Gita Moves On
Posted February 24, 2008
Gita left early today on Lord Nityananda's Appearance day, February 18, 2008. Last night strong winds were carrying warm air while they moved billowy clouds swiftly across the sky. As I walked to and from the barns, it felt like someone was turning on and off a floodlight until I realized it was the clouds passing over the white bright moon. The stars were very bright in the sky, often covered by the clouds. There was a presence in the night: the wind personified to bring Gita away as he thrust his head into the air and opened his mouth.
At first I said, "Don't do that Gita! Don't stress yourself!" And I would put his head down. After a couple of hours of Chaitanya Bhagavat and I trying to make him comfortable, we came to realize he was trying to leave his body. He was opening his mouth so his soul could leave upward. We had given him Ganga water, placed the tape deck of Srila Prabhupada chanting next to him, as the winds were so fierce we could not hear it from the top of the barn, and placed Govardhan Sila on his head. Govardhan Sila then sat on his altar on the wall facing Gita.
He had arthritis for several years and each year it became more difficult for him to walk. This winter we put him in the geriatric barn so it would be easier for him to access his food and move around. Gita was one of our oldest cows. He turned 18 years old recently. His twin brother, Vraja, died last summer. He also had arthritis. Together, they led many Rathayatra parades in the United States and appeared at many events. They greeted guests with their handsome appearance and endearing personalities. In this way, they presented cow protection to the public.
Around February 9, Gita was not able to get up. He did not have the power in his back legs to push up his large body. Since he was an old cow, we expected that he would leave his body in the near future. We kept him as comfortable as possible and fed him as much as he wanted to eat and drink. In preparation for parting, He daily listened to Srila Prabhupada's sacred chanting and received holy Ganga water.
On February 13, we attempted to move Gita into a better place with an apparatus called hip huggers. He was near the gate of the barn and a lot of wind was blowing on him. As he was lifted and placed down, he surprised everyone and started walking around. However, he was weak for he was down for a few days. After a few hours of walking, he sat down again in the same place.
On February 16, we moved him again and he again surprised everyone and walked around. This time we made certain he was in the larger part of the geriatric barn and he eventually sat down in a good place. However, the next day, after Chaitanya fed him his grains, Gita collapsed. From that point, he struggled to get upright. When he couldn't, Chaitanya came to get me and we both went to the barn to access what could be done. We realized that we needed to flip him to get him into a better position but the two of us would not be enough to do it. Then, Chaitanya went to the temple to see what help he could get. About forty-five minutes later, Chaitanya came back with six devotees to help flip Gita. We had four devotees on Gita's legs and three at his head to make sure his head moved with his body. We expertly flipped Gita and he landed sitting up. We braced him with square bales and then he tried to eat the bales. Enthusiastically, all the devotees ran to him with hay to eat. The cows ran to the gate to see. Everyone was very happy at what appeared to be a miraculous recovery. Joy permeated the atmosphere. I was inspired and moved to see the selfless service of the devotees and their joy at Gita's recovery.
When I checked on Gita later in the day, he was lying down obviously struggling again to get upright. However, this time he was near one of the barn poles and flipping him would not be possible. It was six o'clock and it would be dark at 6:30. As he struggled to get up I tried to brace his back with square bales but he was too heavy and moved them away when he would fall back. He was fighting and trying to eat the bales that I tried to use to brace him. I knew Chaitanya was coming to check on Gita and I tried to comfort Gita until Chaitanya came.
When Chaitanya came, we spent a couple of hours trying to make Gita comfortable. The winds were so strong and loud and then there was a change in Gita. He started putting his head in the air and opening his mouth. He no longer reacted to our words. We felt he was in the process of leaving this material world. By then it was late evening. A few hours away and it would be lord Nityananda's Appearance day. Just like Gita. We had always called him the Brahman of the twins. He was always the gentleman, sensitive to the feelings of others. Listening to Srila Prabhupada chanting, tasting Gangawater, with Govardhan Sila in his sight, on Lord Nityananda's Appearance day, he left his body.
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ISCOWP Co-Managing Director