Namaste lovelies and greetings from the motherland. I've recently spent 10 days with family in Vrindavan, a holy place dedicated to Krishna Consciousness (also known as the Hare Krishna movement). Where the maha mantra* is prevalent in everything!
While none of us are full devotees of Krishna Consciousness, being present in a holy place where everyone is dedicated to the same spiritual path is truly inspiring. This is bhakti yoga. The path of devotion.
During our stay in Vrindavan, an Australian devotee invited us to join her to visit the Care for Cows farm, a charitable organisation providing food, shelter and care for abandoned cows.
We turned up unannounced and in true Indian style were instantly welcomed with big smiles, tea and biscuits. The whole morning turned out to be one of the most humbling experiences I've ever encountered.
Not only was this a centre for abandoned cows, there was also a Food for Life school attached. Another charitable organisation whose mission is to provide girls from the poorest of the poor, with nutritious food and education, enabling them to live a healthy life with fair opportunities.
As the headmaster gave us a tour of the school, it soon became clear, not only his devotion to these students, but also the interconnectedness of the two organisations. Along with quality education and uniforms, the students are fed daily, fresh milk from the cows, and meals prepared from their organic garden. The cows are used to plough the gardens and also to transport the children to and from school.
The gratitude of the students radiated through the ease of their smiles and when we were taken to the classrooms, they would jump to their feet, clap their hands into namaste and shout Hare Krishna! They know how to melt hearts!
Healthy cows enjoying Himalayan rock salt
The cowshed was another example of pure devotion.
Cows are considered very holy in India. They provide milk, ghee, affection and spending time in their company elevates your consciousness. However many cows are now being mistreated or abandoned once they have been replaced with machinery. These volunteers rescue them and nurture them back to good health with medical care, food, Himalayan rock salt (for extra minerals) and huge amounts of love. The chief cowherd is so devoted to these cows that he sacrifices his own sleep to guard them at night (apparently people try to break in and steal them!).
Chief Cowherd (left) and Headmaster
The headmaster and chief cowherd are Krishna devotees, having both walked away from the material world, they now dedicate their lives to Krishna, the cows and these beautiful children. These guys are true Bhakti yogis, everything they do comes from a pure heart space and being in their presence was incredibly inspiring and humbling.
If you would like to find out more about these causes or make a donation, more information can be found via these links, Care for Cows and Food for Life.
Love Lili x
*Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare - chant and be happy!