Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Bees Matter
By Ravi Kramgoolam, ISKCON News Contributing Writer   |  Jul 10, 2021

Insignificant as they may appear, the bee is an important part of our ecosystem.

Environmental concerns about our planet have been growing and the bee community has been discovered to hold a major role in maintaining a balance in our ecosystem. Needless to say, the bee community is important to the survival of the human race.  

I woke up late but full of energy with an intense desire to connect with nature.  I love playing in nature’s cradle since childhood. It has been years since I really connected to nature in a genuine way and I felt a craving to get my feet muddy and feel the soil and connection to nature as one would feel the loving embrace of a mother.  

Nature is one of our seven mothers as per the precepts of the Bhagavatam.  As Srila Prabhupada quoted from Cāṇakya Paṇḍita (Gaudiya Vaishnava scholar): 

“One’s own mother, the wife of the guru, the wife of a brāhmaṇa, the wife of a king, the cow, the nurse, and the earth are known as the seven mothers of a man.”

I hesitated no longer and jumped barefooted into my garden. I did not heed my mother’s advice to wear garden boots. I wanted to feel the energy and connection with mother nature. I became estranged from this mother for a long time due to my heavy addiction to social media and attraction to the materialistic lifestyle. I could realize with great alarm how such a materialistic lifestyle corrupted me and alienated nature from my day-to-day life despite having a garden in my yard. 

My craving was so intense for feeling the love of nature’s embrace that I spent a good couple of hours gardening. My body felt invigorated and I climbed on the roof to get some long-overdue cleaning done when I notice the patch of soil that has been lying over there for quite some years.  

Unbeknownst to me, two weed plants have been growing on that patch of soil and reached more than three feet in height.  I grew concerned that if those weeds grew stronger and their roots pierce through the roof, it will cause no fewer problems for me.  I am a great advocate of non-violence and also deem breaking a leaf with no intention of using them in a meaningful way as a violent behavior to our plants’ brethren.  As the Supreme Personality of Godhead stated:


The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food that is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin. – Bhagavad-Gita 3.13

Srila Prabhupada explains that compassion does not mean being loving and protective of only humankind but also the animal and plant kingdom. So much so that even when we use plants as food, it must be cooked and offered for the pleasure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead first, and then we can partake of this food as prasad (His remnants) otherwise we committing more sin.  Therefore, plucking a leaf or a flower without the purpose of pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, is violence to the plant kingdom what to speak of weeding out an entire plant.  However, I could not let weeds grow and pierce my roof, so I had to compromise.

As I held out my hand to root out the plant, I noticed two small bees innocently hovering over the beautiful little flowers of the weeds. I was admiring the beauty of those flowers and wondered why in the first place people classified these plants as weeds!  So beautiful!  What society dictates may not always be true and correct.  I was already undecided to root out those plants when I witnessed this simple and natural act happening in front of me. Two bees were hovering on the very beautiful and delicate white flowers, harvesting for pollen.  

The bees actually exist!  I had never felt such a connection with the bee community.  It was intimate and natural. Did connecting with nature barefooted in the soil make me so compassionate and more holistic in my thinking? Food for thought, pun intended. 

My mind was made. I could not root out these weeds!

Although there is no hard evidence, however, the story goes that Einstein once stated that “If bees disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live”… 

However, research conducted by the USDA Forest Service shows that the bees are vital for our ecosystem and that humankind’s survival is dependent on the existence of the bees.  It has been shown that the human race may not become extinct but it will significantly alter our diet in a negative way.


How could I deprive those two little bees of their food supply when they are so important in our lives, a lot more significant than big factories. They are the key agents of nature that keep the cycle of life going.

During the building of the great bridge to Lanka, a similar occurrence happened in the Ramayana. Hanuman was carrying huge boulders and was being held up by a squirrel who was carrying small pebbles trying to help in the vast construction project.  Hanuman asked the squirrel to stop getting in his way since he was doing a more meaningful effort than the squirrel’s little insignificant efforts. However, Sri Rama stepped in and reminded them that both their contributions were equally important despite the squirrel’s effort being seen as insignificant.  

Then would it be nice if someone came and destroy my food source or my habitat? How would I feel? How would the bees feel if I just root out that plant!  I would never like to be in that situation where I feel helpless watching my food source destroyed right in front of me. My opinion matters…so does the bees! I then made up my mind, to take care of that plant so that the bees would continually get their food supply and I make my own little contribution in solving the environmental crisis that is grappling our planet.   

Bees matter!