Filed under: Vedic Ecology
“Just as a living being attains a transcendentally attractive form by rendering service to Lord Hari, similarly, all the in habitants of the land and the water assume beautiful forms by taking advantage of the newly fallen water.”-Light of the Bhagavata, Verse Ten
Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.17.3
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Although the cow is beneficial because one can draw religious principles from her, she was now rendered poor and calfless. Her legs were being beaten by a śūdra. There were tears in her eyes, and she was distressed and weak. She was hankering after some grass in the field.
The next symptom of the age of Kali is the distressed condition of the cow. Milking the cow means drawing the principles of religion in a liquid form. The great reishis and munis would live only on milk. Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī would go to a householder while he was milking a cow, and he would simply take a little quantity of it for subsistence. Even fifty years ago, no one would deprive a sādhu of a quart or two of milk, and every householder would give milk like water. For a Sanātanist (a follower of Vedic principles) it is the duty of every householder to have cows and bulls as household paraphernalia, not only for drinking milk, but also for deriving religious principles. The Sanātanist worships cows on religious principles and respects brāhmaṇas. The cow’s milk is required for the sacrificial fire, and by performing sacrifices the householder can be happy. The cow’s calf not only is beautiful to look at, but also gives satisfaction to the cow, and so she delivers as much milk as possible. But in the Kali-yuga, the calves are separated from the cows as early as possible for purposes which may not be mentioned in these pages of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The cow stands with tears in her eyes, the śūdra milkman draws milk from the cow artificially, and when there is no milk the cow is sent to be slaughtered. These greatly sinful acts are responsible for all the troubles in present society. People do not know what they are doing in the name of economic development. The influence of Kali will keep them in the darkness of ignorance. Despite all endeavors for peace and prosperity, they must try to see the cows and the bulls happy in all respects. Foolish people do not know how one earns happiness by making the cows and bulls happy, but it is a fact by the law of nature. Let us take it from the authority of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and adopt the principles for the total happiness of humanity.
“A picturesque scene of green paddy fields enlivens the heart of the poor agriculturalist, but it brings gloom to the face of the capitalist who lives by exploiting the poor farmers.”-Light of the Bhagavata, Verse Nine
By Rebecca Paveley, The Diocese of Oxford Reporter
Churches across the Diocese of Oxford have pledged to buy in local food and services in a bid to support struggling farmers and rural communities.
In a groundbreaking pledge the diocesan synod – the decision making body for the diocese – agreed unanimously to back a call for all churches to use local food at meetings and social gatherings wherever possible.
It is hoped that congregations will continue to keep the pledge when it comes to filling their own shopping baskets at home.
The Church of England nationally has launched a “Shrinking the Footprint” campaign which aims to try and tackle climate change in ‘faith, practice and mission’.
The pledge by churches in our area aims to support local rural communities and businesses, and to cut down on unnecessary food mileage, so reducing carbon emissions.
The Revd Richard Hancock, area dean for the Vale of the White Horse in Oxfordshire, said: “What makes no sense is that food produced locally which does end up in local shops has first had to travel some 60-100 miles to a distribution centre before being driven back in another lorry so I can put it in my shopping basket.
“The hard reality is that our farmers are in crisis. 70% have no one to hand on their business to, and more importantly their knowledge to future generations.
“What will become of our nation is we are unable to feed ourselves?”
Livestock farmer Dickie Green, who is also a churchwarden at Ashbury St Mary on the Wiltshire border, said: “It is good that churches support the fairtrade movement but we have to think about what is happening in this country. It is a tough life for farmers today.”
The pledge commits churches to using local produce wherever possible alongside fairtrade goods, such as tea and coffee.
The Diocese backed a call for churches to use fairtrade products a few years ago, but Diocesan rural officer Glyn Evans said the two pledges would not clash.
This motion – brought by the Vale of the White Horse deanery – won unanimous support from synod members, who are appointed from churches across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.
One a more local level, several deaneries have already passed local resolutions in support of the pledge, including Henley, Newbury, Deddington and Chipping Norton and Claydon.
Oxfordshire is the most rural county in the South East and though the Diocese as a whole is classed as wealthy, there are real pockets of deprivation, many in rural areas, said the Revd Glyn Evans.
Some 25% of rural dwellers have no access to a car and there has been a rise in depression, drug abuse and alcohol related incidents among youngsters in rural areas.
Farmers are also three times more likely to commit suicide than any other profession, he said.
The Diocese of Oxford has a team of rural officers, clergy and lay people, who work to support those struggling to maintain a living in the countryside and synod heard from several of them about the work they do.
“The colorful greenery of the newly grown grass, the seasonal flowers, the frog’s umbrellas, the butterflies, and the other variegatedness of the rainy season perfectly represent a well-to-do family absorbed in vanity over their personal assets.”-Light of the Bhagavata, Verse Eight