Jaya has passed away. After over 5 years of fighting cancer in his eyes, he sat down on September 16 and could not get up. That following day his soul left his body. It was a quick and fearless departure. He had been so fortunate to keep pasturing with the herd throughout his illness and we hoped that when he did go down he would leave quickly. When we found him down we immediately placed a tape of Srila Prabhupada chanting near him and gave him holy water from the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. We suspected that he would leave us quickly as he had been loosing the fight against the cancer for several months.
Always a good natured ox, Jaya was pleased to see anyone. Even after 3 operations to remove the cancerous growths he liked people. When we took him to the veterinarian hospital in Columbus for his last and most extensive operation a year an a half ago, the doctors and students were amazed at his cooperative attitude and at how large he was yet so sweet. He was a little over 6 feet at his shoulder and weighed about 1 ton. Since the time he was discovered with eye cancer, which we have been told is common for white faced cows, we tried alternative medicines like homeopathy which appeared to help but never cured him.
When Bhumi, who also died of eye cancer this spring, came back from the Columbus hospital after having her cancerous growth removed, it was Jaya who comforted her. He would visit her in her stall as if to assure her that he healed and so would she. She became calm after his visits.
His partner Nanda passed away this year also. Both were 14 years old which is equal to 70 years in a human's life. Both Nanda and Jaya made the team Jayananda, named after the present day Vaisnava saint. When they were young, their main service was logging.
We are sad not to have Jaya's association any longer, but at the same time we are glad that he passed swiftly with enough time to receive sanctifying holy water, hear the chanting of sacred mantras and have the association of the herd till the end.
Ujala passed away. As you know, she had a great deal of trouble with her hip. This problem had been going on for about one year. Sometimes she seemed excellent and sometimes she would sit down for a long time and not get up. Then she would surprise us, get up and walk very well. The vet had said that she incurred a hip injury and with rest she may get better. Even though she received much rest and would heal, she had the habit of jumping other cows when they were in heat (fertile period) which gave her more trouble with her hip. In fact, we believe this habit of hers was the cause of her hip injury.
A month ago we moved all the cows from one side of the farm to another. She did not want to move from a very nice spot near a stream and in the shade. At this spot she could sit down and have grass and water to eat. We convinced her to move with the other cows. A few weeks later she was missing when we counted the cows as we do every day. We looked and looked for two days. On the side we were looking there are innumerable places along the creek and in the forest where she could have sat down. She was not to be found. Then it occurred to us that possibly she could have pushed through the fencing to get to the other side of the farm to the spot that she did not want to move from a few weeks ago. This would be highly unusual, as cows are very herd conscious and do not like to be separate from each other. We took a look and there she was already passed away.
She had to be greatly determined to get to this spot. We could not find any broken fences. It is as if she made up her mind that it was time to leave and she knew exactly where she wanted to do that. It still amazes us that she would do this. She was always the one to make a huge fuss over any other cow that went down and could not get up. She would bellow and bellow to tell us something was wrong. We would then follow her bellowing and find the needy cow or ox. However, she would also bellow at other times and we never knew if she just wanted to let off steam or there was something actually wrong.
We will miss her bellowing and her beautiful face.
We plan on maintaining a herd size of approximately 20 to 25 cows. At the present we have 20 cows. We have enough space to acquire one or two more cows.
On Aug. 28 I departed for Australia to visit one of the ISKCON farms there. My trip was hosted by some of devotees there who wanted my input on the development of cow protection at their farm. The name of the farm is New Govardhana and it is located on approximately 800 acres of hilly land on the Eastern side of Australia about 1 1/2 hours from Brisbane. There are approximately 80 cows/oxen on this farm.
The devotees have recently opened a new Govinda's restaurant on the Gold Coast about 45 minutes from the farm. The restaurant has been doing a brisk business of very tasty prasadam (food offered to Lord Krishna). The Temple President, Ajita das, made a pledge to Lord Narasimha dev in Mayapur that any profits from the restaurant would go to the cows and developing the agriculture at New Govardhana. He is keeping his word and the cows and farm are undergoing better care and a facility facelift.
When I was there new fences were being built and roads repaired to access remote parts of the farm where some of the pasturing grounds are located. In the repairing of one road a dam was repaired to the joy of the cowherds.
The old facility for the cows will be undergoing a complete make over in the very near future to make it more user friendly for the cows and cowherds as well as visitors.
Ajita das would like to see the farm become an accredited educational facility for all aspects of Krishna conscious education for all of Australia.
Ajita das has been the Temple president for 10 years at New Govardhana and has slowly but surely been working to develop a catering business which has 3 traveling catering trucks that cater many concerts and other events on the East Coast of Australia distributing great prasadam and Srila Prabhupada's books.
I look forward to New Govardhana being a great rural community spreading cow protection and Krishna culture in Australia.
On my return trip I had an overnight stop in Auckland, New Zealand. I was hosted very graciously by Bilvamangal das and his wife Krsodari devi and daughter Anuradha devi. Although the plane arrived at midnight we were able to go to the farm the next morning...... which was a 45 minute drive from town. I was able to meet Ananta Krsna dasi ( she has been taking care of the cows there for at least 20 years) and speak with her briefly about the cows and the farm's plans. My plane left for Hawaii at 11:00 a.m. where I visited my 93 year old mother and twin sister for 3 days. I returned home on Sept 12th very tired but assured that the cows and direction of New Govardhan farm and rural community are progressing nicely under the leadership of Ajita das.