Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Agricultural Practices, the Vedic Way, the Utopian Way

Maharishi Vedic City Planning

They were enlightened and they understood all rhythms of nature. The Vedas are knowledge texts that consist of all the wisdom and knowledge about everything.--Aastha Pudasainee

A unique article that I came by, of late, was from the Kathmandu Tribune, written by undergraduate student, Aastha Pudasainee. In it, he laments the lost tradition of Vedic agricultural practices which employ ancient wisdom (prior to 3,000 B.C) over new scientific commercial "corruption". As I read through it, I noticed some overlapping values of biodynamic farming, permaculture, and the farmer's almanac moon planting calendar.

Below, I've listed some highlights from the Vedic methods named by Pudasainee.
  • Cow dung, urine, plant extracts, and natural products are used. 
  • Biological/Mechanical pest control methods are adopted
  • Green manuring is done.
  • Cattle roam around the field and their dung fertilizes the already rich soil.
  • Seeds are sprayed without plowing and tillage.
  • Methods of transplantation, irrigation, seed treatment, reduced tillage, vermi composting, and crop rotation are also included in Vedic agriculture.
  • Cow manure, cow urine, milk, yogurt, and ghee are original organic fertilizers.
  • The sacred cow substances are combined with coconut water, jaggery, and ripe bananas and then mixed into the soil. This is so rich in nutrients that it can make even the most barren, demineralized soil fertile again.
  • Seeds should first be coated in ghee and honey before sowing to help them germinate, making them strong and resistant to disease for their lifetime.
  • Vedic cosmological agriculture signifies the use of astrology and understanding the movement of the planets when sowing and reaping crops and there is an appropriate time for seeding, plowing, pruning, spraying, watering, weeding, fertilizing, composting.
  • The basic aspect of homa farming is the chanting of Sanskrit mantras at specific times in the day before a holy fire. The ash that results from the puja is used to energize composts, plants, animals.
Most of all, I loved the philosophical nature of the writing by Pudasainee, so please read the article if this subject interests you. (link below)

Breaking the laws of the universe has its own consequences.--Aastha Pudasainee

Interestingly, and little-known, there is a small town in Iowa where Vedic practices and Vedic Agriculture is going on.
Maharishi World Peace Vedic Organics is a non-profit organization established in 2003 to aid Maharishi Vedic City, the local community, region and nation by studying, researching, and demonstrating organic, sustainable agricultural approaches, including ancient Vedic practices, in a year-round greenhouse setting. Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa’s newest city incorporated in 2001, is by ordinance an organic city. The land in the City is organic and the sale of non-organic food is not allowed.

During the many untold hours that I have spent in this past decade pondering the nature of agriculture's conflicting problems, I always come up with the possibility of a master plan for small town America which would be idyllic such as the diagrams from Iowa's Vedic Center. Or, Frank Lloyd Wright's Utopian Community idea, which he named Broadacre City and advocated throughout his lifetime. Perhaps such a plan could revitalize rural America and bring meaning and newfound health the its residents.

Sketches for Boadacre City project from Frank L. Wright.

Yet, those Utopian planned communities are just idealistic fantasies, I suppose. The great thinker and speaker Alan Watts once said, "You’re only making a mess by trying to put things straight. You’re trying to straighten out a wiggly world and no wonder you’re in trouble."

With that, I'm giving Watts the final word.

Maharishi Vedic City houses, Iowa

To read more from Aastha Pudasainee: Vedic Organic Agriculture from the Kathmandu Tribune