Does the death of a seventeen-year-old cow on a Krsna conscious farm have any significance to the world?
Cintamani was not an ordinary cow. During her lifetime she gave birth to fourteen calves, produced 160,000 pounds of milk, and 6,350 pounds of butterfat. This places Cintamani among the top one hundred cows in lifetime production in Juniata County, Pennsylvania. Scoring eighty-eight out of a possible one hundred points when evaluated for overall qualities, Cintamani was an unusually good dairy cow.
Furthermore, Cintamani was part of a community that practices cow protection. Her long life and good performance, therefore, exemplify the economic good sense of an agrarian, cow-protecting, God-serving way of life.
Cow protection is not something that is a concern just to farmers. Sparing the lives of the cow and the bull and using their contributions properly will produce far-reaching benefits for all human society. In the absence of cow protection, in today’s cow-slaughter civilization, there is no possibility of peace and happiness in society. George Bernard Shaw wrote,
Like carrion crows we live and feed on meat,
Regardless of the suffering and pain
We cause by doing so. In this way we treat
Defenseless animals for sport or gain.
How can we hope in this world to attain
The peace we say we are anxious for?
We pray for it on the catacombs of the slain
While outraging the moral law.
Thus cruelty begets its offspring—war!
Reflecting on the death of Cintamani and the philosophical implications of cow protection, I wrote the following poem.
They Should Never Be Killed
And from milk
comes butter, ghee, cheese, sandesa, yogurt, ice cream . . .
And in a civilized land her dung
is used for fertilizer and fuel,
and her mate, the bull,
is pulling your plow.
They should never be killed.
The Supreme Lord is a cowherd boy,
a peacock feather in His hair,
a bamboo flute upon His lips,
and cows are His personal pets.
But it will be a long time
before you can understand it,
and it will be a long time
before there is any peace on earth.
Although the logic is plain
that we should not kill her,
the killers show no mercy—
and the priests and rabbis are in it too.
All America is shooting the slaughterer’s gun,
and the bloodstains spread everywhere.
The uptown butcher shop,
the neon-dancing cows—
cruel double talk, as if the cow
were happy to be killed and eaten.
It will be a long road before you can see you are killing your mothers and fathers, and you cannot undo the karmic link between the stockyard and the Bomb. It is already too late, as Macbeth said of his crime, “I am in blood/ Stepp’d in so far, that, should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o’er.”
But there is hope.
You can avoid Lord Kalki’s axe*
if you protect the cow.
At Gita-nagari** we are doing that,
raising summer corn and hay
and raising money too—
for winter ahead,
to protect Krsna’s cows.
In freezing rain the cows live in.
Their stalls are padded with softest hay.
The best of corn and oats is theirs,
and they offer their milk twice a day.
Large-eyed, gentle Brown Swiss mothers, jerky, nervous calves,
bulls ferocious, muscle-humped,
and tall, broad, long-horned oxen—
all protected, never killed.
Give them grains and land for pasture.
Save their lives and spare your own.
Love them as your children,
as man is meant to do.
Because Genesis states
that humans shall dominate the beasts,
does that mean you should kill them?
Kill the gentle, useful cow?
Better to use her, use him.
Let them live and serve you
as you serve God.
“But what do we eat?
Where is the protein and brawn
in peas, carrots, and corn?”
Don’t you know it’s just false propaganda
that human beings need meat?
The land-grown, Krsna-given grains
and the varieties of vegetables and fruits
can supply all you need
for a healthy, vigorous life.
But all our food should be offered
in devotion to God, and only then
do we transcend the vegetarian beasts
and the meat-eating men.
It is easy to avoid the greatest crime.
All it takes is knowledge
of the transmigrating soul
and the laws of karma. But if you cause a cow to die
you will also meet death . . .
a thousand times.
To see the large-uddered mother
and the playful, peaceful calf,
both free from devilish harm,
on a Krsna conscious farm,
is to see the plan in action:
And from milk
comes butter, ghee, cheese . . .
And the oxen
pull your plow.
They should never be killed.—SDG