India's Great Gift to Humanity
When I was a child, I used to travel with my family to my grandparents' organic farm. On the way we saw all kinds of cows grazing in the country areas near the towns we passed by in Minnesota. In the Great Depression my grandparents owned a cow, bull and chickens. When the Depression lifted and my grandfather got a part-time bookkeeping job, he sold the cow and bull but kept the chickens. I used to love to hear the rooster crowing in the morning. They had a very large pen where the chickens roamed around the hen house.
The cow is reverenced, worshiped and honored in Hinduism. She gives her milk and other related foods to us. The bull is used as a draft animal in farming. A right balance is needed, so that the cow breeds only enough to meet the demand for draft power on the farm.
Manure and urine are important in the ecological balance of life. The manure is used as a dung for heating and fuel. This practice protects trees from being cut down for fuel, making it a model for other countries in its ecological and economic wisdom. Urine is put in earthen pots and mixed with an Ayurvedic mixture of herbs and plants not eaten by the cattle. Neem, tulsi and dutura are the most common ones used, but each locality has their own local herbs which are used in the process. It ferments for ten days in a compost pit. It is filtered with a cotton cloth and water is added and used as a herbal spray for a herbal pest repellent on the crops. It is preventive in nature, so it needs to be dispersed before the insects appear.
Modern, intensive agriculture is very expensive and unhealthy. Unfortunately, some Indians are starting to use these methods. Tractors, chemical pesticides and fossil fuels are all very expensive and polluting and drive up the costs of farming. Food prices become too high for the population. Chemical pesticides are bad for every one's health. Cancer, respiratory conditions, allergy-related symptoms and chemical sensitivity are just some of the health problems created by chemical pesticides. Some farmers are resorting to slaughtering bulls for meat to make enough income for survival when those modern methods are used.
Another problem with the slaughter of animals is the animal diseases which are being spread to humans who eat the meat. Mad Cow Disease, Hoof-and-Mouth Disease, Mycobacterium Para Tuberculosis (associated with Crohn's Disease) and Bird Flu are spread to humans because of the ill-treatment of animals who are over housed in small spaces. These animals are not walking around like my grandparents' chickens. They can hardly move around in small cages. Farmers use anti-botics to keep diseases under control, but often anti-botic resistance happens and diseases become rampant. In China and India millions of birds were killed because of the spread of these diseases.
Organic agriculture reduces diseases and costs of fuels and use natural means of insect control. It is healthier and more nutritious to consume organics. Organic farming methods also allow more water to travel to the root systems of foods. In droughts organic farms have higher yields than chemical-based agriculture. During non-drought times the yields are similiar.
The ancient practices of Ayurvedic Medicine, Organic Agriculture, Cow Protection and the use of Dung are India's great gift to humanity. The modern, intensive methods are expensive, less ecological and unhealthy. We all could benefit by adopting the ancient practices. By shopping at coops and other green food businesses, we are promoting these practices. Consuming real, organic milk instead of powdered milk would help stop the slaughter of cattle in Guyana. Powdered milk is full of all kinds of unhealthy, chemical additives. As Pandit Rajin says, "It is healthier to drink real milk."
For more information on Cow Protection and related ecological practices described in this blog, go to www.iscowp.org. The International Society for Cow Protection has links on their website on basic information on these practices. You can also donate funds for several of their projects and visit their farm in Moundsville, West Virginia. MOO!
JAI SHRI COWS!
JAI SHRI MOTHER EARTH!