Field Notes Issue #12 – April 5th, 2020

April 5th, 2020 | Posted by ww-seva2 in field notes

Newsletter by Krishna Kshetra Swami, Issue #12 – April 5th, 2020


In his description of the Kali age, Shuka recites the Bhumi-gita—the Song of the Earth (Bhagavata Purana, Canto 12, chapter 3). In this song, Earth (as a feminine personage) laughs at the folly of countless kings in their futile efforts to conquer her. In seeking control of her, they fail to control their own sensory urges and become oblivious to their own impending death (Bhagavata Purana 12.3.4–5). The upshot of such ignorance is misuse of the earth’s gifts, leading to scarcity. Swami Prabhupada discussed this dynamic on numerous occasions, for example in a lecture he gave in Los Angeles:
As soon as you make misuse, the supply will be stopped. After all, the supply is not in your control. You cannot manufacture all these things. You can kill thousands of cows daily, but you cannot generate even one ant. And you are very much proud of your science. You see. Just produce one ant in the laboratory, moving, with independence. And you are killing so many animals? Why? So how long this will go on? Everything will be stopped. (Prabhupada; Lecture, Bhagavad Gita 3.11–19, Los Angeles, 27 December 1968)
Again, mistreatment of cows is linked to mistreatment of the earth, and these are seen as products of human arrogance. Such arrogance is epitomized in scientists who make brash, unfounded claims to the effect that humans’ well-being will always be secured by their (scientists’) inexhaustible powers to create. Therefore—so the arrogant reasoning goes— the killing of animals can continue without restriction. And so, as the slaughter continues, it is such “reasoning” that drives the dystopia that humans are making of this planet today.
We wonder, what is the trajectory of our collective human behavior toward our planet earth? A related question concerns the possibility, or impossibility, of changing our habits, perhaps our very “nature.”

–From “Cow Care in Hindu Animal Ethics” by Kenneth R. Valpey, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020. Available at:


Our human inquisitiveness impels us to ask, can human wildness be tamed? Could it be that what makes us human is quintessentially our capacity for inner reform and transformation, a capacity facilitated and nourished by spiritual wisdom, ethical reasoning, reflection, and conscious choice? This, I would argue, is particularly the view represented in the Bhagavad Gita and in the entire bhakti stream of Hindu tradition. Further, this view is of critical importance for understanding and changing taste, which is so foundational to the existence and changing of eating habits.

–From “Cow Care in Hindu Animal Ethics” by Kenneth R. Valpey, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020. Available at:


There is a particular notion prominent in Hindu aesthetic tradition, namely the experience of wonder (adbhuta-rasa). Wonder can be seen as the seed of humility—the acknowledgment of our smallness, vulnerability, and limited reasoning power, that can open us to the sort of inner transformation—the change of heart—necessary for a truly ethical way of life in relation to all living beings in this world. Out of such humility may come the sort of understanding that could allow us to embrace and live by the implications of Chaitanya’s assertion (which he is said to have spoken to his student Sanatan Goswami, on his return journey to Puri from Vrindavan): “All creatures (jivas) are eternal servants of the supreme person, Krishna” (Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 20.108). The simple shift in consciousness from trying to be masters to accepting that we are servants can, according to Vaishnava Hindu understanding, make all the difference for realizing our proper relationship to all beings.

–From “Cow Care in Hindu Animal Ethics” by Kenneth R. Valpey, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020. Available at:


Travel? What is that?
Please stay tuned for info about online sangas.
We are planning a KrKSanga using Adobe Connect.
For details how to connect Madhai Jivan Nitai will be sending info.

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