In the Blog World:
Vraja Goes to Permanent Pasture
Posted November 9, 2006
Vraja was a long term resident of New Vrindaban. Read the story of his passing and remembrances of him at Life With The Land and the Cows. iscowp.blogspot.com/
"I don't think people realize just how gentle, considerate, and intelligent these huge beasts are. They need our protection and our love and in return, they will give their very life, their total dedication in service to us. Can anyone say that about a tractor? Does a tractor soften our hearts or teach us lessons of life? Can a tractor show us the interconnectedness of all living creatures on the deepest spiritual and emotional level? From these great animals we can learn all there is to know about relationships and our own false ego and hang ups that keep us from surrendering fully to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and being in harmony with all that is around us."
One day I was working in our garage when this pickup truck came flying out the lane from Balabhadra's and stopped in a cloud of dust.
"Do you know who lives at that farm?" the guy asked me.
"Yes", I replied, and he said"I just spent the last hour in a tree with my friend. A big bull chased us and we had to climb it to escape. He finally moved away a little and I was able to get down and make a run for the fence, but my friend is still up in the tree!"
I looked at him for a while, then asked, "Were you carrying a 5 gallon plastic bucket?"
His jaw dropped and he looked at me in surprise. "How did you know that?" he asked.
The reason I knew was that I had had similar experiences, and had guessed he had been carrying tools in a bucket. I forget why he was out in Balabhadra's pasture, but it was some legitimate thing, working on a phone line or something, and he needed small hand tools.
While I was still healthy and doing Farmer's Markets, and Balabhadra was still getting established, we used to clean out his barn in exchange for keeping the manure. I would back down into the barn and Tulasi and I would load 5 gallon buckets with the black gold. Having it in buckets made unloading and applying to the garden easier.
Vraja would come into the barn and be a real annoyance. He would get in the way. He would poke his horns in the buckets of manure and then toss his head. I tried to keep chasing him away but he was very persistent. I actually scheduled runs to the barn at the times I knew he would be out on the pasture where he couldn't see us. It wasn't that he was mean, but the chance he would step on your foot inadvertently or swing his head to chase flies and catch you with one of his long horns was a consideration. Mainly though, was being in the way.
Turns out it wasn't that he necessarily liked hanging out with us; some curiosity was there, but mostly it was the buckets. Balabhadra fed him grain out of one, so he was conditioned to expect some goodies whenever he saw one and would crowd in so he didn't miss anything. Hence, seeing someone in the pasture with a bucket, he naturally followed them and his enthusiasm for an expected treat had been misinterpreted as aggression. I still laugh visualizing those guys up a tree with Vraja waiting patiently below.