Over the past eight years, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness has established fourteen successful farming communities in various parts of the world. As national economies founder and cities go bankrupt, ISKCON's farms flourish and grow, proving that the Krsna consciousness movement is providing not only potent spiritual knowledge, but a viable alternative lifestyle as well. There's full employment for everyone and natural prosperity when everything's done for Lord Krsna. For more information please write ISKCON's Secretary at 3764 Watseka Ave., Los Angeles, Ca. 90034
New Vrndavana (Moundsville, W. Va.) "While herding the beautiful bulls, the Lord, who was the reservoir of all opulence and fortune, used to blow His flute, and thus He enlivened His faithful followers, the cowherd boys." (Bhag. 3.2.29)
This past summer was definitely bull season here. At Bahulaban, largest of New Vrndavana's six farms, eleven of the seventeen new arrivals were bull calves.
Most of our bulls are used for ox teams because we don't need so many for breeding. Right now our oxen program is in the rough stages, but what we have going is very promising. We're working four teams regularly, and several others are being trained up. Many New Vrndavana residents enjoy watching the oxen as they haul the milk from the barn to the temple's milk separator twice a day. The bulls are working better together all the time.
The medical program is also being improved to properly care for the increased number of calves. We examine each of them twice a day for any abnormality which might indicate sickness, and the sick ones get more complete treatment.
Milk production from the herd is soaring because there are so many "fresh" cows now. All told, the cows at Bahulaban are giving almost a thousand pounds of milk daily, and they're still increasing!
For Lord Krsna's birthday (Janmastami) we put the barn into excellent shape. Everyone who visited us for the holiday celebration was able to relish the purity and simplicity of Lord Krsna's cow protection program. It's easy to appreciate this wonderful service when we see so many milk preparations sweets, curd, yogurt and cream offered to the Deity of Krsna in the temple every day. When we satisfy the Supreme Lord, He satisfies us with His mercy.
New Orleans (Picayune, Miss.) Iskcon's 200-acre farm here is only a year old, yet it's already in full operation. Located in an ideal spot just sixty miles east of New Orleans, the farm enjoys abundant rainfall all year round. The trees and fields are always luxuriantly green, and for this reason we can let the cows wander freely in all seasons. We never have to confine them to barns. One or more kinds of vegetables can always be cultivated, and Lord Krsna has blessed us with a nice orchard and many beehives.
In early August we were given the great benediction of a personal visit from His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. As his car pulled up to the main house, we all bowed down to offer our respects, humbly grateful for the opportunity to have our farm sanctified by the holy feet of our spiritual master, a pure devotee of Lord Krsna.
Srila Prabhupada toured the farm on foot late in the afternoon. When he saw all the tractors, binders, and other machinery we used for working the farm, Srila Prabhupada was somewhat critical. We had spent thousands of dollars purchasing the most up-to-date farm machinery, yet he favored a simpler approach. "As far as possible," he said, "machines should be avoided because they provide an opportunity for idleness, gossiping and excessive sleep. If every man works according to his innate nature, that is the healthy state, but if one man works a machine and all the others remain idle, then it is a devil's workshop." He suggested we begin training our five bull calves to replace the machines for farm labor.
Srila Prabhupada then spoke to us for some time on how the natural way of life is superior to the artificial, mechanized life in the cities. He described how our farm could be modeled after village life in Vedic India: "The farm should be mainly run by householder couples. They can live in small cottages and take care of the cows and till the fields. In the villages of India, where there are many cows, naturally there is also an abundant supply of milk. The residents don't turn all the milk into ghee [clarified butter] for sale. Rather every day each family puts their supply into one big pot with a fire under it and takes out as much as they need for drinking and cooking that day. At night, whatever milk is left is converted into yogurt, stored and then churned into butter. The buttermilk is fed to the calves, and the butter is turned into ghee. In this way, not a single drop of milk is wasted. So this is the formula for an abundant life: some land, hard work, cow protection, and doing everything for Lord Krsna."