“Forget oil, the new global crisis is food”, this was a news headline covered this year. UN is trying to solve out food crisis through various measures. People are slowly realizing the actual importance of production of organic crop. Modern farming and dairy methods have contributed to wreaking havoc on the eco-system. Today agriculture, which provides the sustenance of human society, is massively dependent on oil and chemical fertilizers. Though initially increasing yield in initial years, these chemicals have proved detrimental to the fertility of soil, sometimes leaving it toxic and unproductive. Genetically modified crops bring their own set of ethical and health issues, leading to a world where some food products are promoted by one government and banned by others.

The basis of all farming remains dependent on nature in form of soil, air and water. Establishing farming methods in harmony with nature can provide long term sustainability. Otherwise, experts tell us, we may be heading towards a global food crisis.

International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), founded by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1966 at New York, has over 40 eco-villages and farm communities around the globe based on the principle of respect for all living beings, in order to promote sustainability and spirituality. Some exist off the grid, existing entirely on natural energy from water and sun. Others simply advocate more responsible and natural living based on sustainable care of the land and the cows. Unlike modern agribusinesses that exploit cows and other animals for their milk, meat and eggs, ISKCON farms, as per the injunction of the Vedas, protect cows throughout their full lives, allowing them to live peacefully even after their milk producing years are over. Vedas have mandated to keep cow as the central basis of farming. The products received from the cow - milk, cow dung and urine - are all useful either for direct consumption or for their use as organic fertilizer or pesticide. Cow’s milk is considered the most miraculous food which helps in developing the finer tissues of the brain that helps in understanding the higher purposes of life. It helps one understand the intricacies of transcendental knowledge. Milk can be transformed into yogurt, curd, butter, ghee and by combining the milk and milk products with grains; hundreds of palatable dishes can be prepared. A patient who is suffering from a disorder of the bowels due to overindulgence in milk products is cured by another milk product, namely curds. Even the urine and stool of cows have medicinal value. Cow dung contains all antiseptic properties and is considered a purifying agent. Cow dung can also be dried and used as fuel. Young bulls are also moved to the farm and there, these energetic animals are trained to plough the fields and carry loads (up to the weight they can comfortably carry) to help in farming activities.
Vedas profess a sweet transcendental interrelation between all living entities, irrespective of not only caste, creed, and color between man and man, but between man and beast, man and birds, man and reptiles, man and plants, etc., and so also between man and God, and between God and others. As such, the farm to be the center for such supreme culture of knowledge. It shall set the example that neither God nor the living being nor Nature is in any way antagonistic toward one another, but that all of them exist in harmony as a complete whole unit. Helping each component and creature of nature for mutual benefit, without exploitation, is the prime concern of Vedic farming. Tiny living entities such as earthworm are taken as natural decomposers and soil-quality enhancers, and their residence in soil is promoted.
A typical example of Vedic farming can be seen in Govardhan Eco Village, at Maharashtra (near Mumbai), where the annual rain water (3000 mm approx.) is collected in large ponds. The water collected there is sufficient enough to irrigate around 70 acres of land for 6-7 months. In order to have a sustainable farm, the first priority is given to conserve water. Water from sewage is treated by planting certain herbs and recycled. Every waste is taken as a precious resource for fertilization and re-use. Cow dunk is used as fertilizers as well as for bio-gas. Even the flushed water from toilet is recycled through proper organic treatment, and used for fruit trees and flowering plants.

Vedic farming is not just production of organic food but practicing a peaceful way of life. Our thoughts could gaze deep into higher realizations when our mind is not agitated. It is much simpler way of living, giving higher values to a harmonized society.

-          Collected by Bigyan Raj Satyal

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Agricultural Engineering

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