The Aborigines lived in almost perfect harmony with their environment for thirty thousand years, thirty to forty thousand recorded years—that's how far our research can take us back—whereas in a little over a hundred years, European man in Australia has done in places irreparable damage to not only the vegetation but also the soils of arid Australia. It's damage that will probably never, ever be repaired because the environment is so delicate in central Australia that as soon as our cloven-footed animals, our sheep and our cattle, for example, are brought into the arid areas, they eat, they trample, they remove vegetation. This loosens the soil. The soil is very thin, it's very infertile, and it blows away. And virtually all you have left is rock. And nothing grows, of course, on rock. That's an over-simplification and perhaps an over-dramatization, but this has happened in Australia. It didn't happen when the Aborigines lived here, undisturbed by us. It has happened since European man has come.
In Perth, in this city, around this city, since Europeans have come, we have removed forests, we've cut down trees, we've tilled the soil, we have changed the natural order of things, we have increased the amount of water from rain that flows through the soil. It's getting more and more salty. We are affecting our coastal wetlands, as we call them, the lagoons and the lakes and the marshes, so that they are becoming both more salty and more clogged with silt and soil and debris. Water birds can, in some areas, no longer live there. Fish are dying. A lot of migratory fish and crabs, for example, are no longer migrating to their traditional breeding grounds. So our work, our approach, is—and I have to stress that it is scientific and therefore it's long-term, and we're only a very young group here in Western Australia—but our approach is to attempt first to understand what has happened, to understand what is happening, and then slowly to be able to suggest ways of improving or halting what is happening which is bad and putting forward ideas for what might happen which is good, which is good both for people . . .
We're stuck with that, we're stuck with our urban . . . whether we like it or not, we're stuck with our urban civilization. We're stuck with our Western way of doing things, unfortunately. But, that being the case, we . . .
Prabhupāda: Did the Aborigines, they were growing their food, the Aborigines?
Justin Murphy: Oh, no, no, no, no. The Aborigines grew nothing really. They were nomadic. They were mostly meat-eaters and insect-eaters. There are . . . for example, one of the staples of the Aborigines was a very thick and very fat grub called a witchetty grub, which lived in the roots of certain low bushes, and they used to tear the bush over and these fat grubs would appear, which would be eaten live, eaten raw.
Prabhupāda: Without cooking.
Justin Murphy: No cooking. No cooking. Immediately. Wiggling. The fresher the better. They used to eat small furry animals—bandicoots, wombats. There were no rabbits, of course, in those days. Rabbit has been a disaster introduced by man, by European man. But they used to occasionally pound the grass seeds from a few species of arid sand grasses and make a kind of an unleavened bread, which they would then bake. But generally the Aborigines were nomadic, they were shifting, and they didn't cultivate. They didn't till the soil ever. But we must, whilst attempting to provide for the inevitable Australian people and the growth of population, we must also try to do that within the confines and the dictates of nature and the natural resources which we have. Australia is very rich in a lot of natural resources; it's very, very poor in others. It is quite poor in water, and, of course, water is absolutely basic to the growth process. Australia has abundant sunlight, solar energy, which is the basis of photosynthesis.
Justin Murphy: And vegetable growth. But we lack water. And in Perth we are doing an excellent job at ruining our water. It's criminal in many respects, what is going on. And this is what we must do. So we are trying to strike a balance between science for, and research for, the benefit of people. But it must be also for the benefit of the environment, because . . .
Prabhupāda: (aside) You find out this verse: annād bhavanti bhūtāni. Annād. A-n-n-a-d. Annād.
Amogha: A-n-n-a-d. Hmm.
Prabhupāda: Find out.
- annād bhavanti bhūtāni
- parjanyād anna-sambhavaḥ
- yajñād bhavati parjanyo
- yajñaḥ karma-samudbhavaḥ
- (BG 3.14)
Translation: "All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rains. Rains are produced by the performance of yajña, sacrifice, and yajña is born of prescribed duties."
Amogha: Purport: "Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, a great commentator on the Bhagavad-gītā, writes as follows: ye indrādy-aṅgatayāvasthitaṁ yajñaṁ sarveśvaraṁ viṣṇum abhyarcya tac-cheṣam aśnanti tena tad deha-yātrāṁ sampādayanti, te santaḥ sarveśvarasya bhaktāḥ sarva-kilbiṣair anādi-kāla-vivṛddhair ātmānubhava-pratibandhakair nikhilaiḥ pāpair vimucyante. The Supreme Lord, who is known as the yajña-puruṣaḥ, or the personal beneficiary of all sacrifices, is the master of all demigods who serve Him as the different limbs of the body serve the whole. Demigods like Indra, Candra, Varuṇa, etc., are appointed officers who manage material affairs, and the Vedas direct sacrifices to satisfy these demigods so that they may be pleased to supply air, light and water sufficiently to produce food grains. When Lord Kṛṣṇa is worshiped, the demigods, who are different limbs of the Lord, are also automatically worshiped; therefore there is no separate need to worship the demigods.
"For this reason, the devotees of the Lord, who are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, offer food to Kṛṣṇa and then eat—a process which nourishes the body spiritually. By such action not only are past sinful reactions in the body vanquished, but the body becomes immunized to all contamination of material nature. When there is an epidemic disease, an antiseptic vaccine protects a person from the attack of such an epidemic. Similarly, food offered to Lord Viṣṇu and then taken by us makes us sufficiently resistant to material affection, and one who is accustomed to this practice is called a devotee of the Lord. Therefore, a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, who eats only food offered to Kṛṣṇa, can counteract all reactions of past material infections, which are impediments to the progress of self-realization. On the other hand, one who does not do so continues to increase the volume of sinful action, and this prepares the next body to resemble hogs and dogs, to suffer the resultant reactions of all sins."
"The material world is full of contaminations, and one who is immunized by accepting prasādam of the Lord, food offered to Viṣṇu, is saved from the attack, whereas one who does not do so becomes subjected to contamination. Food grains or vegetables are factually eatables. The human being eats different kinds of food grains, vegetables, fruits, etc., and the animals eat the refuse of the food grains and vegetables, grass, plants, etc. Human beings who are accustomed to eating meat and flesh must also depend on the production of vegetation in order to eat the animals. Therefore, ultimately, we have to depend on the production of the field and not on the production of big factories. The field production is due to sufficient rain from the sky, and such rains are controlled by demigods like Indra, sun, moon, etc., and they are all servants of the Lord. The Lord can be satisfied by sacrifices; therefore, one who cannot perform them will find himself in scarcity. That is the law of nature."
"Yajña, specifically the saṅkīrtana-yajña prescribed for this age, must be therefore performed to save us at least from scarcity of food supply."
Prabhupāda: Did you follow? So the only remedy is that you should perform yajña. And this yajña is, in this age . . . Yajña, performance of yajña, is very costly affair. At the present moment, things are not available. So you should perform yajña. If you don't perform yajña, then nature will restrict supply and put so many impediments. That yajñād bhavati parjanyaḥ (BG 3.14). If you regularly perform yajña, then there will be sufficient rainfall. There is sufficient water. Just like all around there is water. There is no scarcity of water. But you cannot touch it without God's intervention. The same water will be converted into cloud and will be distributed on the land, and the water again glide down to the reservoir of water. This is nature's way. But if you do not perform yajña, this machine will not work to get water from the sea, convert into cloud, and then distribute. This will be restricted.