“Mom, I’m hungry.”
“But you just ate half an hour ago!”
“Mom, are we there yet?”
“Honey, we just left!”
“Mom, why is there a 12-foot tall cow following us?”
“Listen, just stop bothering me, oka--- Wait, what??”
At least that’s roughly how we’d imagine many conversations will go once ISKCON New Talavana’s Cowmobile hits the road. The brainchild of temple president Yogindra Dasa and his high school friend, media producer Tapan Mishra Dasa, this Hare Krishna answer to the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile is a creative step in promoting New Talavana’s cow protection program.
“We want the Cowmobile to become a recognizable brand image for cow protection everywhere,” says Tapan Mishra, a long-time craftsman who co-authored the 1973 book “How to Build a Ratha-Yatra Cart” with the late Jayananda Dasa. “It will share the benefits of Mother Cow and leave a soft spot in the hearts of adults and children alike. And, because it’s an approach that’s more pro-cow than anti-meat eating, it will give positive, healthy messages to counter the thousands of misleading, impersonal, and cow-destructive commercial advertisements people are exposed to every day.”
Tapan intends the Cowmobile to be a local and nationwide attraction, bringing its wholesome message to county fairs, schools, and educational events. He also plans to take it on a Ratha Yatra tour to commemorate the outstanding work of Jayananda Dasa, who Tapan says wanted “to have a celebration in every venue possible.”
Onlookers will be given informational handouts and treated to a high-tech media presentation. “We’re using LCD monitors and audio narration to remind people how nice cows really are, that they’re not just objects to do with as we will,” says Tapan Mishra.
In the future, if New Talavana collects enough capital to become a USDA certified milking operation, their message will be reinforced by delicious sweets made from fresh cow milk. For now, they’ll settle with the quiet confidence that with a 12 foot high, 6 foot wide, and 30 foot long fiberglass cow as a spokesperson, people will listen.
Taking promotion to the next level has been on the agenda at New Talavana for a long time. “We’ve been protecting one hundred cows, bulls and calves for over 30 years,” says Yogindra Dasa, who has worked at the farm since its founding in 1974. “Local devotees do all the work voluntarily, including milking the cows twice daily, building and repairing fences, seeding and fertilizing pasture land, working the oxen, and cutting, bailing and putting up hay for winter feed.”
New Talavana’s cow protection project is currently funded primarily by Adopt-a-Cow, to which people can contribute to care for cows and bulls. But they hope that this new promotion will result in better facilities, and a higher positive awareness of Krishna’s most beloved animal.
What’s more, the Cowmobile project may not stop at New Talavana. “Ratha-Yatra festivals spread from one or two cities in the late sixties to hundreds today,” says Tapan-Mishra. “And I’m sure that the same concept can be applied to this project with great success.”
Anyone interested in participating may contact Yogindra Dasa at Talavan@hughes.net. For the rest of us: Next time your kid shouts that there’s a huge cow following you, he’s probably not making it up. Why not stop and check it out? It’s not every day that a gargantuan bovine turns up at your local county fair, shows you movies, and dishes you tasty milk treats.