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Bhakti and Rukmini
We have some sad news to report. Rukmini, the Jersey cow, passed away on July 4 after being down for a few days. She was almost 18 years old (equivalent to 90, in human terms). Rukmini, like many older cows, was afflicted by arthritis, for which she was being treated. She had been receiving injections for the past six months that seemed to help alleviate her condition so that she was able to get up and down, as well as walk around her pasture.
She passed away peacefully under the trees in her favorite spot on the morning of an auspicious day on the Vaishnava calendar: Gundicha Marjana (cleaning of the Gundicha temple) and the disappearance day of Gadadhara Pandit and Bhaktivinoda Thakur.
Rukmini was born at New Raman Reti in 1998 to Bhakti, a Jersey cow that was purchased for Save the Cow by Stoka Krishna and Shyama Priya Torgersen. While Rukmini was never bred, she served as the ceremonial heifer for at least one wedding and at the installation ceremony for Sri Sri Krishna Balarama. She had a spunky personality and stood up for herself, despite being one of the smaller cows in the herd.
Her lifetime care was sponsored by the following donors: Nalini Kanta & Ratnesvari Hopke, Jasmin Ackermann, Ervin & Shirley Hiney, Radha Gopinath & Tapasvini Peattie, and Kanupriya Tavri.
Sri Sri Gaura Nitai
Nityananda Trayodasi: Appearance Day of Niytananda Prabhu
Happy Govardhana Puja from Save the Cow
The cowherd men then inquired from Krishna how He wanted the yajna performed, and Krsna gave them the following directions. “Prepare very nice foodstuffs of all descriptions from the grains and ghee collected for the yajna. Prepare rice, dhal, then halava, pakora, puri and all kinds of milk preparations, like sweet rice, sweetballs, sandesa, rasagulla and laddu, and invite the learned brahmanas who can chant the Vedic hymns and offer oblations to the fire. The brahmanas should be given all kinds of grains in charity. Then decorate all the cows and feed them well. . . . After giving nice grasses to the cows, the sacrifice known as Govardhana-puja may immediately begin. This sacrifice will very much satisfy Me.”
Krishna Book, Chapter 25
This year, the auspicious month of Kartika runs from October 27 to November 25. In Alachua, Florida, at New Raman Reti, the festival of Govardhan Puja will be celebrated on Sunday, November 8. Click here for more information.
Anyone who meditates on Lord Krishna’s birth, His protecting the cows, His singing charming songs with the gopas [cowherd boys], and His other pastimes, will find himself overcome with bliss and love.
Gopala Campu by Jiva Goswami
Given charge of the cows, Krishna and Balarama traversed Vrndavana, purifying the land with Their footprints. Accompanied by the cowherd boys and Balarama, Krishna herded the cows and played on His flute through the forest of Vrndavana, which was full of flowers, vegetables, and pasturing grass.
Krishna Book, chapter 15
We have the sad news to report that Nandini, passed away earlier this week. She had been ill for a few days and the veterinarian treated her, but she didn’t recover. Nandini was 17 (equivalent to an 85-year-old in human terms), so she led a good, long life at New Raman Reti. She was a very mild, sweet-natured cow and she will be dearly missed.
Cows and Krishna have always been together. In His original form in the spiritual world, Krishna is a cowherd boy in the agricultural community of Goloka (“cow planet”) Vrindavan, where He keeps unlimited, transcendental surabhi cows.
When He descends to earth, Krishna brings a replica of Vrindavan with Him, and He spends His childhood tending cows and calves while playing in the pasturing grounds with His friends. His example shows the importance of cows to human society, the practical benefits of caring for them, and the advantages of an agrarian economy based on cooperation between man and cows.
Read more here: http://www.krishna.com/info/cows-and-krishna
Radhastami, the ox, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, December 17 (Saphala Ekadasi). While he had been showing his age and had become quite thin, he was up and getting around until the day before his departure. On Tuesday, he was found lying under the trees in his pasture unable to stand up. The vet came and gave him some fluids and vitamins via iv, but Radhastami didn’t respond to the treatment. He was moved into a more comfortable sitting position and bolstered with hay, but he still refused to drink water (a usual sign of imminent departure). A CD player was set up for him so he could hear Srila Prabhupada chanting. Radhastami went on to greener pastures sometime after sunset on the auspicious Ekadasi day, probably to join his “team-mate” Krishna Kripa, who left us in 2011.
Radhastami, the last surviving progeny of Dharma, the bull, and Yamuna, was born at New Raman Reti on Radhastami day, September 22, 1993. He lived his entire life of 21+ years (equivalent to a human centenarian) under the care of Save the Cow. He, along with Krishna Kripa, were trained by Bhakta Mauri and gave many an ox-cart ride, including in local parades.
Over the years, his care was sponsored by the generous support of the following donors:
Balavanta and Ballavi Ogle
Kardama Muni Mink
Radha Jivan and Gaura Bhakti Poddar
Brahma-tirtha and Bhakti Cohen
While Save the Cow makes its home in the Sunshine State, Alachua is in North Central Florida where temperatures do go below freezing a few nights every year. Generally, this is not a problem for our cows, who actually enjoy the cooler weather more than the summer heat. On cold nights, cows, who can see in the dark, usually stay awake and eat hay, and then take afternoon naps in sunny pastures.
Our oldest ox, Radhastami, however, requires some extra care—he is over 21-years-old (equivalent to 105+ years for a human!) and has become rather thin due to his advanced age. With a hard freeze forecast, the largest horse blanket available locally was purchased. And with some grains to keep him occupied, Radhastami offered no resistance to being outfitted in his new winter wear. So now, when freezing weather is predicted, Radhastami will be chillin’ in Alachua in style.
“She is a resident of Goloka Vrindavana and is a cowherd damsel. She is the queen of the gopis and the divine mother of the cowherd boys. She is joyful and always experiencing the highest bliss, and She incites lusty desires in the heart of the son of Nanda (Lord Krishna).”
All glories to Krishna, the son of Mother Yasoda, the cowherd boy Gopal, Govinda who gives pleasure to the cows! All glories to the conqueror of Cupid, Lord Hari, who takes away all inauspiciousness, who is unlimited, and the awarder of liberation!
(Gitavali, Sri Krishner Vimsottara-Sata-Nam, Song 6, Verse 1 Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Trans. Dasaratha-suta dasa. Nectar Books, 2002.)
Govinda was the son of Nandini. The two Holsteins came from upstate New York, where they were cared for by Jagannatha and Vrinda. Around 2004, when their caretakers planned to move overseas, Govinda and Nandini were brought to Save the Cow at New Raman Reti.
Govinda loved to eat and was always enthusiastic to go to the temple on Sundays or on festival days to perform his service of being fed cow cookies. He visited the Bhaktivedanta Academy on several occasions and gobbled up all the treats the schoolchildren could supply. He was a gentle old guy who wouldn’t hurt anyone.
In May, Govinda started having incidents of not being able to sit up on his own. After being helped into a sitting position, he would stand up within a half hour and then resume his normal activities as if nothing had happened. The vet examined him and had some diagnostic tests done, but initially found no particular problems. Then in early July, he apparently had a heart attack, which left him unable to stand up. When Govinda went down, he was provided hay bedding, water, and whatever food he would eat, along with pain medication prescribed by the vet. Every night the rest of the cows in his field would sit near him and during the day they would stop by and visit him. Even Nrisimha, who can be quite pushy sometimes, stayed near him but wouldn’t try to eat any of Govinda’s special food.
For the first two days, Govinda refused to drink much water and would only eat carrots, lettuce, and the apples used to give him his pain pills. Then, for a couple of days, it seemed like he was improving—he was drinking more water and even eating some grains and hay. With the help of a group of devotees (Govinda weighed at least 1800 lbs!), he was shifted from one of his sides to the other to give him some relief. But, by Monday morning when the vet came Govinda had taken a turn for the worse and was refusing to eat or drink. The vet diagnosed him to have a heart condition for which there is no cure available for cows. He did prescribe some additional medicine to help alleviate some of his symptoms, but it became apparent that Govinda would soon be departing. A shade tent was erected since the weather was turning sunny and a sound system was set up to play Srila Prabupada chanting bhajans. Then on Tuesday morning (Ekadasi), with his caretakers and a number of devotees present, Govinda breathed his last.
Govinda, like all of Krishna and Balarama’s cows and oxen who live and die in the holy dhama of New Raman Reti, was no ordinary animal. He had the good fortune of rendering service, honoring Krishna prasad, and hearing the Holy Name. And like many of his predecessors, he gave up his bovine body on an auspicious day. He will be missed by his herd mates and caretakers, but has surely gone on to greener pastures.
Save the Cow would like to thank his “adopters,” whose regular donations over the years paid for his care while he was with us at New Raman Reti:
Kirtan Rasa Mausert and family
Radha Jivan, Gaura Bhakti and Poddar family
Bhuvana Pavani Diehl and family
Thanks also go to the devotees who came forward to help care for Govinda during his final days, especially Ramananda Raya.
Here are some fatherly thoughts from the Vedic tradition.
While Krishna is the supreme father and mother, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explains to us: “You drink cows’ milk; therefore the cow is your mother. And the bull produces grains for your maintenance; therefore he is your father. Since the bull and cow are your father and mother, how can you kill and eat them?” (Cc Adi 17.153-4)
And Sri Krishna’s divine brother, Balarama, is also known as Haladhara, He who bears the plow.
Save the Cow recently welcomed Abhay, another Brahman ox, to the herd. Abhay came from Prabhupada Village in North Carolina where he was lovingly raised from birth by Haripada dasa and Phalini devi dasi. They had also raised Smita, Abhay’s mother, who was a Rajasthani Tharparkar cow. Smita was bred to a Brahman bull and in the summer of 2004 Abhay was born. Abhay and Smita lived happily together until Smita passed away in the winter of 2011/2012.
Abhay missed his mom, but remained the darling pet of Prabhupada Village. However, with Haripada and Phalini spending more time in India, they thought it was time to find a place for Abhay to live where he could get more bovine association. It just so happened that Madana Mohan Mohini, a resident of Prabhupada Village, was visiting New Raman Reti around the time of Baby Gopal’s arrival. She inquired from Save the Cow about the possibility of Abhay moving here and corresponded with Haripada and Phalini in India. Arrangements were made, health certificates were obtained, and Chitralekha brought Abhay from North Carolina to Florida, where he fit right into the herd.
Adopt Abhay (click here) if you would like to “adopt” Abhay and help pay for his care.
You can read (and see) more about Smita and Abhay in Phalini’s blog:
Happy 2014 from Save the Cow!
We’re ringing in the new year by welcoming Baby Gopal to Save the Cow. Born in 2003 on Deer Run Farm in nearby Columbia County, he was rejected by his mother for some unknown reason. His owners, Al and Barbara Bluhm, called him “Baby” and lovingly raised him as their pet.
Now, a decade later and retired from farming, they needed to find a new home for their 10-year-old, 1800-pound Baby.They contacted Save the Cow, an interview was conducted, and everyone agreed that Baby was a good candidate to join the herd. He arrived just before Christmas and, as you can see, Baby, now “Baby Gopal,” is fitting right in.
Bhaktivedanta Academy students raise funds to support the cow protection efforts at New Raman Reti every year. This year they set a goal of raising $308 for fixing pasture fences and providing feed for the cows. Students did odd jobs around their homes, tapped into their personal savings (piggy banks), and in some cases, went out into the community distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books with their parents. As a result of all these efforts, a check for $374 was presented to the Save the Cow program!
The auspicious month of Damodar began on the full moon of October 18 and continues until the next full moon on November 17. At New Raman Reti, Govardhan Puja and Go Puja will be celebrated on Sunday November 3.
Happy Balarama’s Appearance Day!
Balarama represents plowing the land for agriculture and therefore always carries in His hand a plow, whereas Krishna tends cows and therefore carries a flute in His hand. Thus the two brothers represent krishi-rakshya and go-rakshya. (Bhag. 10.5.20, purport)
Krishna and Balarama taught us by Their personal behavior. Krishna took care of the cows and played His flute, and Balarama took care of agricultural activities with a plow in His hand. (Bhag. 10.11.37, purport)
Sadly, we must report that Godavari, our oldest cow at New Raman Reti, passed away early Monday morning. We had recently marked her 22nd birthday in May, which made her the equivalent of 111 years old in human terms when she passed.
Godavari was born on the farm in the spring of 1991, daughter of Dharma, the Brahman bull, and Ganga, the Holestein cow. Devaki and I visited Alachua for the first time that summer and met Godavari as a cute little calf. But like all of her siblings, Godavari was feisty from the start. Two years later when we moved here, Devaki got to know Godavari up close and personal. While Devaki was fixing a fence, Godavari came from behind, pushed her to the ground, and then walked away. That was their relationship for many years: Godavari pushing Devaki, but never really trying to hurt her. Godavari did get along well with the rest of the herd and especially liked hanging out with her sister Jaya and her brothers, Braj and Chakra.
Godavari eventually mellowed with age and, in her later years, became very mild and sweet. Ultimately, old age caught up with her (as it does for all living beings) and she became afflicted with arthritis. Under the direction of our vet, we were daily giving her joint medicine and supplementing her diet with grains and highly-nutritious alfalfa hay. That seemed to keep her going so that she could get around, although ever so slowly. Then last week, she took ill and stopped eating. We made her a bed of hay, protected her with a tent canopy, and gave her as much water as she would drink. We also set up a CD player so she could hear Srila Prabhupada chanting. (Of course, living on the farm for over 22 years afforded her many opportunities to hear kirtans of the Holy Name and to eat Krishna prasad.) She held on for a few days, but finally succumbed early on the morning of July 22, which happened to be the the auspicious day of the full moon called Guru (Vyasa) Purmina, the beginning of Chaturmasya, and the disappearance day of Srila Sanatana Goswami. Mystical as it seems, this isn’t the first time that one of our cows waited for an auspicious day to finally depart from this world. Krishna and Balarama’s cows at New Raman Reti are certainly not ordinary souls.
Thanks go out to the devotees who visited and helped care for her. And a special thanks to her long-time Save the Cow sponsors who “adopted” her by giving monthly donations to pay for her lifetime care: Ervin & Shirley Hiney / Brahma-tirtha & Bhakti Cohen / Bhuvana Pavani Sheets.
Recently, Kirtan rasa dasa, a long-time monthly donor to Save the Cow, sponsored a feast for the cows on behalf of Nalini kanta and Ratnesvari (also long-time monthly donors), and in honor of his son Nathan Keshava’s 17th birthday. The menu consisted of fresh alfalfa hay, grains, lettuce, carrots, squash, and bananas. All the cows (and Rupa, the mule) were happy to partake in the generous offering.
Lord Krishna is a transcendental cowboy, and His topmost spiritual kingdom of God is known as Goloka, or the planet of cows. The cow is the most important of animals because she is the mother of all the demigods and human beings. Almost everyone in the world daily drinks some cows milk and eats butter, ghee (clarified butter), or cheese made from that milk throughout their lives. Therefore from a moral point of view because we all drink cow’s milk, the cow is our mother. According to Vedic civilization, there are seven mothers whom everyone should venerate.
atma-mata guroh patni
dhenur dhatri tatha prithvi
saptiata matarah smritah
(from Chanyaka’s Niti Shastra)
Atma-mata is our own mother from whom we take birth. Guru-patni is the wife of the guru or teacher, who is also our mother just as the bona-fida guru is our well-wishing spiritual father. Brahmani, or the wives of Brahmanas should also be considered as mothers, as should be raja-patnika, or queens, or, in modern society, the wives of presidents or prime-ministers. Dhenur means the mother cow who feeds humans with her milk. Prithvi is mother earth, (bhumi-devi), who often takes the form of a sacred cow when in the heavenly planets or in the eternal pastimes of the Lord. Dhatri means a nurse, who cares for us just like a mother.
Hi this is Merci I spend this last weekend in your temple & connected with Godavaris..
what is her ailment & treatment please.
Hope to see you all soon
Thanks for your interest in Krishna’s cows. Godavari was born at New Raman Reti on May 19, 1991, which means she’ll be 22-years-old next Sunday. That’s equivalent to 110 years for a human! So that she has arthritis is not surprising. Under the direction of our vet, we’re daily giving her joint medicine and supplementing her diet with grains and highly-nutritious alfalfa hay. That seems to keep her going so that she can get around, although ever so slowly. Like all of us, she is living by Krishna’s mercy, but at her age we don’t know how much longer she’ll be with us. One of her herd mates, Mayapur the ox, also born in 1991, just passed away peacefully.
Your servants at Save the Cow
More photos of the celebration: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.330730460363976.1073741827.112711692165855&type=1
When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu visited Vrindavana, the cows and calves surrounded Him and began licking His body. All the cows relished the nectarean taste of His body and cried in ecstatic love. Seeing this, Lord Caitanya said, “Vraja has inconceivable qualities. The residents of Vraja all have natural devotion to Krishna.”
(Sri Advaita Prakasa, Chapter 16, by Sri Isana Nagara, trans. by Subhag Swami.)
Lord Caitanya then touched the cows with His lotus hand, and the cows all began to dance almost like gopis. Seeing the dancing of the cows, He was inundated with love. He chuckled and danced like an intoxicated person.
“In My last birth I was born in the family of cowherd men, and I gave protection to the calves and cows. Because of such pious activities, I have now become the son of a brāhmaṇa.”
Lord Caitanya in Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Ādi 17.111
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