Why is Krishna not keeping the increasing population under control?
Question By: Mukesh Upadhyay
But why the numbers of people increasing? As people are increasing this is creating pressure on natural resources; which in turn increases pollution; deforestation; global warming. Why Krishna is not keeping population in check?
Transcription By: Ramanand Borse P
Edited By: Shyam Prabhu
Answer: Firstly, the idea that the population is increasing is not historically very sound, because if we look at history, since when is the census being kept? Actually, serious census keeping efforts have only been in place for the lastfew hundred years. Maybe in the Roman Empire there was some effort for keeping the census. But it is debated whether it was there, whether it was actually recorded and how many people were there.
Even if it was true, it was only for the Roman Empire. So how do we actually know how many people were there on the planet? The idea of the population explosion even from the historical point of view is based on a very limited and shortsighted perspective of history. 5000, 8000, 10,000 years ago – how much was the population? Who has kept track of it? From the Vedic perspective, population of the past was much, much more, but because people were living in harmony with nature and God, nature was providing for the resources abundantly.
Today, we may say that the population is exploding, and it is true from the recent point of view, if you want to note it from the last few hundred years. It may be true that the population is increasing but the population is definitely not increasing in such a way that it is impossible for the environment to sustain. What is causing the problem is not the growth of population, but growth of unsustainable lifestyles and democratic patterns among the population.
We feel the population is exploding because many of us live in cities and in cities we see crowded locals, crowded roads and crowded slums. Thus, we feel there is a complete explosion of population when we look at the cities. But when we travel by trains or planes or buses, we observe that villages are not so tightly populated and there are vast areas of land which could be used for cultivation which are not being used for cultivation, what to speak of using for habitation?
Because of our artificial social economical system which discourages agriculture in various ways, glamorizes and subsidizes industry, and compels both economically as well as culturally people to migrate to cities to become industrial labors instead of being farmers, we have a huge amount of population explosion within the cities. But still, the earth has the capacity to sustain not just the amount of population that is there on the earth, but even more.
The main problem is not, as I said, number of people who are living, but it is how they are living. For example, if we look at the food production, much of the irrigable land, the land which could be used to cultivate crops, is used not for growing crops for human beings, but is often used for fodder for animals. The disadvantage of this is that we use a huge amount of fodder for the animals, much of which is passed out as their waste products and a little of which is integrated into their body as flesh, which human beings can eat.
Even if the land is used for the crops for human habitation, often it is used for cash crops instead of staple crops. Tea, coffee, sugarcane (which can be used to make wine), etc. – there are huge plantations of such crops. And often the farmers who go for these kinds of crops earn more money than the farmers who go for rice, wheat and grains like that.
So the economic system is arranged in such a way that using the natural resources for essential products in a sustainable way is actually discouraged. Even if we talk about pollution, pollution is primarily in the cities because of excessive crowding and excessive industrialization, excessive vehicular emission and excessive industrial effluence which go to the rivers. But the primary problem is not the increase of population; the primary problem is the unsustainable lifestyles.
There is a book written by ISKCON devotee researcher Michael Cremo and Mukund Goswami called Divine Nature. In this book, there are University of California department studies as well as many other studies which show that if the whole world shifts to a vegetarian lifestyle, then with the existing resources, which are of course inefficiently utilized, the earth can sustain a population far greater than what the population is today.
Srila Prabhupada told us almost 40 years ago when he was on a trip to Mauritius that in Africa, in Mauritius, why these farmers were growing cash crops instead of grains. It is not that nature cannot provide enough, it is for us to utilize nature’s resources properly and as far as keeping the population in control is concerned, we should not expect Krishna to intervene constantly in the management of the world. Periodically, Krishna may intervene.
Krishna came at the end of Dvapara Yuga. He appeared as Caitanya Mahaprabhu, preaching the Yuga dharma 500 years ago, and again, He is going to come at the end of this Yuga as Kalki Avatar. At that time, the ungodly demoniac population will be removed from the earth and then the good population will be created. But that is 427,000 years away.
Normally speaking, Krishna gives us the resources of the world and he gives us scriptural knowledge. Then he expects us, human beings, to use the scriptural knowledge and our God given intelligence to manage things properly. Of course, he also sends his devotees, like Srila Prabhupada, for guiding us. So it is for us to utilize this properly. Of course, when calamities come, we should see it in a sense that it is not that Krishna is directly doing all this, but it is karmic reaction coming to human beings.
We see that there are huge wars and natural calamities; similarly, now terrorism is there, which is killing so many people. Often people who seem from this life’s perspective to be innocent are also killed(though, of course, nobody who is innocent is killed by the law of karma).But the point is that when we destabilize the environment by slaughtering God’s children, killing animals, there will be a natural reaction to it and human beings will be slaughtered.
Pythagoras said that those who sow the seeds of pain at death cannot reap the fruits of joy and life. As long as men kill animals in slaughterhouses, they will be killed in battlefields. So these sorts of calamities will happen sometimes, but we should not think that the calamities are caused by Krishna. Krishna expects human beings to be responsible for the planet because he entrusted us with free will and entrusted us the arena of free will to use free will properly.
If we take the guidance from the scriptures and learn how to utilize the resources of the world properly according to Isa vasyamidamsarvam (SI 1), which is the guiding principle given in Sri Isopanisad or Bhoktaram yajna tapasam (BG 5.29), as given in Bhagavad-Gita, which Prabhupada called the peace formula, then human beings can manage the resources of this planet irrespective of the population increase or not.