ISKCON Goshala Vrindavan
Importance of the Cow and Her Protection
Protection of Cows is the single-most important principle towards saving the whole world from both moral and spiritual degradation. Simply by protection of Cows all the wonderful benefits of religiosity and piety will be automatically achieved without any separate endeavor. This is because Cows are as beloved to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, as even saintly brahmanas. In scriptures it is said, namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca jagad-dhitaya krsnaya 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 world." (Visnu Purana 1.19.65) Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the prime protector of brahminical culture and the Cow. Without knowing and respecting these pleasing personalities, one cannot realize the science of God, and without this knowledge, any welfare activities or humanitarian propaganda cannot be successful. SB 4.21.38 purport For the Cowherd men and the Cows, Krishna is the supreme friend. His pastimes in Gokula, His dhama, are always favorable to the brahmanas and the Cows. His first business is to give all comfort to the Cows and the brahmanas. In fact, comfort for the brahmanas is secondary, and comfort for the Cows is His first concern. Because of His presence, all people would overcome all difficulties and always be situated in transcendental bliss. SB 10.8.16 Krishna says in Srimad Bhagavatam, “I can be worshiped within the Cows by offerings of grass and other suitable grains and paraphernalia for the pleasure and health of the Cows, and one may worship Me within the Vaishnavas by offering loving friendship to them and honoring them in all respects. SB 11.11.43 Krishna with cowHuman society needs only sufficient grain and sufficient Cows to solve its economic problems. All other things but these two are artificial necessities created by man to kill his valuable life at the human level and waste his time in things which are not needed. Lord Krishna, as the teacher of human society, personally showed by His acts that the mercantile community, or the vaisyas or business or trading community, should herd Cows and Bulls and thus give protection to these valuable animals. According to smrti regulation, the Cow is the mother and the Bull the father of the human being. The Cow is the Mother because just as one sucks the breast of one's Mother, human society takes Cow's milk. Similarly, the Bull is the Father of human society because the Father earns for the children just as the Bull tills the ground to produce food grains. Human society will kill its spirit of life by killing the Father and the Mother. SB 3.2.29 purport The Cow is the most important animal for developing the human body to perfection. The body can be maintained by any kind of foodstuff, but Cow's milk is particularly essential for developing the finer tissues of the human brain so that one can understand the intricacies of transcendental knowledge. A civilized man is expected to live on foodstuffs comprising fruits, vegetables, grains, sugar and milk. The Bull helps in the agricultural process of producing grain, etc., and thus in one sense the Bull is the father of humankind, whereas the Cow is the Mother, for she supplies milk to human society. A civilized man is therefore expected to give all protection to the Bulls and Cows. SB 3.5.7 purport.
Tragedy of the Modern Age
The cruel man above is representative of the mentality of the people of the current age, i.e. Kali Yuga, where cow-slaughter has become common, even in India, where the cow was revered as “MOTHER" till some time ago. The above story of Maharaja Parikshit was being narrated by the great devotee, Suta Goswami, to many sages assembled at a holy place called Naimisaranya over 5000 years ago. This was a little before this age of Kali began. These sages could not believe that in the coming days of Kali Yuga people would kill cows. The idea was so shocking to them. What would these great sages say today if they saw that the very leaders who are supposed to protect cows, like Maharaja Parikshit did, are instead opening organized slaughter houses for killing cows?
The Importance of the Cow and Bull
The people of our times have forgotten that the Cow is the most important animal for human society. The Bull is the emblem of Dharma and cow is the representative of the Earth. When the Bull and Cow are in a joyful mood, it is to be understood that the people of the world will also be in a joyful mood. The reason is that the Bull helps in production of grains in the agricultural field, and the Cow delivers milk, the miracle food which can be further converted into curd, yogurt, butter and ghee. Milking a Cow means drawing the principle of religion in liquid form. Cow's milk is so pure that it is considered liquid religiosity. So in scriptures Cow is considered to one of our MOTHERS. The Cows give milk and the Bull gives grains through tilling the land, they are considered the MOTHER and the FATHER of human society. Both the Cow and Bull are symbols of the most offenceless living beings because even their dung and urine are of IMMENSE VALUE (medicinal, fuel, etc.) to human society.
Human society must, therefore, maintain these two animals carefully. But, unfortunately, both are being slaughtered in large numbers, in India itself it is 60,000 per day and in U.S. on weekends it is 1,59,500 according to recent statistics. These greatly sinful acts are responsible for so many troubles in present society. To kill cows means to end human civilization. People do not know what harm they are doing in the name of economic development. They do not realize that only by seeing that bulls and cows are happy in all respects, human society can be happy. This is a FACT by the LAWS OF NATURE.
Lord Krishna's Example
To teach by example, the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna and Lord Balaram show us when They descend into this world, how important is to protect, love and serve Cows and Bulls. Krishna is known as Gopala (protector of the Cows) or Govinda (one who gives pleasure to the Cows). Lord Balaram represents plowing the land for agriculture and therefore always carries a plow in His hand, whereas Krishna tends Cows and therefore carries a flute in His hand. Thus the two brothers represent krisi-raksha (protecting Bulls by engaging them in farming) and go-raksha (protecting the Cows). (SB 10.5.20, purport) Offering respect to the Cows will help the devotee to diminish the reactions to his past sinful activities (Skanda Purana, Vrindavan). Cows are constant remainders of KrishnaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ecstatic Cow herding lilas (pastimes). By serving the Cows one receives tremendous spiritual benefit. Feeding grains to the Cows, offering puja, or simply a scratch under the neck will please these peaceful personalities and attracts the attention of Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Govinda. The Gautamiya Tantra says, “One should gently scratch the body of a Cow, offer her a mouthful of green grass and reverentially circumambulate her. If Cows are maintained nicely and comfortably, Lord Gopal will be pleased. Thereafter, mother Yashoda and Rohini, along with the other elderly gopis, waved about the switch of a Cow to give full protection to the child Sri Krishna. PURPORT: When Krishna was saved from such a great danger, mother Yashoda and Rohini were principally concerned, and the other elderly gopis, who were almost equally concerned, followed the activities of mother Yashoda and Rohini. Here we find that in household affairs, ladies could take charge of protecting a child simply by taking help from the Cow. As described here, they knew how to wave about the switch of a Cow so as to protect the child from all types of danger. There are so many facilities afforded by Cow protection, but people have forgotten these arts. The importance of protecting Cows is therefore stressed by Krishna in Bhagavad-gita (krisi-go-raksha-vanijyam vaisya-karma svabhavajam [Bg. 18.44]). Even now in the Indian villages surrounding Vrindavana, the villagers live happily simply by giving protection to the Cow. They keep Cow dung very carefully and dry it to use as fuel. They keep a sufficient stock of grains, and because of giving protection to the Cows, they have sufficient milk and milk products to solve all economic problems. Simply by giving protection to the Cow, the villagers live so peacefully. Even the urine and stool of Cows have medicinal value. SB 10.6.19 Krishna BalaramThe child was thoroughly washed with Cow urine and then smeared with the dust raised by the movements of the Cows. Then different names of the Lord were applied with Cow dung on twelve different parts of His body, beginning with the forehead, as done in applying tilaka. In this way, the child was given protection. SB 10.6.20 Even in the houses of the cultivators, who were not very advanced in the modern ways of civilization, the ladies used to know how to chant mantras to give protection to children with the help of Cow dung and Cow urine. This was a simple and practical way to give the greatest protection from the greatest dangers. People should know how to do this, for this is a part of Vedic civilization. SB 10.6.22-23 purport Srila Rupa Goswami cites one example to show the depth of Sri Radhika's mercy towards the Cows, “Seeing a calf with its mouth pierced by a sharp grass, Sri Radhika felt very unhappy. With tears in Her eyes Radhika immediately dressed the calf wound with red kunkuma (a mixture of saffron and turmeric). Ujjvala Nilamani
ISKCON's Role In Cow Protection
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and one of the greatest spiritual ambassadors of India in recent times, spoke often with great force and feeling on the need to protect cows. Guided by his teachings and inspired by the strength of his personal conviction, ISKCON has played a pioneering role in advocating and practicing cow protection by establishing farm communities, Goshalas, etc., all over the world.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Goshala, ISKCON, Vrindavan
In 1976, Srila Prabhupada began the Bhaktivedanta Swami Goshala at the Krishna Blalaram Mandir in Vrindavan. Ramana Reti, the land of soft pleasing sands, is famous as the place where Krishna and Balarama wandered along the banks of the Yamuna river with Their Cows.In this Goshala, we are trying to serve the noble cause of cow protection in a humble way. In this Goshala, the Cows, Bulls and Calves are looked after with great care and love. These animals are never sold to slaughter houses or abandoned even when they become old. They are maintained till the end of their lives very happily.The Goshala has provided pure Cows milk to Their Lordships and the devotees since 1976. Beginning with only 10 milking Cows, the herd has grown to more than 300 Cows, Bulls and calves. The Goshala provides loving shelter to all of the animals, and cares for them throughout their lives. However, there is a great struggle to maintain so many animals since only a small number of the herd produces milk. Over and above maintenance, there is a pressing need for more land to graze the animals and grow food for them.