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Simple Living
The Story of Smita the Cow
by Mata Phalini
Posted December 27, 2011

“I offer my obeisances to the cow, in whose body Laksmi resides. I offer my respects to the beautiful cow, for she is pure, simple, and aromatic. I bow down before the cow, who is the daughter of Brahma. She is pure internally and externally and she keeps the whole atmosphere pure by her presence. I repeatedly offer my obeisances unto her.” (Vishnu Dharmottara, Part 2, from the book Sacred Cow by Bhumipati das)

Smita on Go-Puja Day

Eleven years ago when we got Smita, she was just a little calf. We had been looking for a little girl calf, and we love Indian breeds, so we had asked around among the devotees of Prabhupada Village if anyone knew where we could find an Indian cow. Mother Rucira told us she had seen some Indian cows just near where we live, out old Amostown Road in Sandy Ridge. She gave us directions, and we found ourselves at the home of Dean Ireland, the owner of a herd of Rajasthani Tharparkar cows. Mr. Ireland, a local policeman, pointed toward a grassy field where we saw a herd of beautiful, graceful cows with big humps and long ears. He told us he kept the herd as pets. One of his cows just happened to be pregnant at the time, and he agreed to let us know if she gave birth to a little female calf. Sure enough, we got a call in July. “My cow just had a baby girl. You still interested?”

We were there in no time to see the new baby. As Smita grew, she got used to seeing us, but was shy. We would go often to feed Officer Ireland’s cows. Smita usually avoided coming close to the fence. The two bulls in the herd would also guard her to keep her away from the fence when we came. Nonetheless, once in a while, she would come close enough so that we could reach through the fence and pet her.

After three months, Smita was weaned and had gotten used to eating grass. On October 8, 2000, Mr. Ireland led her into a trailer and brought her to our house. We asked him how much he wanted for her, and he suggested, “How about $100?” We offered, “How about $108?” So we got Smita, a Rajasthani Tharparkar cow, for $108 on 10/08. We thought that was pretty auspicious.

Nitai with Baby Smita

Smita was nervous at first, and hid trembling in the little barn my husband had built for her. But eventually she warmed up, and started to venture out of the barn to nibble at the grass. She soon took to her little pasture, making it her own.

Being a herd animal, Smita needed a companion. Three years passed, and finally, Smita was old enough to have a calf. We trailered her over to Graham, North Carolina to a dairy farm where we had her bred with a beautiful Brahma bull.

Smita’s Husband

Smita became pregnant right away. When she returned home after a couple of months, we noticed that two of her teats looked a little different and one of them seemed to be exuding pus. We called the veterinarian to come out and take a look at her. He said it looked like she had somehow contracted mastitis while staying at the dairy farm in Graham. He gave her some antibiotics and we kept an eye on her. The mastitis appeared to clear up, but her teats never looked normal after that.

Seven months later, she gave birth to Abhay Charan, a tiny boy calf. Unfortunately, although the mastitis had cleared up, she hesitated to feed Abhay. We asked the doctor if there was anything he could do. He anesthetized her and examined her carefully. To our disappointment, he reported that there was nothing he could do to correct the problem, and that we would have to bottle-feed her baby.

Bhakta Kyle hurried up to a dairy farm in Virginia to get some colostrum, and Krsna Caitanya provided fresh milk from his cows to fill Abhay’s bottle twice a day. We bottle-fed Abhay until he was old enough to subsist on grass.

Haripada Feeds Abhay

Krsnaya with Abhay, 2004

Abhay quickly grew into a handsome ox, but at first, he was just little and cute.

Smita and Abhay

Smita and Abhay were pasture companions and best friends for seven years.

Then one day, we noticed that Smita had a problem. Around October of last year, Smita’s uterus began to show a little. But then it would go back in and things would look normal again. This kept happening, so we decided to do some research. Bovine uterine prolapse, according to what we read on the internet and heard from veterinarians whom we consulted, is pretty common among cows. We made an appointment with the vet, and he came out to see her. He told us that because her uterus would sometimes come out but would then go back in on its own, that was a good sign, and she was probably going to be okay. He gave her some antibiotics and a drug to shrink her uterus, and told us to keep him posted. We observed her every day and kept the vet apprised of her condition. During this time, I consulted with Bhaktin Wenda Shehata, the famous protectress of cows in England. With Wenda’s advice and with the doctor’s permission, I gave Smita sepia and lilium tigrinum, homeopathic medicines for uterine prolapse and infection.

Last summer, she began to prolapse for longer periods. The uterus seldom went back inside. By the fall, her uterus stopped receding and just remained prolapsed constantly. During the summer, we had called another vet who had previously dealt with bovine uterine prolapse. The vet tried pushing the uterus back in and stitching her up. Smita pushed it back out before the stitching was finished. The vet was not able to complete the surgery, and gave up.

By October, we decided that because we had already tried homeopathic remedies and allopathic solutions–to no avail–we would now try an ayurvedic approach. Our friend Sasi-kala had discussed Smita’s situation with a mutual friend from Charlotte, North Carolina, Nimish Bhatt. Nimish instructed me by phone to bathe Smita’s uterus in warm castor oil daily and to obtain some jute twine in preparation for an operation which was soon to be done by some experienced, elderly Indian ladies from Charlotte. They had grown up in India, and had learned how to lubricate, shrink and re-insert a prolapsed uterus and to make a mesh of jute to hold it in. With excitement and hope, I immediately drove an hour away to Greensboro and bought some castor oil at the health food store. I started right away bathing Smita with it. I ordered some jute twine on the internet. Then I called Nimish to report in and find out when they were coming to Prabhupada Village. The first time I had spoken with Nimish about Smita, he had apparently not understood the severity of Smita’s problem. This time, when he asked me over the phone how long Smita had been prolapsing, and heard how heavy and hard and big her uterus had become, he regretfully informed me that it was too late. He said that Smita’s uterus had now become a “foreign organ” and that it would not be possible for the ladies to perform the operation after all.

At this point, we finally began to see the writing on the wall. Our friend Arcana Siddhi had predicted months earlier that Smita was getting ready to leave her body. We didn’t believe her. We fought with everything we had to help Smita get well. But now, the prediction that Arcana had made seemed to be shaping into reality. We could no longer discount the likelihood of Smita’s imminent death. We decided that we’d better provide her with a different kind of care and let nature take its course. As my friend Gopal Nandini said to me recently, “Sometimes ya just gotta ‘let go and let God.’ “

We knew we’d have to put a barrier between Abhay and Smita. Last winter, when Smita’s health began to decline, she needed extra rest. But Abhay didn’t understand. Abhay had shown some impatience with Smita’s need to rest more than usual. He would gently nudge her with his legs and his horns to force her to stand up. He didn’t hurt her, but she was annoyed by his refusal to let her rest. This winter, she needed to lie down now more than ever, so my husband separated Abhay from Smita before leaving for India on November 15th. He put Smita in a special little “hospice” pasture just a few yards away from Abhay’s pasture. They were able to still see each other, and to rest not far from each other, but Abhay could no longer nudge her to stand up.

From India, my husband kept in touch with me every day, asking for news of Smita’s condition. By the last week of November, Smita couldn’t eat anything except a little lettuce and a handful of yellow dock leaves now and then. She had grown very weak and skinny. She constantly trembled and lurched with every beat of her heart, even when she was lying down. She had to lie down most of the time, and when she did manage to get up to drink, she wobbled and shook and had to lie right back down. By Monday, November 28th, she stopped drinking water. I tried placing a bowl of water right under her mouth, but she turned away from it, unable to drink even a drop.

It was early Tuesday morning, November 29th, when I noticed from my kitchen window that Smita was lying in the mud a few feet below her usual resting place. Her head was pointing straight up toward the sky. I had seen Smita look up at the sky many times before, but this was different. It was not normal. I quickly fetched Abhay’s hay from the barn and headed out toward the pasture. After throwing Abhay’s hay over his fence, I went over to see Smita. The ground was wet and muddy because it had rained during the night. I could see slide marks on the mud. It appeared that in her last feeble attempt to stand up, she had slipped and fallen, sliding down the hill about a yard from where she would normally lie down. I don’t know how long she had lain in that position, but I could tell she was uncomfortable because she kept kicking her legs and raising her head. Though she struggled to get up, she couldn’t. I ran back to the house to get some blankets, chandan, Tulasi beads and holy water. I ran over to the temple to get a fresh Tulasi leaf.

Mamata came along, climbed in, and began chanting, too. We sat and chanted the Holy Names for Smita’s sake for several hours, stroking and petting her gently. Our daughter Kamalini and Mother Madan-mohan-mohini came to chant Hare Krishna for Smita, too. Shivananda Prabhu came and muscled some bales of hay over the pasture fence so that we could build a wall of insulation to protect Smita from the wind. He then went over to his house to set up a sound system on the front porch so that Smita could hear Srila Prabhupada singing Hare Krishna.

Mamata took a little break in the late afternoon, and then came to relieve me for an hour from six o’clock to seven. By that time, it was dark. I went into the house, set up our CD player so that Shivananda could turn his off, and Srila Prabhupada’s voice came through to Smita’s pasture loud and clear. I called my husband in India to give him an update on what was happening. He told me to call him right away–no matter what time it was–if Smita left her body. During that time, Mamata’s husband Jambavan came to help construct a tent to shelter Smita from the cold and rain.

Mamata, Madan-mohan-mohini and I all stroked and spoke to Smita gently and lovingly in between rounds of japa and soft kirtans. As the day and evening wore on, we kept Smita as warm and comfortable as we could, chanted to her and petted her affectionately as she lay there stuck in that awkward position on the cold, wet mud. Several times during the day and night, I noticed tears gliding down from Smita’s eyes. Her eyes rolled in pain, and looked scared. She would periodically attempt to get up, unsuccessfully. For more than twelve hours, she continued to struggle to change her position. Her struggling gradually caused her to turn clockwise, until she had positioned her body in such a way that she was lying with her head toward the east.

By nightfall, some of Smita’s caregivers began to get too cold and had to go to their respective homes for the night. I stayed with Smita until ten o’clock. By that time, I needed a break, too, so I went inside the house and warmed up, had some prasadam, and changed into dry clothes. Suddenly, I felt as if I were being prompted to go back outside. Three times I felt Lord Paramatma tell me to go back to be with Smita. So I immediately went out and climbed into the pasture. Smita was still breathing, although now her exhalations were punctuated with what sounded like little, tiny explosions. I softly chanted japa and looked into the clear, cold night sky. The stars glittered brightly, Srila Prabhupada’s sweet chanting of the Holy Names met our ears, wafted by the cold, night breeze. Smita continued to breathe with difficulty, and I continued to chant japa.

At 11:15 p.m., I whispered a little prayer: “Dear Lord, when will You allow this soul to leave her uncomfortable body?” About five minutes later, Smita exhaled a very long, drawn-out breath, then a couple of little short gasps. After that, there was silence. No more breathing. I put my ear down to her nostrils. No sound. I checked her eyes with the flashlight. They looked different. There was an empty, blue window where the solid, brown iris used to be. I touched her several times and called her name. “Smita?…Smita?…” No response. I shined the flashlight at my watch. 11:25 p.m. I sat for a while, thinking about what had transpired. It was momentous. I had never seen anyone leave their body except Bhima the kitty. I felt intermittent waves of happiness and sadness–I felt blessed to have been able to see Smita off on her passage from her material body but I was sorry to see her go. We would miss her. I let the tears fall as I stroked that soft, white body that had been so dear to so many. After a few moments, I wiped my eyes, stood up, breathed a sigh of relief and a prayer of thanks to Krishna, and raised my hands toward the stars, chanting and dancing along with Srila Prabhupada’s transcendentally sweet kirtan. By the Lord’s grace, our Smita had left comparatively peacefully, blessed by the sound of Krishna’s holy names.

I called my husband immediately. He was relieved to hear that she had at last been freed from her suffering, and expressed gratitude to all the devotees who had helped make her departure an auspicious event.

Wednesday morning, I went out to see her body. It had been dark the night before, so I couldn’t see details, but sure enough, true to her name Smita, which means “smile” in Sanskrit, in the sunlight I could now see that there was a soft, sweet smile on her lips. I smiled myself to see such a phenomenon.

In retrospect, my husband and I had tried everything within our power and had asked all kinds of people for advice how to treat her. Smita nonetheless was not cured of her problem. After we had tried everything we knew to try, and spent hundreds of dollars on vets, surgery, medicines and therapies–all to no avail–we decided to just try to keep her as comfortable and peaceful as possible during her last days, as it appeared that Lord Krishna had different plans and that she would soon leave her body.

On Friday, December 2nd, we buried her remains. Mitrasena Prabhu came and dug a huge hole with his tractor, then he lowered Smita’s body into the hole.

Mitrasena Prabhu Fills the Grave

Mamata, Madan-mohan-mohini, Kamalini, Bhadrasena and I threw various auspicious articles in on top of Smita–a garland from Lord Jagannatha, maha-prasadam flower petals and tulasi beads–then Mitra Prabhu proceeded to cover her up with dirt. We chanted Hare Krishna as the hole filled up and Mitra smoothed out the surface of the ground.

Last Good-bye

All day Friday, we kept Smita’s picture on our home altar and offered her the remnants of Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai’s prasadam. Several friends stopped by to have prasadam as well, in honor of our dear Smita devi.

Our Beautiful Lotus-Eyed Smita

We are grateful to everyone who came to help see her off in an auspicious manner, and to all those who stopped by and petted her, brushed her, massaged her brisket, chanted to her, recited scripture to her, talked to her, gave her treats, made turmeric hand-prints on her, garlanded her, sang to her and loved her during her short, eleven-year life. We are especially grateful to all those who rendered service such as feeding and watering our cows while we were out of town or out of the country, administering medicine to Smita when she was sick, donating straw to keep Smita warm last winter and getting Smita into the head-gate which Bala so painstakingly built so that surgery could be performed by the vet when my husband and I were in India last summer.

We pray that the dear soul we all knew as Smita the cow will now take birth in a family of Vaisnavas who will encourage her to continue to make progress on her path back home, back to Krishna.

“One should gently scratch the body of a cow, offer her a mouthful of green grass and reverently circumambulate her. If cows are maintained nicely and comfortably, Lord Gopal will be pleased.” (Gautamiya Tantra, from the book Sacred Cow by Bhumipati das)

Special thanks to:
Jambavan and Mamata
Bhaktin Wenda Shehata
Dr. Haripriya Dillon
Vatsal, Sasi and Krishnaya
Bhakta Kyle
Bhakta David Heal
Phani Bhushan
Krsna Caitanya and Gopal Nandini
Mathura and Citralekha
Sarva-drk and Sudevi
Sivananda and Madan-mohan-mohini
Harakanta and Bala
Mitrasena and Mukunda
Rsi Kumar
Adi-karta and Rucira
Nimish Bhatt
Kamalini and Bhadrasena
Nitai Pran
Sauri and Shyamala
Karnamrita and Arcana

(If I forgot anyone, please forgive me and know that Krishna has not forgotten your service!)


Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare


The Demigods Are Our Friends
by Bhakta Jason
Posted July 18, 2011

Recently I have become completely convinced that Lord Krishna wants me to learn to respect the fact that the demigods are devotees too. I just can't take seeing so much cow slaughter anymore. This is supposed to be a very special Kali-yuga. In this Kali-yuga at some point in time a global government is supposed to be formed that is committed to protecting the cows. I realize that it seems like we are light years away from this happening and maybe most of us don't envision that this is even possible anymore.

Srila Prabhupada had very very high goals for what this movement could achieve in this world. One of his main objectives was cow protection. What lengths are we willing to go to to protect the cows? The demigods want to help us to protect the cows. They want to help us to establish a platform where the modes of nature have been tamed to a degree that allows the masses of people to be more receptive to the philosophy of Krishna-consciousness. They want us to help them to achieve peace on their planets as well. By Prabhupada's mercy this movement has that ability. There are many inequities plaguing our entire universe at the present moment. It is essential that the devotees recognize the necessity of forming an alliance with the demigods. I have personally witnessed in very powerful ways how they can actually facilitate our devotional service in ways that Srila Prabhupada would very much appreciate.

My intention here is not to blasphemy the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. I know that he taught time and time again that chanting Hare Krishna is all that is required. But Prabhupada was a spiritual warrior and we are in a universal war right now. Maybe Prabhupada did what was necessary to accomplish one phase of the movement. There are devotees chanting Hare Krishna in most every town and village. Maybe it is time for a new phase for the movement. There are many weapons at our disposal that are not being used. We do not have to worship the demigods in a way that would compromise our objectives. They are devotees too and they want to facilitate our devotional service. They want to help us to save the cows. They want us to help them to fight Sukracarya and the rest of the asuras who have been plaguing this universe since time immemorial.

All that I'm asking is that the devotees reconsider that maybe some new reforms are necessary to intensify our collective pursuit of the yuga-dharma. Reforms that include the worship of the demigods as devotees of Krishna. They want to be our friends. They are very advanced people but people nonetheless. Very powerful devotees that want to help us and us to help them. Chanting Hare Krishna should always be the main focus of the movement. But maybe we are at a time when the movement could collectively find a way to include the demigods in their scope of consciousness as being people who are very much accessible to us right here and right now. People that are asking us for our help and offering their help in return. They love Lord Caitanya too. They love Krishna too. They love Srimati Radharani too. They love Srila Prabhupada too. They love you too.

I apologize if this is offensive. That is not my intention. I am just really tired of seeing a McDonald's on every corner. There are ways that we can gain the power necessary to uproot Kali's rule in a more immediate fashion and at the same time offer service to very advanced souls in the forms of demigods. I am just offering these ideas as food for thought.

Help Name Surabhi's Calf
by Gadi das and the Murari Sevaka community
Posted January 6, 2012

A picture of the new calf, taken when she was only six hours old.

Murari's Kirtan Valley in Tennessee is hosting a Name-Giving Fundraiser, an auction to name the blessed female calf of Surabhi, our pure Jersey cow. The female calf was born at 4:45 a.m., during the Brahma Muhurta of December 21, 2011, and is the first calf born at Murari in over 25 years.

Please see our website and/or our Facebook page for the endearing photos. New photos are being added regularly.

All you need to do in order to participate in the fundraiser, is to email us (murari_sevaka -at- yahoo.com) with your bids. It's that easy. The current bid to name our calf is $100 USD. Please check back often at our website page "New News" to keep up to date with what the high bid is.

Murari has seen many phases, and faces, though years past. At this juncture, consistency and steady, positive motion can bring true hope and a vibrant future for this beautiful, blessed valley. With your faith and financial help we can bring Murari to its natural, simple and glorious intent. With many kirtan festivals planned to enrich the atmosphere, fervent praying to Lord Chaitanya and an absence of personal agendas, Murari will manifest itself as Srila Prabhupada envisioned it 40 years ago: a pristine Vrindavan-style village with a natural dependency on Krishna, kirtan, the cows and the land.

We hope to see you all at Murari soon (532 Murari Lane, Mulberry, Tennessee 37359-5635, Telephone 931-759-6888). Hare Krsna.

How to Finance Solar Projects
by Chris Walker for GEETA, Inc.
Posted September 29, 2011

There was recently an article on Chakra about the benefits using of solar energy. Although they pay out over the long term, the upfront money can be a bar for those who lack the funds to buy a system outright. Here are some alternatives as to how to acquire a system:

Five Options for a Nonprofit to Fund a PV System


The purpose of this document is to share information on several options for a non-profit to fund the installation of a Photovoltaic system on their property.

Before we review the alternatives, let’s take a few minutes to understand the basics of a typical solar system as well as definitions related to funding opportunities.

Photovoltaic (PV) Power Systems convert sunlight directly into electricity. A residential PV power system enables an owner to generate some or all of their daily electrical energy demand on their own roof, exchanging daytime excess power for future energy needs (i.e. nighttime usage). In our examples, the building remains connected to the electric utility at all times, so any power needed above what the solar system can produce is simply drawn from the utility. PV systems can also include battery backup or uninterruptible power supply (UPS) capability to operate selected circuits in the residence for hours or days during a utility outage.

Net Metering is one measure of electricity produced by a solar system that is supplied to the electric utility grid by the PV system, causing the meter to run backwards and generate credit to a customer's electric account against electricity used from the grid.

Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) are tradable instruments that can be used by utilities to meet renewable energy targets as well as to meet compliance requirements for renewable energy policies. A SREC is a certificate that represents the generation of one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity from an eligible source of renewable energy. A megawatt-hour is the amount of electricity generated by a megawatt (MW) electric generator operating or producing electricity for one hour. On an electric bill, electricity usage is commonly reported in kilowatt-hours. 1,000 KW = 1 MW.

A Solar Power Purchase Agreement (SPPA) is a financial arrangement in which a developer owns, operates, and maintains the photovoltaic (PV) system, and a host customer agrees to site the system on its roof or elsewhere on its property and purchase the system’s electric output from the solar services provider for a predetermined period. This financing structure is popular with non-profit organizations that cannot take advantage of the Federal Income Tax Credit and realize the accelerated depreciation of their solar facility.

Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Tax payers who install solar energy systems can receive a 30% tax credit for systems placed in service before December 31, 2016.

Federal Accelerated Corporate Tax Depreciation. In December 2010 the provision for bonus depreciation was amended. Under these amendments, eligible property placed in service after September 8, 2010 and before January 1, 2012 qualifies for 100% first-year bonus depreciation. For 2012, bonus depreciation is still available, but the allowable deduction reverts from 100% to 50% of the eligible basis. The remaining allowable deductions would be spread over a 5-year depreciation schedule.

Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT). A donor transfers assets into a trust, designating a specific charity as the beneficiary. The trust principal becomes the property of the charitable organization upon the death of the donor or the termination of the trust. In the interim, the donor receives an annuity in the form of periodic payments from the trust. The donor will also be eligible for a charitable gift tax deduction and not have to pay capital gains tax on the asset if it is converted into a different income producing asset.

A Solar Lease is a long-term contract by which a Lessor rents a solar system for a fixed period and for a specified rent. The PV system would be installed on the Lessee’s property. Power rates from the leasing company are agreed upon in advance for the life of the agreement and are generally lower than the cost of electricity from the local utility company.

Five Options for a Nonprofit to Fund a PV System

Option 1. A Non-profit (NP) pays for the entire system.

Non Profit Pros:

· NP has complete control over the system.

· NP receives 100% of the SRECS.

· NP receives 100% of the solar electricity produced.

Non Profit Cons:

· NP will bear cost of entire system.

· NP will have to pay 100% of maintenance costs over life of the system.

· NP will have to pay for liability insurance.

· NP will not be able to take advantage of 30% Federal Tax Credit.

· NP will not be able to take advantage of Federal Tax Depreciation.

Donor Pros: N/A (no Donor directly involved with this scenario.)

Donor Cons: N/A (no Donor directly involved with this scenario.)

Option 2. Tax paying Donor directly donates the entire system to Non-profit.

Non Profit Pros:

· NP doesn’t bear the purchase costs of the system.

· NP has complete control over the system.

· NP receives 100% of the SREC payments.

· NP receives 100% of the solar electricity produced.

Non Profit Cons:

· NP to pay 100% of maintenance costs over life of the system.

· NP will have to pay for liability insurance.

· No one is able to take advantage of 30% Federal Tax Credit.

· No one is able to take advantage of Federal Tax Depreciation.

Donor Pros:

· Donor gets to take an itemized tax deduction for the actual cost of the system.

Donor Cons:

· Donor is not able to take advantage of 30% Federal Tax Credit.

· Donor is not able to take advantage of Federal Tax Depreciation.

Option 3: Donor pays for the entire system, sets up a PPA for Donor to sell electricity generated to NP, and then donates system and/or SRECs to non-profit later (typically after 6 years to take full advantage of tax deductions).

Non Profit Pros:

· NP gets electric at a discounted stable rate.

· NP doesn’t bear the costs of the system purchase.

· NP may be able to purchase the system at the end of the PPA.

Non Profit Cons:

· More complicated scenario extended over time, most likely 5 to 7 years.

· Unclear who will pay maintenance costs over life of the system.

Donor Pros:

· Donor able to take advantage of 30% Federal Tax Credit/Grant.

· Donor will get tax depreciation (extended over a number of years).

· Donor will get approx. 5% return from SRECs during the length of the PPA.

Donor Cons:

· Donor typically pays for the liability insurance throughout the length of the PPA.

· PPAs are complicated and require legal assistance to set up.

Option 4. A Donor creates a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) with the Non-profit as the beneficiary. The CRT purchases a PV system. Donor gets the lesser of 5% of the annual fair market value of the trust’s assets or the income of the trust (for up to 20 years), after which time the Trust assets transfer to the Non-profit.

Non Profit Pros:

· NP receives 100% of the solar electricity produced.

· NP will take full possession assets after 20 years (or the passing of Donor).

Non Profit Cons:

· Most complicated scenario extended over time, up to 20 years.

Donor Pros:

· Donor gets a charitable income tax deduction in the year of transferring assets to the trust (for the present value of what eventually will be transferred to the charity). Any unused deduction can be carried for an additional five years.

· Donor receives income from SRECs for up to 20 years.

· Donor can avoid capital gains tax on the sale of appreciated assets by the trust and maximize after-sale income.

Donor Cons:

· Locks in asset/investment for the remainder of the Donor’s life.

· Most complicated scenario extended over time, up to 20 years.

5: Non-profit leases the system (either straight or purchase lease).

Non Profit Pros:

· NP doesn’t pay for system maintenance.

· NP gets electric at a discounted stable rate.

· NP doesn’t bear the costs of the upfront system purchase.

· NP will not have to pay for liability insurance.

· NP may be able to purchase the system at the end of the lease.

Non Profit Cons:

· NP will not receive funds from the SRECs.

· NP will have to make a monthly payment for the life of the lease.

· NP will not be able to take advantage of 30% Federal Tax Credit.

· NP will not be able to take advantage of Federal Tax Depreciation.

Donor Pros:

· N/A (Lease will be with a leasing company, not a donor.)

Donor Cons:

· N/A (Lease will be with a leasing company, not a donor.)


There is no one option that is automatically recommended as the best case scenario. There are many factors that go into deciding what for works for a partic

Non Profit Solar System Funding Comparison Chart
N/A = Not Applicable

Disclaimer: The materials offered in this document are of a general nature. No individual financial needs or goals have been taken into account in the information provided. A reader should always seek independent advice about specific financial decisions. The Author and GEETA, Inc. disclaim any and all responsibility or liability in respect to the information detailed or omitted (or the consequences thereof) from this document.

Compiled and prepared by Chris Walker for GEETA, Inc., February 2011.

Copyright GEETA, Inc. 2011.

A Day Serving Krishna’s Cows in Vraja
by Parsada dasi
Posted June 24, 2011

Some of the beautiful calves and cows of Vrindavan.

Padma dasi, a very dear friend of mine and a sincere devotee for many years, visited Sri Vrindavan Dham during Kartik last year. She arrived a day after the much-celebrated Gopastami festival.

As we made our way to the ISKCON goshala that afternoon, I described to her our Gopastami festival, where our Srimati Radharani is dressed as the cowherd boy Subal, and how at this time Her devotees relish the sweet darshan of Her lotus feet — the only time in the year except at Radhastami.

On this wonderful day, also, Their Lordships Krsna and Balaram visit Their cows at the goshala, riding on a palanquin, led by the vibrant chanting and dancing of the devotees. You can't help noticing Their appreciative smiles as They examine Their calves, bulls and cows. The whole day devotees are plunged into an ecstasy of dramas, lectures, exotic prasadam and go-seva.

Padma prabhu was really sorry for having missed the festival. I asked her what she thought about the Supreme Personality of Godhead appearing as a cowherd boy in Vraja.

Nursing calves in the goshala need milk too.

"Come to think about it, it never struck me as something important; I just took it for granted, you know. It's in all of Prabhupada's lectures, books and purports. It's there, and it's something I accepted without much thought."

What she said next shocked me. "What to speak of realizing Krsna as a cowherd boy, I have never touched a cow in my life. I have been to Vrindavan a few times, but between my kids, the husband, their getting sick, the morning program, parikramas, Loi Bazaar and the MVT restaurant, there was no time for the cows. We often saw the stray cows, but my kids were too scared to go anywhere near them.

"I know I should have spared some time to visit the goshala, for them to get used to the cows, but we never had enough time. Today will be my first visit, and without my family I should feel guilty, but somehow I don't. My mom is taking good care of them. Thank you very much for bringing me," she said.

"It's only fair, then, that I should introduce you to the bliss of serving Krsna's cows, and you'll have an inkling of why the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared as a cowherd boy."

"I am the humble servant of Krsna's cows; please lead the way!" Padma said laughingly.

A hoof will do for scratching an itch.

As we entered our ISKCON goshala, the smell of cow dung, cow urine and freshly cropped grass filled the air. A few cowherd women were busy picking up cow dung in a metal pan; a few young boys were washing the cowsheds with buckets of water, and elsewhere the cowherd men were leading the bulls out of the sheds into the sunshine. Over the loudspeakers, Prabhupada's sweet bhajans played in the background.

I watched the happy look on my friend's face and gave her the first assignment: "Please take that pan from this woman, and go to that part of the barn and fill it up with cow dung."

With an amazed look on her face, she turned to me. "You can't be serious!" she said. After I had given her a practical demonstration, though, she went down on her knees and picked up her first handful of cow dung. And in no time she had the pan filled up; she then carried it on her head and took it to the area where it would be made into cow-dung cakes. She was having so much fun. Sitting among the ladies who were already making them, she made over a dozen cow-dung cakes.

Next we got buckets and filled them with fresh, sweet water, and she carried them to every cow in the shed. It was tiring, for she was not one to do menial labour. "Keeping a maid has made me lazy," she quipped, as she placed the bucket next to Jamuna, a beautiful white cow who had giveb birth a week ago. Her udders full, Jamuna drank up all the water and mooed for more.

Giving her back a massage, she panted, "Could I take a break now?"

"Sure," I replied. We went over to where the baby calves were kept. There were about five of them huddled together enjoying the sunshine. That did it; she crouched down, picked up Jamuna's calf, placed him on her lap and began caressing and kissing him. Every time he jolted back, she held him tighter.

"You are soooo beautiful, eh, sooo beautiful!" And beautiful he was, white as snow except for his forehead and the tip of his tail, which has a sprinkling of brown. She looked at me, "He is mine! I want to take him home, my boys will love him."

"Of course you can take him home — in your heart. And photos should suffice for your boys, till you bring them to Vrindavan," I said.

"Can't believe the fun I am having. It's like another world."

"It is another world," I said.

After much hesitation, she put the calf down. "Give him a name," I said. She looked up at me, surprised. "Gosh! I can name him, too! Okay, I will call him Jamuna Priya. I will never forget him."

"All right, it's time to feed laddus to the cows," I said.

"Oh, wonderful! Let's get those laddus."

After we got a basket full of laddus, she wanted to know what they were made of. "Jaggery and coarse wheat," I said.

"They smell yummy; are they good for human consumption?" she asked jokingly. She went around feeding the cows and big calves laddus, and at one time she let out a scream, "They have teeth! One just bit me!"

I examined her fingers, "You got the mercy," I said, "and millions of your sinful activities have been destroyed. You will be okay."

"Oh, really, and how does that work?" she questioned.

"You see, the 33 million demigods live in the bodies of these cows, especially these ones with the silky-soft skin folds at the neck, lotus eyes and the huge hump on the back. Also residing in their bodies are the nine planets. Remember that time when you sent me an e-mail saying me that your husband was in his 'Saturn period'?"

"Yes, I never knew this. So instead of doing this and all the other things — my mother-in-law insisted I do the Shiva puja, the Durga puja and read the Hanuman Chalisa — we could have just worshipped Go-mata. Why didn't you tell me?"

"At that time I was also not aware of the importance of worshipping Krsna's cows. It's only by their causeless mercy that I can render some service to them," I replied, then prompted: "It's getting closer to milking time. We have a few minutes left; let's go brush Luxman, my favorite bull. He sometimes brings Krsna-Balaram's milk to the temple."

We went over to Luxman, a huge copper-red bull lying with the other bulls under the pipal trees. As soon as he saw us he got up and held his head up high. I pulled out from my bag a special brush with firm bristles to brush Luxman. "Krishna! He is such a big bull. You sure he will not toss me back to my hellish country?" she joked, staying a little distance away.

"Not at all. He is the gentlest and sweetest of all the bulls in the goshala," I said, as I began brushing Luxman under the neck, on his back, the hump, between his horns, his head. He loved it.

Seeing how much he was enjoying the brushing, my friend grabbed the brush from my hands saying: "Come on, give me the brush. You are too slow. Luxman wants a full body brush. I am expert in these things, having a husband and two sons, you know."

I laughed as she got into the swing of brushing Luxman. The bull loved it so much that he practically fell asleep while standing up, and after some time he sat down and dozed off, though not before she put a couple of laddus in his enormous mouth.

Hugging me as we went to the milking pen, my friend, with tears in her eyes. said: "Thank you. I never knew cows could be such lovable, sweet and gentle animals. No wonder Krsna loved them so much. I cannot in my wildest dreams ever think I would ever feel so much happiness and be closer to Krsna."

"It's not over yet; you have to milk at least one cow, and then we will together relish the chanting of the Lord's holy name amongst the cows," I said. As we entered the milking pen, the cowherd men had the milking cows' back legs tied with ropes, and into a silver pail fell thick, creamy white milk. As they gently pressed the udders between their thumbs and forefingers, continuous streams of frothy milk fell into the pails.

My friend could contain herself no longer; she squatted besides Shyam, the cowherd boy. He gave her a crimson smile and taught her how to milk Kalindi. At first Kalindi protested a bit, but after repeated attempts my friend finally milked her first cow. It was a historic moment for her. She was jubilant; she danced, gave me repeated hugs, kissed Kalindi and hugged Shyam as well!

As the milking went on, we sat under the kadamba tree, surrounded by Krsna's beloved cows. With our minds fixed on the Lord's holy name, we chanted five rounds. "This is the best japa I ever did, and everything seems so mystical and pure. It seems as if I am in another time zone. Actually it seems as if I am closer to Krsna, a truly unbelievable experience, something to relish, cherish and keep locked away in the heart.

"We lead such hectic lives, 24-7. It's about work, money, keeping house, seeing to the kids, pleasing the in-laws. My husband just had a promotion, and we hardly see him. I make it to the temple on Sundays, but it's not enough. I want to do more. What can I do? Please tell me what I can do for the cows," she said, looking at me.

I smiled, gave her a hug and told her to share her experience with others. Just as the holy names are non-different from Krsna, He can never be separated from His beloved cows in Vraja. "Also promote go-seva amongst your friends and family members, and support this project according to your means."

"I will," she said. As we made our way back to the temple, she picked up a dried cow-dung patty and put it in her bag. Looking at me, she said: "For memories, and for purifying my home and heart."