A few days back, one devotee came up to me and told me how inspired she was to put more faith in the Lord since the time she had heard me mention the phrase – Rakhe Krsna, mare khe in one of my earlier classes in Raichur. I was reflecting on the miraculous incident that occured just the day before and how when the Lord decides to protect, the fortunate living entity beats the odds and survives.
The miraculous sequence of events unfolded before our eyes on the tuesday, the day before the Bakrid. Bakrid is a painful day for the devotees of Lord Krsna as they helplessely and tearfully watch the cruel butcher of the several cows in the lanes and bylanes of area surrounding the Narasimha Giridhari temple. But this Bakrid was different as the Lord had a plan to involve us in a heroic rescue act.
As I entered the temple in the morning, Suvigraha Das, the devotee incharge of the Goshala came running towards me and told me about an incredible event. One young cow, being taken for slaughter somewhere in one of the lanes near the temple, had apparently escaped from the clutches of the slaughterers and ran for its life and came running into the Narasimha Giridhari temple complex and headed straight for the Goshala at the rear end of the temple and joined the rest of the cows there and hid herself. For those who don’t know about our Goshala, it is important to note that to reach the goshala, the cow had to cross the bridge, enter the compound and take a right, then turn left and then take a right and then a left and go straight a few hundred feet. In other words, unless someone knows where the Goshala is, it is impossible to stumble into it by chance. And the cow, as if lead by the hidden hands of the Lord, came into the temple compound by crossing the road and seemed to have headed straight into the goshala.
A bunch of people came right behind the cow and demanded that the cow be made over to them. They even entered the temple complex and the goshala. Suvigraha prabhu sent them out and told them not to enter the temple without permission. They stayed near the gate and their strength was slowly increasing As a precautionary measure, Suvigraha called the police to inform them about the developments and the presence of some intruders in the compound. Within minutes, a couple of cops arrived on the scene. They enquired about the cow that has strayed into our compound. They informed us that the slaughterers of the cow, had lodged a complaint against us in the police station minutes before our call.
There is a law in the country and the state that prevents the slaughter of the cows especially young ones, but who cares for the law, there is numerous extraneous considerations in play and with a plaible government in the state and the centre, the slaughters get away. So, it was not surprising when we heard the police asking us to release the cow and let the slaughterers have her again. The people who are to ensure that such illegal slaughter of cows does not happen, were asking us to release the cow. They pleaded helplessness. They sited political compulsions and were rather straight forward in telling me that they feared that this issue could be easily escalated and could lead to tensions between two communities.
In the meanwhile, I was getting calls from the chief trustee initially telling me to hold on to the cow and he would settle the matter by talking to the Police. But within minutes the gentleman was forced to change his stance in view of the intense pressure from the Police. The matter very soon escalated and several teams of police were coming and going trying to persuade us to give the cow. We were having very anxious moments not knowing what to do, our normally very resourceful Chief Trustee too indicated that if we hold on any longer to the cow, the police may send a search party to the temple premises. This could force the Police to take action and this would probably spoil the relationships between the Police and the leaders of the area.
We were torn between these different pushes and pulls. While there is law prohibiting the slaughter of young cows, nobody seemed to be talking about it. The Police warned us that the slaughterers would get aggressive and stage protest demonstrations (dharnas) as they have done a few times in the last week whenever they have been obstructed from transporting the cows or killing the cows. Here was the cow, so shell shocked and scared, innocently looking into our eyes as if asking us the question. The cow was badly bruised and had cuts all over the body. The cow had very mysteriously and miraculously escaped and had reached the temple Goshala. So, were we not obliged to atleast try to save the cow from what would have been a certain slaughter the next day. The Chief Trustee called me again to say that he had offered the claimants of the cow, money so they would give up their claim on the cow.
The Inspector of Police called me and pleaded with me to release the cow. I offered to pay for the cow several times but the Police were unmoved. The Cops then moved to the room where the cow was lying down and they too were moved to see the cow in such a state.
The A.S.I then remarked , that the cow seemed to be lucky and it would have a long life. I clung on this statement that he made and begged him to help us to make this statement true. I begged him to somehow grant us time till the evening when I could safely shift the cow and claim the cow ran away.
After a few more exchanges , the Police came up with a formula and told us the we should surrender the cow to the Police and that they would shift the cow to the Jain Goshala, nearby. It seemed hard to believe the sudden change of stance of the Police, who trusts them anyway? In the meanwhile, the chief Trustee too called us saying that the Police did not want to hurt our religious sentiments and they had agreed to shift the cow to the Jain Goshala. My team here suspected something fishy but I latched on to the offer and told the Police that it was good that they were willing to let the cow be shifted to the Jain Goshala. All I was proposing to them was to shift the cow instead to another goshala, we were more familiar with. The Police were caught and could not respond immediately. If they refused to let us shift the cow to the goshala we were proposing, their game would be revealed. And if they genuinely intended that the cow be shifted to a goshala what was the problem in shifting her to a goshala we knew. They took some time to discuss this with the A.C.P.
In the meantime, the devotees were frantically making calls to everybody they knew and requesting them to speak to the D.C.P or the A.C.P and convince the police to let go off the cow. I honestly don’t know how it worked, but one thing I know is that when Krsna decides to protect, a way would have been worked out and the cow would be saved. All of us were trying everything we could.
We were waiting to know if Krsna had some plan. The Assistant Sub Inspector of Police came back and informed us that they had managed to convince the higher ups in the department and also the set of people who sought the custody of the cow. In a rare gesture of solidarity with the temple, the Police team refused my offer to pay for the cow and instead they pooled the money by collecting it among themselves and paid off the people who sought the cow and the A.S.I had obtained permission to have the cow shifited to the goshala we knew.
But the Police apprehending that there could be some change of mind among the higherups in the department, wanted the cow to be shifted immediately. The Goshala team arranged a closed tempo and the cow was shifted to a friendly goshala we were familiar with.
The Police team accompanied the tempo just in case there was some trouble on the way.The cow was safely shifted and it returned to the shelter of Sri Narasimha Giridhari mandir, this sunday 20th of october. She recieved a hero’s welcome and the entire team of devotees greeted her with a Go Puja and she was taken up for a darshan of the deities.
The cow is now named – Bahula.
You too can do something to make this world a safer place for the cows. Please chant Hare Krsna mahamantra and support Srila Prabhupada’s mission of taking Krsna consciousness to all the lanes and bylanes of the world.
Varada Krsna Dasa
ISKCON Bangalore, Sri Narsimha Giridhari Mandir.