By HG Gunaavatar Das
Recently we just got a piece of land in the village near our Yasodapura Eco Village. We plan to build a small house in this land, so that our volunteers can stay here for some time while helping with our project. Staying in the village with many people around is more comfortable for the volunteers because some of them are foreigners. Also in this way we can associate more easily with the village community and share some of the knowledge and skill that we have, for the benefit of the rural development of Cambodia. Now days many people are fed up with this industrial life style and they want to go back to the village, especially the devotees. Prabhupada so rightly said that when person chants Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, naturally he will develope desire to go back to the village and produce food:
“If this man is fed up with this industry, he can go back to village and produce his own food.”
Room Conversation with Richard Webster, chairman, Societa Filosofica Italiana — May 24, 1974, Rome:
Yogeśvara: But ultimately isn’t our idea that the city complexes shouldn’t remain, that things should become more spread out to farm and rural areas?
Prabhupāda: Yes, naturally. If this man is fed up with this industry, he can go back to village and produce his own food. But he is attached to this industrial activity because he is thinking that “We are getting more money for wine and woman and meat. Let me enjoy.” That is the perfect, imp… But if he chants Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, his consciousness will be purified and he will be made not interested this kind of work. He will go back to village and produce food.
So because of this we somehow have to prepare a place for our devotee to stay, because in the future when more and more people take up Krishna Consciousness, we will need farm community or village community for the devotees to stay. For example, I don’t want this so called modern city. I need very simple life, I want to grow my food and chant Hare Krishna nicely.
Prabhupada also very strongly mentioned that city will collapse after sometime;
For the time it may go on. But as we make progress, there will be no necessity.
Morning Walk — May 27, 1974, Rome:
Yogeśvara: So then we should begin our rural communities like New Vrindaban, and then by training up people in the cities, we can send them gradually…
Prabhupāda: There will be no city. We don’t want cities.
Bhagavān: What about our city temples?
Prabhupāda: No, no. For the time it may go on. But as we make progress, there will be no necessity. City means… For the present we have got. Because the city is there, we are there. But suppose the city is closed. We shall be there? If the city is closed, you still will be there?
Yogeśvara: But we can predict that the cities will go on for quite some time.
Prabhupāda: Yes, it will go on, but when they will see that your ideal community is better than city life, people will take to it. Paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate (BG 2.59). When one gets a better standard of life, naturally he will give up the lower standard of life.
Prabhupada also wrote in his letter;
The modern civilization is a condemned civilization. The innocent people are being dragged from the villages and exploited in the cities. But in the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna recommends them to remain where they are and produce grains: annad bhavanta bhutani. Grow your food, eat sumptuously, and chant Hare Krishna. This is real life…Krishna provides everything, but we mismanage it. Even in this condemned world He has provided everything complete. He is so perfect. Krishna wants us to pass on our days here in Krishna consciousness, and then go back home, back to Godhead.
750907 – Letter to Mahavirya written from Vrndavana, September 07, 1975, Hyderabad
For this mission of Srila Prabhupada we conducted a homa yajna at Chub Village, Siem Reap. It was performed to inaugurate our new land, which would help us try introduce simple Krishna conscious life style related to the vegetarian food, land, cow and and Hare Krishna Maha Mantra to all the villagers.
We started the preparation from early morning, two of the brahmacaris were already there from the previous day, sleeping there only. In the morning, along with some other villagers we started to clean the place, prepare the Kunda for the Agni Hotra. Some ladies also joined in cutting the vegetables for cooking. We made three temporary stoves on that land using some soil and bricks. Everybody was very enthusiastic to learn vegetarian cooking, which they din’t know so much before. Everybody was enjoying and most of the time we tried to talk about Krishna Consciousness to them.
At 11 am a group of devotees from Siem Reap town came down; while two of them were Russian devotee and the rest from Indonesia. We arranged a sound system for the Kirtan. Everybody was sitting on the mat while listening to the sweet Kirtan lead by Vishnuratha Prabhu. One of the local man played the traditional drum called “Skho”. Later at the auspicious hour yagna was performed by Kumudaksa Prabhu. Before starting the homa he gave some explanation about the purpose of this yajna and its benefit for us. On earlier occasions also we had told them that this yajnas were performed long time ago, and were seen as the main ceremony conducted in Angkor wat temple. It was because of this that the Khmer Kingdom could flourish with enough rain and good production of agriculture every year. Because this yajna was performed for the satisfaction of Lord Vishnu, Lord Krishna and Lord Buddha, it had become very auspicious for the advancement of the Cambodian civilization.
During the yajna the attendants offered paddy into the fire yajna, while continuously listening to the maha mantra kirtan. One devotee from the village name Bhakta Ngun was leading the kirtan for about 30 minutes before the yajna finished. And at the end we had prasadam seva. About 50 people partook prasadam comprising dal, vegetable subji, rice and banana fry. People very much liked the pakora that we had made. During the prasadam, we shared our future plan for the project and the new land, where we plan to build simple cob house made from mud mix with hay. We also shared how later we would start making cow product and bio gas. This was very interesting because village people have so much of cow dung. This way our small house will be like our traditional education center where village people could learn about self-sufficient community living and sustainable life style. Some of the villagers readily offered to volunteer for these services. Many of them were part of similar experiments during the Khmer civil war, during which they used such house as the military basis. They understood that this kind of building was very cheap compared to the wooden or stone cement constructions.
We pray to Srila Prabhupada and Sri Sri Gaura Nitay to bless us continue our services towards Yasodapura Eco Village development and also the nearby villages.