Growing through Grief

Most of us discover at a fairly young age that the world is not a bed of roses. The carefree joys of childhood were brutally interrupted for me when I was just seven and I lost my mother. Navigating my way through an uncertain world after that, I encountered much more pain in the shape of a less than loving stepmother. It was enough to make me rather circumspect about the prospects of a trouble-free…

My First Janmastami

  Back in 1972 I was a 17 year-old sea cadet. My ship had docked in Bombay and I stepped onto that exotic shore in search of reasonably priced souvenirs. Under the intense encouragement of a shopkeeper I came close to purchasing a fine ivory chess set costing most of my week’s wages before I spotted a little figurine of Krishna. He exerted a strange attraction over me and after handing over my hard-earned rupees…

Liberating the Liberators

It is interesting that the US and UK style themselves as “liberators” of Iraq. Subtly implied in this euphemistic term is the assumption that we are ourselves already liberated, in a position to bestow our happy state on others. And that is surely a commonly held assumption in the West. We view ourselves as having the most progressive and free societies. But how true is this? A popular newspaper columnist recently wrote a book about…

The Greatest Good Fortune

Dear Srila Prabhupada, Please accept my humble obeisance. All glories to you. Lately, I have been reflecting on my good fortune in meeting your divine grace. Sastra tells us we have been languishing in material existence for countless millennia. I made a rough calculation for how long we in this present age have been around and found it pretty scary. We learn from the Bhagavatam that we jivas are injected into the creation at the…

COME OUT OF THE DARKNESS

Perhaps one of the saddest parts about growing up is learning that Father Christmas is not real. I recall a few years ago hearing how a teacher had been hauled across the coals for revealing this terrible truth to his class of six year olds, after outraged parents had bombarded the school with complaints. I was never a big believer in Santa myself. I think it dawned on me at an early age that a…

My First Janmastami

Back in 1972 I was a 17 year-old sea cadet. My ship had docked in Bombay and I stepped onto that exotic shore in search of reasonably priced souvenirs. Under the intense encouragement of a shopkeeper I came close to purchasing a fine ivory chess set costing most of my week’s wages before I spotted a little figurine of Krishna. He exerted a strange attraction over me and after handing over my hard-earned rupees I…

The Answer Lies in our Hands

What if there was one simple solution for all your problems? Something so easy that even a child could do it? Something which costs nothing, is available to everyone and ultimately ends all suffering? Well, before you decide to follow the standard dictum that if it sounds too good to be true then it most likely is, ask yourself a couple of questions. Firstly, do you know who you really are? I don’t mean a…

Why are we averse to authority?

It seems many of us do not like the government telling us how we should conduct our lives. The current lockdown has elicited vigorous opposition in certain corners of the media, and indeed on many streets around the world. The suggestions that a vaccine may become mandatory, if and when it is eventually developed, will no doubt create even bigger waves of resistance. Professor Ian Philip, a health expert at Sheffield University and government advisor,…

Vulture Civilisation

Listening today to a lecture by Srila Prabhupada, my esteemed teacher, I was struck by a brilliant analogy he gave. First, he cited a verse from Vedic literature which basically states that the attempt to improve one’s material situation amounts to nothing more than ‘decorating a dead body’. In other words, the material body is destined to die today or tomorrow. It is always dead, in one sense, as it is only animated by the…

The Supreme Person

In its most recent survey on the subject of God, the National Centre for Social Research found that some ninety percent of us claim to be believers.  One in five even said they had no doubts about God’s existence. Such statistics are perhaps surprising, given that education today tends to steer us toward more atheistic notions such as the’ Big Bang’ and evolution. Surprising also in the face of the widely touted suggestion that religion…

How to cheat death

King Ambarish had a very sinful brother who could not be changed. The pious Ambarisha tried repeatedly without success. His brother, Paparaja, would not stop sinning and simply laughed at Ambarish. One day the saint Narada Muni came to see Ambarish and the king asked him to preach to his brother. “Perhaps, O great one, you can turn his mind.” But when Narada went to see Paparaja he simply hurled insults at him, so Narada…

What are we teaching our children?

These days to argue against evolution is a good way to be labelled hopelessly ignorant of reality. Amongst the scientific community it has practically assumed the status of revealed truth. Even much of today’s theology somehow fits itself around the theory of evolution, although when first presented by Darwin it was hotly disputed by most religionists of the time. Some still do oppose the theory, but often only on the basis of scriptural statements, which…

Why are there different religions?

The other day I popped into a local grocer to pick up a few things. The assistant, seeing me in robes, immediately said, “Your book is wrong.” Interesting greeting, I thought, but I merely smiled. Over the years I have become used to people reacting to my unusual appearance in all kinds of ways. Once a group of children in a small northern town asked me if I was from another planet. Of course, I…

The Lord’s Feminine Side.

“A woman’s place is in the home,” so the old saying goes. Not any more. These days it is not uncommon to find women heading the boards of huge corporations or even leading countries. Equality is sought everywhere, whether it be the workplace or the home, and the roles of men and women are fast becoming interchangeable. Patriarchal attitudes of past ages are no longer acceptable or ‘politically correct’, and we endeavour to root them…

Love is not love.

Perhaps one of the most poignant sufferings in society is the failure of human relationships. Recent government statistics reveal that some fifty percent of marriages are ending in divorce. Every day four thousand children call the charity Childline for help. All around us we can all see so many examples of strained and collapsed relationships, possibly even in our own lives. We so much want to enjoy our relationships, but so often they become instead…

The problem with freedom of speech

“It is by the goodness of God that we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practise either of them,” wrote Mark Twain. Wise words from the esteemed author, although it seems that some of us may well doubt their wisdom. So it was in Denmark last month, where – in the name of the popular ideal of free speech – a number of cartoons…

Science and Religion

Original article from http://www.faradayschools.com/re-topics/re-year-10-11/an-interview-with-krishna-dharma/ My name is Krishna Dharma, a Hindu Priest and author, and I have been asked to explain how Hinduism sits with science. As some of you may know Hinduism has various branches and I personally belong to the branch known as Vaishnavism, which is essentially the monotheistic strand of the faith. My scriptures are called the Vedas, ancient Sanskrit writings comprising a wealth of both material and spiritual knowledge. You may…