I have played hours of soccer in the deserts of Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), went for a walk at peak noon in Rajkot (Gujarat) and went sight seeing in the middle of high summer in New Delhi. Places I have experienced heavy heat. But yesterday, here in regional Victoria, when I stepped out for a break from work, I was back inside in 10 seconds flat !! Our part of the world, recorded an immense 43 degree celsius yesterday! Whoah!
This is what a representative from the Country Fire Authority (CFA) had to say to the media:
“We’re looking at a very hot day with low humidity and reasonable winds. Those conditions are fairly ripe for a fire and we just … have to be very careful and mitigate any ignition sources.”
Such was the condition. Bad. Of course, the humans took care of themselves quickly. Air-conditioned offices, cars and shops. I, even overheard people sharing ideas on what they can do to ease the increased body temperature of their dogs and cats at home. But my mind was elsewhere.
Out there in the paddocks, you could see the cows and bulls left out in the heat. The good majority of the paddocks, that I often gaze at, from the windows of my Melbourne bound train, do not have shelters for these free roaming cattle. No roofs. No trees. Just acres and acres of grass bordered by a fence. Yesterday, even my Australian mates were disappointed seeing the state of these animals and felt pity for them.
Many months ago, I had wanted to write a letter to a magazine concerned with cattle about this condition. I had wanted to tell them it was cruel to leave them out in the open land with no shelters anywhere. And that they must educate farmers to build artificial shelters, if trees weren’t an immediate possibility. But I didn’t write. I wish I did. The cattle just sat there in the heat. And I felt so guilty. As Krishna’s devotees, we must always keep an eye out for cow safety and initiate dialogues with authorities and owners for their protection. Without wasting any time.
Krishna is worshiped as namo brahmanya-devaya. His first business is to give protection to the cows and the brahmanas.” (Srila Prabhupada letter, June 16, 1974)