Why A Hindu Man Left Brooklyn to Start A Cow Sanctuary in Pennsylvania

Balancing the world’s karma

Sankar Sastri is undertaking a great effort in hopes that he will be making the world a better place than before. He starts each day by trudging out into the fields of his cow sanctuary in Monroe County, Pennsylvania and interacting with the 23 cows he houses and tends to there. Sastri is not a farmer and was not even accustomed to this lifestyle for the first sixty years of his life.

In 2000, Sankar Sastri traded in his life as an engineering teacher at New York College of Technology in Brooklyn for his present one. He said goodbye to the comforts of the city and greeted a pickup truck full of tools as the next step in his life. When he was considering retirement, the devout Hindu also started to ponder his next life. The Hindu belief in reincarnation and karma made him think about whether he was doing enough to earn a good lot for his next life.

Now, 18 years later and 78 years old, Sastri continues to tend to the growing herd of cows at his sanctuary. Every morning he talks to the cows, praises their beauty, and works to continue to care for the animals while selling the herd’s dung patties for use in religious ceremonies. After all, the cow is a sacred animal to the Hindu religion, and their preservation is integral to the faith.

According to the beliefs, the reverence of the cow can be found in the religious texts in references to many holy figures including Lord Krishna, who appeared on Earth as a cow herder. The cow has also been seen as important to civilization itself in religious scriptures since cow milk has been used to feed and nourish people. As a result, cows are seen as very important and sacred animal that should be protected and cared for by all people.

For the 900 million Hindus around the world, it is forbidden to kill a cow and eat its meat, and many people even take time to feed their cows before eating breakfast in the morning. Sankar Sastri, born in Southern India, utilizes these beliefs in his habits and continually dedicates himself to raising cows and improving the world by doing so. Cows are giving animals, he says, and protecting them increases the love and goodness in the world. Whether it’s enough to have a large impact is uncertain, but it is more than enough to gain notice in the local area.


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