Thursday, September 3, 2009

Comparing Diet-based Farming Systems

Farming systems can be defined in many ways. VEDA (The Vegetarian Environmental Development Association) has defined three different farming systems according to the diet the farming system feeds - a meat-based diet, a vegetarian diet and a vegan diet; though overlap between the diets does exist.

1. The rearing of animals for slaughter provides for a milk and meat-based diet. This meat-based farming system is the presently accepted norm in most of the world, with India as a notable exception.

2. The rearing of animals for useful products and services without slaughtering the animals provides for a vegetarian diet. This farming system is that followed by Protection Farms.

3. Farm animals need not be used at all, leaving a vegan, plant-based diet. This system is presently being developed according to vegan standards.

Protection Farms utilizes all domesticated farm animals, though the main farm animal, as in most farming systems, is the cow. Presented below are comparisons between the three farming systems outlined, using the cow as an exemplar.

A table showing dietary comparisons and their implications to the farmed animals, using the cow as an exemplar.

A Meat-based Farming System
In a conventional dairy unit in the UK dairy cows are impregnated in their second year for a 300-day lactation in their third year. Their calves are separated from their mothers within the first 48 hours; unwanted calves are used for veal production or slaughtered as they are seen to be of no economic value. The dairy cow will yield an average of 20 litres/day for a 6,000 litre lactation. During this period they are impregnated again ready to give birth and another 300-day lactation, with only 2 months between drying off and birth. At an average age of 7 years old, after 5 or more lactations, yielding in its lifetime over 30,000 litres of milk, the dairy cow is sent to slaughter; usually for low-grade meat for pet food. In conventional beef suckler systems beef steers suffer another fate to the dairy cow. After castration and intensive feeding for 3 years they are then slaughtered for meat for human consumption.

The feed that is used in conventional systems is in a concentrated form to increase growth rate and milk yield. Before the BSE crisis concentrates even contained the dried powdered remains of animals, including the cow. These concentrates increase metabolic disorders, which, along with intensive stocking, leads to infirmity; this is counteracted via the proliferate use of antibiotics. The organic dairy system differs from the conventional system in a lower intensity of the system in regards to (organic) feeding and stocking. Still, all organic farms slaughter their livestock at the end of their optimal economic efficiency, though a few very fortunate farm animals may be kept as pets.

A Vegan Farming System
The vegan farming system is a livestock-less system, therefore no animals would be farmed. If the vegan system were taken to its extremes, i.e. the world ate a vegan diet, then there would be no domesticated animals, including pets. The relationship with the natural world and its animals would be one of minimal interference. The land would revert to its natural climax vegetation, e.g. forest, and the vegan diet would come from an agro-ecology of tree-based fruits and nuts, as well as field-based crops of grains and horticulture. Unless farm animals were made extinct and there was no other invasive wildlife, then competition from feral farm animals and wildlife could intensify, leading to the necessity to cull.

Notable vegan writers like Kathleen Jannaway have lent their support to a farming system with protected farm animals as a halfway house between the present system and the vegan ideal. Other vegans are more militant in their approach to Protection Farms. There are valid arguments from vegan writers concerning the need to keep animals at all, which are highly complex and polemic. One detail which will be mentioned is the need for the castration of animals. Whilst Protection Farms markets its products as "food without cruelty", it must be understood that nature itself is inherently cruel. Drawing on the Hindu concept of ahimsa, which is often quoted as non-violence but actually means minimal violence, as it is understood that non-violence is not feasible, then castration is seen as a minimalist form of violence. Castration of male offspring in farm animals is seen as essential to Protection Farms as too many fertile males would bring havoc to the farming system.

In the above extreme vegan scenario, the fact that the necessity to cull may arise raises its own dilemma. A 'fortress vegan' farming system would need to be in place and the wildlife on the other side left to its own devises. A contemporary analogy would be with the elephants in parts of Africa, where great effort is made to keep them out of farmed land, and culling is a yearly norm. In the vegan system although the animals are not domesticated and managed by humans, they would need to be managed by culling or fenced out of human crop land. To vegans this may represent minimised violence. To the vegetarian, farm animal protection may represent minimised violence. Either one has its own dilemma as nature is inherently cruel.

In India the predominantly vegan Jains support Hindu cow protection in many ways. VEDA believes the Western vegan should also support Protection Farms. The vegan diet should have its own live-stockless agriculture, but in the long run the meat-eating diet will continue to take the lives of millions of animals each year. With Protection Farms people following the vegan diet will have one form to aid the plight of the farm animal. Too many animal welfare groups are re-active to the meat and milk industry, Protection Farms offer a pro-active stance via which animal welfare standards will be pushed ever higher; Protection Farms will offer the best-practice for animal welfare, raising the benchmark for animal welfare standards.

[From VEDANew URL ]

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009



Production of Organic Menure

Maharaj shri says,
"It’s a common place belief among people that nature is equivalent to forest cover and vegetation, rivers and glaciers, mountains and valleys etc and we humans as well as other animal species on this planet are outside this ecosystem. But the truth is this entire world is a representation of nature. Every element, every life form that exists on this planet exists in relation to each other. If any one link of this chain gets broken it creates a state of imbalance"

On this planet the two main foundation of our existence is solar energy and forest cover. It should be our primary responsibility to preserve these two sources of life energy. If one studies the geological makeup of Rawatpura region then it is quite evident that this region is devoid of any forest cover or vegetation because of the bad quality of soil cover. However since the time Maharaj shri established Rawatpura ashram, this region has gone through a natural transformation that is beyond any words.

As of today 500,000 trees of different species have been planted in the vicinity of the ashram and now the ashram seems like an oasis in the middle of a desert. One is overwhelmed with a feeling of astonishment at this miraculous play of nature in the middle of ravines of Chambal. This has been made possible primarily because of the subtle undercurrent of spiritual energy that has acted as a nutrient to these plants.

Another important aspect of increasing tree cover is that this has an indirect effect on the increase in the population of endangered bird species.

Maharaj shri says,
"The same life force that flows through our veins is flowing in these trees and plants. They are as sensitive to the environment around them as we are. I always motivate people to plant trees and to conserve them as well. Today our forest cover is fast depleting because of our carelessness and exploitation of natural resources. It is our moral duty to make people aware of the dangers of deforestation. In future mankind will face a heightened scarcity of water and since forests help us to maintain the water table it is of utmost importance that we should apply water conservation techniques and plant more trees. Nowadays we are facing numerous problems like natural calamities, global warming, acid rain, incurable diseases, ozone depletion etc at an alarming rate. This is happening because of the imbalances created in the natural environment. If we want to prevent such disasters in future then we should take the first step in conserving our natural resources."

Production of Organic Menure

Organic Farming Method
One of the key focus areas at SRLKT is to inculcate awareness and provide training to farmers regarding organic farming methods. Current farming techniques have a strong emphasis on usage of insecticides and pesticides to prevent crop failure and to increase arable land productivity. However such techniques have had a damaging side effect on the quality of soil as well as on our health. Many incurable diseases are caused because of the use of these chemicals which have a harmful effect on our body.

To prevent this, SRLKT is promoting organic farming methods which have their basis in the traditional Indian agricultural techniques that predominantly use organic waste of plants like neem, dhatura etc, flowers, cow dung, urine and earthworms as natural manure like Nadep, Farmyard, Compost etc as well as insecticides and pesticides.

"Stand as a rock; you are indestructible. You are the Self, the God of the universe"

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Malas or Rosaries

Malas or Rosaries

As Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshvara, God is not conscious of a Trinity; As the rose knows nothing of its fragrance, Men do not know their own Divinity - Dust and Bones, Dadaji

Malas (rosaries) are an integral part of puja, being used to count the mantra recited to the devata installed in image or yantra. According to Devirahasya, the classic Tantrika rosaries are made of conch- shell, pearls, rodhra (symplocos racemosa), crystal, rudraksha, tulsi (basil), rubies, gold, lotus seeds, skull bone/teeth.

One should commence by purifying oneself, doing the usual nyasas, opening the temple, and making the rosary. The number of beads may be 27, 54 or 108 -but there is always an extra bead inserted -- called the meru, so that one knows when the cycle is finished.

Breath should then be installed in the rosary. Again, according to the Devirahasya, the seer of the purification is Kalagnirudra, the metre is Anushtubh, Shmashana Bhairavi, the Night of Time, the Great Playful One adorned with Human Skulls is the devata. Hsau is the Bija, Thah is the Shakti, Hrah is the Peg, and the object is the purification of the rosary.

After installing breath, the rosary should be bathed with the appropriate pure substances (upachara).

The mantras given in Devirahasya are:
Conch: Om Shrim Shrim Om Shankhini Om Shrim Om.
Pearl: Om Hrim Hrim Om Muktamalini Shrim Shrim Svaha.
Rodhra: Om Strim Om Raudre Rodhramalini Sah Svaha.
Crystal: Om Ah Hram Hram Arkamale Hram Svaha.
Rudraksha: Om Ah Shrim Hrim Rum Rudrakshamalini Shuddha Bhava Svaha.
Tulsi: Om Shrim Om Strim Tulasi Vaishnavi Vaushad Svaha.
Ruby: Om Trom Dhum Manimale Manohare Svaha.
Gold: Om Shrim Trim Aim Klim Sauh Suvarnamale Sauh.
Lotus Seed: Om Prim Om Padma Akshamalini Hsauh Svaha.
Skull/Teeth: Hrim Shrim Klim Hram Sauh Dantamale Mundamale Prim Strim Hsauh Svaha.

After purifying the rosary with the appropriate mantra, one should then use it, using one's root mantra, and worshipping it with scent, flowers &c.

Then one should pronounce the following great mantra: Om Male Male Mahamale Sarvatattvasvarupini Caturvargastvayi Nyastastasmanme Siddhida Bhava Svaha. (Om, O Rosary, Rosary, Great Rosary, the true form of all things, place in me the Four Aims of Mankind. Give siddhi! Svaha )

One should then close the rite in the usual tantrika fashion, placing the breath in the heart again &c. When using a rosary to recite mantras, the fruit of the recitation should be given to the installed aspect in the yantra. Cycles of mantra should be 27:54:108 and more, according to will. The index finger should never be used when counting the beads, but the thumb and middle finger. The rosary should be kept safely away from others when not in use, and should never be allowed to touch the ground. If this happens, it must be reconsecrated. The same procedure should be undertaken if the string is cut. The beads should be scented with the eight great scents.