As a sanyasi, he has no conventional source of income. He lives on alms. Even then he prefers to contribute all his alms for the well-being of his family of cattle. They are his loving mothers, Gomata. Through this he wants to pass on the message that cows play a major role in the agrarian Indian economy, and this tradition has to be kept alive.
In Gomata’s service:
Nuagaon village of Chhendipada block in Angul district of Odisha houses the bovine love of sanyasi Alekh Das. But as per the tradition of Mahima sect sanyasis, he moves around from village to village to propagate spiritual knowledge. He collects whatever he gets as alms from villagers. And this whole collection is spent for his family of cows at Nuagaon.
Some sanyasi’s being groomed by Alekh Das take care of the cows round the clock. With bamboo sticks in their hands and traditional talari (large head cover made of palm leaves) on their heads, these two apprentice sanyasis take the cows to a field within nearby jungle for grazing. “We as well as the cows live on whatever money Alekh Dasji collects as alms”, they said.
According to Akshaya, a young sanyasi and disciple of Alekh Dasji, at present six sanyasi’s are engaged to look after the bovine family of their Guru. They live in a monastery 5Km away from the home of cows at Nuagaon. These monks live on the vegetables and fruits harvested at the spot. As sanyasis of Mahima sect they refrain from buying or selling anything for livelihood.
Cows go out to graze from 6 AM to 5 PM. After their return they are provided cattle feed. Asbestos roofed cattle sheds have been built at Teli Sahi area of Nuagaon to provide safe shelter to these cows during night.
Forgotten family member:
There was a time when cows were part of almost every household. But this tradition is on the decline. Cows are no more family members even for the rural inhabitants. "As people have started to forget importance of cows in our lives, I have resorted to look after this large family of cows to enhance public awareness towards importance of Gomata,” said Alekh Dasji. His efforts are eye-opener for all as protection of cows is also the protection of Indian heritage and economy.