras te nisphala matah:
"If one does not follow the four recognized disciplic successions, his mantra or initiation is useless." - Padma Purana
In the present day there are many apasampradayas, or sampradayas which are not bona fide, which have no link to authorities like Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, the Kumaras or Laksmi. People are misguided by such sampradayas. The sastras say that being initiated in such a sampradaya is a useless waste of time, for it will never enable one to understand the real religious principles. (SB 6.3.20-21Purport)
This Issue HOT LINK: A Spiritual Education
The most important education a person can get is the one that helps them understand how to put an end to the painful cycles of Disease, Old Age, Death and Rebirth. (Samsara) If one fully grasps the idea that the soul is eternal, then spending a whole lot of time creating a comfortable situation during this one very short life is similar to arranging the lounge chairs on the deck of the Titantic. Everything in this world is destined to eventually crash into an iceburg and sink to the bottom of material time so how smart is that?
The most valuable thing the Vedas offer is the passport on how to put an end to the cycle of rebirth. What is also important to understand is that one who takes up that process also automatically becomes a powerful advocate for the poor and underprivileged, the most effective environmentalist, a friend to all creatures, and the greatest ambassador for world peace. Indeed the Gita Proclaimes:
yasman nodvijate loko lokan nodvijate ca yah
harsamarsa-bhayodvegair mukto yah sa ca me priyah
"He by whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by anyone, who is equipoised in happiness and distress, fear and anxiety, is very dear to Me." - Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Chapter12 "Devotional Service', Text 15. LINK: http://bhagavadgitaasitis.com/12/15/en
nasti buddhir ayuktasya na cayuktasya bhavana
na cabhavayatah santir asantasya kutah sukham
"One who is not connected with the Supreme [in Krsna consciousness] can have neither transcendental intelligence nor a steady mind, without which there is no possibility of peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace?" - Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Chapter 2 "Contents of The Gita Summarized', Text 66. LINK: http://bhagavadgitaasitis.com/2/66/en
In order for there to be world Peace, there must be a common platform which people can come together on. Because of the exclusive nature of traditional religions they can't possibly be a realistic paradign where that can happen. The Vedas however are different. They teach that we should be concerned about helping people aspire to the platform of Goodness, not what who they learned that skill from or if they call the Supreme Lord Allah, Jehova, Jesus, Rama, Buddha, Elohim, Govinda, Yahweh or Krishna. The Hot link this month offers a nice tour of Krishna Consciousnes in practice. For those who are still limited by their misconceptions regarding devotees in Airports, this clip should be quite a plesant eye opener about what real education is all about:
About 14 minutes:
Main Article by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
"The Purpose of Education"
On Education and the Good Life
The following exchange between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the mother of a new devotee, and a Jesuit priest took place in July 1973 at the Radha-Krsna temple in London.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: [To the mother} According to our Vedic understanding, there are four pillars of sinful life: illicit sex, unnecessary killing of animals, intoxication, and gambling. Our students have been trained to give these up. And as you can see from your son, they are happy and satisfied by eating nice foods made from vegetables and milk and by chanting Hare Krsna, the holy name of God.
Mother: I see he's happy. But, you know, he came from a very happy home, so he should be happy, shouldn't he?
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: Yes. But now he's still happier. He was happy, but now he's happier.
Mother: I'm happy for Michael's happiness, but I'm very disappointed that he's not continuing his university education.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: Our Krsna consciousness movement is not depriving people of their education. We say, "Go on with your university education, but side by side become competent to know God and to love Him. Then your life is perfect."
But in any case, what is the purpose of education? Our Vedic culture teaches that the culmination of education is to understand God. That is education. Otherwise, the education for learning how to eat nicely; how to sleep nicely, how to have sex and defend nicely -- this education is there even among the animals. The animals also know how to eat, how to sleep, how to have sex, and how to defend. These four branches of education are not sufficient for human beings. A human being must know how to love God -- that is perfection.
Mother: Yes. I agree with you completely; I could mention a lot of brilliant men in science who are still very close to God. Where would we be without our scientists, without our doctors.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: But simply to become a doctor in medical science will not save one. Unfortunately, most doctors do not believe in the next life.
Mother: Oh, yes they do. I know a doctor who comes to church every Sunday -- and Michael knows him too. He believes in the next life; he's a very good man.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: Generally people in the West who believe in the next life do not believe in it very seriously. If they actually believed in the next life, they would be more concerned about what kind of next life they were going to have. There are 8,400,000 forms of life. The trees are a form of life, the cats and dogs are also forms of life, and the worm in the stool is also a form of life. So, all together there are 8,400,000 species. Since we are going to have a next life, since we have to leave our present body and take another body, our main concern should be what kind of body we are going to get next. But where is that university which educates its students to prepare for the next life?
Jesuit Priest: Catholic universities all over the world are doing that, and that's our main purpose -- to teach the young man or the young girl success in this world but, above all, success in the next, which means union with God for eternity. That's top priority.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: So, how can we know what kind of body we are going to have in our next life?
Priest: All I know is that there's no annihilation. I'm going to be joined with God.
Mother: We're going to be joined with Almighty God, that's all. We're going to Almighty God when we die. We don't have to worry.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: But what is the qualification for going to God? Does everyone go to God?
Mother and Priest: Yes. Yes.
Priest: Everybody who believes in God and who leads a good life and does his best in this world --
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: Then the next question is, What is the good life?
Priest: Obeying the commandments of God.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: One commandment is, Thou shall not kill. So if somebody kills innocent animals and eats them, is he leading the good life?
Priest: Father, you're being a bit unfair, Thou shall not kill means "Thou shalt not unnecessarily take away life." How would we be able to live if we didn't eat meat?
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: How are we living? We are eating nice foods prepared from vegetables, grains, fruits, and milk. We don't need meat.
Priest: Look at it this way. You just said a few minutes ago that there are eight million or so different kinds of life. Would you agree that the potato, the cabbage, and other vegetables also have life?
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: Yes.
Priest: So when you boil those vegetables, you're taking away their life.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: What is your philosophy -- that killing a potato and killing an innocent animal are equal?
Priest: You said, "Thou shalt not kill," but you kill the potato.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: We all have to live by eating other living entities:
ahastani sahastanam apadani catus-padam
phalguni tatra mahatma jivo jivasya jivanam
"Those who are devoid of hands are prey for those who have hands; those devoid of legs are prey for the four-legged. The weak are the subsistence of the strong, and the general rule holds that one living being is food for another." – Srimad Bhagavat Purana Canto 1, "Creation" Chapter 13, "Dhrtarastra Quits Home" - Text 47. LINK: http://vedabase.net/sb/1/13/47/en
But eating a potato and eating some animal are not the same. Do you think they are equal?
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: Then why don't you kill a child and eat it?
Priest: I wouldn't for a second think of killing a child.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: But animals and children are alike in that they both are helpless and ignorant; Because a child is ignorant, that does not mean we can kill him. Similarly, although animals may be ignorant or unintelligent, we should not kill them unnecessarily. A reasonable man, a religious man, should discriminate. He should think, "If I can get my food from vegetables, fruits, and milk, why should I kill and eat animals?" Besides, when you get a fruit from a tree, there is no killing. Similarly, when we take milk from a cow, we don't kill the cow. So, if we can live in such a way without killing, why should we kill animals?
Priest: Would you say that because I eat meat and bacon and so on -- does that make me sinful? If I didn't eat those, I would be less sinful?
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: Yes.
Priest: So if I give up eating meat and bacon and sausages, I would become a different person?
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: You would become purified.
Priest: That's very interesting.
HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: Animal killers cannot understand God. I have seen this; it is a fact. They do not have the brain to understand God.
"On Education and the Good Life"
(BTG #16-10 1981)
*-*-*-*-*-*-*-* End This Issue Feature Article *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
This Issue Thoughtful Vedic Quote(s)
yena ha vava kalau manujapasada deva-maya-mohitah sva-vidhi-niyoga-sauca-caritra-vihina deva-helanany apavratani nija-nijecchaya grhnana asnananacamanasauca-kesolluncanadini kalinadharma-bahulenopahata-dhiyo brahma-brahmana-yajna-purusa-loka-vidusakah prayena bhavisyanti.
"People who are lowest among men and bewildered by the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord will give up the original varnasrama-dharma and its rules and regulations. They will abandon bathing three times daily and worshiping the Lord. Abandoning cleanliness and neglecting the Supreme Lord, they will accept nonsensical principles. Not regularly bathing or washing their mouths regularly, they will always remain unclean, and they will pluck out their hair. Following a concocted religion, they will flourish. During this age of Kali, people are more inclined to irreligious systems. Consequently these people will naturally deride Vedic authority, the followers of Vedic authority, the brahmanas, the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the devotees." – Srimad Bhagavat Purana Canto 5, "The Creative Impetus" Chapter 6, "The Activities of Lord Rsabhadeva" - Text 10. (Purport) LINK: http://vedabase.net/sb/5/6/10/en
This Issue Thoughtful Scholarly Quote(s)
"The Vedas are the greatest privilege of this century." -Julius Robert Oppenheimer the principle developer of the atomic bomb who quoted from the 11th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita after exploading the first atomic bomb: "Death I am, cause of destruction of the worlds..." When Oppenheimer was asked if this is the first nuclear explosion, he significantly replied: "Yes, in modern times," implying that ancient nuclear explosions may have previously occurred.
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Scheduled AVA Television Shows in Ojai & Ventura
Interesting & Educational!
All of our readers are encouraged to tune in and see as many of the following well produced television shows that are now being broadcast on local Public Access Television. It is easy to see by the listings provided below that we have a large catalogue of very interesting material that includes Serious Vedic Philosophy, Reincarnation, Vegetarian Lifestyle, Dharma, Meditation, Yoga, Contemporary events, Dance, Drama, Religion and very sacred places of pilgrimage in India.
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Ventura Cable Channel 6 CAPS Scheduled Broadcasts:
Ventura Channel 6: Aug 30th – September 5th, 2009
Sun: 3pm-4pm / Sat: 9am to 10am / Wed: 7pm-8pm / Fri: 8pm-9pm
Biography Of Bhaktivedanta Swami Continues…
ISKCON Goes to Bombay India
After establishing his small movement in America, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami invites a small group of his disciples to return with him back to India to plan the roots of his organization in his homeland. In 1972 He makes arrangements to purchase a nice property in Juhu beach Bombay from a man called Mr. Nair. We then get a glimpse of all the personal austerities that the devotees must endure while living in a small straw tent during the monsoon an other harsh elements. Before long Mr. Nair starts to accuse the devotees on his property as being planted CIA agents and tries to cheat them of the thousands of rupees they have put down as earnest money against the purchase of the land. There we get to follow the ugly legal tricks Mr. Nair uses to have the devotees evicted but right when it appears he might prevail, he dies of a heart attack!
Ventura Channel 6: September 6th – Sep 12th, 2009
Sun: 3pm-4pm / Sat: 9am to 10am / Wed: 7pm-8pm / Fri: 8pm-9pm
Biography Of Bhaktivedanta Swami Continues…
Shortly after Mr. Nair passes away, the disputed property is transferred to ISKCON as originally intended and even Mr. Nair's widowed wife finally realizes her bad ways and repents. We then get to see how ISKCON Bombay and "Hare Krishna Land" evolved into one if the most influential and prominent temples in the whole Bombay community.
We then get to see how a hand full of austere devotees are able to start holding events in the city of Paris and how that grew large enough to also acquire a temple. This show also gives the viewer a little insight into the type of tension that began to develop between influential parents and the desires of their children to become full time devotees of the Hare Krishna movement.
Ojai Time Warner Channel 10 Scheduled Broadcasts:
In December of 2008 the Time Warner contract for providing Public Access television to the people of the Ojai Valley expired. The city of Ojai has discussed a variety of alternative solutions to replace this important vehicle for expressing free speech and the broadcast of low budget local films.
To the best of my knowledge an agreement has been made between the city of Ojai and the local Board of Education which authorizes the High School to step in and keep Public Access operating in Ojai. This is a brilliant move because it relieves the City from the concerns it has in relation to staffing a broadcast office while simultaneously giving the older students to learn how to actually run a functional television broadcasting office.
I recently met with the appropriate individuals from the school board to inform them of my interest in restarting the AVA Educational Video series as soon as everything is ready for operations. I have been told that the School system is ready to go, but apparently there are still several petty issues that need to be resolve by the City before broadcasting can commence. Hopefully that will occur before too much longer and we be given the green light to start broadcasting again. At that time I will advise the Ojai readers regarding what time and which channel they can find the AVA educational hour on
Readers Input Requested
It is unclear where the future of Cable Television for Ojai is going. In order to get AVA shows broadcast to the Ojai public I am willing to meet with whomever the appropriate people are to reopen this wonderful educational venue. If anyone can provide me with information relevant to this issue then please call me if there is something I can do to achieve this intended end result. –Thank you. (805) 640-0405 c/o mayesvara dasa
* * * * * * * * *END OF Television Schedule * * * * * * * * * *
Invitation to Everyone Who Receives This Newsletter!
The purpose of this newsletter is to seek out and invite anyone who is serious about real spiritual growth to come join us for a great evening of Krishna Katha, (Discussions about Krishna), Krishna Prasadam, (Wonderful Vegetarian Dinner first offered to Krishna with Love) and Krishna Nama-Bhajanas. (Glorification of Krishna's names and Pastimes in Sanskrit.) 1st & 3rd Tuesday of every month. Reservations are NOT required. (805) 640-0405
Invitation to Fellow Vaishnavas!
Vaishnavas who have experience speaking on the transcendental name, fame, and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krishna are invited to contact AVA if you would like to speak atone of our programs. The AVA congregation meets on the first and third Tuesdays of the month with special events held to celebrate Janmastami and Gour Purnima. If you are in the area, or would like to visit with us for the evening, please let us know of that desire and we will schedule a date and work out the details for when you can speak.
This invitation is extended to any male of female initiated member of Lord Caitanya's Brahma-Madva Gaudia Sampraday Sankirtan tree. Our mood is that of transcendental collaboration for the glorification of Krishna sans niti-katha. Those who are interested in leading kirtan, or assisting in the preparation of the FREE Vegetarian feast are also invited to contact us so we can make the necessary arrangements to accommodate you.
We are happy to see how nicely the AVA congregational members are improving their Vegetarian culinary skills! Adopting a diet that allows other creatures to live their lives peacefully is a tradition that extends way back in both Vedic as well as Buddhist traditions. One would think that all serious transcendentalists would understand this simple principal, but unfortunately that does not appear to be true.
Educating people about the importance of a Vegetarian diet is essential for anyone who is serious about escaping the serious laws of karma delineated in the Vedas. Unfortunately there are many teachers who will compromise the importance of the Vegetarian diet in order to attract more followers and promote their own watered down ideas about what real spiritual maturity is all about.
AVA is committed to teaching the science of Self Realization the way it has been handed down and respected by the great sages for thousands of generations. That is why part of the service we offer is to teach anyone who is interested in this process how to eat properly.
Those who are raised in a carnivorous society but then want to convert to a Vegetarian diet often experience a lot of cognitive dissonance. On one hand, they are intellectually convinced that they ought to be a vegetarian, but they simply don't know how to convert their diet over to that lifestyle. Instead of postponing that on-going dilemma, why not consider learning how to cook wonderful Vegetarian foods using herbs and spices that not only taste good, but also make eating a tremendously fulfilling experience! You can do that prior to any AVA meeting where we always prepare a nice meal for all the guests who attend. Those who want to learn this tremendous skill are advised to contact us 36 hours prior to the AVA event so we can tell you what and when we will be cooking for that program. You can then join us at that time and start learning how to adopt the eating habits recommended in the Vedas for Human life, which is also the most beneficial for rapid spiritual maturity. :-)
As the AVA newsletter continues to find new audiences, some have asked about the possibility of bringing the subjects we discuss into other gatherings. If it is possible to schedule those requests we will be happy to do so as part of our service to the community. For this purpose AVA has compiled a list of contemporary subjects for which we have essays, books, charts, graphs, and in some cases, videos to augment our presentations. For more information about scheduling an engagement to learn more about the Vedic Siddhanta (conclusion) please contact us directly.
Suggest A Subject?
Many of the subjects we cover in the "AVA Newsletter" come from questions or topics that are only vaguely commented on by other sources. If you have a subject you would like us to address, please send the question in to us and we will consider it for a future AVA topic. Simple questions are also addressed during the "Bhagavad-Gita Fellowship" meetings for the benefit of all those who attend.
What makes the AVA program different from all other contemporary sources of transcendental learning? We rely on the methodical, thorough and scientific way the Vedas portray the world we live in. The Vedas are so vast, and unlike any other literature known to man, they are often criticized as confusing and esoteric. But this is because the secret of the Vedas can only be unlocked by one who has been properly trained how to "decode" them. Although that sounds like an exhausting study, it is actually quite easy if the candidate is willing to accept instruction from a good source. In fact, the path of Bhakti (Loving Devotion to the Supreme Lord in His Personal Form) is so powerful that the essences of all the Vedas become automatically realized to that soul who surrenders to the Personality of Godhead and engages in devotional service to Him.
"A person who accepts the path of devotional service is not bereft of the results derived from studying the Vedas, performing austere sacrifices, giving charity or perusing philosophical and furtive activities. Simply by performing devotional service he attains all these and at the end he reaches the supreme eternal abode." - Bhagavad-Gita Gita As It Is Chapter 8 "Attaining the Supreme" Text 28. LINK: http://bhagavadgitaasitis.com/8/28/en
To grow transcendentally requires a reliable authority like the Bhagavad-Gita, (The torchlight of knowledge, Bg. 10.11) One is free to reject Vedic authority, but the consequences of doing so returns one to the words of speculation, conjecture, flawed empirical analysis, and a plethora of silly ideas about what spiritual life is from psycho-therapists, self declared gurus, charlatans, and carpetbag religionists, to name just a few.
Back Issues of AVA Newsletter
The subjects that we have already covered in 2005 are also included at the end of this newsletter. If you would like a digital copy of a past "AVA Newsletter," let us know and we will be happy to forward it to you for your further erudition.
Honor & Respect All the Magnanimous Souls
The American Vedic Association is an humble attempt to carry on with the mission of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. In the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna unambiguously states:
udarah sarva evaite jnani tv atmaiva me matam
asthitah sa hi yuktatma mam evanuttamam gatim
"ALL these devotees are undoubtedly magnanimous souls, but he who is situated in knowledge of Me I consider to be just like My own self. Being engaged in My transcendental service, he is sure to attain Me, the highest and most perfect goal." - Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Chapter7 "Knowledge of the Absolute', Text 18. LINK: http://bhagavadgitaasitis.com/7/18/en
This mood is further clearly confirmed by Krishnadasa Kaviraj Goswami in the Caitainya Caritamrita:
vande sri-krsna-caitanya- premamara-taroh priyan
sakha-rupan bhakta-ganan krsna-prema-phala-pradan
"I offer my obeisances to ALL the dear devotees of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the eternal tree of love of Godhead. I offer my respects to ALL the branches of the tree, the devotees of the Lord who distribute the fruit of love of Krsna. ." - Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi Lila, Chapter 10. "The Trunk, Branches and Subbranches of the Caitanya Tree" Text 7" - LINK: http://caitanyacaritamrta.com/adi/10/7/en
It is therefore clear that anyone who is properly trained in the science of self realization as handed down in the Gaudia Vaishnav tradition is a "Magnanimous Soul" and therefore deserves ALL respects. Based on this simple fact the American Vedic Association welcomes ALL Vaishnavas to participate in AVA events regardless of which branch on Lord Caitanya's sankirtan tree they may have studied with or current doctrinal disputes.
To any close observer it is evident that His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami single handedly completely revolutionized the concept of yoga, meditation, Self Realization and religion in the Western world. He did this by introducing the Vedic Siddhanta which clearly delineates the three different levels of God Realization which culminates in Bhagavan Realization.
"Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman1, Paramatma2 or Bhagavatam3. -Srimad Bhagavat Purana Canto 1, "Creation" , Chapter 2, "Divinity & Divine Service", Text 11. LINK: http://vedabase.net/sp/1/2/11/en
The symptoms of Bhagavan Realization are evident when the aspiring transcendentalist finally understands, accepts, and surrenders to Krishna the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
"And of all yogis, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of ME within himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Me, He is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. That is My opinion. - Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Chapter 6 "Sankya Yoga', Text 47. LINK: http://bhagavadgitaasitis.com/6/47/en
Expose the Shortcomings of Impersonalism and Voidism
Based on the strength of the Vedas, Bhaktivedanta Swami also taught that the greatest threat to the welfare of the world, society, economy and world peace etc, was the irrational self-centered sophistry of the Non-Dual and voidists schools of transcendence. This is further confirmed by Lord Caitanya Himself:
"Sripad Sankaracaray has describe all the Vedic Literatures in terms of indirect meanings. One who hears such explanations is ruined." – Sri Caitanya Caritamrita Adi Lila, Chapter 7. "Lord Caitanya in Five Features" Text 109". LINK: http://caitanyacaritamrta.com/adi/7/109/en
"Sankaracarya, who is an incarnation of Lord Siva is faultless because he is a servant carrying out the orders of the Lord. But those who follow his Mayavadi Philosophy are doomed. They will lose all their advancement in spiritual knowledge." - Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi Lila, Chapter 7. "Lord Caitanya in Five Features" Text 114". LINK: http://caitanyacaritamrta.com/adi/7/114/en
The Non-Dual Advaita School was introduced by Sankaracarya and is also referred to as Mayavadi philosophy. The Voidist traditions are taught primarily by the followers of Lord Buddha. It is ironic that Sripad Sankaracarya is accepted as Lord Siva working under the instruction of Lord Krishna for the specific purpose of deluding those who are not willing to surrender. It is equally curious that Lord Buddha is also accepted as an incarnation of Lord Krishna. In both cases Krishna has tricking those who can not grasp his original form as the Surpreme Personalty of Godhead. By appearing in these forms he has made it possible every for the impersonaist to appreciate Him indirectly in a less personal way as one of his immediate expansions. Both of these points make for an interesting discussion but I will not elaborate on this any more here.
It is primarily because the followers of Christianity and Islam have failed so miserably to set a good example that the mass of the population is turning away from the classic "God" centered religions and are now starting to adopt these atheistic faiths. The alternative to this dire scenario requires rethinking the prudence of embracing impersonalism and voidism but as stated above, once the mind has become contaminated with the word juggling rhetoric of the faithless it is very difficult to grasp the concept of God as a Person, ie: Bhagavan Realization.
Therefore out of all the numerous and extraordinary things that His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivanta Swami Prabhupada taught in the Western World, exposing the futility of these misguided traditions was arguably his foremost mission. This is clearly evident in the Sanskrit Pranama mantra which he was honored by during his physical presence and continues to be eulogized by to this day:
namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine nirvisesa-sunyavadi-pascatya-desa-tarine.
"We offer our respects unto you, the student of Sarasvati Gosvami. You are kindly teaching the message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu for the purpose of delivering the Western World from impersonalism and voidism."
For this reason it is also the mission of the American Vedic Association to help the conditioned souls philosophically understand where and how these impersonal traditions fail to meet both the needs of the eternal soul, as well as why they can not possibly resolve the numerous social ills that plague the peace and solvency of all the worlds peoples. It is not our intention to offend any of our friends who may currently be involved with these other practices only inform them of a historical point of view they may not currently be familiar with. If anyone wishes to understand any of these points in greater detail you are encouraged to join us at one of our bi-monthly meetings where we will be happy to thoroughly answer all your questions based on the strength of Vedic Authority.
How to Contact
mayesvara dasa (md @ jagannatha (dot) com)
aka: William Roberts* Director
American Vedic Association
687 West Villanova Road
Ojai California, 93023
(805) 640-0405 AVA @ jagannatha (dot) com
About the Author
William Roberts is the founding director of The American Vedic Association, a legally independent but philosophically concurrent local branch of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. (ISKCON) He began studying Vedic philosophy in 1973 and assimilated the works of eminent Vaishnava saints while living in India for several years. He became an ordained Brahman priest under the tutelage of the world-class authority on Bhakti Yoga, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. The American Vedic Association is currently sponsoring the Free Bhagavad-Gita Fellowship Gatherings held on the First and Third Tuesday of every month. The program includes a formal section which consists of congregational changing sacred mantras, a short lesson in the pronunciation and comprehension of Sanskrit, and a philosophical discussion. The informal part of the program includes a Free Vegetarian Dinner, open questions and answers, and when appropriate, an interesting subject related transcendental Video. For more information call, (805) 640-0405, or contact william.roberts @ jagannatha (dot) com.
"Dispel the Darkness of Ignorance With the Torchlight of Knowledge!" - Bg. 10.11
Planned Gatherings & Topics
Every 1st & 3rd Tuesday of EACH Month
Sanskrit, Mantra, Kirtan, Prasadam!
AVA Topic Schedule 2008
Date/Event Meeting Subject
1st Tue: Jun 01, 2008 Purity & Freedom
2nd Tue: Jun 15, 2008 Artificial Intelligence
Sunday Aug 3, 2008 Rathayatra Festival at Venice Beach
1st Tue: Aug 5, 2008 Only Rare Individuals Transcend Economics
2nd Tue: Aug 19, 2008 Krishna Janmastami with Brigupati Dasa
1st Tue: Sep 5, 2008 How Can There Be Peace?
2nd Tue: Sep 19, 2008 Live Naturally & Feed the People
1st Tue: Oct 7, 2008 Mundane Education?
2nd Tue: Oct 21, 2008 Spooky Karma
1st Tue: Nov 4, 2008 Rascals Elect Rascals?
2nd Tue: Nov 18, 2008 Sixth Commandment & Cow Killing
1st Tue: Dec 2, 2008 There is Only One Religion
2nd Tue: Dec 16, 2008 The Tolerance of Lord Christ
1st Tue: Jan. 6, 2009 Absolute Authority
2nd Tue: Jan 20, 2009 Be Good To Feel Good
1st Tue: Feb. 3, 2009 Leadership Means 'By Example'
2nd Tue: Feb 17, 2009 How to Respond to Crime & Conflict
1st Tue: Mar. 3, 2009 Don't Compromise Your Integrity
2nd Tue: Mar 17, 2009 Freedom to be a Fool
1st Tue: Apr. 7, 2009 Christ Never Justified Slaughter
2nd Tue: Apr. 21, 2009 Live Simple for Peace & Truth
1st Tue: Jun. 2, 2009 Seeing God Inside & Outside – (md)
2nd Tue: Jun. 16, 2009 Gainsay Gushing Guru's Who Guess! – (md)
1st Tue: Jul. 7, 2009 Regenerative Body Machines-(Halayuda Dasa)
2nd Tue: Jul 28, 2008 Robust Kirtan & Transcendental Play / Vaishnava Youth
Sunday Aug 2, 2009 Los Angeles Rathayatra! Thousands took Prasadam!
1st Tue: Aug 4, 2009 Hard Work – Curse of Ignorance
2 ndTue: Aug 18, 2009 You Get What You Pray For
Saturday Aug. 8th, 2009 Krishna Janmastami (Special Program! 6:30 pm)
1st Tue. Sep. 1th , 2009
"The Purpose of Education" - will be discussed at the American Vedic Association Bhagavad Gita As It Is Fellowship: Income oriented erudition leads to a meaningless life of quite desperation while those well schooled about their primordial relationship with the Supreme Lord have inspired entire kingdoms! Start re-shaping civilization with a good education at the next AVA meeting and become a positive inspiration for all of humanity! 7:30PM / 687 West Villanova Rd. - 640-0405 Always Free!
2nd Tue. Sep. 15th , 2009
"No Target? No Score" - will be discussed at the American Vedic Association Bhagavad Gita As It Is Fellowship: The stymied preach a sour grapes philosophy and reject life's purpose. It's easier to bloviate rhetoric, make a donation, or hide in silence then to look closely at one's own prejudicial conditioning and fears. Focus on a divine target and rack up a winning sore at the next AVA meeting! 7:30PM / 687 West Villanova Rd. - 640-0405 Always Free!
1st Tue. Oct. 6th , 2009
"Self Manifesting Deception" - will be discussed at the American Vedic Association Bhagavad Gita As It Is Fellowship: Children, drunks, and New Age ministers may believe that prosperity manifests by visualizing it, but karma is not deterred by such nonsense. Understand how God manages everything favorably for His devotee at the next AVA meeting! 7:30PM / 687 West Villanova Rd. - 640-0405 Always Free!
2nd Tue. Oct. 20th , 2009
"Death, the Final Frontier?" - will be discussed at the American Vedic Association Bhagavad Gita As It Is Fellowship: Some view death as a relief while others are terrified of it! Rationalists insist it is finite and the layperson mocks it with plastic sculls, ornamental gravestones and vampire stories. The sages say it is a transition and the Vedas explain how. Learn the science of your post-life destiny at the next AVA meeting! 7:30PM / 687 West Villanova Rd. - 640-0405 Always Free!
1st Tue. Nov. 3th , 2009
"Who Do You Serve & Why?" - will be discussed at the American Vedic Association Bhagavad Gita As It Is Fellowship: Egocentricity is the norm but prosperity begins when we give up foolish behavior and selfish conclusions. Learn about the non-speculative Vedic Sciences from generations of world class erudite masters at the next AVA meeting! 7:30PM / 687 West Villanova Rd. - 640-0405 Always Free!
2nd Tue. Nov. 17th , 2009
Vegetarian Thanksgiving Feast / Cruelty Is Not Civilized! - will be discussed at the Annual American Vedic Association Bhagavad Gita As It Is Fellowship Thanksgiving Feast! We arrest those who abuse dogs but pay others to behead turkeys! Destructive humans demand the freedom to torture other innocent species! Perhaps we aren't smart or civilized but foolish and barbaric? Break the trend and start a new tradition with a Vegetarian Thanksgiving Feast at the next AVA meeting! 7:30PM / 687 West Villanova Rd. - 640-0405 Always Free!
1st Tue. Dec. 1th , 2009
"Talk & DO the Walk!" - will be discussed at the American Vedic Association Bhagavad Gita As It Is Fellowship: Pious assertions are ubiquitous but intoxication is prevalent, animals are still slaughtered, pornography is growing and the courts are overflowing! If you can't "Walk Your Talk," then perhaps it's time to check out the "Higher Taste" at the next AVA meeting! 7:30PM / 687 West Villanova Rd. - 640-0405 Always Free!
2nd Tue. Dec. 15th , 2009
"Go & Sin No More…" - will be the topic of discussion at the American Vedic Association Bhagavad Gita As It Is Fellowship: After Jesus healed the faithful cripple at the Bethesda pool he instructed: "Sin no more lest you become worse off!" (John 5.14) This confirms that faith alone is not adequate to transcend death. Evaporate bad habits with joyful devotional service at the next AVA meeting! 7:30PM / 687 West Villanova Rd. - 640-0405 Always Free!
To Be Continued in July 2009…
c/o William Roberts / mayesvara dasa: AVA Director (805) 640-0405
Why This Newsletter Was Sent to You & the AVA Purpose
This newsletter is being sent to you because someone felt you might have an interest in the "Science of Self Realization" as it is explained in the Vedic literature of ancient India. It is posted twice a month and its primary purpose is to remind the American Vedic Association congregation to attend the bi-monthly Bhagavad-Gita Gita Appreciation Gathering that is held on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month.
The material presented in these newsletters is based on the conclusions of the Vedic Literature as understood by India's foremost authorities on that subject namely, Lord Brahma, Maharaja Pariksit, Narada Muni, Madhavacarya, Ramanujacarya, Krishna Dasa Kaviraja, Narotama Das Thakur, the Six Goswami's of Vrindaban, Bhaktivenode Thakur and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to name just a few. The purpose of this correspondence is to help readers properly explain Sanskrit terms, clarify misunderstandings about Indian theology, and make the Vedic conclusion more accessible to the Western mind.
Questions are always welcome, and may be integrated into future newsletters. It is our hope that you will find the content to be informative and meaningful. It is also an invitation for you to consider joining us at one of our bi-monthly Bhagavad-Gita as It Is meetings if you happen to be within a reasonable driving distance from Ojai, California, USA.
Must Say No?
Most people are familiar with the Biblical advice given in the "Sermon on the Mount"
"Give not what is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine. Lest they trample them under their feet, and turn against and rend* you." - Bible, Matthew Chapter7, Text 6. (*rend = tear you apart violently.)
This is not only a common theme found in all great scriptures, yet even secular teachers have no interest in trying to explain something to a defiant student. Therefore, if you prefer not to receive any further information about the Vedas, AVA events, or the process of spiritual growth honored by the great sages of ancient India, then simply request to be taken off of our mailing list. We will lament seeing you go when we do, but will gladly comply with your request.
"Bewildered by the modes of material nature, the ignorant fully engage themselves in material activities and become attached. But the wise should not unsettle them, although these duties are inferior due to the performer's lack of knowledge. "- Bhagavad Gita As It Is; Chapter 3 Karma Yoga Text 29. LINK: http://bhagavadgitaasitis.com/3/29/en
Thank you for your patience and interest!