At the beginning of the year, Bhaktivedanta Swami Goshala started organizing Goshala tours, to help devotees and guests connect more with the cows. We all know that cows are so dear to Sri Krsna and that His eternal occupation is to herd the cows in the planet of the cows Goloka Vrndavana.
HERE ARE TWENTY ONE INTERESTING FACTS YOU WILL LEARN IN OUR GOSHALA TOURS:
1.Srila Prabhupada himself asked the devotees to get cows for Krsna Baralama Mandir. The first cows were acquired in 1974, one year before the temple was inaugurated. Gunarnava Prabhu sold his watch in order to get the laxmi for buying two mixed breed cows.
2. Bhaktivedanta Swami Goshala was established in 1976. A businessman named Mr. Taparia donated the first piece of land. Later more land was bought next to it.
3. Goshala land is special. It is part of Raman Reti area of Vrndavana, where Krsnaand Balarama used to come to herd the cows. Just outside of Goshala gate on Parikrama Marg there used to be Go Ghat, where the cows used to drink water from Yamuna in Krsna’s earthly pastimes. Vrajavasis used to keep cows in this area even before Bhaktivedanta Swami Goshala was established here.
4.Indian and Western cows are different species. Cows belong to a group of animals called “Bos” in Latin. It includes Indian cows, Western cows, and buffalo. Indian cows and Western cows are two separate species of cows.
5.There are many differences between Western and Indian cows. Western cows do not have the hump and dewlap; they give more milk but Indian cows give better quality milk. Indian cows can survive well in a hot climate and they are much more friendly to people than Western cows, especially in our Goshala, where they are taken care of with love.
6.There are two breeds of cows in the Goshala: Tharparkar cows (the white ones) come from Pakistan, and Sahiwal cows (the red ones) come from the Punjab. Sahiwal cows are considered to be among the best milking cows in India.
7.We have around 20-25 milking cows at the moment. Usually around 2 calves are born every month, and the cows give milk for up to two years.
8.Goshala collects around 125 liters of milk daily. 60 liters of milk are brought to the temple in the morning and 10 liters in the evening. The rest is distributed to the devotees who serve in the Goshala. Milk is generally transported by a bullock cart.
9.The calves start eating grass when they are 4 months old. In the beginning a calf stays with the mother for a few weeks and drinks as much milk as he likes. Later the calf is shifted to stay with the other calves and gets milk from one udder. (It is not possible or healthy for the calf to drink all of the milk in the mother’s udder.). When the calf is older, he starts eating grass.
10.Cows become ready to be mothers at about three-and-a-half to four years old. These cows, who will be mothers in the future, stay together in a separate location in the goshala. They get a special diet that helps them become ready for this service.
11.There are around 150 oxen and 7 bulls in the Goshala. Oxen are castrated and the goshala maintains them throughout their lives, without requiring anything from them in return. A few oxen are trained to pull bullock cart. Among them, the oxen named Krsnaand Balarama are famous, because they also take part in temple processions.
12.Generally one herd of cows requires at least 2 breeding bulls to avoid inbreeding. The goshala has seven bulls that are not castrated and that impregnate the goshala’s cows.
13.We have two retired Padayatra bulls of the Khargar breed, which come from Maharashtra and which have huge horns. They were serving in the Padayatra for many years.
14.There are around 400 cows, bulls and calves in the goshala at the moment. Generally cows live for 16 years. We take care of them throughout their lives.
15.Cows follow a daily schedule routine and schedule. They come inside for eating and go outside again a few times a day. Milking takes place at around 4.30 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. everyday.
16.Many cows have names. If we check the number written on the ear of the cow, we can see the cow’s name, age and other details about her.
17.All cows get a mixture of fresh grass and bhusa everyday. Sorghum grass is used in summer and clover grass is used in winter. The milking cows and the mothers-to-be have a richer diet that includes various pulses, grain, oil cakes, and oil.
18.The pink crystal that we give to the cows to lick is rock salt. It provides the necessary minerals like calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, and sodium.
19.There are around 25 devotees serving in the goshala: gowalas (those who take care of the cows on a daily basis), devotees that clean the goshala and those that manage daily activities like the transportation of milk, the buying of grass, etc.
20.We have two big festivals during the year: Go Puja and Gopastami. On these days all devotees come to the goshala and worship the cows. We also do pūjā to the cows when someone adopts a calf or a cow.
21.Gomata Bliss department is part of Bhaktivedanta Swami Goshala and produces various food items, health care products, personal care products, household and puja items, incense and clothes. Natural ingredients and authentic ayurvedic formulas are used in the making of these products, whichare handmade in Sri Vrndavana Dham. All profits are go toward cow protection in Bhaktivedanta Swami Goshala.
FIVE WAYS YOU CAN SERVE THE COWS AND GET THEIR BLESSINGS:
1.The best service to the cows is to visit Bhaktivedanta Swami Goshala, spend time with the cows, brush them, love them, and feed them laddus made from gur and wheat bran.
2.Honour the cows by bowing down to them, circumambulating them, touching their hooves and putting their tail on your head. You can also whisper your spiritual desires to the ear of the cow.
3.Get to know the individual character, mood, and likings of each cow. Generally a cow will show you where she wants to be brushed. Cows particularly like it when we massage their neck or brush behind the horns. Some like it when we massage the side of their neck or clean their ears. All cows love it if we massage under the tail.
4.If you are not able to visit the goshala physically, follow the goshala on Facebook, Instagram or Youtube. LIKE, COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE and SHARE.
5.You can adopt a cow for 1 month, 1 year or even a lifetime, or you can support the cows other needs like grass and medicine. Making donations to cow protection removes all sinful reactions, awards liberation and, most importantly, it pleases Kṛṣṇa and helps one make advancement in spiritual life.
EIGHT REASONS WHY COWS ARE SO SPECIAL:
1.Krsna loves the cows so much that His eternal occupation is to be a cowherd boy in the planet of the cows, Goloka Vrndavana.
2.Cow is one of the seven mothers.
3.33 million demigods reside in the body of the cowFor example, Lord Brahma resides in the cow’s hump, Visnu in her dewlap, and Laxmi under her tail.
4.Milking the cow means drawing the principles of religion in a liquid form. Milk can develop the finer tissues of the brain so that you can understand higher philosophy. Ghee is required for sacrifices.
5.Everything that comes from the cow is beneficial, starting from the miracle food, milk, and its many products and preparations, including cow dung and cow urine, which have many antibacterial and medicinal properties.
6.Cows are emblems of the mode of goodness.
7.Surabhi is the original cow in Goloka Vṛndāvana. When this Surabhi Cow descends down to heavenly planets, she is called a kamadhenu, or ‘wish fulfilling cow’. The same kamadhenu cows also descend further down to the earthly planets we live in.
8.“One can demolish the reaction to all of his sinful acts by simply offering respect to the cows” Skanda Purāṇa.
We invite you to visit Bhaktivedanta Swami Goshala. Get to know more about Kṛṣṇa’s cows and learn how you can serve them and please them thus, and this way make progress in your spiritual life.