Who is the culprit?
According to nature’s arrangement, living en tities lower on the evolutionary scale do not eat or collect more than necessary. Consequently, in the animal kingdom there is generally no economic problem or scarcity of necessities. If a bag of rice is placed in a public place, birds will come to eat a few grains and go away. A human being, however, will take away the whole bag. He will eat all his stomach can hold and then try to keep the rest in storage. According to scriptures, this collecting of more than necessary (atyahara) is prohibited. Now the entire world is suffering because of it. (Nectar of Instruction 2, purport)
FOOD CRISIS A MANMADE PROBLEM
The vaishya’s business is krsi go raksya vanijyam vaishya karma svabhava jam [Bg. 18.44]. The vaishyas must be engaged in producing foodgrains, but they are not interested. They are interested in opening factories for bolts and nuts and tires, Goodwheel tyres, Goodyear tyres. Now you eat tyres, bolts and nuts. No, you cannot eat. You have to eat rice, and rice is ten rupees per kilo. That’s all. Because no vaishya is producing food grains. This is the defect. (Lecture on Bhagavad gita 4.13, 2 April 1974, Mumbai)
Svarupa Damodara: Oh, yes. They have several plans to procure food from under the water, under the ocean. So they have all of these different schemes because of the shortage of food on the surface of the earth.They say it’s going to be very imminent in the coming future so they have already started plans to make some food…
Prabhupada: Another nonsense. They are not producing food, they are producing motor tires, and still they will say “shortage.” Just see, now, in this city of Atlanta or any big city, who is producing food? Everyone is eating; nobody is producing.
Svarupa Damodara: They will say it is produced by farmers.
Prabhupada: Farmers are producing, and you are eating, but you are not producing. Therefore gradually your food will be in shortage. You are depending on others. The farmers, they do not produce food for human beings. They produce food for the cows [who will be killed and later eaten by men]. (Morning Walk, 2 March, 1975, Atlanta)
I have practically seen that by God’s arrangement there is so much land on this planet that you can produce ten times the foodstuff of the whole population. But they are not doing that. Just like I have seen in Africa, enough land is there, but what they are doing? They are keeping some cows and bulls, and when they are grown up they are taken to the slaughterhouse. Not for their own eating, but exporting. Similar business is going on in Australia and New Zealand. Unnecessarily they are killing these cows, and this shortage of foodstuff and shortage of milk, this is not good arrangement. (Press Interview, 16 October 1976, Chandigarh)
People are not following the rules and regulations given by God or by nature’s own way. They have invented their own way of living. Therefore they are suffering. Now we see in Calcutta or any other city, it is a problem. Everywhere the problem will be food shortage and fuel shortage, power shortage. This is the prediction of many, many great scientists. Because people are committing so many sins, they must starve. That is the punishment. (Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam (1.2.18), 26 September 1974, Calcutta)
THE MYTH OF OVERPOPULATION
The earth is supplying food to everyone. As the mother gives life or maintains the child by the milk of her breast, similarly, the earth mother is maintaining all different types of living entities. There are 8,400,000 different forms of life, and the earth, mother earth is supplying food. There are thousands of elephants in the African jungle, they are also being supplied with food. And within your room in a hole there are thousands of ants, they are also being supplied food by the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So the philosophy is that we should not be disturbed by the so called theory of overpopulation. If God can feed elephants, why can he not feed you? You do not eat like the elephant. So this theory, that there is a shortage of food or overpopulation, we do not accept it. God is so powerful that He can feed everyone without any difficulty. Simply we are mismanaging. Otherwise there is no difficulty. (Ratha yatra, 18 July, 1976, New York)
SOLVING THE FOOD CRISIS
Food grains or vegetables are factually eatables. The human being eats different kinds of food grains, vegetables, fruits, etc., and the animals eat the refuse of the food grains and vegetables, grass, plants, etc. Human beings who are accustomed to eating meat and flesh must also depend on the production of vegetation in order to eat the animals. Therefore, ultimately, we have to depend on the production of the field and not on the production of big factories. The field production is due to sufficient rain from the sky, and such rains are controlled by demigods like Indra, sun, moon, etc., and they are all servants of the Lord. The Lord can be satisfied by sacrifices; therefore, one who cannot perform them will find himself in scarcity that is the law of nature. Yajna, specifically the sankirtana yajna prescribed for this age, must therefore be performed to save us at least from scarcity of food supply. (Bhagavad gita 3.14, purport)
[The state must introduce] two compulsory fasting days in a month, if not more (austerity). Even from the economic point of view, such two fasting days in a month in the state will save tons of food, and the system will also act very favorably on the general health of the citizens. (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.17.38, purport)
With only these two things, cows and grain, humanity can solve its eating problem. Human society needs only sufficient grain and sufficient cows to solve its economic problems. All other things but these two are artificial necessities created by man to kill his valuable life at the human level and waste his time in things which are not needed. (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.2.29, purport)
Krishna’s stock is never exhausted. We must simply become obedient to Him, and the supply will be there. Therefore a Krishna conscious person has no economic problem; everything is sufficiently supplied by Krishna. In Los Angeles the neighbors of our temple are sometimes very envious. “You do not work,” they say to our Krishna conscious devotees. “You have no anxiety. You have four cars. You are eating so nicely. How is that?” Actually, they are right. Somehow or other we are getting everything we need, and we have no problems, for if one simply becomes a sincere servant of Krishna, everything is provided. (Teachings of Queen Kunti, 4)
The mercantile class of man, they should produce enough food grains, not motor tires. That is Sudra’s business artisans that is Sudra. The vaishyas’ business is first to see that in the country there is enough food for eating both for the human being and the animals. The human being should not complain that there are no sufficient food grains, therefore they’re eating flesh. No. Flesh is not for human being. They should live on food grains. Just like dal. Dal is as good as meat. It is from food grain. And there are sufficient varieties of dal. They can make so many preparations, palatable preparations. Why are the prices of food grains increasing? Because there is shortage. If there is enough food, the price will automatically decrease, because everyone wants to sell. So, the price will decrease, naturally. It will be so lavishly available that you can give food grains even to the animals, like cows and goats and other so many animals. Let them eat. (Morning Walk, 10 May 1975, Perth)