Sunday, December 31, 2006

Dark Clouds and modern life

Yesterday, as I walked my bike up from B&Q (having spent more time and money than advisable) I noticed the most beautiful and dramatic sky. It was full of rushing large dark blue clouds behind the last light of the day. It was dramatic and energising.

In any other scenery, by woodland, the sea or a mountain, it would have been a fantastic picture. But in the middle of suburban Oxford, it didn’t come to it’s full potency though.

I find that living in a city, even if Oxford doesn’t really have any high-rise buildings, is in one sense like living in an aquarium (as confined to a small space). The buildings become like walls that impede my vision of the horizon; and without that connection to the horizon, I somehow loose my connection to nature and to the greater reality, beyond the city street.

I cycled home in the rain and the wind, trying to keep myself and my bike straight in the gusts. I quite enjoyed it though. There’s nothing like feeling the force of nature for a few minutes, as long as I can crawl back into a heated room by the end of it…

Monday, December 11, 2006

It's finished

I'm back in Sweden, and the other night I heard on the news that 'it's finished - after 20 years'.

A police station had ordered toilet paper in 1986, as part of its routines, except that this time it took them 4 hours to unload. But the paper is now finally finished. After 20 years. And it made it to the news. And here. So now you know.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


“…when doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and when I see not one ray of light on the horizon I turn to the Bhagavad Gita, and find a verse to comfort me; and immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. My life has been full of external tragedies and if they have not left any visible and indelible effect on me, I owe it to the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita."

Speech at Meeting of Missionaries, 28 July 1925. CW XXVII p.435.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Karma Capitalism

Found this article on management and the Bhagavad-gita. Karma capitalism.

I think it's great that they're finding their ways to holistic ways of dealing with their lives and the planet. The Bhagavad-gita has so much in it for us all. But when using it we should consider it in a holistic way too. It is possible to use it to increase our ego, or as a tool for domination, if we just pick out a verse here and there. But of course, detachment to the result of our actions, which is quite a central theme, cannot be achieved through devious means.

Yes, we should consider all our employees, and all who profit and are affected by our business (including the earth), but that can only be achieved by putting God in the centre. We did not create the earth, after all, so whatever we use should be done as an act of gratitude to the creator. Otherwise we're thiefs, aren't we?

It's about perspectives, and stretching them just a bit further to include an increasingly bigger picture. If we move away from the 'competitive' paradigm to a more 'co-operational' one, we see how we also benefit by looking out for each other. In fact, we derive a greater satisfaction and pleasure by doing so.

The 'new' management paradigm further suggest that business become more successful and satisfying when leaders see themselves as servants to the employees, and the greater interest (society as a whole, the environment etc).

What the Bhagavad-gita is trying to do is to stretch our perspectives even further, to include the source of the creation. When we manage to do that, and to connect to that source with love, then everything just clicks to place, and makes complete sense. It will connect us with our deepest truth and dreams, and unleash a tremendous amount of satisfaction.

Midnight stream

Brambles and bumbles, and beer - naaaa
No alcohol here
We're as straight as Euclid's line, but real
Real blood, sweat, and tears
With love and tenderness,
with affectionate regard
Embarrassed at our feable need,
and here we are -
little ones, but oh so precious.
Precious to God,
- what else do we need?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Another quote

Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.

Nelson Mandela

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Henry Miller

I've just come across some beautiful quotations by Henry Miller that I want to share:

"Imagination is the voice of daring. If there is anything Godlike about God it is that. He dared to imagine everything."

"Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such."

"Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation. The other eight are unimportant."

"Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood."

"If there is to be any peace it will come through being, not having."

"The real leader has no need to lead - he is content to point the way."

I've never read anything by him, but he seems quite insightful.


Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.

They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them.

But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Jack Kerouac


Maybe we shuld just go mad - and change the world!

I would say that Srila Prabhupada was such a person, in a spiritual sense. I read briefly yesterday a talk he gave to some international student society in 1969. He started of by speaking about the meaning of 'international', in that we want to bring people together, in e.g. the UN, but that we can only do that when we put God in the centre. That's a truly revolutionary thought, isn't it?

When you throw a stone in the water you get rings of ripples expanding from it, without them colliding with each other. But the opposite happens when you throw in a few stones at the same time. Real harmony can thus only be there when we place God is in the centre.

We expand our concerns from ourselves to international matters, like the expanding ripples in the water, but it will only work when the centre is right. It's such a simple concept, but, O so deep.

Some say that religion is the cause of all the troubles in the world: that we have too many people putting God in the centre and thus we have so many conflicts. I would say that we have too few putting God in the centre - far too few.

Sometimes we use the name of God for our own self-interest, or to justify our feelings of hatred and desires for revenge, but then we've strayed away from the centre. God is a not a baseball bat, nor a ladder for wealth and power - He's so much more sublime and wonderful than that.

A devotee of the Lord (Prabodhananda Sarasvati) compares the highest achievements in this world with a flower in the sky (akasha-pushpayate); i.e. they are imaginary or without real substance. A flower in the sky is not tangible, nor does it have any fragrance - it's just an idea. You can't enjoy it because it doesn't exist. This is how this devotee feels about wordly goals, because he's tasted some of the beauty of God.

This does not mean that such a devotee feels contempt for the world - no, he'll just remind us again, and again, to put God in the centre of our lives, just like Srila Prabhupada did. And that's maybe how we can change the world...

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I got this invitation the other day:

"We invite you to submit a paper/abstract to The 3rd International Symposium on Management, Engineering and Informatics (MEI 2007) in the Context of The 11th World Multi-conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (WMSCI 2007) ( IT will take place in Orlando, Florida, USA, from July 8-11, 2007. "

I thought it cute. What could I speak about? 'How to manage oneself out of a waste paper basket', or, 'Life Engineering - the life and experience of a human submarine'? Anyway, thank you for the invitation, but it's little bit away from my area...

Friday, September 29, 2006

Flooded devotion

This is a photo from a kirtan in Mayapur, West Bengal (India), the other day. The Ganga is flooding vast areas every year which makes worship in the temples a real wet adventure. And the water levels will most probably increase. I really admire their devotion.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Pope's speech

I found a link to the Pope's speech that upset so many. At this point I haven't read it myself, so I can't really comment on it. What I found interesting about the whole issue though is the Pope's response, in comparison to some newspaper editors and politicians during the Danish cartoon controversy.

Since the Pope's motivation was not to cause offense, he apologised for apparently upsetting people and invited muslim leaders and diplomats for dialogue. In other words, he showed some humility and openess. What the 'free speech' advocates did during the cartoon controversy was to print them over again, and arguing their right to express whatever they wanted even if it hurt and upset other people. Interestingly, they said they wanted to make a point, but they didn't take the opportunity given to them to engage in dialogue.

I'm not trying to point out what is right or wrong here in the specific matter, because I haven't yet read the Pope's speech, nor seen the Danish cartoons; I'm just pointing out the contrasting reactions that occurred in those two events. In the Pope's case, he chose humility because that is what religion is all about - we are all insignificant in front of a greater loving power. While the secular humanists, who cannot really have place for humility, for man is the centre of the universe, chose the only naturally available attitude left - pride?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Liberté, egalité...

I went to the Foreign Office (FCO) last week for a meeting of the Human Rights Panel. This panel has been revived now after a pause of maybe two years. The topic of our meeting was 'Apostasy' - of renouncing one's faith to embrace another. This can be a great challenge for communities, and of course the individual that takes the step into another religious tradition.

What can I say about the meeting? The material that we got was mainly on Islamic teaching on apostasy prepared by a Christian group. It wasn't a particularly happy read, and my Muslim friend, that was the only Muslim at the meeting, did indicate this was a difficult topic within Islam.

Conversion issues were also raised, with reference to a new law that is pushed by Buddhist nationalist monks in the parliament of Sri Lanka. That brought a bit of balance to the discussion.

This year is the 25th year since the 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. The FCO wants to highlight it in some way, and hence this meeting for getting ideas for celebrating the Declaration etc. What the FCO ultimately can do is to raise issues with various diplomats they are in contact with.

I raised the point, probably not in particularly eloquent way, referring to the 'secular mind' in the document we received, that we need to approach the matter of apostasy with some humility. The 'secular mind' was created out of necessity, due to the religious wars of the 16th and 17th century. If we look at religious beliefs at the time, many found good reasons for killing his fellow Christians if they didn't belong to the same church.

And the 'secular mind' is not a neutral mindset which allows for various beliefs and attitudes to exist within a culture. It's a definite belief in human progress through science and economic development, and which demands that religious values are kept in the private sphere. If the FCO thinks that it is neutral and should be seen as such, I would suggest that the FCO is misleading itself. It has an agenda and a worldview, which in international relations is threatening another agenda and worldview. So some humility, or at least modesty, would be beneficial.

I also had a positive suggestion. I think what would help clarify various issues in international relations if we could have a dialogue on various principles, like freedom and equality. The FCO rep retorted that such matters are not for the FCO to do, they can't get into theological debates… [hmmmm…]

But if what they want to do is to spread democracy and human rights in the world, and such ideas are not welcomed because they come loaded with various other things, we should discuss the basic principles of democracy and human rights- freedom and equality. This has nothing to do with theology.

I think that would be a very useful and enlightening dialogue. But maybe that will be too great a challenge for our leaders?

Someone else brought up the point of human dignity, and yes, why not speak about human dignity? What is human dignity and how do we express it? That would be very interesting and reveling. I personally think western politics (or all politics) lack this kind of basic philosophical inquiry. It would be refreshing, wouldn’t it?

I don't think it is beyond us, it's just that we've seemed to have forgotten all about it.

Or am I just too idealistic, or strange? Or both?

Sunday, September 17, 2006


I'm reviving this blogg now. I've been neglecting it for quite some time while writing on the Swedish one. But I do live in England, and so my context is here. And most of my friends are here too, which makes it quite a natural thing to do.

I got this beautiful picture today:

Ah, what a lovely expression!:)

Goes to show that even tigers love a little tenderness...

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Today is the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In Sweden this day became known as 'Vårfrudagen', and by time it was pronounced 'Vaffeldagen'; and from there the leap was short to 'Våffeldagen'. This means the Day of Waffles. Soooo, if you're a good Swede, you've been eating Waffles today.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Swedish proverb

This is according to Hindu Press International a Swedish proverb. I should know, shouldn't I?

Fear less, hope more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours.

Swedish proverb

I have never heard it before, but I quite like it. I just remember proverbs like, 'talking is silver, silence is gold'. I think I internalised that one.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Apple brain

I think it would be more fruitful for me to have an apple between my ears.

Yes, my brain is sloooooow today.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Sign of life

I miss writing in English. It's so much easier than Swedish, somehow. I think it has to do with the amount of words one can use when writing. It also has a different flow. I might start to write here again, but just might.