Srila Prabhupada, in his teachings, had often emphasized cow care, teaching us that the society will flourish if cows and brahmanas are taken care of properly. ISKCON’s goshala at Mayapur is a happy home for more than 200 cows, bulls and calves. They grow up in a natural and peaceful atmosphere and are maintained nicely by a dedicated team of devotees.
There are about thirty cows being milked presently, which yields 210 liters of milk daily. Milk is sold to the residents of Mayapur, and also used in the Deity and devotee kitchens. There are four pairs of oxen that pull various carts from Deities, to visitors, to garbage pick-up. Three sets of oxen are being trained up to plow the fields. There are about fifteen workers at the goshalla and one veterinarian. Bhaktin Wanda (now Vrindavan Sevika) came here in June 2007, and she has improved the caring mood in serving all cows, especially the sick, weak, or wounded.
Sastra about cow protection
namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca
jagad-dhitaya krishnaya govindaya namo namah
“My Lord, You are the well-wisher of the cows and the brahmanas, and You are the well-wisher of the entire human society and the world.” (Vishnu Purana 1.19.65)
Five thousand years ago, the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared to perform many pastimes here on earth. He spent much of His youth herding the calves and cows of Vrindavan. About 4,500 years later, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in Mayapur Dham. Since He was Krsna Himself in the mood of Radharani, His greatest devotee, He was especially merciful to all living entities, and also had deep love for the cows. The following verses are from Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya 17.194-196):
“When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu passed through Vrindavan, herds of grazing cows saw Him and immediately surrounding Him, began to moo very loudly. Seeing the herds approach Him, The Lord was stunned with ecstatic love. The cows began to lick His body out of great affection. Becoming pacified, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began to caress the cows, and the cows, being unable to give up His company, went with Him.”
Lord Chaitanya, being Krishna Himself, told an astrologer:
“In My last birth, I was born in the family of cowherd men, and I gave protection to the calves and cows. Because of such pious activities, I have now become the son of a brahmana.” (C.C.Madhya 17.111)
Lord Chaitanya was referring to His appearance of Krishna in Vrindavan and, playing the part of a jiva soul, spoke of how association and service with the cows can only enhance one’s material and spiritual life.
One may ask, “What exactly is so important about the cow?” Here are some scriptural quotes that can illustrate her glories:
- In the Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.21.18, Govardhan Hill is glorified as the best devotee because of supplying water, soft grass, caves, fruits, flowers, and vegetables to Krsna, Balarama, the cowherd boys, and the cows.
- In the Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.16.10, Krsna Himself states, “The brahmanas, the cows, and the defenseless creatures are My own body.”
All throughout the Vedic literature, it is mentioned how dear brahminical culture and cows are to Krsna, and how important they are in human civilization.
“Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the prime protector of brahminical culture and the cow. Without respecting these two, one cannot realize the science of God, and without this knowledge, welfare activities or humanitarian propaganda cannot be successful.” (SB 4.21.38)
It is said that cows and brahmanas belong to the same family. They are both in the mode of goodness. The brahmanas are qualified to chant Vedic mantras, and the cows supply the ingredients for sacrifices. Parasurama said in the Gomati-vidya from Vishnu-dharmottara:
“Only by the combination of brahmanas and the cows, is the performance of sacrifice for the pleasure of Visnu complete.”
In fact, Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.21 indicates that human prosperity depends on two items: brahminical culture and cow protection. Lord Krishna in never satisfied where these are lacking.
In the Brihat Parasara-smriti, it is written:
“Simply by eating grass, the cows give us milk. From milk, ghee is produced by which demigods become satisfied. So how can one neglect the cow ? Simply by her association, a person becomes purified. By serving her, one achieves unlimited wealth, and by donating cows, one can transfer himself to heaven. There is no wealth superior to the cow. All the demigods reside in different parts of her body. By serving the cow with devotion, Lord Hari becomes pleased. Her milk nourishes human beings. How can such a cow not be worshipable.”
Actually, the cow is one of the seven mothers, for she nourishes us with her milk, the miracle of aggregate food values, and other milk products. Many mothers who cannot nurse their babies, turn to cow’s milk. In the same way as a father supplies food for the family, the bull is meant to help in the production of grains and vegetables by plowing the fields. Srila Prabhupada states:
“The bull is the emblem of the moral principle (dharma), and the cow is the representative of the earth.” (SB 1.16.18, purport)
Srila Prabhupada further comments (SB 1.17.3, purport) that indeed it is a law of nature that one can earn happiness by pleasing the bull and the cow. When the bull and cow are in a joyful mood, it is to be understood that the people of the world are also in a joyous mood.
When the perfect king, Maharaja Parikshit, was touring the earth, he witnessed a man dressed as a king mercilessly hurting a cow. The saintly king of the world had never even imagined that anyone would think of harming mother cow. A king’s duty is to protect all citizens especially the brahmanas, the cows, the elderly, women and children. The criminal was Kali, the personality of sin personified. At that time, it was the beginning of Kali-yuga, which is the age of quarrel and hypocrisy.
“The principal sign of Kali-yuga is that lower class sudras, or men without brahminical culture and spiritual initiation will be dressed like administrators or kings and the main business of such rulers will be to kill the innocent animals—especially the cows and bulls who shall be unprotected by the bona fide vaisyas.” (SB 1.17.1, purport)
The symptoms of Kali-yuga are intoxication, illicit sex, gambling, and animal slaughter. By abstaining from these four vices, we can transcend Kali’s influence. It is not surprising to devotees of the Lord that these ancient words of wisdom have indeed come to pass. The International Society for Krsna Consciousness is working hard to educate and train people in brahminical culture and cow protection.
The Gomati-vidya by Parasurama says:
“Wherever the thirsty cow drinks water from, that body of water is as good as the Ganga, Yamuna, Sindhu, or Sarasvati. In the body of the cows, all holy places and rivers are present. Lakshmidevi resides in cow dung. Simply by the cow’s touch and sight, she purifies all living entities. Among all purified objects, she is most pure, and among all auspicious objects, she is the most auspicious.”
In the Agni Purana, Dhanvantari said to Acharya Susruta:
“To caress and to bathe the cow is like cleansing ones sinful reactions.”
According to the Gavopanisad:
“One should see, offer obeisances to, and circumambulate the cow. By doing so, one is supposed to have circumambulated the entire earth with its seven islands. The cow is the mother of all. She gives happiness to everyone. People who desire prosperity should daily circumambulate the cow.”
For those interested in spiritual and devotional advancement, milk is said to be religious principles in liquid form. In the Mahabharata it is written:
“Oh Bharata, nothing is rare for a devotee of the cow. Whatever such devotees desire, they achieve. A lady who is devoted to the cow can have her desires fulfilled by the cow’s mercy. One who desires a son or a daughter, who desires wealth, one who desires piety, or knowledge — all can get their desires fulfilled by the mercy of the cow.”
Benefits of cow products
“The bull and cow are symbols of the most offenseless living beings because even the stool and urine of these animals are utilized in human society.” (SB 1.17.13, purport)
Please see the list below to find out what the Ayurveda says about the benefits for human health of each cow product.
Contains every nutrient that is required for the growth of the human body; increases the physical, mental, and spiritual power of the human being; a complete food, it slows down the aging process and increases intelligence and strength; regulates and increases the duration of life.
Gives strength to the body; makes food tasty, nourishing and pure; stimulates the body; removes gas; increases intelligence; cures piles and stomach ailments.
Beneficial, makes one fair, shiny, and bright; cures tuberculosis, piles, and coughing; especially essential for children.
Gives a shining complexion; enhances memory; increases strength; nourishes body; regulates air and mucus imbalance; removes tiredness; destroys bile; cures heart disease; increases fire in stomach.
Stops gas disorders; cures all ailments born from mucus, bile, and gas; helps with acidity, stomach disease, and more; removes leprosy and other skin diseases.
Purifying, antiseptic agent; stops gas disorders; pesticide and fertilizer; in India, dried dung is used like charcoal; it is also a form of energy producing methane gas.