20 March 2011

The Mayan Calendar and Doomsday!

My friend Sri Nandanandana, aka Stephen Knapp, was attending a religious conference in India last year. Also present was a Mayan Shaman, and Sri Nandan thought that this is the opportunity to get the real scoop on the Mayan calendar and the looming, forbodeing date of 2012.

When queried the Shaman rolled his eyes saying: We wish you white men would have asked us these things before all the hoopla began. Let me set you straight on the Mayan calendar:

1. Why does it stop at 2012? Simply because that is where they stopped. The fact that it stops in 2012 means absolutely NOTHING.

2. In the second place we do not know exactly how our calendar aligns with the Gregorian calendar. Therefore 2012 on the Mayan calendar could be 2001 or 2030 for the Gregorian calendar.

Good luck trying to figure out what to do and when...better to save time and prepare for the ultimate crisis--the time of death-- which is guaranteed to arrive!

10 March 2011

Spiritual Economics in Action

At our annual Varnashrama Festival this past weekend I again met Andrey Volodimyrovich, a devotee in Kramatorsk, Ukraine who is taking Spiritual Economics seriously. 

At our last meeting I suggested to him to begin offering his Aikido martial arts training on the reciprocal basis of gifting as taught by Spiritual Economics. He has taken that suggestion seriously and this weekend he told me that formerly students would come and go and the number of students remained about the same. Since he has gone to a donation basis the number of students continues to increase, and the donations increase as well. The word got out and the local newspaper wrote the following story about his unusual club.  

How free is the free of charge sport’s section?

The only way to get into the lowermost corner gym at “sports” flank of PCaT NKMP* is to pass through the long serpentine corridors, where you may even get lost for the first time. And this is where the members of Aikido sports section take their classes. But so what’s that surprising? Are there not enough of sport clubs and sections in the fine city of Kramatorsk?

Well, that’s not the thing amazing about it. The point is that this young (opened on the 1st of September) sports club for martial arts “The Energy of Water” claims to be the only FREE-OF-CHARGE club in the whole city.

Aikido, spiritual economy and donations.

The founder and the senior trainer of the club, Andrey Yeskov (on photo), on his spiritual-religious commitment is Krishna’s devotee.

I have been practicing Aikido for many years’ says Andrey in his interview to TECHNOPOLIS. ‘I studied both in Kramatorsk and in Kyiv, where I’ve been an apprentice of Aleksey Kudryavcev (who now has the fourth dan rank in Aikido). Under his guidance I started to teach Aikido to other people there, in Kyiv. And I’ve been teaching Aikido for seven years already. After returning back to my hometown, I felt concerned with searching for the meaning of life and the true faith. Having met the Krishna’s devotees I realized I’ve found my spiritual avocation. After I got to know the Vedic culture, in the process of spiritual communication, there arose an idea for free sports section. We visited a festival, where I met my spiritual Teacher. His name is Dhanesvara Das , he came to Ukraine from the USA. He had acquainted me with the concept of spiritual economy. This is a method for rebuilding our society in a new way. In order to do this, we don’t have to become attached to the results of our activity. Nowadays we generally live only for making money, live for ourselves. The only thing that people are concerned with is how to get more and more for themselves. On the contrary, in the heart of the spiritual economy there lies a concept of giving. To feel happy you need to be engaged with your labor of love, and you need to do it for free, giving its products to other people. The main principle of spiritual economy claims: “There is no higher goal then serving for others”. And this is what I actually do. My Teacher has recommended me to open a free club for the town. For us payment is not something obligatory, but completely voluntary and ingenuous donation. Everyone pays as much as he can, and if he can’t – then he may just help with something.

-Then what is the reason for donation, if the club is free-of –charge?

To gain an insight into any knowledge, one should sacrifice something, or else this knowledge would not be entirely conceived. If you do sacrifice some money or your work - only then you will have the Teacher’s approval, only then you will get further in your Knowledge. We don’t have any tough conditions. You may give some adequate help to the club – to paste up notices or to make a slight repair in the gym, for example... Or to talk to people, so that they will learn about our existence. Thus we set up a task to develop mellowness in people, which might be of service to them in future. The abundance will come into our society not earlier then we stop trying to get all the best for ourselves, but start sharing it with the others.

- We’re living through the tough times. So what will happen if to your club comes a man who cannot make any payments or, speaking your language, any donation?

If a person doesn’t have any money to pay – I won’t require any money payments from him. There are other manners of payment and my task as a Teacher to explain it to him.

- And where are these donations put into?

In our club there are several trainers which, like me, do not have fixed salary for their work, but do it voluntary. With the exception for the single person – a man is now in a difficult situation, and that’s why some part of the donations is given to him. The rest of the money we take to cover the rent for the gym, which is quite essential – 2300UAH per month for one gym, and we have two of that. Besides, with this money we managed to buy 14 kimonoes for our students. It would be great if we find a man of means, perhaps a businessman, who would be willing to help us. Then we wouldn’t have to take money donations from our students at all. For the moment we don’t have any means even for bying a new tatami for the second gym. Quite recently my acquaintance businessman has donated us 2500 UAH, for he wants to register his son into our club so that the boy would have some occupation and won’t get into a bad company. Such amount of money is a handsome geasture, but we would appreciate if people donated to the club as much as they can, even one or two gryvnas.

"I never impose Krishnaism to others."

Our training starts with a short ritual for expression of homage to Aikido Art and to the Teacher’ says Andrey. ‘An hour and a half training ends with conversation on spiritual matters. My task is not so much to train people to defend themselves physically, as to teach them living in a way when they won’t need to defend. To live without hindering others, without getting into conflicts, to overcome bad habbits like smoking and drinking. To clean out the body one should refuse from meat. This is the idea I wish to bring to our youth. The modern society tries to rassle against adolescent drunkenness and drug addiction. But the problem is that everyone fights with the consequences, not with the cause. And the cause consists in a fact that it is not enough just to explain how bad these things are. Children have to be engaged into something and sport is the best variant.

- Let’s assume that this article has been published in TECHNOPOLIS and dozens of people wish to train in your club. The gyms are overcrowded. What actions will you take?

We’ll just rent another gym and invite more trainers, for there are many Aikido specialists in the town.

- A lot of children take trainings in your club. Is there a chance that these spiritual conversations might be perceived (from point of view of the law) as a propaganda for Krishnaism and implication of juvenile into some kind of a sect?

All of my students are aware of my devotion to Krishnaism. But I do not put pressure upon anybody. I discuss with them topics of general philosophical and moral meaning and do not make any attemps to impose the Vedic religion upon anyone. We should take into account that these very children in ten of fifteen years might become officials and directors. And if we take a moment now to explain them how people should live, I think in future order and prosperity will come to our town.

-What will you recommend to people who might want to train in your club? 
Just get your sporting form, sneakers and come. We work from 7 p.m. everyday.

What do members of the martial arts club say:

Vyacheslav, 13 years old: I wish to learn to defend myself in the street. Sometimes I pay 50, or 100 gryvnas – it depends.

Alexander Kusmin, 29 years old: I’ve been training for month and a half. I am now in the process of conceiving the basis of Aikido technics and philosophy. Does it give anything for my spiritual world? I haven’t realised yet.

Victoria Zavgorodnaya: I come here for physical and spiritual aims. After three months of trainings I’ve felt that I’m developing successfully in both spheres. I like the philosophy of our sensei Andrey Volodimyrovich. And frankly speaking, to study the martial arts – is my dearest dream since childhood.

Andrey Beloborodov,
photo taken by author.

The story is from the facebook page of Andrey Volodimyrovich which you can find here.