Search Results for 'lakshmi cow sanctuary'


We left Manahttan, New York City, around 5 in the afternoon and headed out I-80 across New Jersey. Being on the other end of the time zone from New Vrindaban, the sun set noticeably earlier and by the time we crossed the Delaware river into Pennsylvania and drove the 5 miles to Lakshmi Cow Sanctuary it was dark when we arrived. The trip took two hours.

Dr. Shankar Sastri came out to meet us and led us into an old brick farmhouse that had several additions built on. I could get into a lot of details, but let me summarize by saying it wasn’t what I expected.

He was a college professor teaching engineering for 25 years, and then an acting Dean of the college. I had figured I was going to end up at some suburban style house in a gentleman farmer horse barnlike place with cows instead of horses. Wrong.

The ambiance was 1970s New Vrindaban with satellite internet. If you ever feel some nostalgia for the old days, or feel like you missed out, then go visit the Lakshmi Cow Sanctuary.

While it isn’t exactly the same, it is more similar than different as far as living conditions and pioneering spirit is concerned. Lots of mud, some interesting characters, a building project in progress where guests can meet and do retreats or whatever and, of course, cows.

Fat, spoiled cows who aren’t the least bit shy around humans, except the miniature Rajastani zebu cow, whose full grown size back is about my waist height. Notice him in the background of the photo.

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The ox with the question mark on his face is called Vedanta. He is the son of a cow donated by Swami Dayananda who says that the most important question is “Who am I?” so it was most appropriate that the calf was born with a question mark. :-)

It isn’t an ISKCON project, but Dr. Sastri’s college was near the Brooklyn temple and he took prasadam there for 20 years. One of his friends jokes that now Krishna has put him to work. I believe that cow protection transcends institutions and philosophies thus this project is worth supporting.

After he retired he felt a calling to protect cows so he sold his home, bought a small farm, and plunged in. He freely admits he had no idea what he was getting into, and knows he could still use a lot of help, but said that even though his material situation is now not as comfortable as it once was, he is happy. Caring for cows brings him great joy.

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There are currently two volunteers staying at the farm helping with chores and the construction. Anyone who wants to help out and feels a little adventurous can contact him through his website.

volunteer-caring-for-cows.jpg

Dr. Sastri has a good heart and is sincerely trying to serve the cows with enthusiasm. I couldn’t help but be impressed. I was also enlivened as sometimes it seems that in ISKCON, cow protection is not considered very important, so it was nice to see that the future of cow protection is not limited to what ISKCON can accomplish.

We left the farm and headed out across Pennsylvania. We had a stop near Bedford to make a delivery to a customer of Ranaka’s. Ranaka wholesales frozen faux meats and there is a health food store there and some 7th Day Adventists (Christians with a vegetarian lifestyle).

The guy we met is a market gardener so we had a good conversation that I was reluctant to end, comparing notes and finding out that mostly he wholesales to a growers co-op that then markets into the cities. I had always hoped for something like that in New Vrindaban but no one has ever come forth competent enough to manifest it.

We arrived home while it was still light. I enjoyed the trip and felt it was fulfilling, but I confess I prefer being at home, so was glad to be back.

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My wife informs me that yesterday was the Chinese New Year, the beginning of the Year of the Ox.  We both happen to be ox in Chinese astrology so this is supposed to be our year. It seems to be getting off to a good start.

Last night I got a call from Dr Sastri who I met on my trip to New York City last year. He runs a one man cow protection program in Pennsylvania, two hours from the George Washington Bridge near Delaware Gap.  He welcomes visitors and can always use donations.

He called because a woman found him by Googling  and wanted to place a cow in a protection program.  He isn’t able to take on any more cows at this time so he called me and got permission to give my phone number.

She called  and explained her situation. She is an animal lover who made her living boarding and grooming cows, and caring for and breaking horses. She recently had a bad riding accident and lost the use of her right hand so is no longer able to care for a cow she had as a pet.

She bought him at a livestock auction when he was one day old and has been his friend for the last 4 and 1/2 years, hence the affectionate  name Mr. Handsome Moo-cow, or Moo-cow for short. He is a Jersey oxen.

She has been in distress because after calling many places she wasn’t able to find one that would promise not to slaughter him.  Most farms aren’t interested in pet cows.  She can’t keep him but doesn’t want him to be eaten.

Turns out she lives in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, only an hour from New Vrindaban so today she came for a visit. We took a tour of the big barn and talked to Ray for a while  then met with Ranaka.  We explained that we couldn’t accept any donation of  a cow right now unless there was a commitment to pay for his care. We have plenty of barn and pasture space for a lot more cows than we have now but the limiter is money.

We ended up making what amounts to a boarding arrangement, where she will contribute monthly to the maintenance and pay any extra expenses like veterinarian work or whatever.

She seemed very happy with the arrangement as Moo-cow will be close enough so she can visit whenever she wants and if she gets a better arrangement in the future and wants to have him back she can come get him.

This will be quite a change for Moo-cow as he has never been around other cows. His pasture mate has been a miniature donkey.  We decided rather than turn him into the large herd that at first he will be in an area with some Jersey heifers and older cows. That way his first day in the herd won’t be 20 cows coming up to him and demonstrating they are higher on the pecking order.

She is going to make an arrangement to have him hauled here within the next 10 days, weather permitting.

Which makes the Year of the Ox off to a good start.

FYI, Bangor Pennsylvania is just off 1-80 two hours from the George Washington Bridge in New York City. Which means well within the range of a day trip for  New York Cityers and New Jerseyians.

It is a good chance to meet Sankar Sastri  who protects cows there and loves to have visitors  come see them.

Dear Patrons,

We are having a walk for farm animals on Saturday, October 3rd, 2009 from 9 am
to 1 pm. We’ll be having refreshments and a light lunch.

We are inviting you to participate and help the farm animals. If you want a tee
shirt, you have to register early and the fee is $15 for the tee shirt.

We are looking forward to seeing you at the walk.

Yours Truly,

Sankar Sastri, Manager
Lakshmi Cow Sanctuary inc.
1515 Ridge Road, Bangor PA 118013

PS: Listed below please find the link to find details about the walk, raising
funds for Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY on Ocyober 3, 2009.

http://www.walkforfarmanimals.org/fliers09/PA_Bangor_Walkflier.pdf