The playing field has just been leveled for Haitians. Nature has turned the page — how will Haitians write their destiny?

Amidst the rubble and rotting corpses, Haitians walk in procession, singing hymns, prayers to God. Those who had nothing before, have nothing now, and those who had something — a roof over their heads, a job at the bank, school, hospital, etc. — are bereft of it now, their houses, apartment buildings, bank buildings, schools, hospitals, hotels, churches, parliament, palace and more all collapsed into rubble.

From CNN: Haitians sing, chant, march

In India, even up to 20 years ago, the village people sat together and performed kirtan and then read from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Mahabharata or Ramayana. This was their entertainment. They did not have television and other types of modern diversions. They held onto the ancient tradition of hearing and chanting, shravanam kirtanam vishnu, hearing and chanting about Vishnu in the morning and in the evening. Their life’s purpose was to advance in Krishna consciousness.

Haiti rubble

What a different story it would be if these had been single-story mud structures.

The Vedic culture was aimed at liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Therefore their day-to-day activities were kept to the minimum, to maintain the boy and soul together just so they could make progress in spiritual understanding. They were not concerned with advancing materially. They were concerned with the bare necessities: something to eat, a place to sleep and so on. Therefore in the villages of India you would find a simple mud house or a cow dung house with a straw roof — practically no expenditures in building and maintaining a house, and no loss when the house is destroyed. Just as we have paper plates — we eat and then throw them away. And they could move at a moment’s notice. In the book KRSNA: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, we find that when Krishna’s village was being disturbed, all the village people left and went to another place. There was no investment in electrical wiring and plumbing systems and toilets. It was just a cottage with straw, and a well or river nearby. All problems were solved very simply in this way.

The idea is the same here: to live simply. Simple living, high thinking. Of course, Americans are addicted to so many so-called modern conveniences, but we find that for every convenience you want to enjoy you have to suffer an inconvenience. Whereas in Vedic civilization, people did not try to unnecessarily create objects for sense enjoyment and comfort. They were satisfied with the bare minimim, bare necessities, and the rest of the time saved, they would use to cultivate Krishna consciousness. So we should always remember that and gradually become free from the conveniences of modern, technologically advanced civilization. Chant Hare Krishna morning and evening, and during the day, do the needful. No need for television. Television is your own heart. You can see Krishna if you clean your heart. The heart has to be cleaned. Then Krishna will reveal Himself.

Our music is kirtan, our dancing is kirtan, and our food is prasadam, and our company is the association of devotees. We don’t need all these rubbish newspapers, magazines, fiction novels, television, cinemas — all unnecessary. Everything necessary for living is in the land. We just have to learn how to manage it.

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