Cow Protection

An ancient prayer states:

O' Lord of Lords, You are the well-wisher of the cows and brahmanas, and You are the well-wisher of the entire human society and the world.' (Visnu Purana 1.19.65)

The protection of the cows and the bulls is one of the pillars of Vedic spirituality. Prabhupada referred to milk as liquid religiosity. The cow is considered a "mother" because she provides milk for human society and the bull is a "father" because the bull helps plow the land to produce the grains. The cows' milk is an important form of nutrition, especially for children. A wide variety of sweets and eatables are produced from the milk. Also ghee, or butter oil, is used in the cooking and frying of vegetables and grains. Ghee is also used for worship in the temples and is poured on the sacred fire (agnihotra) during special ceremonies. Another important factor is that the ghee remains fresh indefinitely without refrigeration.

In ancient times, when Lord Krishna resided in Vrindavan, He personally tended to and protected the cows, as well as maintained the peacefulness and the natural beauty of this rural village where he grew up. In New Vrindavan, the residents try to apply this same principle of cow protection and even have an "Adopt A Cow" program for it's national congregation. The cows are never to be sold and shipped off to slaughter houses.

The cow protection program at New Vrindavan grew from one cow in 1969 to 400 cows by 1989. For the first ten years the cows were milked by hand. Throughout the 70's the cow barn was located in the midst of the community at Bahulaban and the cows were a very important part of community life. Every day all the residents were aware of how many pounds of milk the cows had produced. Actually, the second floor of the barn not only was used as storage for hay, but was partitioned into rooms which housed some of the community residents.

In the early 80's, the community built a new worship and residential complex 3 miles up the road, past the Palace of Gold. A large dairy facility was also built 1 1/2 miles past the new complex. Kirtanananda and some of the community management wanted to have the biggest dairy herd in West Vriginia, and abruptly started to increase the herd's size. The dairy included an automated milking pallor that processed the milk of the 80 or so milking cows (out of a total herd of 400). Most of the milk was sold to a local dairy company. Only a fraction of the milk was used by the community. With this expansion, the cows were no longer an intimate part of community life. For several years the dairy staff also included local area workers who were hired to milk the cows and maintain the facility. Financially, the dairy operation was not at all viable. By the mid 90's the dairy facility had become a burden upon the community, which had been dwindling in membership and economic support.

As of 2001, the community still maintains a herd of about 160 cows, including 10 milking. The milking cows are housed in a new and smaller dairy facility right by the temple and living complex. The cows are milked by hand by the devotees and their milk is used in the community.

Additional Images
1 2 3 4 5 6

Home - Links - Contact