Piercing our Cow's and Bull's Nose
COWS AND BULLS IN VEDIC CULTURE
In Vedic culture, cows and bulls are highly revered animals. The cow is given the respect of a mother, since she donates her milk to human beings and the bull is given the respect of a father, since he sacrifices his energy by ploughing the land so that humans can grow grains which give them nourishment. Bulls were generally transformed into oxen if they were to be used as draught animals. The stool and urine of both has many important uses, and so the cows and bulls were maintained until the end of their natural life. According to Vedic literature, the unrestricted slaughter of innocent animals is completely forbidden and is considered a most heinous act. The unrestricted slaughter of cows and bulls is considered especially sinful; as sinful as killing a woman or a child. These helpless animals are always to be protected protected from harm. Although, in Vedic texts, there is mention of ritualistic sacrifices involving the cows and bulls, there is also mention that such sacrifices are completely forbidden in the present day and age.
A common practice amongst Vedic culture is to pierce both the cow and bull's noses in order to more easily guide and handle the animals. This occurrence can also be seen in Western countries, where farmers place brass rings in the nose of their bulls, however the Vedic method differs slightly.
In this blog post, we walk our readers through the process we endured to pierce both our cow and bull's noses.
SVĀTĪ AND SANĀTANA
In case some of you are unaware, we rescued our cow and her young bull calf last year from a beef farm in Savannah, GA.
TOO STRONG TO HANDLE
When Sanātana began to grow in size and strength, we began to struggle to lead him around the field. Whilst milking Swātī, I oftentimes allow Sanātana to drink her milk in order to allow the milk to "let down." Sanātana became so strong that it would take both Ātmārāma and I, with all of our might, to pull him away from his mother's teet. Something had to be done...
PLAN A : HIRE A VET
We recalled our time in India where most of the larger cows and bulls had their noses pieced. The owners would thread a rope through the septum of the nose and connect it to another rope that was tied around the cow's neck. Since we hadn't been shown how exactly to pierce the nose, we decided to call a local vet and inquire if they could visit our land and pierce Sanātana's nose, similar to how this video shows:
After speaking to a local vet, we weren't very keen on his proposed technique. His procedure involved injecting Sanātana with a synthetic sedative called Rompon (as shown in the above video.) However, when we researched the side effects of Rompon, we found that many insidences of cancer forming around the injection site were reported. Rompon can also be dangerous to the health of the animal as it greatly slows down the heart rate, potentially leading to heart failure.
The vet also insisted that we use a brass ring (as per Western custom) instead of a rope (as per Vedic custom) for Sanātana's piercing. When we questioned our good friend Bharat Candra Dasa, a well learned scholar in traditional Vedic culture, about whether to use rope or a ring, he explained that rope was much preferred to rings as the dangling nose rings can get cought on things while the cows are grazing. When I explained to the vet's secretary that we wanted to thread a rope through the septum piercing, she yelled, "Oh my God!!" in utter shock! In other words, they refused to use the rope.
Not to mention the vet would charge about $400 for the whole procedure.
PLAN B: DO IT OURSELVES
After speaking to the vet, we decided to try and pierce Sanātana's nose ourselves. We found a few videos of Asian village farmers piercing their cow's noses on YouTube (like the one below) and carefully studied their technique.
SANATANA'S NOSE PIERICING
We purchased a 1/4'' nail from the hardware store and sharpened it with a file. We then threaded a copper wire through the end of a cotton rope.
As shown in the video of the Asian farmers, in order to stabilize Sanātana for the piercing, we tied a rope around his nose which was then tied around a tree. When I initially tried to pierce his nose, the nail did not go in very easily and required a tremendous amount of force to finally puncture his skin. Once the nail was finally through, I removed it and tried to thread the rope through as shown in the video. Unfortunately, the rope didn't go through as planned - it was too dry and was causing Sanātana too much pain. We therefore decided to put a temporary hitch pin in his nose (purchased from Tractor Supply) until we could figure out how to get the rope through less painfully.
To be honest, I wasn't looking forward to replacing the hitch pin. The initial piercing was difficult enough and the hitch pin seemed to be allowing the hole to heal nicely.
After a few weeks, the hitch pin fell out while Sanātana grazing!! (It must have gotten caught on something) Taking the opportunity, we soaked the rope in oil in hopes that it would go in more smoothly. Thankfully, it worked beautifully!!!
Now Sanātana's nose is fully healed. We frequently wash it with a solution of salt and turmeric.
Effect of piercing:
Sanātana's demeanor changed significantly after we peireced his nose. He has always been friendly, but sometimes he would get over excited and become unruly. His nickname is Denis the Menace (no explanation needed.) Our fiends joked that there must have been some subtle energy point that we engaged when we pierced his nose because his demeanor was so much more consistently calm and gentle! We are certain that Sanātana's change in behavior was brought about from not only having a rope though his nose, but perhaps the trauma that we went through together having a more profound impression. He is still strong as can be, and can still be very difficult to lead around, but now it appears that he has a more deep respect for us as his care-givers. The effect of the experience is undeniable.
SWATI'S NOSE PIERCING
After Sanātana's piercing, we didn't really want to imagine what Svati's would be like. Sanātana protested his piercing by kicked and running around the tree to which he was tied. After all of his protesting, he eventually fell over - what would it look like if Svati reacted the same? We didn't want to know..
We've experienced many times that we may procrastinate for as long as we want, but when the time comes - well, it comes.
A few days ago, Svati was peacefully grazing and came upon a large ant hill in which she curiously stuck her entire snout into! Frightened by the bites of the aunts, she ran and broke her rope that was tied to her ground stake. After learning this technique of breaking her lead rope, she did this numerous times over the course of the next few days.
Yesterday, however, Swati was grazing and her rope completely broke off of her neck, not just the ground stake. She ran around in a frenzy and was very excited to be completely free. In her excitement, she jumped up and Atmarama happened to be in her way! After being kicked over, Atmarama, shocked more than hurt, quickly got up. We then decided that it was time to pierce her nose immediately in an attempt to bring her under control and to prevent her from breaking her rope again.
Although we had planned on fixing up the milking stand, etc, to prepare for the piercing (aka procrastinating), we had no time to do these things since Svati was now completely loose and a little dangerous in her over excitement. We hastly put her in the wobbly milking stand, tied a rope around her snout to secure her head, and quickly put the needle through her nose. Her skin was even more dense than Sanātana's, so I had to use all of my strength to get the needle through (it took about 3 tries.) Once the nail was through, we removed it and threaded through the oil-soaked rope. It went incredibly smooth!
The cotton rope threaded through the nose was then taken behind her horns, wrapped around her coller several times, and tied in a simple reef knot. This way, when we lead her around, we are not actually pulling directly on her nose-rope, but instead on her collar which gives a gently tug on her nose-rope.
One day later, Svati is happy, gentle and trusting again. We've already noticed a significant change in her demeaner; much less abrupt and aggressive in her movements. I joked that it's as if she's taken Valuum!! We are continuing to wash her nose with a solution of salt and turmeric to aid in the healing process.
Ambhrani Devi Dasi