Thursday, August 10, 2006

Apple Picking

Here is a picture of Nanda picking apples, taken from the Minister of Agri-culture's, Balabhadra, personal blog. I am glad he started blogging, and hope he keeps it up, because Krishna Conscious centered farm life is a sorely underserved demographic in ISKCON. His specialty is training oxen. The tractor replaced oxen.

“Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, once you said, "The tractor -- this is the cause of all the trouble. It took all the young men's farm work. It forced them to go into the city and become entangled in sensuality." You said people had to leave the country and the simple life of goodness and God consciousness. And so they went to the city and got caught up in the anxious life, the mode of passion.

"Srila Prabhupada: Yes. In the city people must naturally fall into the mode of passion: constant anxiety due to needless lusting and striving. In the city we are surrounded by all sorts of artificial things for agitating our mind and senses. And naturally, when we have this facility we become lusty. We take to this passionate mode and become filled with anxiety.”

From: “Back to Simple Life and Simple Truth”

That is farm life, not (sub)urban life in the country. Unfortunately, I am now living the suburban lifestyle. Maybe I will get back to farming, but now I’m even buying vegetables, albeit from Balabhadra. My rehab is progressing slower these days, the benchmarks more incremental. I have been walking to Advaita’s, 8.5 tenths of a mile total. The benchmark is where do my legs start to ache going up to Sudhanu’s. Yesterday it was the sign warning that a Yield sign is ahead; today I made it 20 meters farther. I sit in a chair on Advaita’s porch and catch my breath before making the return trip. Eventually, I will make it without the rest.

Although I have trained a team of oxen (Bala and Deva for those who remember the Jersey team from back in the day) mostly I was a tractor jockey. I started driving tractors when I was 11, and was doing 60 hour weeks at age 13. When I came to New Vrindavan, I wanted to do oxen but my “surrender” was to keep doing tractors, so the labor force could be freed up to build the Palace.

Yesterday was Balarama’s appearance day. He carries a plough, so let’s talk plowing. The original definition of an acre was the amount of land a man and a team of oxen could plough in a day. It was standardized to be a rod by ½ of a mile (5 meters by 8/10 km). One rod = 198 inches. If a plough takes 14” a pass that is about 7 miles traveled for an acre. Add some for overlap and turning, and it pushes 8 or 9 miles, which means I am now walking about 1/10th the distance needed to plow an acre, about 14 km. I’ve got a ways to go.


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