Service at the Gaushala: North Houston, TX
Thirty-five members of the Sri Sathya Sai Center of North Houston, comprising Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) students, their parents and teachers, as well as other Center members, visited the Texas Gaushala (cow sanctuary) located in Cypress, North Houston on the morning of March 13, 2021. The visit was part of the annual outdoor service organized by the SSE teachers with the goal of exposing SSE students and their parents to sustainable activities and fostering bonds between them through service.
Texas Gaushala is dedicated to reviving Vedic-based agriculture, including the raising of the indigenous cows of India in a holistic, harmonious, loving and sanctified atmosphere. This is in stark contrast to the inhumane treatment of cattle raised for slaughter in mass commercialized settings in the US, where cattle are often inflicted with incredible suffering. Gaushala also has a vision of promoting organic chemical-free sustainable cow-based economy, and a zero-waste circular eco-system such as the production of gas for fuel and electricity from cow dung, as well as bio-fertilizer and bio-pesticides from cow urine and cow dung.
Gaushala offers many programs which introduces volunteers to the ancient methods of sustainable organic farming methods. The day’s activities began with an orientation to CDC COVID-19 safety guidelines. Next, the children and their parents were grouped into various teams. One group of volunteers worked on yard cleanup that entailed cutting down unwanted trees and bulk trash removal. Other groups cleaned up debris, removed weeds and spread hay to protect the farm beds. The most exciting part of the visit for the children was feeding the cows, which they enjoyed immensely.
Upon completion of all activities, the host at the Gaushala, Mr. Abhinav Goswami, spent some time explaining to volunteers the importance of Vedic-based agriculture and living in harmony with nature. At the end of the exhausting but gratifying day, the volunteers left happy with a day well spent, carrying to-go lunch boxes as a token of appreciation for their service.
The children reflected on their fun-filled and enriching experience at the Gaushala.
Krithika Sai Srinivas said, "The experience was new and interesting since this was the first time we actually worked on a farm. For instance, I had never seen a saffron plant before.”
“It was a lovely experience, We got to pull out weeds, transport the hay and feed the cows. I really liked petting the cows,” reflected Sudhanya Manikonda.
Janaki Sreekanth Nair shared, “This service was really fun and interesting, I loved helping around the farm."
Manthan Panchal chimed in, “It’s been very awesome being here, with the cows, the chickens and the roosters. Except for when the cows chased us while we were carrying the hay and when the chickens got angry at us.”