Birdy Bird

Birdy Bird’s life was not natural or normal. He was a pigeon. Pigeons always lay exactly two eggs, and if both eggs hatch, the parents both participate in rearing the two squeakers until they are able to fend for themselves, a process that takes about a month. Somehow or other, Birdy Bird’s parents 3 eggscommitted a mathematical error and produced 3 eggs, hatching three chicks. His parents cared for the three chicks, vomiting into their squeaky throats several times a day to keep them nourished for about a week. Then, apparently, they got around to counting their brood and discovered the mistake.

I found Birdy Bird on the floor of the loft, almost dead due to being exposed to the chill of the earlybirdy bird Autumn air. I picked him up and although he was hideously ugly being nearly naked and embryonic-looking, I felt pity for him and decided to try to raise him myself. My daughter had previously raised an orphan pigeon and had explained, in great detail, the nuances of baby pigeon raising and had even produced a youtube video demonstrating her techniques.

At first everything went well. I rigged up a heat lamp so that he could maintain body temperature until his feathers grew in. And I mixed up a gruel of grain flours that I syringed into his beak several times a day, filling the croup, a pouch in the chest of a bird that holds food that is waiting to be digested.

Then one day, when I went to fill the little bird’s croup, I noticed that it was still almost full, even though it had been hours since I last fed him. He also appeared listless, and I sadly concluded that he probably wasn’t going to make it. He hadn’t messed the paper towels, either. So I syringed in a little water, chanted Hare Krsna to him, and went about my other activities.

For several days, the little bird didn’t digest and appeared listless. I kept giving him some water, but I was waiting for him to leave his body. My husband and I hadn’t named him because we didn’t think he’d make it, but when we discussed him, we’d refer to him as “Birdy Bird”. Then suddenly, after about 5 days, I was surprised to see that there was poop all over the paper towels and that little Birdy Bird’s croup was empty. He eagerly accepted several syringes of gruel and made contented squeaky sounds when he was full. After that, he proceeded to grow and thrive.

Unfortunately when he was a month old, an age when he should have been fully grown and nicely feathered, poor Birdy Bird, appeared rumply and lop-sided. During the time he’d been ailing, I’d left him lying in a fixed position and apparently that caused his bone structure to grow unevenly. Additionally those 5 days were apparently crucial for primary feather growth and his long wing and tail feathers were inadequate for flying. I realized that we’d have to care for him until he molted his baby feathers and grew new ones. He ended up staying in our house in a makeshift cage all winter. birdy bird 2In the spring, he molted and grew nice glossy feathers, iridescent around his neck, which covered up his lopsided bone structure and he appeared to be a handsome, if somewhat stunted young pigeon. I let him out and he expressed his glee at his freedom and his unexpected ability to soar over the trees.

But Birdy Bird didn’t join the other pigeons. He was not interested in socializing with them and didn’t join the group flights in which the flock circled the valley, flying as a cohesive unit. No, Birdy Bird pretty much stayed outside the house and waited for me to come out and then followed me wherever I went.

One morning I was out in the garden on my hands and knees, transplanting a flat of broccoli seedlings, when Birdy Bird started cooing and strutting right in front of me. He puffed up his iridescent purpley blue neck and began dipping his head towards me, obviously trying to herd me. I realized that he was doing a pigeon mating dance and trying to push me towards a nesting place where I could lay eggs. Poor Birdy Bird: his conditioning as a youngster led him to become a very dysfunctional adult.

Birdy Bird’s early conditioning condemned him to a life of frustration.  Is it possible that the conditioning of our own upbringing also condemns us?  My life and the lives of almost everyone I know is not natural or normal. We were not raised in a human environment, but rather our earliest conditioning and the basis for our deepest held beliefs is demonic. When Srila Prabhupada tells us that we come from a demonic civilization, most of us probably think he’s referring to the slaughter houses, illicit sex and intoxication that is prevalent, but what if what he’s referring to goes much, much deeper? What if our inner, unexamined desires are also as unnatural and unfulfillable as Birdy Bird’s desire to raise a brood of chicks with me.

These beliefs are so ingrained into our beings that we don’t even notice the assumptions we carry with us that affect every decision we make. Even devotees, when confronted with the reality that if they want to raise a family (or even just be comfortable), they’ll have to provide for the family by doing some sort of work. So devotees, like karmis, get jobs and many of them pursue higher education or start businesses so that they can get a better job with more compensation. The difference between a devotee and a karmi is that, according to Srila Prabhupada, if you work a job, you should spend 50% of your income for spreading Krsna consciousness. In reality, this is impossible for almost every devotee. Many devotees are able to make only enough money to pay for a sustenance living, and devotees who make more money than required for basic sustenance seem to forget that they were instructed to contribute half their income. So in terms of lifestyle, there is very little difference between devotees working within the demonic civilization constraints and karmis. Of course devotees try to follow the regulative principles, chant their rounds and read Srila Prabhupada’s books, but if they are disobeying the instructions of the Spiritual Master by not contributing 50% of their income, their progress is naturally seriously impeded.

Just as the solution for Birdy Bird to become happy would be for him to realize that he’s actually a pigeon, not a human; for devotees the solution for us to become happy is to realize that we are devotees, not demons. The demonic civilization conditions us to work really hard so that we can get the things that we need so that we’ll be able to keep working hard so that we can keep paying thehamster rent/mortgage and buy food. Srila Prabhupada never intended for the majority of his disciples to continue to live within the demonic civilization’s clutches and told us that an ideal lifestyle for devotees is to live in communities where we produce our necessities, minimizing hard work and saving time to utilize for becoming conscious of Krsna. Implementing this lifestyle and establishing varnashrama, he said, was the second half of his mission.

Now that over 40 years have lapsed since Srila Prabhupada’s physical departure, the concept of simple living, high thinking is rarely broached within Srila Prabhupada’s institution, ISKCON. While there is a “Minister of Agriculture and Cow Protection,” if you visit their Facebook page, you realize that cow protection isn’t about engaging cows and bulls in a lifestyle, but rather about using them as commodities to get donations for “cow protection.” I didn’t see much about “agriculture” on their site either other than some packaged food designed to be sold in exchange for money or a remnant of a farm developing a CSA (community assisted agriculture—basically a business).

Prabhupada: If you open farm for financial help, then it will not be successful. You should take to farming for supporting yourself. That’s all. Grow your own food. Grow your own cloth. There is no need of financial help from outside. You get your food grains sufficiently, rice, dahl, wheat, vegetables, milk, sugar. Bas You get everything. From these five, six items you should be economically free. That you have to do, not for trade to get money. Then it will be failure. Conversation – March 14, 1974, Vrindavana . en it will be failure.

One so-called farm community in Sweden is even advertising for a “cowherd” position, a position that is compensated with a paycheck! Basically ISKCON is trying to make Srila Prabhupada’s instructions regarding lifestyle adapt to the preconceptions we have due to our demonic conditioning having been raised in a demonic environment. It is not unlike Birdy Bird thinking he’ll finally be happy if he can convince me to make a nest.

There are so many reasons why we cannot possibly live a simple living, high thinking lifestyle as firstyokingSrila Prabhupada instructed: not having property (necessitating working a job to pay for any property acquired), not having a functional devotee community, not having the physical vitality, not having experience etc. These are all valid obstacles, but not valid excuses. We work for a very rich Person, and from my husband’s and my personal experience, this rich Person can easily remove obstacles if we just make a little effort.

Establishing the second half of Srila Prabhupada’s mission will happen because Srila Prabhupada wants it to happen to please Krsna. At this point in time, however, it seems like the only way it will occur will be for the grocery stores to permanently close their doors and for the demonic infrastructure to be reduced “to melted steel and rubble” (Prabhupada conversation, Amsterdam)

 Here at New Nandagram, we are planning on hosting a Prabhupada Farm Festival this summer to showcase how satisfying a simple living, high thinking lifestyle can be.  Please join us for the festival that will be open to all Prabhupada loyal devotees.  For more information, call: 360-496-0058 or e-mail: anuttamadd@gmail.com

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What a Simple Living, High Thinking lifestyle has Taught me about Mystic Powers

**Please note that I’ve gotten some feedback about this article that some people feel that they’re being subtly attacked while reading it.  You may feel itching sensations or pinprick sensations in different parts of your body.**

As an analytical person, I’ve always been interested to understand the mechanics of
mystic powers.  Reading in the Srimad Bhagavatam about how yogis are able to travel on sun rays or grab an object from miles away captured my imagination and for years I wondered how they did it. In the early 80s I was in front of the Krsna-Balaram temple in Vrndavan, outside of the gates, and a man was collecting a good amount of money from a gathering crowd. The paani wala told me, “you watch, it is mesmerizing.”  Sure enough, the man collecting the money selected a teen-aged volunteer who weighed about 60 lbs. and had him lie down on a chaddar on the dirt road.  The crowd gathered around and, after a few seconds, the young boy levitated about 2 feet off the ground.  The boy’s body wasn’t level, like any respectable Hollywood levitation and didn’t last as long, either:  after an instant the poor boy fell unceremoniously to the ground.  But the crowd was pleased and thought that they got their money’s worth.  What I had seen was an actual mystic levitation because there was no possibility that any props could have been erected in that dusty street that was almost continuously traversed by rickshaws, horse carts, bicycles and people.  I remember thinking at the time, “I hope that one day I’ll understand how to do that.”

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Simple Living and High Thinking: The Second Half of Srila Prabhupada’s Mission

prabhupadaIt’s no secret that Srila Prabhupada wants the devotees to develop rural communities where they produce their necessities while centering their lives around Krsna.  That concept is right in the original articles of incorporation for ISKCON, purpose #6:  “To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler, more natural way of life.”  Indeed one of the first things that Srila Prabhupada did after starting his movement was to establish the first farm community, New Vrndavana, in West Virginia.  And on his death bed, unable to even rise his arm, he spoke about the necessity for people to live in a sattvic environment by associating in a varnashrama community. Many older devotees who had close personal association with Srila Prabhupada have confirmed that Srila Prabhupada considered the establishment of self-sufficient communities based on the concept of simple living and high thinking, and organized according to the principles of varnashram dharma, to be the 2nd half of his mission.”

Here is what Srila Prabhupada said regarding lifestyle:

 Prabhupada: If you open farm for financial help, then it will not be successful. You should take to farming for supporting yourself. That’s all. Grow your own food. Grow your own cloth. There is no need of financial help from outside. You get your food grains sufficiently, rice, dahl, wheat, vegetables, milk, sugar. Bas You get everything. From these five, six items you should be economically free. That you have to do, not for trade to get money. Then it will be failure. (Conversation, October 28, 1975)

Let us take a closer look at Srila Prabhupada’s guidelines for how he wants us to live together, insulated from the ways and means of the world. Srila Prabhupada is telling us not to farm for export and financial gain, but only for the purpose of self-sufficiency. “There is no need of financial help from outside”. We should simply grow

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Utilizing the assistance of oxen is a foundation of a SLHT lifestyle

food and obtain milk from the cows to supply our own needs, and in that way “you should be economically free”.  In other words, we should not be concerned with the accumulation of financial assets.  The more we aspire for the acquisitions that are in vogue in the misdirected materialistic society, the more we will compromise the principles of simple living and high thinking. By being satisfied with the simple life that nature provides, we can proceed most directly on the path back to home, back to Godhead. This instruction of Srila Prabhupada has to understood with conviction. As long as we want to have the best of both worlds, we will return here birth after birth. We have to make a sober choice. We go into the world to preach, and for no other reason. But to cultivate our Krishna consciousness in Krishna conscious communities, we are not instructed to integrate, but rather to insulate……..to insulate ourselves from the ways and means of the world, and embrace the life of simple living and high thinking. Continue reading

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“Farm Surplus” stand opens, catching a bee swarm, Ra Ra’s skin condition, patty mats, Help!

Here are the latest pictures from New Nandagram with more detailed information below:

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  1. & 2.  We decided to open a Farm Surplus stand for several reasons.  For one, we really do have more plant starts, dairy products and wood working items than we need.  We also are interested in introducing neighbors and tourists to our project in hopes that others will be interested in participating.  The last two photographs in this slide show are of the brochure we hand out.  We also have Srila Prabhupada’s books available.  Our first visitors to the stand happened to be from Bangladesh and they were able to experience milking a cow, riding a horse and taking prasadam.  We hope to see a lot more of them in the future.

3.  Ra Ra has an itchy, scaly rash, possibly from the very wet weather, exacerbated by his nylon collar (removed).  I’ve treated it with cow pee and we’ll see how it responds.

4.  & 5. Billy alerted me to the presence of a large swarm of honey bees who decided to inhabit an empty topbar hive.  They got right to work.  This is our second swarm caught passively this year.

6. We take a daily japa walk by Riffe Lake (about a half mile away) and the whole area currently has a beautiful aroma from all the clover.

8. Almost every year I have to raise baby starlings who are pushed out of their nests by cowbirds, a parasite.  At first we returned the baby starlings, but soon found that the parasites just pushed them out again.  So now I raise them and release them when they’re grown.  We have one failure, Snarky, who didn’t want to be a wild bird, so she sings to us inside.

9. Clouds lining up like this are increasingly common, yet I haven’t been able to find examples of such clouds in old paintings.  So it might be a fairly new phenomena, perhaps caused by gravity waves or HAARP.

12.  I wrote an article about a gardening method that was accepted by Mother Earth News Magazine.  It is in the current edition.  Basically I lay straw or old hay on the ground and slather it with a slurry made of cow pies.  The slurry dries into a hard mat that it almost impenetrable to weeds and holds water, so I basically don’t have to water my outside plots at all.  Or weed very much.  All thanks to our generous cows and a little garden serendipity.

Help!:  Although our cows are currently fat and happy eating lush pasture, we will need to feed them hay for about 150 days this winter when the pasture doesn’t grow.  In the future we’re hoping to have a community that works the oxen to harvest hay, but currently we do have to rely on purchasing hay from a local hay farmer.  They eat about 6 bales/day (for the herd of 9 cows), so we’re looking at spending close to $5,000 this year to buy hay.  Unfortunately our coffers are completely empty and so we’re going to have to rely on Krsna for a miracle to be able to feed the cows this year.  I was just reading that Krsna is very kind when he makes an aspiring devotee depend on Him, so Krsna is being especially kind and additionally making us experience the humility of begging.  If anyone reading this wants to donate to a legitimate project that is pleasing to Srila Prabhupada, I am confident that our project is in line with Srila Prabhupada’s desires for the 2nd half of his mission.  In fact I can’t think of many other projects where devotees are protecting cows, endeavoring to produce their own necessities, striving to start a community and following an unchanged philosophy.

In the First Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, Maharaja Yudhistira asks Arjuna is the cause of his distress is due to being unable to give charity when asked.  If you are reading this and are unable to help, this plea was not meant to cause any distress.  However if you are reading this and able to help, we truly need it.  We do have some plans to sell some assets such as our horse trailer, but we’d prefer to be able to keep the trailer so that if we have to move a large animal in an emergency or want to take oxen to a parade, etc., we’ll be able to do so.  The hay will be harvested in the coming weeks and if they can load it directly into our barn the price is much lower than if they have to move it twice.

If you are interested in helping (any amount is appreciated), checks can be sent to: Anuttama Budd, 151 Anderson Rd., Glenoma, WA 98338 or Paypal: anuttamadd@gmail.com  For more information, call: 360-496-0058

 

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First slugathon of the year, new pasture, rooster becomes hen, hang glider meets eagles: this week’s pictures from New Nandagram

 

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Billy is happy that the winter killed an apple tree, Twasheek’s condition improving, seed saving and Ishan Prabhu’s realizations, “You are not this mind”:

Here are this week’s pictures with more detailed explanations below:

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3., 4. The winter killed an apple tree on the electric company’s land and they let Billy take it.  He will make some nice turned bowls and carved spoons.  Apple wood tends to crack as it dries, so Billy is taking extra precautions to slow down the drying process to minimize cracking.  He couldn’t resist roughing out a spoon. This spoon will have to dry for some time before it is ready to be finished.

17.,18.,19.  The experiment has convinced me that something poison is in the peat I bought last year.  The results are compelling, however in order to prove that it is poison in the peat, not peat in general that stunts the growth I’m growing some seeds in peat that I bought this year.  The plants (wheat) have just emerged and this year’s peat is already ahead.

20.  We’re planning on selling our surplus products such as veggies, flowers and seedlings at a stand on our farm.  I’m in the process of making signs for the highway to let people know that we’re here.

Below is an article sent to me by Ishan Prabhu that really has me thinking:

YOU ARE NOT THIS MIND

We are devotees.  We know the philosophy.  And we readily repeat it.  “You are not this body.   You are not this mind.”  But one who really understands that “I am not this mind.”, that person is on a liberated platform.  On a liberated platform, and qualified to engage in devotional service.  

When we say, “qualified to engage in devotional service”, one can say, “Well, I have been doing that for years.”  Devotional service.  There are so many kinds of devotional service.  Building a temple room, cooking for the Deities, distributing the books, keeping accounts, cleaning the temple, polishing the brass, maintaining the vehicles…… there are so many ways.  And then of course we have shravanam kirtanam, smaranam vsihnu.

But why did Srila Prabhupada sometimes talk about practicing Krishna consciousness on the mental platform, or about the show bottle?  Why did he talk about the rubber –stamp process?  What do these things have in common?  What they have in common is that they all officially look like devotional service, but the one thing that is missing in all of them is love.  It is not that this kind of service is not progressive.  Of course it is.  But ultimately, Krishna wants our love.  Krishna wants our love in the present moment, moment to moment.  And when we come to that point, even if only for a moment, it is in that moment that we will sense Krishna’s loving reciprocation.  That is a moment of realization.  In that moment we have transcended the mental platform.

                                                        brahma-bhutah prasannatma

                                                            na shocati na kankshati

                                                          samah sarveshu bhuteshu

                                                        mad-bhaktim labhate param  (Bg 18/54)

brahma-bhutah –  being one with the Absolute; prasanna-atma – fully joyful; he never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity.  In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.

Krishna consciousness actually begins on the liberated platform.  But Krishna consciousness is so nice because in Krishna consciousness, the means and the goal are one and the same.  One can be Krishna conscious in a second.  Krishna consciousness is simply a matter of understanding and accepting.  Krishna consciousness is simple for the simple.  These are the words of Srila Prabhupada as he presents the teachings of Lord Caitanya and the disciplic succession.

Krishna tells us in Bhagavad-gita that we should abandon the fruitive demeanor.  Don’t be concerned about  success or failure, gain and loss, victory and defeat.  Why?  Because these are all symptoms of a self-centered orientation.  The self-centered  orientation and the devotional orientation are mutually exclusive.  Therefore if we want to love Krishna, we have to abandon our self-centered orientation.

But how to do this?  Let’s consider the qualities that Krishna mentions in the brahma-bhuta shloka.  It is not that these qualities cause the attainment of pure devotional service.  Rather, they are symptomatic.  It is simple for the simple.  And one can do it in a second.  In all of the other branches of yoga, the means and the goal are different.  But the aesthetic beauty of Krishna consciousness is that now the means and the goal are one and the same.  Therefore one can become Krishna conscious in one second.

So what is the quality of bhakti-yoga that distinguishes it from all other forms of yoga?  It is love.  It is bhakti.  To live in love is a choice.  Hankering and lamentation are symptoms of the modes of passion and ignorance.  But love leaves hankering and lamentation behind.  Just sit with the feeling of love for a a moment and notice that hankering and lamentation evaporate.  This alone is a profound realization. Therefore in the beginning, bhakti-yoga is about tuning the heart.  

Just as one has to tune a stringed instrument, so we have to tune our hearts.  We have to tune our hearts and cultivate the ability to live on the love platform. Let us have the wondrous  experience that love is self-satisfied.  And therefore in one second our hankering and lamentation depart, and our love can flow to Krishna.  Our devotion to Krishna is pure, because we are asking neither for relief nor for favors.  And in that moment we can sense Krishna’s reciprocation.  We can understand that “Krishna loves me.”  One can do this today.  Or one can wait for 50 years, or 50 births.  

We may not be on the platform of raganuga bhakti, but we are experiencing our connection with Krishna.  We are connecting with Krishna with love.  Bhakti yoga.  We are off the mental platform.  We will think to ourselves, “Oh, this is so nice.”  And we will want more.  Srila Prabhupada once said that to me.  He did a pantomime of a drug addict shooting up, and he said, “Krishna consciousness is like this.”  That was in 1968.  Some things take time.  The thing about Krishna consciousness is that it’s too simple for most people.  They cannot accept that it can be so simple.  Srila Prabhupada would say, “Simple for the simple.”  

This doesn’t mean that one won’t be forgetful.  It doesn’t mean that we won’t become fruitive or frustrated, or impatient, or despondent.  But the difference is that having tasted the beauty and simplicity of Krishna consciousness, we have something solid to return to.  And every time we tune our hearts and focus our love on Krishna we progressively understand that this is a consistent experience.  Krishna consciousness is not just a wonderful philosophy.  It actually works.  Krishna is just waiting for us to love Him, and immediately He reciprocates with us.  It is that simple.  

Then gradually we learn to carry this way of being into the arena of our daily activities.  And our activities turn into devotional service.  Our hankering and lamentation depart.  And we realize that “I am not this mind.”

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