Category Archives: Vegetarian

Can religion be used to justify meat eating?

The practice of killing and eating animals for sustenance has been a part of human existence for thousands of years. Despite this fact, many people today still choose to consume meat and animal products even when presented with alternative options. Much of this decision to maintain a diet of animal products is justified with religious arguments, suggesting that eating meat is acceptable because it is sanctioned by religious beliefs and doctrines. This paper will look at the implications of these arguments and demonstrate that the justification of meat eating based on religion is inaccurate, deeply ignorant and inherently unethical. 

Religion and Meat Eating: Different Sects of Belief 

The acceptance of meat eating with regards to religious belief varies widely across different sects. Some religions view meat as a necessary part of a spiritual practice, while others have adopted more moderate stances, tolerating the consumption if it within certain limits. Not all religions consider meat to be a ‘moral’ food, with there being significant variance even within Christianity, for example. Among the various sects of Christianity, there is a complex hierarchy of beliefs and practices related to diet, but there is near-universal agreement that ‘meat’, or sacrifice animals, are improper. 

Given the complexity of such beliefs and the range of different sects, it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions about how different faiths perceive the consumption of meat. However, the overall consensus among scholars is that, without taking into account the different sects, religion does not necessarily condone the mistreatment of animals or the consumption of meat simply for sustenance. 

Religion and Meat Eating: Views on Animal Welfare 

In addition to the difference in religious beliefs around the consumption of meat, there is also a strong argument against mistreating animals in the name of conscience and ethics. From a religious perspective, it is seen as wrong to treat animals inhumanely and to ignore their suffering. This line of thought is shared among all major religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism and Islam. Furthermore, the Bible specifically prohibits any act that causes suffering or pain to animals (Genesis 9:4). 

In contrast to this explicit command, the practices of industrialized meat production have become increasingly widespread. Such practices are notorious for their maltreatment of animals and disregard for their well-being. This is seen in the methods of factory farming, where animals are forced to live in overcrowded and filthy conditions, treated with extreme neglect, and often made to suffer in terrible conditions. Furthermore, animals in industrialized production are given a growth hormone to boost production which can lead to illnesses and infections, as well as being mutilated without anaesthetic. 

The bottom line is that the practices of industrialized meat production are in direct violation of the ethical guidelines set out by many religions. This means that any attempt to justify meat-eating with religious arguments is hypocritical and ignores the implications of animal suffering.

Religion and Meat Eating: Ignoring the Alternatives 

A final reason why religious justification for meat-eating is ignorant and unethical is that it ignores the many other options for sustenance that are available. It is now possible to obtain a healthy and nutritious diet without relying on meat or animal products. Research has demonstrated that replacing animal foods with plant-based alternatives can help to prevent many chronic illnesses, including heart disease and certain types of cancer. Furthermore, this kind of diet is significantly more sustainable and has far less of an environmental impact. 

Indeed, the potential of sustainable and ethical food sources is an issue that has been addressed by many religions. In Islam, for example, the Qur’an states that consuming plant-based diets is indicative of humanity’s deep relationship with the natural world and an act of responsible custodianship (Qur’an 6:145-146). Therefore, to ignore these ethical and ecologically-friendly options in the name of religious tradition is both ignoring the potential benefit to the environment and to one’s health, and disregarding religious teachings on the natural world.

Overall, the argument that religious sanctioning allows for the consumption of meat is outdated and inaccurate. As has been demonstrated in this paper, the implications of such thinking are deeply ignorant and unethical, as it ignores animal welfare, the environmental consequences, and alternative diets that can be more sustainably and ethically sourced. Therefore, arguments for meat eating in the name of religion are inexcusable and should not be tolerated.

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Therese Neumann, The Catholic Stigmatist ~ from the book Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda (Chapter 39)

“Return to india. I have waited for you patiently for fifteen years. Soon I shall swim out of the body and on to the Shining Abode. Yogananda, come!”

Sri Yukteswar’s voice sounded startlingly in my inner ear as I sat in meditation at my Mt. Washington headquarters. Traversing ten thousand miles in the twinkling of an eye, his message penetrated my being like a flash of lightning.

Fifteen years! Yes, I realized, now it is 1935; I have spent fifteen years in spreading my guru’s teachings in America. Now he recalls me.

That afternoon I recounted my experience to a visiting disciple. His spiritual development under Kriya Yoga was so remarkable that I often called him “saint,” remembering Babaji’s prophecy that America too would produce men and women of divine realization through the ancient yogic path.

This disciple and a number of others generously insisted on making a donation for my travels. The financial problem thus solved, I made arrangements to sail, via Europe, for India. Busy weeks of preparations at Mount Washington! In March, 1935 I had the Self- Realization Fellowship chartered under the laws of the State of California as a non-profit corporation. To this educational institution go all public donations as well as the revenue from the sale of my books, magazine, written courses, class tuition, and every other source of income.

“I shall be back,” I told my students. “Never shall I forget America.”

At a farewell banquet given to me in Los Angeles by loving friends, I looked long at their faces and thought gratefully, “Lord, he who remembers Thee as the Sole Giver will never lack the sweetness of friendship among mortals.”

I sailed from New York on June 9, 1935 in the Europa. Two students accompanied me: my secretary, Mr. C. Richard Wright, and an elderly lady from Cincinnati, Miss Ettie Bletch. We enjoyed the days of ocean peace, a welcome contrast to the past hurried weeks. Our period of leisure was short-lived; the speed of modern boats has some regrettable features!

THERESE NEUMANNTHERESE NEUMANN

Famous Catholic Stigmatist who inspired my 1935 pilgrimage to Konnersreuth, Bavaria
Like any other group of inquisitive tourists, we walked around the huge and ancient city of London.

The following day I was invited to address a large meeting in Caxton Hall, at which I was introduced to the London audience by Sir Francis Younghusband. Our party spent a pleasant day as guests of Sir Harry Lauder at his estate in Scotland. We soon crossed the English Channel to the continent, for I wanted to make a special pilgrimage to Bavaria.

This would be my only chance, I felt, to visit the great Catholic mystic, Therese Neumann of Konnersreuth.

Years earlier I had read an amazing account of Therese. Information given in the article was as follows:

(1) Therese, born in 1898, had been injured in an accident at the age of twenty; she became blind and paralyzed.

(2) She miraculously regained her sight in 1923 through prayers to St. Teresa, “The Little Flower.” Later Therese Neumann’s limbs were instantaneously healed.

(3) From 1923 onward, Therese has abstained completely from food and drink, except for the daily swallowing of one small consecrated wafer.

(4) The stigmata, or sacred wounds of Christ, appeared in 1926 on Therese’s head, breast, hands, and feet. On Friday of every week thereafter, she has passed through the Passion of Christ, suffering in her own body all his historic agonies.

(5) Knowing ordinarily only the simple German of her village, during her Friday trances Therese utters phrases which scholars have identified as ancient Aramaic. At appropriate times in her vision, she speaks Hebrew or Greek.

(6) By ecclesiastical permission, Therese has several times been under close scientific observation. Dr. Fritz Gerlick, editor of a Protestant German newspaper, went to Konnersreuth to “expose the Catholic fraud,” but ended up by reverently writing her biography.

As always, whether in East or West, I was eager to meet a saint. I rejoiced as our little party entered, on July 16th, the quaint village of Konnersreuth. The Bavarian peasants exhibited lively interest in our Ford automobile (brought with us from America) and its assorted group-an American young man, an elderly lady, and an olive-hued Oriental with long hair tucked under his coat collar.

Therese’s little cottage, clean and neat, with geraniums blooming by a primitive well, was alas! silently closed. The neighbors, and even the village postman who passed by, could give us no information. Rain began to fall; my companions suggested that we leave.

“No,” I said stubbornly, “I will stay here until I find some clue leading to Therese.”

Two hours later we were still sitting in our car amidst the dismal rain. “Lord,” I sighed complainingly, “why didst Thou lead me here if she has disappeared?”

An English-speaking man halted beside us, politely offering his aid.

“I don’t know for certain where Therese is,” he said, “but she often visits at the home of Professor Wurz, a seminary master of Eichstatt, eighty miles from here.”

The following morning our party motored to the quiet village of Eichstatt, narrowly lined with cobblestoned streets. Dr. Wurz greeted us cordially at his home; “Yes, Therese is here.” He sent her word of the visitors. A messenger soon appeared with her reply.

“Though the bishop has asked me to see no one without his permission, I will receive the man of God from India.”

Deeply touched at these words, I followed Dr. Wurz upstairs to the sitting room. Therese entered immediately, radiating an aura of peace and joy.

She wore a black gown and spotless white head dress. Although her age was thirty-seven at this time, she seemed much younger, possessing indeed a childlike freshness and charm. Healthy, well- formed, rosy-cheeked, and cheerful, this is the saint that does not eat!

Therese greeted me with a very gentle handshaking. We both beamed in silent communion, each knowing the other to be a lover of God.

Dr. Wurz kindly offered to serve as interpreter. As we seated ourselves, I noticed that Therese was glancing at me with naive curiosity; evidently Hindus had been rare in Bavaria.

“Don’t you eat anything?” I wanted to hear the answer from her own lips.

“No, except a consecrated rice-flour wafer, once every morning at six o’clock.”

“How large is the wafer?”

“It is paper-thin, the size of a small coin.” She added, “I take it for sacramental reasons; if it is unconsecrated, I am unable to swallow it.”

“Certainly you could not have lived on that, for twelve whole years?”

“I live by God’s light.” How simple her reply, how Einsteinian!

“I see you realize that energy flows to your body from the ether, sun, and air.”

A swift smile broke over her face. “I am so happy to know you understand how I live.”

“Your sacred life is a daily demonstration of the truth uttered by Christ: ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'”

Again she showed joy at my explanation. “It is indeed so. One of the reasons I am here on earth today is to prove that man can live by God’s invisible light, and not by food only.”

“Can you teach others how to live without food?”
She appeared a trifle shocked. “I cannot do that; God does not wish it.”

As my gaze fell on her strong, graceful hands, Therese showed me a little, square, freshly healed wound on each of her palms. On the back of each hand, she pointed out a smaller, crescent-shaped wound, freshly healed. Each wound went straight through the hand. The sight brought to my mind distinct recollection of the large square iron nails with crescent-tipped ends, still used in the Orient, but which I do not recall having seen in the West.

The saint told me something of her weekly trances. “As a helpless onlooker, I observe the whole Passion of Christ.” Each week, from Thursday midnight until Friday afternoon at one o’clock, her wounds open and bleed; she loses ten pounds of her ordinary 121-pound weight. Suffering intensely in her sympathetic love, Therese yet looks forward joyously to these weekly visions of her Lord.

I realized at once that her strange life is intended by God to reassure all Christians of the historical authenticity of Jesus’ life and crucifixion as recorded in the New Testament, and to dramatically display the ever-living bond between the Galilean Master and his devotees.

Professor Wurz related some of his experiences with the saint.

“Several of us, including Therese, often travel for days on sight- seeing trips throughout Germany,” he told me. “It is a striking contrast-while we have three meals a day, Therese eats nothing. She remains as fresh as a rose, untouched by the fatigue which the trips cause us. As we grow hungry and hunt for wayside inns, she laughs merrily.”

The professor added some interesting physiological details: “Because Therese takes no food, her stomach has shrunk. She has no excretions, but her perspiration glands function; her skin is always soft and firm.”

At the time of parting, I expressed to Therese my desire to be present at her trance.

“Yes, please come to Konnersreuth next Friday,” she said graciously. “The bishop will give you a permit. I am very happy you sought me out in Eichstatt.”

Therese shook hands gently, many times, and walked with our party to the gate. Mr. Wright turned on the automobile radio; the saint examined it with little enthusiastic chuckles. Such a large crowd of youngsters gathered that Therese retreated into the house. We saw her at a window, where she peered at us, childlike, waving her hand.

From a conversation the next day with two of Therese’s brothers, very kind and amiable, we learned that the saint sleeps only one or two hours at night. In spite of the many wounds in her body, she is active and full of energy. She loves birds, looks after an aquarium of fish, and works often in her garden. Her correspondence is large; Catholic devotees write her for prayers and healing blessings. Many seekers have been cured through her of serious diseases.

Her brother Ferdinand, about twenty-three, explained that Therese has the power, through prayer, of working out on her own body the ailments of others. The saint’s abstinence from food dates from a time when she prayed that the throat disease of a young man of her parish, then preparing to enter holy orders, be transferred to her own throat.

On Thursday afternoon our party drove to the home of the bishop, who looked at my flowing locks with some surprise. He readily wrote out the necessary permit. There was no fee; the rule made by the Church is simply to protect Therese from the onrush of casual tourists, who in previous years had flocked on Fridays by the thousands.

We arrived Friday morning about nine-thirty in Konnersreuth. I noticed that Therese’s little cottage possesses a special glass-roofed section to afford her plenty of light. We were glad to see the doors no longer closed, but wide-open in hospitable cheer. There was a line of about twenty visitors, armed with their permits. Many had come from great distances to view the mystic trance.

Therese had passed my first test at the professor’s house by her intuitive knowledge that I wanted to see her for spiritual reasons, and not just to satisfy a passing curiosity.

My second test was connected with the fact that, just before I went upstairs to her room, I put myself into a yogic trance state in order to be one with her in telepathic and televisic rapport. I entered her chamber, filled with visitors; she was lying in a white robe on the bed. With Mr. Wright following closely behind me, I halted just inside the threshold, awestruck at a strange and most frightful spectacle.

Blood flowed thinly and continuously in an inch-wide stream from Therese’s lower eyelids. Her gaze was focused upward on the spiritual eye within the central forehead. The cloth wrapped around her head was drenched in blood from the stigmata wounds of the crown of thorns. The white garment was redly splotched over her heart from the wound in her side at the spot where Christ’s body, long ages ago, had suffered the final indignity of the soldier’s spear-thrust.

Therese’s hands were extended in a gesture maternal, pleading; her face wore an expression both tortured and divine. She appeared thinner, changed in many subtle as well as outward ways. Murmuring words in a foreign tongue, she spoke with slightly quivering lips to persons visible before her inner sight.

As I was in attunement with her, I began to see the scenes of her vision. She was watching Jesus as he carried the cross amidst the jeering multitude.

Suddenly she lifted her head in consternation: the Lord had fallen under the cruel weight. The vision disappeared. In the exhaustion of fervid pity, Therese sank heavily against her pillow.

At this moment I heard a loud thud behind me. Turning my head for a second, I saw two men carrying out a prostrate body. But because I was coming out of the deep superconscious state, I did not immediately recognize the fallen person. Again I fixed my eyes on Therese’s face, deathly pale under the rivulets of blood, but now calm, radiating purity and holiness. I glanced behind me later and saw Mr. Wright standing with his hand against his cheek, from which blood was trickling.

“Dick,” I inquired anxiously, “were you the one who fell?”

“Yes, I fainted at the terrifying spectacle.”
“Well,” I said consolingly, “you are brave to return and look upon the sight again.”

Remembering the patiently waiting line of pilgrims, Mr. Wright and I silently bade farewell to Therese and left her sacred presence.

The following day our little group motored south, thankful that we were not dependent on trains, but could stop the Ford wherever we chose throughout the countryside. We enjoyed every minute of a tour through Germany, Holland, France, and the Swiss Alps. In Italy we made a special trip to Assisi to honor the apostle of humility, St. Francis. The European tour ended in Greece, where we viewed the Athenian temples, and saw the prison in which the gentle Socrates had drunk his death potion.

One is filled with admiration for the artistry with which the Greeks have everywhere wrought their very fancies in alabaster.

We took ship over the sunny Mediterranean, disembarking at Palestine. Wandering day after day over the Holy Land, I was more than ever convinced of the value of pilgrimage. The spirit of Christ is all- pervasive in Palestine; I walked reverently by his side at Bethlehem, Gethsemane, Calvary, the holy Mount of Olives, and by the River Jordan and the Sea of Galilee.

Our little party visited the Birth Manger, Joseph’s carpenter shop, the tomb of Lazarus, the house of Martha and Mary, the hall of the Last Supper. Antiquity unfolded; scene by scene, I saw the divine drama that Christ once played for the ages.

On to Egypt, with its modern Cairo and ancient pyramids. Then a boat down the narrow Red Sea, over the vasty Arabian Sea; lo, India.

Vegetarian to Vegan by Sarah Taylor (Book Review)

This book really opened my eyes. I was already vegan and well aware of the horrific abuse of animals in factory farms, but this book helped me really see and understand just how serious the situation is from a health perspective, animal abuse perspective, and environmental crisis perspective as well. Sarah Taylor cites important peer reviewed research to give you the information needed to understand WHY? & HOW? to go from Vegetarian to Vegan.

I could never be vegan, I love cheese too much.” 

Chances are if you’re a vegetarian, vegan or know anyone who is you’ve heard or even said this before.  No doubt, you’ve thought it before.  Cheese and other dairy products are everywhere in the American diet and that’s the way we love it.  We add it to our eggs, our sandwiches, our cakes; we fry it, grill it, cream it, and even string it.  It has embedded itself into our culture, become a staple of comfort in our diet and adopted the term “American”.  But is it really good; not just for us, but for those that produce it?

Cheese is not the only dairy product we’re obsessed with, though it may be the only one with its own category of addiction (cheese addiction being an actual issue now), eggs and milk have become a mainstay of our diets as well.

Just learning about how horribly the animals are treated, abused, tortured and murdered should be reason enough to stop contributing to this madness, but Sarah gives compelling research showing how this animal agriculture business is literally destroying our environment at accelerated levels everyday. The demand for meat and dairy is just not sustainable.

After all the research she shares about why you should go vegan from vegetarian and then how, which is dealing with the health benefits and how to start replacing dairy and eggs with healthful vegan options, she ends the book with many great recipes by vegan chef Mark Reinfeld.

In the very beginning of her book Vegetarian to Vegan, Sarah Taylor makes a point of giving vegetarians credit for the ways their food choices help animals. And she should know, having been a vegetarian herself until 2002.

That’s when Sarah read John Robbins’ Diet for a New America. His groundbreaking indictment of how America’s milk and egg producers were torturing dairy animals and chickens while destroying the environment persuaded her to go vegan overnight.

She wrote Vegetarian to Vegan to give anyone wanting to make the same switch “a strong enough reason to do it.”

Without brow-beating the reader, Taylor specifically details the short, painful lives and cruel deaths of dairy cows and egg-laying chickens.

Of dairy cows, she writes that between 1950 and 2000, their numbers decreased by half — yet the amount of milk they produced more than tripled. The brutal facts?

Dairy cows live with no access to pasture.

They’re separated from their calves within two hours of giving birth.

They’re also milked by machine several times a day.

Having to yield such an excessive amount of milk is unsafe and unsanitary. Most dairy cows live lives of misery before heading to slaughter at just four years old.

Taylor’s description of egg farms reminded me of the endless stacks of crammed-full cages I’ve seen when visiting them. The hens on lower levels were covered in urine and feces. The smell was unbearable — and unforgettable.

But I’ve also seen so-called “cage-free” chickens living in terrible conditions, with dead hens littering their enclosure’s floor.

What’s worse, Taylor writes, is that egg-laying chickens often turn on each other:

“Cannibalism [among chickens] is a major problem in battery cage systems, but is even worse in free-range and cage-free systems as the hens have greater access to each other and are harder to control.”

In the book’s Part 1, Taylor also bolsters her argument for making the vegetarian-to-vegan switch by pointing out the health and environmental benefits that come from giving up dairy and eggs:

“The truth is that these products are terrible for your health, terrible for our environment, and in almost all cases, are unconscionably cruel to animals.”

In Part 2, she moves on to covering all the bases of making the change. This is where you’ll find info on:

• Learning to tell healthy from junk vegan foods.

• Getting enough protein, calcium and Vitamin B12 on a vegan diet.

• Eating out and entertaining vegan-style.

• Staying vegan away from home.

• Vegan substitutes for eggs, dairy foods and honey.

Part 3 is devoted to cooking vegan, with an extensive collection of recipes and tips by vegan chef Mark Reinfeld.

For any vegetarian struggling to give up dairy and eggs, this book is one of the most important that plant-based literature has to offer!

I highly recommend this book to anyone, wherever they are in their journey, whether meat eater, vegetarian or vegan. It’s thoroughly researched and filled with data that is undeniable in consideration of the impact we all have individually with our eating and spending choices.

To your health, peace to the planet and may all beings be happy and at peace.

~Sakshi Zion

Gimme Di Weed (Offical Music Video) by Sakshi Zion & Benificiall

We have just unleashed the New Ganja Anthem for 2021! The new anthem “Gimme Di Weed” (Official Music Video) by Sakshi Zion and Benificiall is on that next level!

With guest appearances by Abba T & Empress Cathy (Selassie Ites band), Ono Vegan Food @onoveganfood, and of course The Holy Herb of Creation.

The lyrics are like a prayer or mantra :

Gimme di weed, gimme di good Ganja weed, Jah preserve my soul and give me the seed, the tree, the Tree of Life set a me free, and give length of days, and prosperity.

Special Thanks goes to LZ aka Lucas Zambrano (videographer), Chip Reardin (producer), Abba T and Empress Cathy (Selassie Ites Band), Ono Vegan Food (for the delicious and beautiful Papaya Bowls, the Sacred Ganja & the King of Kings Jah Rastafari for all the inspiration and guidance.

This song was written by Sakshi Zion & Benificiall

Produced by Sakshi Zion

Mix and Mastered by Chip Reardin

Hindu Influences on Rastafari

There is only one Jah, one God with Infinite Names.

Aristotle referred to the Ethiopians as a people of both Kush (Africa) & Sind (India).. Queen of Sheba ruled over the land of Sheba/Shiva/Saba.. the indigenous traditions of the Sabians was ancient African Shiva & Shakti worship.

To overstand the issue with iconography verses idolatry one must know the difference between a graven image & sacred murti, the ancient Egyptians had a similar practice as Hindus when they would designate specific icons for temple worship and a ritual is performed where the breath of God/Life is breathed into the icon and thus the image becomes a living deity… that being said.. when Yeshua went to India, he learned about the sacred science behind murtis, mandalas, Hindu & Buddhist symbolism and yantras, mantras and pujas BUT he also saw the corruption of the caste system & how the elite class of Brahman priests and people in general would worship and lavish great riches and honor to their stone icons but treat their fellow brothers & sisters like animals or worse.. thus Yeshua preached a razor edge distinction regarding this.. and emphasized to the people that the real deity to be worshipped is within the heart of all living beings.. the so-called low caste folks (Dravidians aka Lost Tribes of Israel) loved Saint Issa, as they called him in the East, but the elites didn’t like what he was preaching at all (threatening their hierarchy of power), and the story goes that then Yeshu had to flee from some of these areas of India to the Himalayas and stay with some Buddhist monks whom agreed with his teachings on rejecting the caste system. These stories can be found in The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ, The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ, The Christ of India & various other manuscripts that have been hidden & repressed for centuries. The secret archives of the Vatican has several of these various manuscripts as well as ancient icons/murtis of these connections and sadly many of these manuscripts were destroyed in the 2 worst literary holocausts in history.. the burning of the library of Alexandria & the burning of the Saint Thomas Christian’s library in India, both burned down by the Roman Catholic Church.

When Haile Selassie, the emperor of Ethiopia was gifted with a Ramayana by an Indian sannyasi, he smiled, and said they were all descendants of Lord Rama. He explained how the Ethiopians are called as Cushites, or coming down from Kusha, a son of Rama. The country is called Kushadwip, or the land of the son of Rama.

Ethiopians admit their ancestor as Kush, and they quote the Biblical story of Cush being a son of Ham (a phonetic misnomer of Ram). This only confirms to the widespread influence of Ramayana, even in a land that is 3000 miles away from the mainland of India.

Kemetic Yoga is the OG Sanatan Dharma brought from Ancient Kush (Ethiopia) to Ancient Sind (India) by the Dravidians in the first major human migrations out of Africa, and they founded the Indus Valley Culture & city of Harappan (Hara is a name of Shiva & Pan is an archetypal god often linked to Shiva) which was one of the most advanced in the ancient world, later it was the Aryans from the north that brought in many new ideas and later subjugated the Dravidians with the caste system. The Dravidians were mostly agricultural people who worshipped the Mother Goddess & Pushupati (Lords of the Animals) aka Shakti & Shiva in their indigenous African-Dravidian forms similar to the ancient traditions of the land of Kush/Saba/Sheba/Shiva but the Aryans were hunter/gatherers & would invade and conquer wherever they went, their pantheon was more War gods & Sky Gods like Indra and Surya.. these two traditions were eventually synthesized / merged to form modern Hindu religion. But the true mystical path of Sanatan Dharma is what the Sadhus (Holy Men) & Rastafari trod.. the lifestyle and consciousness of the Natural Mystic as Buddha, Krishna & Yahshua the Christ taught us.

Watch Yogiraj speak on his rare meeting with Haile Selassie I after his supposed death :

Read about the how the Ancient Hebrews worshipped Shiva here.

Leonard Howell also known as Gong Gang Guru Maharaj aka The First Rasta

Read this thesis paper on the “Hindu Influences on Rastafari” for more relevant information about Leonard Howell’s influences on Rastafari and his connection to Hindu ideas and traditions.

Sexy Foods – Aphrodisiacs & Natural Sexual Stimulants

Dark chocolates: Another great food for harder erection is dark chocolate. Dark chocolates contain flavonoids, which also help in increased blood flow. 

Cherries: This tiny little fruit, if eaten regularly, is effective in promoting health as it fights against free radicals and improves blood circulation. Cherries are packed with anthocyanins, which protect your artery walls too. Berries, peaches, nectarines and plums help in keeping your arteries in good health.

Walnuts: Loaded with Omega 6 fatty acids and arginine, walnuts help in the production of nitric oxide. They relax arterioles and increase the blood flow.

Nuts: These foods contain zinc and are great for male sex hormone, testosterone. Testosterone is required for a longer and stronger erection. Hence, eat these foods daily.

Garlic and onion: Onions and garlic contain allicin, which helps in increased blood flow. Increased blood flow means better and improved erection.

Watermelon, papayas and bananas: Enriched with potassium, watermelons, papayas and bananas help in smooth blood flow by dilating arterioles. This, in turn helps in improved erection. 

Porridge: This not-so-tasty food is loaded with soluble fibre which keeps a check on cholesterol level and helps your blood vessels to function smoothly.

Other Sexy Foods : PEPPERS, PEACHES, AND SPINACH, LEGUMES, WHOLE GRAINS, AND OLIVE OIL, BLUEBERRIES AND ORANGES, PISTACHIOS, ALMONDS, WALNUTS, COFFEE

Fennel makes you sweat and helps you clean toxins from your body. This spice helps clean up your system so you can have a healthy erection.

Green tea is filled with healthy antioxidants that clean up free radicals from your body. Green tea refreshes your mind, body and the essential parts required for a good love life.

Watermelon has the capacity to relax or dilate your blood vessels so that more blood can be pumped to your genitals. Thus, it is a great fruit to have in bed.

Cardamom is used in Ayurveda for increasing sexual desire. It adds to the ardor of a man and helps him last longer in bed.

Having a better erection is easier when you have lots of carbs. Now carbs do not have to be fattening polished ones. You can always have whole grains that are fibrous and heart healthy.

Cloves are traditionally a part of “garam masala,” which is a hot combination of spices used for Indian cooking. Cloves help raise body temperature, flushing more blood to the penis.

Red wine can actually work like Viagra for you. It helps your blood vessels expand so that you can have a better erection.

Bananas give you some much needed doses of potassium that helps keep your heart healthy and improves blood circulation. And with smooth blood circulation comes a stronger erection.

Pomegranates are literally loaded with iron and that helps in the production of red blood cells in the body. The more blood you have, the faster and stronger your erection will be.

Saffron heals aches and pain in your body. It thus makes your body more sensitive to feelings and touch. This helps men both men and women increase their libido.

The anthocyanins present in cherries help clean up arteries. This ensures that your blood supply is not blocked from reaching your penis in time. Besides, cherries are also aphrodisiac foods.

Eating healthy is one of the thumb rules of being a great lover. So the heart-healthy oats in porridge fill your stomach, flush out bad fats and help you be more energetic in bed.

Dark unsweetened cocoa is one of the best aphrodisiac foods to have before lovemaking. It arouses you from within and that is the most important thing about getting a hard erection.

Too much coffee is not exactly healthy. However, there is no denying the fact that caffeine does give you energy kicks that can make you last longer in bed.

Onions are basically called heart healthy because they thin the blood. When your blood becomes thinner, its volume increases. Increase blood volume can help you get a strong erection that lasts for a long time.

Pasta (with herbs) has lots of carbs that will give you energy for lovemaking. Herbs like nutmeg and cayenne pepper added to the pasta makes it all the more androgenic for you.

The easiest way to get a “hard on” is by pushing more blood into your penal blood vessels. So remember how your face becomes red after eating spicy food? Chillies have a similar effect on a man’s genitals.

4 Keys to Slow the Aging Process (Youthing)

1. Reduce the amount of free radicals in your diet.  – This means you eliminate fast foods, fried processed foods, and focus on whole nutrient dense stuff full of life force. The more raw, steamed, or baked foods the better. If you don’t want to look like a potato chip at 85; don’t eat them.

2. Start the practice of intermittent fasting. Not only has eating within a restrained window of time been proven by research to extend your lifespan, it also activates autophagy. Autophagy is basically a really gangsta clean up and repair of dead cells. While your body fasts, you regenerate your cells and remain fabulous.

3. Stimulate the vagus nerve. So the vagus nerve is a part of our nervous system and is responsible for communication between the gut and brain. When our parasympathetic nervous system is turned on, our body is in digest and rest mode. Most people have their sympathetic nervous system turned on which is fight or flight mode. When the body is in fight or flight, it cannot heal! Simple way to stimulate the vagus nerve: take a hot to cold shower.  If you can handle it an extremely cold 60-90 second burst during your morning shower will not only energize you, but put your body into healing mode.

4. Reduce your refined sugar intake. When the body takes in sugar, it triggers a process called glycation – sugars latch onto protein molecules and because of this they get stiff and malformed. Some of the main proteins affected by this are collagen and elastin, which are KEY in keeping our skin youthful and supple. 

Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope you got lots of VALUE from this post! Questions or Comments always welcome!! Thank you!

~Sakshi Zion

Ps. Get Access Now to my FREE Ebook! How I use the Law of Attraction to travel the world and live my dreams!!

Beyoncé urges 123 Million Fans to go Vegan for a chance to Win FREE Concert Tickets for Life!

Music icon Beyoncé shared on her Instagram today a awesome promotion of veganism with a special offer to her 123 million followers. “What is your Greenprint?” Beyoncé posted. “Click the link in my bio for a chance to win tickets to any Jay-Z and/or my shows for life.” Following the link, followers are taken to Beyoncé’s new project, The Greenprint Project, that she created with husband Jay-Z and nutritionist Marco Borges, who she previously collaborated with on vegan meal company 22 Day Nutrition in 2015.

The Greenprint—which is a play on Jay-Z’s 2001 album “The Blueprint”—is a multi-prong plant-based movement that includes a vegan cookbook (with a forward written by the celebrity couple), online resource tool that highlights the benefits of following a plant-based diet, and an upcoming documentary executively produced by Jay-Z that features clinicians, celebrities, musicians, and athletes that promote plant-based living. To enter for a chance to win free Beyoncé and Jay-Z concert tickets for life (a value of $12,000), fans must submit their name and email on The Greenprint landing page before April 22, and a grand prize winner will be selected by May 22.

Go here to check out The Greenprint Project

Baraka Kirtan – The Art of Spirituality

Baraka Kirtan – The Art of Spirituality (revised)

by Antonya Wallace (Anth-E200) 12/7/2010

Introduction: Baraka: a blessing, the essence of life, soul power. It’s a Thursday night, and while most people are headed out to the bars, I’m making my way across town to Sakshi’s house to sit in during a Baraka Kirtan performance. Kirtan is an ancient Indian tradition based on Bhakti Yoga, which uses music and chanting as an avenue to spiritual enlightenment. As I enter the house the smell of roasting vegetables, marijuana, and halava fills my nose. I later learned that food is almost always present and sanctified so that it can be offered to God. They believe that when one eats sanctified food, that the food purifies the soul. Since Kirtan has roots in India there isn’t any beef (or any meat for that matter) being served, due to their animals sacred role in India. Yet, not all Kirtankars (one who practices/performs Kirtan) are vegetarian. It just happened that everyone in attendance tonight was. Another thing that everyone shares is the use of marijuana, which is smiled upon, as it is believed to promote enlightenment, drive the music, and as an added benefit, make the food taste even more divine. Smoking was also used socially to bring everyone together to prepare for the beginning of the ceremony. I was only there to observe so I did not enhance my chances of enlightenment.

I thought it was important to note that as I entered the room; warm faces, hugs, and a plate of food greeted me. That hospitality was due in part because Sakshi used to be my neighbor and he was the first person I met when I moved to Bloomington. But the royal treatment wasn’t reserved just for ex-neighbors. As I sat watching I noticed that the Kirtan community is open and loving to everyone. As each person entered Sakshi’s house they were greeted by first name, a hug, food, and an offer to play music. I decided that I would not participate in the event so that I could have an etic point of view. I pulled up a chair slightly to the side of the group and began my observations. The heavy smell of incense being burned drowned out the colorful smells of food and ganja.

I really enjoyed the scent of the incense so after the event I asked what it was. To my astonishment it was part of another practice that I was completely oblivious to. “Agnihotra is a Vedic yajna and involves the burning of cow dung and ghee butter in an inverted copper pyramid at dusk and dawn precisely, while chanting Vedic mantras. Properly performed, this ritual according to the Vedic tradition brings about enormous healing and purification of the environment. The Agnihotra is a powerful yajna that in my experience brings about a deep sense of peace. This 5-minute process feels like coming out of an hour of meditation. It’s a grounding practices and assists in uncovering the real Self, hidden underneath all of the mental chatter. The fact that the dung of the cow is such an important part of this process is really significant given the way this culture brutalizes and tortures these sacred creatures” (ecovillage.wordpress.com). It seems that this practice speaks to the Kirtan community’s “love-all” mentality.

I learned that it was a good practice to do the Agnihotra before the real ceremony began, so that everything is cleansed. I learned, “The rites of the Morning-Agnihotra are almost the same as the rites of the Evening-Agnithotra; but, in many instances, the formulas uttered by the Adhvaryu or the Sacrificer are different” (Paul-Emile Dumont). I was only there for the evening Agnihotra so I cannot compare the differences with the morning ritual.

As the musicians began to take their seats, they ditched their shoes and sat in a semi-circle. The audience comprised the other half of the circle, therefore creating an atmosphere for the call and response style of the music. The simple act of sitting on the ground in a circle is an example of universal primitive behavior. Speaking generally, almost all ancient human groups have sat communally in circles during gatherings. Circular shaped atmospheres bring the listeners directly into the experience. They stop being just listeners, and become participants. The circle encourages each person to look into another’s eyes as they are beckoned to respond to the singer’s calls.

Each “Baba” grabbed their respective instrument; Sakshi Gopal Das on the harmonium, Arun Baba on the bansuri (a type of wooden flute), Zen-G on the guitar, and Ras D Hanubaba on percussion instruments, including the tabla, mridanga, djembe, and kartals. Kirtan events can be played in any musical style with any instrumentation. Baraka Kirtan chooses to stick with more traditional instrumentation on most nights. They also perform many different styles on their CD. Some of those styles include non-traditional instruments such as, electric guitars, bass, drums sets, and digital voice alterations. The style that they choose for each performance is generally based off of their mood that day.

The music begins and the first song (always) is Hare Krishna. Hare is the feminine energy of God, and Krishna means “all attractive one”. During the opening song, “a simple melody is repeated many times at continuously faster tempos and greater volumes until a climax is reached, at which point the whole process may begin again with either the same or a new melody…commonly a line of melody was first sung responsorily four times – leader, chorus, leader, chorus – before proceeding to the next line of the melody… [then] the whole procedure would start over…but at an increased tempo” (Slawek 80). Tonight’s leader, Sakshi sang,

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama

Rama Rama Hare Hare

The, the audience, some with eyes closed, some staring, some praying, would all participate on during the response. Everyone was completely indulged in their own self-awareness and spiritual being. The sound of all the voices in unison had a surprisingly rich tone. It was nice to be at a ceremony where everyone felt the freedom of creativity and experimented with harmonies, and adding their own flares to each response. The allowance of creativity offers everyone a unique personal experience for his or her spirituality. In some instances if the audience is really enjoying the performance, “The chorus of talkaris (kirtan) often interrupts the kirtankar’s sermon with the singing of a topically relevant abhanga and may take over the performance of a song that a kirtankar has begun. In fact, a warkari kirtankar can easily deliver an entire kirtan and only sing a few solo lines of the song” (Shultz 309). Since Indiana doesn’t have a very large Hare Krishna movement going on underground…Sakshi was more than welcome to solo until the cows (who weren’t eaten J) came home.

Main Argument: While I sat there watching everyone divulge all their energy into devotion through song, I found myself wondering why a genre of music that provides so much peace to people is not more mainstream. In fact, I can’t recall a time that I’ve ever heard Kirtan music on the radio, except when Sakshi would call me and tell me to tune it to Bloomington’s public radio station when Baraka Kirtan was playing.

Sakshi said that Kirtan is actually becoming a new genre in popular music, whereas before it was seated in the world music category. It seems that Kirtan’s growing popularity is due to its message of love, peace, and self-awareness; which can be contrasted by the mind numbingly idiotic music blaring on B97.7 day and day out.

I don’t want to come across as a racist person but I did notice that everyone in attendance (with the exception of me) was Caucasian, and none of us were from India. So my research question would have to be, How did an Indian tradition that’s not very well known, become a subculture in the United States? What makes this music more popular than other forms of world music?

Theory: Those who practice Kirtan disregard arbitrary attributes such as gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion. Kirtan is a catalyst to deeper spiritual awakening. People are instantly drawn to the ideology of togetherness that Kirtan offers. While most religions in our society offer a “Get Saved or Burn for Eternity” methodology, Kirtan’s job is to improve each person’s relationship with their own spiritual power.

Unlike most organized religions in the world, which ask you to abandon any other religious beliefs that may conflict with their doctrines, Kirtan lets you keep any, and all your beliefs. The point of Kirtan is to deepen your own spiritual awareness, in order to facilitate a deeper understanding of the spirit, self, and even other religions. It seems that since Kirtan offers such a contrast to more popular well-known religions like Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, etc…that people are also attracted just to get a taste of something new. Kirtan differs from other world religions in that they have never gone on some “convert or die” crusade. Instead of seeking out new members, they let the members seek them out, and then welcome them into their community with open arms. This method of gaining followers actually appears to have gained more devoted participants because each person is expected to find their own path into the Kirtan realm. If you want to become a part of the Kirtan community you have to make an effort to do so, unlike getting saved at a Baptist church which could be likened to going through a “McSalvation” drive through. Literally, anyone could walk into a church at any time and get saved, as many times as they want…without any real impact on their spiritual receptiveness.

Kirtan offers a tailored experience to each person. The natural feel of Kirtan takes away the hierarchal feel of organized religion. For example, the musicians take off their shoes before they play, everyone sits on the floor together, and shares food. It seems that those actions level the playing field between audience and performer, devotee and sit in, old and young, etc. Other factors that attract people to Kirtan are their love of the environment and preservation of ancient practices.

In the days when going to church has become “the thing to do” and if you don’t then you’re damned, people miss out on a real and physical connection with their spirit. From what I’ve seen many people just go to church to maintain their reputation, or they go but don’t practice what is preached. Churches have become kind of like fast food chains, in that they cater to the masses instead of the individual. The strength of major world religions seems to lie solely in the number of followers as opposed to the devotional strength of said followers. To see devoted followers, head over to a Kirtan event. Before going to the event I had no clue why it was growing, but now I understand that the personalized feel and unique musical styles is driving it to become a more prevalent part of our society (and most likely, many others).

Methodology: Being in such a laid back atmosphere, I thought it most appropriate to just jot down a few notes here and there, and casually start conversations. I began by asking Sakshi what Kirtan means to him. I used the genealogical method in a very loose sense so that I could get a grasp on which he learned from, since he was not born into the community. He actually mentioned that he thought it was a bit funny that here are four Caucasian men observing an Indian tradition, and really using it as a way of life. They have at times been misunderstood, but they simply just want to respect and enjoy the aspects of another culture.

I only observed during the event so as to remain neutral to my experience. We also met at Laughing Planet one day so that he could clarify the words of the songs for me. After talking to an insider, I thought I would interview someone who had no previous knowledge of Kirtan. I talked to Samy Estrada, who gave me her brief thoughts on the atmosphere and preaching of Kirtan. Since she was unable to actually attend the event with me, I asked her to watch one of Baraka Kirtan’s online performances. Since she is also a dancer I asked her to describe the music. She said, “the instrumentation was really unique, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought that it might be kind of lame because it was just acoustic instruments; but toward the end when they picked up the tempo it really got funky! They have a really cool message too” (Estrada)!

The rest of my research was done on www.BarakaVision.com, the band’s official website. I used this page to access the band member’s bios, mission statement, and preferred instruments. I also read a few articles on www.jstor.org so that I could read about Kirtan from an Ethnomusicologist’s and Ethnographer’s point of view. These pages gave me insight into more of the cultural implications and history than I could have gained in personal interviews. I couldn’t find much information about Agnihotra so I used www.google.com which led me to a brief review on ecovillage.wordpress.com about the book “How to Save the World”, by Peter Proctor, a biodynamic farmer.

Data Analysis: First, I needed to satisfy my curiosity about how Sakshi even got involved with the Hare Krishna movement. He said, “I was attracted to it years ago due to its instrumentation; especially the sound of the harmonium (which looks like a Dr. Seuss instrument), the message, and the ancient prayers which made me feel in tune with my ancestors” (Sakshi). I accessed his biography on his webpage for more insight on his background. “he lived and studied with many Elders and Mystics (including Ras Pidow, Dr. James E Mumford, Srila Turiya Das Mahasaya and more). Lived and studied at several Ashrams, Temples, and Binghi Camps across North America, Jamaica, Hawaii, and India. In the summers of 2002 and 2003 he traveled across N. America with a traveling cultural festival called “The Festival of India” in which he was a main contributor of set-up and break-down, cultural plays, food distribution, chariot-parading, and sacred chanting. He has been in several musical projects, including: Baraka Kirtan, Santos and the Saints, The Nyahbinghi Livity Choir, Indiana University African American Choral Ensemble, Kuru Dynasty, La Onda, Roots Groundation Family, Parrhesia and more” (BarakaVision.com). I thought that his eclectic musical diversity alone spoke to his openness to new cultures and creativity. If we use Sakshi as an example of the average practitioner of Kirtan, we can see how interesting and appealing the community is. As a side note, he also told me that he does not adhere to any organized religion. But he also does not judge or discriminate anyone based on his or her personal religious choices. His opinion is that people have their own path to embark on to find spiritual peace.

What Sakshi and the Kirtan movement do not do is tell people that they need to submit to their code or way of life. Their message is one of understanding and compassion. In Kirtan, God appears in many forms and usually his/her appearance is different to each person, because God can have an infinite amount of forms. In Kirtan, God can manifest as any deity such as, Krishna, Ram, Shiva, Ganesha, Kali, and many more. These deities share similarities with, and are usually connected to Catholic Saints. To communicate with the deities, they use music, which can be in any genre, just like God can appear in any shape. The musical style creates an openness, connectedness, and receptiveness, among each person’s spirit as they sit in the circle. Just like the participants, each song as a different flavor and mood. To connect with the gods they try to achieve spiritual awakening. Though the Kirtan spiritual awakening may be called different things, spirit of devotion, divine connection, right brained experience, or spiritual openness, these things seem to be held as a common intention to the band members.

Another common intention among the band members is to maintain old practices, like call and response. Samy’s reaction to the call and response aspect of the event was that it was reminiscent of tribal chanting (the band’s desired affect). She also thought the music was calming and soft, until the tempo picked up and it got intense. But this particular event that she saw was calmer than others because it did not use any electric instruments, which are more stimulating to the listener than acoustic ones. She also noticed that each person seemed to be in their own world, yet at the same time connected to everyone in the room. It was almost like Sakshi’s calls put everyone in to a trance, and they could only come out of it by singing the response.

I found that their website was extremely useful for bios and band info. I chose to focus primarily on Sakshi because he is my closest friend out of all the band members. But I did make sure to look at everyone else’s bio and they proved to each have completely different yet extraordinarily interesting backgrounds. It’s compelling to see that people from such different roads can all meet in the middle and work toward a common goal of harmony. Some of the ways that the band members spread peace when they’re not performing is Story Time Yoga, a group started by Sakshi, which incorporates yoga into fairy tales. Ras D likes to change the environment by teaching sustainable farming to Bloomington’s Community. With Kirtan the sky is the limit on creatively spreading the word of peace, harmony, and love.

Conclusion: Unlike other world religions Kirtan offers more than just a guide for living which can be summed up by the golden rule. The Hare Krishna movement brings entire communities of varied people together to function as one spritual entity. Kirtan allows each person to find their own path and use Kirtan as a means to help them spread love and harmony in whatever way they choose. For example, Sakshi’s yoga, and Ras D’s farming; they are each doing what they love to do, while weaving in Kirtan to spread a message.

The beauty of Kirtan is that while it is a deeply personal experience it is also very communal. The participation of the person sitting next to you, chanting, and playing music will directly affect your experience, and vice versa. The “primitiveness” of it makes the participants feel as though they have just relived something that their ancestors probably did long ago. As the tempo speeds up, so does the heart beato f all those involved. The music literally seems to pull your body toward the instruments. Everyone in the room seems to into a spiritual trance, as they slowly forget all the hardships in life outside the Kirtan room. When I was there, I wasn’t even participating but I found that instead of thinking about my bills, homework, exams, or life drama, I was just focused on the rhythm of the drums pulsating through my body. It was as if my brain turned off, and I didn’t have a choice, it was time to meditate.

Kirtan offers an authentic feeling of togethness that people usually do not get from day to day living. After the event eveyone kind of looks around smiling, like “now what?”. In such a short time they ate, smoked, chanted, blessed, meditated, and laughed together. I can truly say that I understand now why Kirtan is becoming so popular. It is a message that can virtually be played with any instruments, in and setting, and any time. Most importantly I found out that it can be played by anyone of any color or creed, etc…as long as they embody the message of love.

Since Kirtan is so musically amorphous it appeals to a broad audience of musical tastes and can easily become a tool for social change. “[It] is an especially effective meduim for the propegation of nationalist ideas because of its devotionalized context and Kirtan music’s potential for group participation, experiences of emboiment, and multiple interpretive possibilites” (Shultz 307).

After doing this Project I think that I have learned that Kirtan has the potential to create strong and loving leaders, who don’t adhere to social convictions of discrimination. In Kirtan you can come from any background because the importance rests in the spiritual world instead of the physical. Hopefully the Hare Kirshna movement will continue to spread, and add much needed harmony to the crazy world we’re all living in.

Works Cited :

Hindu Nationalism, Music, and Embodiment in Marathi Rāshṭrīya Kīrtan

Anna Schultz

Ethnomusicology

Vol. 46, No. 2 (Spring – Summer, 2002), pp. 307-322

Published by: University of Illinois Press on behalf of Society for Ethnomusicology

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/852784

Moi. “Cow Dung and It’s Many Wonderful Properties « EARTHKEEPIN.” EARTHKEEPIN. 27 Sept. 2007. Web. 02 Dec. 2010. <http://ecovillagelife.wordpress.com/2007/09/27/cow-dung-and-its-many-wonderful-properties/>.

The Agnihotra (Or Fire-God Oblation) in the Taittirīya-Brāhmaṇa: The First Prapāṭhaka of the Second Kāṇḍa of the Taittirīya-Brāhmaṇa with Translation

Paul-Emile Dumont

Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society

Vol. 108, No. 4 (Aug. 27, 1964), pp. 337-353

Published by: American Philosophical Society

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/985912

Popular Kīrtan in Benares: Some ‘Great’ Aspects of a Little Tradition

Stephen M. Slawek

Ethnomusicology

Vol. 32, No. 2 (Spring – Summer, 1988), pp. 77-92

Published by: University of Illinois Press on behalf of Society for Ethnomusicology

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/852037

Wind, Arun B., Sakshi G. Das, Ras D. Hanubaba, and Zen G. “Divine Music”. Baraka Kirtan – Divine Music. DigitalNature, 1 Jan. 2010. Web. 04 Nov. 2010.