Simple living and high thinking, which are feasible while living in the country, are the ideals that the people who have realized the need for spiritual progress are striving for.
How does one establish an agricultural community? What is the essence of high thinking? We will try to elaborate on these topics in this article, drawing on the lectures of Valmiki prabhu, spiritual leader of The Planet of Cows agricultural community.
Fulfilling one’s nature
In the material world people will always be divided into categories – classes and orders of life. Such division is created by God, and it helps people reach the perfection of life – devotional service, through fulfilling their nature. That is, it is our path and our lawful right – to develop our nature. And when the question comes up about serving in communities, we should understand that it must indeed be devotional service. Establishing a community starts with that. “My idea is to create the atmosphere of spiritual life, where the society comprised of four classes: brahmacaris, grihasthas, vanaprasthas and sannyasis “…” would exist independently, providing themselves with vegetables and grains and the milk from cows”, said Srila Prabhupada about agricultural communities, emphasizing the special meaning of creating the right social order.
To overcome duality
One prerequisite to establishing an agricultural community is the presence of a developed urban society of spiritually oriented people, in which the principles are practiced, the preaching takes place and where there is a division according to a social order (where brahmanas and administrative classes, merchants and craftsmen are present). With time, such communities develop an understanding of the need to live on earth and take care of cows. So, the projects start emerging. Often it brings about the feeling of a break: not all the devotees are involved in developing an agricultural community, and from the outside it might look like there are two communities – one in the city and one in the village. For overcoming this duality, one has to understand that everything that is being done on the land is being done for devotional service, for preaching. Spiritual village is a graphic example of putting into practice everything that is discussed during preaching programs in the city – pure life, cow protection, spiritual elevation. Thus, agricultural projects should be a part of a city community, be under its protection. This ideal strategy brings real success in preaching.
Practical side – to take on the responsibility
So, where does one begin? Everything starts with an idea. An enthusiast should appear, a person who will shoulder responsibility for the development. This person will have to build a team, so that the principle of sankirtana-yajna starts working, meaning that everything is done together. As the result, a small group of people assemble who constantly think about this idea. This idea should be ‘churned’ by these leaders – what possibilities are there, how they can be used and realized?
The scheme of establishing an agricultural community is clear – one has to find the money, buy the equipment, purchase some land, demarcate the land: use some for agricultural purposes and some – for housing development. But the most important thing is the team. This team should avoid all the traps of the “age of disputes” – the problems should be solved jointly, the decisions should be taken not for selfish reasons but in the spirit of renunciation and co-operation. Such leaders must put serving God in the center of life. If such a team emerges, one can start looking for the place to build the community, and it won’t be difficult for the team to understand how to develop the project. Only after that, as the fourth step, Laxmi comes. That is the female energy per se, the energy of prosperity – the money for establishing the settlement. So, first of all, there comes the leader – a man who can dedicate his inner resources until the end of his days (not only for some time) to developing the community.
Simple living high thinking
What comes first: simple living or high thinking? Both elements should be present simultaneously, as the two wings of a bird – if one is absent, there is no wholeness.
However, it is feasible only when all the conditions are there. The devotees are not usually eager to move to the country, because living on earth is, indeed, quite austere. So, presence of both elements is possible in those places only, where all the required living conditions are there. When we are satisfied, living on the land with minimal consumption of the so called “blessings of civilization” that we don’t really need and that are forced on us by the modern culture, comes easy for us. The same goes about high thinking in the spirit of preaching and serving the mission. At the same time, it is necessary to keep the mood of simplicity – one shouldn’t make things complicated if it is possible to avoid it, one should really try to do without unnecessary things.
Simple for the simple
Also, it is important to understand what high thinking means. It is not just about having passed all the bhakti-shastri, bhakti-program, bhakti-vaibhava courses, and passive collection of knowledge. High thinking means accepting the people around you, their level, their tastes and mood, and not trying to thrust your understanding of happiness down their throat.
That is why living on earth is very simple…for uncomplicated people. And it’s very complicated and hard – for the complicated ones.
The atmosphere of goodness pushes all the complicated things and unnecessary structures that we have become covered with in our life out of our consciousness. We get purified of all the husk. And when there’s only a tiny bit of it left, to get rid of it is the most difficult thing. Our mind starts protesting, “Am I really going to lose it all?”
And at this point, there’s only one step left to take – the most difficult one, and at the same time –that is what we truly want deep inside. At this point we have to let go and surrender to Krishna.
Such is the “recipe” that we get from Valmiki prabhu for elevating our consciousness and living a simple life. And that is directly connected to the process of creating successful Vaishnava communities. We hope that these “recipes” will be helpful in your life and will help you get closer to fulfilling your dream.