Holy Cow - abode of all the Gods
The Vedas describe the cow as the Mother of the Universe. All the 330 million gods and goddesses live inside a Cow and have their prime temple in her body. To kill a cow is therfore very sinful, it is the most heinous of all sins in existence.
Every atom in cow’s body is abode of the 33 crore (330 million) Gods. All the 14 mythical worlds exist in the limbs of cow. On the picture below the following gods are seen:
Yama and Indra reside in the horns, the Kumaras in the ears, Tīrtharāja on the head, Surya and Chandra in the eyes, Shankara on the head, Kartikeya and Ganāpati in the nose, Agni, Brahma, Sarasvati, Vishnu, Rahu, Ketu, Guru, Budha, in the various parts of the body.
Statemens from the Puranas
PADMAPURANA ( Srishthikhand 57 / 156 – 165 )
Complete Vedas, with all their six parts and components, exist in the mouth of the Cow. In her horns reside Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu forever. In her stomach lives Lord Kartikeya, in her head Lord Brahma, in her forehead Lord Mahadev, in the front of the horns Lord Indra, in the eyes the sun and the moon, in the teeth Garuda, in the ears Ashwini Kumara, in the tongue Goddess Saraswati, in her posterior all the pilgrims places, in her urine the river Ganga, in the pores live the sages, in the mouth resides Yamaraj, still further two Yakshas called Tejaswi and Mahabali, inside the mouth reside the Gandharvas, inside the nose two snakes, in the hooves dwell the heavenly nymphs. In the cow dung are placed Goddess Laxmi, in her urine the ever auspicious Goddess Parvati, in the front portion of the feet all the heavenly Gods, in the resonant mooing of the cow lives Prajapati, and in the four teats, in the form of milk the four Oceans. The person who touches the cow after having bath daily, frees himself from all kinds of sins. The dust that arises from the cow’s hooves is so pure that, the person who applies it on his head, is considered to have bathed in the sacred waters of different pilgrim places, and freed from all sins.
BHAVISHYA PURANA( Uttarparva 61 / 25-37 )
In the root of the cows horns are placed Brahma and Vishnu for eternity. In the front portion of the horns are located the pilgrimages. The reason for all reason, Lord Mahadev is placed in the middle portion of the horns. In the forehead Gauri, on the tip of the nose Bhagwan Kartikeya, in the nostrils two snakes, Kambala and Ashwatar are placed. In both the ears are to be found the Ashwini Kumaras, in the eyes the sun and the moon, in the teeth the eight groups of Vasu, in the tongue Varunadev (Rain God), in the neck Goddess Saraswati, in the posterior Yama and Yaksha, the two kinds of Evenings are seen in the lips, in her chin lives Lord Indra, in the crown of her head live the Rakshasas; while in the back portion lives the sky, and in the thighs resting steady on all four legs stands Dharma. In the middle of the hooves dwell the Gandharvas, in the front portion the snake, in the west side are located the various groups of Rakshasas. In the hind portion the eleven Rudras, in all the joints Varuna, and in the waist the forefathers, in the forehead mankind, in the posterior ornaments in the form of Swaha, are placed.
The early morning suns are to be found in the cluster of hair on the cow. The cow’s urine, with it’s medicinal properties contains the river Ganga and Yamuna. In every pore thirty-three thousand Gods of the Hindu Mythology are positioned. In the stomach all the mountains ranges, with the forests, and the entire Earth are located. In all the four rivulets of milk are the four Oceans. In the milk itself lives the fertility Gods, and in the teats, Megha. In the liver of the cow Grahpratya-agni, and in the heart dakshina-agni, in her neck ahvaniya-agni, and in the palette sabhya-agni live. In the bones of the cows are to be found the mountains, and in the marrow Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, and Atharvaveda dwell.
BRAHMANDPURANA ( Gosavitristotra )
The one who oversees and takes care of the entire world, the Lord of the Lords Narayan, I place my salutations on your Feet. I will recite the Gosavitri Stotra, which in the previous ages was spoken by the Lord Vasudeva. This stotra destroys the all sins, fulfills all desires and provides divinity and salvation. In the upper part of the horns of the cows, wanders Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Vedvyas. In the root of the horns Goddess Parvati, and in the middle of the horns Lord Shiva are said to reside. In her head Lord Brahma, shoulders Brahaspati, in her forehead Lord Shankar, in her ears Ashwini Kumara, and in the eyes the sun and the moon. In her teeth the entire assembly of sages, in the tongue Goddess Saraswati, and in her chest, and in her liver reside all the Gods. In the middle portion of the hooves the Gandharvas, in the front portion the moon, and Lord Ananta, and the back portion the key heavenly nymphs are located. In the posterior of the cow dwell the assemblage of forefathers, centre of her eyes on the forehead live the three fundamental qualities of sattva, raja, and tama. In the pores are the sages and in her skin the Prajapati reside.
In her sight, back, and dung dwells Goddess Laxmi herself, in her hooves Ashwini Kumars, and in her lips Goddess Chandika inhabit. Her teats contain the four oceans, resonant mooing Goddess Savitri, and in the sound of her nod dwells Prajapati. Above and all, all cows are said to be a manifestation of Lord Vishnu, and Lord Keshava lives in all the various parts of her body.
BHAVISHYAPURANA ( Utttarparva, A 61 )
Lord Krishna says to Yudhishthira – When the Ocean was churned (Samudra Manthan), from the ocean (shirasagara) appeared five cows for the benefit of the five worlds, they were- Nanda, Subhadra, Surabhi, Sushila and Bahula. All these cows were created for the good of mankind, and to satiate the Gods through her offerings. Then the Gods presented them to sages Jamdagni, Bharadwarj, Vasishtha, Asit and Gautam, who in turn gladly accepted them. These cows were later called Kamadhenu, the one which fulfills all desires. The milk, curd, ghee, dung, urine and rochana – all begotten from the cow are considered to be exceptionally pure, and are said to destroy all sins of beings and cleanse them. Shrisampanna bilva tree is a special kind of tree, that is supposed to have been obtained from the cow dung. Lord Shiva is very fond of this tree. This is because Goddess Laxmi with a lotus in her hand, dwells in it, therefore this tree is also called Shrivriksha. Later on Neelkamal (the sacred and rare blue lotus) and Raktakamal (pink lotus) also emerged out of cow dung. The very sacred Gorochna, which comes out of the head of the cow, fulfills all propitious wishes, and is the giver of piety. A fragrant substance called ‘guggul’ come from the urine of the cow. Even looking at it leads to salvation. It is the food of the Gods, and particularly eaten with relish by Lord Shiva. All the auspicious items and all the tasty food preparations are made from cow’s milk. Amrit or nectar, which ensures eternal life to the Gods, comes from ghee. Cows and Brahmins are not two separate entities, but are the two sides of the same family. Various chants abide in the Brahmins, and the offerings to Gods are contained in the cows, when these two are combined only then Vishnuswaroop yagna is completed. From the cows only, can all the rites of the yagna take place, because all gods reside in the cow. All the Vedas with their six parts – Shiksha, Kalpa, Nirukta, Vyakrana, Chhanda, and Jyotish; also Pada, Jata, Shikha, Rekha, etc. with all their components exist in the cow.
PADMAPURANA ( Srishthikhanda 57 / 151 -156 )
Lord Bhrahma says – oh Narada,
At first appeared a pool of light from the mouth of God. Then from that light, first of all emerged the Veda. And after that one by one came Fire, Cow, and Brahmin. In order to protect the worlds I developed the Veda from one, to four. The Fire and the Brahmin accept the offering ( of ghee ) on behalf of the Gods; and the offerings of ghee come from the cow; this is why these four are said to have given birth to the world. If these four were not present in the world in some form or the other, the whole world would have been destroyed. These four support the world, due to which the world runs in its natural rhythm. Brahmins, Gods, and Asuras too, should worship the cow, because it is generous in all its activities, and truly a mine of all virtues. Truly all Gods are manifested in the cow. She bestows her blessings on all creatures. In the olden times I created the cow for the nurturing of all animals. All substances that come from the cow are chaste, and they purify the entire world. Cow’s urine, cow dung, milk curd, and ghee – by the intake of these five products, the body is absolved of all sin. That is why religious persons consume milk, ghee, and curd everyday. Cow products are the best, purest, and most liked of all the products available in the world. The body which is not fortunate enough to eat milk, curd and ghee is akin to excreta. Grain affects the body till five days, milk till seven days, curds till twenty days, and ghee till one month. Spirits and ghosts get a share of the food, consumed by the person who goes without milk products, for one entire month; this is why in every age, is the cow considered necessary for all activities. Eternally in all ages the cow is said to bestow dharma, artha, kama, and moksha; the four purusharthas. He who circumambulates ( moves in pradakshina ) and joins his hands in prayer in front of the cow everyday, attains the joys of a heaven named Akshay. Just as the teacher of the Gods, Brihaspati is worthy of being worshipped, just as Lord Narayana is worshipped by all, similarly is the cow worthy of being worshipped. He who wakes up at dawn and touches ghee, is freed from all sins.
Cows are the providers of milk and ghee. They are the places of creation of ghrit and the reason behind ghee. They are like the rivers of ghee. May such cows always be present in my house. May ghee be inherent in my entire body and mind eternally. ‘May cows forever remain in front of me, behind me, may all my limbs be blessed by the touch of the cow. May I reside amidst cows.’ This chant should be recited everyday at dawn and at dusk, in a pure state of mind. This way all sins are destroyed, and one is worshipped in heaven. Just as the cow is honoured so is the Brahmin, just as the Brahmin so is Lord Vishnu. Just as Lord Vishnu so is the Ganga. These are all considered to be the manifestation of Righteousness ( Dharma ) in this world. Cows are the friends of mankind, and mankind is the friend of cows. That house is friendless, if there is no cow in it.
Go grass ki mahima
Bulls should be considered as the father of the world, while the cow should be considered as the mother of this world. Worshipping them is as good as worshipping all our forefathers and Gods. Evening out cow dung on the floors of assembly hall, entrance gates, homes, and temples purifies them. Which animal could best this one? The person, who feeds a handful of grass, to another man’s cow everyday before eating his meals, for one whole year, bears the fruits of serving the cow for all the year round.
(Maha., ashwamedhikparva, vaishnavadharma)
SIGNIFICANCE OF COW IN VEDAS AND SHASTRAS
The cow is an important, invaluable and a blessed animal. The significance of the cow has been elucidated in all the shastras. ‘Gau’ (i.e. cow) is the name of the principal ray of the Suryanarayan, i.e. Sun God. As the Sun God rises his radiance, age, and ‘gau’ –his three rays- light the earth and all its moving and non moving objects, in roughly the same measure; but the chief ray ‘gau’ is absorbed the most by the animal ‘gau’, i.e. cow. That is why the Aryans named this animal ‘gau’.
Both the ray gau and the animal gau are the manifestation of Lord Virata. Shukla Yajurveda asks a question ‘what in this world has no other parallel?’ i.e. what is one of a kind; the answer is the cow.
Both cow and the earth are a form of ‘gau’. There is no difference between the two. The earth stabilizes the ‘Mrityuloka’, and the cow stabilizes the heaven, or devaloka. The earth is also called ‘Bhuloka’, and the cow is called ‘Goloka’. ‘Bhuloka’ is below, and the ‘Goloka’ is found above.
Just as the earth tolerates the excreta of the living beings on herself; so also the cow gives milk and thereby is the base of humanity, however despite that works as a vehicle, and tolerates the authority and restraint, that man places on her. If human beings could adopt this forgiving nature, mankind too could become great. In this world there is no one no more forgiving than the cow and the earth. That is why they are both noble.
In Brihaspatismriti, the cow is said to have all the Gods within her. And in Skandapurana the cow is said to have all the pilgrimages within her. So setting eyes on her enables one to have the fruits of offering salutations to all Gods, and visiting all the pilgrimages. Happiness and peace thrive in a house where there is a cow. By circumambulating (circumambulate, i.e. pradakshina) around the cow, Brihaspati became respected by all, Vishnu became worshipped by all, and Indra became revered by all.
The calf feeds on the cow’s milk as soon as it is born, and starts scampering about with great speed and energy, everywhere. No other newborn in this world, be it that of man, animal or birds; is as energetic as the calf, which feeds on cow’s milk. That is why shastras advise new born babies to be fed ‘gaughrit’ by dipping a piece of gold in it, and then making the baby suckle it. This is also the reason why the cow is called ‘mata’ or mother.
We feed on our mother’s milk only till the age of two or two and a half years; but we feed on the cow’s milk for life; and after death she takes us to heaven, too. That is why in Atharvaveda it is written that the cow is our true wealth. And in Mahabharata it is written that ‘ oh Achyut, I don’t see any other wealth as the cow’
There is a couplet in Hindi which tells us the significance of the cow.
The cow is the stepping stone to heaven and salvation. She is the Goddess, who is pure and fulfills all desires. By serving the cow our past generations too can achieve salvation, and be freed from the agonies of hell. We can attain sons, wealth, education, fame, knowledge, strength and long life; by serving the cow.
Study of the history of olden times reveals how; in different ages, great and powerful sages, and mighty kings have taken up arms, and given up their lives to save the species of this great animal. The more recent legends of King Dilip, Chhatrapati Shivaji, and Maharana Pratap; and how they took up the cause of protecting the cow, are narrated even today. Hence we too should endeavour to protect and take care of this noble animal. It is a matter of great shame, and sorrow for our nation and the entire Hindu society; that the cow which leads to our salvation, which nurtures us for life, which fulfills all our needs; is in a wretched and pitiful condition today. Everyday innocent, blameless cows are cruelly butchered, is another matter of concern. The person who out of laziness, or profit, or self-interest does not in anyway contribute in the protection of cows, is deemed by religious texts as being a tyrant, great sinner, and a non-Hindu. Therefore all Hindus inorder to protect Hinduism, should endeavour to protect the cow.
Today India is a free country and we are all free citizens, even then we have not been able to protect the cow. Thousands of innocent cows are being slaughtered in independent India. Ever since this mindless carnage of cows is taking place in India our citizens are plagued by diseases and natural calamities. We do not receive timely rain, nor are able to produce the food grains in required quantity. Cows are the final safeguard of Hindu civilization and culture. An assault on the cow is like an assault on, the very root of our civilization and culture. This is why the fortification, of this species is of extreme importance. The need of the hour, is to an organized movement that will draw the attention of the central government, and the animal welfare association towards the plight of the cows.
Since Vedic times ‘Gau-Yagya’ and ‘Gau-Mahotsava’ have been commemorated on a large scale. It was on the occasion of ‘Govardhan Pooja’, that Lord Krishna had performed the ‘Gau-Yagya’. In these troubled times, we too must perform such similar ‘Gau-Yagyas’ and ‘Gau-mahotsavas’. We pray to Lord Krishna, the one who upheld the Govardhana on his little finger, to inspire the Hindus of this age, to perform the ‘Gau-Yagya’ in every corner of India.