Krishna Consciousness & Ecological Awareness

Action NOT Debate
September 17, 2007, 6:16 pm
Filed under: Got Milk?

by Gopananda dasa Adhikari

It is so nice to read so many concerned devotees debating the issues related
to cow protection. Here on the outskirts of Buenos Aires I am training two
jersey oxen as well as two horses to work the farm. But my main occupation is a
one-hectare bio-intensive organic garden. All that I have gleamed from this
conference comes down to the fact that to have cow protection one needs to work
oxen as the priority with milk as a by-product.Thus action not debate.

How many ISKCON farms are productively using their oxen, either if producing
goods or in services, like tourism for example?
How many ISKCON farms have organic agricultural businesses?
How many ISKCON farms are actually earning a living from selling orgainic
vegetables directly to the market?
How many ISKCON farms are adding value to this vegetable production to make
things like organic baby purees?

We can debate ad infinitum, but as any artist knows – when is the art piece
finished? Never. When is the debate finished? Never. Debate is in part useless
if it does not yield action. As Bhisma says in the Mahabarata, “the better part
of destiny is action.”

Syamasundara´s comments on milk costs and demand/supply considerations of
producing protected cow milk, and all other comments on the lacto-veg and vegan
arguments are all sound to an extent. But if we know that the viability of the
whole cow protection model rests in working the oxen and if that entails
organic vegetable and grain production, and if we are not doing it, then our
debate is just going around and around in circles, as an artist never finishing
his painting.

The end of oil could well be a red herring – new technologies are available
to replace oil and keep energy abundant.
Consumer demand, especially from devotees, is highly sensitive to price
considerations, and will not easily pay 6 times the going rate.
Cow protection as a pure novelty for “krsna´s” is nice but non-replicable in
the larger stage.
That others will come and take the baby is dubious as we are way ahead of the

We are the cusp of the curve on this issue. But we need to litteraly take the
bull by the horns and more on to the next painting, the next stage.
At the moment, I am not using neither horses or oxen on the farm, though I
have every intention of doing so. First I am creating a profitable organic
vegetable business, then I will introduce animals into it where necesary and
when I and the animals are trained to do it.

As in business reengineering, so popular in the 90s, instead of devising the
business from “zero budget” and implementing it in staged, feasible parts, it
tended to concentrate on things like the implementation of new technologies.
This meant that rather than reengineer the business from scratch it just added
new layers of plasters to deep underlying problems.

We are in the same boat. The sacred cow is two fold, milk production and ox
work. But to have milk sales the costs need to come down, and to have ox work
we need to have economic activity using them – both goods and services.
First we need to form organic vegetable farms, with direct sales of freshly
picked, very healthy vegies straight to the consumer – often our congregation.
Then we can see how to put oxen to work as a complement to the farming system.
What I mean to say is that we need to concentrate on the business not the
technology (oxen). Then, when the business yields we can see in what way the
technology can be implemented in more efficient ways.

We are idealists too often and not pragmatists. Business just means the
quality of being busy. If we are busy doing an activity, but that activity is
loss yielding, then it is only a hobby, by which we finance it by other
We can not afford to keep cow protection and ox work as a hobby. If so then
you have a lot of money, for it is a very expensive hobby.
The profit motive is not bad; it is essential.
Greed is bad, profit is required.

Check out bio-intensive means of production. I have poured tons of manure
onto my double dug beds of 1.3 meters by 6 meters. It is a clay soil so I have
added a lot of sand. The veg that is grown is incredible. All that I need to do
now is stop the investment, as it is now complete, and concentrate on
efficiencies and making a profit.
The technology – oxen, will be found a place – ploughing, transport, and
tourism (eg. cart rides).

Knowing the Manor and other ICKON farms, you have everything there to do it –
Land, pleanty of it, Labour – employ it, Capital – lots of it. To the latter
one you may smirk, but then you live in highly developed countries, in the UK
the hindus are rich and money is peanuts. Here in the third world, money is
hard to get: There is no comparison.
What is lacking?
The entrepeneur – the person who gets up one day with the right idea and
organises land, labour and capital to accomplish hir vision.

Why won´t we do it?

That is what I am asking.

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