Archive for July, 2008

All Living Beings Subsist On Food Grains

July 28th, 2008

Hari-kirtana’s company, Mantra Media Design, was asked to film a luncheon for the most prestigious international economics think tank in Washington, whose board of directors boasts such notaries as Alan Greenspan (the former Chairmen of the Federal Reserve), David Rockefeller (former CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank), Paul O’Neil (former secretary of the Treasury) and other equally important luminaries. Between shoots (not lacking chutzpah) he casually mingled with the guests asking whoever he met a basic common sense question:

“Have you ever considered looking at the world economic situation from a new perspective, or paradigm, resting on the fact that today’s economic system is sustained on the rapidly increasing and practically unlimited need for certain natural resources, such as oil, in a world where these resources are obviously limited?”

He described to me the people there as quite polite and engaging, but was surprised that not one person could answer his question. No one could even confront the possibility that the present world economic system was not sustainable and that perhaps a solution had to be looked for in new directions.

“How is it possible,” I asked him incredulously, “that these brilliant people couldn’t recognize the obvious?” I liked his answer: “I guess that’s what Krishna means in Bhagavad-gita when He described those whose knowledge is stolen by illusion.”

The incident also reminded me of Srila Prabhupada’s clear and prophetic vision about the inevitable failure of an economic system focused on the production and need of increasing luxuries (things not absolutely essential) at the sacrifice of the production of basic necessities:

“But instead of producing food grains, we are producing Goodyear tires. So how we can eat? Now when there is scarcity of foodstuff you cannot eat the Goodyear tires. But people’s attention has been diverted in the industrial activities. They are given allurement, ‘Come here. I shall give you twenty rupees per day. You give up your agricultural activities. You come in the factory. Produce tire, tube, iron steel.’ And so on. So we are violating the orders of Krishna. Krishna says to produce food grain. But we are producing unnecessary things. And therefore you are suffering. Krishna is giving very good advice: annad bhavanti bhutani. You produce sufficient food grain, all over, not only here. Another anartha is this nationalism. Nationalism: ‘This is America.’ ‘This is India.’ ‘This is Africa.’ ‘This is Australia.’ Why? Isavasyam idam sarvam (Sri Isopanisad Mantra 1). Simple thing. Everything belongs to God. Isavasya. There will be no scarcity. I have studied very thoroughly that there are sufficient land still without any cultivation. In Africa I have seen sufficient land. But they are utilizing it for producing coffee and tea. No food grains. So these are the anarthas. Anartha. Unnecessary. People will not die without coffee and tea. But they have made the whole world self-dependent on coffee and tea, mercantile policy. There is anartha.” (Bhag. 1.7.6, September 5, 1976)