This issue will report to you about the outreach activities of Balabhadra, ISCOWP president and ISKCON Minister for Cow Protection and Agriculture, to Serbia, Germany, England and Hungary. This will complete the report for Balabhadra’s two month trip from mid October through mid December. This month, Balabhadra will be traveling again to India and the Ukraine for five weeks. The March e-newsletter will give you a report on what is going on in cow protection in those areas.
The winter time is the best time for Balabhadra to be away from the ISCOWP farm as farm activities are limited due to the weather. This winter has been especially unrelenting as many of you are experiencing. There has been snow and ice almost the entire winter. No worry, the cows are snug in the barns and well fed.
You can support ISCOWP Outreach for the purpose of maintaining, encouraging and expanding cow protection worldwide. Your donation to ISCOWP Outreach will be matched dollar by dollar by GEETA, a non profit 501 (c) (3) organization located in Moundsville, WV. To support ISCOWP Outreach just click HERE.
We pray this letter finds you well.
(Irene M. Dove)
ISCOWP Co-Managing Director
I left Moscow on Nov.29 headed for Belgrade Serbia. Due to poor weather conditions in Frankfurt and other eastern European countries, I was stranded, along with thousands of other travelers, in Frankfurt airport for 30 hours. I was headed for Novi Sad, Serbia to visit Paramesvari Radha and her son Maha. Nineteen years ago they founded GOPAL, a cow protection group, and rescued several cows and oxen. Over the years, we had been in touch but I had never visited them. So now, after all these years we were finally going to meet. Paramesvari Radha had made many arrangements for me to speak in different cities in Serbia. Because of the flight delay, the three speaking programs in Belgrade had to be canceled. When I finally arrived at the airport in Belgrade at 1:00 in the morning… my luggage did not arrive. So, the necessary paperwork was filled out and by the time we reached Novi Sad and the home of Maha and his wonderful wife, Krsna-jivani, it was 3:30 a.m. Maha was waiting up for us and we had some light prasadam and Maha gave me some clothes and toiletries and we all took rest.
In the morning, I woke up Giriraja, my personal Diety, and He was bathed and fed wonderful Ekadasi prasadam. Because of the crazy travel schedule, we got some rest and in the evening, I was taken to a home program with many wonderful devotees. We discussed cow protection and rural community development and had some nice bhajans and prasadam.
The next day I was given a tour of the prasadam business that was founded 18 years ago by Paramesvari Radha and Maha. What started out as a small prasadam distribution business to make ends meet in a war torn Serbia, has developed over the years into a flourishing prasadam distribution business servicing all of Serbia. The products are simple and easy to produce and tasty as well. The two products are handmade chips and cookies of varying flavors. The production of this small family business is 1 ton of chips and cookies daily. The warehouse was empty of finished product and Maha told me that whatever product is made each day immediately is loaded on the trucks and delivered. In this way, the people of Serbia are receiving a fresh product. Currently there are seven people employed by the business. Maha is a good manager. All of the product is offered to Lord Jagganath, Lord Balaram and Lady Subhadra.
My luggage arrived, we had prasadam, and it was time to leave for another town in Serbia named Subotica. We said our good byes and headed for Subotica in a pouring rain.
We finally reached Subotica after 2 hours driving in the pouring rain. We were greeted by a wonderful kirtan and amazing prasadm in the home of Bhakti Granath and his wife Saktyahladini d.d. We had prasadam, kirtan and discussed cow protection and rural community development with the devotees. It was a very enlivening discussion and the devotees were amazing.
The next morning we had to leave early as we were headed to our next destination, New Vraja Dham, the farm project in Hungary. Subotica is only about a ½ hour drive from the Hungarian border. New Vraja Dham is about a 4 hour drive from Subotica and we wanted to reach there as early as possible. We wanted to leave at 6:00 a.m. but didn’t leave till 9:00 a.m. due to continued discussions and wonderful prasadam prepared by Saktyahladini d.d.
We finally left Subotica and going through the Serbian and Hungarian border check points we were on our way to Radhe Shyam, the presiding Dieties in New Vraja Dham.
You can view more pictures of Serbia at our Facebook page in this ALBUM.
New Vraja Dham, Hungary
It was almost 2:00 P.M. when we arrived at New Vraja Dham in Hungary and we were just in time for lunch. Because Radhe Shyam were resting we didn’t have a chance to have Their darshan till later in the afternoon. So we took prasadam and then were told that one of the older oxen was sick and had “gone down.” So our next stop was the goshalla (barn) to visit with this wonderful ox named Radhe Shyam. He was 12 years old and had been a wonderful worker in the fields of New Vraj Dham his whole life. The veterinarian was there and it was determined that Radhe Shyam had some internal organ problems and that his organs were shutting down. Radhe Shyam was resting quietly and we all felt that he was preparing for his departure from his earthly body. He was wearing a garland from the presiding Deities in the temple, also named Radhe Shyam. I had Giriraja with me and I lay down next to Radhe Shyam and placed Giriraja on his head. We lay together for some time and Giriraja lay on Radhe Shyam’s head the whole time. There was a DVD of Srila Prabhupada chanting. The next day Radhe Shyam was still with us but much weaker. He was still being offered food and water but was refusing to eat or drink. That evening Radhe Shyam, the ox, left his body and his picture was placed on the alter for all the devotees to remember him and his service to the Lord.
My stay in New Vraja Dham was short. I was able to give class and visit with many dear friends before heading out to Bhaktivedanta Manor in England.
To view more pictures of New Vraja Dham go to this Facebook album.
Bhaktivedanta Manor, England
My stay at the Bhaktivedanta Manor was too short as usual. I had some time with Syamasundara Prabhu who is in charge of the goshalla and also the European GBC representative for the Cow Ministry. We discussed many topics about cow protection and rural community development. One of the main topics of discussion was hospice care for old and sick cows.
To learn more about the cow program at Bhaktivedanta Manor click this LINK.
To view more pictures of New Bhaktivedanta Manor go to this Facebook album.
Happy Kuh, Germany
From England I traveled to Germany and the Happy Cow project. I was able to get into Germany with no weather related problems. It seemed that on this 8-country tour all of my weather related travel delays were on plane transfers in Germany.
Shyambihari picked me up at the Munich airport and we drove the 40 minutes to the Happy Kuh project. The weather wasn’t too bad for early December. We visited the cows, fed them, and put down clean bedding. Mother Sita Rani and her new son Sridhar met us in the house and we all had some prasadam.
During my stay I helped with some of the chores each day and on one evening some of the Happy Kuh supporters came to the farm and we had kirtan and discussions about cow protection. It seems that a topic that keeps coming up is to be vegan or not if one cannot get dairy products from protected cows. More and more devotees are becoming vegans if they cannot get dairy products from protected cows. The Happy Cow project follows this vegan program if they cannot get dairy from their own cows or other protected cows.
Cow protection is a process of protecting the cows…and purchasing milk from the market from cows who are headed to the slaughterhouse is, in essence, supporting the slaughterhouse mentality of exploiting Mother Cow and when she can no longer supply milk then she is killed.
The day before I left Germany to return to America we went to the Hare Krsna Temple in Munich. I gave class about cow protection and a lively discussion followed during the question and answer period. Most of the questions were pertaining to the topic of Blood Milk and vegan diet if one cannot get dairy products from protected cows.
The next day I was scheduled to leave Germany at 11:30 a.m. Since, in theory, it is only a 40 minute drive to the Munich airport, we left the farm at 7:30, which, in theory, would get us to the airport with just a little over 3 hours leeway for my international flight to America.
When we went out to feed the cows before going to the airport we discovered that it had snowed heavily during the night. We still left at 7:30 but all the roads, including the Autoban were almost like parking lots, little to no movement at all. So, a potential 40 minute drive took 4 hours and I missed my plane which costs me an additional $470 to rebook my flight. Oh well, sometimes these things happen.
If you would like to know more about this project you can look at the Happy Kuh web page.
To view more pictures of New Happy Kuh go to this Facebook album.
On this eight-country trip, my luggage was lost twice and returned only on my day of departure from each country where it was lost. I was delayed twice in Germany, once for 30 hours and then again for 8 hours. The only other mishap occurred when I was being driven to the airport in Budapest and we ran out of gas…just coasting into the gas station as the motor quit running. The young devotee driving turned to me and smiled and said…”Krsna must like you.” He was happy we made it to the gas station, as was I. Thank you Krsna! Eight countries in 2 months…a wonderful trip, lots of new friends to help promote cow protection.