Simple living and high thinking is one of the main motto behind any authentic spiritual organisation. When there is high thinking automatically that translate into simple living. By the way what is high thinking? We can understand simple living : living close to nature.
Many people think many things in life at many levels like personal, familial, social and universal at different levels of humanitarian, philanthropic, economic ways. That thinking can be either narrow-minded or in broad-minded. It also can be at any place in that entire gamut between these levels. Many people may be acting on this thinking process. But this kind of thinking process don’t solve the basic problems of life : birth, death, old age and disease. If anyone is thinking about solving these basic fundamental unavoidable problems, then that thinking is high thinking.
How does high thinking lead to simple living? Just by thinking nothing is going to happen unless action is taken place. There are many authentic avenues like scriptures, saints and teachers from where one can get practical ways to solve four basic problems . They suggest that necessities of life should be minimized as low as possible so that more energy can be spent in solving four basic problems. This necessity of minimization of needs automatically translate into living a life depending more on nature than on artificial industrialization and consumerism. So simple living is an automatic outcome of high thinking.
All the things said and people may say its fine to hear that kind of theoretical stuff, but it is very difficult to follow that kind of life style. More over there is no society having that kind of vision to motivate us. If you agree, then you will be absolutely wrong. There can be many examples of that sort, but there is one solid example for this simple living and high thinking. That is Govardhan Eco Village which is located in Wada, Maharashtra, India. It’s a role model for any society to emulate by teaching self sufficiency without any artificial needs and consumerism.
There are many activities going on in Govardhan Eco Village which seems at first glance as an Utopian exercise. Deep thinking will prove that it is not an Utopian excercise, in fact it is beacon light in the dark consumerism. The activities include Cow protection, Organic Farming, Children’s school, Alternate Energy, Cottage industry, Social Development and Natural Buildings.
The Cow – divine and all auspicious, has had a deep impact on all aspects of human lives since time immemorial. But post industrial revolution human reliance on Cows and Bulls has drastically diminished and dependency on oil is increased. Cow are mercilessly slaughtered for many reasons which often have hidden motives. Now with no cows and oil crisis, society is on the verge of paralysis.
Cow is so important for humans to live in harmony with nature. It gives what are all the required for human society like mother nurturing the child. So it is not surprise when scripture put cow in the place of mother. Cow’s milk nurture the human society. Number of food substances can be made from cows milk like curd, butter milk, butter, ghee, panneer etc. Cow urine is used for medicinal and digestive purposes. Cow dung in different forms is used for antiseptic purposes, decoration, fuel etc. Similarly bulls is used for ploughing, oil extraction, floor grinding, transportation etc.
It is demoniac to kill cow and ox for eating. It’s similar to killing mother and father. How can any society will be happy if they are killing mother and father. There can be many bad subtle effects on the society because of cow slaughter.Any sane person can understand the artificial dependency on oil and negligence on cow. Why not the person who is having high thinking?
The production of the food grains and vegetables has to be increased as the demand for them is increasing. So output from the farming has to be increased to meet this increased demand. Chemical substances in the form of fertilizers and pesticides are used for more production. Of course these fertilizers has increased the output, but the question is sustainability. The land which has given more output in initial years, latter gives reduced output than normally what it can give. The farmer is initially happy, but later he is devastated at the output level. The chemicals used are spread over vegetables and grains which can create lot of health issues if they are consumed? Over all what does human society achieve by these artificial chemicals? Its self destruction, nothing else. This is all because of short shortsightedness. Genetically modified crops are adding woes to the farmers and consumers.
In Govardhan Eco Village, instead of artificial means organic farming is being used. The organic techniques like crop rotation, use of compost, organic fertilizers, green pesticides, permanent raised beds, companion planting, mulching etc. This farsightedness is because of high thinking.
The vision of Lady Northcote Hindu Orphanage (LNHO) at Govardhan Eco Village is to emotionally, socially and spiritually nourish the children, help them draw out their inherent talents and guide them for a bright future. In order to live a life of responsibility and dignity, a holistic training model has been developed. This includes training the students in academics, vocational skills, spiritual traits and physical wellbeing.
Bull power is used for water pumping and sprinkling for irrigation. Same also being used for flour mill and oil extraction. Solar is used for heating water for some drinking purposes. Gobar gas is used for kitchen purposes. There are many usages of alternative energy for residential purposes, kitchen requirements and recreational purposes.
Cottage industry is the best near alternative to the so-called modern industry if basic needs of the society are considered. All the products are completely made from cow dung and cow urine and herbs.
The following products are available at present: Soap Powder (Ubtan), Tooth Powder, Incense sticks (dhoop), Gomutra Ark ( distilled cow urine), Ghanvati (Cow Urine tablets). There are bull operated oil mill (Ghani) and flour mill.
Villages are backbone of India. Agriculture and farming happen mainly in rural places. In this modern India where agriculture has 20% of GDP, but 90% of population is dependent on agriculture. So there is large disparity in proporions. More over poor farming due to environmental changes, improper conditions of lifestyle and health care and massive rural immigration keep rural populace in deplorable condition and this is going to hit modern India in long run as India has started importing grains from outside.
Govardhan Eco Village has taken initiative for creating positive changes in life style and state of affairs of rural communities by providing them a sustainable livelihood programme based on improving the available natural resources and also improving the quality of basic facilities like healthcare, sanitation, education and training etc.
Instead of using cement and cement bricks for construction of house or even red bricks, Govardhan Eco village is pioneering in construction of houses with Compresses Stabilized Earth Block (CSEB) which are based on special technology of making walls with bricks. Earthen materials and stabilizers are used in this technology. Local availability of materials and ease of processing makes it most energy efficient. It is also said that construction cost is approximately 40% less and strength of the block is more than normal red brick construction.
These steps taken by Govardhan Eco village are very appreciative because they thought differently at long term benefits instead of short term benefits. The more these kind of initiatives are taken, the more people will appreciate these role models and chance for emulation. Even a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Hope this Govardhan Eco village is one of those steps.