“Prepare very nice foodstuffs of all descriptions from the grains and ghee collected for the yajna. Prepare rice, dahl, then halavah, pakora, puri and all kinds of milk preparations like sweet rice, sweetballs, sandesha, rasagulla and laddu and invite the learned brahmanas who can chant the Vedic hymns and offer oblations to the fire. The brahmanas should be given all kinds of grains in charity. Then decorate all the cows and feed them well.” (Krishna giving direction on the first Govardhana Puja, Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 24)
One side bemoans the current situation. They remember what it was like before, and so they can accurately compare the two:
“It doesn’t matter where you go today, everyone is on their phone. It is like they are zombies or something. They can’t go a minute without checking, without swiping left and right and scrolling up and down. What is becoming of our society? Who will actually be mature enough to lead, to put priorities in their proper order? I remember in times past there weren’t these issues. You could sit down with someone and have a conversation. You had to develop social skills in order to survive. It seems nowadays people are rewarded for being antisocial, which is nothing more than having a lack of etiquette.”
The other side sees nothing wrong with the situation. They think technology has made life so much better:
“I was at a funeral recently for an important public personality. So many well-known people were in attendance, and you know what? Everyone was on their mobile phones. Some had to step out every now and then to take calls. This is the reality of the present day. I love that I can get notified of incoming calls and texts through my watch. I don’t have to reach into my pocket for the phone. I am always connected to the world. I can communicate with people thousands of miles away.”
From the simple life exhibited in the place known as Gokula described in Vedic literature, we see that basic commerce can still take place with ample time leftover for higher pursuits.
1. The protection of cows
This was a special place, in particular because of the appearance of Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Though He is everywhere simultaneously through His feature of Paramatma, He only directly manifests in the personal form on rare occasions.
When He does appear, He favors the devotees in terms of association. Gokula is a farm community neighboring the city of Mathura. Krishna arrives there through the help of Vasudeva, the birth-father. Krishna spends the childhood years under the care of Nanda Maharaja and mother Yashoda.
Nanda has so many cows under his protection. This is not a dogmatic preference. This is not a random association. The cows have spiritual significance that cannot be explained through logic alone. While stool is generally considered unclean and inauspicious, with cows the same substance has tremendous value, as does urine.
Aside from the spiritual benefits that accrue, the cow helps to solve the basic economic problem. If you have nothing else to your name, a single cow with some land on which to feed can produce an abundance of milk.
2. The trade of milk and milk products
The excess can be shared with others, sold, or traded for other commodities. The people in Vrindavana had so much milk and cream that they would go to other towns to sell. Everyone was happily engaged in some kind of work. Though not officially employed in a large, multinational firm, everyone had something to do; there wasn’t idleness.
They were happily engaged since they had Shri Krishna with them. The work was a matter of fact aspect of life. The responsibilities were important, but Yashoda’s son was the person occupying their thoughts. Remembering Him can turn any experience blissful.
3. The growing of food
The cows were protected, the trees provided ample fruit, and there was a sufficient amount of grain. What more could anyone want? Evidence of the abundance of supply is documented in the accounts of the first Govardhana Puja.
Gokula-Vrindavana is indeed God’s country. During Krishna’s manifest lila, the people did not require any outside distractions. The simple life was enough to satisfy them. They had ample time to enjoy with song, dance, and food consumed with a purified consciousness.
While it may be difficult to replicate the environment in the hectic modern day, the connection with God in the all-attractive form is still possible. A person can immediately be transported to Gokula through hearing Shrimad Bhagavatam and other related Vedic texts. They can connect with Krishna today through the chanting of His names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Bemoaning the current plight,
Zombie society drawn by light.
On device carried small,
For email or person to call.
From Gokula a different pace,
But commerce still taking place.
Daily needs accounted for them,
More time with Krishna then.
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