It is a wrong theory that due to an increase in population the world becomes overburdened.
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© 2004 - Hansadutta das
[Posted 11 October 2006]

Population on the Rise (or Fall into Lower Species?)

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada

The Independent - October 11, 2006 - by ANDREW BUNCOMBE - US population hits 300 million, but is it sustainable?

The population of the United States will pass 300 million today, or tomorrow. No one knows exactly where, no one know precisely when. It is a milestone for sure but is this a cause for celebration or anxiety?

Some American commentators are already saying the landmark is a chance to note the US is perhaps the only country in the developed world where the economy is being bolstered by a population that is growing at a discernable rate. But many experts say passing the 300 million milestone should be a wake-up call that demands a reappraisal of the extraordinary, unparalleled rate of consumption by the world's largest economy and its third largest by population.

As an economic model for the rest of the world to follow - in particular the rapidly developing economies of China and India - it is unsustainable, they say. full story

The Independent - October 11, 2006 - by ANDREW GUMBEL - Andrew Gumbel: Americans want it all, and hang the consequences

The severely limited impulse to conserve is not only about economics. It is also deeply cultural. The United States is a place where the prevailing instinct is to want it all, no matter the consequences. Sure, there may be wars in the Middle East, Islamic militants on the march, smog in the air, pollutants in the water, hurricanes, floods and other tangible side-effects of global warming but that's not going to stop most people from hankering after a big car and a big house with state-of-the-art gadgets.

Cutting back is not cool or sexy. Given the choice between laboriously reviving old city centres with apartment renovations and corner shops, or ripping up cornfields to create suburban developments with huge houses and monster shopping malls, most Americans opt for the monster.

People certainly have mixed feelings. At the height of the Iraq war, it was not uncommon to see huge, gas-guzzling four-wheel-drives sporting "No Blood for Oil" stickers. Americans aren't happy about their obesity epidemic or their tendency to overspend in grocery stores or over-order in restaurants, even while they consume 200bn calories a day more than they need and throw away around 200,000 tons of edible food each day. full story

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Overpopulation a Myth

Living Entities Not Created by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

The living entities, they are eternal. Their only position is marginal, sometimes manifested here, sometimes manifested there. So in the material world the living entities are already there. You haven't got to create. That is foolishness. It is never created. Simply in the material world it becomes manifest in four ways. Some of them are coming like trees, plants. And some of them are coming from perspiration... not coming, being manifested through fermentation, perception. And some of them are being manifested through eggs. And some of them are being manifested through embryo.  more

Incomplete Census

purport, Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.3.14

It is a wrong theory that due to an increase in population the world becomes overburdened and therefore there are wars and other annihilating processes. The earth is never overburdened. The heaviest mountains and oceans on the face of the earth hold more living entities than there are human beings, and they are not overburdened. If a census were taken of all the living beings on the surface of the earth, certainly it would be found that the number of humans is not even five percent of the total number of living beings. If the birthrate of human beings is increasing, then the birthrate of other living beings is increasing proportionately. The birthrate of lower animals—beasts, aquatics, birds, etc.—is far greater than that of human beings. There is an adequate arrangement for food for all the living beings all over the earth by the order of the Supreme Lord, and He can arrange more and more if there is actually a disproportionate increase of living beings.

Scarcity of God Consciousness

purport, Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.5.5

There is no scarcity for maintenance in the material world. Because of their poor fund of knowledge, the materialists are disturbed when there is an apparent increase of population on the earth. Whenever there is a living being on the earth, however, his subsistence is immediately arranged by the Lord. The other species of living entities, who far outnumber human society, are never disturbed for maintenance; they are never seen dying of starvation. It is only human society that is disturbed about the food situation and, to cover up the real fact of administrative mismanagement, takes shelter in the plea that the population is excessively increasing. If there is any scarcity in the world, it is the scarcity of God consciousness, otherwise, by the grace of the Lord, there is no scarcity of anything.

Overpopulation of Demonic Persons

Letter to Sir Alistair Hardy, 28 July 1973

The only problem that we face is that we are neglecting to understand the supreme powerful. The subsidiary problems as you Have stated, just like over population have been created by man. If we accept that the ultimate truth is the powerful, then the powerful can maintain any number of population, otherwise there is no meaning to Powerful if he is subjected to any limitation. The supreme powerful is unlimitedly powerful, and practically we can see that the problem of overpopulation amongst the animals is not extant. Just like the elephants, they are not thinking where to get food. Or just like the cats and dogs and hogs, they are producing at a time half a dozen Children or more, so incomparison to them man is producing one child, or two children.

Formerly man used to have hundreds of sons, at the present moment a man has got two three at most ten sons. So where is the question of over population? We understand from the history of Mahabharata that Dhritarastra had one hundred sons, but there are many other examples also. Maharaja Rishabha dev had one hundred sons, so they were big prominent men in the history the names of the most prominent men are mentioned. It is therefore safe to conclude that if the King can produce one hundred sons the subjects also can produce one hundred sons, if not all of then at least some of them. So at that time there was no question of overpopulation, we do not find it in the history of Mahabharata.

Actually it is not a question of over population but of equal distribution of food. Just like America, they are producing enough food, and there is potency of producing more. But the Government prohibits the farmer to produce more. It is not a problem that the population has increase, but the distribution is mismanaged. Or by industrialization we have reduced the energy for producing food in favor of producing things other than food. So on the whole it is not a question of overpopulation but of equal distribution of food, or producing food. For want of God consciousness this mistake is there.

If God is all powerful, He may not agree, or at least His agency, the material nature, may not agree to give sufficient food to the demons. Demons means Godless persons. We get this historical event from the Srimad-Bhagavatam, that during the time of Maharaja Prithu there was scarcity of food, so the King wanted to punish the earthly deity, because she was not supplying food. He wanted to kill her. But the earthly deity replied, that she has reduced the supply of food because she did not like to supply the demons. So there is no question of overpopulation, it is a question of demons. The number of demons has increased and therefore by nature that supply is minimized. As we were discussing that verse from Bhagavad-gita that "The production of food depends on sufficient pouring of water from the sky" that is not in our hands. Because we have become Godless, because we have stopped sacrifice or Yajna, which means to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the supply of rain may be stopped. God may not be angry, but His agents like the material nature, she does not like to give sufficient food stuffs to the demons. That is the version of the Vedic literature.

At the present moment the people are all demonic, they do not care for sinful life, unrestrictedly they are killing animals which is the most sinful activity, unnecessary. They are indulging in all kinds of intoxicating habits, and unnecessarily they are indulging in prostitution. The demonic people take advantage of women who do not get husband and take advantage of their body for sense gratification. These things are happening because people have no knowledge of the powerful. So the real problem is want of God consciousness. People should know that power, then other problems will be automatically solved.

Similarly the problem of malnutrition, it comes to the same proposition. Because nature is taking revenge on the demonic population malnutrition is also one of the branches of such revenge.

Pollution of environment is a problem which people in a America are viewing with great concern. This problem is also due to Godlessness. People instead of producing food they are producing in huge quantities some artificial necessities of life, for which so much industry is working at top speed. Industrialization means to bring the people more and more away from God consciousness. The laborer, the worker in the factory, all of them are shudras, and the capitalist of the industry they are vaishyas, so the whole population is now composed of vaishyas and shudras, which means the quality of passion and ignorance is now prominent. A passionate person or ignorant person cannot understand the Powerful, only those who are in Goodness or mixed Goodness and passion they can understand the powerful. So there is a necessity of changing the ignorant persons into persons with real knowledge. Therefore these people should be turned to become God conscious, that is our programme. Anyone from any group, either shudra, vaishya, or any group lower than the shudra, we are taking them and making them intelligent and giving them a chance to understand the supreme power.

So all around the real problem is to understand the supreme power and all other problems are subsidiary. There is no question of over population of people become God conscious. The all powerful can supply any amount of necessities of the people, and they can eat very nicely and so there is no question of malnutrition. For want of knowledge of the supreme powerful all these problems have come into being.

Then as you mentioned the problems of clashes between racial and national interests which often lead to war. This problem is also due to lack of God Consciousness because God consciousness means to understand that we are all sons of the same family. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, that the supreme lord must be the supreme father. I have got my father, he has got his fat father and he has got his father on and on he has got his father, in this way there must be one ultimate father, nobody can deny it. So that ultimate father he is God. Therefore in every scripture the supreme powerful is addressed as father, and in the Bhagavad-gita also the supreme powerful is mentioned as the supreme seed- giving father. Because we are forgetting the father, because we are forgetting that we are all the servants of one supreme father we are missing our real relationship between one living entity and another. If we actually understand that we are born of the same father and everything that is there on the surface of the globe, in the sky in the water everything is the property of the supreme Father, then we must understand that everyone has got the right to use the property of the supreme father. Just like in a big family the father is there, the mother is there and the sons are there. The father gives food to the sons as much as they require. One son may be a very voracious eater so he may eat more than the other son, but the father supplies him, he does not stop him, the father is competent to supply all the sons as much as they require. But if one son is hoarding food stuffs, that is sinful. You cannot take more than what you need. We see practically if we throw one bag of grain in the street many birds will come, they may eat two three four or ten grains, but they do not stock away for the future. But if we put a bag of rice into the street and allow people to take there will be regular fight, because every human being will want to take more than his immediate need. So this is also due to lack of God consciousness. If one can understand that the father is there, and he is supplying daily bread then why shall I stock more than I need. the present scarcity of food stuffs is due to hoarding by the capitalist. There is enough food stuff in the world, but at the same time there is a scarcity. If you pay more money on the black market then you will get enough. So from God's side there is enough food, but from our side we are mismanaging everything simply to make more money. Unless there is God Consciousness, understanding that everything is the property of the supreme father, there are so many children so he will supply, why should I hoard food, the problems will not be solved.

Lawless and Unmanageable

purport, Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.7.13

We are now actually seeing this in America. The entire American nation has tried to advance in material opulence without striving to produce ideal human beings. The result is that Americans are now regretting the wholesale criminality of American society and are wondering how America has become so lawless and unmanageable. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.5.31), na te viduh svartha-gatih hi vishnum: persons who are unenlightened do not know the aim of life, which is to return home, back to Godhead. Therefore, both individually and collectively, they try to enjoy so-called material comforts, and they become addicted to wine and women. The men produced in such a society are less than fourth class. They are the unwanted population known as varna-sankara, and as stated in Bhagavad-gita, an increase of varna-sankara [demonic] population creates a hellish society. This is the society in which Americans now find themselves.

Fortunately, however, the Hare Krishna movement has come to America, and many fortunate young men are giving serious attention to this movement, which is creating ideal men of first-class character, men who completely refrain from meat- eating, illicit sex, intoxication and gambling. If the American people are serious about curbing the degraded criminal life of their nation, they must take to the Krishna consciousness movement and try to create the kind of human society advised in Bhagavad-gita (chatur-varnyam maya srishtam guna-karma-vibhagashah [Bg. 4.13]). They must divide their society into first-class men, second-class men, third-class men and fourth-class men. Since they are now creating only men who are less than fourth class, how can they avoid the dangers of a criminal society? Long, long ago, Lord Indra regretted his disrespect to his spiritual master, Brihaspati. Similarly, it is advised that the American people regret their mistaken advancement in civilization. They should take advice from the spiritual master, the representative of Krishna. If they do so, they will be happy, and theirs will be an ideal nation to lead the entire world.

Science unable to check birth, death, old age, disease

Conversation with disciples, January 21, 1977, Bhuvaneshvara

Prabhupada: In spite of so many measures for checking population, the population is increasing. How it is? Some years ago I read in a paper that three men are increasing every second or every minute.

Ramesvara: They cannot control their sex desire. And some of these methods are imperfect.

Prabhupada: No. Sex desire cannot be controlled by ordinary man. That's a fact. But they have invented so many things to stop increase of population. Why population is increasing? That is the point. They are killing and more... They're taking contraceptive tablets and so on, so on, a vigorous arrangement for stopping birth or checking increase of population. Why every second or every minute throughout the whole world three men are increasing? That they cannot stop. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita. Janma-mrityu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha- doshanudarshanam [Bg. 13.9]. It is indeed troublesome, but you cannot stop it. Either birth or death or disease or old age, you cannot stop. You want it. Everyone wants. Who wants to become old man like me to run on with a stick and with so many inconveniences? But I have to become old man. Who can stop it? Similarly, birth, death also, or disease ... You may be proud that "We have invented medicine for cancer and...," but you cannot stop disease. That is not possible. What is their answer?

Gargamuni: "We are trying."

Prabhupada: That every rascal will say, "I am trying." So that is not science.

Hari-sauri: Well, in India they say that before, it was not compulsory, but now it's compulsory in India that you can't have more than two children, and then, after two children, you must have this sterilization.

Prabhupada: Why India? The other countries, they are also trying to stop.

Hari-sauri: Well, in other countries they say there's no need for such population control.

Gargamuni: Yes. In one... I think is was in Germany they had something only one percent increase of population.

Hari-sauri: Some places they're actually trying to increase, in some places.

Gargamuni: Yes. In Australia.

Hari-sauri: In Australia they've only got thirteen million people in the whole country, and it's bigger than America. And in Canada also, they only have a few million. And in Russia they don't have such a big population for the size of the land. But because they've set up these national divisions, then in one place they're killing the population...

Prabhupada: No... Vedic process is that unless you create nice children or you can give them protection from death, don't create children. Brahmachari. Remain brahmachari. That is sensible, that "Why shall I beget children like cats and dogs if I cannot take care of them properly?" That is very gentlemanly. What is this? I create and kill? Most uncivilized. Don't create. That is civilized man. "If I cannot take care of them properly, I'll not create children."

Gargamuni: They're not educating the population in brahmacharya.

Prabhupada: Yes.

Gargamuni: Therefore these beggars are there.

Prabhupada: Yes. That is gentlemanly, that "Why shall I take responsibility of family if I cannot maintain them properly?" That is very gentlemanly. That is civilization. "And I accept so-called family for sense gratification; I cannot maintain them and kill them"—what is this? Is that civilization? They should be ashamed to be called civilized men. Here is civilized way. Preach this because the Vedic civilization is real civilization. "You are not civilized. You have killed Jesus Christ who instructed, 'Thou shall not kill.' So you should be ashamed of your present civilization. It is... Brainwash is required."

Gargamuni: [laughs] Say that, yes. We're brainwashing, washing their brain.

Prabhupada: Yes. And all these rubbish things we are finishing. "Yes, it is brainwashing, cheto-darpana-marjanam [Chaitanya-charitamrita Antya 20.12], cleansing the core of the heart, all mistaken ideas." Speak in the court like that. "And see how we are being appreciated by scholarly section. Here is our book. Read if you have got time and see the opinion. It is really brainwashing, but for the good.

Enough for Everyone

Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 3.11-19, Los Angeles, December 27, 1968

The modern theory—the population has increased— this is a nonsense theory. If there is production is sufficient, where is the question of population increasing? Let population increase. The supplier will give you. In the Vedic literature we find, eko bahunam vidadhati kaman. That Supreme Lord is supplying everyone food. Why do you think of human society? What is the human society? Out of 8,400,000 forms of life there are only 400,000 forms of human life. And 8,000,000 forms they are lower animals, birds, beasts, aquatics. Who is supplying their foodstuff? Everyone is sumptuously fed by the grace of God.

Why not you? You are suffering because you are disobeying, therefore you are suffering. That you should know, only the suffering population theory, this theory, that theory, only in the human society because they are regularly defying the existence of God—science, science, science. Now there are so many suffering people. Why your science cannot provide them food? So this is wrong theory. You have to satisfy the supreme supplier. Then you'll get sufficient production and you'll be happy.

Changing Species, Not Numbers

Discussions with Syamasundar das on Bertrand Russell

Prabhupada: We say that there are different types of bodies always, just like different types of apartment. But the living entity, the soul, is transferring from one apartment to another just like we change. We are in this room, we may go to another room—but that room is already ready. But I am entering a certain type of apartment according to my means. If I can pay more rent, I can get very nice apartment. If I do not pay, I cannot pay, then that is not possible. Similarly, according to our karma, nature is offering us different apartments, and these apartments are already there, fixed up, 8,400,000 species of life. So as you make yourself fit, you enter accordingly. It is not fixed up that because you are now in a very nice apartment you cannot go down or go up. If you are fit for entering into better apartment, that is also ready. And if you are unfit for entering a better, then lower class of apartment, that is also ready. So these things are already there.

Dr. Rao: [indistinct] between chance of from one apartment to another?

Prabhupada: Yes. It is said... Just like you step forward. You first of all put your leg. When you see that it is fixed up, then you get up. Unless you are firm, that "Now I am solid," then you take up the other leg. Similarly death takes place when it is ascertained that this soul has to enter such-and-such body, when it is settled up by higher authority, then he gives up this body and enters into another body.

Syamasundar: He [Bertrand Russell] says that matter is simply a series of events in which energy and not force as the real motive power, that what we call the material world, rather than being described as solid and understood in terms of force, that actually it is energy performing different events.

Prabhupada: Yes. Yes. It is forced by the energy. Matter has no form, but by the superior energy, the living entity is mixed up with matter and makes the form. Just like (an earthen) plate: clay, water, and fire. So the potter makes a form from the clay. Clay means earth and water, mixed up, and it makes a pot and then puts it with fire and it becomes a glass and so on. So tejo-vari-mridam vinimayam [Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.1: "fire, water, earth, action and reaction"]. It is simply exchange of earth, water, and fire. But this mixture is being made by the potter. And the instrument is the potter's wheel. So similarly, God is the potter, and the material nature is the wheel, and so many things are coming out. But if there is no potter to turn the wheel or make the clay into pots, this is not [happening]. There is already water, there is already earth, there is already fire, but unless a spirit, a being, a living being, comes into it, there is no question of [taking form automatically]. Therefore in Bhagavad-gita it is said, (indistinct). Because the living entities are there, the formation is taking place. A body, it is a combination of matter. But because we see that the living entity is there, it is taking a certain type of shape. Matter does not out of itself take the shape. That is wrong theory. We have no such experience where matter is taking automatically shape.

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