The Sarasvati Story

by Taru dasa (from an undated Brijabasi Spirit, sometime from 1976 thru 77)

I remember walking into the barn here for the first time. In those days the cows were using only half of it. When you came in the front door there were 3 or 4 horses standing in their stalls. The horses always made me nervous because they were so big weighing a ton apiece or so, and they used to kick out occasionally at people walking by. There wasn’t much room to get around them because half the room was being used to store incense. So we cautiously slid by into the cow parlor.

The milking was going on so it was real quiet and all you could hear was milk shooting into the buckets. There were only about a dozen mellowed out cows in there, looking perfectly content. Everything seemed very quaint until suddenly I saw her. Over against the wall was a cow who looked twice as tall as any one else. They had milked two full buckets out of her which seemed like quite a lot to me.

Frankly, I didn’t have any idea how much one cow produced. When I asked, Devaki told me she was giving about 70 pounds a day. This was a conception I couldn’t visualize. I thought of a 100 pound sack of potatoes and tried to translate it into milk. I was just overwhelmed, expecting that maybe a gallon or two would have been a lot for one day. Then someone mentioned that actually 70 pounds wasn’t so much. A lot of cows gave over 100 pounds a day. I tried to imagine how big one of those cows must be since Himavati was already the biggest cow I had ever looked at and she was only giving 70 .

For three and a half years since then I’ve looked at pictures of all I kinds of good cows. Actually, they weren’t any bigger than Himavati was. I just wanted to see what a 100 pound-a-day cow looked like. Devakl went to the New York farm and started another herd. When Srlla Prabhupada visited there this year they had 4 cows milking over a hundred and in New York City Prabhupada was telling everyone about the big milk bags on those cows. Our anxiety was increasing. Where do you get one of those cows?

So now, at long last, our curiosity’s been satisfied. Himavati’s daughter Sarasvati milked 101 lbs. on September 12, a little over two weeks after her calf was born. It’s pretty amusing that SarasvatI would be the one to do it, to become the darling of all the devotees’ hearts, because three years ago she was the most notorious rascal in the herd. She was completely wild. If you tried to put a halter on her outside she’d run away. If you finally caught her she’d fight every inch, resisting your efforts to lead her along. She jumped over gates 4 or 5 feet high and barbed wire fences, too, threatening her little milk bag. Everyone was afraid she’d really hurt herself.

After her first calf she was giving about 60 pounds a day. But the trouble was that she was always trying to kick the milk bucket over. She had moves which were impossible to block. Once my heart got stopped when I saw her kick both back legs out high into the air, sending the bucket and both milkers flying. No one liked milking her too much.

Last year Mother Parvati got up to 97.4 pounds but failed to hit 100. Sarasvati had her second calf just after that. The first day fresh she gave 50 pounds and started going up real fast. In a week she was at 95 but then some real hot weather came along and she slipped off. This year she came fresh with only 20 pounds on the first day, but within a week she went up to 80. Then four days in a row she stuck on 88 pounds. It looked like that was as high as she was going to go. That’s when Parambrahma dasa started keeping her in the barn and feeding her choice alfalfa hay. She got up to 90 once or twice, then back to 88. Finally on Saturday she all of a sudden went up to 98, seven pounds higher than the day before. The next day we finally had our own 100 pound-a-day cow, and since then she has gone up to 116 pounds.

Actually, it’s not a matter of size. Himavati weighed a good 200 pounds more and stood a lot taller. I still can’t tell a 100 pound cow by looking. You just have to wait to see how big that milk bag gets when the calf is born. For anyone who has trouble visualizing 100 pounds of milk, like I did at first, it’s just a bit less than 12 gallons. Out of that much milk you can get about 2 quarts of ghee.

In the Spiritual Sky the Surabhi cows supply an unlimited amount of milk so I think that the only factor limiting our supply is our ability to use it all in Krsna’s service. Someday, perhaps the whole herd will average over 100. This is our Sankirtana here, we have to attract people by our cow protection program. So as our Godbrothers push forth Lord Caitanya’s movement by getting Prabhupada’s books out, we uneducated farmers remain here trying to pull out the pounds: chant Hare Krsna, drink milk and be happy.

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!

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