on Jan. 28, 2008
Bhaktivedanta Manor, the temple where the RSPCA killed Gangotri the sacred cow and sparked outrage amongst British Hindus, will open Europe’s largest centre for cow protection and organic lifestyles. On Sunday 3rd February 2008, Hindu leaders, politicians and supporters from across Britain will join priests in orange and white robes in a colourful ceremony to sanctify the ground where a new farm building will be constructed in memory of Gangotri.
The elaborate ceremony, called bhumi-puja or ground-breaking ceremony, will include chanting of 10,000 year old Sanskrit prayers, ancient costumes, traditional dances, and devotional singing to the accompaniment of Indian drums and cymbals. It will culminate in a holy Hindu ritual called yajna, where robed priests will pour sanctified offerings of clarified butter into a large sacred fire.
After the ceremony, fifty Hindu leaders from around the country will discuss what they perceive as the British government’s lethargy in addressing the wider issues surrounding the killing of Gangotri.
“We cannot understand why DEFRA have not even responded to our request for a meeting with the Secretary of State,” said Gauri Dasa, president of Bhaktivedanta Manor. “The resentment levels in the Hindu community are quite high, and the Government’s lack of engagement and disinterest are not good for community cohesion and integration. They should at least be ready listen to what we have to say.”
Explaining the significance of the bhumi-puja ceremony, Gauri Dasa commented that it was a Hindu ritual that reminded humans to live in harmony with mother nature. He continued, “At this ceremony, we offer prayers to Mother Earth to ask for permission and forgiveness for our digging and excavation. The Hindu tradition stresses the interdependence between humans and nature, especially cows and bulls, with whom we have a special relationship. The gentle and innocent cow is respected like a mother figure as she nourishes us with life-giving milk.”
Plans for building Europe’s largest Cow Protection Centre, called New Gokul were approved by Hertsmere Borough Council after numerous planning applications and a pubic enquiry. Many councilors had indicated that they were impressed with the design and sustainable character of the proposed farm buildings.
“In Britain, 3.38 million cows and bulls are killed every year. Nearly all young bulls die before they reach their third birthday,” concluded Gauri Dasa. “But at New Gokul, we will demonstrate new ways of ethical, compassionate and sustainable farming.”