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Home Cow Protection The Economic Problem

 

 

When I was engaged at Bhaktivedanta Manor during the 1980's I was given the duty as Department Head. As such, my responsibility was to run the day-to-day activities at Bhaktivedanta Manor Gardens, Grounds and Cow Protection. From an earlier time when I was at Chaitanya College, a group of us would come to Bhaktivedanta Manor on a weekly basis to "blitz" areas that needed attention immediately, chaotic management! At that time, Bhaktivedanta Manor appeared in need of a "makeover" in the Gardens and Grounds. There was so much neglect and essentially there was practically no flowers, vegetables, fruit and milk being supplied to anyone, least of all the Deities. Over the next 10 years or so we established self-sufficiency in flowers, a good production of minimum-violence vegetables and fruit, and a substantial supply of milk.

 

Over those years we put a huge amount of labour and money into this project. We were never short of capable labour, and especially on Sundays there would be additional help from the devotees and the many guests. On Sundays my service was practically just telling people what to do and then selling many products from our market garden. If you know what you are doing, it does not take much time to establish these things. As a preamble to becoming a devotee I had spent many years in farming, horticulture and self-employment. These have set me in good standing for becoming a devotee with that service in mind.

 

After leaving Bhaktivedanta Manor in the early 1990's, I had bought a 125 acre farm with a devotee friend of mine. Unfortunately before we could get the whole project underway he left his body, passed away. But the point is that in the year before it all ended, we had produced 25 acres of grains, another 25 acres of hay which we sold for the horse community, and a mountain of vegetables and fruit. We also had one milking cow which was a wedding gift to my friend. She, the cow, gave plenty of high cream milk and because we were practically swimming in milk, we had to learn how to make all the different dairy products. So we learned to make cheeses, yogurts, butter, ghee and other miscellaneous products. It does not take long. A year.

 

In one year, the two of us had planted over £500 worth of fruit trees on a lovely south facing hillock. We had grown 25 acres of grains, conservation grade, we had made 25 acres of small bales of hay for horses, and a mountain of vegetables. We had learned to make dairy products from raw milk and we also had half a dozen bee-hives for honey. Adding to this, I also built a three bedroom accommodation around a mobile home, having a third baby girl, and collecting enough wood from our woodland for a year ahead, it just shows that the time factor is not relevant or a reason for not accomplishing these goals.

 

So when I got around to the ISKCON official joke site that they call "Dandavats".com, I found an article that was solely dealing with the "farming" on European ISKCON farms. I was naturally attracted to reading the article and anticipated all the information contained in it. The article represented a number of "farms" in European ISKCON. And much to my bemusement, contained very little information connected to agriculture or farming. Indeed there was some very informative "cottage industry" activities that could be connected to a community based on a symbiotic relationship with Cow Protection. The toothpaste production part looked very interesting, but hardly a "farming" subject.

 

Then the first two paragraphs about a "jam" producing business and a "wheatgrass juice" producing business were also very interesting, but again, nothing to do with agriculture or farming… more another example of a "cottage industry" that should be connected to a community in a symbiotic relationship with Cow Protection.

 

The next subject was directly a farming point, though. Arthritis in Cows was the subject and we are informed that arthritis in "old" cows was "likely". So how were we to deal with this problem? Nothing about keeping the cows in good health before they got old. Nothing about the diet of cows to prevent the cows getting way too fat and obese, where they would definitely get arthritis. It was just a case of fatalism, rather than good animal husbandry and stockmanship approach. How about preventing the cows getting arthritis from the beginning, and at least keeping the cows healthy by not overfeeding them, so they don't become fat old cows like the ones at Bhaktivedanta Manor Goshalla? Just look at the video, "Letting the Cows Out at Bhaktivedanta Manor" -- the cows were so fat they could hardly even trot, what to speak of kicking their feet in delight. How about digging up all that wasted concrete flooring that is known for giving the cows arthritic conditions in their joints? How about preventing arthritis in the first place?? I thought this was an article about farming, not speculating.

 

Making compost from cow dung came along next, and we have a very exciting example of a person who had trialed three different ways of doing this. Two seemed to work. However, we should all know how to do this as farmers, years ago. Is this just a parody of farming?? Yes, you put cow dung and straw into a digester and produce Methane Gas freely, the by-product is compost, we don't have to endeavour seperately to make compost, it automatically is produced in the anaerobic decomposition and methane generation process.

 

Anyone who understands biodynamic agriculture, or "farming", would also easily understand carefully planned rotations, companion planting, planting by the Moon and composting. The nitrogen formed in the sludgy compost after digesting is complete, is ammonium bicarbonate, which is actually more available to plants than the nitrates and nitrites produced by aerobic composting of biomass. In other words, for the devotees who are not farmers, it's better to compost the cow dung and straw through an anerobic digester rather than the compost heaps we find in gardens, that just turn the biomass over or cover it with some material. But the European Farm Conference of ISKCON in all their wisdom must have already known that, and this part of the conference was just a "lila"??? For fun eh!

 

The educational projects supported by the European grants from governments for adults in farm projects would not go amiss in ISKCON. We could really use some farmers, especially at a European Farm Conference. Good old Bhakta George, I am so glad he is still with us in ISKCON. Bhakta George lived in my old Hungarian house a while back, so I know him quite well and a very polite person he is too. But that does not really solve all the ridiculous farming problems we are having on our ISKCON farms.

 

Come on you guys, where have you been all these years? Wwoofas have been going for years. Wwoofas… what's that? 'Working week-ends on organic farms' is an organisation that has been going for years now. They provide labour. Usually either fanatics or wierdos who don't know a thing about anything. We had plenty at Bhaktivedanta Manor in the 1980's, mostly men who just wanted to abuse the women devotees. We soon got rid of them. But do we have a Politically Correct kinda Wwoofa nowadays that can just labour for an ISKCON farmer that does not know what he's doing either!! Great, the blind supporting the blind, just what we need to take ISKCON farms into the future. Next joke.

 

So along comes the financial analysis of Milk Production. At least it's a farming topic. In the final conclusion of this study, what are we actually being informed about? Mostly all the shortcomings of the study and crucially, the cost of buildings is not included. I mean, can you imagine including the cost of NVD, Hungary Goshalla in the price of the milk produced? The Goshalla in Hungary was paid by a certain Balabhadra dasa from the Scottish Yatra, in the region of £1,000,000, which is an insignificant cost compared with the gold plated diamond encrusted Goshalla at Bhaktivedanta Manor of £2,800,000. Yep, their milk costs more than 80 cents a litre for the next how many years. . . . . . . imagine if they had to pay Bhakta Matty and his wife and all the other free labour, then God only knows how much the milk would cost.

 

The Bull of Dharma was the next subtitled part, and this brought a wry smile to my face because apart from the bad stockmanship and animal husbandry that is found on ISKCON farms, the treatment of the male bulls is practically an abuse and exploitation in itself. At Bhaktivedanta Manor and on many websites where the Cow Protection project is pictured, we find the common use of the Bull to be a simple tourist attraction principle. The common way that bulls are employed on so many ISKCON farms is to be used as tourist attractions, hauling the riding public around in a variety of trailers and wheeled carts. This is how the Bull of Dharma is treated by ISKCON farms and their employees.

 

There are, however, exceptions where the bull is replaced by the tractor to actually carry out the hauling work, and where they can't use the bull because the bull has no power take off points in his rear end to power the machinery to cut grass, make hay and bale it. The grand tragedy in this is that the bull has been relegated to purely a tourist attraction, simply to be relegated by the tractor.

 

The abuse of cows in ISKCON is lengthy, appalling and seriously tearful. The pictures that are available on websites is as if out of a horror film. Where cows who were housed on slatted wooden floored Goshallas that broke under their weight and had rotted away, the cows were unable to stand up ever again and were just left to die a painful and lengthy death, yes this happened in ISKCON. The story where a totally unqualified inadequate devotee had put the electric fence wire into the water tank that the cows drank from and each cow that attempted to drink on that day got electrocuted and died. The stories are many and more gruesome than these, and I will stop there. Suffice to say that the abuse of Cows and Bulls is extensive and common in ISKCON. Why ISKCON Temple Presidents and GBC and leaders let these people near Cows is beyond me. Better to not have a Cow "protection" project at all.

 

What really baffles me most about the ISKCON "farms" and the Cow Protection progammes is that all the information we will ever need to know has already been supplied by Srila Prabhupada. All we have to do is use our brains to practically apply His principles. Doesn't anyone ever read Srila Prabhupada's BOOKS in ISKCON anymore? They appear to be so out of kilter with all the instructions that we read about daily or in the Shiksamrta of Srila Prabhupada. And there are numerous really well thought out and presented books by devotees on exactly what the economic problem is itself. And how to solve it. The whole idea of Cow Protection and land is to solve the economic problems of life in the "simple living-high thinking" principle. Cows are the secret clue that ISKCON "farms" have not been able to access, because the Cows offer the association of the mode of goodness exclusively. And when we understand the mode of goodness economic problem, then we humans can solve it easily with Cow Protection and land.

 

The ISKCON way of solving the economic problem is through the mode of passion and the mode of ignorance, through their corporate management system that is taught and ingested by ISKCON devotees. But this is not found in Srila Prabhupada's teachings. Unless the humans rise upwards and associate with the mode of goodness Cows and understand how the Cows solve their economic problems, then ISKCON "farms" will continue to flounder around like a boat without a rudder.

 

The yearly European Farmers Conference held this year in Spain's new Brajamandala "Farm" was attended by 25 devotees. I thought it reasonable that we would have had some statistics to hand. How much acreage down to wheat in total? How much milk produced in litres? How many tonnes of potatoes grown? Acreage of hay and silage production? How many tonnes of apples, pears, or any fruit? What about horticultural productions? How was the mode of goodness capability employed in our self-sufficiency exploits going? How about barley, oats, and other agricultural crops over the year? How much are we still purchasing of the chemical produced foods and from commercial growers who use all sorts of animals parts for fertiliser?

 

Even though this is advertised as a yearly meeting of farmers coming together from the top ISKCON European farms, there was scant information of their farming activities. The ISKCON farms and farmers are the creme de la creme of establishing exactly the instructions given by Srila Prabhupada, because this is their mandate and authority for their existence in ISKCON. They are not in ISKCON to do what they want to do, that is not their mandate. If they want to act outside Srila Prabhupada's mandate for His ISKCON, then they should just leave and set up their own thing, no problem.

 

But the ISKCON problem is systemic. Because they have not got a clue how to solve the economic problem and coupled with the fact that they are not farmers, their service becomes one of trial and error, with more errors than successes. The systemic problem is that they do not understand what the economic problem is. Therefore they have not got a clue how to solve it. The ISKCON systemic error is that they operate in the mode of ignorance and mode of passion to solve the problems of economy. This is not ISKCON's mandate and neither will they ever be able to solve any economic problem whilst in these modes.

 

The Prabhupadadesh project in Belgium report was unclear. They had doubled production, but from what to what? Was it from one Courgette plant to two plants? Was it from one row of potatoes to two rows? And how was this project integrated with the community in a relationship with Cow Protection in symbiosis? Were these two devotees just privately employed making money for themselves? How was the community involved? And here we found out that this is a mode of passion business opportunity. And their solution for solving the economic problems of life is to have an income privately and independently based on selling the produce, so the goal was not mode of goodness self-sufficiency.

 

The Villa Vrndavana report further illustrated how the Cows and Bulls were just treated as tourist attractions. I quote verbatim, ". . . how the (Cows) buildings will be an important part of tourist interest." This is the problem in ISKCON -- because they can't engage the Cows and Bulls in a symbiotic relationship based on the mode of goodness, they have to either use the mode of ignorance or passion to provide some money to help support the Bulls. Because they have not understood what the mode of goodness economic problem is they cannot solve it. So they make the Bulls a tourist attraction. What happened to the Bull of Dharma that was talked about by H.H. Smitakrsna Maharaja?

 

So now the contradictions in how to solve the problems arise because of different modes of nature. When are devotees going to learn and understand what is the mode of goodness and protect Cows in this mode? Why do you keep descending to the lower modes? Cows are in the mode of goodness, they are not tourist attractions. Why construct buildings that will be an important part of tourist interest? Cows and Bulls are only integrated in a Community of devotees where they are protected and engaged in their Dharma, not for our exploitation. In Villa Vrndavana they have got this all wrong, and this does not resemble the sweet ambience of Vrindavana where Krsna tended His Cows.

 

The tour and description of new Vrajamandala reveals the lower modes of nature the writer is under, and the encapsulated perception and conception of how to solve the problems of economy. ISKCON is systemically riddled with these false conceptions and with devotees trying to demonstrate how to falsely farm using the land as an asset in their quest for monetary reward. The concepts they put forward and demonstrate by their actions and words just shows them up for what they really are, and how the leadership of ISKCON teaches the way to resolve the problems. With this amount of land, 300 hectares, and with the scenario of Cow Protection, symbiosis, and mode of goodness economy, ISKCON could easily show the alternative to western capitalism through the agency of Community.

 

But no, because ISKCON farms and farming are connected to industrialised products and materials, because they exploit the Cows and Bulls as tourist attractions, because they are capitalistically motivated and attached to technology, because they are unable to understand mode of goodness economy, because they have no idea of community governance and systems, because they are not farmers, and most importantly, they don't know or understand that there is only ONE solution to ALL economic solutions, which can only be found in the consciousness of goodness. And this next sentence is the monumental foundational answer to all economic solutions:

 

For persons situated in the mode of goodness, sattva-guna, there is no economic problem.

 

The western illusion, the material illusion that covers the individual and pushes us into the illusion, forces our lifestyles to be based on consumerism. That's why the modes of ignorance and passion create the economic problems that are artificial and illusory, the model that the whole world and the GBC pursue. Once situated in the mode of goodness, then everything becomes clear through knowledge. And the tried and tested method has been practiced round the world for millenia.

 

"Simple Living - High Thinking". Living in the mode of goodness, this is Srila Prabhupada's mandate for ISKCON devotees. This is what ISKCON farms and farmers should be aiming for and demonstrating for the members of ISKCON. If you are not following this path or trying to reach this goal, then the ISKCON leadership have pulled the wool over your eyes. The GBC mandate is "Complicated Living - No Thinking". You are not allowed to think, because its deemed offensive. How can a mere rank and file devotee know more than an ISKCON leader? And why on earth are there no rural communities living simply in the mode of goodness? Just look at all the ridiculous opulent housing for sannyasis, gurus, leaders, and temple presidents… no mode of goodness there.

 

Why would any of the followers and disciples of ISKCON "leaders" adopt Srila Prabhupada's direct instructions? Even if they wanted to, they would be confronted. Can you imagine a disciple and follower of the ISKCON elite club advancing further along the modes of material nature into sattva-guna, and absolutely showing up and embarrassing the "leader", being more renounced than an ISKCON Sannyasi, being in a higher mode of nature than his Guru, living simply whilst his leader lives in a luxurious security gated estate in Beverly Hills, depending on cows and land as they have for millennia, whilst his Guru has the best iPhone/iPad on the market, constructing a simply beautiful eco-friendly sustainable dwelling whilst the Goshalla is made from metal and concrete, following the ambient mood of Vrndavana, of village life dependant on each other's support whilst his Guru is flirting with young girls and the stock market?

 

ISKCON is not just existing in a two-tier system of duplicitous anti social behaviour with a chaotic management landscape, there is absolutely no policy and resolutions from the GBC downwards to establish the meaningful lifestyle that is based on Cow Protection and land. The veneered film that covers over the International Society is a staged setup of pictures and dots on a monitor, and as soon as you turn off the electricity, ISKCON is finished. There is no basis of existence in cows and land, and there is no community with a symbiotic relationship with these two items.

 

The whole "farming" project fails to deliver what we anticipate, what we are all looking for and depending on. We just have to accept the chemically produced vegetables from the commercial growers using fertiliser based on animal slaughter, we have to accept energy produced from raping mother earth, and indeed some ISKCON properties even support that activity on their legally owned land. We have to accept the outrageously ugly and exploitative buildings that have been ISKCON constructed, with absolutely no concern for environment and community infrastructural relationships. We have to accept employment with non-devotees who slaughter animals, take intoxicants, engage in abusive sexual habits, because ISKCON does not provide them. And to really rub salt into the scars and wounds of devotees, we have to put up with 3rd class managers involved in farming and so-called Cow Protection, and I am sure this carries right across the board into other departments in ISKCON as well.

 

Read the "European Farm Conference" report for yourselves (on Dandavats.com). It's supposed to be a yearly meeting, an AGM of all the farmers coming together on a farm. It's so pitiful and pathetic its hilarious. It's just unbelievable, and they expect us to accept this as the topmost ISKCON example of farming? This is just a joke, and the sooner they all resign, the better. Let's get in the devotees who can farm, who have the vision of community based on cows and land, where life just could not get any better, where we follow the mode of goodness and benefit from that association.

 

Have you all not had enough of all this horse manure that is proliferated in ISKCON?

 

your servant, Dusyanta dasa, from lovely, simple Wales

 

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Last Updated (Saturday, 16 July 2016 17:56)

 
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"Therefore having a bona fide spiritual master and serving him and pleasing him and getting his mercy is essential. Otherwise there can be no advancement in Krishna consciousness. And unless the spiritual master is a pure devotee of Krishna then he has no potency to give you Krishna. He is simply a cheating rascal. So in fact above all the rules and regulations and offenses I have mentioned the most important thing, the essential thing, which is required if you want to come to the stage of purely chanting the Hare Krishna mantra is you must have a bona fide spiritual master who is a pure devotee of Krishna. Without having a bona fide spiritual master you can chant Hare Krishna forever but you will not be able to advance because Krishna does not reveal Himself in this way. He only reveals Himself to those devotees who surrender to and serve and please His pure devotees." (Srila Prabhupada letter to his London disciples, July, 1969)