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Topic: Simple living

Reading Complexity: Easy
When the World Food Summit in Rome tried to figure out how to feed the world’s 840 million chronically hungry people, the meeting’s secretary general, Dr. Kay Killingsworth, said that the problem was not insufficient food production but inequitable distribution. “The result is that food does not reach the needy.” Here are some typical suggestions for solving world hunger: Push industrialism. As...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Many of the ideas of the Green movement seem to fit well with Krishna consciousness. The so-called Green Movement (not to be confused with the Green Revolution, which aims to industrialize farms around the world) officially began in Germany in 1983. It quickly spread through Europe and to America. Greens stand for nonviolence, democracy, social responsibility, and ecology (in particular, they...
Reading Complexity: Easy
On April 19, 2000, a terrorist explosion destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, taking the lives of 168 people, injuring hundreds more. Many people were surprised to learn that the deadly blast was caused not by some high- security military explosive but by ordinary agricultural fertilizer mixed with fuel oil. How could a peaceful substance like crop fertilizer be used...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Lord Krishna says that godless materialists produce “unbeneficial, horrible works meant to destroy the world.” If you think this just means nuclear bombs, check out the latest from Monsanto, the folks who brought us Bovine Growth Hormones. On March 3, 1998, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Delta & Pine Land Co. (acquired in May by Monsanto) announced they had obtained a U.S. patent for...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Americans tend to scorn India’s national ban on cow slaughter. We have difficulty appreciating the Hindus’ view that the cows are holy, and most Americans have little knowledge of how a rural economy like India’s is dependent on the life of the cow and her by- products. But a more basic tenet we all hold dear—the right to live—is one we should consider in its relevance to the mass slaughter of...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Unemployment. Inflation. Recession. High interest rates. Mounting personal, national, and international debt. Depression. The litany of economic woes pours from television, radio, and printed page, and no one can seem to explain them, much less do anything about them. Yet as complex as they seem, all these problems share a common root: the presence of insatiable lust and greed in the human heart...
Reading Complexity: Easy
We can learn a lot about history and the people writing it by keeping tuned to what is not being said. Applying this principle, we can see why Westerners have such trouble understanding the significance of cow protection—especially protection of the bull or ox. Because of what is routinely suppressed or overlooked in history books, it’s hard for people to understand when Prabhupada says,...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, once you said, “The tractor—this is the cause of all the trouble. It took all the young men’s farm work. It forced them to go into the city and become entangled in sensuality.” You said people had to leave the country and the simple life of goodness and God consciousness. And so they went to the city and got caught up in the anxious life, the mode of passion. Srila...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Srila Prabhupada writes in a purport to the Srimad- Bhagavatam (10.8.16), “[Krishna’s] first business is to give all comfort to the cows and the brahmanas. In fact, comfort for the brahmanas is secondary, and comfort for the cows is His first concern.” Because Krishna loves the cows, His devotees not only protect them but also see to their comfort, a practice that has spiritual, psychological,...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, in a recent study by U.S. agricultural officials, they found that it’s uneconomical to eat meat. It takes so much energy and man hours to raise and transport and slaughter the cows that it’s very wasteful. Srila Prabhupada: Wasteful, yes. Therefore I say they have no brain. They are all rascals. Rascal leaders. A little labor in agriculture will be sufficient to...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Bir Krishna the calf loves coconut fudge, and Sita the teamstress knows it. Her pockets bulge with the sweet as she and Bir walk to the training ring. Today the calf will learn his first call: “Get up!” The earth is soft from the recent rain. Sita carries a lash and leads Bir with a rope tied to a blue halter. The calf bounds through a cluster of gnats, then slows as they come to the ring. What’s...
Reading Complexity: Easy
An old film, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, recounts the life of a Texas folk hero who brought law and order to the Wild West. Armed with a hefty law book, Bean appoints himself judge of a rugged frontier town and sets up court in a bar. He reforms fighters and gamblers into law- abiding sheriffs and deputies who protect the citizens from marauders. The town prostitutes, properly married...
Reading Complexity: Easy
In a how-to book on raising a beef calf at home, a rancher presents her tips on how to make the process psychologically easier: “I don’t see how you’ll ever be able to eat that little brown-eyed baby after you raise him.” You’ll hear this—maybe from some members of your family—or you may have said it yourself … [But] remember that the little brown- eyed baby will no longer be a pet by the...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Milking our cow Hari Priya on a two-family farm in the South Konkan belt of Maharashtra, India, is quite different from milking cows on a big farm in the U.S. Hari Priya is a small deshi, or native, cow who gives only two liters daily—just enough for some milksweets, such as rasagullas or mango or chikoobarfi, and a cup of hot milk for four or five people. Still, we feel great satisfaction taking...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Supplies of petroleum are dwindling, and that poses a special problem for farming. In his book Family Farming, Marty Strange summarizes a study at the University of New Hampshire: By 2020, domestic supplies of both oil and gas will be depleted, and if agriculture’s technological base does not shift, 10 percent of the oil and 60 percent of natural gas consumed in the United States soon after...
Reading Complexity: Easy
The bull is the emblem of the moral principle, and the cow is the representative of the earth. When the bull and the cow are in a joyful mood, it is to be understood that the people of the world are also in a joyful mood. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.18, purport) Government policies often drive farmers off the land. One important exception came in the early days of American settlement. In...
Reading Complexity: Easy
I’ve described the evolution of a world economic system in which cow slaughter plays a central role. Now I want to contrast that system with Krishna’s varnashrama model of society as presented by Srila Prabhupada. In the next several columns I’ll compare how the two systems define the relationship between farmers and the land, farmers and the cows, and finally farmers and the Supreme Personality...
Reading Complexity: Easy
"The Bhagavad-gita specifically instructs us, krishi-go-rakshya: we human beings must protect the cow, our milk-giving mother. Go-rakshya—'protect the cow,' not go-hatya—'kill the cow.' This is most sinful." —Srila Prabhupada Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita that the activities of the productive class of society should be krishi-go-rakshya-vanijyam: agriculture, cow protection, and trade....
Reading Complexity: Easy
Starting around 1840, American farming became increasingly centralized. Replacing oxen with horses freed people to move to the cities to work in factories. And the new city dwellers became consumers for the products they’d once grown. The village miller with his ox-powered grist mill gave way to automated mills in large Midwestern cities. As the mills of the Midwest began selling wastes back to...
Reading Complexity: Easy
In the Second Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Shukadeva Goswami criticizes those who pursue material life and have no desire to inquire into self-realization, and although he spoke thousands of years ago, his words are still relevant today. Those who are not interested in self-realization hover in a world of illusory pleasure and suffering. Material life tends to become increasingly complicated. The...
Reading Complexity: Easy
(edited for clarity) 19 October 1975, Johannesburg, South Africa Indian man: Don't you think the people (in South Africa) are lazy? Prabhupada: Why aren't you lazy here? It is the government's policy or government's management. You see? To become lazy is the recommendation of the shastra. "Lazy" has become a bad word, but actually real life means to not work very hard. Working hard (only) for...
Reading Complexity: Medium
Krishna consciousness is practical. For spiritual advancement, you don’t have to renounce everything, go to the forest, and simply chant Hare Krishna all day long. In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna explains that all of us should continue to perform our duties according to our nature, but we should work with love and devotion as an offering to Him. Thereby every one of us can attain spiritual...
Reading Complexity: Medium
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (4.19.8) Srila Prabhupada notes, “Although the earth’s ground is the same, different tastes arise due to different kinds of seeds.” What a miracle it is that although two plants grow next to each other in the same dirt, one produces sweet melons, the other hot peppers! Although they use the same resources from Mother Earth, it is as if they give different interpretations...