Who is really 'man's best friend'?
by Hrimati dasi
Posted June 15, 2003

MAYAPURA, India -- While at the temple this morning, Vrindaban Lila asked me
to write something about our bullock cart. While she is talking to me, I am
looking over to Balaram, patiently waiting for his daily treat. Balaram is
our young ox, barely three years old. He pulls us every day with a bullock
cart to the temple.

My three sons and I live about two or three kilometres away from the
main ISKCON property, in a small place. We needed a regular milk supply, so
we asked the Goshala if we could have a cow. They gave us Balaram, along
with his mother Vishnupriya, in the spring of 2001. Vishnupriya supplies us
with about eight or nine litres of milk every day. We sell five litres, and
still there is plenty for us. We are glad to have Balaram because, as far as
possible, we grow our own vegetables. It would be very hard work if not for
him. To cultivate the land, with the help of a local farmer, Balaram ploughs
the earth together with another ox.

[Srila Prabhupada: Stick to your own place and grow your food. . . .]

When Balaram was small, it was easy to take care of him. However, bulls
do not stay small. In fact, now Balaram has outgrown his mother. He has a
lot of strength, which needs to be put to use. Ever since we got our ox, we
had this Idea to make a bullock cart for him. Living away from the temple,
to have a "car" would come in handy.

[Prabhupada: And we don't require motor car. Bullock cart is

I wrote to many cow experts on how to make a single-animal ox-cart.
Bangalore Professor N.S. Ramaswamy, director of CARTMAN, sent me the details
and design of a One-Ox Passenger Cart. The design of the yoke was adapted
from Balabhadra prabhu's book on cow protection. Finally, with a devotee's
kind donation, we build the "Balaram Mobile".

[Prabhupada: There is no question of transport. Little transport is
required, that bullock cart. Krishna was being carried on bullock cart.
There is no use of petrol. Use simply the bull. They are already there.
Utilize them. 'No (say the proponents of large-scale, industrial dairies),
the bull should be sent to the slaughterhouse. Petrol should be used.']

We take the bullock-cart every morning to the temple. It has other uses
as well. So far, we have carried sand, cement, rice straw, cow feed, grass,
groceries, and even our gas cylinder. Some times, we also give rides to
pilgrims. Balaram loves to pull the cart. When we give him commands on where
to go and when to stop, he is very obedient. We do not even have to use a
stick to control him.

[Prabhupada: The oxen will solve the problem of transport, that bullock
cart. When Krishna was transferred from Gokula to Nandagrama, they took all
the bullock carts and, within a few hours, they transported them, the whole
thing, their luggage, family members, everything. And if you are satisfied
with such life, there is no question of moving -- maybe local moving, from
this village to that village. That is sufficient, bullock carts. Why motor
cars? Drive here, and parking problem. Not only parking problem, there are
so many things. There are three thousand parts in a motorcar. You have to
produce them in a big factory. . . . What is the use of car? If you locate
yourself to get everything, your necessities, then where is the use of car?
If you require car, you have a bullock cart. That's all.]

[Prabhupada: Either you travel on a bullock cart or in a motorcar, your
business is to transport from one place to another; that's all. It may save
some time. You may feel some extra pleasure -- no pleasure, actually.
Rather, the bullock cart is comfortable because, in this motorcar, you are
always thinking, "There may be an accident." This material advancement of
life means you create a little convenience and, side by side, you create so
many inconveniences. You have created a motorcar but, side by side, you have
created death by motor accident. . . . To advance in civilization from the
primitive form of transport by bullock cart to motorcar is not actually
advancement. We are missing the point: this human form of life was meant for
realizing God, realizing self. We are misusing that higher intelligence and
consciousness for manufacturing motorcars.]

Being able to live in Sri Mayapur Dham is Srila Prabhupada's special
mercy. I am very thankful to him for being so kind in guiding us in this
way. My sons love Balaram a lot. He is their pet. Having your own ox is fun
and having a bullock cart is very useful. From experience, I can tell you
who is really man's best friend.
Can you guess?

[Prabhupada: You can start anywhere, anywhere, any part of the world; it
doesn't matter. Locally, you produce your own food. You get your own cloth,
have sufficient milk, vegetables. Then what do you want more? And chant Hare
Krishna. This is Vedic civilization: plain living, high thinking.]