We first began our goshala in 2013 when Vamana the bull was donated to our temple in Orissa, by a local villager. He had been coming to our temple every day for two years prior to that and we had been feeding him every day. After some time he didn’t want to go home and was spending all his time at our ashram. Seeing this, the owner agreed to donate him to the temple, and that was the beginning of our goshala.
About a year later, a sadhu who stays in the forest around 50 km from here wanted to give a female calf to our ashram. Her name was Yamuna. As soon as she entered our goshala she and Vamana became best of friends. Early this year the same sadhu wanted to donate a bull calf named Vasu to our ashram. He also fit in perfectly with the others and they all became best friends. So at present we are taking care of two bulls and one cow.
The aim of our goshala is not to get milk or anything else from the cows, but simply to serve them as an offering to God. Protection of cows is essential for the establishment of Vedic culture. The entire Vedic culture revolves around respect to cows.
Yajna, sacrificial offerings, are the central pivot of the dharma chakra. The essential ingredients for yajna are ghee and cow dung, which both come from the cow. Without the cow, our link to the devas, the universal controllers of nature, is lost. Therefore it is said that within the body of the cow reside all 330 million devas, and by worshipping the cow one automatically worships and pleases the 330 million devas.
Besides our three residents, we also daily feed two homeless bulls, and four baby calves who visit our ashram twice a day. The baby calves have been coming for several months, and always show up at our ashram gate at 7 am, mooing so that we know to let them in. The two bulls have been coming to our ashram for food for 5 years. Originally there were three bulls, but one became very old and passed away a couple years ago.
The roaming bulls come to our ashram twice a day, in the morning and the evening. Anytime there is heavy rain or a flood, they will always come to our ashram because they know they will get nice food and a warm place to stay. Last year when there was severe flooding in our city due to a cyclone, the bulls all showed up at our ashram and spent the night in various rooms.
The homeless bulls are always welcome to stay in our ashram goshala, but they have been accustomed their whole life to roam and don’t like to stay in one place very long. Still, they know where to come when they are hungry or need anything.
We feed everyone wheat bran mixed with water, and a little salt. We have tried various feeds for them (such as rice bran, pellets, etc.) and found all cows prefer wheat bran over anything else. Next month we are going to try to grow some tall feed grass to give them some more greenery.
In the Gavopanishad the glories of the cow are stated as follows:
gavo bhutam ca bhavyam ca
gavah pushtih sanatani
gavo lakshmas tatha mulam
gosu dattam na nasyati
“The cow is the past and future. She nourishes the health of all living entities, and she is the root of prosperity. The piety one achieves by feeding a cow in never destroyed.”
annam hy paramam gavo
devanam paramam havih
svahakara vasat karau
gosu nityam pratishthitau
“The cow is the cause of one’s accumulation of food grains. She awards the best sacrificial ingredients to the demigods. The sacrifice of the demigods and the sacrifice of Indra are both performed on the basis of the cow.”
gavo yajnasya hy phalam
gosu yajnah pratishthitah
gavo bhavishyam bhutam ca
“It is the cow which awards the result of sacrifice. The performance of sacrifice is dependent upon her. She is the past and future. All sacrifices are based upon her.”
sayam pratasca satatam
homa kale mahadyute
gavo dadati vai homyam
“O greatly powerful King, every morning and evening when the sages perform fire sacrifices, it is the cow who supplies them the essential ingredients, in the form of ghee, etc.”
yani kani ca durgani
dushkritani kritani ca
taranti caiva papmanam
dhenum ye dadati prabho
“My dear King, those who give milk-cows in charity become liberated from all types of danger, and also become free from all sinful reactions.”
na kirtayitva gaha supyat
tasam samsmritya cotpatet
sayam pratar namasye ca
“Do not go to bed at night without praising cows. Do not get up in the morning without remembering the cow. Offer respect to the cow daily, in the morning. By doing so, a human being achieves strength and nourishment.”
gavam mutra purisasya
na casam mamsa masniyad
gavam pushtim tathapnuyat
“Do not hate cow urine and cow dung. Never eat cow meat. By following this advice, human beings can become prosperous.”
gasca sankirtaye nityam
nava manyeta tastatha
gam narah samprakirtayet
“Chant the name of the cow daily and never insult her. If one sees a bad dream, one should immediately remember the cow.”
ghritena svasti vacayet
ghritam dadyat ghritam prasod
gavam pushtim sadashnute
“Use ghee in fire sacrifices. Use ghee in all auspicious activities. Donate ghee and also use it for personal necessities. By doing this, the human beings will always support the cows and understand their value.
gavam drishtva namaskritya , kuryacciva pradakshinam
pradakishni krita tena, saptadvipa vasundhara
matarah sarva bhutanam, gavah sarva sukha pradah
vriddhim akamsata nityam, gavah karyah pradakshinah
“One should see, offer obeisances, and circumambulate the cow. By doing so, one is suppose to have circumambulated the entire earth, with its seven islands. The cow is the mother of all. She gives happiness to everyone. People who desire prosperity should daily circumambulate the cow.”