175. Le Carnaval Spirituel 2009

After 2 days of harinams on the rainy streets of Melbourne, the devotees, the public and the actors all gathered together for an evening of Eastern culture at St. Kilda City Hall, few hours ago. The building in itself was impressive and it was my first trip there. The building was supported by huge Victorian styled pillars with a lovely garden in the front. The drive to the main entrance resembled the path from the main gate to the door as seen in Indian 5-Star hotels. At the doors, were lovely mataji’s in deep blue sarees distributing the evening agenda.

Many people were walking in not knowing what to expect. Some looked nervous. Others looked curious. And there were others who were excited and they were the devotees. The hall was big and could accommodate about 600. Chairs were laid out neatly and people began to plant themselves where they could. It was like school. The eager-beavers right in the front, the semi-interested in the middle and the “just-checking-this-out” crowd was somewhere at the back. Parents with little kids were in that vicinity as well. As the rain subsided outside and the vegetarian cuisine aroma increased inside, people relaxed a little and began to wait for the 7:30 pm start. And just before 7:30pm, it started.

The MC for the evening - Mr. Sri Prahlad !

The evening would showcase the following :

- A bhajan
– Manipur Drummers
– Yoga
– Bharatanatyam dance
– The Warrior
– A Bollywood dance
– Return of the warrior
– A Spiritual talk
– Shyam Dance
– Team Kirtan

Those are my titles above. The program actually had different names for each show…but you get the drift, don’t you? Since a picture speaks a thousand words, I will let some photos I took do the talking.

The melodious kirtan

Manipur Drummer's make an entrance

Drummer's gets the crowd excited !!!!!

Getting the stretch right - Yoga show

Really stretching it !!! - Yoga

The Warrior !

The Warrior and his weapon of protection

After the performance of the warrior, it was time for THE GITA. In this session, actors portrayed the essence of the Holy Book Bhagavad Gita. This is the audience’s first interaction with spiritual philosophy for the evening.

The war amongst cousins

Arjuna - Pondering over hate, love, relations, God

Krishna - The Supreme - Helps Arjun with answers

“The GITA” show was very much appreciated by the audience. The applause, cheers and a few whistles reached the stage, much to the delight of the actors who waved back to the crowd and disappeared into their green rooms.

Manipur Drummers are back with a vengence !!

A giant leap - The drummers get the crowd going crazy with delight !!!

The drummers are surely the crowd favorites. The sounds of the drum, the ethic wear, the yells thrown at the crowd by the drummers, the leaps and the rhythm were all perfect to get the Australian crowd to sit and up take full notice.

Once the high voltage performances were done and the performers began to get ready for their final act, His Holiness Indradyumna Swami walked over to the centre of the stage. All watched. Devotees were thrilled in their hearts. Calmly, he took centre stage and adjusted the microphones. A single bright light from above shone brilliantly on his face. The stage was now truly set.

"This is the Gita", he declared and the crowd pays attention

Over the next 50 minutes or so, His Holiness gave a superb commentary on the Gita to the lay man seated. Even devotees – seniors and juniors listened as if it was their first time. And we wouldn’t want it any other way. He explained the importance of utilizing the human form of life, the importance of non-violence towards all creatures, understanding the body as matter, the hovering area of the soul in the body, how it was “ok” to take in such rich wisdom from an Eastern land even if it was foreign, “like Pizza…an Italian dish so prevalent in Australia…if it tastes good, then you will have it here too“. People understood. Sure they did. I saw them nodding. I saw them take deep breaths as it was beginning to make sense to them. He continued to talk about how people in general are mesmerized by science and how humans are out of balance. People were in agreement. The silence said it all. Even the noisy kids from the background seemed to be quiet. He invited the crowd to get a copy and read it. Thanking the crowd and collecting people’s love, he too walked away. Surely, the entire sampradaya was in the room. We couldn’t see them but the intensity of the talk made us feel their presence.

The Shyam Dance - Great music

Sri Krishna, Srimati Radharani, the Gopis as well as a spirit soul caught in the deep sadness of separation from the Divine Couple took centre stage. Through a beautiful English song, they all danced their way into Krishna’s lovely arms. He, too had been waiting and longing for such associations. His smile said it all.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

The much awaited kirtan now began to steal everyone’s heart again. It was so beautiful to see the Australian public tap their feet to the ground, a few others catch the mantra right and a few to my right had their eyes closed and resting a smile on their lips, began to move from side to side. The cleansing had begun. The journey has started for all there. There was appreciation all around. Already, 2 hours had passed and I don’t think anyone knew about it.

The perfect companion for a kirtan - the harmonium

The kirtan reached a soft climax and the people knew it was coming to an end. Everyone began to clap and cheer again. Yes, it was worth it to attend after all, they must have wondered. The rain didn’t seem to hamper anyone’s enthusiasm. The performers and the audience looked after each other very well. One party gave, the other took. It was a perfect evening I thought. The room looked almost full when the lights came on. “Thank you for being such a wonderful and an attentive crowd!”, swami exclaimed over the microphone. And with that the show came to an end.

In the morning Bhagavatam class, His Holiness Indradyumna Swami maharaj made a very nice statement. He told us, “The difference between material people and devotees is this  – materialists perceive the world through their intelligence. Whereas the devotees perceive the world through the intelligence of their spiritual masters“.

Tonight, through his spiritual master’s order to preach boldly and armed with all their devotion, sacrifices and love, His Holiness had helped the Melbourne public perceive the world too. It was all balancing out.

Hari Bol.

Hope you enjoyed this early morning blog post. I do this only once a year.  Its 1:40am and I am happily going to bed. If any of you are planning to watch the show, below is the info. Go, I say !

Sunday : 06th December, St. Kilda Town Hall
Friday: 4th December, Fitzroy Town Hall, 201 Napier St, Fitzroy
Saturday : 5th December, Fitzroy Town Hall
Wednesday, 9th December, Wyndham Leisure and Events Centre, 80 Derrimut Road, Hoppers Crossing

Show Time : 7:30pm
Vegetarian food : from 6pm onwards.

173. In my way

As I was walking by the roadside yesterday, I noticed this handbill lying on the road :

.

WoW…..Was it a sign???
Yeap – ” No Littering ! “
I picked the paper up, stared at the familiar smiling face, touched it to my forehead and placed it in my bag. And then continued with my walk.

172. The tip of the hair

Motivated by my last post on “Nanotechnology”, I decided to confront a professional. A nanotechnologist to be exact. If nanotech can take your vision to 10 x 10 (-9), I wanted a discussion. I wasn’t that interested about the fact that scientists could make humans immortal using nanotechnology. I am convinced they can’t.

In fact, I had spoken to another leading scientist, an electronic engineer on what he thought of that news article to which he calmly said, “If man is going to think that he can solve all of life’s problems using science and technology, he is going to very disappointed. He needs to understand and admit that there are certain aspects that is beyond science. It will do him and others a lot of good“. I was thrilled to hear a leading scientist say this.

Anyways, later this afternoon, I had a quick 10 minutes meet with a nanotechnologist. I was excited. Science and spirituality coming together.

Nanotechnologist : Yes, Manoj…

Me : Well, I was reading my scriptures the other day…to be precise my Holy books, written more than 5000 years ago and I came across these verses that made me want to share it with you…to see what it means to you…perhaps, in nanotech terms.

And I proceeded to show him the following verse that I had saved on my machine.

balagra-sata-bhagasya satadha kalpitasya ca
bhago jivah sa vijneyah sa canantyaya kalpate

“When the upper point of a hair is divided into one hundred parts and again each of such parts is further divided into one hundred parts, each such part is the measurement of the dimension of the spirit soul.” (Svet. 5.9)

Similarly, in the Bhagavatam the same version is stated:

kesagra-sata-bhagasya satamsah sadrsatmakah
jivah suksma-svarupo ‘yam sankhyatito hi cit-kanah

“There are innumerable particles of spiritual atoms, which are measured as one ten-thousandth of the upper portion of the hair.”

He read the english translations and immediately lightened up. He said, “Hmmm…interesting…
I quickly gave him a paper which I was holding on to make notes. And he began his calculations.

Purport in maths

At the end of his writing spree, he said still thinking, “The scale used is absolutely right. Impressive..The Greeks also used a similar method to explain the atom“. I wrote that statement down in the paper (to the bottom right). He proceeded to talk a lot about how science had its origins in the early philosophical inquiries of man. “athāto brahma jijñāsā – now is the time to inquire about the absolute truth“, I recollected within me.

So, basically he deduced in the paper above that the size of the spirit soul can be approximately 1 nanometer (1 x 10-9). I can use this in my preaching activities, I thought. In case someone asks, “So…what is the size of the soul that you speak of? “. Almost boldly, I can say, “Sir…that would be 1 nanometer…any more questions? “.

The reason why I am saying “almost boldly” is because the nanotechnologist had made 3 assumptions in the above calculations:
(1) He said that the human hair could be around 100 micrometers
(2) And that the tip of the hair could be around 10 micrometer
(3) And that 1 nanometer is roughly equal to 6-10 atoms

No, that’s not good enough, I am thinking. I want the exact answer. No assumptions. So, I am trying to fix an appointment again to see if I can get him to split a hair into one-ten-thousandth times using the amazing power of nanotechnology. It’s my hair that’s on the line !

Will keep you updated.

171. Nanotechnology

‘Nano-technology will make man immortal by 2029’
Press Trust Of India
London, September 24, 2009
First Published: 23:53 IST(24/9/2009)
Last Updated: 23:56 IST(24/9/2009)

A futuristic American scientist has predicted that man could become immortal in as little as 20 years’ time through nanotechnology and better understanding of the body mechanism.

Ray Kurzweil, known to have predicted future technologies decades ahead has written in The Sun ,”I and many other scientists now believe that in around 20 years we will have the means to reprogramme our bodies’ stone-age software so we can halt, then reverse, ageing. Then nano-technology will let us live for ever.”

The 61-year-old, lauded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates as the smartest futurist on Earth said,” We are living through the most exciting period of human history.

“Computer technology and our understanding of genes – our body’s software programs – are accelerating at an incredible rate. “

The scientist says that already, blood cell-sized submarines called nanobots are being tested in animals. These will soon be used to destroy tumours, unblock clots and perform operations without scars.

Ultimately, nanobots will replace blood cells and do their work thousands of times more effectively, he added.

According to his theory called the Law of Accelerating Returns mankind will experience a billion-fold increase in technological capability for the same cost in the next 25 years.

Nanotechnology will help in making humans achieve immortality said Kurzweil, “By the middle of the next century we will have back-up copies of the information in our bodies and brains that make us who we are. Then we really will be immortal”.

“Nanotechnology will extend our mental capacities to such an extent we will be able to write books within minutes.

“If we want to go into virtual-reality mode, nanobots will shut down brain signals and take us wherever we want to go. Virtual sex will become commonplace. And in our daily lives, hologram like figures will pop in our brain to explain what is happening,” he said.

The scientist also predicts that humans in future will become cyborgs, with artificial limbs and organs.

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Well…is there anything else we will do to make lives as complicated as possible?

170. Friend’s KC status

Ok…i still can’t sort out the picture upload problems in my blog. The support team at WordPress mentioned that I should upgrade my Internet Explorer to 8 or use FireFox. I am using IE 6.0 and it seems this is over 9 years old. I think I am left behind in the internet world. As I brood over the complexity of upgrading, one of my close friends from India was online and I decided to chat with him. He had accompanied me to Vrindhavan dham recently. But I wasn’t very sure whether he would accept and follow the Krishna Consciousness lifestyle.

me:  Hare Krishna !
 Friend hare krishna
me:  How are you?
 Friendi am good manoj..how are you?
me:  Good to hear that you are doing well. I am doing good as well. Its raining here now yet very warm. About to start my chanting rounds.
 Friendgreat..I am now in 3rd book of 3rd canto
me:  I have been meaning to ask…how is your SB reading, chanting, temple visits going? Are you missing Vrindhavan dham?
me: Oh wow !! I cant wait to meet you again and start discussing SB with you.
 Friendits really gods grace through you..and gurus grace
 me:  that is the best compliment i have ever recd..thank you so much…
 Friendnow, i can understand very well about material energy and also the cosmic structure..most of intuitive questions were answered simply by reading srimad bhagavatham
 me:  you are right…i have always noticed that you ask very relevant questions…pls make sure that you write down your questions as they pop up in a book. With time you can sit and answer these and can, in future help a lot of people too
 Friendi decided not to talk about spirituality, krishna or any science until i read all the volumes
 me:  i understand. but pls record your questions in a book..for your personal viewing only
 Friendyes, i am writing down in a small diary..all my findings
 me:  great…i shall let you go now…i have 16 rounds to go…take care…all the best…
 Friendhappy chanting, hare krishna
 me:  radhe radhe !!

And his online profile against his name says,
To award fearlessness to the common man is the greatest charity – Prabhupada

Oh wow…I felt so good and proud. I have made a devotee ! Wishing him all the best in his KC progress !
Now without fear, I need to upgrade my Internet Explorer.

169. Why no posts lately?

Many, many of you have enquired and perhaps wondered why I haven’t posted any new articles, especially over the last 4 weeks. My deepest apologies to all of you. There are 2 main reasons why this hasn’t been happening :

(1) I have been traveling extensively over the last 2 months on work. Bad internet connections and too tired to write anything late in the evening is one reason.

(2) But the main reason is that I have been having some issues with my blog dashboard which doesn’t allow me to upload any images. And if I have no images, then there is nothing much I can write about.  I have one last article to write in my last series on 2009 Vrindhavan visit articles. But I just can’t get the image upload to work. And I didn’t want to start a new topic without finishing the last. So, this is the 2nd excuse.

“Thank you” to all those who enquired and the few hundreds who check this blog out everyday. I can see you in the stats section ! I shall do my best to get this image issue sorted out. Till then, this new blog entry (with no images) is me getting back to being consistent ! Hooray ! I mean, Hari Bol.