Asha passed away April 11, 2016 on Sri Ramanujacarya’s appearance day. After one month of sitting under the live oak trees she left her body. She dealt with her paralyzed legs with great grace as she dealt with her disability throughout her life. She never complained and was patient throughout. The whole time she was listening to the chanting of the holy name and receiving Govardhana dust, Tulasi leaves and prasad flowers. She was in this meditative position for one month. She left with dignity and grace. Please pray for her safe journey.This is a photo of her in her last hours and the story of her follows.
The arms of the old, live oak trees shelter her. Their canopy is 100 feet high and she sits beneath. She is shaded, so maybe she would have sat there willingly. But Asha cannot walk, she is paralyzed. She was born with a deformed hip and no one wanted her. She could walk then and her owners brought her to us. Her name is Asha and she is a Black Angus cow.
She is no ordinary cow. Then again, who is an ordinary cow? No cow is ordinary. All cows are important according to Srila Prabupada*.
“The bull is the emblem of the moral principle, and the cow is the representative of the earth. When the bull and the cow are in a joyful mood, it is to be understood that the people of the world are also in a joyful mood. The reason is that the bull helps the production of grains in the agricultural field, and the cow delivers milk, the miracle of aggregate food values. The human society maintains these two important animals very carefully so that they can wander everywhere in cheerfulness.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.18 Srila Prabhupada purport)
Asha’s deformed hip made it difficult for her to walk in a straight path. She was our “hula” girl as her hips would sway from side to side to get down or up a hill. Often, she could be seen walking sideways down a hill.
Asha was born on a farm that bred Black Angus cows for breeding stock. Because Asha had a hip deformity she could not be sold for breeding. She could be sold for meat, but her owners could not do that and had never done that with any of their cows. They asked us several times to take her and we finally agreed. She came to us as a baby. That was 13 years ago.
When she first came the vet examined her and said she probably would not live more than a few years. The possibility of the nerves in her hip and other legs becoming pinched and her becoming paralyzed were strong and likely to happen sooner than later. But Asha bravely kept walking.
Just by being a cow, Asha is important. She is also important because she represents the personality of the Earth.
The personality of religious principles, Dharma, was wandering about in the form of a bull. And he met the personality of earth in the form of a cow who appeared to grieve like a mother who had lost her child. She had tears in her eyes, and the beauty of her body was lost. Thus Dharma questioned the earth as follows. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.18)
She is also important because Srila Prabupada has told us, anyone who cares for her can draw religious principles.
For a Sanatanist (a follower of Vedic principles) it is the duty of every householder to have cows and bulls as household paraphernalia, not only for drinking milk, but also for deriving religious principles. The Sanatanist worships cows on religious principles and respects brahmanas. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.17.3 Srila Prabhupada Purport)
And she is important because we love her and we care about her.
Every few hours we take her water and hay. She continues to eat and drink. We clean up her cow dung and make sure she is clean. We spray her to prevent flies. We make sure the CD is playing with you chanting japa or bhajan. We give her a little prasad. And we pray for Lord Krishna’s mercy upon her. It is beginning the fourth week that Asha has been sitting under the old, live oak trees. Some of the trees are over 250 years old and their patient tolerance can be felt by anyone who sits beneath.
She went down in the north pasture. There was no shade there and it was hot. All the cows gathered around her, licking her and pushing her in an effort to get her up. She tried to but her front legs would not support her which never happened before. We waited to see if she would gain strength and get up but she didn’t. We then decided to get her up with a cow sling with the hope her legs would revive once they were free. Her legs were lifeless. We then moved her, by use of the cow sling, to a shady place.
She wishes to live. May we be blessed with the strength to care for her until she decides to visit the Surabhi cows in Vaikuntha loka. Please guide her on her journey.