Welcome to the first issue of Gaudiya Touchstone for 2013 - now in our second year of publication. This issue has articles on a wide range of topics; Free Will of the jiva soul as the root cause of material bondage by Swami B.R. Sridhara, the third and final part of Guru-tattva and the Secret of Diksha by Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati and the secret identity of Sukadeva Goswami revealed in Sriya Suka.

In The Opulence of Bhagavan, Swami B.V. Giri reports on the great treasure of gold, silver and jewels recently found in the South Indian Hindu Temple of Sri Padmanabha, making Padmanabha the most opulent place of monotheistic worship in the world.

In the article Timingila – Myth or Reality we learn that there were indeed monsters in the ancient seas as well as descriptions of such in Vedic literature.

Our cover story, Mystical Melukote by Swami Giri, takes us on a journey to an amazing place in South India steeped in history and culture, and photographer Nila Newsom reveals Melukote to us through his lens.

Sanskrit, the language of sages in ancient India, is still alive and well today. In Sanskrit the Language of Enlightenment by Vyaas Houston and Knowledge Representation in Sanskrit and Artificial Intelligence by Rick Briggs from NASA, we learn how effective and useful the ancient language of Sanskrit is, even in our modern scientific world.

In King Poru’s defeat of Alexander at the Battle of the Hydaspes, Prof. N.S. Rajaram turns our attention to Alexander the Great’s so-called ‘victory’ over King Puru of India and tells the true story of what happened at the battle of Hydaspes.
2012 – the End of the World (Again) allows us to breath a sigh of relief knowing that we have all survived what some people thought was the to be the end of the world on December 21st, 2012. End of the world doomsayers, it seems, have been around for a very long time and we will probably see more of them in the future.

Dr. Mary’s Monkey traces the current cancer epidemic in western countries back to the 1950s when health authorities in the United States of America knowingly released a cancer contaminated polio vaccine, infecting millions of unsuspecting people worldwide with cancer.

To further our understanding about what makes a healthy diet, the article Love that Corn! tells us what we need to know, especially if we are corn lovers.

Also in this issue, Dominque Amendola gives us a feast for the eyes as she shares with us the art and life of Ravi Varma and in Culinary Magic, Ratna Chintamani shares some of her original recipes for a typical South Indian lunch.

Read on.

OM TAT SAT

Swami Narasingha