Gopastami Special–Love Me, Love My Cows by Radhanath Swami

Love Me, Love My Cows

Transcript of a class given by Radhanath Swami on Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.3.13 at ISKCON Chowpatty, Mumbai on January 19, 2008. Listen to this class here.

(om namo bhagavate vasudevaya)

tavasanam dvija-gavam paramesthyam jagat-pate
bhavaya sreyase bhutyai ksemaya vijayaya ca

TRANSLATION: O Lord Brahma, your position within this universe is certainly most auspicious for everyone, especially the cows and brahmanas. Brahminical culture and the protection of cows can be increasingly glorified, and thus all kinds of material happiness, opulence and good fortune will automatically increase. But unfortunately, if Hiranyakasipu occupies your seat, everything will be lost.

PURPORT: In this verse the words dvija-gavam paramesthyam indicate the most exalted position of the brahmanas, brahminical culture and the cows. In Vedic culture, the welfare of the cows and the welfare of the brahmanas are essential. Without a proper arrangement for developing brahminical culture and protecting cows, all the affairs of administration will go to hell. Being afraid that Hiranyakasipu would occupy the post of Brahma, all the demigods were extremely disturbed. Hiranyakasipu was a well-known demon, and the demigods knew that if demons and Raksasas were to occupy the supreme post, brahminical culture and protection of cows would come to an end. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (5.29), the original proprietor of everything is Lord Krsna (bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram). The Lord, therefore, knows particularly well how to develop the material condition of the living entities within this material world. In every universe there is one Brahma engaged on behalf of Lord Krsna, as confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (tene brahma hrdaya adi-kavaye). The principal creator in each brahmanda is Lord Brahma, who imparts Vedic knowledge to his disciples and sons. On every planet, the king or supreme controller must be a representative of Brahma. Therefore, if a Raksasa, or demon, were situated in Brahma’s post, then the entire arrangement of the universe, especially the protection of the brahminical culture and cows, would be ruined. All the demigods anticipated this danger, and therefore they went to request Lord Brahma to take immediate steps to thwart Hiranyakasipu’s plan.

In the beginning of creation, Lord Brahma was attacked by two demons — Madhu and Kaitabha — but Krsna saved him. Therefore Krsna is addressed as madhu-kaitabha-hantr. Now again, Hiranyakasipu was trying to replace Brahma. The material world is so situated that even the position of Lord Brahma, not to speak of ordinary living entities, is sometimes in danger. Nonetheless, until the time of Hiranyakasipu, no one had tried to replace Lord Brahma. Hiranyakasipu, however, was such a great demon that he maintained this ambition.
The word bhutyai means “for increasing opulence,” and the word sreyase refers to ultimately returning home, back to Godhead. In spiritual advancement, one’s material position improves at the same time that the path of liberation becomes clear and one is freed from material bondage. If one is situated in an opulent position in spiritual advancement, his opulence never decreases. Therefore such a spiritual benediction is called bhuti or vibhuti. Krsna confirms this in Bhagavad-gita (10.41). Yad yad vibhutimat sattvam. .. mama tejo-‘msa-sambhavam: if a devotee advances in spiritual consciousness and thus becomes materially opulent also, his position is a special gift from the Lord. Such opulence is never to be considered material. At the present, especially on this planet earth, the influence of Lord Brahma has decreased considerably, and the representatives of Hiranyakasipu — the Raksasas and demons — have taken charge. Therefore there is no protection of brahminical culture and cows, which are the basic prerequisites for all kinds of good fortune. This age is very dangerous because society is being managed by demons and Raksasas.

[repeats translation]

HH Radhanath Swami: Today we are reading from Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 7, Chapter 3, entitled “Hiranyakasipu’s Plan to Become Immortal”. Maharaj, with your permission and blessings, may I speak? May I speak with your blessings and permission? Thank you, my worshipable senior Godbrother. Without the blessings of our seniors, we do not have the grace of Krishna or guru. And without that grace, whatever we do, if we can even do it, it is hollow, shallow, and without spiritual substance. And it is spiritual substance that not only changes the heart of the doer, but changes the heart of all those persons who we are trying to serve. Seeking the substance or the essence is what Krishna consciousness is.

Srimad-Bhagavatam tells that when you water the root of the tree, all parts of the tree are nourished. The trunk, the bark, the branches, the twigs, the leaves, the flowers, everything prospers when the root is served nicely. Krishna is the root of all that exists:

aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate
iti matva bhajante mam budha bhava-samanvitah

Krishna tells us, he is the source of all material and spiritual worlds, everything emanates from Him. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service, Krishna says, and worship me with all their hearts.

Krishna is the root of all existence. Every living entity is part and parcel of Krishna. The whole spiritual world is an expansion of his spiritual potency and the whole material world is a manifestation of his bahiranga-sakti, or his external energy. So everything can be accomplished simply by putting water on the root of the tree, simply by pleasing Krishna.

atah pumbhir dvija-srestha varnasrama-vibhagasah
svanusthitasya dharmasya samsiddhir hari-tosanam

Whatever our varna, whatever our ashram, whatever our life may be, our success is simply to the extent we please Krishna. And if we do not please Krishna, srama eva hi kevalam, we have simply wasted our time. The world may praise you. Your name may be in lights. You may have millions of followers and billions of dollars coming. But it is all without substance. Nothing of it can touch your soul unless it pleases Krishna.

So the root of all spiritual, as well as all real material prosperity, is simply dependent on pleasing Krishna. All external endeavors are superficial if we forget this principle.

saha-yajnah prajah srstva purovaca prajapatih

Krishna tells in Gita, in the very beginning, “I have created demigods and man, and I have created everything, and I’ve also given this instruction to perform yajna:

yajnarthat karmano ‘nyatra loko ‘yam karma-bandhanah

Work done as a sacrifice for the Supreme Lord, to please the Supreme Lord, must be performed. Otherwise any work anyone does is only a cause of bondage. This is the essence of yajna: to please the Lord. This is the heart of everything.

Now the preachers of Krishna consciousness, they know this. Krishna tells us. The Acaryas tell us. Water the root of the tree. Therefore the supreme yajna is the chanting of the holy names of the Lord in this age of Kali, because it purifies our heart, it awakens our love for God, it pleases Krishna. It eradicates our sins and it eradicates our sinful inclinations. Therefore Lord Caitanya said param vijayate sri-krsna-sankirtanam, this sankirtan movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large.

annad bhavanti bhutani
parjanyad anna-sambhavah

Krishna tells that we need food grains. Prabhupada said in your factories, you cannot drink oil from your oil refineries, you can’t eat your nuts and bolts, and all of these things. You need food, and food is only the grace of God. There cannot be food without sunshine, without rain. And rain is born of sacrifice. And sacrifice means to satisfy the Lord, the controller, the proprietor of everything.

And if we try to make artificial arrangements for prosperity, ultimately, as Prahlada Maharaja explains, the solutions that we try to create for our problems, create a more serious, complicated problem than the original problem. That is what we see in the world today.

Here in India, and so many parts of the world, there’s this fear of population explosion, and how much suffering and shortage there will be because of the growth of population. Krishna gives solution. To purify your heart, control your mind and senses. But we don’t want to take His solution because it’s a little difficult. So family planning, abortion, contraceptive devices. . . but the problem is, it’s murder, it’s killing a human being.

And what is the karma? In some countries, for every three children born, there’s one who is killed in the womb. How many tens of millions of abortions every year? And the government, in some countries like here – the government is promoting it to solve a problem. But what they do not understand is they’re creating a worse problem—mass bad karma, vikarma. And that massive bad karma will come back not only by polluting the hearts and the minds of people, but there will be reactions within this world, droughts, tsunamis, hurricanes, and maybe the dropping of bombs. Is that the solution?

To actually be intelligent, we have to see the whole picture. Real management, every individual problem we try to solve, should be in reference to the whole picture of what the scene is and what we’re trying to do. If we just try to solve a problem without understanding how it’s going to affect everything else, in the present and in the future, we can be creating hell.

People have little pain, they take some drugs to kill the pain, they do. But then they become drug addicts which is a bigger problem. Then they’re frustrated with becoming drug addicts, they can’t give it up, so they want to solve that problem, they commit suicide. Then they become a ghost. And they suffer hundreds of thousands of times worse! Then as a ghost, they want to solve that problem by harassing someone else, and then they increase their karma and have to suffer more, perpetually.

We don’t like to walk, horses are too slow, so we create automobiles as a solution. Srila Prabhupada quotes Canakya Pandit, he said, “a happy person is one who satisfies all his economic needs without ever having to leave the immediate vicinity of his home.” That is a happy man.

It used to be everyone was like that. But we don’t like to walk, you know, across town, so we create automobiles, and airplanes, and trains, and so many things. And now, how much suffering, here in Bombay, people crawling all over each other on the railway. . . mode of ignorance, horrible, just to get to work, every day, traffic jams for hours.

I listened to a tape the other day where Srila Prabhupada was explaining that he met one man who lived in Vancouver, which is the west coast of Canada, and every, five days a week, every day, to get to work, he had to take an airplane about 3000 miles to Toronto, and then come back at night. Hare Krishna. Is that happy life?

And today, families are being divided so much. You’re living in Bombay and then all of a sudden your company sends you to Zambia, in Africa. Yes. We have one devotee, nice devotee, who was sent to Ghana or something, somewhere in Africa. Otherwise the company doesn’t want you, you do what they say. So many problems, and then all the pollution. And then the oil shortage, and the price going up, and the global warming.

Recently there was an article that in Antarctica, a major section of ice, which has never melted before in our known history, is rapidly melting. And at the rate it’s melting, it could very soon rise the levels of the sea all over the world. You see how everything is interconnected? Some ice in Antartica will make, if it melts too much, will make Bombay into a bay, unless it’s bombed.

These are the solutions. Simple problems have become impossible, inconceivable, problems. Because we do not understand that if we please Krishna. . . that is the only real problem. Everything is provided. Krishna provides everything. We read about the rule of Maharaja Yudhisthira, Maharaja Pariksti, these great kings, because they inspired all their citizens to follow spiritual principles, dharma, everything was provided. It was impossible, unless in some sort of war, it was impossible for a child to die before their parents.

Prabhupada quotes, in Rama lila, and also in Krishna Lila, a child died from a brahmana and they blamed Ugrasena Maharaja, they blamed Ramchandra, “It’s your fault, you’re the king.” This is unnatural. It cannot happen. And it practically never did happen. Because everything was just working so naturally according to a divine plan. But when there’s sinful activity, everything become polluted. So much suffering. So just as we know this secret, Hiranyakasipu, and great demons, they also know the secret: what pleases Krishna will create prosperity:

namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca
jagad-dhitaya krsnaya govindaya namo namah

What really pleases Krishna is to honour and serve the brahminical culture and the cows. Krishna revealed – most important thing – in the Govardhana Lila, Nanda Maharaja was performing, about to perform, this age-old tradition of worshiping Indra. And when Krishna, who was then only seven years old, he asked Nanda Maharaja, “What is all this elaborate arrangements for?”

Nanda Maharaja said, “This is our family custom, for generations we have been doing it, we are vaisyas, we protect cows, we grow crops. It is only possible when there is rain. Indra is the devata who has the control over rain. Unless we satisfy Indra, there will not be rain, and we will all suffer.”

So Krishna told, “We are not depending on Indra because it’s all a matter of karma. If we do good karma, then Indra has to send rain. He’s obliged. If we do sinful karma, then he doesn’t have to. Look at the ocean, it rains in the ocean, the ocean doesn’t need rain. So we’re protecting the cows, we’re taking care of the brahmanas, we’re worshipping the Lord. Why do we need this Indra?”

And Krishna established, do three things: worship Govardhan Hill, the Brahmins, and the cows. That’s all. Now here is the Supreme Personality of Godhead telling the world what pleases him most. It’s so simple. Krishna promises, everything will be provided, spiritually, materially, everything, if we just worship Govardhan Hill…who is Govardhan Hill? Govardhan Hill is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Worship Govardhan Hill, and Govardhan Hill is also haridasa-varya, he’s the greatest devotee. The gopis pray to Sri Giriraja that there is no better devotee than Govardhan, because he knows how to satisfy the heart of Krishna, by providing very nice grasses for the cows. It’s so much nice grass. The grass is very soft, and very gentle for the mouth of the cow, doesn’t cut it. And it’s very fragrant, and tasteful. And it’s full of vitamins to give, and nutrients to give the cow good health and also it creates very, very tasty, abundant, milk.

And Govardhan is providing lakes for the cows to drink the water, and the cowherd boys drink that water, and these lakes are all crystal clear, and the water is as flavorful and fragrant as nectar. It provides beautiful caves where Krishna and the gopas and the gopis can rest in very cool, quiet places. Those caves have jewels and natural bedsteads. Yes, Govardhan Hill is providing everything.

And the nice stones of Govardhan Hill – in the winter, they’re warm; in the summer, they’re cool. Whenever a cow, a calf, a gopa steps on them, they become very soft like a flower petal. Because, Govardhan is so expert at pleasing the cows and pleasing the devotees, servant of the servant of the servant. Govardhan is most dear to Krishna.

So Govardhan is the greatest devotee, and Govardhan is God Himself. So Krishna says, “You worship Govardhan, the Supreme Lord, and the greatest of devotees, and you worship the brahmanas, who are establishing and preserving dharma, true bhakti within this world, by their actions, and by their teachings, and the cows.” Because the cows are so very dear to Krishna. Srila Prabhupad explains how and why cow protection is so important.

In one morning walk, Srila Prabhupad said very clearly that the barometer – that means, the instrument by which you test something – the barometer of the spirituality of any society is simply how happy the cows are. If the cows are happy, that means that society is spiritually and morally strong. If the cows are suffering, to that degree, it is degraded, sinful.

And how do we protect cows? I mean, how do we make a cow happy? Through protection. They’re innocent. They’re completely dependent on human beings. Yes? And they provide the most essential of all foodstuffs – milk – which provides ghee for yajna, which provides the nutrient food that helps to develop our brain and our Krishna consciousness, if it’s taken properly. Krishna himself, his eternal occupation in Vrindavan, is to herd cows, and calves, and to take care of the bulls.

Now in Krishna consciousness, we understand the spirit soul, the part of Krishna, is in every living being. And the devotee must be very careful, Srila Prabhupada says, to show compassion to everyone.

Of course we shouldn’t be proud, just to be vegetarians. One day, some years ago, some devotee was talking about the previous Pope, of how he was doing so much work to rid the Eastern Europe countries of communism, and he was doing so much philanthropy work, and inspiring so much peace and compassion to human beings, and there was an article all about him, and it also told what he ate. And I’m not going to mention what he ate, but it was definitely not vegetarian. So this devotee was really criticizing the Pope for being demonic because he eats meat.

So I thought about that, and I said to him that the Pope is very compassionate to human beings, but his compassion ends there. He has no real compassion for the other children of Krishna, the animals. But many of us devotees, we’re very kind to the animals, but we’re cruel to human beings, especially each other. He’s making so many sacrifices for his people. Are we? Devotees could be very rude to each other, cruel to each other, hurt each other. That’s violence! Speaking harsh words is violence. By our words we can be violent, it’s not just a physical matter, by our actions. So Krishna consciousness is a very, very full-fledged form of non-violence, compassion to human society, and to extend that to all living beings.

Srila Prabhupada writes that in the west, people are very compassionate to dogs. In fact, once I was driving and there was a radio show that someone was listening to in the car, and it was a talk show, and there was a very leading person from the anti-cruelty to animal organization. And that person was speaking very, very strongly that that same morning, he saw a dog that was tied to a post, and the chain was only about six inches between his neck and the post. And the poor dog had nowhere to go, he was just suffering, standing there, couldn’t run, just standing near this post, like a prisoner.

And this person said he called the police and the police actually arrested the owner of that dog. He was very proud, what I have done. So then it was people calling in with questions, and one person called, he may have been a devotee, I don’t know, but he said, “What did you eat for lunch today?” And he said, “Hamburger,” which is a cow. He said, “Don’t you see hypocrisy? A little dog is just, can’t run, and you’re making such a big scene and arresting that person, and you are killing and eating cows? Can you explain? They’re both animals.”

The person was speechless, couldn’t say anything. He said, “Well, that’s what everybody eats. That’s our culture.”

Now, a devotee is also kind to dogs. Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj, people used to give him donations, and he would buy rasagulas and feed them to the dogs of Navadvipa. But comparatively, what a dog can do to help society, and a cow – Srila Praphupada says the dog is going all over the place passing urine and stool and contaminating it. In fact, in one place, Prabhupada says a dog is a really great offender because he has no hesitation to pass urine on Tulasi. Haribol. But the cow is providing milk, ghee. Praphupada goes into details in this particular letter, he says providing such nice milk to make yogurt, dahi, and rasagula, sandesh, and gulabjamuns, and ghee to make kacauris, samosas, so many nice foods. And the dung is pure, and the urine is pure and medicinal. Everything about the cow is simply blessing society.

Dog, everything’s contaminated. We don’t see anyone rubbing dog stool on their walls. But in my own little room here, in the temple, many visitors, they just, from the West, they say, “This is the most beautiful walls I ever saw, so much texture, such beautiful color, so fresh, so alive, what is it?”

I said, “It’s cow dung.”

It’s beautiful. Srila Prabhupada says when he was young they would put cow dung in the floor, fresh cow dung on the walls, it was just so fresh and so nice and so much induces Krishna consciousness because it’s sattvik. Even the greatest lover of dogs will not put their stool on the walls. What to speak of drink their milk. Dog ghee? Not possible.

So yes, we should be kind to every living being, including the dogs. The dog’s virtue, Bhaktivinod Thakur:

tumi to thakura, tomara kukkura

“You are my Lord and I am your dog.” Just a very, very loyal faithful servant.

But cow protection is very much at the heart of pleasing Krishna. And just as we understand that, those who are trying to corrupt and exploit human society, they know it too, directly or indirectly. If they want to exploit, and create a godless. . . you see, if there’s God consciousness, they cannot really exploit because people are strong, people are wise, people are protected. You have to take away the God consciousness, then you could really exploit. Srila Prabhupada said the only problem in the entire creation is a lack of Krishna consciousness. Everything else is provided if there’s just Krishna consciousness.

Srila Prabhupada said in this Hare Krishna movement there is no attack, there is no power of any government or anything in this world, that could impede our progress. It is only if maya gets us from within. If we don’t cooperate, if we start making offenses to each other, if our taking shelter in the holy name and hearing harikatha is decreasing, then we will definitely fall victim to maya. All we have to do is be spiritually strong. Nothing can impede us. Even the tests and the problems that come will only make us stronger.

Srila Prabhupada proved that in many cases. Krishna proved it. He was purely taking shelter in Krishna, the order of his spiritual master. Is disease an impediment? Before he even began his mission he had two heart attacks on a cargo ship, and shortly after that, he had a stroke. But because he was sincerely pleasing Krishna, by chanting his holy name, by speaking his words, those tests only caused the movement to expand greater.

Here in Bombay, so many difficulties. He got the land, and Radha Rasabihari temple in Juhu, and then the owner tried to take it away, and cheat him, and the owner, I think he was at one time the sheriff of Bombay, he was a powerful politician, he had very huge contacts, government contacts, he was wealthy. Prabhupada and his disciples had nothing. They had no money, they had nothing. Prabhupada’s in his mid-seventies, his disciples totally inexperienced here in India, easily cheated, and a very powerful man was trying to take it all away.

It was a big test. At one point, they began construction, people came down and started tearing down the building. But because Prabhupada was pleasing Krishna, what was the result? The most magnificent temple of Srila Prabhupada in all the world, Radha Rasabihari temple, pure marble temple.

We were reading in Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita by His Holiness Satsvarupa Goswami Maharaja just last week how Prabhupada came to that temple and he wanted everything marble. And they were saying, “Prabhupada, it costs too much! They were just putting cheap, they were putting other kind of flooring on, and Prabhupada said, “No, marble.” They said, “Prabhupada, it will be make the whole cost rise!” Prabhupada said, “Don’t worry cost, it must be first class, this temple must be first class.”

So then they got the cheapest possible marble. Prabhupada said, “What is this nonsense marble? I want first class, white marble. Get it out.” They said, “But Prabhupada, the cost!” And he said, “I will pay!”

No other temple like that, most magnificent temple in all of ISKCON. But it was the result of so much, the most difficult of all temples that was ever built. The most opposition, but nothing could stop it and Prabhupada knew that nothing could stop because we’re pleasing the Lord. Prabhupada was pleasing Krishna, that’s all that matters.

So within our movement, if we are pleasing Krishna, Krishna is all-powerful, he will protect us. If we’re not pleasing Krishna, then maya will crush us through her various agencies within this age of Kali. If we are not chanting, Prabhupad writes in a purport at least sixteen rounds attentively every day, you may, at any moment, you may fall victim to maya. Chanting Hare Krishna, following these four regulative principles, serving Vaisnavas, serving the mission, this pleases Krishna. No matter what obstacles or difficulties come, as long as we’re doing those things faithfully, as long as we have proper Vaisnava relationships, we’re not making offenses, we’re doing nice sadhana and we’re enthusiastic to serve, we have nothing to fear. All we have to do is carry on, and Krishna will be there to help us.

But if we’re not doing, Prabhupada says, if we become impure within, or are fighting within, then we will lose the battle. The essence, we must keep focused on the essence. Good management, good organization, good accounting are necessary. Prabhupada said they were. It’s like building good pillars within our society. But the pillars of a building are only as strong as the foundation holding it up. And the foundation is our spiritual purity, our sadhana.

Our willingness to cooperate together to please Guru and Krishna, that is the foundation. In the Bible, Lord Jesus said, if you build a house on sand, a storm will knock it down. But if you build it on rock, then no storm, no power, can make it fall.

So the foundation of everything we do spiritually is pleasing Krishna. Then Krishna tells us, worship him, serve those who are near and dear to him, his devotees, with care. Brahminical culture, which is preaching, book distribution, and cow protection. If we just do these things, Krishna will be there to empower us and protect us.

But the demons know this; therefore, they strike right there, to just take the foundation right out from under us. When Kali wanted to rule the world, what did he do? He went right to the cow and the bull. Very significant. He was beating the bull and beating the cow, torturing them. Because he knew, if he takes, the bull represents dharma, the cow represents the motherhood of our spiritual lives. The mother and father of society are symbolized in the cow and the bull. He knew, if I exploit them, the whole society will be mine. He went right to the root, because he knows the philosophy and therefore Pariksit Maharaja attacked him and punished him.

But now, the government leaders, instead of protecting the very foundation of society, they are under the influence, control of Kali. Slaughterhouses. Srila Prabhupada would sometimes cry when he would talk about slaughterhouses. Killing your own mother! You drink the milk, therefore she’s your mother, she’s nourishing you, and then you kill her to drink her blood. What kind of society is this? Srila Prabhupada in one letter, Prabhupada writes, besides preaching, cow protection is the most important part of our mission.

Living here in a city, we may think, what does this really have to do with us? Is this just, you know, just some old tradition he’s trying to carry on? But no, Srila Prabhupada understands the science of what pleases Krishna, and what activities incriminate us in the worst sins.

But Prabhupad’s vision of cow protection is in order to make the cows and bulls happy, they must feel protected and they must feel valued. Every human being, if we’re not feeling protected and valued, we will be in anxiety. Just like husband and wives. Wife is a mother also, mother of your children, home all day, taking care of children, cooking, cleaning, everything else. If the husband doesn’t give her a sense of value, she’ll be miserable. Appreciation, encouragement.

A brahmacari, the brahmacari is working so hard, if the brahmacari doesn’t feel that what he’s doing is valuable. . . anxiety. It’s a very deep human need to feel valued, to feel cared for, to be encouraged.

The cow and bull, when their little babies are taken away from them, Prabhupada says he has seen cows crying when the calf is taken away. Motherly. Last year I told you the story of that dog, do you remember? Should I tell it again? We’ll examine a dog, and then multiply that by hundreds and thousands, and we’ll understand the feelings of a cow.

When we were in Udupi, I was with His Holiness Niranjana Swami doing some Ayurvedic treatment. And there was a mother dog, and she had three little puppies, and they were just living on, where we were staying, it was just a dirt road to get there, just one lane. And cars would come, they would always, the little puppies would play on the road, and just before I came, one puppy got hit by a car and the mother was so sad it was dead.

So another day, this puppy, puppies are really, they’re very attractive actually, babies just somehow or other in any species are really attractive to the heart. So this little puppy, it was digging a hole on the side of the road. It was really attentive, like [makes digging sounds], really, for hours every day [makes digging sounds], intensely digging, because it wanted a nice place to sleep. It took about three days of digging this hole, hours every day, and the mother would come by and see her little child digging and thinking, “Oh, how nice.” The mother would just look so approvingly on her little child.

So one day I took a walk along these railroad tracks to some fields, and I was coming back to the place we were staying, and that little puppy had finished its hole and was just curled up in the hole sleeping, so nice, so nice.

But then somehow or other, a car, a big…what do they call it? SUVs? It was a big car, and it was coming, it just kind of went off to the side of the road because a motorcycle was parked near the road, so it would have to go off to the side, and all of the sudden I hear, [makes yelping sound], just ran right over that little dog. This big, monstrous, machine just [makes vrooming, then yelping sounds], just kept going, didn’t stop.

The mother heard it, and she was just, just sniffing at this little dog, was still alive, and I ran over there and this little puppy was just trembling in pain and blood was coming out of its nose and blood was coming out of its mouth, it was just, it’s legs were just shivering in pain. It would go [makes whimpering sounds], this piteous sound, so much pain. And the mother was just standing there watching, helpless. Her eyes were just glazed with agony and motherly love. It was amazing.

So I started, I knelt down next to the dog and chanted Hare Krishna, and amazing, the mother stepped back and just honored that. I was going, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna…” I chanted about five minutes and the little puppy was going [makes crying sounds] and then one last flap and [makes loud yelping sound], and it died.

And at the moment it died, the mother who was right next to me, the moment that little puppy died, it was the most pathetic sound you could imagine. I can’t imitate it so good. ‘Cause I’m lower than a dog, perhaps, but the mother just, as soon as that child just stopped flapping and just died, the mother [makes loud sad crying sounds] and tears were pouring from her eyes. [More loud sad crying sounds] at the very moment.

So I walked away. And the mother was just totally in agony, confused, just licking her child, and licking and licking and licking and licking, and smelling it. I came back three or four hours later, it was still licking and smelling that child, and crying.

Finally I told one devotee, I said, you know, maybe one of the neighbors could bury it, because the mother will never find any peace of mind, she can’t give up this dead body of her child. So they took the child away, and buried it, but every day for the next week, whenever I came out practically the whole day, the mother was just sniffing the hole and crying. Sniffing the hole where her little child died and crying.

Now a dog is a very low birth in the animal scale. The cow is the highest, most developed, most evolved. To say that there is no soul, to say that there is no feeling, it is simply due to egotism, and ignorance. Whatever a human being wants to justify, we could make a whole psychology and philosophy about it.

I remember in 1976, Srila Prabhupada came to New Vrindaban and he was supposed to stay for two weeks. But after, maybe four or five days, it became very cold and rainy, and Prabhupada got very sick. Every day he would give his darsanas, he would give class in the morning in the temple, at Bahulavana, and in the evening at the house he was staying they set up a beautiful wooden vyasasan that was carved by the same person who carved all of these things here. And maybe 50 or 60 devotees would sit in the grass and ask him questions for about two hours every day.

One day it was very cloudy and cold and rainy and all the devotees came, and Prabhupada was sick. So his secretary who was Pusta Krishna Swami, he said, “Prabhupada is not going to meet anyone today because he’s feeling very ill.”

The devotees all were really sad, sad that he was ill, sad that they couldn’t meet him, because it was so rare, he’d only come once every two years, and people were getting shifts to meet him, it’s not that everybody could come every day, you, it’s like maybe once or twice during his whole visit everyone got to actually be at that darsana.

So devotees were leaving very sad and somehow Prabhupada looked out the window and saw the devotees leaving, and he told one of his entourage, Pradyumna Prabhu, “Call them back, I will meet them.”

So Pradyumna went out and called, he went out into the cold rain, outside, and “Prabhupada will have darshan!” and everyone was very happy and ran inside. It had to be inside the living room of the house, but Prabhupada was too sick to speak. He just told Pradyumna Prabhu to read from the Twelfth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam about the effects of the Age of Kali. And Prabhupada said, “I will just sit with the devotees and listen, and you read.”

But as he was reading the influences that will come in Kali Yuga, Prabhupada was becoming really enlivened. I remember some of the things that were said. He said, in Kali Yuga, that people will not be respected and considered beautiful because of their attributes, but because of how they wear their hair, something like that. Prabhupad said, “Yes, you see, the hippie movement.” People are considered, although they are engaging in abominable activities, they’re considered beautiful because they grow their hair long. Vedavyasa wrote this book 5000 years ago, at that time there was no hippie movement, but he knew past, present, and future.

And then there was another where it said people will go very, very distant places to a holy place of just to bathe in the river, without associating with holy people. That’s a symptom of Kali. And Prabhupada said, “Yes, when I was young, I lived in Calcutta, and the Ganges was flowing in Calcutta, and people would spend so much time and so much money to go all the way to Haridwar to bathe in the Ganges, without associating with holy people.” And then he was talking about, you know, so many beautiful things.

Anyways, Prabhupada told his secretary that we should leave early because this place is not good for my health. So the devotees at New Vrindaban really felt devastated. So Kirtanananda Swami, he approached Prabhupada, and he said, “Prabhupada, if this New Vrindaban is not suitable to your health, then we’ll close this whole project down and we’ll start somewhere better, where the weather is suitable to your health. We’ll shut everything down and go to a good climate where you could live and be happy.”

He was serious. Would you like to hear Srila Prabhupada’s reply? Srila Prabhupada’s reply was very, very instructive of what was in his heart. He said, “Because you are protecting the cows here, this whole project is successful and I am satisfied, and I will stay for the duration of the next ten days, because I am satisfied by your success in taking care of the cows.”

Now it’s not that Prabhupada was just sentimental about cows. Prabhupada had a compassionate spirit of delivering the whole human society. And he knew that this example of cow protection was essential for his purpose. To promote the worship of God, brahminical culture, and cow protection, that’s what pleases Krishna.
If we do everything else, but we don’t please Krishna, we will fail.

So Hiranyakasipu, he knew, that as long as there’s cow protection, brahminical culture, and worship of the Supreme Lord, the Lord will protect society, and therefore, he will not be able to exploit it. So he goes right to the heart, like Kali, later on. And we see, when he tells his demonic followers what to do, this is the orders he gives: “Destroy all the goshalas. Kill all the cows. Wherever there’s yajna, stop it. Destroy brahminical culture. Destroy the agricultural fields.” Because he knew, if he could attack the very heart of Krishna’s presence in these forms of brahminical culture and cow protection, that he could totally exploit and rule over the entire society, the entire universe.

So we can understand how important Brahminical culture and cow protection is, simply by seeing how that was the priority of Hiranyakasipu to destroy it.

And Srila Prabhupada taught us this simple living and high thinking. Actually, if we just took these lessons of Prabhupada seriously, when he spoke it and developed it, the whole world would be turning to us today. Amongst thinking people, environmental friendly alternatives, eco-friendly societies, positive alternatives to the whole industrialization and oil exploitation – people see that society has no real future, it’s doomed if we just keep going on this way.

No one was thinking about it in the 1970’s and 60’s, but Prabhupada was. He told us then, “Don’t use these tractors, use the oxens and the bulls. Make them feel happy because they’re valued and useful. And show the society how they’re useful. Protect the cows. Grow food, nice milk, all economic problems are solved.”

One of our devotees, he gives lectures, he does preaching in the colleges in America, he said, “This is the main thing on people’s minds now, the more deep-thinking college students, environmentalism, positive, natural, alternatives that are friendly to the environment and respectful to Mother Earth.”

Al Gore, it’s very nice his name is Gore, he just got Nobel Prize for his documentary on global warming. Why? Because it’s so much the topic of the world. And nobody knows how to deal with it. Prabhupada knows how to deal with it. Prabhupada, his vision, is the only sustainable way to deal with it. There is no other sustainable way because everything else is against the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krishna has created material existence, and he knows how it works. And he knows how it will work properly.

He has given, Prabhupada emphasized, this plain living, high thinking, cow protection, nice agriculture, using the bulls, using the oxen – if we just would have stuck to that, as Prabhupada instructed in the 1970’s, and developed it over the past almost forty years, the world, the politicians, the students, the professors, they would be seeing the Hare Krishna movement is the model. The best possible model. Everything that we’re straining our brains to understand.

That was Srila Prabhupada’s preaching vision. But somehow or other, this plain living, high thinking. . . we diverted. Why, because it just wasn’t the most expedient way to get things done.

And I remember one community, they were working oxens and horses to plow the fields. But then they began construction, so they got a tractor. Prabhupada specifically said, “Don’t use tractors that run on oil. If you use tractors, then the cows and the bulls will become useless.”

The person said, “We’ll just use it, just for some time, and then after we just, you know, clear the fields very nicely and build some nice structures, temples, and houses and everything, then we’ll definitely get rid of this tractor and go back to the cows and bulls.”

But then, another tractor, and then a bigger tractor, and then bigger tractors, and bigger tractors, and bigger tractors, so the whole fleet of big tractors. And the cows and bulls are just, just grazing in the fields. They were spending huge amounts of money to buy food to feed them.

And soon, all the devotees forgot how to take care of the cows and bulls, how to use the cows and bulls. All the bulls were untrained, and more and more tractors. And soon we couldn’t even afford the tractors. Everything fell, everything. All the so-called prosperity we were building, building, building, building, just collapsed and there was nothing practically. Because we weren’t seeing the whole picture, The picture that Prabhupada drew for us, of the ideal to save millions and millions of people within society, to save the earth.

Prabhupad was such a visionary. If only we would have just followed. But it’s never too late, if only we will follow, by remaining very pure, by chanting Hare Krishna, by hari-katha, hearing the glories of Krishna, by serving the vaishnavas, with sincerity and devotion and humility, by preaching this message of Krishna consciousness. And by plain living, high thinking, which centers especially around honoring Mother Earth and honoring Mother cow, protecting Mother Earth and protecting Mother cow, and Father bull. It is critical to the spiritual and physical prosperity of all of humanity, and that is why Prabhupada emphasized it so strongly.

Devotees were thinking, “Well, we’re milking some cows and wearing boots, they’re all full of mud, how is this spreading Krishna consciousness all over the world? Let’s build this and let’s do this, and let’s go here?” They didn’t see. But in many ways, that’s the same mistake you can make with your children.There’s no immediate results in taking care of children. So yeah, you just put the least priorities for the children, and the most qualified people should be building and making money and distributing books and doing so many other things, because there are no results in this, now.

But in the end, the women, the children, the cows, if they weren’t respected and protected, we may have built, built, built, built, built, by making other priorities, but in the future, it’s inevitable, everything must collapse.

And the influence of Hiranyakasipu, which is so much ruling the world, will prevail unless we can access Krishna’s mercy, Krishna’s unlimited supreme power, by pleasing him. And it begins with simple things like chanting your rounds sincerely, taking care of the cows, and serving the Vaisnavas.

Thank you very much. Maharaja, would you like to speak something? I think, should we have questions, or is it too late? We’ll have one question. Vrindavananda is a special guest.

Question from audience: Hare Krishna, Maharaja. Krishna is known as Gopal. He is the protector of cows. But we see in today’s society so many cows are being killed mercilessly, so how to know that Krishna, being Gopal, we see many cows are being killed, and if it is because of laws of karma, if cows being killed were cow-killers in the past life, then how we can worship them?

Radhanath Swami: That is not your business, Prabhu. He’s asking if the karma of killing cows – whatever that cow would have been in its past life, it’s a cow now. Cow now, yes? And if you harm that cow, you get the full-fledged karmic reaction of harming a cow. Doesn’t matter what it was in the past life. Now it’s innocent. Yes? Hare Krishna. The purpose of the Krishna consciousness movement is to intervene with all this bad karma, to get Krishna to intervene.

Dayaram Das: My question is about the practical viability of having a cow farm. Because the modern society has such a consumeristic system, that cow milk is fifteen rupees a liter, and Coca-Cola is forty rupees a liter, you know, so if you really protect the cow, you know, then the cost of milk will be much higher, so how would such a, you know, cow protecting community be able to survive in the given economic situation of society today?

Radhanath Swami: If you protect the cow, the price of milk becomes more?

Dayaram Das: No, I’m saying that you know, if you want to do it as, a vaisya, cow protection is a part of vaisya, it is a business, we’re supposed to generate funds, but if you do it, as a business, take care of the cows, protect the cows, and the milk should support the cost, but the modern society, because of the slaughter of the cows and the different systems they have introduced, the cost, the price of the milk is much lower, like fifteen, sixteen, twenty rupees a liter, whatever, but if you really protect the cows and take care of them, cows and bulls, it shouldn’t be less than forty, forty-five, fifty rupees a liter it should cost you. But the modern society where the principle is people pay by supply and demand, so Coca-Cola is forty rupees, you know, and useless stuff like that, and cow milk is twenty rupees. That’s the reality we are living in, unfortunately. So how would we have a sustainable business as cow protectionists? If you do it as a charity, it’s fine, but if it’s done as a business, that’s vaisya, vaisya activity.

Radhanath Swami: A real vaisya will figure out the way, definitely. If you really a vaisya, will figure, if you’re really Krishna conscious, you will figure the way. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. We have to use our intelligence.

But yes, this is what’s destroying the earth. It’s cheaper to use plastic, economically, at least immediately, it seems to be more sensible to use plastic cups and plastic plates and plastic this and plastic bags. It’s destroying the whole earth. It’s destroying the whole ecology. But it’s cheaper and easier.

Kali Yuga’s like that. Bad things are easy. Destructive, corrupt, things are cheaper. Yes? Doing the right thing takes more endeavor. It takes more manpower, and more money, to buy stainless steel plates and wash them after every Sunday feast. Much easier to just serve up plastic plates and plastic cups and throw them away. Yes?

In our yatras, we would sometimes serve with plastic. And then we’d leave a place, and I remember when we went to Belvan we served prasad there and we just saw, just thousands of plastic cups just laying all over the place, polluting the holy dham. And they never disintegrate, they just remain forever. We decided, never again on our yatras. So the yatra committee had to actually, a lot of effort, a lot of strain, to provide a type of facility for people to take prasada that does not pollute the dham of Vrindavan, Mayapur. But in the end, in the end it will save money, it will save lives, it will save the world.

Yes, in the beginning it may appear that way, but we have to see the whole picture. Unless we show an example to the world, even if it does cost more at the beginning. Initially it may cost more to take proper care of cows. But in the end if we do it, it will save human society, it will give an example.

And the cost of not doing it will be tragically enormous. So that is where we must have faith in the principles of the sastra, the acaryas and the Lord, and then we use our, we use our intelligence to execute that, rather than selling out to the immediate, apparent, inconvenience.

Does that answer your question?

Dayaram Das: Must be a way, I don’t know. That was sometime back I was going to the goshalla in Mayapur. No, because there was a lot of, we were trying to run it without depending on donations, but it turned out that it was, we had to create a fund to take care, because cow milk couldn’t cover the cost.

Radhanath Swami: Whatever it takes, but we should really research and tax our brains to seek ways of self-sufficiency. If we’re just content to depend on donations, we’ll always be that way. We may need them for now, but we should actually be really striving to create technologies, natural technologies, where we don’t need it. And Krishna will help us.

In fact, of all the goshallas of the world, if you read Prabhupada’s letters on cow protection, you’ll find he puts very, very much emphasis on Mayapur. The best people in the west who are taking care of cows, Prabhupada was asking them to come to India, specifically to Mayapur, to develop cow protection and the goshalla there. He considered it could really change India, and it could change the world.

Thank you very much.

Srila Prabhupada ki jai!

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