Tuesday, February 07, 2012
You drive down Kanakpura road, pass the Art of Living Ashram on your right, and drive on until you see a signboard that says ‘Fireflies’. There, you take a right turn. After you have left behind shabby tenements, the green fields begin.
One should be careful not to get lost and ask, in case of doubt, for ‘Fireflies’.
This is Fireflies on your left and a lake on your right.
Continue on the mud trail and then swerve to your left and you have reached.
An initiative to protect, promote, develop and research Indian breed of cows, established by Sri Sri Raghaveshvara Bharathi of Ramachandrapura Matha, Sri Samsthana, Gokarna, in 2004.
This is one of the seven Goshalas in the state (Karnataka). There is one in Kerala too.
In this Goshala, there are 130 cows in all. There are 26 different breeds.
Seeing them all tied one beside the other actually made me see the differences, the variety. Otherwise it is difficult to imagine so many different breeds and actual physical differences.
There were totally 1400 breeds in India out of which only 33 are surviving today.
The reason is that cows of Indian breed have not been encouraged/supported/bred and foreign breeds like the Jersey cow are encouraged.
The Indian breed does not yield as much milk as the Jersey cow. The yield is not proportionate to the fodder it consumes. Not only is the quantity of milk low, but also the milk yielding duration within the cow’s lifespan is less, the result being that milk and by products obtained from the Indian cow are more expensive for the consumer compared to those of the Jersey cow.
On the whole, the Indian cow is considered uneconomical and receives no care, attention, nor investment.
Another example of how the ‘indigenous’ suffers and even becomes extinct in the face of foreign competition. A specific case of the broad generalization that free trade and free market are nothing more than idiocy, that regulation by the State is extremely important, that the consumers are shortsighted fools, that most of the products that enter a market when you open it wide are mostly products that we don’t need (although not in the case of milk since we need a large supply of milk for this population)
The fact that the milk of the Jersey cow may not have the same medicinal value as that of the Indian cow is not factored in by the consumer while evaluating price.
A specific case of the broad generalization that while computing economic viability, we only take into account quantitative factors and not qualitative factors and therefore the popular economic theory built on the incomplete formula, is such a misleading farce.
Apart from economy, the fact that we have to protect our home species from extinction is the kind of social responsibility you don’t expect from our people who see nothing beyond their pocket.
It is saddening to know that of the 1400 breeds, only 33 are surviving today and the rest have become extinct.
Initiatives such as this Goshala come as a respite.
They bring in stray cows from various parts of the country into the Goshalas and nurture them – give them fodder, water, control their breeding, clean them, clean the sheds, milk them, collect the refuse from their bodies – for everything that comes from a cow lends itself to use – there is not an iota of waste – a reason why the cow is called Kamadhenu …
I even had the chance to meet the veterinary doctor who had come on his periodic visits to this place. He was highly appreciative of the effort made by the caretakers of the place. It is funded mostly by donations from people.
Sometimes, injured, disabled cows, such as the calf below without a whole leg, are brought in and they are accepted.
Since the breeding is controlled, they do not permit cross breeding between different species, but only pure breeding. 28 yrs is the ideal life span but actual life span is 22 years on an average.
There is greenery surrounding the Goshala. Farms of coconut, arecanut, coffee plantations…
Turmeric being made into Kumkum. That’s another thing they do here.
I did not know Kumkum is made out of turmeric.
Pure kumkum powder is prepared with ancient methods used by our sages.
Procedure: Make a solution with 3/4th litre of lime juice, 150 gm borax and 10 gram alum. Soak 1 kg dry turmeric pieces in this solution for 24 hours. Dry in shade for a month, make fine powder, add 100 gms (10% of Turmeric quantity) of pure ghee made of cow’s milk, mix and sieve to obtain pure kumkum.
In the market, we often get coloured powder as kumkum that can cause skin allergies/diseases and other ailments.
A small yellow slip given me carried the Kumkum making procedure along with this “Kumkum has a very significant place in Indian society. Men and women, according to our tradition, are supposed to wear kumkum on their foreheads every day. Kumkum is believed to be auspicious. It has been proved to have the power to affect the state of our body as well as mind. According to Ayurveda too, Kumkum has medicinal property…”
The office of the chief caretaker.
Buttermilk. Offered to every visitor for free. This too is authentic – it’s made not by diluting curd as is done everywhere these days, but by churning and removing butter.
The equipment you see is used to process cow’s liquid refuse or urine. Out of 20 litres of cow’s urine, 11 litres of purified urine is available.
The urine (Gomutra) for the purpose of processing thus is collected between 4 and 6 in the morning everyday for it is 100% medicine.
That collected later in the day has only 70% medicinal value.
When heated as shown, vapours of Gomutra rise upwards into the tube. These vapours are met by cool water flowing through an outer concentric tube. The vapour thus turns into liquid and is collected in a container placed at the other end of the tube. It is then filtered through a piece of fine cloth. The liquid is almost colourless and odourless. It is fit for consumption. It is called Go-Arka. It has immense medicinal value and is a proven cure for BP, diabetes. Even if you have no health concerns you could still consume this for health benefits –both physical and mental.
How to consume Go-Arka – after brushing your teeth in the morning, on empty stomach – mix 2 spoons of Go-Arka with 4 spoons of boiled, cooled water and consume. For 1 hour after wards, nothing should be consumed.
After the first eleven litres, the cooled vapour begins to be strong in colour and odour and not fit for consumption. This is used to make a sort of phenoyl that could be used for cleaning – mopping the floor etc. This is believed to have properties that keep away insects, mosquitoes etc.
The container when drained of all the liquid is found to have pasty material stuck to its surfaces. This is collected and dried and called Go-gandha. This too can be used for application on skin where there is a cut, bruise, allergy. Mix a pinch of Go-Gandha with Go-Arka and make a paste before applying.
The brown bottles contain Go-Arka, whereas the yellowish liquid in containers below is phenoyl (a name they use for disinfectant).
Do visit this place, make generous contributions and help protct the cow. Amrutadhara Goshala, Dinnepalya, Kaggalipura, Kanakpura Road, Banaglore – 560082
Phone – 28432724
I want to conclude by telling you that I feel proud that Ramabhadrachar, my father’s maternal uncle, a great Sanskrit scholar and preceptor to many seeking knowledge was the guru of Swami Bharati Theertha for several years. :-)