Thoughts Regarding Vedic Villages by Narasimha dasa
January 4, 2009
Srila Prabhupada's idea of varnashram was practical. Nonetheless, for those habituated to modern living, his vision of living simply on the land seemed unattainable. For various reasons, to this day, the Hare Krishna movement has little to show with regards to a practical demonstrations of varnashrama dharma.
Finding a ksyatriya or a brahmin in these times is nearly impossible. Therefore our first task should be training devotees in these roles. To do that we first need a group of disciples of Srila Prabhupada living close together and having daily programs of sadhana, cooperative preaching and Deity worship. In the future Krishna consciousness may be fostered by devotee association within a varnashrama framework, but for now, and for us, we need to first reestablish a public temple and an ashram of devotees before we can begin a varnashrama village. In other words, the first Vedic village must be founded by dedicated disciples of Srila Prabhupadanot by Vedabase pundits and new breeds of Vedic speculators.
Srila Prabhupada indicated that varnashrama farm projects should be attempted by established ISKCON temples. Without men, land and finances, it is extremely difficult to create an economic situation that can maintain devotees, cows, and Deities in a village situation. It will take many decades to establish all these programs unless several devotees cooperate carefully with a common aim.
Southern Oregon may be the best place in the USA for establishing varnashrama. Pristine conditions, fertile soils and mild climate are a great boon. Nearby are towns for preaching Krishna consciousness. Many devotees have visited our temple in Ashland and Butte Falls and said, Great place for preaching! Great place for varnashram! The Hare Krishna movement has a chance now, for the first time in many years, of being able to establish the land and infrastructure necessary to support devotees, cows, regular Deity worship and a varnashrama college --- or at least a training center for practical farm skills.
Rather than imagining we will soon find devotees to fill all these roles in varnashrama villages, we might do better to first create facilities for vanaprasthas and brahmacarisan ashram for hearing and chanting, preaching and Deity worship. By our regular programs of hearing and chanting, we can establish Vaisnava tradition. Later, as we are able to employ devotees properly, Krishna can easily send us the required physical association of devotees capable of acting as brahmins, sudras, vaisyas and ksyatriyas.
We will eventually need living varnashrama teachers who teach by practical example as well as by reason and philosophical study of Srila Prabhupada's books. Brahmins, though not trained for fighting, can train ksyatriyas by teaching students foundational concepts and principles of the martial class. Srila Prabhupada has explained that brahmins can train any of the other classes. Various types of martial techniques constitute secondary training and are worse than useless without the primary training of ksyatriya character, determination and dedication to Guru and Krishna. Srila Prabhupada has indicated all these programs in his talks on varnashram in Vrindaban in 1974. Regarding brahminical and devotional training, Srila Prabhupada set up many classes and programs concisely for this purpose. We need to establish now the infrastructure and tradition for a genuine place of pilgrimage in America, as Srila Prabhupada wanted. New Vrindaban, Gita Nagari and other iskcon projects are presently useless for this transcendental purpose.
Persons intersted in this project may contact Narasimha das at email@example.com or Yasoda nandana dasa at firstname.lastname@example.org
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