Friederike Irina Bruning is a German (living in India) animal rights activist. In 1996, she founded the Radha Surabhi Goshala in Uttar Pradesh. She is a German citizen who lives in Radha Kund in Mathura (Vrindavan), India since she was 28 years old while taking care of the cows in need.
Friederike Irina Bruning was born in 1958 (age 63 years; as of 2021) in Berlin, Germany.
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Hair Colour: Brown
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Parents & Siblings
In 1978, Friederike Irina Bruning came to India as a tourist at the age of 20 after completing her studies in Berlin, Germany. In search of actual life purpose and solace, she decided to go to Radha Kund in Uttar Pradesh. There Friederike Irina Bruning went to the Guru Srila Tinkudi Gosvami’s religious exertion. Soon, she purchased a cow at the request of her neighbour and started reading books on cows. Books on cows gave her the motive to serve and take care of the needy stray cows and animals. In 1996, Friederike Irina started Radha Surabhi Gaushala Niketan in Radhakund. Her cowshed is built in approximately 3,300 square yards of area. The sick, injured, starved and unable to move cows are healed and feed by this cowshed. These cows are provided with good nutritive food and health care facilities so that they can regain their health. Approximately 1800 sick cows can be accommodated and nursed by almost 90 workers in this cowshed. This cowshed has special arrangements and a separate enclosure for blind and severely injured cows.
Beliefs and Ideology
When she was 28 years old, she came to India, and since then living in India. She fell so much in love with India and its traditions and culture that she decided to stay forever in India. In an interview, she explained the incident when she decided not to go back to Germany after her short stay in India,
This country is known for its age-old culture and traditions and I believed that you need a Guru to move forward in the right direction and so I was searching for one in Mathura’s Radha Kund.”
Her lifestyle is deeply influenced by the preachings of Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads. Traditions and temples mentioned in Bhagavad Gita and Upnishads changed her way of living. Friederike Irina Bruning believes that Indian people are lucky as the knowledge of the Indian traditions and mythology is taught to them since childhood without having to search for it. Life Beyond Numbers She explained in an interview how the text in the Bhagavad Gita influenced her life beliefs,
Great gurus have resided in India, their teachings, Upanishads, traditions, the temples built here, everything is incredible about this country. People should consider themselves lucky to have access to this knowledge even as small children without having to search for it.”
According to her, the conscious power provided to humans by God is the greatest power. In a conversation with a media house, she stated that the human race could be better if greed and selfishness were averted by them. She declared,
People are carried away by greed and selfishness most of the time and it makes us human to have compassion and empathy, otherwise, we are not more than animals. Selflessly helping people is the only way to move forward in life, I believe it is God’s work.”
Friederike Irina Bruning follows a vegetarian diet. She believes that any food form that is heavy and gross are not good for health. She further considers that food has a major impact on the lives of human beings. She explained in an interview about the animal sacrifices in Indian tradition and non-vegetarian food consumption,
Anything that contains a trace of violence, fear and hatred are bad for health, so I don’t believe in killing animals to satisfy our hunger. I believe food has a huge impact on our lives. There are known to be three categories in food: sattva (pure and light), rajas ( active and passionate ) and tamas (heavy, gross and violent) – meat falls into tamas and I think we are what we eat.”
Awards, Honours, Achievements
In 2019, she was awarded the Padma Shri by President Ram Nath Kovind on Republic Day.
Friederike Irina’s visa extension was denied in May 2019 by the government of India. As a result, she threatened to return her Padma Shri to the government of India. Due to some technical problems, her student visa was denied to be extended that halted her to convert her student visa into an employment visa. Later, she publicly expressed regret for her actions and she expressed her gratitude to the then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for investigating the cause personally. NDTV India Today
- For establishing a cowshed in Mathura named Surabhi Gauseva Niketan, Friederike Irina earned a title of adoration, Sudevi Mataji. The Better India
- In a conversation with a media house named Life Beyond Numbers, she explained why she did not accept Indian nationality as it would stop her rental income from Berlin. She disclosed,
My father was working at the German Embassy in India. My parents have helped me with the finances to run this gaushala, rest I fund it somehow. My mother has passed away and I go to Berlin to visit my father once a year.”
- In an interview, she revealed the increasing population of cows at her cowshed. The major challenge faced by her was getting the funds arranged for her cowshed. For the uninterrupted working of the cowshed, she rented her native property in Berlin as she did not receive any support from any Indian governmental agencies. She said,
I don’t earn so whatever funds I receive get exhausted fast and it will be very kind of people or organizations to come forward to help us.”
- Friederike Irina explained her encounter with cows when she decided to be their mother. In an interview, she said,
I saw that people of late abandon their cows when they grow old and stop giving milk. They are like my children and I cannot leave them.”
Friederike further revealed the monthly expenditure to feed cows and her human workers in the cowshed who are taking care of these abandoned cows,
Rupees 22 lakh per month is required for medicines, food grain and salaries of about 60 workers.”
- In a conversation with a media house, a worker at the cowshed disclosed that they poured holy Ganga’s water in the mouth of the dying cows. He explained,
We chant Ramnam (Lord Rama’s name) in the cowshed. We also pour drops of the holy Ganga’s water in the mouth of dying cows. We try to cure sick cows to the best of our ability.”