on Jan. 11, 2008
Cow protection has become a personal love affair to millions of people around the world. In Vrindavan India, Kurma-rupa Dasa has become increasingly involved in protecting defenceless and abandoned cows, traditionally considered a symbol of religion.
Inspired by the ancient tradition of caring for cows, in 1998 Kurma-rupa made a personal vow—to feed the local abandoned cows and bulls that wandered the streets for an entire month. Every day during the month of Karttika, a traditional time to perform auspicious religious rituals, he purchased 40 kilograms of grass and fed the local cows and bulls at his doorstep. He explains, "When the month of Kartika ended, I offered the herd an evening feast to celebrate the completion of my vow. The next morning they were still camped out at my door and demanded I continue feeding them. I realized they had no other place to go so I decided to keep it up. So for one year I fed them on my doorstep and had about eleven coming every day. Soon the neighbours started bringing their cuttings and putting them on my doorstep to assist in the effort."
By word of mouth, local, national and international support started to roll in to assist in the effort. A neighbour offered the use of a vacant plot of land, and soon a number of supporters including the internationally recognized NGO Food for Life Vrindavan assisted in purchasing a quarter acre of land to support the herd, which had grown to 25. Five years later, Kurma-rupa registered a charitable trust called Care for Cows.
The town of Vrindavan, where Care for Cows operates, is the home of Lord Krishna who is historically known as the greatest proponent and living example of cow protection. In a tragic irony, within the town are approximately three to four hundred abandoned cows and bulls that require accommodation. Kurma-rupa is mindful of the growing inconsistencies between time-honoured traditions and the current practices of industrial society. When asked if he returns healthy cows back to the streets they came from, he replied, "If they go back to the street, they are destined to subsist on refuse and become plagued by various debilitating and often terminal diseases or suffer injury from careless motorists. However, the most immediate danger is that they become abducted for slaughter by cattle rustlers who are active in this area today. So I am keeping all of them."
From its humble beginnings eight years ago and with minimal funding, Care for Cows now provides food, shelter, medical care and lifetime accommodation for over 230 abandoned cows, bulls, retired oxen, and orphaned calves. It has established the only Laboratory in Vrindavan offering veterinary screening to local cows, free of charge. At present, Kurma-rupa is seeking assistance to acquire a large piece of land to accommodate the growing herd.
For more information, visit the Care for Cows website at: http://www.careforcows.org/home