You might have heard about it from a friend already. You might have even seen a picture or two on facebook. Word on the street is that something BIG just happened here at New Braj, and guess what?…the word is right.
We are happy to officially announce the arrival of our two newest community members. Through a generous donation and by Krsna’s and Gurudeva’s arrangement, we have received two beautiful purebred Guernsey milking cows.
For those not familiar with the breed[i], Guernsey cows produce a golden colored milk with very high levels of vitamin A and butterfat producing carotene. Everyone here in the community is excited to be able to cook and offer milk with such amazing health benefits to our deities! After all, we want to offer only the best ingredients to our beloved Radha-Govinda.
Srila Gurudeva has spoken many times in New Braj on various Bhakti topics. His emphasis was always on how we can develop in our Krsna consciousness. One theme that he would emphasize in particular is that we should always reside in Vrindavana under the guidance of pure devotees, if not by body, then by mind. He has also said on multiple occasions that New Braj is the same as Braja Vrindavana. Indeed we know from scriptures that wherever a pure devotee goes, in his heart is Vrindavana and that place where he walked becomes sanctified as a holy tirtha. Service to a pure devotee in such a place is indeed the essence of all advice[ii]. How fortunate then are we to be able to serve Srila Gurudeva while being here in New Braj.
With the added members to our community, we now have even more opportunity to immerse ourselves in being in Vrindavana, not only physically, but by mind as well. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes in his bhajan, Radha Kunda Tata, that the uddipaka, or things that stimulate the remembrance of Vrindavana are the life of the devotees[iii]. Not only do we have the cows’ footprints, but we have the seva of milking them, their scent is in the air, and oh, the cow dung too! The trees are painted with the names of Radhe; Giriraja Govardhana is here along with Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda. Bees buzz around the many varieties of colored flowers surrounding Gurudeva’s Puspa Samadhi. The deer run as the sun sets behind the mountains. For those of us who are not constantly drinking the nectar of vraja-lila, as srila gurudeva is, it is very helpful to have this added reminder of the holy dhama to enrich to the already very conducive atmosphere that New Braj has to offer.
The cows themselves were raised organic, we are continuing to feed them in the same way, as well as sustain them on the green grasses here in New Braj. Thanks to our dedicated seva team, the cows are milked twice a day; just after Mangala Arati and the late afternoon.
The reddish-brown mother cow has been named Kunkuma and the lighter cow is Bhumi. We encourage everyone to come back home to New Braj for a visit and try all the amazing ahimsa milk preparations that are now daily being offered to Sri Sri Radha-Govinda.
We’d like to thank Joyce and Luis for donating such a sweet cow, as well as Lilavati didi and the rest of the team for their dedicated seva. We also invite devotees who are looking for a place to do their seva and bhajan, to come join our community here in New Braj. We look forward to serving with you.
If you feel inspired, we appreciate any donations towards this new cow seva or New Braj Dham. We beg for the blessings of the Vaisnavas, in order to keep Srila Gurudeva, Srila Prabhupada, the Brajabasis and Vrindavana dhama’s spirit alive here in New Braj.
On behalf of New Braj Seva Team,
Guernsey Cows were originally bred on the Isle of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands between France and Great Britain. Cows were first brought to the island over 1000 years ago and Monks subsequently developed the breed until it was first exported to England in the 1700s. There was extensive cattle trade going on between the Channel islands, England, The Netherlands and France until the early 1800s when they closed the island herds to encourage standardization of the breed. Guernsey breeders selected their cattle for consistency of color within a range of fawn to golden with white spotting and for golden skin. Today, Guernseys are medium to large in size, with cows weighing 1,400 pounds and bulls 2,000 pounds. Cows are noted for their quiet dispositions. A distinctive characteristic of the breed is the golden color of its milk, which results from exceptionally high levels of carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A. It is thought that the Guernsey excels in its ability to absorb this nutrient and transfer it to butterfat. Guernsey milk has been promoted under the trademark “Golden Guernsey.” Butter made from the milk is also distinctively golden. Guernsey cattle were first imported to North America in the 1830s, with importations peaking in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Guernsey Cattle Club was formed in 1877. The breed was a significant genetic foundation for the American dairy industry, contributing to the general mix of dairy cattle as well as being used as a purebred.
tan-nama-rupa-caritadi-sukirtananu- smrtyoh kramena rasana-manasi niyojya tisthan vraje tad-anuragi-jananugami kalam nayed akhilam ity upadesa-saram [“While living in Vraja as a follower of the eternal residents of Vraja (Sri Guru and the six Gosvamis) who possess inherent spontaneous love for Sri Krsna, one should utilize all his time by sequentially engaging the tongue and the mind in meticulous chanting and remembrance of Krsna’s names, form, qualities and pastimes. This is the essence of all instructions.” (Sri Upadesamrta 8)] “The word sukirtananu in the above verse refers to performing kirtana with the tongue while remembering all these sweet pastimes of Krsna within the mind. Tisthan vraje means, ‘being only in Vrndavana.’ If you cannot be in Vrndavana physically, then while you are in Johannesburg, you can think, “I am in Vrndavana, the Yamuna River is flowing, the Vamsi-vat Tree is here, Giriraja Govardhana is here, Krsna performed rasa-lila and so many other pastimes here. And here are Radha-kunda, Syama-kunda, and Manasi Ganga. But don’t stay in Vrndavana independently. Be under the guidance of any pure Vaisnava, and hear from him about Krsna’s sweet form and pastimes. This is the essence of all instructions” (excerpt from a lecture given in Johannesburg, South Africa: January 29, 2010)
Translation of Radha Kunda Tata by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura: “The cottage in the grove on the banks of Radha-kunda, the great Govardhana Hill, the banks of the Yamuna, Kusuma-sarovara, Manasa-ganga, the daughter of Kalinda (the Yamuna) with her many waves, the Vamsi-vat, Gokula, Dhira-samira, the trees and creepers and reeds of Vrdavana, the different varieties of colorful birds, the deer, the cooling breeze from the Malaya Mountains, the peacocks, the bumblebees, the pastimes with the flute, the flute itself, the buffalo horn bugle, the footprints of cows in the dust of Vraja, the rows of blackish rain clouds, springtime, the moon, the conchsell, and the karatalas – all these I know to be very conductive for the pastimes of Radha and Krsna. I recognize in them a transcendental stimulus for making the Lord’s charming pastimes more intense. (7) I refuse to go anywhere if there stimuli to devotional service are not there, for to abandon them is to abandon life itself.(8) Bhaktivinoda says, “Please hear me, O Kana! Your entourage and paraphernalia stimulate remembrance of You and are the very source of my life.”