New Vrindaban is home to the first and longest-running cow-protection program in ISKCON and, amazingly, in the entire Western world. The credit goes to many heroic souls, but few as dedicated as Ranaka Dasa. By Krishna’s divine arrangement, he had been a farmhand before joining ISKCON in 1977. And so for more than forty years he has lovingly served New Vrindaban’s cows. This gives him the distinction of being the longest-serving cowherd in all of ISKCON.
Ranaka’s love for the creatures is palpable, a testament to his Krishna consciousness and his perception of the divinity in all beings. He sees the cows as Krishna’s devotees who happen to be in bovine bodies. This is his impetus to serve them.
But he couldn’t have done it alone. The continued development of New Vrindaban is a team effort. The current ECO-V crew, which includes determined stalwarts like Ananda Vidya Dasa, Brikasanga Dasa, Chaitanya Bhagavata Dasa, Lalita Gopi Dasi, and others, work with Ranaka to establish a family atmosphere in New Vrindaban and maintain a sustainable cow-protection program, with all the cows well cared for and producing abundantly for the benefit of all.
With a vision for the future, then, Ranaka’s team will not settle for loving care alone when it comes to the dairy cows on their farm – they also emphasize prasadam, or making sure that all New Vrindaban’s dairy products are offered to Krishna and then shared with others.
Ranaka is therefore looking for a sustainable model for the future. As a result, starting this year, ECO-Vrindaban, in conjunction with IMCPA (ISKCON Ministry for Cow Protection and Agriculture), is developing the brand “Krishna Dairy” as a way to identify and designate farm projects connected to ISKCON – the best in progressive, nutritious products that come from the cow, all offered to Krishna with love and devotion.
From Back to Godhead January/February 2019