Srila Prabhupada: How to solve one’s economic problems
The following are some excerpts from various conversations wherein Srila Prabhupada explains very nicely how anyone can live easily without much anxiety in this world, grow his or her own food for his family, and have more than ample time for spiritual life.
This lifestyle is contrasted with modern city living where one has to work most of the day, drive for hours back and forth to work, be in total anxiety all the while, and in the end get ulcers, headaches, or some other serious disease for your reward for all this work.
Krishna does not want His part and parcels to suffer like this. He gives us the recommendations for how to live in this or any age.
Every once in a while I get some negative feedback where a devotee will say to me - so I am in ignorance if I don’t grow my own food? How can I possibly live in the country if I have so many obligations here in the city?
Who is going to afford this place?
All these questions are answered below by Srila Prabhupada.
One who thinks a little soberly about these things will ask himself - what does it mean to live simply with high thinking? Isn’t this supposed to be the motto of all Hare Krishna devotees? If so, then why do the majority of them not do it? Do we just read these words from our Acharya and think they are meant for someone else?
They will say - I am not a farmer, I am an engineer, or a Doctor, or a technologist, or whatever. I have so many responsibilities in this city. How can I possibly leave all this? And furthermore, why should I? I can hear them all now.
One point Prabhupada is trying to make in all these talks is this - we, as spirit souls really don’t belong here, and the work we do to sustain ourselves for the most part does not further the betterment of human society towards the goal of liberation. Present day society is a nuts and bolts conglomeration of humanity which produces unfit humans for any kind of progressive path towards ultimate liberation of the soul from the material tabernacle. Nobody knows the actual goal of human life, except for the devotees of the Lord. And what do the devotees do as work which practices what we preach? We work right along side of the karmis whom we will criticize in our Srimad Bhagavatam classes.
And yet we have all the answers to all the problems. Prabhupada many times has said, that any question you may encounter in preaching about Krishna Consciousness can be answered from Bhagavad gita.
OK, do we accept that?
Then what does Krishna tell us about how to solve all our economic problems? Annad bhavanti bhutani.
Lectures, May 24, 1975, Fiji
Nowadays they are facing a scarcity of food. The solution is there in the Bhagavad-gita. Krishna says, annad bhavanti bhutani: "Bhutani, all living entities, both animal and man, they can live very nicely without any anxiety provided they have got sufficient food grains." Now what is your objection to this? This is the solution. Krishna says, annad bhavanti bhutani. So it is not utopian; it is practical. You must have sufficient food grain to feed the human being and the animal, and everything will be peaceful immediately. Because people, if one become hungry, he is disturbed. So give him food first of all. That is Krishna's injunction. Is that very impossible, impractical? No. You grow food more and distribute. So much land is there, but we are not growing food. We are growing or busy in manufacturing tools and motor tires. Then now eat motor tires. But Krishna says that "You grow anna." Then there is no question of scarcity. Annad bhavanti bhutani.
So to sum up what you will read below--
Srila Prabhupada tells us --
....how to make the transition from city to rural life.
...tells us that everybody should grow food
...shows us how important and sacred are grains
...self preservation is the first law of nature and the fear of not having food, or being unable to afford it for daily sustenance is eliminated by growing one’s own
...having one’s own food source means you become independent of the karmis’ rat race
.. growing one’s own food is "our mission"
...how to start this? He started his movement under a tree!
.. everyone should live on farms, not just householders
..Indian farmers are clever - they move to city, get a job and send
most of the money back to the family, Then when they have enough money - quit their job, buy land and start to grow their own food and become independent !!
... and more....
1) Conversations, April 18, 1974, Bombay
Prabhupada: (Sanskrit) From our childhood, if there was a rice grain on the floor, my father, er, my mother would ask me, "Take it and touch it on your head."
Dr. Patel: We were advised not to tread on the grains. (break)
Prabhupada: Because by chance, if the grain is struck with the leg, she asked, "Take it and you touch it on the head."
Dr. Patel: That is the culture. That is real culture.
Prabhupada: Means from the very beginning he understands anna-brahma.
Dr. Patel: Even it is not spoken, you practice it.
Prabhupada: Yes, practice it. According to Vedic culture, the higher class, in every home there is narayana-sila for worship, especially of the brahmanas.
2) Lectures, October 29, 1976, Vrindavan
There are, for the materialistic person, two varieties of self-interest. One is concentrated interest and other is expanded interest. Just like a child, if you give him some foodstuff, a cake, he will immediately eat himself, and if he is little liberal, then his other friends also, he will give. First of all, he wants to eat, and then the other friend, "Oh you are eating, give me something." Alright you also take. So, this is called extended interest and the beginning is self-interest, anna brahma(?), I shall... Self-preservation is the first law of nature. ...
3) Teachings of Queen Kunti 18
It is by ignorance that people think that by opening factories they will be happy. Why should they open factories? There is no need. There is so much land, and one can produce one's own food grains and eat sumptuously without any factory. Milk is also available without a factory. The factory cannot produce milk or grains. The present
scarcity of food in the world is largely due to such factories. When everyone is working in the city to produce nuts and bolts, who will produce food grains? Simple living and high thinking is the solution to economic problems. Therefore the Krishna consciousness movement in engaging devotees in producing their own food and living self-sufficiently so that rascals may see how one can live very peacefully, eat the food grains one has grown oneself, drink milk, and chant Hare Krishna.
4) Lectures, September 28, 1974, Mayapur
Therefore Krishna gives His instruction. He's the supreme ruler. He gives this order: annad bhavanti bhutani: "You require food grains." This is practical. Who will disagree with Krishna, that "We don't require food grains; we require bolts and nuts in the factory"? Who will say? This is practical.
5) Lectures, October 15, 1974, Mayapur
Here it is said that avidya-kama-karmabhih. By ignorance, they are thinking by opening factories they will be happy. That is avidya. He does not know that this is ignorance. Why you should open factory? This is called ugra-karma. There is no need of opening
factory. You have got land. Here are so many lands. You produce your food grains. Annad bhavanti bhutani. You eat sumptuously food grain, milk, and that will be available without any factory. The factory cannot produce milk or food grain. The present scarcity of foodstuff means everybody is engaged in the city, producing bolts and nuts. Who is producing food grain? This is the solution of economic problem. Annad bhavanti bhutani. Therefore we are trying to engage our men to produce their own food. Be self-sufficient so that these rascals may see that how one can live very peacefully, eating the food grains and milk, and chant Hare Krishna. This is our mission. We don't deny this food.
6) Conversations, April 19, 1974, Hyderabad
Mahamsa: I don't think we can start building until we finish this temple.
Prabhupada: No, you can start in a cottage.
Mahamsa: Yes, small way.
Mahamsa: And then develop.
Prabhupada: Building is not very important. Work is important. Activity is important. I started my movement not with buildings, but real activity. So building is opulence. You can do without opulence. You can start anything, even underneath a tree. There is no
7) Conversations, January 4, 1977, Bombay
…concerned about their business and industry. If these young men are held up in plain living, then where their industry...? Industry means to exploit the work of others and give them one dollar and make profit ten dollars. This is industry, at the cost of others some capitalist gaining huge profit. This is industry. "And let them live in a hellish
condition, go to hell. Never mind. You work in the factory, and we make profit." The Communist is trying to take over the industry and get the whole profit. (laughs) That's all. The condition remains the same--hellish. But... What is called...? Complacent, he's satisfied that "I am getting the profit." All foolish. The Iran is also imitating European method of exploiting. They're bringing men from village. In India also, British period, they used to, that, but Indian people are little clever. They would come from the village to the city alone, not with family. They earn money and send to the family. And whenever they like, they go away. They're not dependent. And if you bring family, you have to work. That system is still going on. The village men, they come but they do not bring their family. Family remains in the village. He earns, he lives some way or other and sends money there, and the wife who is intelligent. He (she) accumulates the money and when there is enough money he (she) purchases land, investment. So... In after few years, when they have got enough land, they do not come back. They produce their own necessities. Very nice. Hare Krishna. As soon as they are self-sufficient from the land they no more work. That's a good idea. Remain in the village with family.
8) Conversation, January 11, 1977, India (on train to Allahabad)
Hari-sauri: To enter into a city is so imposing on your consciousness.
Prabhupada: Up to that point, simply rubbish, all papers thrown here and there. People are living in... Now see here, how it is open and pleasing. Organize this farm project. Farm. (background talking)
Hari-sauri: He's just saying that in the West one requires a great deal of capital. To start a farm, to get the land, you need a lot of money because land is very expensive. And also we have to use modern farming techniques because we have so few men to run the farms.
Prabhupada: No, you show example. People will do automatically. When the people find it is very nice, they will take.
Hari-sauri: Should we try to make an effort to have our householders go and live on the farms, a special effort? If it's ready to do that?
Prabhupada: Why householders? Everyone. Hare Krishna. (japa)
Ramesvara: In America there is a very big emphasis on getting people to join us by moving into our temples. The temple presidents are very eager to get as many people to move in as possible, but in the long run most people cannot come up to the standard.
Prabhupada: Therefore I am... Farms.
Ramesvara: But what...? For those people who already have their jobs, instead of...
Prabhupada: That job... They will be very soon jobless. Don't worry. (laughs) They will come. They will be obliged to come. Now they have got job, but as the days are advancing in Kali-yuga, they'll be jobless.
Hari-sauri: So we can expect that material conditions are going to become very much worse than this.
Prabhupada: They may come or not. We don't care for it. Let us establish an ideal society. That is the...
9) Conversations, May 14, 1975, Perth
Prabhupada: The solution is there. They won't take it. Solution is there, that everyone produce your own food. There is so much land; utilize it. The solution is there. No. They want to sit down on the table, chair, in a very nice compartment, and making solution. They won't go.
Amogha: He was saying that your solution was too simple. He said that people will not accept it because it is too simple.
Prabhupada: That is his ignorance. They will say it is primitive. That is the only solution. According to the Vedic system, you cannot use anything which you cannot produce. Suppose this we are using, but according the Vedic system we should not use it because I cannot produce it. Then the whole solution is there. Nobody will manufacture this because there will be no customer. If I refuse use of this machine, thinking that "I cannot produce it; I should not use it," then where is the customer? The so-called industry will automatically stop, and he has to go to the village outlying.
Paramahamsa: Some of the orthodox hippies have this philosophy, and they reject all machines and things that they cannot make themselves.
Prabhupada: That is natural. It is good. But they are not led by good leader. Otherwise next alternative is this, that you have to give up this artificial way of civilization. Now this land is vacant. We can produce so much food grains if it is utilized.
10) Conversations, January 4, 1977, Bombay
Prabhupada: That should be stressed. First business is the neighboring village people, they should come, chant and take prasada. And gradually, when they become interested, then they come, live with us, work with us. In this way they should be induced, bare living and chanting.
Jagadisha: As in Hyderabad.
Prabhupada: Yes. Then our movement is success. Our only motive is how people become interested in Krishna consciousness. We have no other motive. No economic problem... Economic problem is... What is economic problem? We produce our own food and cloth, barely, and spiritual life... On the farm it is easier. And if they are dispatched to the city for livelihood, there are big, big roads and big, big cars and
big, big anxieties. Then wine, meat, and so on, so on..., suicide, their spiritual life finished. ....
So write very elaborately how to do this. Increase. And in your country, we increase this farm project any unlimited number... So much land is lying vacant.