Thursday, August 14th, 2008
Braving a few rain showers, we offered all glories to the assembled devotees and guests as we once again gathered in the Teaching Garden for this week's Farm Circle.
Tulasi Manjari gave a short but very informative presentation on the role of women in agriculture, from traditional times to the present day. In her report, she revealed that creating a natural environment based on the land means that women can truly be protected from exploitation in the ugra-karma culture.
Woman is a like a tree with fruits that we should honor properly, as in her natural role as mother and caretaker, she gives the highest example of selfless care. Varnasrama culture and its applications with the land and cows allows women to express this natural role to the highest degree.
Our Vedic mothers are being abused-the cows, Mother Bhumi. It is our prime duty to change this situation. In different situations around the world, women play a key role in the agricultural mood. In Africa, where in many places, self-sufficiency is a must, women are doing most of the key work, like planting, harvesting, and cooking. 60% of houses in Africa are directed by women, and fuller education efforts should be directed towards them.
The woman who is spiritually inclined plays a very big role, for she is a leader in teaching how to dovetail. This is a key part of creating the foundation for creating true varnasrama. Mother Bhumi can be like the goddess of fortune, giving all opulences, if we protect her and use her gifts properly.
A very enlivening discussion then ensued on the role of women in our own community here at New Vrindaban, particularly within a scenario where we would no longer be reliant on outside sources for our foodstuffs. In the rearrangement of the community that might occur, women would take natural roles of leadership in the "culture of care" that would need to develop.
We might find, in this scenario, the most natural dynamic, with men and women complimenting each other to the fullest, transcending our cultural stereotypes and misconceptions. Women would contribute alongside with men on all levels, from managerial to hands-on.
Of course, we don't need a crisis to bring this wholly positive transformation about. What we do need is for the women of our community to get a little ticked off! We need them to take on the roles of leaders to change this community away from one still attached to the mechanisms of exploitation to one of holistic, organic, healthy, potent spirituality.
We then adjourned to a delicious feast of our home-grown green beans, organic Teaching Garden salad, and nice, thick chapatis.