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Dandavats! All Glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!

Vraja…where are you?

Friday, 11 August 2006 / Published in Articles / 3,598 views

By Balabhadra das

This morning was quite unusual as the herd was fragmented into several small groups. Vraja, Gita, Shyam, and Surabhi were in the big barn. Yamuna was all the way back by the end of the pasture by herself. The rest of the cows/oxen were in small groups spread out over a 10-acre pasture. Quite unusual. All right, I thought, I’ve counted 23, which is the number of cows/oxen that we currently have under our care at the ISCOWP Farm.

It’s not that hot of a day so far and it’s only forecast to be in the mid eighties for the high temperature.

I have to go to town today as the errands have accumulated and taking the truck to town and burning the gas can be justified.

The errands take longer than usual and by the time I get back, it’s past 2pm. A quick lunch and a little quite time follows and now its time for the evening herd check.

I go to the barn as the cows are still in and are just getting ready to head out to pasture for their evening meal. Once, twice, thrice I count the cows/oxen and the number is the same each time……………..22. Who is missing, who is missing? Vraja is missing!

Vraja is 15 years old and the twin brother of Gita. They are my personal team of oxen. When we lived in North Carolina, we saved them from going to the SALE BARN when they were 2 1/2 months old. We have spent a lifetime together, working side by side to plow, plant, cultivate, and harvest the crops. We have hauled in firewood to keep many families warm for the winter. We have pulled in numerous fence posts to numerous fencing projects. We have traveled across the United States 3 times participating in numerous fairs and Rathayatra festivals.

Side by side, we have led Rathayatras in front of the ever-merciful Lord Jagannatha, the Lord of the Universe: Vraja and Gita as the representatives of DHARMA, and I walking at their side as their servant.

Vraja is suffering from severe arthritis and has a hard time getting up from a sitting position.

Vraja is never separated from the herd. He is the herd patriarch, the headman, the boss; in short, he is the head of the herd. Sometimes just Vraja and Gita are together, but today all are present and accounted for except Vraja………..?

Vraja, where are you? Have you gone down and can not get up? Are you in the hot sun? Vraja, where are you?

When doing a pasture check I usually go on the top of the hill as I can see two pastures from that vantage point. But today Krsna, as Supersoul, the Lord in the heart is telling me to go to the lower pasture first. I’m in a panic state in my heart and mind. Vraja, where are you my dear old friend and companion?

I go around the first bend and no Vraja; then through the first pasture and no Vraja. My mind is going crazy and my heart is pounding. Vraja where are you? This is so unlike you.

Around the trees at the edge of the field and there you are standing in the shade of an apple tree, chewing your cud. I am over whelmed with tears of happiness to see my old friend STANDING in the shade and not down and disabled in the hot sun.

There you are Vraja. You are safe. Thank you Krishna!

My realizations on this episode are that I need to become more grateful of the service rendered by other living entities in their service to God. To take their association for granted and not to relish their association until death has taken them away is a great disservice to their very existence.

For now, Lord Krishna is letting you stay with us but one day He will take you to be with Him. Vraja, head of the herd, you are a great soul. I offer repeated obeisances unto you, the representative of Dharma and devotee of Lord Krishna. It has been an honor being in your association, working, and serving side by side with you.

Thank you for your association and the many lessons you have taught me.

“Nanda Maharaja was a big protector of cows, and Lord Sri Krishna, as the most beloved son of

Nanda Maharaja, used to tend His father’s animals in the neighboring forest. By His

personal example Lord Krishna wanted to teach us the value of protecting cows. Nanda Maharaja is said to have possessed nine hundred thousand cows, and at the time of Lord Sri Krishna (about five thousand years ago) the tract of land known as Vrndavana was flooded with milk and butter. Therefore God’s gifted professions for mankind are agriculture and cow protection.”

-Light of the Bhagavata, Preface

Balabhadra das
Iscowp Inc

Out of sight out of mind?

2 Responses to “Vraja…where are you?”

  1. tchlfxvt says :

    Dear Balabhadra Das
    Hare Krishna, PAMHO AGHDGSP.
    Thank you for sharing your story.My heart was pounding as I read it .

    After spending a couple of weeks at New Vrindabin back in the early 70’s I fell in love with the Krishna’s beautiful BrownSwiss cow’s.
    My parents offered me 10 acres of land in VT. in an attempt to pry me loose of Iskon ! I took them up on their offer and soon had a
    cow and some Jersy bull calfs for oxen !
    Your story brings back memories of when my oxen Jack and Jake left their bodies , they were 25 years old …. I remember searching in the pasture for them . And in the end holding his head and chanting Hare Krishna to him ….I could tell it brought him great comfort .
    Hare Krishna

  2. Balabhadra says :

    Dear Tom,


    Thanks for telling us about Jack and Jake. Here at our ISCOWP farm we have gone through the passing away of several members of our herd. Each passing was unique, special and showed us in real life how these souls in bovine bodies are special to Lord Krishna. Here is part of the article “Great Sould Pass Away” which appeared in Vol 16 Issue 1 of the ISCOWP News.

    “Saraswati left her body yesterday (3/30/06) at about 11 AM. We visited her the previous evening and she seemed weak but took water. In the morning, Balabhadra checked on her at 7:30 AM o’clock. She was lying down with her head going downhill. He raised her head by making a pillow of hay underneath her head. He went back to check on her at 9:30 AM and then again at 11:30 AM when she was no longer in her body.

    There was very little struggling. She was down for 2 weeks. In the beginning, she tried to get up but when she realized she couldn’t she very stoically resigned herself. She stopped eating after 1 week and drank only water now and then the remaining week of her life. She appeared calm and peaceful. Saraswati was in the line of Maharaja Pariksit. She was given notice that she was going to die and she prepared for leaving her body while listening to Srila Prabhupada 24 hours each day in the last 2 weeks (we always play a continuous SP bhajan tape in the barn when a cow is down). She also took Yamuna water as an added blessing for her departure.

    The day she died, she was buried a few hours later in what is becoming the cow graveyard near to the geriatric barn. Throughout her life and in her remaining days she was a gentle and sweet cow”.