Community and Cow Protection, the symbiotic relationship
Community and Cow Protection, the symbiotic relationship.
Dusyanta dasa: When I recently had some time to research the actual reality of the model of “community” it became self-evident that “community” is not only a wholesome, nurturing and inspirational dynamic but also a very safe, peaceful and self-sufficient social system, and would fit in perfectly with Varnashrama Dharma. In fact, as a devotee, “community” is the only real way to live. Why “community” is such a satisfying way of life is self-explanatory and self-evident when “community” is fully appreciated, recognised and understood. Community vibrates on different levels of existentialism. And when we discover the wholesomeness of community in its fully manifested model then no other way of life can be better, socially, economically, environmentally, philosophically, self-sufficiently, and naturally spiritually.
Actually “community” is very very rare in Kali-Yuga and in todays mad dash for money, industrialisation and exploitation, “community” is overlooked time and time again, and substituted by, groups of people, pseudo=community and impersonalism. The word “community” is used fairly liberally, superficially and extensively to describe everything except “community.”
The reality of community and communal life is actually founded on a simple relationship of loving togetherness, giving and sharing, and living an opulently simple life, so simple in fact that the opulence of life is measured by the natural resources found all around us. One of these simple natural resources is found in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is 18.44. Krishna is describing the natural activities of the humble Vaisya as a Cow Protector. In fact, the full title is, Agricultural Cow Protection and Trading. This very simple opulent resource is fully accessible to one who strives and desires the very simple life, especially one wanting a peaceful mode of goodness lifestyle. In fact, it is so simple it can easily be overlooked, trivialised, minimised and misunderstood, but nevertheless requires hard work, dedicated and committed focus, skill and attention, and a deep love of Krishna’s Cows.
Krishna Book,5. By Srila Prabhupada.
“It is very important to note in this connection how wealthy the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana were simply by raising cows. All the cowherd men belonged to the vaiśya community, and their business was to protect the cows and cultivate crops. By their dress and ornaments, and by their behavior, it appears that although they were in a small village, they still were rich in material possessions. They possessed such an abundance of various kinds of milk products that they were throwing butter lavishly on each other’s bodies without restriction. Their wealth was in milk, yogurt, clarified butter and many other milk products, and by trading their agricultural products, they were rich in various kinds of jewelry, ornaments and costly garments. Not only did they possess all these things, but they could give them away in charity lavishly, as did Nanda Maharaja.”
This wholesome lifestyle is frequently prescribed for a devotional type of lifestyle community. A devotee has to live a personal life. And as described by Krishna a person living a mode of goodness lifestyle is very attractive, and desirous for spiritual life. So, the mode of goodness is not just desirable but mandatory for the spiritual aspirant, and “community” is exactly the right fit for all the social, economic, environmental and self-sufficient needs, as well as being able to execute a loving spiritual and devotional lifestyle.
When we manage, design and supervise Cow protection so that it exists, reciprocates and functions in the mode of goodness, it means it is compatible with “Community”. Then, that specific cow protection model acts as the economic conduit for the mode of goodness “community”. When/if a devotee factually achieves the mode of goodness platform, the personal demands for material resources becomes less, naturally.
“Bhagavān: But my question is, if the community produces… Some class of men produce vegetables and grains, some class produce cows, some class produce clothes, some class produce necessities for building. How are these things distributed equally?
Prabhupāda: Because we are community, we shall distribute whatever necessity for everyone.
Bhagavān: They will come and say, “I need this much cloth, I need this much milk.”
Prabhupāda: No, this much cloth… But if you become Kṛṣṇa conscious, then you will be satisfied with the minimum necessities of life. That is natural. You won’t demand.
Yogeśvara: So actually, such a program can only be successful proportionately with the rise of Kṛṣṇa consciousness of the people.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is the main basic principle. Without being Kṛṣṇa conscious, if you arrange like this, that will never be successful.
Yogeśvara: They won’t be satisfied.
Srila Prabhupada conversation May 27th. 1974 Rome.
Economic villages based on constructions of cottages made from natural resources are used for dwellings. Go-bar gas is used for energies. All the food is grown by the community by working in tandem with the Bulls and the wonderful naturally organic fertilisers from anaerobically digested manures and biomasses. ( N.B. the ancient process of anaerobically digesting cow manures and biomasses helps prevent Greenhouse gases escaping or infiltrating the environment,100%. Not only that but the final product after utilising the Methane gases for energies, produces Ammonium Bi-carbonates, a much better fertiliser for plants than Nitrates and Nitrites.) And Milk and all its implicated varied derivatives, is used for the “basis” of the common economy.
The “community” has a relationship of symbiosis with Cows, Bulls and land so that natures opulence is harnessed without industrial exploitation, so that only natural pantheistic materials can be used in the community’s service. This “symbiosis” relationship has to be learnt deeply, understood and then practiced. We have to wean ourselves off buying everything with money and learn how to be self-sufficient, learn the nature of symbiosis, learn how cow protection is a socio-agri-eco activity, not a commercial activity, which is a massive task in and of itself. A “symbiosis” relationship with food is a personal relationship of knowing where our food originates and how it is grown, and the seasonal differences of diet, unlike an impersonal relationship with supermarket food bought with money, it could have been grown anyhow/anyway and imported from half way around the world, and the likelihood is that violent fertilisers have been used to grow it, especially the so called “organic” labelled food. And of course, there is no natural diet associated with supermarket food buying, there are no seasons in supermarkets and this takes us further away from our natural symbiotic relationship with the natural seasonal world. In other words, supermarket food means we have less natural symbiotic choice in our diets because supermarkets provide all foods all year around, a highly unnatural, artificial dynamic.
The concept of agricultural “symbiosis” is based on the aphorism “live locally, eat locally,” a gulf away from the ridiculous global trading economy concept of importing and exporting foods, services and goods. By the time you put the food into your kitchen shelves its already so many days old and has already lost its subtle energies, vital for good health. Fresh food means picked, cooked, offered and respected all on the same day, that’s what “eating locally” means.
“So you have to become an ideal society. You live locally, and be self-sufficient. They will see that it is possible to live locally without movement, and still highly cultured men, self-sufficient. That is required.” May 28th walk, Rome 1974. Srila Prabhupada.
And Cow Protection fits this concept like a glove for the whole planet. Local holistic Symbiotic Cow Protection, not Commercialised Cow Protection and supermarket food buying. Food is another huge subject in and of itself, but suffice to say here within this article our main aim is to grow all our own fresh healthy food locally and not to buy into the absurd exploitative global food market which is pre-dominated by the animal slaughter industry. To actually be a pure Vegetarian or Vegan is impossible whilst simultaneously buying foods in the global food market. That is another story, fit for another debate and presentation, no doubt, one that we will not attempt in this presentation.
Then the principles of “community” are fully interactive with, and connected to local economy, cow protection, food production, natural construction, and human skills and labour, the whole model becomes synergetic, self-perpetuating and self-contained. The fully wholesome concept of community and cow protection is self-sufficiency, not money making or business opportunities. That would ruin the whole project and make it a failure. In a Krishna Conscious “community”, Preaching is the Essence, not business. Showing the alternative by natural and symbiotic practical and pragmatic examples, not mimicking the very toxic capitalistic model.
The whole idea behind symbiotic cow protection is for “community” to exist in an economic climate without having to imitate, succour or succumb to capitalism, westernism, animal slaughter and money. When we realise how bad our modern environment has conditioned us to habitual bad economic and social processes then Cow Protection and Community will seem like heaven sent. In other words, the combination of these two opulence’s,” Cow Protection” and “Community” provide the ideal, and consummate example of the alternative lifestyle to the overburdening Capitalistic and Democratic global models of today and will bring lasting peace, happiness and joy to Society.
“Our business is we want to sell books not to make money. Now, if you simply take it formally… Hayagrīva has taken the formality: we have to keep some cows; never mind we have to take payment from others. That is not cow protection. Cow protection means just like Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is tending the cows. He is going, taking the cows personally from His royal palace, going to the forest whole day, working there. Is it not, cowherds boy? And taken some little fruit, mother, whatever mother has given. They are playing that……”
“So this is cow protection. Not that “Somebody will give money and we shall keep some third-class cows and feed there, and become cow protector.” We must tend the cows very carefully so that they will give us sufficient milk. And with that milk we shall live. “No, because we are giving protection to cow, you send money for the cows and the cow protector, and earn money there and give us money. We shall eat nicely and sleep.” As soon as this practice is going on, then next will be, “Give me some LSD. Give me something else.” This will go on. We don’t want that.” Srila Prabhupada lecture April 5th 1972. Melbourne.(Bold words added by myself.)
Cow Protection and Community are for the people, managed by the people, designed for the people, and governed by the people, locally. This is how Society, and by default, Varnashrama is originated, created and practiced.
Its not that a “community” devotee is endeavouring to deny the existence of money, that would be foolish, its more the story of how positively not to use money, to avoid its corruptible disingenuous, convenient nature, and that is a tough assignment, especially in food production and farming. The more we can avoid the “convenience” of money the better. But as we all know in most countries of the world, money is used for taxes, for land, and for paying bills that come to us daily.
So, the idea in “community” is to separate personal life from money matters, to live in a bubble so to speak to avoid the association of materialists and all their exploitative agricultural processes…… purity is the force…..because money does not matter, food matters. The purity and nature of true “community” within the economic model of cow protection, both in the mode of goodness, is that the true defined goal is to achieve the platform of self-sufficiency, environmental pantheism, and wholesome togetherness. What “community” is aiming to achieve is a shared platform of wealth, a co-operative activity for farming, construction and labour, and most of all a beautiful natural lifestyle that is not following the abusive exploitative nature of Capitalism, so that it brings devotees and “community” closer together, giving us all equal opportunity, and respect for the environment, viz-a-viz personal environmental pantheism. And this way of life is exactly the No. 6 purpose of Iskcon.
Iskcon purpose No 6, by Srila Prabhupada;
#6 To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler, more natural way of life#. (Please note Srila Prabhupada also uses the word “purpose” in the No.6 purpose of Iskcon. So this purpose is also doubly emphasized.)
So, within this model of social lifestyle, “Community”, money is generated through a publicly transparent body of Brahmanas who direct the business activities. And these Brahminically directed business activities are reported to the “community” transparently at all relevant daily “community” meetings. By using this preferred intelligent, distinguished, discriminative and more ethical method of money generation, money only enters into the “community” in a very controlled, narrow route so that money is only touched and dealt with by the few and used for its purpose, utility is the principle.
The concept of unprincipled utilitarianism leaves a lot to be desired, especially when using money, technology and power. Unless utilitarianism leads to “community”, “cow protection” and “a mode of goodness economic lifestyle” then that utilitarianism is straight forward exploitation, abuse and our western disease, both directly and indirectly, and grossly, emotionally and subtly. And then we find an exact shadow copy of capitalism not community, commercial cow protection rather than symbiotic cow protection, and the two lower modes of nature, not the mode of goodness. From the point of view of a member of true community, unprincipled utilitarianism is divergent, divisive and socially unsupportive, as well as ecologically unsustainable,
The concept of “community” is built on some very deep-rooted principles;
Firstly “community” is a base of ethical, sober, sense-controlled persons. It is not licentious like Capitalism, where the senses are out of control and actively encouraged to engage in anything that the senses can find or invent. Capitalism is an opposite and antithetic model to “community.” Community, borne from the mode of goodness is where sense control originates and is uppermost. Community existence can only be identified through controlling of the senses, properly placed communication, and the fully inclusive nature. Community communication is served through Istaghosti and consensual agreement and commitment, but above all, conflict-resolution. If there are no conflict resolution facilities, “community” can’t exist. The Law is the framework of community, which sets us free.
Secondly “community” is a fully comprehensive “inclusive” dynamic. By the time “community” has been achieved through directive workshop principles and carefully managed staging steps, all the false pre-concepts; the needs to control others, the prejudices and chaos, and the needs to convert and preach at, and especially anti-social behaviour, have all been openly reconciled. “Community” is based on true communication, and this can only be truly achieved when our hearts are cleared of deep-seated, unwanted roots of weeds, a mode of goodness existence.
Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.2.19, by Srila Prabhupada.
“As soon as irrevocable loving service is established in the heart, the effects of nature’s modes of passion and ignorance, such as lust, desire and hankering, disappear from the heart. Then the devotee is established in goodness, and he becomes completely happy.”
And this translates to the longevity of “community” as to whether it continues to progress or withers up and dies, and regresses back to pseudo-community, to attempt to begin the building process again. “Community” is a recyclable dynamic but it does not and can not exist artificially, it is either a bona fide “community” or else it is a false representation or shadow of “community.” In other words, it is either “community” or it is not. And “community” means gaining freedom, there is no repression in true community, there is no dictatorship and no totalitarian state, no anti-social behaviour. Community means freedom for all its members, not just a few, not even a majority, but all its members. Shared and recognised freedom is another main goal of community and this brings with it so many opportunities, so much joy and happiness, and so much shared strength and power for all.
Thirdly “community” that exists in the mode of goodness is opulently and overwhelmingly simple. In fact, it is so simple that its whole economic model can be based on Cow Protection Agriculture and Trading. The economic model for “community” is a fully inclusive, self-perpetuating, internal model. That does not mean that every member of “community” is a farmer or agriculturalist, far from it, but the essential truth of “community” that exists in the mode of goodness, can only exist through an Agricultural model to produce food, fertilisers, self-sufficiency, self- construction, natural products and personal pantheism.
There is no other economic mode of goodness model that community can adopt. That’s why the essential Symbiotic Cow Protection model is at its core, its heart of hearts, the quintessential mode of goodness economic model, the Guru, Sadhu and Shastra Model. Without Symbiotic Cow Protection there can be no meaningful global agriculture model, and therefore community cannot exist. This is the integrity, synergy and honesty of community and cow protection.
Prabhupada: “If you open farm for financial help, then it will not be successful. You should take to farming for supporting yourself. That’s all. Grow your own food. Grow your own cloth. There is no need of financial help from outside. You get your food grains sufficiently, rice, dahl, wheat, vegetables, milk, sugar. Bas You get everything. From these five, six items you should be economically free. That you have to do, not for trade to get money. Then it will be failure.”
This is the seed of community. Where it all begins. The deep meaningful lifestyle. The alternative Society. Not just philosophy in words, but philosophy in action.
Srimad Bhagavatam 5.16.24. By Srila Prabhupada.
“The prosperity of humanity does not depend on a demoniac civilization that has no culture and no knowledge but has only gigantic skyscrapers and huge automobiles always rushing down the highways. The products of nature are sufficient. When there is a profuse supply of milk, yogurt, honey, food grains, ghee, molasses, dhotis, saris, bedding, sitting places and ornaments, the residents are actually opulent. When a profuse supply of water from the river inundates the land, all these things can be produced, and there will not be scarcity. This all depends, however, on the performance of sacrifice as described in the Vedic literature.”
Our mission is to lift Srila Prabhupada’s words and Vani from His Books and put them into action so they are not just words in His books, but so that we love and live His words. As He said in one place (Vrindavan May 27th 1977) … “farm,farm,farm,farm,..” That’s the next step in the Iskcon story. And this will then take us to the next steps………. establishing the loving eternal model of Iskcon.
In the mode of goodness our environment is perceived to be connected directly to Krishna’s external energy which means all our activities and decisions are resolved on that axiomatic truth. This is another main function of “community”. It’s a natural symbiotic ethical relationship with our pantheistic understanding of our environment by seeing our planet as our Mother, Mother Bhumi. Otherwise if we abuse and exploit our environment through industrialisation and by using ecologically unsustainable materials we can not maintain our status of “community” and Cow Protection. It fails daily and the integrity breaks down once again.
Fourthly, the concept of the singular “charismatic” leader of community is non-existent. All members of true community are qualified charismatic leaders and well-wishers, all in their own ways and in their own right, because each individual member of community is free, and has found, and can perceive recognisable freedom.
Translation of Bhagavad-gita. As It Is. 5.18. By Srila Prabhupada.
“The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].”
Governance of “community” is executed in the forum of community meetings which is also an all-inclusive cultural dynamic. The oneness of community is how the equality is shared and related amongst each other, and the differences of community are exhibited by the contributions each member can give and contribute. That’s why the members of an Agriculturally based, community economic system are not all farmers but have a diverse set of skills and knowledge. No man is an island, and symbiosis relationships depend on sharing, giving and expounding/expanding.
Community linked with Cow Protection can only truly exist in a mode of goodness dynamic. And “community” is defined as a localisation of Society. And Cow Protection is defined as a symbiotic relationship that solves all our economic problems, but only in the mode of goodness. Cow Protection in the two lower modes of nature solves nothing in a natural sustainable way and is not an authentic model, it is a modern-day man-made unnatural contrived model and is also unable to engage with, and connect to “Community”. And “community” in the two lower modes of nature only proliferates and mimics capitalistic society, hence it is labelled pseudo-community.
If we try to mimic modern dairy models in our cow protection projects we wind up using ecologically unsustainable building and construction materials, and we lose sight of the actual goals of real cow protection, and our natural symbiotic relationship is lost, and the Cow Protection projects function more akin to Zoos, tourist centres and Cow sanctuaries. Whereas, natural symbiotic Cow Protection offers permanent, deep and meaningful relationships. This is the secret and art of successful Cow Protection, the relationship between man and cow, not as a consumer of so called “Ahimsa” milk bought with money in a remote impersonal retail way, but through real living dependence in a comprehensive way as a natural personal relationship on a daily basis.
Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.19 by Srila Prabupada,
“There are so many facilities afforded by cow protection, but people have forgotten these arts. The importance of protecting cows is therefore stressed by Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad-gītā (kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vāṇijyaṁ vaiśya-karma svabhāvajam). Even now in the Indian villages surrounding Vṛndāvana, the villagers live happily simply by giving protection to the cow. They keep cow dung very carefully and dry it to use as fuel. They keep a sufficient stock of grains, and because of giving protection to the cows, they have sufficient milk and milk products to solve all economic problems. Simply by giving protection to the cow, the villagers live so peacefully. Even the urine and stool of cows have medicinal value.”
Likewise, with “community”. If we use the word “community” to describe our social situations but don’t facilitate all the principles of “community”, especially by not putting in place the facility of communal conflict resolution, all we have really achieved is pseudo-community, which is a cul-de-sac of social homogenous-ness leading to chaos, anti-social behaviour and later to Institutionalisation and Religious dogma. One of the main punctuated issues in pseudo-community is anti-social behaviour. If anti-social behaviour is not recognised and rectified, community is unachievable. Anti-social behaviour has a huge range of criteria, and being able to identify it requires huge positive social skills. Needless to say, modern day society and religious organisations are rife with anti-social behaviour.
“Community” is mystical (pause)…….., and a miracle (another pause)………and full of love, and a supreme adventure of the utmost careful design. It is not cheap and immediate, but needs to be learnt over time, it needs your special attention, what we call in the west “quality time” if it stands any chance of succeeding. And it needs bona fide guidance, honest and true. It is the premier and prime social/economic vehicle model to attain the freedom we all so desire, the freedom we all are searching for, freedom from the modes of nature. The art of “community” maintenance and growth is discovered by understanding the goals, the inherent nature, and its definition. By acting within those recognised parameters and characteristic social boundaries, the longevity and existence of community is ascertained and real freedom is achieved.
Srimad Bhagavatam. 1.2.19 by Srila Prabhupada.
“The effect of devotional service becomes manifest by complete elimination of these effects of passion and ignorance. The devotee is fixed at once in the mode of goodness, and he makes further progress to rise to the position of vasudeva, or the state of unmixed sattva, or śuddha-sattva.”
If there are no processes of social and economic reformation, protocols and justice, our Society just spirals and helixes out of control into the abyss of dogma, money making, formality and impersonalism. What is in place to protect ourselves individually and collectively from suffering the sweet, white plateau of homogeneous-ness, the impersonal Brahman, and injustice?
De-contaminating our existences from self-inflicted and wilful head-less-ness are these two wonderful principles of personal life;
Agricultural Cow Protection and Trading.
If we don’t follow these two deliberate principles of social and economic structure, have we not failed to establish the content, foundation and conclusion of life described and prescribed in Srila Prabhupada’s Books and His Iskcon? Are not Srila Prabhupada’s Books the basis, Books Are The Basis. And if we have not, have we not reinvented something that neither needs inventing nor mending, just because we have not even experienced it all first hand, yet, or made it work?
Do we have real “community” that leads to Society? And where is the Agricultural Cow Protection and Trading model that Krishna so desires and instructs us all to follow? And if we don’t have one or the other or both, then what do we have?
Srila Prabhupada letter. Vrindavana November 28 1976
“You say we must have a gosala trust, that is our real purpose. krsi-goraksya-vanijyam vaisya karma svabhava-jam, (Bg 18.44). Where there is agriculture there must be cows. That is our mission: Cow protection and agriculture and if there is excess, trade. This is a no-profit scheme. For the agriculture we want to produce our own food and we want to keep cows for our own milk. The whole idea is that we are Iskcon, a community to be independent from outside help. This farm project is especially for the devotees to grow their own food. Cotton also, to make their own clothes. And keeping cows for milk and fatty products.”
Srila Prabhupada brings in all the concepts together here in this small paragraph. And it illustrates how important He meant Agricultural Cow Protection, Simple Living, Community and a mode of goodness economic model to be. When all these items exist simultaneously next to each other, up and running, then this will be our achievement by putting His words into action and living them. And it is only when this happens will it be the complete Iskcon package.
Agriculture means there must be Cows, Bulls and land.
It is not a business, it is a no-profit scheme.
The aim is to become self-sufficient and independent from outside help.
The project is for devotees, not employees or Woofers, it is self-contained.
The milk is never sold or business orientated but is for us to live by, to keep the milk.
All wrapped in a mode of goodness dynamic.
This is what symbiosis means.
Community is the model that Agricultural Cow Protection is situated in.
The two lower modes of nature are conspicuous by their absence.
This is a fully all-inclusive project and an ecologically sustainable model.
The concept is based on devotees engaging more thoroughly in chanting Hare Krishna.