Jul 16, 2014 WALES, UK (SUN) Following on from the story written by Gadi Prabhu about the Cow, Radha, giving milk without a calf and also being so young herself, I have a similar story. At Bhaktivedanta Manor during the 1980's there was a small herd of cows. There was not any cohesive plan nor any organised experience that determined this Cow Protection project that we inherited. Practically speaking, all the cows were different breeds and they represented all the colours of cows. Mostly they had old red shaped handprints all over their bodies that seemed to define what Cow Protection was all about in those days. The previous devotees just covered the cows with red handprints and put old Maha garlands around their necks, which could be there for weeks. It did look like a bit of a mess, a bit chaotic.
As I had been designated the department head of the Cows and Grounds, as it was called then, our main goal was just to look after what we inherited and then to expand the production of flowers and vegetables. In our department was a brahmachari who was very inclined to cows. So we made a plan to increase the milking cows. We bought in two Friesian cows already in milk production, and we started to milk them with great difficulty by hand. They were not used to close human contact or hand milking so it presented different challenges for us all.
Shortly afterwards we lost two cows. One was an old Jersey cow that was extraordinarily pretty called Haribolananda. She was jumped on by a big heavy cow during her bulling period and it caused her to do the splits sideways and ripped all her cartilage in the equivalent to her groins. She would never walk again! Luckily she crawled to a lovely quiet wooded grove where we made a camp for her and shelter. There was always a devotee present all through the night with a recorded Kirtana playing non-stop. We had visits from the local Vet who understood our situation and just gave us some pain relief for the cow. Haribolananda suffered in silence. She got gangrene in her hindquarters and looked awful.
We injected her several times for pain relief. She eventually left her body as we had a live kirtana with her and we dug her a grave by hand as befitting our Mataji and buried her with all the proper components for her journey onwards. And then a few weeks later we turned up one morning to milk and we found another cow that had just left her body called Chintamani. Another really beautiful, friendly brown cow. And we performed the burial for her the same. So that was a big blow to the herd. And now we only had a few cows left.
So one morning we were walking over to milk the cows and this big black and white cow, Kalindi, a Friesian, was blocking our entrance. We had tried unsuccessfully to make her pregnant. She had visited a bull several times and we had tried to artificially inseminate her, all to no avail. But this morning she just stood in our way. She was not being aggressive just blocking our entrance to the field. We looked at her and saw that her milk bag, udders, were big and we looked at each other, commenting how unusual this was. For a cow, Kalindi was middle-aged. Kalindi was the leader of the herd. No one messed with her, not the other cows nor the bigger bullocks. She would just head butt them into being submissive to her.
So what's going on then, Kalindi, we asked her and she stood sideways, as if to ask us to milk her. So we washed her udders with warm water as we would the others and we crouched either side of her and we milked her. She just stood there as if she had been milking all her life. We milked out two big stainless steel buckets full. And then we rubbed into her udders some Japanese Mint cream and she just walked off. It was astonishing. She never came to the parlour for milking, always on her own and on her terms. And she then milked for another 8-9 years every day until she left her body in the 1990's.
We all loved Kalindi so much; she was a real character among the cows. And in the straw barn, which she regularly broke into, she would lie down for a good afternoon siesta. And on Sunday afternoons we would go and play with her with the children and lie on tummy and rest our heads and she was as gentle as a baby.
One day Kalindi had broken through the wooden fence. We had put up an electric fence as well, but she just walked straight through that one too. Right next to the pasture were some tunnels of plastic to grow flowers indoors. And she had pushed the door open and walked right down the middle of the tunnel and eaten all of the marigolds. When we found her in the morning she was back in the pasture lying down, just smelling of marigolds and burping marigold smells. We looked at the tunnel and saw the marigolds had been eaten and Kalindi has passed stool all over the place. So we laughed. But Kalindi was not laughing this morning, she had gorged herself on marigold flowers and plants, cows sometimes have the propensity to gorge, and she looked bad. A bit like the "morning after the night before" when too much alcohol is consumed.
"Okay girl you're gonna have to get up to be milked", and she knew exactly what was going on. So she struggled to her feet for milking. When she got up she was just shaking badly. And when we were milking her we kept looking to see when she was going to fall on one of us. We finished milking quickly and she fell down exhausted. We looked at her wistfully and said not to raid Krishna's flowers anymore and she never went into the greenhouses ever again.
We had moved to Wales before she left her body, but I was on a festival preaching programme in Hungary when the message came through that she had left her body and we had a wonderful feast in her honour. Kalindi was a great cow, so friendly and loving and so independent and naughty. And because you can have such a wonderful, moving relationship with cows it made me cry when she had departed. But that's the magic of Cow Protection, it's all so personal. And based on my experience and other devotees' stories with cows, I want to encourage all devotees to make some effort to have a personal relationship with Krishna's cows because you just don't know what will happen. And you never know, you just might become enthralled and taken in by the magic of Cow Protection.