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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sacred Cows or Sacred Cars?

Click here to read the full piece from Dandavats

by Bala Krsna Das

I would like to take you on a journey, and am going to ask you to please fasten your seat belts.

We are going to time travel a few years into the future, to a small village, to take a little tour.
As we arrive in the village we are struck by its serenity and cleanliness, and the vitality of its residents, including the children, the women, the elders, and the cows. Oxen pull carts and cows graze within the village, and other oxen pull farm implements in the nearby small fields. We discover that the village is inhabited almost entirely by devotees of Krsna.

As we make inquiries we learn that this village was started by disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and that there are even a few of those pioneers still living in the village.

In the centre of the village is a temple, and we are invited to go there first to see Radha and Krsna. After seeing the Deities in the temple we are offered maha Prasad sweets made from milk from cows that live in the community. Continuing our tour, we are taken next to the community school where we see happy children in the playground.

A little further down the road we are shown an anaerobic composting digester that transforms biomass, including both human and animal manure, into high grade compost, methane, and CO2. The compost, we learn, is used to enhance the soil in the fields and gardens, and the methane is used for heating and cooking. The CO2 is harnessed to enhance growth in the adjacent greenhouses. Everything in the village gets recycled, including especially the biomass left from harvested fields, which is seen as a great asset.

We observe solar panels on the rooftops of most buildings. Our guide then shows us the microhydro turbines that are hooked into nearby streams.

Near the border of the village is a parking lot where there are several buses, cars, and small trucks. Two of the buses, we learn, have brought visitors to this now famous self-sufficient village. Another bus belongs to the village, and is used by the community for going to local towns for sankirtana, and for going to Rathayatra festivals in the big cities. Sometimes the bus is used by the village school for taking students on field trips. We also learn that the families in the village cooperatively own several cars and trucks to be used for their occasional trips outside the village. Using the hemp grown by farmers in the village, they are able to produce all the fuel needed to drive these vehicles.

This ends our short tour, and we prepare to return to the present. Hopefully we will return again to find out more about the history and dynamics of this wonderful place, but at least we have been able to observe some of the highlights. One of the deepest impressions we take with us is the presence and importance of cows in the village and how much they are obviously loved by all the villagers.

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