Maharani devi dasi (aka Poly Styrene)
From the BBC and the Toronto Sun to the Los Angeles and New York Times, there has been a lot written about the passing of the legenary singer and very creative Poly Styrene with some passing mentions of her being a Hare Krishna. So this is to say Hare Krishna to Maharani Devi Dasi, a devotee of the Lord and even in her passing she is allowing tens of thousands to take the name of Krishna in articles and news coverage.
Excerpts from one of the nicer articles is below and it pays attention to the spirtual path she chose and its reflections in some of her later music and especially her life...
The death of Poly Styrene (aka Marianne Joan Elliott-Said) at 53 marks the end of a remarkable and unconventional life.
Born in 1957 in Bromley, Kent she was brought up in Brixton by her mother, a legal secretary of Scots-Irish descent. Her father was a dispossessed Somali aristocrat. She was always fascinated by this mixed background.
She would eventually move back to London and then to Hastings but Krishna Consciousness would always be important to her, and a source of great strength in the occasional difficult periods of her life.
She was a joy to work with in the studio. We asked her to sing like she used to and at first she said that would be difficult, then walked into the vocal booth and did it in one take, adding an improvised Hare Krishna chant at the end that brought the song an unimagined power and beauty.
She was a wonderful, warm and beautifully eccentric woman in all the best possible ways, and all who knew her recall her lengthy phone conversations, ranging from spirituality to current affairs to music and beyond. She was one of the key performers of the punk period and her powerful songs -perceptive poems about plastic society and consumerism that cut through all the bullshit - still influence musicians three decades later ("Poly Styrene [was] so ahead of her time," noted The Gossip's Beth Ditto in tribute. "She recreated punk"). She was a brilliant, positive spirit in a cynical world. Hare Krishna, Poly, Rama Rama Hare Hare.
To borrow the last sentence of the article...Hare Krishna, Maharani devi dasi, Rama Rama Hare Hare.
The full article can be found at...
LIVING TRADITIONS IN INDIAN ART: Mapin Publications Pvt. Ltd., in association with Museum of Sacred Heart, Belgium, 502, Paritosh, next to Darpana Academy, Usmanpura, Ahmedabad-380013. Rs. 2500.
This book celebrates the presence of the divine even amidst the mundane and the material in our country. It showcases popular, devotional art in India and also metal icons, masks, sculptures, puppets, and ritual objects of divinities from this country as well as from Thailand, Nepal, Tibet, and Indonesia, as displayed in the Museum of Sacred Art, Radhadesh, Belgium.
It is an effort to show “how contemporary artists continue to create visual representations of Hindu divinities in new and refreshing ways.” Radhadesh being “a spiritual community belonging to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON),” it is only natural that a majority of the paintings in the book should be on Lord Krishna.
A separate section is devoted to the art of the Hare Krishna movement which was also influenced by Italian art and Russian artists. The clarity of photographs, especially that of the beautiful old castle where the museum is housed, is such as to transport the reader to the museum. Also included are brief biographies of the artists.
J. Bhagawati, Ambassador of India to Belgium, Luxembourg, and the EU, in his preface, mentions how the collection “reflects the rich multiple art forms of India.” In her foreword, Chistiane De Lauwer, Curator (South Asia), MAS/ Ethnographic Museum, Antwerp, says she was struck by the lack of knowledge in Belgium about one of the world's most ancient and rich cultures. So, she went on to study Indian art, language, and religion. The museum and catalogue grew out of the need to spread awareness on Indian spiritual art.
Unlike in the West, the genre of spiritual art is still vibrant in India, says Martin Gurvich, Director, Museum of Sacred Art, in his introduction. The museum's focus is on living art forms rather than historical pieces, and so most of the pieces are from the 20th and 21st centuries.
In her essay on the “Living Traditions in Indian Art: The Divine Image,” Tryna Lyons describes how spiritual art is found everywhere in the country and goes on to speak of the art and artists in various regions. Among the beautiful photographs featured from the museum collection are the ones of Lord Krishna with Radha, with gentle-eyed cows, with the gopis on the river bank. Gold-leaf worked paintings in the Tanjore style and Mysore style; the pichhavais (cloth hangings) from Nathadwara in Rajasthan; paintings on cotton and paper by artists such as B.G. Sharma and Indra Sharma; inlay work on wood from Karnataka; beautifully proportioned bronzes of Tamil Nadu; eye- catching Madhubani paintings from Bihar; and rod puppets from Indonesia also find a place. In all, a catalogue that compresses the essence of the museum exhibits and communicates the spirit of popular and contemporary Indian spiritual art to the West.
~ Kausalya Santhanam
Meatless in Miami
Govinda's Vegetarian Dining Club Offers Lunch in a Peaceful Setting
Tabouleh and hummus wrap with rosewater lemonade.
Today's post is a bit late since we were at ISKCON Brampton today. It was wonderful to see a full house with so many new faces and of course it was a pleasure to get the association of many familiar faces as well.
At ISKCON Brampton we had the darshan of Sri Radha Damodar and as the day goes on we are brought back to Gopinatha, the name of Krishna at ISKCON Toronto. The context for remembering Gopinatha is different since it comes from honouring Sri Abhiram Thakur, as it is his disappearance day. Sri Abhiram Thakur was a great Vaishnava saint that pushed on the sankirtan movement and he worshipped none other than Gopinatha.
In reading about Sri Abhiram Thakur, there are many accounts and stories. However instead of sorting and speculating we can simply turn to Srila Prabhupada. In Srila Prabhupada's purport to Chaitanya Caritamrta Adi-lila 11.13 it states:
Śrī Rāmadāsa, later known as AbhirāmaThākura, was one of the twelve gopālas, or cowherd boyfriends, of ŚrīNityānandaPrabhu. The Gaura-ganoddeśa-dīpikā (126) states that ŚrīRāmadāsa was formerly Śrīdāmā. In the Bhakti-ratnākara (Fourth Wave), there is a description of ŚrīlaAbhirāmaThākura. By the order of ŚrīNityānandaPrabhu, AbhirāmaThākura became a great ācārya and preacher of the Caitanya cult of devotional service. He was a very influential personality, and nondevotees were very much afraid of him. Empowered by ŚrīNityānandaPrabhu, he was always in ecstasy and was extremely kind to all fallen souls. It is said that if he offered obeisances to any stone other than a śālagrāma-śilā, it would immediately fracture.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta SarasvatīThākura writes in his Anubhāsya, "Ten miles southwest of the Cāńpādāńgā railway station on the narrow-gauge railway line from Howrah, in Calcutta, to Āmtā, a village in the Hugli district, is a small town named Khānākūla-krsnanagara, where the temple in which AbhirāmaThākura worshiped is situated. During the rainy season, when this area is inundated with water, people must go there by another line, which is now called the southeastern railway. On this line there is a station named Kolāghāta, from which one has to go by steamer to Rānīcaka. Seven and a half miles north of Rānīcaka is Khānākūla. The temple where AbhirāmaThākura worshiped is situated in Krsnanagara, which is near the kūla (bank) of the Khānā (Dvārakeśvara River); therefore this place is celebrated as Khānākūla-krsnanagara. Outside of the temple is a bakula tree. This place is known as Siddha-bakula-kuñja. It is said that when AbhirāmaThākura came there, he sat down under this tree. In Khānākūla-krsnanagara there is a big fair held every year in the month of Caitra [March-April] on the Krsna-saptamī, the seventh day of the dark moon. Many hundreds and thousands of people gather for this festival. The temple where AbhirāmaThākura worshiped has a very old history. The Deity in the temple is known as Gopīnātha. There are many sevaita families living near the temple. It is said that AbhirāmaThākura had a whip and that whoever he touched with it would immediately become an elevated devotee of Krsna. Among his many disciples, ŚrīmānŚrīnivāsaĀcārya was the most famous and the most dear, but it is doubtful that he was his initiated disciple."
This is our humble attempt to honour this day and share Srila Prabhupada's words on this great Vaishnava Sain
Jaya Sri Gopinatha!
Sri Abhiram Thakur ki Jaya!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
With the mercy of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, Subhavalisa das will be giving the discourse at ISKCON Brampton tomorrow. So if you missed his discourse at ISKCON Toronto last week, you will have a chance to hear this nectar plus much more at ISKCON Brampton.
The program starts at 11am and the discourse is around noon. The devotees at the Brampton temple are very homely and welcoming and they have a great Sunday school program for the kids as well. So hopefully you can make it out and share in the devotional atmosphere which defines ISKCON Brampton. For directions and more information please visit:
H.H. Radhanath Swami from ISKCON addressing a full house at HSBC's Global Headquarters in the U.K.
It seemed as if time had paused on Thursday 7th April to witness an historical event where two extreme ends of the world met for a fusion of the material to the spiritual. His Holiness Radhanath Swami was invited as key note speaker on behalf of the Euro CEO of HSBC to address a large gathering of high profile influential bankers along with the Group Manager of the Board on the topic of universal Board on the topic of universal equality.
Organised by the Vedic Society in HSBC, over 830 bankers congregated together at the global headquarters of HSBC in Canary Wharf UK to explore the message of Holi – ‘The Festival of Colours’ symbolising the message of universal equality despite being diverse materially. With a presence in over 87 countries, managing in excess of $2.5 trillion, HSBC is amongst the top universal banks, the largest listed company on the Londons Stock Exchange and according to Forbes, the eight largest company in the world.
The rest of the write up can be found at: http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/53632086
Today marks Good Friday and Christians believe that Jesus "died" on the cross. Srila Prabhupada cuts through this thinking process and elevates the discussion. We realize many people skim through posts, so emphasis has been added to 3 statements made by Srila Prabhupada.
The following is an excerpt of an exchange that occurred in Paris, on June 15, 1974, between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada and two priests and two Christian scholars.
Yes, Your Divine Grace, of course. As you say, since Lord Jesus is the son of God, his body is spiritual. But because Jesus wanted to take part in the life of the human beings on earth, we think he actually accepted a material body.
Why do you speculate that Jesus accepted a material body?
We have prayers that say Jesus underwent suffering and he underwent death.
But his so-called death: in your mind you think, you speculate, that he died. But he immediately resurrected.
But the Gospel says that he died.
That's all right.
Just as you accept--totally--the word as found in the Vedas, so we accept--totally--the word as found in the Bible.
No, no. When the Bible speaks of Jesus, "died" simply means something resembling death. Janma karma ca me divyam: in Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krishna explains that the birth, activities, and disappearance of Himself and His pure devotees are all transcendental. Just take, for example, Christ's "birth" from the womb of Mary. It may appear like an ordinary material birth, but actually, it is not. It is something resembling birth, but in reality, it is transcendental.
No. It is very important that we understand death of Christ to be a real death. The central point of our faith and our philosophy is that Lord Jesus actually died.
No. The Vedic literature explains that even an ordinary living being--he does not die. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire. Do you understand Sanskrit?
Not by hearing it. I have to read it.
Na hanyate: "the soul is never killed." And hanyamane sarire: "even when the body dies, the soul is never dead."
Your Divine Grace, in order for there to be dialogue, we have to respect one another's positions--not that we will try to convert the others. Just as we respect your absolute faith in the Vedic philosophy, so also, there must be respect about our Christian interpretation of the life of Lord Jesus and his death.
Oh, I have more respect for Jesus Christ than you. I say, "Jesus does not die." You say, "Jesus dies." As far as respect is concerned, I have more respect than you. You want to see Jesus Christ dead. I don't want to see him dead.
So this week brings another “eggy” situation at school. Easter holidays are around the corner and despite the teachers knowing the kids don’t eat eggs, they still send an email to bring in hard boiled eggs for Easter decorating.
So as usual we are expecting to need to explain it to the teachers. But our 4 year old Gopika says it best. “Ewww Mommy, I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to hurt the chicks.”
A few months ago, the same teachers showed the “life cycle” at school and brought a little hatchery machine complete with lights, a warmer and eggs. The kids were anxiously waiting for the chicks to hatch and low and behold an excited Gopika came home to tell us about the cute chicks that hatched. It was an important lesson and we used it to reinforce the lesson that eggs have life and should not be eaten.
Between the Easter bunny, “Get Cracking” marketing, people that don’t eat meat but eat eggs and the “innocent” looking white oval ball, kids don’t always understand the restriction but the teachers did us a big favour with their demonstration. But too bad the teachers did not understand the same lesson that a 4 year old did!
A simple substitution of some craft foam eggs and the "eggy" situation is solved...
- Kishori (Gopika’s mommy)
[As a reference point, Kishori is Subhavilasa's daughter-in-law and Gopika is his granddaughter]
On Sunday's post we promised to post some more nectar on Sri Radha Shyamasundar in Vrindavan and the Appearance day of Sri Syamananda Prabhu. The following is the background video during the lecture by Subhavilasa das at ISKCON Toronto on April 17, 2011 and some of the pastimes are depicted along with pictures of the original Radha Shyamasundar as worshiped by Sri Syamananda Prabhu.
Ashkuff shared the below comment on the original post from April 11th which included the article that appeared in the "Alligator". So we wanted to share his blog link below (which has some great pictures) as well as the excellent film he produced.
Comment from Ashkuff:
Glad to see news got out.
If you want to see the "Krishna Cooking Show" film, and photographs of the presentation, just check out
Thanks for posting!
A favorite line:
Song, dance, a hungry blue-skinned God, kitchen religion, food and MORE FOOD. I never left the county, but Krishna House felt like another world.
Presenting the film: