Comments Posted By Shyamasundara Dasa

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Margarine Spreads vs. Butter

Dear Ananda dd,

Hare Krsrna. For some reason only the first part of my comment was published yesterday not the second in which I quote from the ayurveda stating that uncooked milk has defects unless it is taken directly from the teat of a healthy cow with very little time lag, you can read it for your self.

“Uncooked milk is abhisyandi (produces excess secretion in the tissue pores and causing their blockage) and not easily digestible, that which is properly cooked is opposite in its qualities; too much of boiling makes it very hard for digestion. Milk drawn from the udder (nipple) direct into the mouth is similar to nectar.” Astanga Hrdayam 5.27

The Ayurveda tells us that properly cooked milk is the healthiest way to drink milk. Prabhupada accepted this pramana, that is why hot milk is a staple in ISKCON. I never had hot milk before joining ISKCON.

Raw food is generally avoided in Ayurveda as it creates undue burden on the fire of digestion which will have to cook it anyway. We don’t just eat raw dough balls but cook them into chappatis, though some foods like fruit and certain vegetables can be eaten raw or cooked.

I follow the ayurvedic system given by Lord Dhanvantari because that is the system followed by Srila Prabhupada my guru and other propagators of Vedic civilization - the guru parampara. The ayurveda promotes boiling milk for greater digestibility and reduced sleshma (mucus), etc.

And we are reminded that the residents of Vrndavana drank boiled milk.

Mother Yaśodā took her son on her lap and pushed the nipple of her breast into His mouth, and while Kṛṣṇa was sucking the milk, she was smiling, enjoying the beauty of her child’s face. Suddenly, the milk which was on the stove began to boil over. Just to stop the milk from spilling, Mother Yaśodā at once put Kṛṣṇa aside and went to the stove. Left in that state by His mother, Kṛṣṇa became very angry, and His lips and eyes became red in rage.

I am of course aware that there are some people who think we should jettison Vedic culture and just follow Western values with a spray coating of KC. I prefer to get deeper into Krsna’s culture not further away.

Comment Posted By Shyamasundara Dasa On 13.09.2014 @ 11:58

part 2

In the morning of course new fresh milk arrived and the cycle started again. In mean time the yogurt had formed over night and it had cultured cream at the top, which was skimmed off and churned into butter having buttermilk as a by-product. Any excess butter would then be turned into ghee. (It should be noted that butter and ghee made from cultured cream has different properties than that made from uncultured cream.) So the next day there would be yoghurt, buttermilk, butter, ghee, paneer, plus more milk. And the cycle would continue as long as the cows gave milk. Cows are indeed our mothers.

No one drank cold milk, or milk from a cow who had given birth within 10-12 days. You could drink fresh milk directly from the udder but only if you knew the cow was healthy. I have on occasion put the glass right under the cow and drank it from there.

The process that I have described above is approved of in the Ayurveda.

“Uncooked milk is abhisyandi (produces excess secretion in the tissue pores and causing their blockage) and not easily digestible, that which is properly cooked is opposite in its qualities; too much of boiling makes it very hard for digestion. Milk drawn from the udder (nipple) direct into the mouth is similar to nectar.” Astanga Hrdayam 5.27

We never boiled milk for more than 1-2 minutes except in the process of making payasam (sweet rice).

An exception to the long boiling process would be in the case of milk based ayurvedic decoctions (kashayams) in which milk and herbs were mixed together and boiled for long period to reduce the volume. But such milk would no longer be milk but take on the character of the herbs.

I would never drink milk that has not been boiled unless I was standing with a glass underneath the udder of a healthy cow.

In conclusion pasteurization of milk is not a problem, Ayurveda recommends heating to even higher temperatures and for longer.

Comment Posted By Shyamasundara Dasa On 12.09.2014 @ 12:15

You wrote:

“… Now the product that started off life as Organic Whole milk has been heat-treated to 161 degrees Fahrenheit and then high-pressurised treatment to bombard the fat molecules to merge with the milk.
Once milk is pasteurised the nutritional value in the milk is destroyed and all that is left is a delicious sanitized liquid of oxidised fat that causes more health problems than the miraculous elixir of Mother Nature’s perfect milk ever did.”

While I certainly agree that homogenization of milk is a major blunder completely destroying the structure of the milk; I disagree regarding pasteurization.

I have lived in India for almost 15 years over the last 40 years, and especially during my early stay from 1977-83 practically no homes in the cities, what to speak of the villages had refrigerators (now common in cities). This was the way it had been for thousands of years — no fridges, yet India was the land of the cow and lots of milk. So how was milk handled in India, a very hot country where milk will spoil very easily if not handled properly?

I was in charge of the ashram kitchen at the Hyderabad temple as well as the Deity kitchen in Mumbai where I was trained to deal with milk in the time-honored system of ancient Indian villages.

Typically after the cows were milked and distributed to the homes the milk would be heated and brought to a boil three (3) times thus being kept at a sustained heat much higher and longer than in pasteurization. (In pasteurization milk is heated to 72C for 15 seconds, while bringing milk to a boil three times would raise the temperature to 100C for about 60-90 seconds.) The milk would then be covered and ether set aside or kept on a very low flame for the rest of the day and milk would be drawn from that supply all day as needed until evening when a another batch of milk would be delivered which in turn would be brought to a boil 3 times. After taking any milk for consumption at night the evening and morning milk (if any remained) would be merged together and either made into yogurt or paneer (or both) as the need required.

continued ->

Comment Posted By Shyamasundara Dasa On 12.09.2014 @ 12:05

“Conservative and liberal positions in and around ISKCON” - video

I have not personally listened to this talk as it is much too long, a transcript would have been better. But here is the comment of a friend of mine about this video.

I just listened to the presentation. I characterize it as descriptive, not analytical. That is, he describes things that we see, for example, that liberal and conservative devotees disagree with each other. He quotes William Blake’s aphorism, “both read the Bible day and night one reads black while the other reads white.” However he does not try to explain the gulf of difference between liberal and conservative devotees outside of saying that there extremes on both sides and that we shouldn’t be extreme. This is pretty much the substance of what he says.

What I would like to see however is an account from a particular point of view, liberal or conservative, both preferably, but either one would be acceptable, in accounting for why the difference exists. For example, a liberal trying to explain why he thinks the conservatives different from them, and vice versa.

What will eventually become clear is that the liberals and conservatives in fact do have fundamentally different approaches to epistemology. We both read scripture in different ways because we differ substantially in the way they think that something can be understood. The answer to the question of who is right and who is not right can be settled by analyzing the different approaches of the different camps.

This is overall a good thing because it opens up the possibility of being able to objectively assess the different approaches to understanding by the different camps and comparing them to the tradition. In other words how close is this particular camp in its way of reading srila prabhupada or shastra, how close are they to what the tradition actually describes. And you will probably find that one camp is closer to the tradition than the other.

It also opens up the possibility of finding one camp mostly close to the tradition but its approach to understanding could be adjusted a little more to bring it in line with tradition. It can also help determine whether a particular approach is just fundamentally at too far a distance from the tradition to be useful at all. So this is what an analytical approach to understanding liberal / conservative differences could bring to resolving some of the important issues at hand.

Comment Posted By Shyamasundara Dasa On 04.09.2014 @ 06:30

An Appointment with Mr. Death

Regarding #1

It is not Samarkand but Samarra:

The metaphor of “Having an appointment in Samarra”, signifying death, is a literary reference to an ancient Babylonian myth: Death is both the narrator and a central character, transcribed by W. Somerset Maugham. The story was titled “The Appointment in Samarra”, and subsequently formed the germ of the novel Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara.

The title is a reference to W. Somerset Maugham’s retelling of an old story,[1] which appears as an epigraph for the novel: A merchant in Baghdad sends his servant to the marketplace for provisions. Shortly, the servant comes home white and trembling and tells him that in the marketplace he was jostled by a woman, whom he recognized as Death, and she made a threatening gesture. Borrowing the merchant’s horse, he flees at top speed to Samarra, a distance of about 75 miles (125 km), where he believes Death will not find him. The merchant then goes to the marketplace and finds Death, and asks why she made the threatening gesture. She replies, “That was not a threatening gesture, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”

Comment Posted By Shyamasundara Dasa On 08.08.2014 @ 05:04

A physician from the UK produces a film documentary of evidence for the historical existence of Krishna

While he gives some interesting information his dates are off by 30-40 years, that of course is significantly better than what the academics say. The date of Kali yuga is 3101 BC and it started after 36 years of maharaja Yudhisthira’s reign, the battle of Kurukshetra took place in 3037 BC not 3067 as stated in the article.

He says that Lord Krsna was about 55-60 during the battle but Srila Prabhupada says Lord Krsna was about 100 years old or older (I am doing this from memory so don’t hold me to any dates etc).

One thing that should be noted is that the earliest known astronomical observational data is that of the Babylonians and only goes back to the 8th century BC. This is verified by Ptolemy and other early sources. What this means is that anyone using modern astronomical algorithms is extrapolating back more than 2300 years past the earliest known observations and assuming that the calculated results they derive are accurate. Even a slight error will greatly magnify over the span of 2300 years. And of course there is the unstated assumption of “uniformanism” that everything everywhere in the universe and over time is always uniform and without variation, which simply is not true. No one knows what perturbations took place in those distant dates.

Varaha Mihira states in his Brhat Jataka that former Rishis recorded positions for the planets Mercury and Venus that were impossible in his (and our) era. So either the Rishis were imbeciles or something changed in the intervening 3000 years.

Comment Posted By Shyamasundara Dasa On 05.06.2014 @ 02:31

The Return of a Cult Classic—Hare Krishnas are Back

Here are some important quotes from this article:

“Yes, Christianity and Islam may have the numbers, but Hare Krishna—the little sect that could—is winning the culture war.

‘Considering Hare Krishna’s relatively recent arrival in America, the extent of its infiltration is impressive. “Their religion hasn’t succeeded yet,” Atkin says, “but their ideas have.”’

This strongly suggests what we have always known that “purity is the force” not numbers, that is, popularity. That if we just stick to our principles we will have an unimaginable revolutionary effect on the ambient society. This is very much contrary to the position of those who have compromised their principles in a futile attempt to gain ephemeral popularity and by so doing undermined our mission and created internal divisions.

We either:

1 affect society


2 are affected by it.

I choose option 1.

Comment Posted By Shyamasundara Dasa On 21.05.2014 @ 16:51

Ocean of Mercy: Bhakti Benefits for Doomed Cows?

In #47 BBD (who is bbd please reveal yourself?) wrote:

“1. It is widely accepted amongst the majority of respected scholars of indology, Sanskrit, and Vedic studies that the Manu Samhita and the dharma sastras have been heavily interpolated throughout the years and thus not intact in their original form. These interpolations are clearly identifiable and a plenty. Therefore, it is highly irrelevant to currently advocate a conclusive interpretation, or a practical application of the dharma sastras.”

So Srila Prabhupada is not respected as an authority in Vedic culture? He accepted Manu Samhita as an authority. So now we must instead take lessons from mundane scholars who also tell us that Krsna was just a tribal leader who somehow morphed into an incarnation of Visnu. That actually Visnu was not so important in the Vedas but rather Indra and Agni and somehow these old gods got forgotten and replaced by Visnu. Who also think that the Bhagavatam was written around 1000 AD, that the 1st and last khandas of the Ramayana are extra add-ons to make it look like Rama is God. Who propagate the Aryan Invasion myth. Who claim that the eternal Vedas were authored by men in 1200 BC. Who claim that there is no such thing as Kali yuga, that it was a fraud created by the “wiley” brahmanas who used Greek astronomy to back date a grand conjunction of planets in 3102 BC. That Vedic culture was from ancient times but is not current. That Vedic astronomy and astrology were imported into India in the 3rd century AD. Etc etc. The list of nonsensical opinions of such “respected scholars” fills whole libraries.

The whole enterprise of Indology was created with the sole objective of destroying Vedic culture and promote European colonialism and imperialism. Thus, I completely reject such “scholars” and authorities that you accept. I only accept Guru, Sadhu, and Sastra.

Our acaryas ancient and modern have all accepted Manu Samhita for a more lengthy discussion of this topic including how to deal with potential interpolations in Manu Samhita or any sastra see:

Comment Posted By Shyamasundara Dasa On 30.04.2014 @ 12:10

Part 2

SP also points out that being a vegetarian is also violence, so we best not get caught up on the issue of violence. Living in the material world by definition means violence.

Prabhupada: Ah, yes. Patram puspam phalam. He is asking very simple thing which everyone can offer. Just like a little leaf, patram; a little flower, puspam; a little fruit; and little liquid, either water or ghee, er, milk. So we offer that. We make different varieties with these ingredients, patram puspam phalam toyam [Bg. 9.26], and after Krsna’s eating, we take it. We are servant; we take the remnants of foodstuff left by Krsna. We are neither vegetarian nor nonvegetarian. We are prasad-ian. We don’t care for vegetable or not vegetable, because either you kill a cow or kill a vegetable, the sinful action is there. And according to nature’s law, it is said that “The animals which has no hand, that is the food for the animals with hands.” We are also animals with hands. We human being, we are also animal with hands, and they are animals-no hand but four legs. And there are animals which has no leg; that is vegetable. Apadani catus-padam [SB 1.13.47]. These animals which has no leg, they are food for the animals with four leg. Just like cow eats grass, the goat eats grass. So eating vegetable, there is no credit. Then the goats and the cows are more credit, have more credit, because they don’t touch anything except vegetable. So we are not preaching to become goats and cows. No. We are preaching that you become servant of Krsna. So whatever Krsna eats, we eat. If Krsna says that “Give me meat, give me eggs,” so we shall offer Krsna meat and eggs, and we shall take it. So don’t think that we are after vegetarian, nonvegetarian. No. That is not our philosophy. Because either you take vegetable or you take meat, you are killing. And you have to kill, because otherwise you cannot live. That is nature’s way.

Mr. Dixon: Yes.

Prabhupada: So we are not for that way.

Mr. Dixon: Well, why do you put the stricture on…

Prabhupada: Stricture in this way: no meat-eating, because cow protection is required. We require milk. And instead of taking milk, if we eat the cows, then where is milk?

Mr. Dixon: So milk is very important.

Prabhupada: Very, very important.

Room Conversation with Minister Dixon,
State Minister for Social Services,
Sport and Recreation,
State of Victoria Liberal Party
April 23, 1976, Melbourne

Comment Posted By Shyamasundara Dasa On 30.04.2014 @ 06:32

Hare Krsna.

Please accept my humble obeisance. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Bhakti vigna-vinasha Narasimhadeva Bhagavan kijaya!

Some commentators have suggested that Bg 9.26 refers only to water but not to milk. Others suggest that milk is not essential or important and can best be avoided etc..

In the following conversation between Srila Prabhupada and Mr. Dixon recorded April 23, 1976 in Melbourne that I heard today our Acarya, Srila Prabhupada, has pointed out that Bg 9.26 refers to any liquid including milk and then tells us that milk is “very very important” thus nullifying the argument that it is not essential.

In any case I have faith in Srila Prabhupada not others who have been influenced by demons who want to discourage milk consumption as pointed out in comment #36 quoting from SB 8.7.3 purport.

Your humble servant

Shyamasundara Dasa ACBSP
Krsne matirastu

The conversation will be in the next part.

Comment Posted By Shyamasundara Dasa On 30.04.2014 @ 06:24


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