Cow in Hindu Scriptures
Cow is a sacred animal for Hindu people. Normally Hindu do not kill cow,
do not eat cow meat, rather they worship her. There a couple of festivals
also on which cow is worshipped and fed green grass. Various Puraan describe
cow in various ways. --
--Padm Puraan - Ved reside in the mouth of Cow. Shree Hari stays in her
horns, Mahaa Lakshmee stays in the Cow dung and cow urine, and Brahmaa
Jee resides in her head and Shankar Jee lives in her forehead.
--Varaah Puraan - All the holy places exist in the neck of Cow and those
who take bath in the urine of cow gets Punya as that of taking bath in
--Garud Puraan - The giver of the Cow (who donates cow) remains in heaven
for as many years as there are hairs on the body of that cow. The
Panchgavya removes all impurities (Milk+Cow dung+Cow Urine+butter of the
milk+Curd gives Panchagavya)
--Krishn in Garud Puraan - One who kills holy Cow will become ghosts. Killing
Cow is equal to killing our own Mother.
(1) Prithvi as a Cow
Prithvi has always assums the form of a cow when afflicted and goes to
Brahmaa Jee or Vishnu to relieve her from the atrocities of Asur and bad
people (A-Dharm). In Bhaagvat Puraan, Naarad Jee also met a cow whose two
sons were lying very weak and she was crying for them. She was Prithvi.
(2) Indra's Cow Kaamdhenu
Indra is believed to have Kaamdhenu in his
Indra Lok. She gives everything to Devtaa. His Kaamdhenu cow came out of
Ksheer Saagar Manthan. All cows are considered as the daughters of Surabhi
or Kaamdhenu. All gods are considered residing in the cow. Panchagavya -
the mixture of her milk, yogurt (curd), ghee, dung and urine is considered
as holy mixture which purifies a person.
(3) Cows from Saagar Manthan
--Five cows came out from Saagar Manthan including Surabhi or Kaamdhenu.
Surabhi was taken by Indra.
--The other four cows support the four directions, are born to her and are
called Digpaal (Swaamee of the directions). Swaamee of the east is Suroopaa.
Hansikaa supports the southern direction. Subhadraa supports the western
direction where Varun lives. Sarv-Kaamdugdhaa supports the northern region
of virtue ruled by Kuber.
Puraan, 1/21 says that five cows came out the Saagar Manthan - Nandaa,
Subhadraa, Surabhi, Sumanaa and Shobhanaavatee. In
4/23, Krishn says that the five Divine cows' names were - Nandaa, Subhadraa,
Surabhi, Susheelaa and Bahulaa; among whom Nandaa (or Nandinee) was given to
Maharshi Vashishth, Susheelaa was given to Maharshi Jamadagni, and other cows
were given to Bharadwaaj, Asit and Gautam Rishi.
--Some give their names as Nandaa, Sunandaa, Surabhi, Susheelaa and Sumanaa.
(4) Cow and Rishi
--Kaamdhenu's daughter Nandinee was with Vashishth Jee, Vishwaamitra Jee wanted
to take that when he saw her. And when he did not give her, Vishwamitra Jee
became a Maharshi from a Kshatriya.
--Jamadagni Jee also had a daughter of Kaamdhenu whom Sahastrabaahu's sons took
away and killed Jamadagni Jee. Because of this incident Parashuraam Jee emptied
Prithvi from Kshatriya 21 times.
(5) Dileep Gets Son by Serving Cow
When Raajaa Dileep did not have a son for long time he was advised by
his Kul Guru Vashishth Jee to serve Kaamdhenu's daughter Nandine cow for
21 days. He did that and got a son - Bhageerath.
Brahm Vaivart Puraan mentions about the Go Lok - the abode of Lord Krishn
far above the Brahm Lok. Krishn's association with cows enhances the sanctity
of the cows. Krishn grew up among cows. He grew up eating their yogurt and
butter. His Lok is called Gau Lok. he used to donate more than 1,000 cows
daily to Braahman. His many pictures show cow standing in the background.
(8) To Perform Vaidik Rituals
The cow has been the center of the agricultural society of the Vaidik people
and her milk has been used for all Vaidik sacrificial rites and rituals. Even
the Rig Ved considers cow as "Aghnya" (not fit to be killed). Great
Rishi used to keep cows for their Vaidik rituals. Maharshi Vashishth's and
Maharshi Jamadagni's cows are well known in our ancient Hindu history.
(9) Cow as a Gift to Braahman (Go Daan)
The epics and the Puraan shower high encomiums of gifting cows in many Yagya
and fasts. A cow is gifted during funeral rites also, as it is supposed to
help the dead person to cross the fetid river Vaitaranee which flows between
human world and that of Yam Raaj.
(10) Shiv Has a Bull
Nandee, the bull is his chief Gan and his ride.
(11) Feeding Cow
Many people have a routine to feed the cow everyday
(12) Cow in Modern Times
--Cow protection is advocated in Buddhism and Jainism too - both Indic
traditions. Even Babar, the most orthodox Muslim of the Mughal Dynasty,
prohibited cow slaughter. So too did Akbar, Jahaangeer, and Ahmad Shah.
Haidar Alee of Mysore made cow slaughter an offence punishable by cutting
off the hands of offenders.
--We know India is a land of striking contrasts and paradoxes. While
Indians ostensibly worship cows, they also butcher over 30,000 of them
daily, usually in unsanitary, ill-managed torture chambers euphemistically
called abattoirs. But the Indian Constitution in Article 48 (Directive
Principles of State Policy) lays down quite clearly that the government
must protect the cow, its progeny and other cattle used in agriculture.
This is because cow worship is a part of Hindu tradition.
(13) Cow in Mythology
The following stories about cow are very famous in Hindu mythology.
(1) Quarrel with Vashishth Jee,
(2) Parashuraam and Sahastraarjun,
(3) Vashishth's Curse to Vasu
Vashishth Jee and Raajaa