Words of Wisdom

“Birds do not perch on trees where there is no fruit; wild beasts leave the forests when the leaves of the trees have fallen and there is no more shade for them; insects leave plants where there are no Ionger flowers; leeches leave springs which no longer flow; women leave men who have become old or poverty-stricken; a minister leaves the service of an obstinate king; servants leave a master who has been reduced to poverty. Thus it is that self-interest is the motive of everything in this world.” – Niti Sastra

The Twenty Virtues


We never stop learning. We must remain humble, listen attentively, observe life carefully, absorb knowledge, grow and become wise.

Here’s some of my favourite wisdom from the great sage Chanakya, who lived in Ancient India as advisor to the first Maurya Emperor Chandragupta. His teachings are appropriate to this very day. My Guru, Srila Prabhupada, would often quote Chanakya in his lectures. I especially like the six things that one can learn from a dog:

“Learn one thing from a lion, one from a crane, four from a cock, five
from a crow, six from a dog, and three from an ass.

The one excellent thing that can be learned from a lion is that
whatever a man intends doing should be done by him with a whole-hearted and
strenuous effort.

The wise man should restrain his senses like the crane and
accomplish his purpose with due knowledge of his place, time and ability.

To wake at the proper time; to take a bold stand and fight; to make
a fair division (of property) among relations; and to earn one’s own bread
by personal exertion are the four excellent things to be learned from a

Union in privacy (with one’s wife); boldness; storing away useful
items; watchfulness; and not easily trusting others; these five things are
to be learned from a crow

Contentment with little or nothing to eat although one may have a
great appetite; to awaken instantly although one may be in a deep slumber;
unflinching devotion to the master; the ability to eat a lot; the ability to fall asleep easily; and bravery; these six qualities should be learned from the dog.

Although an ass is tired, he continues to carry his burden; he is
unmindful of cold and heat; and he is always contented; these three things
should be learned from the ass

He who shall practice these twenty virtues shall become invincible
in all his undertakings”.

Canakya Niti-darpanam, ch.6

Glimpse of a Past Age

As well as being the birthday of my Guru, Srila Prabhupada, today is also another festival day called Nandotsava. This day celebrates the birth celebration performed by Nanda Maharaja after his ‘son’ Krishna was born.

Here’s a fascinating description of this ancient event, first celebrated in what is now called Northern India over five millenia ago. The verses were translated from the Sanskrit by Srila Prabhupada in the Tenth Canto of his colossal sixty volume work, Srimad Bhagavatam.

birth ceremony:

“The brahmanas recited auspicious Vedic hymns, which purified the environment by their vibration. The experts in reciting old histories like the Puranas, the experts in reciting the histories of royal families, and general reciters all chanted, while singers sang and many kinds of musical instruments, like dundubhis, played in accompaniment.

Vrajapura, the residence of Nanda Maharaja, was fully decorated with varieties of festoons and flags, and in different places, gates were made with varieties of flower garlands, pieces of cloth, and mango leaves. The courtyards, the gates near the roads, and everything within the rooms of the houses were perfectly swept and washed with water.

The cows, the bulls and the calves were thoroughly smeared with a mixture of turmeric and oil, mixed with varieties of minerals. Their heads were bedecked with peacock feathers, and they were garlanded and covered with cloth and golden ornaments.

The cowherd men dressed very opulently with valuable ornaments and garments such as coats and turbans. Decorated in this way and carrying various presentations in their hands, they approached the house of Nanda Maharaja.

The gopi wives of the cowherd men were very pleased to hear that mother Yasoda had given birth to a son, and they began to decorate themselves very nicely with proper dresses, ornaments, black ointment for the eyes, and so on.

Their lotuslike faces extraordinarily beautiful, being decorated with saffron and newly grown kunkuma, the wives of the cowherd men hurried to the house of mother Yasoda with presentations in their hands. Because of natural beauty, the wives had full hips and full breasts, which moved as they hurried along.

In the ears of the gopis were brilliantly polished jeweled earrings, and from their necks hung metal lockets. Their hands were decorated with bangles, their dresses were of varied colors, and from their hair, flowers fell onto the street like showers. Thus while going to the house of Maharaja Nanda, the gopis, their earrings, breasts and garlands moving, were brilliantly beautiful.

Offering blessings to the newborn child, Krishna, the wives and daughters of the cowherd men said,

Happy Birthday Krishna

Today marks the festival of Sri Krishna Janmastami, the Appearance Day of Lord Krishna. Tens of millions of Krishna devotees around the world are celebrating this topmost event of their devotional calendar with pomp, ceremony, music, singing, dancing, fasting and feasting.

radha madhava:

barhapidam nata-vara-vapuh karnayoh karnikaram

bibhrad vasah kanaka-kapisam vaijayantim ca malam

randhran venor adhara-sudhayapurayan gopa-vrndair

vrndaranyam sva-pada-ramanam pravisad gita-kirtih

“Wearing a peacock-feather ornament upon His head, blue karnikara flowers on
His ears, a yellow garment as brilliant as gold, and the Vaijayanti garland,
Lord Krsna exhibited His transcendental form as the greatest of dancers as
He entered the forest of Vrndavana, beautifying it with the marks of His
footprints. He filled the holes of His flute with the nectar of His lips,
and the cowherd boys sang His glories.”

– Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 10. Chapter 21, verse 5.

May all living beings become happy by becoming absorbed in thoughts of Him.

Khichari to the Rescue

Khichari – the delectable, nourishing, succulent stew of rice, dal and vegetables has been the mainstay of millions since the dawn of creation.

spices for khichari:

Here’s a letter from another appreciative recipient of the soothing balm which is khichari:

Dear Kurma,
Wow!!! Thanks for that Khichari recipe in “Vegetarian World Food”. I feel
like I have been looking for this recipe for 20 years and finally found it.
Home with the flu and trying to get better, I thought I would check out some
healthy recipes and found Khichari. By luck, I had most of the ingredients
here at home.

Whole-hearted thanks for your wonderful book and great intentions to offer
delicious, nutritious recipes shared by peoples around the world.

Absolutely delicious! Perfect! Fantastic!


San Francisco, California, USA


So, here’s the recipe:

Mung Beans, Rice & Vegetables (Khichari)

Khichari (pronounced

Curry Leaf Heaven

Received this letter:

I am enquiring about the curry leaf and where to purchase it from. I am
managing an IGA store in Mundubbera Qld, where I have had a customer request
them. I would only be looking at purchasing a very small quantity as I
believe they have a very short shelf life. If it was impossible to get a
hold of, what would be a suitable substitute?

Looking forward to your response.

curry leaves:

My response:

Hello D!
Curry leaves grow easily in Qld, so there should be not a big problem in obtaining them. They are usually available from well-stocked fruit and veg markets both fresh and dried, and Asian grocers. Fresh have a short life in the fridge, and dried are pretty boring. There is no substitute for curry leaves, certainly not kaffir lime. Either you use them in a recipe, or you miss them out.

Can’t give you exact Qld locations to obtain them since I live in Perth.

More on curry leaves…

Hope this helps,


Truck-ti Yoga

Did a bit of browsing this morning and came across photos of my old stomping grounds in Melbourne where I spent a very happy and busy 25 years – the Hare Krishna Temple in Albert Park, Melbourne.

But wait – these images are not what you might expect. No saffron folk dancing through the streets here, but some good old down-to-earth ‘hard yakka’ as the term goes in Australia (that’s ‘hard work’ for all you off-shore readers’). Krishna devotees are practical, hard-working and multi-talented. They don’t mind getting down and dirty when the task at hand requires it.

Check them out – Hari Hunks – Jnana Samudra, Dandakaranya and Manigriva – performing Bhakti Yoga in their overalls as they do some dirty dancing with a concrete truck yesterday for the new front fence. Hard work is heart-warming!
I could sit and watch it all day…