“All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rain. Rains are produced by performance of yajna [sacrifice], and yajna is born of prescribed duties.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.14)
अन्नाद् भवन्ति भूतानि
यज्ञाद् भवति पर्जन्यो
annād bhavanti bhūtāni
yajñād bhavati parjanyo
“Do you ever get the survivalist feel from people who follow bhakti-yoga? Or just worshipers of God, in general. The more serious they are, the more they talk about building things with their hands, living off the land, being self-sustaining, and so forth.
“I think I understand the appeal, but to a lot of people it seems strange. The extent of their knowledge of food production is the supermarket. In some cases, they only eat what they are able to get delivered, using the smartphone apps.
“I don’t think the world will return to the era of subsistence farming anytime soon. Is it not better to focus on other things? Do I need to be a farmer in order to really appreciate God?”
A less intelligent person thinks everything happens automatically. If they don’t witness it directly, they don’t care. If they are not personally seeing the transformation, from beginning to end, it is as if nothing took place.
This helps to explain why it is so easy to accept mass slaughter of innocent animals. The food is there in the supermarket. The restaurant cooks everything in the back. You eat whatever is on the dinner table. There usually isn’t much thought given to the bloodshed and cruelty involved in producing the product.
The same for killing children in the womb. That thing inside must not be a person. After all, it doesn’t have hands, legs, or a face. Okay, after the heartbeat arrives you might be on to something, but killing should still be allowed. Otherwise, that is too cruel for the mother. If you really twist my arm, I will sanction any type of forced end to the pregnancy, as long as there isn’t visible murder taking place.
With the direct interaction with nature, there is acknowledgment of the many factors that connect together in order to produce the finished product. Each of those factors is beyond human control. No one can make it rain on a given day. No one can produce sunlight to a comparable level.
The earth itself is amazing. All the seeds necessary for the continuation of plant life are already within the earth. The same for the stars in the sky. Goswami Tulsidas uses these two gifts of nature to explain the potency of the holy name of Shri Rama. In the chanting of that name, there is every kind of dharma already included.
जथा भूमि सब बीजमय नखत निवास अकास |
रामनाम सब धरममय जानत तुलसीदास ||
jathā bhūmi saba bījamaya nakhata nivāsa akāsa |
rāmanāma saba dharamamaya jānata tulasīdāsa ||
“Just as within the earth are found every kind of seed and within the sky live all the stars, Tulsidas knows that Shri Rama’s holy name is the reservoir of all dharma.” (Dohavali, 29)
When I harvest the crops myself, there is a connection to the process. Everything collected is what will be relied upon going forward. There is no other option, at least in the intermediate stage. There is no mail-order service. There is no supermarket nearby. In fact, the stores rely on the farms to keep the shelves stocked.
The farmer relies upon the wind, the sun, the clouds, the rain, and the earth. These are gifts from a higher power. In this way, it is easier to realize the presence of God. There is automatic appreciation, since there is full dependence on these gifts.
Bhagavad-gita explains that rainfall does not occur at random. There must be some pious activity involved. There are higher authorities in charge of the many aspects of nature, but there is also a superintendent.
The controller of the higher authorities is one way to understand God. He makes life possible. He is the reality to this world. He pervades the entire space through His unmanifest form, the avyakta-murtina.
He is also a distinct individual, approachable in the way a distinguished personality might interact with others. The letter of introduction comes from the spiritual master, who is the representative of this highest personality.
It is not that the city-dweller has no opportunity for appreciation. We can think of God at any time. We can remember His form and activities, His merciful appearances within this world, the valuable words of instruction He has left behind, and His lasting impression at any time.
Certain circumstances are more favorable for that remembrance to take place. It is for this reason that saintly people choose areas aligning with the mode of goodness, sattva-guna. They aim to always remember, and they intentionally choose places and times that help to trigger that remembrance.
Wonderful meal to me came,
Originally responsible the rain.
Which not produced by man,
No matter how much effort he can.
One way the higher power to see,
That source of everything is He.
Blessed that plentiful to provide,
By Him everything supplied.