Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Praise for Mahabharata:The Eternal Quest

Second anniversary of  my award-winning book is coming up. Below is praise from around ISKCON Also hailed by scholars from around the USA -  see more at  www.mahabharata-project.com


“Wonderful! Your storytelling art – which quickly gets to the essence of everything – has opened the world of Mahabharata to me , for it has opened up the world of the feelings and emotions of Mahabharata.” Sacinandana Swami

“Got the books. Already finished the first chapter....really nice. Have a friend who teaches comparative religion classes at the University here, I'll give her a copy.” Trivikrama Swami, FL

“Andy Fraenkel's very readable and insightful narrative allows immediate entrance into the Mahabharata, an epic known for its inscrutability. His deliciously distinct version of this martial text conjures up images of an ancient storyteller, sitting at a campfire surrounded by listeners who rightfully hang on his every word. Not to be missed!” --Steven J. Rosen (Satyaraja Dasa), author of 31 books & founding editor of the Journal of Vaishnava Studies,  www.sjrosen.com

“Andy Fraenkel provides us with a remarkable story in his adaptation of Mahabharata. . . He captures the essence of the epic and relates the unfolding action in a most interesting and exciting way.”  Stephen Knapp, Author (Books on India’s ancient Vedic culture)& founder of Vedic Friends Association,   http://www.vedicfriends.org

“Such a great job – deep and flowing. You are truly gifted to share this profound story the way you have. Outstanding!” Krsnanandini Dasi, Author & Workshop Leader

“(This is) The first Mahabharata I can read aloud, placing me in the drama with Krishna, Arjuna, et al. Andy Fraenkel is today’s Sanjaya, the Gita’s reteller and seer of the Kuruksetra War. The book is lyrical.  I am reminded of the verse in CC Adi-lila 1:106 -  ‘Essential truth spoken concisely is true eloquence.’ The path to transcendence has never been brighter!” Suresvara Das, Workshop Leader

This book is an incredible rendition of one of the oldest written books on the planet. I highly recommend it if you want to immerse yourself in the most amazing drama and intrigue ever recorded.” Darrell Martin, Blue Boy Herbs, 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Our Universal Family

 ‘“Nonhuman animals do not have legal rights any more than they have legal responsibilities,” said Bob Kohn, a technology lawyer in Manhattan who has filed briefs opposing efforts to secure human rights for chimps and other animals. “For a court to hold otherwise would have tremendous adverse legal and moral implications for mankind.”’          

And later in the article….
‘Ms. Prosin said her group (Nonhuman Rights Project) was saying not that animals were people, but that they were “autonomous beings, who are self-aware and self-directed.”’  
--- From the April 21, 2015 NY Times - “Judge Orders Stony Brook University to Defend Its Custody of 2 Chimps” by  Jesse McKinley. 

One no longer has an excuse to be ignorant on this topic. Simply by scanning the many posts and clips on the internet  we can directly see the dealings between humans and animals, and animals and animals, even between different species. New books have appeared and research has been done exploring  the intelligence and the emotional capabilities of animals.

The sages of India tell us that animals are like our young children. Bob Kohn should know that our two or three years olds have no legal responsibilities and yet we have both a legal and moral obligation to care for them.  Animals also are sentient beings who show affection and experience happiness, fear and pain.

In the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam (7:14:9), written thousands of years ago,  it is explained, “One should treat animals such as deer, camels, asses, monkeys, mice, snakes, birds and flies exactly like one's own son. How little difference there actually is between children and these innocent animals.”

The rights of humans, of the unborn, and of animals, in one sense, all goes hand in hand. Spiritual awareness is a matter of education and knowledge, to understand that all life holds a soul and that we are all connected.

People are conditioned to think, "I don't need to care about that one because they are not of my race, or my religion, or nationality, or my species." In this way we create excuses to kill, harm or neglect others. To acknowledge the rights of all creatures and to see them as part of our greater  universal family is the beginning of civilized culture. 

Later in the Srimad Bhagavatam (11: 7:33-35), it goes beyond this to explain that the animals, the environment and the elements (i.e. the earth and mountains, sky, water, fire, spiders, pigeons, deer, elephants) are also our teachers. The materialists only want to exploit these things to increase their wealth and derive pleasures. Unfortunately, they wander in the world, rarely going beyond this narrow mindset. In the meantime the earth is being torn apart and life forms are being decimated, just to increase the wealth of a very small fraction of the population.

But the introspective souls see all things as part of a greater educational process.  They seek to respect all life. They are awed and humbled by the world around them. In this way, we can gradually learn to see the hand of God working in all beings and in all situations.

My award-winning book at www.Mahabharata-Project.com