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Comments Posted By Krsna Caitanya dasa

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Why Cow Protection does not work in Iskcon

Hare Krishna,

It was written:

“We have so many Cows in big sheds that are viewed by so many guests as if it is a zoo or cow sanctuary but no-one has a relationship with them and no-one depends on them so its a one way street.”

I understand that may be the case at some farms but it is not the case at our farm. Nor at several devotee family farms that I know of. Maybe you are talking about ISKCON temple cow protection programs. It seems to me that it may be more difficult to have a community that you talk about in such a situation. But if a family decides to get a cow you may find that it ends up being a different thing. One cow produces so much milk that the surrounding community must get involved to utilize all of the milk. So devotees will pay for or trade goods and services for such milk. And if you get a bull calf, you train him as an ox. You use him to cultivate your garden and pull in firewood to keep you family warm. What to speak of all the manure that you’ll get from the cows, bulls, and oxen. This is simple living. It is not that complicated. If you want to have a little time off, you train one of your friends how to milk the cow. And soon enough you find that your friends want to help with fencing, milking, hay, etc. You will also have friends offering use of their land for pasture. And thus the beginning of community. This has been my personal experience.

I find it disappointing to read articles like this one because it is somewhat negative. The devotee community already thinks that cow protection is a very difficult activity and most articles on the subject matter focus on how hard it is to protect cows and how it is that no one is doing it properly and how the cow protection lifestyle is so far removed from our modern lifestyle. But I have found in my life that it is not that difficult to realize the things that the author has called for. A milk cow and an ox provide so much for a household and automatically do a lot to forming a community. I think it might be a mistake to be so concerned about what ISKCON may or may not be doing in regards to cow protection. Rather, let us see what we can do for cow protection. Get a cow and/or ox and utilize them for Krishna’s service. Then make friends with the surrounding devotees and try to reciprocate with them. I think you will find that it is not as difficult or impossible as it seems.

Your servant,

Krsna Caitanya dasa

Comment Posted By Krsna Caitanya dasa On 26.10.2010 @ 12:38

Hare Krishna,

I guess I was not really clear in my previous comment. I also believe that bulls and oxen are part of cow protection. I have a bull for procreation purposes, and have trained oxen and trained people to use oxen. And those that I mentioned previously who have cows also have working oxen or are working towards that ideal. While I am not completely dependent on the oxen, I have used them over the years to get firewood, pull wagons, cultivate gardens, etc. But that is all beside the point. My main point is if someone sees the importance of cow protection and ox power, he or she would do well to take it up. Or do something to help those who you think are not doing a good job of protecting cows. I think that will go a lot farther than complaining about others not taking up cow protection or finding fault with the current attempts at cow protection.

I also agree that cow protection is not the ultimate goal. There are many different services that are important to the spreading of Love of Krishna and they all seem to be short-handed right now: book distribution, scientific preaching, food distribution, congregational development, deity worship, college preaching, temple management, bhakta programs, varnasrama, social development, vegetarian restaurants, cow protection, Hari-Nam Sankirtana, etc. and the list goes on. There are definitely many imperfect attempts at all of these services, but I think the best thing someone could do is take a leading position in one of these or help someone who is trying to do one of these services. If you can’t lead or help then I think it is better to leave those who are trying to do something alone.

It is certainly not my intent to offend anybody and I hope that I have not.

Hare Krishna,

Krsna Caitanya dasa

Comment Posted By Krsna Caitanya dasa On 13.10.2010 @ 12:20

Hare Krishna Dusyanta Prabhu,

It seems like I have read several articles by you about cow protection and you appear to have experience in the field and good ideas about how to go forward. I am curious to know, do you have a working farm? And if so, what do you have going on right now? Since I dabble in the field of cow protection, I am interested to hear how other devotees go about this service. We have a couple of milk cows and provide milk products to the local temple and to the temple devotees and to devotees that live outside the temple. I know of several other families in the US who also engage in cow protection and suspect there may be more. Are you hoping for ISKCON temples to take up cow protection more seriously? I guess I don’t really understand what the problem is. As far as I can tell, if devotees want to take care of cows and show a practical example of utilizing cows and oxen, there is not really anything to stop them from doing so.

Hare Krishna,

Krsna Caitanya dasa

Comment Posted By Krsna Caitanya dasa On 07.10.2010 @ 16:02

Krishna’s Cows

Hare Krishna,

I don’t understand how simply giving up store-bought milk gives protection and respect to the cows. You provided many nice quotes from Srila Prabhupada that talk about the importance of cows and cow protection, but I did not see a single quote that talked about giving up store-bought milk as a way to protect cows.

I especially liked this quote that you provided:

“We have to keep some cows. Never mind we are to take payment from others. That is not cow protection. Cow protection means just like Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is tending the cows. He is going, taking the cows personally from His royal palace going to the forest whole day, working there. Is it not, cowherd boy? And taken some little fruit, mother, whatever mother has given. They are playing that. So this is cow protection, not that “Somebody will give money and we shall keep some third class cows and feed there and become cow protector.” We must tend the cows very nicely so that they give us sufficient milk. And with that milk we shall live. SRILA PRABHUPADA, Srimad-Bhagavatam Class 2.9.3 — Melbourne, April 5, 1972

Are there any instructions from Srila Prabhupada asking us to give up store-bought milk? Organic rice and soy products are also tied to cow slaughter because they use bone and blood to fertilize organic crops. And conventional farming methods use artificial fertilizers that Srila Prabhupada says are forbidden in the sastras. Not to mention, soy products have many health problems associated with them.

Why not just keep a cow or help someone nearby keep a cow or two. It is not really that hard to do and it would be a positive step towards protecting and respecting cows. We have two milk cows and they provide almost all of the milk products to our local temple, to our family and to many families around here. It seems like sometimes millions of dollars will be spent to build a temple, but it is said to be too hard to get some people to get together and buy a little land and get a cow, which would cost a lot less, while also producing something of value that supports what this article above says is “our one program”.

Anyway, I mean no disrespect, and I hope no one takes offense to what I have written. I just don’t think that simply avoiding store-bought milk products does much to respect or protect cows.

Hare Krishna

kc_das108@yahoo.com

Comment Posted By Krsna Caitanya dasa On 30.06.2010 @ 13:53

Why not store bought milk

Just to continue a tiny bit from my previous post, I would like to point out some of the specific details in regards to what we can get from cows and oxen. A couple of milk cows can produce a lot of milk. Our family lives in an expensive area, but still, a couple of milk cows allow us to cover a little over half of our personal expenses. If someone is more ambitious, he could grow organic vegetables using oxen. Some estimates, in our area, indicate that one could make around $20,000 an acre growing and selling organic produce. So, if you combined milk with vegetables, you could make a decent living, in addition to providing you and your family with most of your home-grown foodstuffs. Or, one could do a little bit, and in that way have a hobby that doubles as a supplemental income. Either way, we also get fertilizer from the cows and can also pull in firewood with the oxen.

It is possible to work a full-time job, while very slowly building one’s agricultural activities to the point that you can quit your full-time job. I did that once when I lived in a less expensive area. Anyway, we can all do what we can, or what we will, and just try to build on that.

Hare Krishna

Comment Posted By Krsna Caitanya dasa On 19.06.2010 @ 17:02

I think that rather than “Why not store bought milk?” one might ask “Why not store bought anything?”. Almost anything we buy from the store is tied to some sort of bad karma, especially foodstuffs. Even if you buy no milk products at all, almost all organic grains and vegetables are grown with blood meal and bone meal, while conventional farming uses techniques that are bad for the earth and the environment. So, there are many good reasons that we should produce all of our necessities ourselves from the land, if possible.

I definitely support the increase of cow protection and agriculture, but I think it is a little too much to use selected quotes from Srila Prabhupada in order to give the devotees a hard time for buying milk from the store. Some devotees are working very hard engaging in other services that are also very pleasing to Krishna and Srila Prabhupada. I think there are too many people throwing selected quotes at others, while at the same time themselves neglecting other important instructions from the acaryas. I’m not sure what foodstuffs that most devotees can buy that won’t be tied to slaughter and destruction.

Nonetheless, this is an important subject matter and it is good that Mathura has started a discussion on these topics. As Pandu has said, many devotees find the idea of farming to be very perplexing. I think this is the main reason that devotees do not take it up. I don’t think any devotee wants to support cow slaughter. We have heard so much, over and over again, how the ISKCON farms have failed and how difficult it is to take care of cows, that hardly anyone believes it can be done. I think Mathura is just trying to say that it is not as hard as everyone thinks.

A big part of being able to pay for the land would be to live in a place that land is not so expensive. If you can get 5 acres of land in one place for $50,000, but in another place 5 acres is $15,000, that would mean that you could have $35,000 more to work with. That is definitely something to think about when starting a farm. Another idea is to utilize the land of family, neighbors and/or friends. For a small price or, possibly, no price at all, one can get extra pasture to utilize. Even if one cannot get access to enough land, hay is usually not that expensive. I am saying all of this from personal experience.

But one of the major keys to success in agriculture is making sure that the cows and/or oxen produce something and that we utilize what they produce.

Comment Posted By Krsna Caitanya dasa On 19.06.2010 @ 16:41

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