"You cannot eat anything, even grass without the sanction of God" - Srila Prabhupada
The following is a very interesting conversation wherein Srila Prabhupada explains the difficult situation all kali yuga inhabitants find themselves in. Machines and so called "easy living" vs. working hard in a rural setting and producing your own food. The first is easier for that kind of work only requires one sit at a desk for many, and push some buttons/shuffle some papers - not very physically taxing. But as we see from that kind of inactive sedentary lifestyle all kinds of very serious health and mental problems ensue. On the other hand, when one operates his or her body in a moving physically active way, that is the way God intended us to live - by working hard to produce our necessities. And tremendous health and mental benefits come from this type of satisfying work which one does not get by pushing buttons.
And finally just to be fair, Srila Prabhupada points out that to stop one’s kind of city occupation in this age and go live in the country is almost impossible to do. So he recommends that one keep his job, but add the chanting of Hare Krishna maha mantra to that work. And if one does this, he will get purified of so many anarthas, or unwanted things in his heart. So much so that he may even want to give up city living and the fat pay check and simply go and live more simply so that his pursuit of God consciousness is made easier by living in the mode of goodness instead of the mode of passion and ignorance.
Conversations, May 24, 1974, Rome
Richard Webster: What civilization there is comes chiefly from the television, I'm afraid. I mean the public opinion is made by the television.
Atreya Rishi: The television today is setting up the standard for the civilization, for today's civilization.
Richard Webster: But they talk about nothing but name war (?) and...
Prabhupada: (indistinct) pictures.
Richard Webster: It's much easier. They're producing more television sets (indistinct)
Yogesvara: It's a great science. My mother is an executive in a public relations firm. Her business is to show products, goods, to people that otherwise they have no need for and to convince them that there is some value. It's a very big industry, especially in the United States, public relations, advertising. It's very psychological too. They use all kinds of psychological techniques for inducing people to take things they have no need for.
Prabhupada: All right but thing is that after all our prime necessity is food. So why people are not engaged to produce food?
Richard Webster: Well, in Italy they don't like to work on the land any more. They all want to live in town.
Prabhupada: Yes, that is the defect. That is the defect.
Richard Webster: Especially in Italy.
Prabhupada: You do not want to live in the village, farm. In your country I am seeing. America, the farmer's son, they are leaving. They are not coming back to the country. In India also.
Atreya Rishi: Cities have become centers for sense gratification.
Prabhupada: That's it.
Atreya Rishi: And it attracts...
Richard Webster: Who?
Atreya Rishi: Sense gratification, sensual living.
Richard Webster: Oh, sense gratification.
Atreya Rishi: Yes. So it's attracting undisciplined senses.
Richard Webster: Well, I don't call it sense gratification. To me there's no gratification in city life.
Atreya Rishi: That's because you're wise.
Prabhupada: On the whole, as I began, that there is no guiding men. The brain is lacking.
Richard Webster: Is it wrong to kill, to eat fish?
Prabhupada: You cannot eat anything, even grass, without the sanction of God, what to speak of fish and others. You cannot eat even a piece of grass. Isavasyam idam sarvam yat kinca jagatyam jagat, tena tyaktena bhunjitha. Everything belongs to God. You can simply enjoy after being sanctioned by God. Otherwise not. This is real philosophy. Everything belongs... Just like in this room, it is supposed that everything belongs to me. Even my students, they ask, "May I take this?" They have got right to take, but still, they ask. Similarly, you cannot touch anything - everything belongs to God - without His sanction. This is God consciousness.
Richard Webster: Yes, well, I wholly agree with that.
Prabhupada: You cannot do anything...
Richard Webster: I entirely agree with that.
Prabhupada: ...whimsically. It is not possible. Tena eva sa ucyate. If anyone does whimsically, then he becomes immediately thief. So you are a big philosopher. Kindly you spread...
Richard Webster: Very small philosopher.
Prabhupada: No, that's all right. Anyway, if you spread this God consciousness, this knowledge of God consciousness, philosophy of God consciousness...
Richard Webster: Yes, well, I'm going to write an article on that.
Dhananjaya: Mr. Webster has your Bhagavad-gita, and reads it very intently. And a few days ago he came back for another copy which he recommended to his friends.
Prabhupada: That's nice. You kindly try to spread. Everything, whatever we speak, our philosophy, this is based on this Bhagavad-gita. That's all... Everywhere it is difficult because people have become godless. Still, we have to try our best. The task is difficult,
undoubtedly. It is very difficult task, to bring back people to God consciousness. But still we have to do it to satisfy God. He wants it.
Richard Webster: Well, I'm so very glad. Thank you very much.
Prabhupada: Hare Krishna.
Richard Webster: Hare Krishna. I'll see you tomorrow.
Yogesvara: During your conversation with this gentleman, you mentioned that there was nowhere any sanction by God for industry or business. So does that mean that these workers in factories and industries, to take to Krishna consciousness they could not go on with their work?
Prabhupada: No. Our recommendation is that whatever position you are, you can chant Hare Krishna. So even the workers in the factory, they can chant Hare Krishna. What is the difficulty? Even in factory, they take some leisure hours. So why not sit down for five minutes, ten minutes, and chant Hare Krishna? Where is the difficulty? Apart from the work they are doing, we are recommending, "Whatever is done is done. You chant Hare Krishna. Then everything will be all right." Where is the wrong?
Yogesvara: But eventually it's understood they must stop their industry.
Prabhupada: There is no question of stopping. If that is their livelihood, how they can stop it? That is not possible. But they can add this Hare Krishna mantra chanting. Then things will be adjusted. It is not possible to stop different methods of livelihood. That is not possible. If one can stop, it is well and good, but even he does not stop, he can chant Hare Krishna mantra.
Yogesvara: But ultimately isn't our idea that the city complexes shouldn't remain, that things should become more spread out to farm and rural areas?
Prabhupada: Yes, naturally. If this man is fed up with this industry, he can go back to village and produce his own food. But he is attached to this industrial activity because he is thinking that "We are getting more money for wine and woman and meat. Let me enjoy." That is the perfect, imp... But if he chants Hare Krishna maha-mantra, his
consciousness will be purified and he will be made not interested this kind of work. He will go back to village and produce food.
(I don’t know if I am getting purified, but we do grow most of what we offer and eat here.)
Below - one of our raised beds which is overflowing with salad greens and tomato plants.
Below – approx. 175 potato plants, with 6 different kinds.
Below - inside the greenhouse with tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and basil.