Krishna, a bosom friend

Srinath Chakravarty, while referring to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s  teachings, states that the highest object of worship is Krishna.  He clarifies that we can worship NAND-NANDAN Sri Krishna in the context of any possible relationship we desire.  This is not possible with anyone else.
For example, we cannot participate in all types of relationship with the Supreme lore in His form as NARAYANA, who displays a majestic form of God, and so we can have a relationship of friendship with Him from a distance.  NARAYANA plays the role of a majestic king, so fear in the mind is evident.  His devotees may become His friends, but their intimacy is inhibited by fear.  Moods like parental affection and conjugal love are absent.  Therefore, those who wish to serve the Supreme Lord as a “bosom friend”, as a “child” or in a mood of conjugal love, cannot acquire this sort of relationship with the Lord in His form as NARAYANA. Therefore, NARAYANA cannot be the common centre for all devotees.  NARAYANA can grant moksha, vaikuntha, dasya rasa and partial sakhya rasa to His devotees, but nothing more intimate than these.

Krishna


In Krishna, the cowherd boy of Vrindavan, however, all sorts of intimate relationships are possible, and there is the possibility of different forms of worship, like for instance, the amorous relationship of the gopis for Krishna, considered to be the highest form of devotion and worship.

Human beings are said to have 50 kinds of divine qualities but in a  minute quantity only, whereas VISHNU or NARAYANA who have more qualities in addition to 55 qualities present in others, again to a fuller extent.  This makes a total of60 divine qualities in all.
In total there are 64 qualities or GUNAS.  There are 4 other qualities that one will not find anywhere  else except in Krishna, the beloved of all.  These 4 additional qualities are LEELA MADHURYA, RUPA MADHURYA, VENU MADHURYA & PREMA MADHURYA, referring to divine play, form, musical attributes and love.
Krishna has many wonderful pastimes, in which He assumes a sweet form.  He does not appear as a gigantic figure with all kinds of weapons.  Thus, He does not fight with Putana, the demon, but rather, appears as a baby an kills her by sucking her breast, exhibiting sweetness towards her.  This is the wonder of Krishna Leela.

Krishna


Also, we find even while retaining His sweet and endearing form, Krishna lifts the Govardhana mountain to provide shelter to his devotees, with just the little finger of his left hand.  He does have to assume a strong and formidable form to accomplish this.  As a  little boy, Krishna subdued Kaliya, the serpent, when he effortlessly jumped onto Kaliya’s many heads.

In Krishna, we find 12 RASAS(RASA is the mellow part of a relationship, the taste or bliss one experiences in a relationship with Krishna).  There are 5 principle RASAS, namely shant, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya.  In addition to these there are 7 secondary RASAS, namely hasya, adbhuta, vira, karuna, raudra, bhayanak and bibhatsa.  All of these are mentioned in the SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM.
That is why Krishna is so special, so approachable and why he is loved and sought after by all.
——— B V Vaman Maharaj.. 

Samosir Island

Samosir Island


SAMOSIR ISLAND is a large volcanic island in Lake Toba, located in the north of the island of Sumatra, in Indonesia.  Administratively, SAMOSIR ISLAND is governed within SAMOSIR REGENCY.

The lake island was formed after the eruption of a super volcano some 75,000 years ago.  The Island was originally connected to the surrounding CALDERA wall by a small isthmus, which was cut through to aid navigation.

Samosir Island


At 640sq.km, SAMOSIR is the largest island within an island, and the fifth largest LAKE ISLAND in the world.  It also contains two smaller lakes— Lake SIDIHONI & Lake AEK NATONANG.  Across the lake, on the east of the island, lies ULUAN Peninsula.  The island is linked to the mainland of Sumatra on its western part by a narrow isthmus, connecting the town of PANGURURAN on SAMOSIR & TELE on mainland Sumatra.  TELE consequently offers one of the best views  of Lake TOBA & SAMOSIR Island.


Samosir Island


SAMOSIR is a popular tourist destination, due to its exotic history and the vistas it offers.  The tourist resorts are concentrated in the TUKTUK area.  The Island is the centre of the BATAK CULTURE, and many of the TOBA BATAK traditional houses (RUMAH ADAT) remain on the Island.  Most of the tourist accommodations are concentrated in the small town of TUKTUK, which is located a one-hour ferry ride across the lake from the town of PARAPAT.  The passenger ferry leaves from TIGA RAJA harbour every hour, between 8.30 & 19.00.  For those who run late, there is an option to take the passenger boat from AJI BATA to TOMOK until 8.30p.m.


Samosir Island


As you step down from the ferry at TOMOK, you will be greeted by a row of souvenir stalls selling an array of BATAK handicraft, from the traditional hand-woven ULOS cloths to BATAK bamboo calendars and all kinds of knick-knacks.

TOMOK itself is a traditional village, best known as the GATEWAY & INTRODUCTION TO SAMOSIR.

Time isn’t money

Valuing your time more than the pursuit of money is linked to greater happiness, according to new research published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.
In six studies with more than 4,600 participants, researchers found an almost even split between people who tended to value their time or money, and that choice was a fairly consistent trait both for daily interactions and major life events.
“It appears that people have a stable preference for valuing their time over making more money, and prioritising time is associated with greater happiness,” said lead researcher Ashley Whillans, a doctoral student in social psychology at the University of British Columbia.  The findings were published online in the journal “Social Psychological and Personality Science”.
time-money-see-sawThe researchers found an almost even split with more than half of the participants stating they prioritised their time more than money.  Older people also were more likely to say they valued their time compared to younger people.  “As people age, they often want to spend their time in more meaningful ways than just making money,” Whillans said.
The researchers conducted separate surveys with a nationality representative sample of Americans, students at the University of British Columbia, and adult visitors of a science museum in Vancouver.  Some of the studies used real-world examples, such as asking a participant whether he would prefer a more expensive apartment with a short commute or a less expensive apartment with a long commute.  A participant also could choose between a graduate program that would lead to a job with long hours and a higher starting salary or a program that would result in a job with a lower salary but fewer hours.  A participant’s gender or income didn’t affect whether they were more likely to value time or money, although the study didn’t include participants living at the poverty level who may have to prioritise money to survive.
If people want to focus on their time and less on money in their lives, they could take some actions to help shift their perspective, such as working slightly fewer hours, paying someone to do household chores.
While some options might be available only for people with disposable income, even small changes could make a big difference.  “Having more free time is likely more important for happiness, than having more money.  Even giving up a few hours of a paycheck to volunteer at a food bank may have more bang for your buck in making you feel happier,” Ashley said.
——— source : http://www.sciencedaily.com.

Kemi

Kemi


KEMI is a town and municipality of Finland.  It is located near the city of TORNIO.  It was founded in 1869 by decree of Russian Emperor Alexander the Second, because of its proximity to a deep-water harbour.  KEMI is situated by the BOTHNIAN BAY at the mouth of the River KEMIJOKI, and it is part of Lapland region.

The main economic activity in KEMI is centred on two large paper and wood pulp mills and on the only chromium mine in Europe (which supplies the OUTOKUMPU ferrochrome plant in Tornio).  A Polytechnic University of Applied Sciences is also situated in Kemi.

Kemi


Kemi also has a claim to fame as the home of the world’s largest Snow Castle (re-constructed every year in a different design).  In 1996, the first Snow Castle drew 300,000 visitors.  The area covered by the Castle has varied from 13,000 to 20,000sq.metres.  The highest towers have been over 20metres high and the longest walls over 1,000metres long, and the Castle has had up to three storeys.  Despite its varying configurations, the Snow Castle has a few recurring elements : a Chapel, a restaurant and a Hotel.


Kemi snow castle


 **The Snow Restaurant has ice tables and seats covered with reindeer fur, as well as ice sculptures.
** The Ecumenical Snow Chapel, with 50 to 100 seats, has seen numerous weddings of couples from as far away as Japan and Hong Kong.
**The Snow Hotel offers a choice of double rooms and a honeymoon suite, all of which are decorated by local artists using local materials.
The Snow Castle also hosts such things as an Adventure land for children, a Theatre and Ice-Art Exhibitions with lights and sound effects.  Many Opera singers and dancers have performed in the Snow Castle of KEMI.

Kemi snow castle Finland


KEMIN KIRKON (Kemi Church) is a Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Diocese of OULU and is located in the centre of the town of Kemi.  The Gothic Revival building was designed by architect Josef Stenback, and was completed in 1902.  The building was renovated in 2003.


Kemi snow castle


Icebreaker SAMPO, which is a Finnish icebreaker built in 1960 in Helsinki and now stationed at Kemi.  The massive vessel, which was completed in 1961, was built to operate in extreme Arctic conditions.  In the northern part of the Gulf of Bothnia, it kept lanes free for shipping for nearly 30years.  Its predecessor, of the same name (1898 – 1960), was the first Icebreaker in Europe with a propeller in the bow and the stern.  The ship is now used for tourist cruises.  During the late winter of 1988, Sampo started its career in tourism.  It made its first cruise on the 14th of April, 1988 with foreign and domestic media.  In the year 1989, Sampo had 1,000 passengers and in the year 1994, the record was 6,000 passengers.  During the cruise, tourists have a chance to go down from the icebreaker and float in the sea dressed in rescue suits.  They can also participate in the guided ship tour and get to know Sampo from the engine room to the bridge.  Sampo can take 150 passengers at a time.  Yearly, it takes about 10,000 tourists on cruises, and totally there have been passengers from over 50 countries.


Kemi Finland snow castle


KEMIN JALOKIVI GALLERIA ( Kemi Gemstone Gallery) contains one of the greatest collections of gemstones in the world.  There are more than 3,000 gemstones.  The Gallery building is  an old Customs House.  It was designed by architect Walter Thome and completed in 1912.  The large collection includes a unique and remarkable crown that was designed for the first and only King of Finland.  There is also a copy of the Imperial State Crown of England.  The copy is so exact, that it needs an expert to recognise it from the original.  One of the finest necklaces in the world was designed for Queen Marie Antoinette of France.  The original necklace does not exist anymore, but here at the Gallery, you can see the exceptional beauty of this necklace.  The copy was made from the original drawings at the Gemstone Gallery.  The KEMIN JALOKIVI GALLERIA is really a Lapland Jewel in itself.


Kemi


The PERAMEREN  JAHTI ( a sail-ship) guarantees an enjoyable and safety sailing experience.  A comfortable lounge and dining room, saloon as well as an open modern kitchen with a cook’s service makes the sailing trip easy and carefree.  There are seats on the deck, where you can enjoy the fresh sea air.  It can have 36 passengers for one-day cruises.  For longer cruises, there is accommodation for 12 persons.  The JAHTI has been built with an old boat-building style, following as much as possible the old era’s knowledge of coastal building and structure, but still respecting modern safety regulations.

Moksha

Moksha


MOKSHA (Liberation) is generally believed to be a state available after death.  The perception around this is flawed.  Since no one knows what happens after death, how can liberation be experienced after death ?  Liberation has to be experienced before death.


Moksha


If liberation is felt and experienced when one is alive, then one is guaranteed of liberation after death too.  It is to be understood that whatever is our state while we are alive, whatever conditions we impose on the mind while we are alive and whatever impressions we imprint on the mind would be carried after death to as “post-death” state is a continuation of the same life force which we are in while being alive.


Moksha deviant


As death is only of the ‘physical’ and not of the ‘soul’, it continues to remain alive on its conditions, impressions and feelings even after our death.  Here comes the concept of ‘heaven’ and ‘hell’.  The soul experiences ‘good’ states or ‘tragic’ states depending on what its nature was while it was “alive” with the body.  Again, most people have this notion that ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’ are two physical places where the physical body stays after death.  Heaven and Hell are not physical locations

THEY ARE MENTAL STATES ——– which the mind goes through depending on the good or sinful thoughts / vibrations that it emanates while in the physical body.
So, if you feel bound and conditioned to the world, to people and to situations while you are alive, then you will remain so after death.  But if you feel ‘liberated’ from all these bondages, then you will continue to be ‘liberated’ even after death.

Moksha painting

This MOKSHA (liberation) is experienced when you feel you are not the physical body nor the mind, senses nor intellect, wisdom nor ego of individual existence identified with some name or form, but you identify yourself with the formless Divine Self (also called pure consciousness, atman, brahman).
Remaining identified with this Self or Atman while being alive and witnessing the activities of body, mind, ego and intellect without attributing their actions to yourself, you are considered to be in a ‘liberated state’.  This state of MOKSHA will continue even after the death of the physical body and you will be eternally established in the bliss of the Supreme, witnessing the universe and its activities without getting attached or engrossed in its functioning.  THIS IS THE REAL STATE OF MOKSHA.
— Sadguru Rameshji.(Founder of POORNA ANANDA)