Port Royal Pennsylvania
The Miami Herald reports that a donkey in Bulawayo, a village in southwestern Zimbabwe, accidentally uncovered a cache of Soviet-made surface-to-air missiles. Villagers trying to rescue the creature from a dam found that a wooden box containing a missile had trapped its hind leg. According to Elephant News, a Zimbabwe military magazine, soldiers alerted by the terrified villagers found eight more missiles after scouring the dam. An officer quoted in the magazine said the live missiles were left over from the guerrilla war that led to Zimbabwe's independence in 1980.
The incident makes headlines for a somewhat undistinguished species. The Srimad-Bhagavatam uses the donkey, or ass, to illustrate the plight of persons who accept backbreaking tasks for little reward. Donkeys are not that robust yet they will carry immense loads for their masters and will accept a paltry handful of grass as payment. Although the donkey could easily find his own grass at the side of the road. altogether avoiding such menial employment, his masters won't allow it, and the foolish, weary animal resigns himself to his fate.
The Bhagavatam doesn't advocate that a human being not work hard, just that we shouldn't carry unnecessary loads for cruel masters. With a reasonable amount of labor and organization on our part nature responds with more than enough food. more than enough raw materials for clothing, shelter, and other needs.
We don't need heavy industry, which forces us into donkey labor for handfuls of grass. We don't need massive military budgets, which devour the time and hard-earned gains of our human lives. We don't need to spend trillions of dollars and rubles to launch men and weapons into outer space.
All these may appear to be attractive, noble enterprises, but they are in fact unnecessary, cruel, backbreaking loads for man to carry. There's grass at the side of the road, and unlike donkeys we have the brains to avail ourselves of it If we can't drop our loads all of a sudden, let's at least try not to accept additional weight
To this end, our thanks go out to the villagers and soldiers in Bulawayo. If not for their careful handling of those live missiles, we might have had to pay the expenses of another ass on the moon.