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The Thrill is Gone, Baby!

Author: Partha dasa Recently, in Saranagati, an interesting class was given by Vishaka dasi on verse 18.76 of Bhagavad Gita. “O King, as I repeatedly recall this wondrous and holy dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, I take pleasure, being thrilled at every moment.” From the purport, she read, “The understanding of Bhagavad-Gita is so transcendental that anyone who becomes conversant with the topics of Arjuna and Kåñëa becomes righteous and he cannot forget such talks. This is the transcendental position of spiritual life. In other words, one who hears the Gita from the right source, directly from Krishna, attains full Krishna consciousness. The result of Krishna consciousness is that one becomes increasingly enlightened, and he enjoys life with a thrill, not only for some time, but at every moment.” At the end of class, my god brother, Yoginatha Prabhu, questioned that perhaps at the time Srila Prabhupada wrote this purport ... Read More »

The Root of Anger

Author: Archana-siddhi Devi Dasi A therapist draws on Lord Krishna’s teachings to help a child control his rage. THE HOSPITAL ROOM SMELLS strongly of antiseptic as I walk in. Chris sits on his bed, immersed in rapidly pushing buttons with his thumbs. “Nintendo?” I ask nonchalantly, breaking his concentration. “Play Station,” he replies, continuing to madly push buttons. I sit in a chair next to his bed, observing his strategy for blowing things up. After a couple of minutes, Chris slams the game paddle to the floor. “I hate this game,” he snarls, with a few expletives thrown in. Instinctively I reply, “Hmm, sounds like you’re really angry.” My statement of the obvious sounds ludicrous to both of us. Chris ignores me. He covers his head with the bed sheet and mumbles to himself. I feel uncomfortable and don’t know what to say to draw him out. Chris is an ... Read More »

The Nectar of Committment

Author: Partha Dasa, ACBSP For some reason unknown, I have always been fascinated by Artic and Antarctic adventurers. I live in Canada, at Saranagati where winter weather reaches -25C (-10F) and occasionally -40C (-40F). At such times I feel driven to put on my woolies, step into cross country skis, challenge the adverse weather and go off into the wilderness for hours. My wife is a substitute teacher at the Saranagati School. One afternoon as I waited in the school reading room for her, relaxing on a cozy sofa, a book on a nearby shelf caught my attention. It was a compilation of true tales of northern adventures. To pass the time, I started reading a section about two men, best of friends, who ventured across a desolate part of Greenland. For the cross country ski expedition, which lasted several weeks, they carried supplies in heavy back packs and on ... Read More »

The Purpose of Grihastha Ashrama

Author: H.H. Giriraja Swami The Purpose of Grhastha Asrama By Giriraj Swami Most devotees are married (grhastha), and further, the grhastha asrama is the basis of all other asramas—and of the lives of our children. So we want the grhastha asrama to be as strong as possible. Recently, from December 18 to 20, we held a Couples’ Weekend in Durban, facilitated by Arcana-siddhi and her husband Karnamrita. All the participants felt enlivened by the experience. Here is my address on the opening day: When I first joined the Boston temple in 1969, we all were quite young and not many of us were married. And we were so new to Krsna consciousness and so dependent on Srila Prabhupada that we asked him for guidance in every area. One of the lady devotees, Balai dasi, had recently gotten married and wasn’t sure what her relationship with her husband should be. She ... Read More »

The Life of the Funeral

Author: Archana-siddhi Devi Dasi “As I look at the lifeless body in the casket, I think of her good fortune for having unknowingly served Lord Krishna in the last months of her life.” AS I ENTER THE CHURCH, I survey the large crowd while looking for a vacant seat towards the back. Just as I spy an inconspicuous seat, Mrs. Williams sees me from the front of the church. I wave to her as I try to jostle my way to the seat I have found. But she emphatically motions for me to come to the front. Mrs. Williams, a strong matriarchal figure, is not a person to easily challenge. I obediently approach her and give her a hug, hoping she will allow me to return to the back pews. Instead she makes room in the front row for me to sit next to her grandson Thomas. She looks up ... Read More »

The Importance of Understanding Family Dynamics

Author: Matsyavatara Prabhu I believe that family life, the grihastha asrama, is a theme of universal interest. Some will get married and some will not, some will have children and some will not. But even those who don’t get married and those who have already surpassed this phase of life will greatly benefit by knowing the basic dynamics, the rapport of weights and measures, and the values of family life in the Vedic-Vaishnava civilization. In the past so much damage has been done by people who tried, disastrously, to handle the life of others without positive experience or training in the dynamics of marriage relationships. Therefore those directly involved in family life—as well as those who have to come in touch with those directly involved—should know about the fundamental principles and values on which family relations are based. To know such fundamentals of the grihastha asrama is an integral part ... Read More »

The Graduate

Author: Arcana-siddhi Devi Dasi My husband and I take a seat on the shiny varnished bleachers in the large arena used for basketball games. The well-dressed crowd sits in anticipation as their sons and daughters, filing through the rear entrance in dark blue caps and gowns, prepare to graduate from high school. I spot my son, Narayana (Na-ryan-a), standing in the procession. His searching eyes meet mine, and we exchange grins. Unexpected tears fill my eyes. My husband squeezes my hand to comfort me. I’m flooded with emotions and memories of the past seventeen years as a mother to my only child. Mental snapshots of his childhood appear: A plump colicky infant crying inconsolably in his wind-up swing. A mischievous toddler sneaking out of the room during nap time. A saintly looking four-year-old in saffron robes and shaved head, happily dancing in the temple to the rhythm of drums and ... Read More »

Thanks for Being Such a Pain!

Author: Karnamrita Dasa “Later I’ll be able to understand that Sam is Krishna’s instrument to test my spiritual ideals, but now Sam is really upsetting me.” As I drive the forklift to pick up more freight to load onto the truck, my coworker Sam watches me with a disdain obvious from his body language—scowling, arms folded, rigid like a statue. His demeanor confirmed my inkling of the mood he might be in today when I smelled alcohol on his breath and heard his out-of-character kidding around. From experience, my other co-workers and I looked knowingly at each other, sensing he might be even more difficult than usual to work with. On a “good day”when everything goes the way he thinks it should—he’s tolerable. Unfortunately for him, and potentially for me, this day is not going well. According to him, Friday is supposed to be an easy day, but this one ... Read More »

Strong Marriages Have These 6 Vital Ingredients

Good communication starts with open and respectful listening. This doesn’t mean we have to agree with what we hear, but that we listen with a mood to understand and validate. We listen with both intellect (for the content) and with heart (for the feelings). This receptive attitude builds a loving and trusting relationship. Respect should also be the guiding principle when we speak. This means expressing our thoughts and feelings without blame, criticism or sarcasm. Teamwork A marital team—your spouse and you functioning as a unit to achieve your goals—is most successful when each player knows his or her individual responsibilities. Early in the relationship, expectations should be discussed and agreed upon. Ambiguous or unspoken expectations can lead to the disappointments and resentments that erode the positive esteem between your spouse and you. Appreciation People feel valued when they are appreciated for who they are and what they do. When ... Read More »

Strengthening The Bonds That Free Us Course

Designed to be implemented over a 3 or 4 day period, this training includes in-depth exploration, interactive exercises, role plays, journaling and education in the following areas: 12 Principles and Values in alignment with Srila Prabhupada and the sastras Roles of Husband and Wife Gender roles and cultural Norms Understanding Differences and Expectations Role Definition and Character Readiness for Marriage, Expectations, Compatibility Preparation for Marriage Self-assessment Areas to consider for compatibility Communications and Managing Conflict Healthy Communication: Speaking, Listening, Negotiating, Conflict Resolution Saboteurs of Healthy Communication 3 Empowering Communication Skills Making Win-Win Decisions Finance Financial responsibility Prosperity and poverty Identifying financial challenges A Powerful Financial Strategy Affection and Intimacy Krsna Conscious Perspectives on Sex Life Communication and Loving Exchanges Serious conflict, Separation and Divorce Danger Signs in Marriage Signs of Abusive Relationships Conflict Resolution Styles: Matrix Legitimate Reasons for Divorce The Consequences of Divorce Sustaining Family Relationships Children and Parenting ... Read More »