cow-care-hindu-animal-ethics

This open access book provides both a broad perspective and a focused examination of cow care as a subject of widespread ethical concern in India, and increasingly in other parts of the world. In the face of what has persisted as a highly charged political issue over cow protection in India, intellectual space must be made to bring the wealth of Indian traditional ethical discourse to bear on the realities of current human-animal relationships, particularly those of humans with cows. Dharma, yoga, and bhakti paradigms serve as starting points for bringing Hindu—particularly Vaishnava Hindu—animal ethics into conversation with contemporary Western animal ethics. The author argues that a culture of bhakti—the inclusive, empathetic practice of spirituality centered in Krishna as the beloved cowherd of Vraja—can complement recently developed ethics-of-care thinking to create a solid basis for sustaining all kinds of cow care communities.
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Vyāsa-pūjā offering for Srila Prabhupada (2019)

August 24th, 2019 | Posted by ww-seva2 in news | Uncategorized | writing - (Comments Off)
srila-prabhupada

Dearest Srila Prabhupada, Friend of the Poor in Spirit,
I offer myself at your feet, which are like luminous lotus flowers bestowing the light of knowledge that brings sight to blinded eyes.

Years ago, at the end of a lecture you gave in the “City of Angels,” Los Angeles, I was surprised to hear you speaking of the French medieval saint Joan of Arc. When a woman asked you whether there was anyone similar to Joan of Arc in the Bhāgavatam, you first affirmed that you were familiar with her and then replied in a general and inclusive way: “Any activities of devotees, that is Srimad-Bhagavatam..”
You then explained the literal meaning of the word bhāgavata as pertaining to Bhagavān, and concluded:
So Bhāgavata can be expanded to any unlimited. So anything in relationship with God, that is Bhāgavatam. So if Joan of Arc, she was in relationship with God, she is also Bhāgavatam. You should expand Bhāgavatam in that way. Yes. [Lecture on Sri-Sri Sad-gosvami-astaka, Los Angeles, 18 November 1968]
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Vyāsa-pūjā offering for Srila Prabhupada (2018)

September 6th, 2018 | Posted by ww-seva2 in news | writing - (Comments Off)
srila-prabhupada

Dearest Srila Prabhupada,

On the occasion of celebrating your glorious appearance in this world, I offer my most humble obeisance and prayers at your lotus feet, with these words of reflection:

“Dialogical Vaisnavism”

You have delivered to the world a venerable and ancient tradition of devotional dialogue, what I like to call “dialogical Vaisnavism.” Most of our sacred literature is in the form of dialogue, saṁvāda: Sages speak with kings throughout the Bhāgavatam, and the Lord himself speaks with his dear friend Arjuna the dialogue that comes to be known as Bhagavad-gītā. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu speaks with Rāmānanda Rāya, and more recently, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura fills his Vaiṣṇava narrative catechism, Jaiva Dharma, with dialogues. In the same tradition, you welcomed numerous guests into your quarters, engaging them in dialogue on spiritual topics.

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krishna-arjuna

We arrive at the concluding chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā, of Krishna’s eighteen yoga teachings. This chapter is the longest in the Gītā (slightly longer than chapter 2). It serves partly as a reiteration and re-emphasis of previously expressed ideas, but also as an elaboration on important principles in terms of the three modalities of nature. It is also here that we find a dramatic crescendo near the chapter’s end, in Krishna’s final exhortation to Arjuna (and to all would-be yogīs) to find refuge and ultimate yoga success in him, yogeśvara, the master of yoga.
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krishna-arjuna

Krishna mentions sacred texts at the end of the previous chapter, and this prompts Arjuna to ask for more details. What is the situation of persons who practice sacrificial rites but do not follow the prescriptions for such rites provided in the sacred texts? Arjuna frames his question in terms of the three modalities—illumination, passion, and darkness—so Krishna’s response, comprising most of this chapter, is also in these terms, constituting a further elaboration on the modalities from Chapter 14.
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krishna-arjuna

Throughout the Gītā, Krishna helps Arjuna to deepen his relationship of friendship with Krishna by encouraging him to pursue the practice of yoga. “Yoga” can mean “connection”, and Krishna makes very clear that the particular connection to be made, or reaffirmed, is with himself as bhagavān, puruṣottama, the original and ultimate person. That a relation is already existing between the living being and the ultimate person has already been established (for example, in 15.7), and Arjuna is an exemplar of such relationship.
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krishna-arjuna

Themes and concepts that are essential to the proper understanding and practice of yoga are introduced briefly in early chapters of the Bhagavad-gītā; then in later chapters these same themes receive elaboration. This we have seen in particular with the principles of sāṅkhya (analysis) and dhyāna (meditation). Similarly, we have already been introduced to the notion of bhagavān (literally, the possessor of plenitude) in earlier chapters, and this notion is dramatically and graphically demonstrated to Arjuna in Chapter 11. Now again in this fifteenth chapter (or fifteenth discourse on yoga), attention is directed to bhagavān, here referred to as puruṣottama, the ultimate person, to fill out the notion of spirit-as-person in important ways.
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krishna-arjuna

Krishna inspires Arjuna to understand more deeply about the subjects of the previous chapter, noting that understanding them can bring the highest state of yoga perfection. This chapter elaborates on a principle introduced in the previous chapter, namely, the concept of “modality” (guṇa). To be attuned to the ways that nature functions through the three modalities constitutes an important yoga practice. It alerts the yogī to the necessity to make good, conscious choices for elevating oneself from lower to higher modalities, leading to freedom from the modalities altogether.
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