Ananda farm, children, teachers, bull ;)

It is said that, of all the males of bovine breeds, the dairy bulls are the meanest, as a result of their prolonged separation from their mates. And, of all the dairy bulls, the Guernseys are considered the worst — horns and shoulders, one might say, above the others.

At Ananda Village in the late 1970s, we kept a Guernsey bull for breeding purposes. He was called Nandi (after Lord Shiva’s servant and protector), and he lived in a pasture near our dairy at that time, just below a pond named after him: Nandi Pond.

He stayed in that pasture nearly always all by himself. He was a large bull, with a wide neck. Narada Agee told me, “I once saw Nandi in that pasture with a horse. Nandi stuck his neck under the horse and lifted the horse up off his feet. Ever since then, I’ve nurtured a healthy respect for Nandi.”

But when Prakash Van Cleave introduced me to Nandi, as we stood on the dirt road next to the wire fence that hemmed him in, he spoke lovingly of him. And when he called him, Nandi trotted over and Prakash caressed his nose. He explained to me that Nandi, who often bellowed in his pasture, was lonely. What he said made an impression on me.

At that time I worked in the dairy with Nakula Cryer and others, helping to milk the cows and goats, feed and gather eggs from the chickens, and I ran the dairy kitchen where we bottled milk and made cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, and kefir.

I used to walk along the dirt road next to Nandi’s pasture on my way up the hill to the Ayodhya monastery where I lived at that time. When I walked that long road and path to my tipi after work, I often used to sing to myself songs composed by Swami Kriyananda: “Walk Like a Man,” “There’s Joy in the Heavens,” “What Is Love?” and so on.

One day, as I walked by Nandi’s pasture and saw him there bellowing, I thought about what Prakash had told me, of Nandi’s loneliness, and I thought I’d try singing to Nandi.

I did so, and he came up to me at the fence and seemed to enjoy my singing.

Richard (Dayananda) Salva milking in the Ananda DairySo I got into the habit of singing to him on a daily basis, and he used to stick his great neck through the wire fence so he could lick my arm with his rough tongue. Even Nandi’s tongue was strong, as his licking moved my arm and shoulder up and down.

One late afternoon — it happened to be Halloween — I was walking up from Ananda Village on the road to the dairy for evening chores and milking when I was stopped in mid-stride by an arresting sight. It was a 50-pound hay bale soaring 20 feet into the air.

Nandi had broken out of his pasture!

I hurried up and saw that Nakula and others were trying to coax Nandi back into the pasture, past the gate he had broken but he would have none of it.

He was having a grand old time playing with the hay bales and singing a triumphant bellowing Nandi song in his deep voice.

Nothing was working to get Nandi back into his pasture. But then I had an idea.

I told Nakula how I’d been singing to Nandi, and that he seemed to like the singing. “Maybe,” I said, “if I stand in his pasture and sing to him, he will come in.”

Nakula was willing to try it, so I walked into the entrance to Nandi’s pasture, next to his feeding trough, and began to sing.

Ananda Blacksmith shop

Within moments, Nandi came trotting in. Nakula and the others quickly filled his trough with grain and hay and as Nandi ate, worked quickly to repair the fence. In a short time, they had done so.

Nandi came up and pushed against the gate with his forehead in a leisurely manner, but we could see that the fire had gone out of him.

Music really is a universal language, and it communicates across species. Swami Kriyananda’s music especially carries a message of peace and love.

And, more than 40 years ago, it carried that message to the heart of one of God’s more unlikely creatures — a large and tough Guernsey bull.


  1. Thank you for sharing your sweet and inspiring story! It’s so wonderful to hear just how music touches all no matter what shape or form. Blessings to you always my dear friend and brother!

    1. Grazie, Marchissimo! So nice to hear from you. I recall many hours listening to excellent music with you. May God, Christ, and Guru bless you deeply this year and always!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this sweet and touching story about Nandi. I gathered Nandi passed on at the end. How long did he live with us in the village and how old was he when he passed away?


      Hi Van,

      I am glad you enjoyed the story. I do not know exactly how long we had Nandi at the Village, but I believe it was around five years. I do not know how old he was when he passed away.

      Christmas blessings to you and yours!

  3. Thank you. More stories for the soul please. 🙂

  4. Beautiful story! So happy that loving music assuaged the big bull. Your “lullaby” assuredly “lulled” him into his “bullpen!” What “relief” that brought everyone! When my wife and I dance the Paneurhythmy (sacred music and dance composed by the great Bulgarian Master Peter Deunov) various birds circle above us and respond in their own beautiful way. We are all so blessed to experience divine oneness through nature’s profound and intimate signatures when we are sensitive enough to recognize them. Many blessings to the entire Ananda Community worldwide from another spiritual community–The Hearts Center. We love doing the Energization Exercises led by Swami Kriyananda. Thank you to all the holy brothers and sisters!

  5. Tremendous. Particularly impressive when I remember what a massive beast old Nandi was. Of course, he was a Taurean, the sign that rules the throat – there are lots of bulls in our ensembles and choirs. Thanks for sharing, Dayanand – great story, well told! Blessings.

  6. Wonderful story! Illustrates our oneness with all beings. I often walk past the fields at Ananda Village, where horses now graze, and talk with them in passing. Maybe, I too, should try some chants.

  7. What a cool story, Richard! And how courageous of those of you who took part in remedying that situation. But it’s true that music can work miracles, especially music filled with peace, and so it did. Love & Light and great blessings to all at Ananda.

  8. Nice story, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the plight of the lonely bulls. I realise this isn’t the point of your story, but I want to ask, why does the bull have to separated and isolated like this? Does it have to be lonely?
    Cathy x


      Thanks, Cathy. From what I understand, dairy bulls are separated from the females because they are naturally protective of them. Imagine having to deal with a protective bull every time you tried to herd the cows to the barn for milking. Also, if the bull is always with the cows he may impregnate them at any time. The only way a dairy can function is to keep a cow in productive lactation for as long as possible, and then strategically planning when they calve.

  9. What a sweet touching story .. thank you for sharing. Swamiji’s music is Heavenly indeed.

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