Vrindavan, 2016.08.20 (VT): As a part of its campaign to revitalize cow-based organic farming methods, Gomata BLISS, a subdivision of ISKCON centered at the Bhaktivedanta Goshala, held a conference intended for the farmers of Braj at the Balaram Hall on the ISKCON premises in Vrindavan. The name given the conference was “Farmers Awake!”
BLISS, the Bhaktivedanta Learning Institute for Self Sufficiency, holds that a traditional cow-based agriculture can help to counter many of the problems of modern society. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, the founder of ISKCON, was a proponent of the “Daivi Varnashram” society, which he taught was a natural human civilization living in harmony with nature while cultivating spiritual knowledge.
Indranilamani Das, the director of BLISS, said that materialism has given rise to many problems – disease, floods, drought, cow slaughter and a generally negative environment. “We want to counteract that negativity by educating people in a natural cow-based agricultural science.”
Speaking at the conference, Mahanta Phul Dol Bihari Baba welcomed the initiative and hoped that ISKCON would use its institutional strength to help farmers in this way. He said that this would help restore the glory of Braj, by giving Gomata and a land-based economy its due importance.
Rakesh Babu Gangwar, Deputy Director Agriculture Department Mathura, said that the government would certainly give whatever support it can for this endeavor. He hoped that the farmers present would enthusiastically implement the ideas put forth at the conference and himself gave a number of tips.
Prakash Singh Raghuvanshi (59), from a village near Varanasi, is an uneducated villager who is partially blind. But he made many discoveries in his own fields in how to improve and develop the seeds that he used.
Since then he has been on a crusade, crisscrossing India and teaching farmers how to use their own seeds rather than buying them. He also provides these seeds free of cost to farmers. Raghuvanshi provide seeds to farmers on the condition that they should also distribute half of the seeds freely to other farmers.
He has been recognized by the government as “Son of Seeds” (beej putra) for his work in this area. He said that he would like to go to every farmer in Braj’s field and give him proper training in how they can use their own seeds, improve the quality of the crops, collect seeds, preserve them. “This way we can make all farmers self-sufficient.” The essence of his message is to collect and share seeds.
Shri Bharat Bhushan Tyagi from Bulandshahr in UP is a noted proponent of organic farming, who has been recognized for his success in implementing cow-based agriculture. He stated that nature has its own production system and human beings should function in harmony with it. Human greed has interfered with the natural system.
“We will have to adopt organic farming to restore and maintain the soil fertility,” he said.
He spoke about how to make better fertilizer from cow dung and urine and told the attending farmers to get training from BLISS.
Tyagi also said that this natural system makes farming more and more profitable for farmers. He lauded BLISS for working together with farmers to train them. “This should then be spread from house to house in the rural areas. It will solve farmers’ economic challenges.”
Indranilamani Das concluded the colloquium by saying that a separate market should be opened for organic produce where they will be able to get the proper price.
Gomata BLISS is not only an educational institution but also a cooperative that produces an array of Ayurvedic health items using products from mother cow. As well as using pure ghee and milk from the Bhaktivedanta Swami Goshala, these medicines and health products, like their refreshing toothpaste and digestive pills, use cow urine and cow dung.