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Home Articles Varnashrama Dharma

 

 

Around the middle of the 19th Century the seed of change was planted. As with all planting of seeds there is a passing of time before the plant fructifies. The seed of change was Capitalism. In the UK in 2012 there was a spectacular opening of the 2012 Olympics that pictured the story of Great Britain, which illustrated that seed of change. The whole arena of that stadium was a picture of "green and pleasant" land. And then the transformation took place right in front of your eyes from that picturesque green and pleasant land to the industrialised heartlands that we here in the UK still suffer from today.

 

Capitalism was borne and it spread firstly to the western worlds and now it's covering the globe with its exploitative sinister influence. One of the very most hard-hitting concepts of Capitalism is the idea that if you work hard enough your dream is realisable. Now I know that in the USA this is practically a second nature. It's the American Dream. And at the heart of that concept is the dream that you can build your own home, work hard, marry a beautiful woman and pay for it for the rest of your life. It's the "have it now" and pay later tag, and have we paid for it, with mortgages coming out of our ears, and unfortunately for capitalists, it nearly brought the whole system down. The belief system of Capitalism, because that's exactly what Capitalism is, was brought to its knees and it cripples the masses and the poor.

 

That's why as devotees we don't believe in Capitalism, nor should we be a part of it, because it's inherently not a fair system and it's an exploitative abusive way of life. Our social system for devotees is the Varnashrama-dharma because it follows one's natural gunas and propensities for social and economic lifestyles. By following Krishna Consciousness we naturally uplift society by materially living a most harmonious lifestyle. Going from the mode of darkness and mode of passion the living entity is progressively associating in the social system with the higher modes of nature. After some time the mode of goodness is achievable for all men, no one is excluded. (This is not a gender exclusive article by using the word "men".)

 

Now right at the heart of Capitalism is the dream of building, owning and living in your own house/home. And Capitalism has invented the mortgage, borrowing money until you die (mort= death, from the French word). So to pay for your home you need a good job, and to get a good job you need good education for qualifications to get a good job so you can earn enough money to pay for your dream house til the day you die. That's the capitalistic dream and concept that they sell to you as a baby, and guess what -- we all believe it, too.

 

But that's not the mode of goodness way of executing life or the Krishna Conscious style. The mode of goodness means there is no exploitation of the material energy and that the manipulation is minimal, so there is minimum violence and maximum consideration to every level of life and environment. Lets just consider what it really takes to build your house or even your goshalla. (Certainly not £2.8 million as in the case at Bhaktivedanta Manor farm).

 

In a fairly temperate climate such as northern Europe, Canada and other cooler places where winters can be extremely cold a house has to be well built, that's a fact. It has to be well insulated and have a heat source for us humans to be comfortable. So, recently a farmer in the UK wanted to illustrate the antithesis of the capitalistic concept: that you have to pay all your life for your home. Even the concept of renting for life can be disproved. The concept that Capitalism teaches us, and this is what we believe because Capitalism is primarily only a belief system and this is what makes it work, is that we have to pay for our whole working life (from 20-65 years) to own our home and pay for all our maintenance bills. That's why we all have to work like asses all our lives to pay for our homes and bills. But that's just a capitalistic illusion.

 

So the farmer in the UK built his house on private land using all naturally occurring materials. He did not use one power tool, and no electricity to build it. The house took just over two years to build and the total cost was £150.00. Yes one hundred and fifty pounds, that's about $200/300. It is heated by wood through portals of channels under the floor that move hot air from the source around the whole house by means of radiation and convection. The hot water is heated from a back boiler and the insulation is from sheep's wool, thick mud and straw walls under a roof of thatched straw. The ceilings are made of mud and cow dung, the kitchen made from wood that has been recycled, and the whole story unfolds into a genuine picture of mode of goodness utility.

 

The building technique is thought to be a pre-historic one called "cob" housing, made from earth, clay and straw. It's made totally with natural materials and recycled materials. Just the glass is not naturally found, but he used glass from lorries in lorry dumps to make the windows. He taught himself thatching and used a very interesting design for his roof that is self-supporting. The rafters all intertwine to support each other once the original vertical support is removed. He built the house near a fresh water spring to supply the house and used a mixture of natural chalk and plant resin for the wall finishes. The well outside the front door has an inbuilt storage for keeping dairy products and acts like a fridge.

 

Naturally there is a self-composting toilet and the building looks just so beautiful that it fits in harmoniously with its wooded surroundings and inside is an aesthetics dream... absolutely sensationally attractive with no harsh 90 ° angles anywhere to be seen. The windows are all oval shaped and the overall insulation is high. It's now being rented out to a woman who runs a dairy and she pays the rent in milk.

 

Now this is more like the system that mode of goodness devotees can live if they feel inclined that way. This is a rural idyll, where the minimum amount of exploitation is used and virtually no carbon is used in construction and lifestyle. No use of money to pay for facilities, just an exchange of wealth.

 

This lifestyle is one of the mode of goodness lifestyles that ISKCON could easily be illustrating in rural situations where communities could solve the economic problems through Cow Protection, living a simple life off the land and not having to work like asses every day just to pay for the house they live in. We don't have to buy into that synthetic dream of Capitalism. We can just live a simple life, with all the added Krishna Conscious activities. Why spend your whole life working in the capitalistic world just to earn a crust to spend it all on paying for your extravagantly built house and extravagant bills that you don't want?

 

Rented flats in the Watford area that look absolutely ugly with bad views, in the middle of conurbation, surrounded by other houses and filled with pollution of every kind, come around £1,250 per calendar month. The ordinary 3 bedroomed semi-detached run of the mill house in a similar situation to that of the flat above come in around £330,000 to buy. Can you imagine the income you have to earn to be able to buy one of these or rent it? What a waste of money!!!!! (Watford is a conurbation area near to Bhaktivedanta Manor). This is the reason that the southeast centric area of England that ISKCON follows in the UK is draining the ISKCON resources.

 

As devotees, the main point in our goal of life is to engage in Krishna Consciousness through devotional service. We don't want to spend all our time and earned money on just buying a house and maintaining it. The whole reason why Srila Prabhupada gave us the 6th purpose of ISKCON was for this very reason. And even if we did have to work hard in our country communities, we can still be working with devotees -- not materialists, and certainly not capitalists. The extraordinary amount of resources and money that ISKCON spends daily on just a few buildings because they engage in the capitalistic system, is astronomical. If ISKCON had followed the proper path of mode of goodness lifestyle by building houses for £150 in a beautiful rural situation, it could have built thousands of houses by now. Just the £2.8 million spent on one goshalla at Bhaktivedanta Manor farm could have built 18,666 houses.

 

The devotees in the UK could have had a couple of houses each at that rate but no, they are faced with extraordinary amounts of mortgages and rentals that come to millions of £££££ per year. And this is because they engage in Capitalism, not communities living in the mode of goodness.

 

If a non-devotee can achieve such an amazing goal, so can devotees who know about the mode of goodness. Can you imagine how much more quality time devotees would have with their own spiritual life, with Harinama chanting parties in their locality, with distribution of their own homegrown prasadam, while illustrating the holistic lifestyle that we can all engage in to by-pass that horrific capitalistic life, with one to one preaching and showing others how to live this life with Krishna in the centre?

 

We have to start admitting to ourselves, and we have to actually be honest as a society that we as ISKCON devotees have made monumental mistakes on a path going up the capitalistic route. We must have wasted so much money needlessly filling the coffers of estate agents, bankers, and mortgage lenders, utility companies, food companies, and the whole petro-chemical conglomerate just because of our 'blind leading the blind' mentality. How exactly have we manifested our Krishna Consciousness by following these absurd lifestyles just to pay the bills for the home? To become Krishna Conscious we first have to travel through the mode of goodness; so what happened to the mode of goodness in our lifestyles?

 

Build your house for £ 150.00 or $300, its been done here in the UK in 2013, although he did have an advantage of owning the land already. But still it can be vastly reduced from paying a mortgage for the rest of your life or extraordinarily high rentals every month. And then instead of working like an ass just for money, you can work hard for your devotee community, for the cows, for Lord Krishna and in association with like-minded devotee friends. Who could not be happy, just chanting Hare Krishna and serving the devotees? And all your economic problems solved for the rest of your life. Now that's what Cow Protection is all about.

 

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Last Updated (Sunday, 09 February 2014 11:22)

 
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