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.