Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Inside the Farm Circle #5
Tuesday, September 9th, 2008
This week's program was all kinds of special, as we were graced with the presence of our esteemed guest and keynote speaker HH Bhakti-Raghava Swami, who spoke about his vast experience and wisdom in helping to implement the other 50% of Srila Prabhupada's vision, varnasrama-dharma.
One of Maharaja's main points was that Prabhupada very clearly stressed the implementing of daivi-varnasrama, with self-sufficient rural communities as a key practical application, as one of the vital aspects of his mission.
Varnasrama is vast, complex topic. It boils down to simple living, but the path to simple living is very complicated, especially in the West.
We don't know all of the aspects, sacrifices, and joys of simple living, therefore we have the tendency to become unconvinced of its merits, especially in our ultra post-modern world. The true test, the true challenge, is to understand and apply what was in Prabhupada's mind regarding the task of varnasrama.
Maharaja is trying, with body, mind, and soul, to serve Prabhupada with his utmost sincerity and ability in this task. He has helped establish a rural community in Indonesia, which began as a hostel program with university students in Sumatra. Land was bought and developed to expand and preserve the community.
Standing on 150 acres, there are now 27 families living there, and its complete with asramas for unmarried men and women, a town hall, a guest house, and all the time-tested amenities, such as fresh wells for each family. And of course, no electricity.
But who would want to live in such a primitive way? If we have this limiting attitude, then we miss the real abundance and wealth that Mother Bhumi has to offer. When we are in tune, we understand in gross and subtle ways what Bhumi has to offer.
The devotees in Indonesia and also living in similar communities in India that Maharaja has visited, such as New Gokula Dham in Karnataka, are bringing it all back home with traditional village technology, such as weaving their own cloth, using ox power, and creating their own herbal medicines.
Maharaja read about Prabhupada's Four Movements, which he mentioned in a letter to a Gandhi supporter in 1949 and also in his "Essay on Gita Nagari" from a 1956 version of BTG (which can be found in the Folio). The four pillars of Prabhupada's movement are 1. Sankirtana, the distribution of the Holy Name 2. Temple Worship 3. Spiritual Initiation, spiritual training 4. The Classless Society, or daivi-varnasrama, where everyone is a devotee.
The need to establish this pillar of the Classless Society is a visionary one, and the need is for visionary devotees. Prabhupada stressed numerous times that the natural, village way of life is the best way to come to this state of devotional society.
Simple living brings the highest spiritual opulence and also real material opulence (grains and cows), free of all-consuming greed and envy.
Maharaja has written a few books on the subject, such as "Make Vrndaban Villages" and "Varnasrama Education", and you can learn all about it at his website www.varnasrama.org