Published on February 5th, 2016 | by Madhudvisa dasa
India’s Holy Cow Becoming Extinct — Video
Gaurapada: You are in the middle of the universe. [Laughs] Hare Krsna, welcome to Radha-kund. [Laughs] Radha-kund is a small village, maybe 3000 people only. But at certain times you will see, big-time is like one day 4 million people coming through this small town. The beauty of a small town is that still you can see more about Vedic culture, Vedic way of living and the main basis of Vedic lifestyle was that the cow was in the centre. That is the beauty here you can you can see, if we cross to the other side. Most houses they still have like one or two cows in the house. And in the morning the cows, somebody comes and picks them up and the cows go somewhere and they will be milked and if like now it is the rainy season. They will go afterwards to the fields then have some grazing. In the evening the person comes back with all these cows and every cow knows exactly where it lives. It goes inside the house .. he’s milking his cow. [Laughs] I don’t know what’s… first of all give the cow food, so it is relaxed, calf comes and drinks and then they start milking… every morning this tree gives hundreds of flowers… and if I don’t pluck them now for Krsna, then the monkeys will eat them because there is some milk inside. And in the morning the monkeys are very hungry. So they have to eat something. So they attack this tree, you know. Destroy it.. so every morning this tree gives. I take about 50 to 200 flowers. So we have a beautiful temple downstairs.. Nanda-kisor. And they are from Manipur. Every morning I bring the flowers… you can see it is Manipur style. And it has been worship now for three or four generations. Hare Krsna. .. Radhe Radhe.. around here..
Madhudvisa: Hare Krsna..
Gaurapada: Hare Krsna… Radhe.. Hare Krsna.. this is the road to Sudevi’s gosala. Sudevi is from Germany, she spent, I think from before she was 20 years old. She came to India with her parents and never left. So she is now like 25 years in India, in Radha-kund and in the last five years she took very much interest in the cows. So she had a few cows and it increased, so we will see when we come there…. this is just a house with a cow.. Hare Krsna!
Mataji: Hare Krsna.
Gaurapada: So this is like typical village life, you know. They have a small house a hut and at least one cow, or two cows and a Buffalo. The ideal cow has two beautiful horns and a hump. From the sunlight the cow can make gold and it is all done in this hump. And because of that there will always be a yellow tinge in the milk. And that yellow tinge in the milk is gold. So of the cow has not a hump and nice horns you will not find the goldish layer on top of the milk. So the Vedic culture they say there can only be peace if the cow has its right position in society and the brahmana.
Passerby: Heh Radhe!
Gaurapada: Heh Radhe!
Madhudvisa: Hare Krsna..
Gaurapada: This is Sudevi’s place, gosala. Where she keeps her cows.. it’s on the other side of Radha-kund…. Hare Krsna, Mataji is here?
Gaurapada: The cows are very curious they all look at us and think who are they? So most of these cows they were just on the street in very unhealthy condition. So she took them all to the asrama and took care of them… let us see the other cows in the back… they are bringing cows inside… Sudevi really has a big family. Just to manage 100 cows, 150 cows.. you need a big workforce.. the floors are continuously swept..
Krsna Dasa: So many young calves.
Krsna Dasa: So that means she has many cows milking, giving milk?
Gaurapada: No. It is because the people after.. when the new cow is born..
Krsna Dasa: Yeah?
Gaurapada: The, it gets milked for six months, maybe one year and then it stops. So they need to impregnate again the cow.
Gaurapada: So the small calf Is abandoned. So Sudevi takes all the small cows in her asrama.
Krsna Dasa: Are they cows or are they bulls prabhu?
Gaurapada: Both. Sometimes they keep.. sometimes [they are] dead(?)
Krsna Dasa: Hm.
Gaurapada: Hare Krsna!
Gaurapada: How are you?
Sudevi: Thank you.
Gaurapada: You can tell something about your…?
Sudevi:Yes, they are all collected from the street and nearly all of them. A few are born here but most of them are from the street. They have been abandoned and they are very little and they are not able to take care of themselves. Or when the mother has not enough milk or no milk at all. The cow is often abandoned also but mostly the calf’s are just left to themselves somewhere and most of them die. I estimate from experience from maybe 100 who are abandoned somewhere. Maybe one or two will survive.
Gaurapada: That’s all.
Krsna Dasa: If they are not taking care of .. on the street..
Sudevi: So bad.. yes on the street. If nobody takes them in and nobody will take them in, excepting myself.
Krsna Dasa: And they are left to themselves? …
Sudevi: They are left to themselves, they find no food, they get weak and you can see they are undernourished anyway. Because they get no milk, when they are still little. The milk is expensive and the food is expensive. So the milk will be sold and the calf which needs at least 3 litre In one day. He will get maybe half a litre. He will, mostly he will not be able to survive, somehow or other he may survive until the age of 4 or 5 months and then he will get some illness somehow or other because he has no resistance.
Krsna Dasa: Up to 4 or 5 months they are not able to eat solid food?
Sudevi: Yes they eat solid food but it is not.. they eat solid food after one month. After 15 days sometimes but that is not sufficient they need the milk. They need the vitamins and they cannot live without milk. If I don’t take them they will be caught and taken to the slaughterhouses because the dead cow is much more worth now that a living cow.
Krsna Dasa: Why is that?
Sudevi: Because the meat is expensive. They export the meat into all the countries and I never know what I shall feed them in the next month. Or maybe even after 10 days. In the winter we had also difficult. I had no food at all. We had only this dry rice grass and they were getting very thin and then I had even given away some which I greatly regreted because I had to bring them back. They were on the point of even worse in another place.
Krsna Dasa: At the same time you have to be realistic. You have limited space here.
Sudevi: Yes, I’m sorry that I cannot be…
Krsna Dasa: You have to say at a certain point that the gosala is full.
Sudevi: Yes but I cannot feel.. I don’t know if it is a weakness or a strength but I cannot be realistic because I cannot refuse. I cannot say no. As far as they are concerned.. to suffer in a bad condition. I have to take them in and leave it to God to take care of the future. So many die also. They come in a condition and you cannot help them anymore. You can just relieve the suffering.
Krsna Dasa: And when a cow dies what is the procedure? What are you doing with them? Do you bury them in..?
Sudevi: We bury them in the back. In the back there is a kind of jungle or it is not a jungle but that is what people call it. It is land on which you cannot grow anything.
Krsna Dasa: Wasteland?
Sudevi: Wasteland, it’s too salty. And there we bury them with flowers and agarbatti, and mala and when they. I sit with them before they die and chant the maha-mantra. So they may hear God’s name when they leave the body and they get caranamrta also. And Syama-tulasi at the time of death as far as I am able. When I know it and the time of course. So many I hope, I have sent quite a lot over there. To Goloka Vrndavana.
Krsna Dasa: How many?
Sudevi: Oh, a few hundred probably.
Krsna Dasa: A few hundred, so every week one dies?
Sudevi: Often, much more. Many die, many die… you can film in the room? You have light? I want to show you one…
Krsna Dasa: This is a very small calf, what…
Sudevi: He came from another gosala, he was born after only eight months. He was born in one months too early. And they brought him here because his mother rejected him and then she had no milk so. Only three days before he came he drank milk in the beginning quite well but since yesterday he drank no milk. His name is Damodara.
Krsna Dasa: Damodara you give him that name?
Krsna Dasa: Hm.
Sudevi: Nothing more we can do, if they have no, if they are not meant to live. If they are.. may be he just had so much karma left over and now if I have time and sit with him and he leaves with hearing the mantra he may go straight over there and that may be much better than living a long life full of suffering and because in an animal body and then he may die somewhere nobody cares eh.
Krsna Dasa: Hm.
Sudevi: And he may not eh.. regret it too much. If I am able to sit with them and I think it’s not so bad that they leave the body eh.
Krsna Dasa: So the soul in this body will go back straight to Krsna…
Sudevi: If you believe that the maha-mantra has that effect..
Krsna Dasa: Yeah.
Sudevi: At least I try to do it eh.. and I hope it is so because we…
Krsna Dasa: On top of that, on top of that he .. leaves the body in Vraja.
Krsna Dasa: And in Radha-kund which is spiritually speaking the highest place in the universe.
Krsna Dasa: So when you leave your body here it is very very auspicious.
Sudevi: And he has also got many carun-tulasi and caranamrta. He drank milk in the beginning, it was too little. In the first day, but he got fever and I called the doctor. Whatever the reason he is too weak to live and he is now finishing his time.
Krsna Dasa: Such a tender body. So beautiful.
Sudevi: So tiny.
Gaurapada: So they don’t like the bulls anymore?
Sudevi: Yes, the tractors have replaced them. Tractors are now everywhere. They do all the fieldwork and the male calves which used to do the work before they are considered to be useless. When they are little they are abandoned on the steet and they mostly die on the steet. If they don’t die then they are caught later and sold to the slaughterhouses. Because …
Gaurapada: In Vedic civilisation the bull had his purpose, clearly.
Sudevi: Yes, he used to do the fieldwork and he used to pull the carts. But now there are very few carts in existence. There are a few but very few. Most of the bull calves they die. Because nobody wants them and sooner or later when they are not lucky enough to stay in a gosala. They will be sold to the slaughterhouses.
Gaurapada: So India has a big problem eh. Soon any..
Sudevi: And there you can find hardly any cows and calves anymore. When I came from Delhi last time I could hardly see any cow Until I came close to this place. There used to be cows everywhere and even now in the villages you find much less. I don’t think that in 10 or 20 years there will be hardly any cows left they will all be killed. I sees that because I watched that sinse 30 years, I’ve been here for 30 years and I see how the number of cows keeps coming down and there are less of them and less. And there were so many in villages in Radha-kund, there were so many cows before and in Govardhana. Now there are hardly any left they are all caught. They are all caught and at night they come with big trucks and they catch them and pull them in and kill them. Horrible.
Madhudvisa: It seems that you personally don’t get anything from this.
Sudevi: No, only a kind of satisfaction of my soul. [Laughs] through all the difficulties that is what keeps me going because I see a suffering relieved. And some get well and they start running around and they are some respond. With gratefulness and love and that is what makes me happy actually, that. There’s nothing else for me in this world. Of course we have always need milk for the motherless, the calves without mothers. Who are too sick, too weak and if, so sometimes I have to buy one because we have very few milk cows only and the milk is never sufficient. So sometimes I have to buy or other and I bought this one. Her name is Raja Kumari. You cannot find them on the steet.. they are too beautiful. This is our little one. Gopal ala(?). His name is Gopal… We take milk because we need milk for the little ones. So, who have no mother. We take half a litre and the rest is for the calf otherwise they would not be enough for the calf. The problem with the cow is that they have not enough milk actually. Nearly all at least over here.
Gaurapada: If they get more grass they will?
Sudevi: Well yes, of course if they would grow green grass the milk would increase. And when we have a cow who does not have enough milk to take we do not take milk. Then the calf will drink it all. There are a few, 4 or 5 of this type of cows. We don’t just have enough milk which means that people, nobody will be willing to feed them. Excepting in this place. Because if they cannot profit from the cows. So the village people will not keep them. Food is expensive and they need milk for themselves and their children also, also to sell. So the problem is that the cows do not have enough milk. I don’t know how other gosala’s manage selling milk.
Gaurapada: Other gosala is wouldn’t allow the calf to drink so much milk…
Sudevi: No, no. Not at all. Or the local people they will just give enough to the calf to keep it alive until the cow gives milk and then it will die later because it is too weak to survive it has not assistance. That’s mostly happening. So there are less and less calves and cows. Because they don’t survive and those who survive and grow they will be taken to the slaughterhouse. I think in 10 or 20 years there will be not many cows will be left in this country. Only very few. It is horrible, you can’t allow yourself to think about it… he is from the steet. His name is Ramdas, I found him when he was four or five, six months old. Ramdas, he was tiny, he was tiny. He is doing work now. He pulls the cart, he brings the green food. We have two or three of them. Of bull, oxen. Look, she is taking care, she is taking care of a motherless calf. She came from another gosala, she was on the point of dying.. The one who is bringing from the backside, that is from another gosala. When she came she was lying flat. Her name is Uma. And she, this is her third calf and until now when ever she had the calf. She has adopted another one, she has taken care of another motherless. We have until now not taken milk from her because she is a nursing mother of the motherless calf’s. This little one is from another gosala. She had left, her mother died and she was on the point of starvation and on the point of death. So she is still thin, but picking up compared with before. I want to say I got her from Vrndavana I found her on the [indistinct] in Vrndavana. She was little and she had maggots in her foot, in the hoof and the blood was coming out. I put her on a Tonga and brought. That was before the gosala. I had a little place in the village. So she is one of the first ones and she’s so good natured. Uma, she was with me before the gosala started…
Krsna Dasa: Your best friend?
Sudevi: Yes, one of my few best friends [laughs]. She is actually the one who might protect me when the dacoits come. We had dacoits two times.
Sudevi: And she will not, wouldn’t recommend anybody to climb the wall in the night she will not, he will not probably survive because we have a few here who will attack if the strangers climb in the night. At the wrong time.
Madhudvisa: How do the dacoits come?
Sudevi: Yes two times dacoits came. The first time I was alone and they took everything. All the money and whatever there was worth more than 100 rupees. And since then I need people to stay here in the night. I have to pay people to sleep here, otherwise I cannot stay alone. Because if they hear a Western woman is staying, they think of money. There are dacoits in this country… This is the second one, Nataraja. His name is Nataraja. Nataraja. When he came he was maybe already one-year-old and he had such bad experience with people. He would push you with his horn and kick you with his legs and I thought I will not be able to keep him when he grows up. But now he is very sweet. Now he is very sweet. He does work with Ramdas, together with Ramdas. Now you see this one. He will feed the own(?) And another one. [ Hindi] these are all on the point of starvation these adopted ones. When we got them. Only now they are getting well.
Krsna Dasa: She’s a very rare cow who allows other calf’s to…
Sudevi: Well not if you don’t watch her, she will, she is very… Uma is the one who will not allow anybody .. but this one we have to… now we have to use a little force… more calf’s [cows] don’t want to feed others.. she came two days before, she is an old cow she can’t stand up. She came from Salt(?). This one over, the yellow one, broken leg I don’t even remember if she was brought I don’t remember where from. And this one has three legs only, she came from, where did she come from.. Dkasinder(?). No from Aligarh. Or Alvar(?) something like that.
Madhudvisa: So you’re taking from all over the place?
Sudevi: Yes, yes and she is from Koshi(?) And she cannot stand without help and she needs to be put. One leg needs to be put in a kind of sling. This thing.
Krsna Dasa: She has to be pulled up.
Sudevi: Yes, this one she will, she has come to die here. Many come to die only. She hardly eats. She will just finish her time here. And this yellow one she is also old. She does not stand anymore and has a broken leg. She managed to stand with that broken leg for quite a few months actually. She came in the winter and she survived but now she doesn’t stand up anymore. We put her in this machine, kind of sling, yes. We pull up with a type of, there are put inside and then they are pulled up. To on their feet. She is also a Sindhi cow she came from Mathura. She had an accident, both her hoofs were cut up to the bones. She couldn’t stand for months, we didn’t know whether she would live or die. You can see here the foot it is still very short and the other one, both. You can see it? And it was big wounds. And she is still weak she doesn’t put up as she should.
Gaurapada: The doctor comes regular?
Sudevi: No, I do most of the work myself. I’ve learned the daily work, like for fever. What to give for fever or for wound, antibiotic and pain. If there’s something which I do not know then I will call the doctor. The doctor whom I call he will take 100 rupees just for looking and if he does something. He, kind of operation or whatever he will take more. He will take 200 or 500.
Krsna Dasa: So in this way if you do it yourself you will save a lot of money.
Sudevi: Yes, of course and the doctor is not always available. So it is much more practical to learn the minimum that you can take care of everyday needs yourself. Special cases, I have learned from experience, I watch the doctor what he does and I went around with him and wrote down what he gives in which case. So I learned it. For years the doctor came every day. It was quite some expense. In the beginning we had no medicine also and then we spent maybe 1000 rupees every day on doctor’s and medicine. And now most of the medicine is given by donors and doctor’s work mostly I do myself. So some money is saved. Sometimes we have 20 to 25 who need wound cleaning, everyday broken legs, accident, dog victims of dog attacks. But sometimes there are less, sometimes there are 5 or 6. Nowadays we may have 8 or 10.. Maybe, we don’t count actually. I write down every day what injection we give to whom. And the wound cleaning, I used to do everything in the beginning myself. But em…
Gaurapada: You can train somebody.
Sudevi: Yes I trained the boys. Two of the boys they can do that now because my own body is starting to give a problem with the knees. That is one of the consequences of living in Indian in a Western body. You get trouble soon with your body.
Gaurapada: So they are Brijbasis?
Sudevi: They are born here, I mean they are adapted to the circumstances. The climate.
Gaurapada: They are happy here, they are appreciating? I mean the people around.
Sudevi: The local people?
Gaurapada: The local people.
Sudevi: Yes, they appreciate greatly. I’ve had words with them but they do don’t change what they do. [Laughs] but this place is greatly appreciated and respected.
Madhudvisa: So there is still a feeling to protect…
Sudevi: Yes, they know what should be done. But it is by word of mouth, not by heart. They do not follow up on the words. They know very well that they are doing wrong and what should be done and what should not be done. That is the problem with the whole of India. They have all the knowledge, God has given all the knowledge, the Bhagavad-gita. They know actually they know everything without being taught like us. Yet, they choose the wrong way. They choose to do the wrong things. So there will be consequences of course. If you have knowledge, you are so lucky to be born in a place where you have all the knowledge kind of together with the mother milk. Without even having to study or learn. Yet you are choosing out of greed. You may say they are poor, of course they are poor. It is true, so there may be a little excuse. Yet there are limits to the excuse because they cause huge suffering. To these poor little ones. She would have died now..
Sudevi: There is no place for them to graze. Only fields that are desert like, wasteland.
Gaurapada: So there’s really no choice but to put them on the streets. How to keep them?
Sudevi: Yes they’re very poor people, so they may be an excuse if they have to choose either to feed their children or to feed the cows. They may be excused but there are quite a few who do have the money and could keep the cows and yet they will abandon them and the calf and will not feed the calf and they do it out of greed for money .. and…
Gaurapada: The villages around they just bring, take a cow and em, the cow is dry, they bring the cow..
Sudevi: Yes, Ramesa Baba in Varsana, he does it also. I can do that because I know it will be the death of the calf. And they will take all the milk and because they have to give the cow, give the cow back anyway. They don’t care for the calf at all. They will just take all, the calf will starve and if he survives somehow by some miracle he will die later because he is so undernourished and so weak. So I can’t do this. I just, many people come and ask me for milk cows. Or for a calf or for.. but I can’t because it means the death of the calf. He is suffering and he will be bound in one place and he will be unhappy and the cow will be exploited and the calf will die. So I can do that, I’m sorry. I know I should.. I can’t do it. People are very selfish, it is Kali yuga.
Sudevi: I don’t think you can improve on Kali yuga. It is just the way things are in this time. In this time and age, I don’t think it will improve it may even get worse. I take them in without discrimination, without knowing what to feed them tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. That is, nobody else does it and that is, it may be very difficult one day and I may not have food in the winter to feed them all. And there will be no place also, place is limited. You’re on your feet from the morning, in the morning I have two hours. I take two hours until they finish the food and I do a little mala and puja and then the whole day. Not even noon time, there’s time for rest.
Krsna Dasa: If you see a calf drinking milk from the udder of the mother. Simply by watching you make spiritual advancement.
Sudevi: Fantastic, I’ve never read that…
Krsna Dasa: So you are well situated..
Krsna Dasa: Spiritually speaking. Because this is what you see every day. In Kali yuga it becomes very very rare to see it. The calf is taken away after birth immediately.
Sudevi: Yes they don’t even see the calf ever.
Krsna Dasa: Hm, and the mother who would like to give milk in this way is forced to give milk by injections and by machines.
Krsna Dasa: In the West.
Sudevi: Like among humans, you have, they are all individuals. They have all their own character each little calf. You may not believe it but each calf has his own character. And his likes and dislikes. So some cows, not all are sweet, [laughs] not all are sweet. We have some rascals also. Ungrateful, unfriendly, and actually aggressive also sometimes. Some cows they don’t want a child, they reject them. Then, we had a few cases when the cow, she just went away from giving birth to the calf, went away, never came back. She will not give milk also, it happens.. She may be dangerous for the strange people. [Hindi] because she has a calf. You’r lucky actually that she didn’t say anything to you… most of the milk I will feed to the calf’s. And a little I give to the people. This is about the milk we get. And I will feed a few calves with that milk. They drink from a little pot. Bhagavat! Oh Bhagavat! Bhagavat! Actually he is not the one who is supposed to drink but he used to drink when he was little. So he likes it because he likes the milk… He doesn’t drink always, he should.. There is another one, she will not refuse. You can give as much as you like.. He came three days ago. He is blind from birth. His name is Surdas.. and he came two days ago. He was sick with fever.. And she has a broken leg, old one.. She was by the dogs, dogs caught him, he was swollen like that… you should see she was… she cannot properly walk, her legs are… she is very weak… the little one over there he also gets milk but he does not, he has to be given from the bottle.. She is dying, she is sick, you see. Liver is down, liver is finished.. he is from the steet. That is how you find them. On the point of starvation but he drinks from a bottle he does not drink from the pot.. She has one, look, one eye has come, from an accident.. We have some old tulasi leaves from yesterday, she might leave the body any day. Some caran-tulasi. And this [indistinct].. prasad candan.. such sweet faces. Such sweet faces… You don’t want to drink your milk? He doesn’t, drink always, sometimes he refuses.. Surdas.
Madhudvisa: He’s too big now maybe?
Sudevi: No, they drink milk, if they can get it until two years of age. But I don’t know why he doesn’t. Sometimes they don’t like their milk. You have children also who don’t like their milk sometimes.
Krsna Dasa: You’re bhajan, has changed? Improved?
Sudevi: No, I have no time for bhajan at all actually. To tell the truth. [Laughs] because I have to run after them all the time. Only the early-morning I have maybe two hours, I take out and in the daytime there is no time. And in the evening I am too tired. I just..
Krsna Dasa: So you’re bhajan is your go-seva.
Sudevi: Yes, that’s it.
Krsna Dasa: You have got the cows .. to Krsna.
Sudevi: Yes, that’s it. This life I have to do this and maybe I can do bhajan in my next life.
Cowboy2: No other country has as great a gosala.
Sudevi: They say, people say here, local people say. There is no greater bhajan than service to the cows. So when I tell that to somebody else, they say well show me where it is written in the sastra? You find many places there is something written about the glory of the cows but you can find people also who say without sadhana you cannot attain to God. Well maybe this is sadhana..
Krsna Dasa: Then Krsna was taking care of 900,000 cows of Nanda Maharaja.
Krsna Dasa: He was chanting all their names.
Sudevi: Yes. He knew all their names.
Krsna Dasa: And on every bead he was chanting one name of one cow.
Sudevi: Yes. There is a great difference between Krsna and us. [laughs]
Krsna Dasa: So, I think you probably do the same by calling the names of all your cows. That is your chanting.
Sudevi: Well you may call it the mood. It may be.