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American Vedic Association Newsletter 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, December 16, 2008 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 Tolerance of Lord Christ Many people reject religion because they mistakenly believe that all faiths insist that their theology alone is the “Only Way.” The Vedas however illustrate that one will wander all over the universe endlessly until they tire from material suffering. Then they will finally be willing to accept good instruction and surrender to a qualified teacher like Lord Christ who can lead them back to Godhead. This year celebrate His gift to the world with AVA! Always Free! Call: 640- 0405 Current Events: AVA Newsletter Dispatch to HOTMAIL.COM or YAHOO.COM Accounts? In early November the AVA newsletter distribution list expanded to over 2500 names so I began dispatching it from my private JAGANNATHA.COM account. This has led to some technical challenges in regards to delivering the AVA newsletter to everyone, especially those who have addresses which end in HOTMAIL.COM or YAHOO.COM If you have an email address which ends with HOTMAIL.COM or YAHOO.COM would you be kind enough to please drop me a short: “I Got It” email. That effort would help me determine who is getting the AVA newsletter and who isn’t. (I will not respond to your message unless you include additional comments of interest which are optional for this effort.) Obviously those who don’t get this dispatch will not be aware of this problem and unable to speak up for themselves. So if you take the time to do this you will be serving those who can’t do it for themselves. That effort will provide me with the reference points I need to isolate who didn’t get this issue of the AVA newsletter and fix the problem. Thank you. The Tolerance of Lord Christ Prelude to This Month’s Feature Article December 25, Is Not The Birthday For Jesus! This is the time of the year when people from all over the world celebrate the ceremonial date for the birth of Lord Christ. I say ceremonial because the actual date when Jesus was born isn't really known. December 25 was the date that got established as a practical matter for integrating His teachings into the celebrations of the day. Dec 25 was the day that the Romans celebrated “Saturnalia” in the third century. That celebration honored the Sun God, and it was a convenient date for the early Christian priests to conduct mass because everybody had the “Day Off” to celebrate that Roman Holiday. Eventually the Roman Empire collapsed and the Christian mass pushed forward and became known as; "Christ-Mass." Historians have several theories about when they think Jesus was actually born but they do not agree on any single day. Some say it was in early January, others say late September, and yet others suggest that it wasn't even the inauguration of the Gregorian calendar because they believe he appeared two years earlier that Jan. 1, 0! Reasonable Assumption? The fact that scholars disagree about the exact date when Christ was born raises some serious questions about the reliability of the entire birth story retold in the four gospels. We are requested to accept the stories submitted by Mathew, Mark, Luke & John as accurate retellings about the appearance of Lord Christ. But how good could their reporting skills be if they couldn't even remember to clearly document what day of the year this most sacred event supposedly occurred on? Dates related to events that are important to us generally get burned into our memory because of their emotional significance. That is why we tend to automatically remember the date we got married on, when our children are born, when we have a serious accident, or major historic events like December 7, 1941 (Pearl Harbor) or September 11, 2001 (NY Trade Center). Is it reasonable to assume that “Reliable Witnesses" of the "Star of Bethlehem,” the “Gifts of the Wise Men,” and the “Virgin Birth" would completely space out on the day these extraordinary events occurred on? Jimmie Olsen would never get away with this type of sloppy reporting! Achilles Heal For Christians & Atheists This is just one of the many important questions that people are starting to ask in regards to the origin and reliability of Biblical theology. Unfortunately questions like these have become the Achilles heel for Christianity as anyone familiar with the content found in the atheistic publications that have flooded into the market especially over the last few years. For this reason Vaishnavas stick to the more scientifically reliable authority of the Vedas for clear spiritual guidance. A lot of the criticism that Christianity has been subjected to just simply doesn't apply to Vedic Theology. Atheists generally have NO exposure to the God-Based philosophy that the sages concurred on and that lack of knowledge has become their own Achilles heel! One of the reasons why Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) rejected the Bible because was because he considered it to be so pathetically simple and mundane that he expects to see something much more awe inspiring from the all-mighty powerful supreme God! If Mr. Dawkins were adequately educated about the content of the Purana's alone, he simply could not make this argument. The Scientific content of the Vedas is so much more significant the what is available in the Bible he would have to concede that his atheistic viewpoints about God would require a much more serious reconsideration. Focus on the "Message” not the “Introduction" Prominent Christian leaders are always urgency stating how essential the resurrection of Christ is in regards to providing a foundation for Christianity theology. They will say: "Had Jesus never risen from the grave, there wouldn’t be a basis for Christianity!" But a Vaishnava is not concerned about the facts related to the birth or death of Lord Christ because that isn't what made Him so special. If a Tsunami is about to hit, nobody cares who the messenger is, what their career is, who their parents were, or what social class they came from. The only thing that is important is the reliability of the information the messenger provides about the Tsunami itself! So regardless of our suspicions related to the spiritual accuracy of the Bible, Vaishnavas are very generous about acknowledging the contribution of a very advanced devotee such as Lord Christ. They don't get entangled into the "Need" to even prove that Jesus existed because that isn't the real point. Based on what we are told about the character of Jesus Christ and the things he allegedly taught, we can understand that any person who portrays that caliber of awareness and behavior is a Shaktavisha Avaatara. (Eternally Liberated Soul) Therefore it is very easy for a devotee of Lord Krishna to also fully accept the personality of Lord Jesus Christ as our Guru. That is because he had all the symptoms of an ideal devotee so much he was even willing to give his life in service to God. His whole mission was focused on awakening the rest of the world to the process of restoring their own lost relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and that is the real symptom of an exalted pure devotee! Jesus Christ Is Our Guru This month we have an opportunity to sit in on an intimate conversation with His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami where he confirms how Vaishnavas respect both the person and teachings of Lord Jesus Christ. If you listen to this after reading the main article below, you will hear where some of the statements transcribed in this commentary originally came from. This Issue HOT LINK #2: Jesus Christ Is Our Guru http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HewQibZAeEU Main Article By HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami The Tolerance and Compassion of Christ The Srimad-Bhagavatam states that any bona fide preacher of God consciousness must have the qualities of titiksa (tolerance) and karuna (compassion). In the character of Lord Jesus Christ we find both these qualities. He was so tolerant that even while he was being crucified, he didn't condemn anyone. And he was so compassionate that he prayed to God to forgive the very persons who were trying to kill him. (Of course, they could not actually kill him. But they were thinking that he could be killed, so they were committing a great offense.) As Christ was being crucified he prayed, "Father, forgive them. They know not what they are doing." Christ, the Friend of All Living Beings A preacher of God consciousness is a friend to all living beings. Lord Jesus Christ exemplified this by teaching, "Thou shall not kill." But the Christians like to misinterpret this instruction. They think the animals have no soul, and therefore they think they can freely kill billions of innocent animals in the slaughterhouses. So although there are many persons who profess to be Christians, it would be very difficult to find one who strictly follows the instructions of Lord Jesus Christ. Christ Goes On Suffering for Your Sins? A Vaisnava [a pure devotee of the Lord] is unhappy to see the suffering of others. Therefore, Lord Jesus Christ agreed to be crucified -- to free others from their suffering. But his followers are so unfaithful that they have decided, "Let Christ suffer for us, and we'll go on committing sin." They love Christ so much that they think, "My dear Christ, we are very weak. We cannot give up our sinful activities. So you please suffer for us." Jesus Christ taught, "Thou shalt not kill." But his followers have now decided, "Let us kill anyway," and they open big, modern, scientific slaughterhouses. "If there is any sin, Christ will suffer for us." This is a most abominable conclusion. Christ can take the sufferings for the previous sins of his devotees. But first they have to be sane: "Why should I put Jesus Christ into suffering for my sins? Let me slop my sinful activities." Suppose a man -- the favorite son of his father -- commits a murder. And suppose he thinks, "If there is any punishment coming, my father can suffer for me." Will the law allow it? When the murderer is arrested and says, "No, no. You can release me and arrest my father; I am his pet son," will the police officials comply with that fool's request? He committed the murder, but he thinks his father should suffer the punishment! Is that a sane proposal? "No. You have committed the murder; you must be hanged." Similarly, when you commit sinful activities, you must suffer -- not Jesus Christ. This is God's law. We Adore Lord Jesus Christ Jesus Christ was such a great personality -- the son of God, the representative of God. He had no fault. Still, he was crucified. He wanted to deliver God consciousness, but in return they crucified him -- they were so thankless. They could not appreciate his preaching. But we appreciate him and give him all honor as the representative of God. Of course, the message that Christ preached was just according to his particular time, place, and country, and just suited for a particular group of people. But certainly he is the representative of God. Therefore we adore Lord Jesus Christ and offer our obeisances to him. Jesus Is Our Guru Once, in Melbourne, a group of Christian ministers came to visit me. They asked, "What is your idea of Jesus Christ?" I told them, "He is our guru. He is preaching God consciousness, so he is our spiritual master." The ministers very much appreciated that. Actually, anyone who is preaching God's glories must be accepted as a guru, Jesus Christ is one such great personality. We should not think of him as an ordinary human being. The scriptures say that anyone who considers the spiritual master to be an ordinary man has a hellish mentality. If Jesus Christ were an ordinary man, then he could not have delivered God consciousness. Krsna or Christ, the Name Is the Same Christ comes from the Greek word Christos, and Christos is the Greek version of the word Krsta. When an Indian person calls on Krsna, he often says "Krsta." Krsta is a Sanskrit word meaning "the object of attraction." So when we address God as "Christ," "Krsta," or "Krsna," we indicate the same all-attractive Supreme Personality of Godhead. When Jesus said, "Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name," that name of God was Krsta or Krsna. "Christ" is simply another way of saying "Krsta," and "Krsta" is another way of pronouncing Krsna. Therefore, the Christian clergymen should cooperate with the Krsna consciousness movement. They should chant the name Christ or Christos and should stop condoning the slaughter of animals. This is not some philosophy that I have fabricated; it is taught in the Bible. If the Christians follow these principles, the world situation will improve. If they simply stop killing animals and chant the holy name of Christ, everything will be perfect. The Bible also demands this. So the Christians should cooperate with us and chant. Actually, it doesn't matter -- Krsna or Christ -- the name is the same. The main point is to chant the name of God. The easiest way is to chant the maha-mantra: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare /Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. "The Tolerance Of Lord Christ" (BTG #12-12, 1977) *-*-*-*-*-*-*-* End This Issue Feature Article *-*-*-*-*-*-*-* This Issue Thoughtful Quote “So Vedas and scriptures are there, differently, according to different conditions. Now, what Jesus Christ was teaching the people? You can understand. The first injunction is "Thou shalt not kill." So what class of men they were, just you can understand. Otherwise, why he is first of all telling "Thou shalt not kill"? The Mohammed also said, "From this day, there is no sex with your mother." So just see what class of men. So according to class of men, there should be teaching. Similarly, Buddha also, Lord Buddha said, "No, no, there is no God. Just try to understand me. You obey Me." "Yes, sir." It has to be done like that.” - HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami, Room Conversation with Prof. Regamay, Professor of Sanskrit at the University of Lausanne - June 4, 1974, Geneva Jagannatha Enterprises Bazaar - Transcendental Books & More Many people who read the AVA newsletter have begun to inquire where they could purchase a copy of the Bhagavad Gita As It Is. After considering this we realized that our readers may also want to know how they can get a few other unique products that are available only from the commercial side of our efforts that operates under the name: Jagannatha Enterprises. We are happy to provide the following items for purchase at extraordinary prices. (Send your order with Check Payable to: Jagannatha Enterprises to: 687 Villanova Road, Ojai Ca. 93023 Thank you!) Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 1968 Paperback Edition with A Blue Cover By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Softbound, 318 pages. The reprinting of the abridged version of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, as published by the Collier- Macmillan Company in 1968. This edition also includes "Who is Krishna?" by George Harrison, and appreciations by Allen Ginsberg and Thomas Merton. Only $5.00 Shipping $1.50 Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Hardbound Edition with Full Color Illustrations By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Hardbound, 924 pages 16 color plates, 5.5 by 9.5 inches. This is the largest selling Gita in the world and you can have it for Only $10.00 Shipping $3.50 "God On Trial" – 45 Minute Audio Drama on CD By: ISKCON's most prolific Playwright His Grace Anadi Dasa & the Vaikunta Players Excellent high quality dramatic courtroom performance with sound effects exposing the flaws in the most popular arguments against the existence of God. Only $10.00 Shipping $1.00 Or you can purchase a bulk order of 10 CD's for $5 each! Jagannatha Enterprises Products c/o Jagannatha.Com Please Visit Our Website: Jagannatha.Com to See The Following Products Umbrellas - Beautiful Full Color 3 ft Wide Rain Protection! Available in both the collapsible pocket size model or the walking stick model. Add a Smile to a Rainy Day Only $20.00 Shipping $4.00 Or you can purchase a case of 10 umbrellas for $10 each! To see this fantastic product visit: http://jagannatha.com Jagannatha Glow In The Dark Clock - Devotees Love this special timepiece! Lord Jagannatha will peer out of the dark and will offer his soothing smile to you or your children all night long! Beautiful 12 peddle lotus clock face with special chakra, mace, and conch glow in the dark hands! Transform darkness into light with a Jagannatha Clock Only $20.00 Shipping $6.00 Or you can purchase a case of 10 Jagannatha Clocks for $10 each! Automobile Tilock - Brand your car with mark of Vishnu! All Vaishnavas know what this symbol means, while others just think it's cool. Make a statement everywhere you go in your car. Available in Gold, Silver or Bronze. 3" circular design Only $5.00 Shipping $0.75 Purchase one of each for Only $10.00 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. Volunteer to Get AVA Shows Broadcast in Your City? We are anxious to expand our viewing potential to the cities of Oxnard, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, Santa Barbara, Santa Paula and Simi Valley! However in order to do that a local resident must make the request. If you live in one of these areas, understand the importance of this work, and are willing to assist in getting these shows broadcast on your local Public Access Station, the please contact AVA and let us know. AVA will assume all administration fees related to getting the shows aired. All we ask you to do is submit the paperwork which we will help you do, and spot check that the broadcasts are actually being made when scheduled Purchase or Borrow Shows From AVA for Educational Purposes. All of our shows are very educational and have been loaded to Educators, Yoga Teachers, Open Minded churches, or anyone who would like to show them to public audiences free of charge. All of these shows can also be purchased directly from the producers if one would like to do that. For further information about how you can borrow or purchase any program on VHS or DVD format please contact AVA directly. Thank you! Ventura Cable Channel 6 CAPS Scheduled Broadcasts: Ventura Channel 6: December 14th- December 20th, 2008 Sun: 3pm-4pm / Sat: 9am to 10am / Wed: 7pm-8pm / Fri: 8pm-9pm 7.1. Your Ever Well Wisher (Purvaciti) In 1965 Bhaktivedanta Swami came to the United States and brought the Science of Self Realization taught in the Vedas by Lord Krishna with him. This show documents how he translated India's most profound sacred scriptures, became a world class authority on Bhakti Yoga, and became the well wisher for thousands of people worldwide. India’s Manipuri Dancers These is a traditional performance of the swirling Murdunga (Drum) players from one of India’s great Vaishnava States. Ventura Channel 6: December 21th- December 27th, 2008 Sun: 3pm-4pm / Sat: 9am to 10am / Wed: 7pm-8pm / Fri: 8pm-9pm Polish Festival Of India (Purvaciti) In Poland it is against the law to speak openly at any large public gatherings about God or religion. Yet, regardless of the danger of doing that, the devotees of Lord Krishna have found an extraordinary way to teach how to love God and the essence of Vedic culture holding large entertaining public events that have been carefully choreographed to indirectly expose the audiences to these restricted subjects. This show captures all the magic of how that is done and gives the viewer a peek at all the fun, drama, music, dance, and pageantry that makes up the show. We see the beautiful costumes, elaborate puppets, and dramatic stage performances that enchant the young and intrigue the curious! We also get an impressive backstage view of the dedicated efforts made by those who work long, hard and sleepless nights with out remuneration, to put on this big free public event every year! The show includes a convincing display of how receptive the people of Poland are towards the philosophy of God Consciousness, the devotional lifestyle of Krishna's devotee, and how spontaneously the soul can appreciate changing “Hare Krishna” which is the first step in restoring one's long lost relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna! Ventura Channel 6: December 28th- January 3rd, 2008 Sun: 3pm-4pm / Sat: 9am to 10am / Wed: 7pm-8pm / Fri: 8pm-9pm 8.1.Coming Back (Thin Yogi) There is a lot of misinformation spewed out from both Hollywood and speculative philosophers about the transmigration of the soul. Everyone seems fascinated about how consciousness can move from one body to the next. But few know that the real Science of Reincarnation originated in the Vedas as explained in this show. Satsanga With AC Bhaktivedanta Swami: This discussion is about the laws of karma, how it impacts us and determine the type of body we will get in our next life. TK Band Performs: “Holy Name” An electric guitar performance of the Hare Krishna Mantra to huge crowds at a Vedic revival in Bombay. Ojai Time Warner Channel 10 Scheduled Broadcasts: Biography of Abhay Charan De Series OJAI Channel 10 Monday 6pm December 15th, 2008 Abhay starts working as a Pharmaceutical Assistant Abhay accepts a position as clerk in a pharmacy owned by his fathers friend and demonstrates his ability to manage, organize and lead. He is quickly entrusted with greater responsibilities and is not only trusted greatly but depended on for his contribution to the firm. His wife gives birth to his first son which is a cause for great celebration and Abhay becomes even more involved in the Hindu protest movement to expunge the British. Meanwhile Bhaktisiddhanta stature continues to increase and he is invited to visit with a local King. While waiting for his audience, he encounters some British officials who speak with such contempt for the people of India, that Bhaktisiddhanta is compelled to chastise them for their haughty attitude and extremely rude behavior! He boldly tells them that they are so foolish and mundane that they are completely beyond the ability to comprehend the transcendent nature of the Self. OJAI Channel 10 Monday 6pm December 22th, 2008 Abhay Meets His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Abhay's destiny changes radically when his friend encourages him, despite his reluctance, to go meet the magnanimous personality Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaja who was known as the “Lion Guru” and inspired the opening of 64 Gaudia Math temples throughout India. Abhay is very impressed by this magnanimous personality and inquires from him about how to respond to the British occupation. Bhaktisiddhanta points out that removing the British from India will not lead to the freedom everyone seeks. He helps Abhay understand how such mundane solutions to life's problems will only lead to a different collection of misguided politicians regardless of what nationally they come from. Abhay moves to Alahabad and accepts Bhaktisiddhanta as his spiritual master in his heart. Although he continues to work as a pharmaceutical representative, he slowly begins to shift the focus of his life's efforts towards propagating the Sankirtan movement of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. OJAI Channel 10 Monday 6pm December 29th, 2008 Abhay Assists in the Sankirtan Mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Abhay proves to be an effective businessman and starts using those skills in the service of Krishna to help establish temples under the tutelage of Bhaktisiddhanta and his senior disciples. He decides to go to Mathura so see Bhaktisiddhanta again, where he is also formally accepted as his disciple and makes the arrangements to become formally initiated in the near future. However his wife Radharani reveals that she is more interested in drinking tea then in distributing the pure message of Hari Nama. That leads to serious personal conflicts for Abhay who starts to realize that he must resolve his family difficulties if he wishes to pursue his spiritual interests seriously. * * * * * * * * *END OF Television Schedule * * * * * * * * * * Standing Notices: 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. Vegetarian Cooking! 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. :-) Public Engagements? 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. Vedic Authority 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. 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. AVA MISSION 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 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. 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/sb/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/7/109/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.com) aka: William Roberts* Director American Vedic Association 687 West Villanova Road Ojai California, 93023 (805) 640-0405 AVA @ jagannatha.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 includes congregational changing of 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.com. "Dispel the Darkness of Ignorance With the Torchlight of Knowledge!" - Bg. 10.11 Bhagavad-Gita Gita As It Is Discussion Fellowship 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 Economic Development 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 AVA Scheduled Subjects for 2009 1st & 3rd Tuesday Every Month Generic Ad for "Ongoing Events" (When Space is Available) The American Vedic Association Bhagavad-Gita As It Is Fellowship meets on the 1st & 3rd Tuesday of every month to discuss timely subjects related to the soul, reincarnation, meditation, and the culmination of all transcendental processes etc. The program includes a short study in Sanskrit, a harmonious Kirtan, an appropriate Vedic reading, and the sharing of a FREE sanctified vegetarian meal for all who attend! 7:30PM / 687 West Villanova Road - 640-0405 Always Free! 1st Tue. Jan. 6th, 2009 “Absolute Authority” - will be topic at the next American Vedic Association Bhagavad-Gita As It Is Fellowship discussion. "Think for Yourself" is the creed for the popular pseudo-faith known as “Secular Relativism.” Yet even the incorrigible accepts the authority of technical, legal, and medical professionals etc.! Wise sages accept the authority of the Vedas to understand the soul, reality & God far better than anyone could thru speculative meditation alone. Discover why at the next AVA meeting! 7:30PM / 687 West Villanova Road - 640-0405 Always Free! 2nd Tue. Jan. 20th, 2009 “Be Good To Feel Good” - will be topic at the next American Vedic Association Bhagavad-Gita As It Is Fellowship discussion. Drugs, alcohol, food addictions, crazy-talk and obsessive behavior are just a few of the many symptoms of a conditioned soul desperately seeking relief from the mundane. Lasting happiness is realized when one adopts the scientific pursuit of pure goodness prescribed in the Vedas and taught at every AVA meeting! 7:30PM / ...
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