Wednesday, December 31, 2014


(USA Today) - Some 162 passengers and crew are missing and presumed lost on AirAsia Flight 8501, but the total would be a lot higher if the airline hadn't changed the departure time to two hours earlier than originally scheduled. Christianawati was one of 10 members of an extended family - including her 7-month-old son and another infant - booked on the flight who missed it by minutes after they missed emails and phone calls from the airline earlier this month to inform them of the time change to 5:35 a.m., the Sydney Morning Herald reports. 
Her husband and brother-in-law arrived in time to see latecomers race for the plane yesterday morning, but they decided to wait for the rest of the group to arrive in a second car.

While the group was still trying to negotiate a later flight with airline staff, they were informed the plane had disappeared. "We felt completely limp, the whole family," Christianawati says. "It was like we'd lost our spirit." "I just remember those people who we saw running to the last call," her husband says. "I hope they find them." There were a total of 26 no-shows for the flight from Surabaya to Singapore, reports Bloomberg, including a 10-year-old boy whose parents canceled a family trip because his grandfather was ill. The boy "was very upset when we said that we couldn't go after all," his mother says. "When we told him the plane was missing, he didn't believe us until we showed him the tickets."

These days, different news speak not only of a family, but three families saved from death by "miracle". A sick grandfather, a missed call and an unopened email kept three Indonesian families from making it onto the AirAsia flight that vanished last Sunday. The Airbus 320-200, flying from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore, was carrying 155 passengers and seven crew when it disappeared. The aircraft's disappearance has echoes of the Malaysia Airlines flight 370 mystery which dropped off the radar in March while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Former beauty queen Anggi Mahesti said she was part of a group of 10 who missed the plane on Sunday because they were not aware of a change in its departure time. “At first, we were angry with AirAsia and our travel agent,” Ms Mahesti, 27, said. They were planning to take a later flight to Singapore when news of the missing plane broke. “An airport official told my husband it was a Christmas gift from God to our family,” she added. “We decided not to fly after that because we were scared and didn’t want to tempt fate.” By reading this news, one must think deeply. Was it a "miracle", or is it a matter of "cause and effect"? , The disappearance of the aircraft occurred on Sunday, then on Monday, on the other side of the world, at least 427 people were evacuated from a Greece-to-Italy ferry, as a result 10 or more people were dead and it was unclear whether there were more missing, and today, we learned that at least 35 people are dead, and 43 are injured  in a stampede during New Year's celebrations in China. So, we are surrounded by events in which people – despite being in the same place and time – some died and others remain alive. Therefore it is not easy to deliver an opinion on these matters lightly. We know there is a law called Karma and no one dies or the day before or the day after what you or what higher authorities have arranged according to our actions. Nevertheless, we also know that the mercy of God acts and some receive His grace, even without cause.  (Editor's note).

“Whatever is done by the Lord is for good,” the prime minister told the King, “If Hari protects, nobody can kill him and if Hari wants to kill then nobody can protect him,” he added.
Śrīla Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Mahārāja : 
“Golden Saying” 
“God is Gracing Us in All Circumstances” - Feb 10, 2003 - 
Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math

It is stated, māre krishna rākhe ke, rākhe krishna māre ke:  If Krishna protects someone, no one can kill him, and if Krishna wants to kill someone, no one can save him. ...  Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is omnipotent, and if He wants to kill someone, no one can save that person. Similarly, if He wants to save someone, no one can kill him. 

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda : 
“Śrīmad Bhāgavatam” 11.1.4 - “Krishna Book” - Chapter 72 - 
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Monday, December 29, 2014


GO TO PRACTICE YOGA (Chennai, India) A group of 11 people, all corporate heads above 45 years, are exposed to yoga for the first time at a workshop. Almost all complain of pain in the neck, back and the knee while performing asanas and while sitting on the floor for minutes together. Dr. Krishna Raman, consultant physician, internal medicine, offers tips and changes in sitting position. Yoga is now being widely used for healing purposes too. 
“People learn yoga to improve their health quotient. Most people can’t sit continuously for a long time and feel numb in the legs. It is so because we are not adapted to it. Yoga adapts you to a particular situation. When we sit properly, it gives energy to the mind," Dr. Raman, the medical specialist who combines internal medicine and yoga, explains at the workshop. While sitting, shoulders have to drop down and if so, the neck is also relieved.

Yoga is most often perceived as something for flexibility, breathing and spirituality and we do not appreciate it, says Dr. Farzana Siraj, consultant therapeutic yoga, adding that hot and power yoga are a corruption of yoga.  We have to sit and stand in a proper posture. Leaning forward is ageing and leaning backward is anti-aging, says Dr. Siraj. At 58, K.G. Muralidharan, promoter of G.K. Industrial Park, wants to do yoga to improve his health. “My health deteriorates with age and I want to be fit. I have heard about various benefits of practising yoga and I want to practise it,” he says. 
Yoga instructors say that awareness about yoga and its benefits has been increasing and many young people now prefer attending classes. Given the demand for yoga and naturopathy, the government yoga and naturopathy medical college in the city has increased the seats from 20 to 50 from this academic year.

This article, written by Deccan Chronicle correspondent, explains about the benefits of Hatha Yoga and how the asanas can improve your health. By practising Yoga you will learn to change your sitting position and it may modify a bad posture. Dr R.S. Himeswari, chairman of the medical college in Chennai, says that from the next academic year, they plan to start postgraduate courses in naturopathy and yogic sciences. The only government yoga hospital sees 200 outpatients daily. “Our students visit the Institute of Mental Health and teach yoga to mentally ill people. It’s not just pain alone that can be managed through yoga, even hypertension and diabetes, among others, can be managed with regular practice,” she says. Obviously, it is not necessary to wait till your health becomes deteriorated to change your lifestyle and start the practice of Hatha Yoga. The asanas of yoga are excellent tools in curative and preventive health care. In the last decades, physicians have understood the vast clinical potential of yoga as a non invasive tool and its use in preventive health making health care highly cost effective. We all know that prevention is cheaper than to spend much money in curing. Moreover, more and more Western physicians have found solutions for a variety of medical ailments by combining Western medicine and Yoga. We should care our human body because God has designed it to help us to achieve the transcendence. But it is our responsibility to harmonize and connect our body with our inner self, so in order to be successful in doing it is very useful to follow ancient yogic principles. (Editor's note).

The physical body is considered an instrument or vehicle of the soul on its path towards perfection, and it has its own needs that must be met in order to run well.  Right exercise: The asanas, improve blood circulation and muscle flexibility, and help the joints, muscles and other body parts to work correctly.   Correct breathing: Yogic breathing techniques called pranayama, producing a burst of energy that leads to mental and physical rejuvenation of the body.  Correct relaxation:  Relaxation is a natural method of revitalizing the body and mind.  Rigth diet: The yogic diet is a vegetarian one and is composed of pure foods that promote health and vitality.  Positive thinking and Meditation: They purify the intellect and allow to achieve wisdom and inner peace.

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


STRANGE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD Christmas is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world. But it's also among the most diverse and varies from country to country. In central Europe, many towns set up cozy Christmas villages. Many European towns and cities set up Christmas markets and small Christmas villages that attract visitors and locals alike. They're typically open from the beginning of December until Dec. 24. Some of them exhibit stages, merry-go-rounds and other attractions for children. But there's usually plenty to fascinate adults, too, such as mulled wine, beer and food specialties. 
Some Portuguese people open presents twice - This is a custom in Portugal and many people open presents twice: First, parents give their children a selection of gifts on Christmas Eve. But the excitement is far from over: The next morning, more gifts await, ready to be opened.

Russians, Greeks and Bulgarians prefer the cold and jump into rivers and lakes - This tradition is common in Orthodox Christian countries. Young men (and sometimes women) jump into cold rivers and lakes as soon as a priest throws a cross into the water. The aim is to be the first person to reach the cross. They believe that those who win the contest will be lucky in the new year. In Germany, children collect money for charity - In the more Catholic south of Germany, it is common that children (called Sternsingers) collect money for charity by knocking on people's doors to perform songs. They are usually dressed as the three wise men. 
In Argentina, lit paper decorations are sent into the sky on Christmas Eve - This colorful celebration lights the sky over Argentina on Christmas Eve. Many people in the South American country make their own paper decorations, sort of like balloons and equipped with lights. The so-called 'globos' are usually released into the sky shortly after midnight.

This article is about traditions which seem quite strange to the rest of the world. It was written by Rick Noack, from Washington, D.C. Buth there are many other examples: South Koreans like money as a present. It's true that money might not seem like a very elaborate Christmas gift, but many South Koreans prefer it over more creative presents. The South Korean version of Santa Claus (Santa Haraboji, which means Santa Grandfather), sometimes wears a blue suit instead of a red one. Winter in Finland is dominated by the cold temperatures and thick layers of snow that cover forests and houses. For this, many Finnish have a solution: They celebrate Christmas in saunas.  And in Nova Scotia, in the southeast of Canada, some locals dress up as Santa Claus, then they walk to their neighbors' houses and make them guess their real identities. As we all know, the celebration of Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus, and the Western Church celebrates it on December 25. Many countries around the world follow this tradition; however, no one is really sure of what day Jesus' birth was, and it is little that we know about His historical being; however, more important is the message that he came to deliver to all humankind. (Editor's note).

Jesus has shown the power of love, and He became immortal because He was such a great example. It is a pity that there are so few people following him. Many people repeat the name of Jesus, but they are not vegetarians; they even do not admit that the animals have a soul, and in reality not themselves also, because they do not live for the good of the soul. It is not easy to follow a pure devotee of God. ... Let’s hope that on the day of Jesus, more than one soul remember him and not give most attention to the ridiculous Father Christmas. It is a great sadness to see how this day, which should be so sacred for the Christians, has become more and more profane each year. Who will give a present to Jesus? Who will sing to him on his altar? Just a few people are doing it! But we shouldn’t be surprised, this is the effect of Kali yuga. Well the devotees of Krishna, they certainly do celebrate and sing your glories in your divine and wonderful eternal and progressive immortality.

Śrīla Atulananda Ācārya :
“Jesus and His Message of Universal Love”

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN Today marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Yet the plight of millions of women starts even before birth. Since China introduced legislation to limit the size of the population, 336 million abortions have been performed. As a result of selective abortion, there are now 34 million more men than women in China.
Female genital mutilation is another problem. Though no religious script prescribes the practice, more than 125 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to this. It is rooted in old traditions and superstitions, but perhaps the worst thing about it is that it is mostly women who organise the mutilation of their daughters and granddaughters.

Rape is a major issue that can affect any woman. From the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), which wants to rule Uganda according to the Ten Commandments, and which uses child soldiers to rape and murder, to the Serbs who raped Bosnian Muslim women, to Lebanese Christian paramilitaries who raped Palestinian women in Sabra and Shatila, this continues to be used as a weapon during times of war. The Western world is not wonderful either. On average, two women are killed by their current or former partner every week in England and Wales. In Northern Ireland, the police respond to a case of domestic abuse every 20 minutes. 
In the Republic (of Ireland), 20% of women in a relationship have been abused by their partner. Punitive measures must be taken against war criminals, and tougher measures taken against rapists and abusive partners.

Today, November 25, we celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This date was chosen after the horrible deaths of three Dominican sisters who were fighting to have a country free of dictatorship back in 1960. This article was written by Mohammed Samaana, who is a freelance journalist based in Northern Ireland. She claims that "female genital mutilation must be made illegal and the focus should be on education and on empowering women to stand up for their rights." She is right, and although many efforts have been made to reduce violence against women, yet this scourge continues in many ways. For example, according to the UN, 35% of women and girls globally experience some form of physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime with up to seven in ten women facing this abuse in some countries. It is estimated that up to 30 million girls under the age of 15 remain at risk from female genital mutilation/cutting, and more than 130 million girls and women have undergone the procedure worldwide. Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children, therefore, they are less likely to complete their education and more likely to experience domestic violence and complications in childbirth. Our spiritual masters have taught us that the idea that men are superior to women, is born from a competitive mind n and an inferiority complex. This mentality is really very far from Krishna consciousness. On the contrary, we must be especially kind, friendly and protective of the weakest members of society - such as women and children - and in doing so, we may receive the mercy and grace of Krishna. (Editor's note).

By the time this takes place in Kali-yuga, child pornography, rape, and other sexual crimes will be out of control. Politicians and law officers will be bribed into impotence, some even participating in  and profiting from these perverse activities. Children will be fearlessly seized from the streets and hardly missed by their irresponsible parents. The depravity these young children will be forced to  endure will make death a welcome end. And those that survive will be so mentally damaged that they will wreak havoc on the rest of society. Adult and child slavery will be rampant and predominantly based on sex. It will be found mostly where people have the money to support it, which will be in the homes of the so-called wealthy and upper classes. There will be no human rights or justice and the world will be on the edge of disaster and ruin. In these circumstances, and when this type of men, women, and children are roaming the cities, you have a picture of hell on earth.

Dr Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
 “The Vedic Prophecies: A New Look into the Future”
Vol. 3 - “Changes During Kali Yuga”
“The Depravity in Family Life ind Relations Between People”  -

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Saturday, October 25, 2014


WARMEST WISHES FOR DIWALI - On Wednesday, October 22, 2014, Barack Obama, President of the United States wished a Happy Diwali to all those who celebrate the festival of lights. It is the sixth time that the Obama administration celebrates Diwali. President Obama wished a happy Diwali to Indians around the world, keeping up a tradition of increased cultural and religious awareness that his administration has been practicing since it took office in 2009. Here  is the transcript of the President’s video message: 
“I want to wish a Happy Diwali to all those who are celebrating the festival of lights here in the United States and around the world.  For Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, lighting the lamp - the diya - is a chance to remember, even in the midst of darkness, that light will ultimately prevail.  Knowledge will defeat ignorance, and compassion will triumph over despair.”

Diwali is also a reminder that we must each do our part to achieve that victory, by dedicating ourselves to service to others. If we affirm our commitments to one another and strive to lift each other up, then together, we will continue moving closer to that brighter future we all seek. America is a great and diverse nation, strengthened by the contributions of all our people.  I was proud to host the first Diwali celebration at the White House back in 2009.  Since then, we’ve continued to mark this holiday to honor the rich traditions that define the American family. ” 
And I know Michelle and I will never forget the wonderful time we had celebrating Diwali in Mumbai with food, dancing, and the company of friends.  So, to all the families gathering together this Diwali to reflect on all the blessings of the past year, I wish you a joyous celebration and Saal Mubarak.”

As in previous years, United States President Barack Obama has greeted Indians, especially Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, celebrating Diwali this weekend in the US, India and across the globe. This year President Obama gave his greeting on the Observance of Diwali, saying “lighting the lamp - the diya - is a chance to remember, even in the midst of darkness, that light will ultimately prevail.” This article is an official publication from the White House, written by Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and Ashley Allison, Associate Director at the White House Office of Public Engagement. On October 14, 2009, President Obama expressed, “the Festival of Lights symbolize the victory of light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. And while this is a time of rejoicing, it's also a time for reflection, when we remember those who are less fortunate and renew our commitment to reach out to those in need.” And in his last year greetings, President Obama said, “Here in the United States, Diwali also reminds us that our nation is home to many faiths and traditions, and that our diversity makes us stronger.” This marks the sixth time that the Obamas have celebrated Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights. Our spiritual teachers have taught us that during this holiday season, people clean their homes and wears new clothes, and similarly, we must clear our minds of harmful thoughts, grudges and past hurts, to bring renewed air and new light into our hearts, site within us where the Supreme Lord resides.  (Editor's note).

Diwali also marks the New Year. For some, the day of Diwali itself is the first day of the New Year, and for others the new year's day is the day following Diwali. But for all, this season is one of heralding in the New Year. In the joyous mood of this season, we clean our homes, our offices, our rooms, letting the light of Diwali enter all the corners of our lives. We begin new checkbooks, diaries and calendars.  It is a day of "starting fresh." On this day we clean every room of the house; we dust every corner of the garage, we sweep behind bookshelves, vacuum under beds and empty out cabinets.  But, what about our hearts?  When was the last time we swept out our hearts? When did we last empty them of all the dirt and garbage that has accumulated throughout our lives? That is the real cleaning we must do. That is the real meaning of "starting fresh." We must clean out our hearts, ridding them of darkness and bitterness; we must make them clean and sparkling places for God to live.

Dr Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Hindu Festivals”  -

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


LIGHTS AND HOW IS IT CELEBRATED? What is Diwali? Diwali is the five-day festival of lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. The festival, which coincides with the Hindu New Year, celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. The actual day of Diwali is traditionally celebrated on the festival's third day, which this year falls on Thursday, October 23. 
The festival usually falls between the middle of October and the middle of November, although this is decided upon by the Hindu lunar calendar. While each faith has its own reason to celebrate the festival, one of the most popular stories told is the legend of Lord Rama and his wife Sita returning to their kingdom in northern India from exile after defeating the demon king Ravanna.

How is Diwali celebrated? The festival is marked by large firework displays, to remember the celebrations which, according to the legend, took place upon Rama's return as locals set off their own version of fireworks. Those celebrating the festival also light traditional earthen diyas (candles) and decorate their houses with colourful rangoli artworks - patterns created on the floor using coloured rice or powder. During Diwali, families and friends share sweets and gifts and there is also a strong belief in giving food and goods to those in need. 
It is also traditional for homes to be cleaned and new clothes to be worn at the time of the festival. The food most closely associated with the festival is Indian sweets, which come in a range of colours and flavours. The celebration however features various rich savoury and sweet dishes, and while eating out is popular, families will mostly prepare food at home for when guests arrive to exchange gifts and watch fireworks. 

India is in the midst of the five-day Diwali festival marking the New Year. The festival is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains for a variety of reasons, although the main theme which runs throughout is the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. Diwali or Deepavali means “row of lamps” in Sanskrit. Clay lamps, or diyas, traditionally filled with mustard oil, are lit and placed around the entrances to Hindu homes on the night before the new moon in the Hindu month of Kartika, which this year falls tomorrow, on Thursday, Oct. 23. To celebrate, houses are decorated with candles and colourful lights and huge firework displays are held while families feast and share gifts. Unlike traditional roast turkey at Christmas, which is eaten in many Western countries, each Hindu family celebrating Diwali will more than likely prepare for the festival the finest vegetarian cooking in the world, such as Gobi pakora, crisp cauliflower fritters jacketed in chickpea flour; Mutter paneer, made from peas and from cubes of fresh paneer curd cheese studding a Garam masala and tomato broth; and of course, many sweets, for example Laddu, Gulab jamun, Coconut burfi, etc. Our spiritual teachers have taught us that the festival celebrates the triumph of light over darkness and the return from exile of Lord Rama to his home, Ayodhya. We should understand that Ayodhya is our heart, and Lord Rama is the Lord of our hearts. Due to being very confused in this material world, we have banished the God of our hearts. So, as we light the earthen lamps during this Diwali, we must also illuminate our hearts with divine love and ward off the darkness of so many negative and evil thoughts that keep us away from our true position as well-wishers children of our Heavenly Father. (Editor's note).

After defeating Ravana, Rama gave back the kingdom to Vibhishna, the brother of Ravana, thus establishing an eternal legacy for the Hindus that they might not usurp any possession that does not belong to them.  Winning a war does not alter this principle.  After winning the war and releasing Sita from the wicked Ravana, the period of fourteen years was over.  It was time to return to Ayodha.  The people of Ayodha were most eagerly waiting for this day.  They welcomed their beloved Rama, along with Sita, Lakshman, and Hanuman, by lighting candles to welcome them. [...] Diwali, or Deepawali, as it is often called, is the Festival of Lights.  Undoubtedly, it is the most popular festival of Hindus. Nearly one billion Hindus celebrate this auspicious event with gusto and religious sentiment in all parts of world. Diwali signifies the return of Lord Rama, after completing his fourteen years of exile in the forest and winning victory over the wicked King Ravana.

Dr. Hiro Badlani:
“Hinduism - Path of the Ancient Wisdom”
Chapter 20 - “Victory of Righteousness over Unrighteousness”
Chapter 54 - “Hindu Festivals”

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Monday, October 20, 2014


EBOLA VIRUS KILLS THOUSANDS? The fear of Ebola has spread faster in America than the virus itself. Ebola has infected the American psyche, forcing us to do risk analysis of a pathogen we know little about. This is different from the flu scares of recent years, because this virus is novel here, and we have no cultural memory of what we are supposed to do, or think, or believe, when Ebola is on the loose. 
People have to wonder: How contagious is this virus - really? Is there something different and more pernicious about this particular strain of Ebola? The experts can’t answer such questions with certainty. Ebola has been known to science only since 1976. As an exotic disease that until this year affected only Africans in rural villages, Ebola hasn’t been studied as closely as, say, influenza or HIV.

The virus has its quirks: Some people infected with Ebola never get sick at all. Some who become sick shed massive amounts of virus - they’re “super-shedders” - but others do not. Fever is typically the first symptom of Ebola virus disease, but sometimes it’s a lagging indicator or never appears at all. The virus is mutating, like all viruses, and could conceivably - this is a very remote possibility - change its mode of transmission, a fact that has been much hyped in recent weeks by those with an alarmist frame of mind. 
Yet for all these uncertainties, the Ebola emergency in the United States has in a key respect played out exactly as epidemiologists would have expected: The people who have gotten infected, both of them at a Dallas hospital, had close contact with an extremely sick person. The incubation period of Ebola, from infection to symptoms, is generally considered to be between two and 21 days.

These days, different websites are saying that the Ebola outbreak is a hoax. They say that all of this is a massive lie and manipulative effort by the US government for ulterior motives. Others even affirm that the illness is being created by the own Red Cross vaccinations. What is the truth? The World Health Organization explains that Ebola virus particles occupy an infected person’s blood and other bodily fluids, which can enter another person through the eyes, mucous membranes, scratches on the skin or from a hypodermic needle — not from from the air or from insects. The bodies of people who have died of the disease are highly infectious. Without protective equipment, being within three feet of a patient for long periods of time is less risky, but not advisable. In small West African villages, the close personal attention given to sick or dead family members can easily spread the disease. According to WHO, officially listing the United States as having three cases (Duncan, Pham and Vinson) and one death (Duncan), while Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have had 9,191 cases and 4,546 deaths. Being surrounded by daily doubt, deceit, anguish and suffering, we are always afraid of death because we are not sure what we will be or where we will go in the afterlife. We must involve the Supreme Lord in our daily chores, tell others about Him and chant His holy names; in this way we can let go of our fears by trusting that God will take care of us. (Editor's note).

Each life is meant for us to learn more about ourselves, and about who we are. Death is not simply a matter of getting old or sick and then dying. Natural death happens when you have finished doing what you were meant to do in this life. You may have wanted to do more or not, but when you have done what you were meant to do, you will move on. Nature will arrange it that you will leave this realm. Each life is like a classroom wherein you learn a certain amount, and go through a certain number of lessons or tests. Then you graduate to the next class. We can learn willingly or unwillingly. We can cooperate or be uncooperative. We can repeatedly keep going through it until we learn all of the necessary lessons to go on to the next level. That is our choice. And if you have failed any of the tests, don't worry. You'll have the chance to try it again.

Dr Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Facing Death: Welcoming the Afterlife”
“Dispelling The Fear of Death”  -

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Friday, October 17, 2014


Arbil, Iraq (Reuters) The Islamic State group said it enslaved families from the minority Yazidi sect after overrunning their villages in northwestern Iraq, in what it praised as the revival of an ancient custom of using women and children as spoils of war. In an article in its English-language online magazine Dabiq, the group provides what it says is religious justification for the enslavement of defeated “idolators”. 
The ancient custom of enslavement had fallen out of use because of deviation from true Islam, but was revived when fighters overran Yazidi villages in Iraq's Sinjar region. “After capture, the Yazidi women and children were then divided according to the Shariah amongst the fighters of the Islamic State who participated in the Sinjar operations, after one fifth of the slaves were transferred to the Islamic State's authority to be divided as khums,” it said.

Khums is a traditional tax on the spoils of war. “This large-scale enslavement of mushrik (idolator) families is probably the first since the abandonment of Shariah law,” it said. Islamic State practices a harsh form of Sunni Islam and has declared its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the ruler of the entire Muslim world. Mainstream Sunni scholars around the world have denounced the group and its interpretation of Islam. 
“One should remember that enslaving the families of the (non-believers) and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shariah,” the article said. The group has hounded ethnic and religious minorities in northern Iraq since seizing the city of Mosul in June, killing and displacing thousands of Christians, Shi'ite Shabaks and Turkmen who lived for centuries in one of the most diverse parts of the Middle East. 

This news released by Reuters news agency, is about a Dabiq article on slavery that unfortunately confirms practices documented by Human Rights Watch, which says Yazidi women and girls were forced to marry Islamic State fighters and shipped out in busloads from Iraq to Syria to be sold off as prizes. Last week, Human Rights Watch said Islamic State was holding hundreds of Yazidis captive in both Iraq and Syria and that the group had systematically separated young women and teenage girls from their families, forcing some into marriage with fighters. The Dabiq article said fighters were reviving a practice of the companions of the Prophet Mohammad by enslaving enemies. Enslaving women and forcing them to become wives reduces sin by protecting men from being tempted into adultery, it said. Yazidis, who follow an ancient religion derived from Zoroastrianism, have faced some of the harshest penalties from Islamic State, which regards them as devil-worshippers. Many of the captives had “willingly” accepted Islam, the group said, “and now race to practice it with evident sincerity after their exit from the darkness of idolatry”. How terrible! A lot of cruelty in the name of religion. Cruelty acts toward women and innocent creatures causes great disturbances in the world. What is worse, when irresponsible men, under the guise of defending a religion, satisfy their uncontrolled desires by raping women and girls. A bonafide religion must teach that we are all spiritually related and, therefore, it should be very easy for believers to find similarities among the essential principles of all religions and ignore their differences. (Editor's note).

Regardless of which religious system you choose, they all have the same purpose, and they all give the same principles. In this way, they are all united in their essential goals, the most important of which is to bring the living beings to the stage of cooperation in love of God. Obviously, our love for God will be shown by how much we cooperate with one another. Unfortunately, before we reach this advanced stage we are in the lower levels of understanding. This immature level of love can take on the characteristics of a blind and fanatical allegiance to a particular process of religious expression rather than attachment to real love for God. In this situation, one may proudly and unnecessarily feel that he is on the highest path, and then will denounce every other process and culture without the proper spiritual understanding of himself or others. This is nothing more than sentimentality and fanaticism. Real love of God, which also displays love for all other living beings, will not develop within a person if he or she harbors such a divisive mentality.

Dr Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Toward World Peace: Seeing the Unity Between Us All”  -

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Sunday, October 12, 2014


TO DECLARE RELIGION AS MENTAL ILLNESS - Religion can be a source of comfort that improves well-being. But some kinds of religiosity could be a sign of deeper mental health issues. Seeing their kids more eager to pray than play video games, most parents would shout, “Hallelujah” or whatever their expression of joy. And they should. Research shows that religion can be a positive force in the lives of children, just as can be for adults.
“Religion,” says Bill Hathaway, a clinical psychologist of religion and Dean of the School of Psychology and Counseling at Regent University, “is related to the child having a higher sense of self esteem, better academic adjustment and lower rates of substance abuse and delinquent or criminal behavior.”

So if your child is immersed in scripture after school and prays regularly throughout the day, you may breathe a sigh of relief.  She’s such a good girl. My boy is okay. Or maybe not. Your child’s devotion may be a great thing, but there are some kids whose religious observances require a deeper look. For these children, an overzealous practice of their family faith — or even another faith  — may be a sign of an underlying mental health issue or a coping mechanism for dealing with unaddressed trauma or stress. 
Therapists in private practice report that they are seeing children and teens across a range of faiths whose religious practice can be problematic. Are they doing well at school, playing sports or music, socializing with friends? If so, then their faith is probably a source of strength and resilience.  If, however, the religious practices and rituals seem to be overtaking their daily lives, and displacing their normal activities, experts suggest taking steps to understand what’s triggering the focus on faith.

In a recent article in Time magazine, written by journalist Francine Russo, it was published a vision about the damages that religiosity could cause. The author says, "Children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), for example, may rigidly repeat holy verses, say Hail Mary’s or focus on other rituals less out of a deeper sense of faith but more as an expression of their disorder. “It looks positive but could be negative,” says Stephanie Mihalas, a UCLA professor and licensed clinical psychologist. Such ritualistic behavior, she says, may also reflect a child’s way of coping with anxiety, and in reality could be no more spiritual than fanatical hand washing or dreading to walk on cracks." Hmm ... interesting article, right? You may think that the article's headline is sensationalism, since it is NOT claiming that ALL people of faith are mentally ill, as the headline suggests. Also, perhaps it might be too exaggerated to think that someday psychiatrists declare religion as a mental disease; however, this article is showing the very fact that psychiatrists are trying to tie religion into their studies on psychology and it could be dangerous due to the fact that they are materialistic studies which can understand the spiritual domain. And this is alarming because this psychiatric trend to analyze everything according to its materialistic point of view is regrettably increasing. We should read and take advantage of the knowledge that is found in the Bhagavad-gītā as it is a superior knowledge which begins at a point that is beyond materialistic understanding. And not only that, besides to understand that one is not this material body we should engage in the activities of the spiritual world. (Editor's note).

Knowledge begins not from Krishna, but from things which we are accustomed to see every day. [...] There are many scientists, for example, who are soil experts; they can say, by analyzing a particular type of earth, what kind of minerals are there. Somebody seeks out silver, somebody seeks out gold, somebody seeks out mica. This is knowledge of gross things—the earth. [...] Next comes the study of the ethereal: electronics, ethereal transformations from one thing to another. Then, finer still, is the mind—psychology and psychiatry. But for intelligence, rationalism, there is only a little philosophical speculation. And what about the soul? Is there any science of the soul? The materialists have none. Material science has advanced to the study of the ether, or the mind and intelligence, but there is no advancement beyond that. Beyond intelligence, they do not know what exists. But here in the Bhagavad-gītā you can find this.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“Krsna Consciousness The Topmost”
Chapter Five: “Our Real Life”

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"