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Karma-free Welfare WorkHis Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
LATimes.com - January 7th, 2007 - CHARLES PILLER, EDMUND SANDERS & ROBYN DIXON, Times Staff Writers Dark cloud over good works of Gates Foundation
...The Times found the Gates Foundation endowment had major holdings in:
• Companies ranked among the worst U.S. and Canadian polluters, including ConocoPhillips, Dow Chemical Co. and Tyco International Ltd.
• Many of the world's other major polluters, including companies that own an oil refinery and one that owns a paper mill, which a study shows sicken children while the foundation tries to save their parents from AIDS.
• Pharmaceutical companies that price drugs beyond the reach of AIDS patients the foundation is trying to treat.
Using the most recent data available, a Times tally showed that hundreds of Gates Foundation investments — totaling at least $8.7 billion, or 41% of its assets, not including U.S. and foreign government securities — have been in companies that countered the foundation's charitable goals or socially concerned philosophy.
This is "the dirty secret" of many large philanthropies, said Paul Hawken, an expert on socially beneficial investing who directs the Natural Capital Institute, an investment research group. "Foundations donate to groups trying to heal the future," Hawken said in an interview, "but with their investments, they steal from the future." go to story
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excerpt from Raja-Vidya: The King of Knowledge, "Action in Knowledge of Krishna"
na mam karmani limpanti
whole world is bound by karma. We all know of the existence of
microbes or germs which exist by the million within the measurement of
one millimeter. In the Brahma-samhita it is stated that
beginning with the microbe which is called indragopa up to
Indra, the king of the heavenly planets, all are bound by karma,
the reaction of work. We all have to suffer or enjoy the reactions of
our work, be they good or bad. As long as we have to suffer or enjoy
these reactions, we are bound to these material bodies.
ye yatha mam prapadyante
gopis, or cowherd girl friends of Krishna, underwent
tremendous penances in their previous lives to attain Krishna as their
husband. Similarly, in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Shukadeva
Gosvami says that those boys who were playing with Krishna had
undergone great penances and austerities in their previous lives in
order to acquire Krishna as a playmate. Thus the playmates, associates
and wives of Krishna are not ordinary living entities. Because we have
no idea of Krishna consciousness, we take His activities as triflings,
but actually they are sublime. All perfection of our desires is there;
whatever desires we have constitutionally will be perfectly fulfilled
when we are in Krishna consciousness.
evam jnatva kritam karma
process of Krishna consciousness requires that we follow in the
footsteps of the great acharyas who have attained success in
spiritual life. If one acts by following the examples set by great acharyas,
sages, devotees and enlightened kings who have performed karma-yoga
in their lives, he shall also become free.
kim karma kim akarmeti
People are actually confused as to what is work (karma) and what is not work (akarma). Krishna here indicates that even great scholars (kavayah) are bewildered about the nature of work. It is necessary to know which activities are genuine and which are not, which are bona fide and which are not, which are prohibited and which are not. If we understand the principle of work, we can become free from material bondage. It is therefore necessary to know how to conduct work so that when we leave the material body we will no longer be forced to take another but will be free to enter into the spiritual sky. The principle of proper work is clearly stated by Sri Krishna in the last verse of the Eleventh Chapter:
one verse is sufficient for understanding the essence of Bhagavad-gita.
One must be engaged in "My work." And what is this work? It is
indicated in the last instruction in Bhagavad-gita in
which Krishna tells Arjuna to surrender unto Him (Bg. 18.66).
ya idam paramam guhyam
is therefore incumbent upon us to preach the method of Bhagavad-gita
and make people Krishna conscious. People are actually suffering for
want of Krishna consciousness. We should all engage in spreading the
science of Krishna for the benefit of the whole world. Lord Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu came with this mission of teaching Krishna consciousness,
and He said that regardless of one's position, if he teaches Krishna
consciousness he is to be considered a spiritual master. Both Bhagavad-gita
and Srimad-Bhagavatam are filled with information on how
to become Krishna conscious. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu selected these
two books and requested that people in all corners of the world spread
this science of Krishna in every town and village. Lord Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu was Krishna Himself, and we should take this to be Krishna's
indication of our proper work. But we should be careful to present Bhagavad-gita
as it is, without personal interpretation or motivation. Some people
present interpretations of Bhagavad-gita, but we should
present the words as they are spoken by Sri Krishna.
karmano hy api boddha
path of karma is very intricate; therefore we should understand
the distinctions between karma, akarma and vikarma.
If we simply engage in Krishna
consciousness, everything becomes clear. Otherwise we will have to make
distinctions between what we should do and what we should not do in
order not to become entangled. In the ordinary course of life we
unknowingly break some law and have to suffer the consequences.
Similarly, the laws of nature are very strict and stringent, and they
accept no excuse. It is a law of nature that fire burns, and even if a
child touches it, he will be burned despite his ignorance and
innocence. Thus we have to choose our course of action very carefully
lest the stringent laws of nature react to bind us to suffering. It is
therefore necessary to understand what work to do and what work to
karmany akarma yah pashyed
One who can actually see that despite activities there are no karmic reactions, who understands the nature of akarma actually sees things as they are. The word akarmani refers to one who is trying to avoid the reactions of karma. By dovetailing his activities in Krishna consciousness, although one may perform all kinds of activities, he is free. On the Battlefield of Kurukshetra, Arjuna engaged in fighting, and those on the side of Duryodhana also engaged in fighting. We must understand how it is that Arjuna is free from reaction whereas Duryodhana is not. Externally we can see that both parties are engaged in fighting, but we should understand that Arjuna is not bound by reactions because he is fighting under the order of Krishna. Thus when we see someone working in Krishna consciousness, we should understand that his work does not carry any reaction. One who can see such work and understand it is to be considered very intelligent (sa buddhiman). The technique is not so much in seeing what a person is doing but in understanding why he is doing it. Actually Arjuna was engaged in very unpleasant activity on the battlefield, but because he was in Krishna consciousness, he suffered no reaction. We may be performing some action which we may consider to be very good work, but if we do not perform it in Krishna consciousness we have to suffer the reactions. From the material point of view, Arjuna's initial decision not to fight was a good one, but from the spiritual point of view it was not. When we do pious work, we get certain results. We may take a birth in a very good family, in the family of a brahmana or a wealthy man, we may become very rich or very learned, or we may become very beautiful. On the other hand, if we do impious work, we may have to take birth in a low class family or animal family, or become illiterate or foolish, or very ugly. Although we engage in very pious work and take a good birth, we will still be subject to the stringent laws of action and reaction. Our principal aim should be to escape the laws of this material world. If we don't understand this, we will become attracted by aristocratic families, wealth, or a good education or a beautiful body. We should come to understand that despite having all these facilities for material life, we are not free from birth, old age, disease and death. To caution us of this, Sri Krishna warns in Bhagavad-gita:
on Brahmaloka, the highest planet in the material universe,
repetition of birth and death are also present. We have to go to
Krishna's planet in order to be free from this. It may be very nice to
be a rich man or a beautiful man, but how long shall we remain such?
That is not our permanent life. We may remain learned, rich and
beautiful for fifty, sixty or at most a hundred years, but real life is
not for fifty or a hundred years, nor a thousand years nor even a
million years. We are eternal, and we have to attain our eternal life.
That we have not attained it is our whole problem. That problem can be
solved when we are Krishna conscious.
yasya sarve samarambhah
The word panditam means learned, and budhah means well-versed. In the Tenth Chapter we also find the word budhah in the verse budha bhava-samanvitah (Bg. 10.8). According to Bhagavad-gita, one may not be a learned man just because he has received a lot of education from a university. Bhagavad-gita says that he is a learned man who can see everything on an equal level.
In India, according to Vedic civilization, a brahmana who is learned is considered to be the topmost man in human society. The pandita, who is learned and gentle, sees such a brahmana on the same level with a dog or an outcaste who eats dogs. In other words, he sees no distinctions between the highest and the lowest. Is this to say that being a learned brahmana is no better than being a dog? No, that is not so. But the pandita sees them as the same because he does not see the skin but the spirit. One who has learned the art of seeing the same spirit soul within every living being is considered to be a pandita, for in actuality every living being is a spiritual spark, part and parcel of the complete spirit whole. The spiritual spark is the same in all, but it is covered by different dresses. An honored man may come in a very shabby dress, but this does not mean that he should be dishonored. In Bhagavad-gita these material bodies are likened unto dresses which are worn by the spirit soul.
vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya
Whenever we see any living entity we should think, "Here is a spirit soul." Anyone who can understand such a spiritual vision of life is pandita. Chanakya Pandita gives the standard for education or the qualification for a pandita in this way: "The learned man sees all women, with the exception of his wife, as his mother; he sees all material possessions as garbage in the street, and he looks on the sufferings of others as he would look on them in himself." Lord Buddha taught that we should not even hurt animals by word or deed. This is the qualification for a pandita, and this should be the standard of life. It is therefore to be understood that one is to be considered educated in accordance with his vision of life and his activity in accordance with that vision, not by his academic degrees. This is the understanding of the word pandita from Bhagavad-gita. Similarly, the word budhah specifically refers to one who is well-versed in the study of scripture. The results of such realization and scriptural learning are thus described in Bhagavad-gita:
aham sarvasya prabhavo
The well-versed person or budhah is one who has understood that Krishna is the origin of all emanations. Whatever we happen to see is but an emanation of Krishna. For millions and millions of years sunshine has been emanating from the sun, and yet the sun is as it is. Similarly, all material and spiritual energies are coming from Krishna. As a result of knowing this, one becomes a devotee of Krishna. Thus one who knows that he must work in Krishna consciousness, who no longer desires to enjoy this material world, is actually learned. Everyone is working in the material world due to lust (kama), but the wise man is free from the dictations of this lust (kama-sankalpa-varjitah). How is this possible? Jnanagni-dagdha-karmanam: the fire of knowledge burns up all reactions of sinful activities. It is the most potent of purifiers. Our lives have meaning and direction only in so far as we strive to attain this transcendental knowledge of Krishna consciousness, raja-vidya, which is the king of all knowledge.
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