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.