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Friday, August 26, 2016

Prabhupada's Appearance Day - and the World Around Us

Today is VyasaPuja or the Appearance Day of our Spiritual Master

Initially some may wonder why we celebrate such a day. However, that is not hard for most to understand. The Christian Holiday of Christmas is glorification of the appearance of their guru, Lord Jesus Christ. [Now lets not waste time getting into accuracy of dates. lol Save that for some future post, maybe.] Similarly, we too, celebrate the appearance of our pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada.

In so doing, I want to bring up a story that has been on my mind a while. 

Approximately two years ago I was hospitalized for almost 3 months. Several surgeries, etc, but am fine now! :) However, while there I saw something disturbing. Hospitals have TV's. The "Today Show" came on. I heard Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira. She was doing the main broadcasting, he was interacting but off camera. They kept talking about "the religion." So of course I wanted to find out "which" religion? 

As they talked back and forth, I realized it was ours! Over and over again, they'd say: "The Religion." ..."The Religion yada yada," and "The Religion blah blah." ....What the heck was that about? But this is only the minor part of this story.

What bothered me more, was their constant reference to Srila Prabhupada as a mere "Hindu man." 

I wanted to say to them: "Apparently, you wouldn't recognize a pure devotee if you fell over him." LOL I also wanted to say: "I don't call your Jesus Christ a mere Jew who started some new religion, so don't call my Prabhupada a regular, run of the mill Hindu." Well, a disciple can't help but to protect their guru. And I have to remember, no one knows how to recognize a pure devotee until they are taught this unique knowledge

Yet something more was going on. How much of it was their highly inaccurate perception of Srila Prabhupada, and how much was our own misrepresentation of him to the world?! 

Yes, that had a lot to do with it. Matt and Meredith talked about devotee men as narcissistic, issues with the children [tho admitting some stayed devotees], and problems with "in-fighting." No longer the peaceful Movement we use to be. Sad.

To a degree, they were not totally off the mark. Although they did not appear to have looked into any other direction. ...Mostly I was irritated that they blamed OUR issues on Prabhupada.

However, I was pleasantly surprised they also verbalized to the world that Prabhupada himself was not a narcissist. Phew. Tho they still did not agree with, or understand, his views on women. I've done my best to clarify it here on this blog for others out there.

The chances of them getting such info when it's far more gratifying for certain devotees to hit that keyboard typing unpleasantries about females, ignoring needs/protection of children, or to passionately fight in public - is rampant. Thus it is far more likely as 'what' will come the way of anyone who investigates us. sigh.

So devotees out there, take responsibility. Think twice before you speak in some odd way. Ask yourself, are you really doing it for the sake of preaching [benefits others], or to release your own negative feelings. 

I've been saying that for decades, how this free-for-all in the name of preaching, is in truth, not preaching - and I don't see how so much negativity can be pleasing to Srila Prabhupada either. Now we have further proof! Well, we always had proof, but just see, it's effects do not stop and it hit 'major network Television!'

So own your stuff and type with thought, with care - regardless how you feel inside. Sure, most things can be discussed, but use self-control coupled with intelligence. A little humility wouldn't hurt either. :) And how about pitching in where there are issues, instead complaining.  Push a-w-a-y from the computer. lol Get involved.

Moving on....

Prabhupada did so very VERY much for us. Let us not forget this, and may we each, individually, find a way to pass it on.



Prabhupada even stayed up late or got up early - to translate these books in our language for our benefit.
 


Prabhupada taught us our very 1st songs - which hopefully will remain our most used tunes.


 
 Prabhupada was kind to children, both boys AND girls. They are all special birth. Make sure to treat them as such.



 Books, books, BOOKS - so important to Srila Prabhupada. [His, not others copies or changed.] Prabhupada's books are so transcendental - with Krishna throughout - that he even said we could offer arotika to them.

~*~

"My dear beloved Children,

Please accept my blessings. I am so much pleased with your kind and affectionate words on the occasion of my birthday anniversary on the Nandotsva day this year (1972). My Guru Maharaj wanted me to spread this Krishna Consciousness Movement in western world, and you are all helping in this great attempt.

My Spiritual Master knew it that alone I could not do this great work. Therefore He has very kindly sent you all to help me in this task. I accept you therefore as respresentatives of my Guru Maharaja playing as my affectionate disciples.

It is said that child is father of man. Kindly therefore continue your help in this great task and act as my young father and mother in my old age. I am

Your ever well-wisher,,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami


Reference


~*~  

VIDEO - Prabhupada speaks on the importance of Books. "Where Do You Get The Money?" 

VIDEO - "Thank you Srila Prabhupada."

VIDEO - "Original Maha Mantra." It's been said Prabhupada transported his tunes from Goloka. Let's keep using them! Oh, it's ok to use other tunes, just make sure not to forget this one. Especially in the temple room

P.S. Pass it on!  :) Email/Share the glories of Prabhupada with your friends, send them this blog link. Copy and Paste the following: 

http://harekrishnablogging.blogspot.com/2016/08/prabhupadas-appearance-day-and-world.html

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Kids Blissful Sadhana

After writing a post on Blissful Sadhana for grown-ups, I thought, "What about the children? Don't leave them out!" :) So below are some fun spiritual activities for kids.

I can not take credit for these. Found them on various devotee web sites. 

Be thoughtful of God and do not place any Krishna items in bathrooms or places people undress, etc. But do enjoy them anywhere else in the house! :)

Important: Supervision, get involved, and keep on eye on their safety in cases where scissors etc are involved! 


* VRINDAVANA GAME: 

AGE: Toddlers.

Material Needed:
Large piece of cardboard or chart paper
Printouts of photos various places in Vrindavan like Govardhan, Yamuna, different Kundas, Nandagram etc
Krishna picture or figurine

Stick all the photos on the cardboard to create a Vrindavan picture map.


Place the Krishna picture or figurine on any one place and ask your child -


"Where is Krishna?" "Krishna is on Govardhan!"
Initially, you will have to say the answers. But once your child gets the hang of it, he/she will start answering your questions. Your child can also keep the picture on different places and ask you the question.


Its such a simple, fun and Vrindavan meditation game. It is also a great way to practice prepositions like on, under, in, around, beside etc.


E.g. if your child puts the Krishna image next to a place, you can say - "Krishna is beside Govardhan."
  

From this lovely site,"Vaishnava Mom."


* Print the following game and play it with children or grandchildren:

* Shadow Puppet Theater -
Make your own! Video. Its short. Puppets are a great creative learning game for children.You can make your own Shadow Puppet theatre out of a cardboard box and help your kids put on their own puppet show, from Krishna Book, etc. Video here.


                                    DECORATION:
This is a simple branch one can find outside or make out of paper mache. Then dovetail. :) Use playdoh etc to make simple figures of Gopis, Krishna, Deer, Peacock, etc.


* PAPER JAGANNATHA, SUBHADRA, BALARAMA:
Using this as a guide, draw your own patterns:

[Apparently they removed their pic. I will try to find it online and come back to add.

 Update - Close enough:
Help kids / grandkids, trace, cut out, and glue face you both made patterns for. When done, can lean against a clean cardboard box or shelf...or make an extra bottom piece to hold them up [cardboard with a slot at each end & bend - or use clay]. Then offer paper flower, paper incense hehe Let kids have fun with this project.

* Here is one of my pages that explains how to make cut out paper dolls of Jaganatha, Subhadra, Balarama.
 

* PLAY-DOH Jagannatha Deities. Then have your own RathaYatra at home. Invite other kids. How cute is that! :)

[UPDATE: They also removed this pic. I will try to find it online too, and come back to add. Use your imagination,  It's easy-peasy play doh after all.]


* Combo SCRAPBOOK with a devotee reading or telling the story of the BHAGAVATAM. Very sweet, with a few songs too. I use to hold my kids in my lap and read it to them, but not a scrapbook - which I think is a great idea.Tho either way works, but hey, this lady can even read Bhagavatam to you via her videos. hehe Adorable.

* MANDALAS for children: Cut out a pic of Krishna, Lord Chaitanya, etc to place in the center. Then make this sweet mandala - instructions included. Can gently explain how Krishna/God is the center of all.

* I could not resist the following site. It offers some ANIMATION, STORIES about Lord Vishnu, Rama, etc. Choose from various online ACTIVITIES Festival Mini Movies (Krsna Janmastami), matching Games (# 4 best), Ramayana story, View moving arotika, etc! Of course, some things may not be so bonafide while others are, so supervision & guidance may be needed. Cute site. ...We are not Hindus. We do not practice Hinduism. Tho some Hindus practice Krishna Consciousness. For those who need to figure out how to tell the difference, go here.

* Learn How To Draw Baby Krishna:
 Easy lessons, here.
 

* VIDEO'S, BOOKS, BHAJANAS, ACTIVITIES for Children, MUSIC - lots here! Check it out. Beautiful site!

* Cow MASK: Activities for children and grandchildren.
In addition, Scroll down to other projects, such as Cool Cows, Cow Puppets, Cows out to Pasture, One Very Cool Cow, etc. AND click on side link "Browse All Crafts," as they have a large selection.First: Cows mask, cow puppets, cows out to pasture, here.


* LITTLE VAISNAVA'S - Songs, coloring books and more. This is done by my dear Godsister who has been doing this decades! Did it for her own children [and of course godsiblings children], now for her grandchildren [and others grandchildren]. She knows her stuff. Check out her site.

* QUILLING for KIDS: 

Once read, that long before the internet existed, or tv, or etc, nuns used quilling to bring a smile to the face of their school children. Often it was used to mark or decorate Bible verses.Also to decorate a paper the child worked hard on. They can also be used to decorate a younger child's paper after writing the Maha Mantra in cursive, or for an older child [teenager] to quill the Maha mantra themself! :) 
I found two lovely places that give simple, SIMPLE lessons on how to quill. I could not decide between the two so am putting both here for the reader to pick from. 

* TEMPLE IN A BOX - or any box:


This is so sweet I nearly wish my children were kids again just so I could do this. ha But you can! :)  [It did not come with instructions but will do my best and you can be creative from there.]  Make sure to cut windows, doors, etc in the box.
The children in the temple room were made out of play-dou. Remember to add little girl children too. :)

Cut out various pics to be used as the altar, combine with construction paper or color the backgrounds or leave - whatever you wish. And you along with the children can hang decorations from the ceiling or walls etc in the little temple room. Hang a small Christmas etc bell in its doorway, use ribbons, paper doilies, just anything you wish to help your children have fun with Krishna.



* RANGOLI for KIDS:
Patterns for all ages, from simple to complex. This art is often drawn outside the temple, thus outside the temple shoe-box. :) Or on paper, Or outside your house if you have steps or a patio and chalk. Many here, along with instructions.

* AND A CHILD SHALL LEAD THEM:
Even a small little boy or little girl can lead a kirtana! Encourage your kids to sing their hearts out. So many videos to pick from that I have included more than one:

MahaMantra by girl, so sweet

GaruaVanis's daughter, Revati, leads.

Its so much fun to chant "Jaya Rama!"

And this one just brought a smile to my face. He is singing Jaya Radha Madhava. Too cute! 


Unique. Children chanting Hare Krishna

* A little something FOR PARENTS, grandparents, adults in the life of kids. Especially if new to Krishna Consciousness and wonder about that VEGETARIAN thing. :) Read about intelligence and vegetarian kids.