Friday, November 03, 2006
Remembering Vraja the Famous Ox
Balabhadra, Vraja and Gita in front of the capitol building in Washington DC 92'
I'm very sorry/happy to hear the sad/wonderful news of Vraja's glorious passing.
Thanks for all you hard work caring for Krishna's cows.
ysaf, Vidyananda dasa
I also posted a remembrance on my blog.
View From a New Vrindaban Ridge
Vraja was a long term resident of New Vrindaban. Read the story of his passing and remembrances of him at Life With The Land and the Cows.
“I don’t think people realize just how gentle, considerate, and intelligent these huge beasts are. They need our protection and our love and in return, they will give their very life, their total dedication in service to us. Can anyone say that about a tractor? Does a tractor soften our hearts or teach us lessons of life? Can a tractor show us the interconnectedness of all living creatures on the deepest spiritual and emotional level? From these great animals we can learn all there is to know about relationships and our own false ego and hang ups that keep us from surrendering fully to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and being in harmony with all that is around us.”
One day I was working in our garage when this pickup truck came flying out the lane from Balabhadra’s and stopped in a cloud of dust.
“Do you know who lives at that farm?” the guy asked me.
“Yes”, I replied, and he said”I just spent the last hour in a tree with my friend. A big bull chased us and we had to climb it to escape. He finally moved away a little and I was able to get down and make a run for the fence, but my friend is still up in the tree!”
I looked at him for a while, then asked, “Were you carrying a 5 gallon plastic bucket?”
His jaw dropped and he looked at me in surprise. “How did you know that?” he asked.
The reason I knew was that I had had similar experiences, and had guessed he had been carrying tools in a bucket. I forget why he was out in Balabhadra’s pasture, but it was some legitimate thing, working on a phone line or something, and he needed small hand tools.
While I was still healthy and doing Farmer’s Markets, and Balabhadra was still getting established, we used to clean out his barn in exchange for keeping the manure. I would back down into the barn and Tulasi and I would load 5 gallon buckets with the black gold. Having it in buckets made unloading and applying to the garden easier.
Vraja would come into the barn and be a real annoyance. He would get in the way. He would poke his horns in the buckets of manure and then toss his head. I tried to keep chasing him away but he was very persistent. I actually scheduled runs to the barn at the times I knew he would be out on the pasture where he couldn’t see us. It wasn’t that he was mean, but the chance he would step on your foot inadvertently or swing his head to chase flies and catch you with one of his long horns was a consideration. Mainly though, was being in the way.
Turns out it wasn’t that he necessarily liked hanging out with us; some curiosity was there, but mostly it was the buckets. Balabhadra fed him grain out of one, so he was conditioned to expect some goodies whenever he saw one and would crowd in so he didn’t miss anything. Hence, seeing someone in the pasture with a bucket, he naturally followed them and his enthusiasm for an expected treat had been misinterpreted as aggression. I still laugh visualizing those guys up a tree with Vraja waiting patiently below.
In his own way, Vraja was a great preacher of Krsna consciousness and has now left his limiting material body to continue his devotional service in another sphere. It's sad to see him go, but wonderful to contemplate his life.
Hare Krsna dasi
Haribol dear god-sister Chaya devi,
Jaya Srila Prabhupada!
I've been meaning to email you for some time now, and Vraja's passing was the impetus to finally contact you.
Vraja was a special soul and dearly beloved by the other cows and devotees, so I wanted to offer my respects to this soul in a cow's body.
You know I love the cows, and in my small way, I try to help them by using my artistic abilities. Have you seen my website? Saradiya.com
I remember you and your dear husband from Seattle. It's been years!
Hope all is well.
Jaya Srila Prabhupada! All glories to Lord Damodhara, all glories to all the devotees and all glories to all the beautiful cows!
Dear Chayadevi Prabhu,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Please accept my humble obeisances. I am so sad to hear about Vraja. I'm sure all the prabhus there must be feeling a great loss. If my adoption came through before he passed, then I am happy to know he was remembering me from so long ago. It is for certain, that Vraja networked with me when I first saw him in D.C. in '92, even though I was not fully aware of it then. That is the power of Krishna's cows. Now we have come full circle and we will continue to grow in understanding even more as the years go by, by grace of guru and Gouranga.
Tears are running down my face. I don't know what to say.
Krishna gives and takes away. Blessed be His Name.
Your humble servant, Vaninatha dasa brahmachary 10/30/06
Life With the Cows and Land