by Taru dasa, from the February 1978 Issue of the Brijabasi Spirit

ISKCON’s champion milker, Sarasvati, came fresh for the fourth time in the beginning of January. Last lactation she established, at 116 pounds, the record for one day’s production for an ISKCON mother. This season she set out rapidly to demolish all her previous records. Within two weeks she had top­ped 120 pounds, the new record rising to 125.

Now I’ve been out of the barn for about a year, my current engagement being as a plasterer. But I started hanging out at the barn around milking time just to see Sarasvati do it. I have to admit that she gets more beautiful each year. Old fans of the Spirit may recall earlier descriptions of her rascaldom back in her days as a heifer. Now she’s as mild as can be, so busily engaged in making milk. You won’t find a nicer milk bag anywhere—it’s like the artist’s concep­tion of an ideal udder. It’s perfect in size and shape and is supported quite firmly. Although it puts out so much milk, it isn’t overly large on Sarasvati and she wears it quite comfortably. You wouldn’t guess she was putting out 14-16 gallons per day.

While the average cow is milked twice a day, Sarasvati is milked three times to relieve the strain on her bag. One morn­ing Amburish stopped by and told me she had cranked out 91 pounds in the first two milkings. So of course I was on hand for the day’s finale. Everyone was hoping for her to clear 130.

Well, Tapomurti pulled the old milk­er off her and emptied it into a pail. I was checking her rear teats and felt there was more in there. So Amburish came over and squeezed a little and, sure enough, extracted another 4 or 5 pounds from her magic bag. We then weighed it and totaled the day to find she had hit 138 pounds, 13 pounds high­er than the previous record! By the mer­cy of Providence I got in on a little bit of the action.

Last year we announced our first annual cow awards for 1976. Continu­ing in this tradition, here are the awards for 1977.

COW OF THE YEAR: Sarasvati (who else?). Milking up to 300% higher than the daily average for the rest of the herd, Sarasvati amassed 20,500 pounds of milk in 305 days from October of ’76 to August of ’77. She got her picture taken with Kirtanananda Maharaja and receiv­ed numerous garlands from her admirers. She is given all she can eat as a reward and she readily converts all such feed in­to more and more milk. Who could ask for anything more-and don’t say carob milk!

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Shakti. The first daughter of (who else?) Saras­vati, Mother Shakti made her debut by giving more milk in her first year than Saracvsti did in her first year. Following in her mother’s hoofprints, she was very fond of kicking would-be milkers in the head and had to have her legs tied up a lot. But for a nice supply of nectarean milk, who would be unwilling to accept a little austerity?

MOST IMPROVED COW OF THE YEAR: Citralekha. This is our one and only
Guernsey cow, probably because she did so bad her first year. Factually, no one milked her-we just stuck her in with the calves and let them get what they could. Now she has developed a truly admirable udder and we’re all waiting to see how nicely she’ll do. By the way, she puts out the hugest calves which can only be compared to a human mother’s delivering a 25 pound baby.

SMOOTHEST MILKER: Cancala. A few days ago the power went off and we got to milk by hand, like in the old days. Cancala’s easy delivery reminded me of Mallika, who gave milk the way a faucet gives water. It was confirmed by the boys who milk her every day that she’s the fastest of all.

MOST HUMOROUS BAG: Surabhi. Imagine a large beach ball which is a little soft. Now poke your index finger into it so far that it’s completely engulf­ed. Well, that’s just what Surabhi’s teats look like. You can hardly see them as her loosely supported bag droops down all around. Up close though, don’t laugh too hard. She likes to kick a lot.

THE COW I’D LEAST LIKE TO BE STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH: Lila. Better known as ‘Hurricane Lila,” she continues to defy the rule that a cow’s temper quiets down after she’s had a few calves. The quickness, accur­acy and ferocity of her hind legs makes one wonder how a bull ever managed to breed her.

THE OLD PRO AWARD: Pritha, putting out her seventh calf in seven years, is about the oldest milker still in action. Old Dudya exceeds her age, but Dudya hasn’t given a drop in the last four or five years. Pritha’s just the typ­ical cow, the one you’d never notice, she’s so plain and simple. Practically everyone learned how to milk on her, including me.

We’d also like to mention that the herd topped 300,000 pounds last year and just ‘last week we went past the 1,000,000 pound mark (since we started keeping records in 1974).

Cows are people. The cows in Vrindaban may even be liberated souls. Who can say? In any case, it’s a lot more fun than going to the A & P and picking up a little square box out of the dairy freezer. It’s nice to know that the milk came from a friend of Krsna’s.

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