Hare Krishna Today Magazine

HKT05 How to serve our Holy Mother - Cow Protection in Mauritius

One of the most important and frequently used prayers of the devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krishna is as follows:-

namo brahmanya-devaya
go-brahmana-hitaya ca
jagad-dhitaya krishnaya
govindaya namo namah

“O My Lord, Supreme God of the brahmanas, You are the well-wisher of the cows and the brähmanas. Dear Lord Krishna, You are the well-wisher of the entire human society and world and the beloved of the cows, who You love so much. Please accept my humble obeisances.” (Vishnu Purana 1.19.65)

Lord Krishna is a transcendental cowboy, and His topmost spiritual kingdom of God is known as Goloka, or the planet of cows. The cow is the most important of animals because she is the mother of all the demigods and human beings. Almost everyone in the world daily drinks some cows milk and eats butter, ghee (clarified butter), or cheese made from that milk throughout their lives. Therefore from a moral point of view because we all drink cow’s milk, the cow is our mother. According to Vedic civilization, there are seven mothers whom everyone should venerate.

atma-mata guroh patni
brahmani raja-patnika
dhenur dhatri tatha prithvi
saptiata matarah smritah

(from Chanyaka’s Niti Shastra)

Atma-mata is our own mother from whom we take birth. Guru-patni is the wife of the guru or teacher, who is also our mother just as the bona-fida guru is our well-wishing spiritual father. Brahmani, or the wives of Brahmanas should also be considered as mothers, as should be raja-patnika, or queens, or, in modern society, the wives of presidents or prime-ministers. Dhenur means the mother cow who feeds humans with her milk. Prithvi is mother earth, (bhumi-devi), who often takes the form of a sacred cow when in the heavenly planets or in the eternal pastimes of the Lord. Dhatri means a nurse, who cares for us just like a mother.

One of the Lord’s names is Madhava, or He who is the dearmost of the original Goddess of fortune Sri Radha. Ma is also another name of the Goddess Laxmi, and that of Her external representation as Durga. Hence the seven mothers are all representatives of that one divine maternal energy. Laxmi-devi is also the goddess of wealth.

This illusory material universe is constituted of time and distance. In the spiritual or anti-material world known as Goloka, it is taught in the Vedic literatures that time and distance are both conspicuous by their absence. Just as the Lord is present in the hearts of all living entities via the anti-material fourth dimension as Supersoul, so the demigods of the heavenly planets are said to transcendentally reside in the sacred cow.

As it was in most ancient civilizations, the Vedas consider real wealth to consist of the possession of cows and grains, not the paper money used nowadays. In Vedic culture the bull is venerated as the father, as he is used to plough the fields and hence provide an abundance of food grains, and the cow is venerated as mother for her constant supply of milk products. Furthermore, ghee is the essential ingredient offered in fire sacrifices by brahmanas since time immemorial, and in this way the Supreme Lord’s demigods of the heavenly planets get their sustenance. In the Bhagavada-gita (chapter 3 verses 10 & 11), the Lord explains that the performance of fire sacrifices is the way to obtain all kinds of opulences in life.

One of ISKCON’s international projects is the establishment of branches of the International Society for Cow Protection Inc. (ISCOWP), in many countries. (Please visit their web-site at http://www.iscowp.org/).

In India and in Mauritius Hindus traditionally worship mother cow as a representative of Goddess of fortune Sri Laxmi-devi. Societies that promote cow-killing in slaughterhouses are all progressively abandoned by the Goddess of fortune. Since some years now we are seeing that the Mauritian economy is steadily declining. In order to try to reverse this trend, we would like to propose that all those who are sympathetic to this cause may come forward and help us set up a local branch of ISCOWP, as a non-profit educational organization, and thus get the full blessings of Mother Laxmi-devi. Individuals, families, business organizations and even municipal councils and government organizations may all participate by adopting a cow. This may be done by means of monthly contributions and thus become life members of ISCOWP; and for those who can afford it can donate a cow. Hindu families who do not wish to send their old and barren cows to the slaughterhouse and reap the terrible consequence of such bad karma could use such a facility to retire their cows and bulls by donating them to ISCOWP where they will be protected and loved until their natural deaths. For this purpose we would need to acquire some land near the sea-side where cows can be protected and lovingly served by our ISKCON devotees for the pleasure of the Lord. The advantage of establishing an ISCOWP farm near the sea side is that the sea air will reduce the problem of deer-flies (horse-flies).

A temple and an ashrama with a guesthouse and individual guest bungalows will be constructed for the use of ISCOWP life members and donors as well as tourists who may then spend a weekend with their families and acquire the benediction of the Lord and His Goddess of fortune by engaging in go-seva or service of mother cow, while at the same time taking advantage of the pleasant sea side atmosphere.

A Gopala’s restaurant and milk sweet shop will also be set up where the pure cow’s milk can be used to make a wide variety of delicious prasadam or sanctified offerings of sandesha, burfi, rasgullas, kheer, shrikanda etc. These could also be sent to our ISKCON temples to be offered to Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Golokanada and Sri Sri Krishna Balarama and then distributed in ISKCON restaurants in Phoenix and Centre de Flacq.

Cow dung, according to Vedic injunction, is pure. In India it is actually used as an antiseptic. In villages especially, there is large quantity of cow dung, and the houses are regularly plastered with a mixture of cow dung and mud which makes the house antiseptic and free from all insects and germs. Staying in such a room that has been smeared with cow dung, when it is dried, one will find it very purifying and will feel refreshed, cool in the hot summers and warm in winter. Guests and tourists will be thus able to get practical experience of living according to the uplifting Vedic lifestyle. In India, one Dr. Ghosh, a great chemist, examined cow dung, wanting to know why cow dung is so very important in the Vedic literature. He found that cow dung contains all the antiseptic properties. In Ayur-veda, cow dung dried and burned into ashes is used as an antiseptic toothpowder.

A Gober-gas plant may also be set up for using the generated bio-gas for cooking. The University of Mauritius once analyzed the digested slurry from the gober-gas plant at ISKCON Vedic Farm in Bon Accueil and found that one liter contained almost double the amount of NPK and trace elements than ordinary manure, thus providing excellent natural organic fertilizer. To see more of our cows and biogas plant, please click ISKCON Vedic Farm - ISKCON Goshalla and Biogas Plant

ISKCON Vedic Farm cows and the goshalla (cow-shed) and gober-gas plant.

Dvijavara das worked for the ISKCON Vrindavana Goshalla project during Srila Prabhupada's lifetime and on many different ISKCON Goshalla projects since. He will be helping us in Mauritius with our ISKCOWP project. He writes:

Srila Prabhupada instructed His disciples to become spiritually self realized and materially self-sufficient. During my stay at Sri Sri Krishna-Balaram Mandir in Vrindavana, India, in 1976, Srila Prabhupada encouraged the grihasta devotees to begin accepting donations of cows with calves in order to produce milk for the newly established Temple Deities, for the Gurukula school / Ashrama and for their families. This project started on a small scale.
One of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions to Gunarnava das (in charge of the ISKCON Goshalla in Vrindavana) was, “Whatever the cow gives you in milk ,you give her back in food and consider the dung and urine to be your profit. The cows are already performing a miracle by transforming grains and fodder into milk, so do not expect a monetary profit.”
In this way, He established Varna and Ashrama based on simple living for higher thinking. Such a wonderful art of living is ours to develop, practice and apply according to time, place and circumstances. The structure already exists, it is up to us to fill in the details and to please the Guru Parampara.
The mother and father, the cow and the bull, if properly respected and integrated in society will always supply what we need in so many ways. Their association will help elevate society to the mode of goodness. Their milk products are essential for the proper human growth and health.
Other useful items obtained from cow protection are:
1) Oxen and bull power can be used for working in agricultural fields and for rural technology and engineering projects.
2) Cow-dung can be burned for heating and cooking and the ashes used as an antiseptic and for cleaning.
3) Methane gas from the bio-gas plant can also be burned for heating and cooking and the digested slurry is an excellent organic fertilizer.
4) Ahimsa paper can be manufactured from ruminated cellulose.
5) Ahimsa leather and fertilizers become available when natural death occurs.
When any of these projects is adopted sincerely, especially in a country like Mauritius for example, a gradual organic reverse process will take place in time, eliminating any economical and agricultural crisis.
When cow protection becomes part of society, there is no question of unemployment, and a consequent reduction of crime and disease.
Those who are simple and sincere in their heart will find this art of living very logical and easy to adopt.
Dvijavara das.

Those who are interested in participating in this project may please contact Arjuna das at 7709108.

Quotes from Srila Prabhupada:

From economic point of view, if one man has got a cow and four acres of land, he has no economic problem. That we want to start. He can independently live in any part of the world. Simply he must have one cow and four acres of land. Let the people be divided with four acres of land and a cow, there will be no economic question. All the factories will be closed. (Room Conversation: May 11, 1969, Columbus, Ohio)

Vedic civilization was to keep some land and keep some cows. Then your whole economic question is solved. If you have got excess, then you can trade, you can send to some place where there is scarcity. But every man should produce his own food. That is Vedic culture. You get a piece of land and produce your family's foodstuff.
(Bhagavad-gita Lecture 13.35, Geneva, June 6, 1974)

According to Manu, the great author of Vedic civic codes and religious principles, (Manu-samhitä), even the killer of an animal is to be considered a murderer because animal food is never meant for the civilized man, whose prime duty is to prepare himself for going back to Godhead.
He says that in the act of killing an animal, there is a regular conspiracy by a party of sinners, and all of them are liable to be punished as murderers exactly like a party of conspirators who kill a human being. He who gives permission, he who kills the animal, he who sells the slaughtered animal, he who cooks the animal, he who administers distribution of the foodstuff, and at last he who eats such cooked animal food are all murderers, and all of them are liable to be punished by the laws of nature.
No one can create a living being despite all advancement of material science, and therefore no one has the right to kill a living being by one's independent whims. For the animal-eaters, the scriptures have sanctioned restricted animal sacrifices only, and such sanctions are there just to restrict the opening of slaughterhouses and not to encourage animal-killing. Eating meats supplied by organized slaughterhouses, which are ghastly places for breeding all kinds of material afflictions to society, country and the people in general, is one of the grossest types of sins . The material world is itself a place always full of anxieties, and by encouraging animal slaughter the whole atmosphere becomes polluted more and more by war, pestilence, famine and many other unwanted calamities. (Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 1: Chapter 7 Text 37: Purport)

Milking the cow means drawing the principles of religion in a liquid form. The great rishis and munis would live only on milk. Srila Sukadeva Gosvämi would go to a householder while he was milking a cow, and he would simply take a little quantity of it for subsistence. Even fifty years ago, no one would deprive a sadhu of a quart or two of milk, and every householder would give milk like water. For a Sanatanist (a follower of Vedic principles) it is the duty of every householder to have cows and bulls as household paraphernalia, not only for drinking milk, but also for deriving religious principles. The Sanatanist worships cows on religious principles and respects brahmanas. The cow’s milk is required for the sacrificial fire, and by performing sacrifices the householder can be happy. The cow’s calf not only is beautiful to look at, but also gives satisfaction to the cow, and so she delivers as much milk as possible. But in the Kali-yuga, the calves are separated from the cows as early as possible for purposes which may not be mentioned in these pages of Srimad-Bhagavatam. The cow stands with tears in her eyes, the shudra milkman draws milk from the cow artificially, and when there is no milk the cow is sent to be slaughtered. These greatly sinful acts are responsible for all the troubles, violence and wars in present society. People do not know what they are doing in the name of economic development. The influence of Kali will keep them in the darkness of ignorance. Despite all endeavors for peace and prosperity, they must try to see the cows and the bulls happy in all respects. Foolish people do not know how one earns happiness by making the cows and bulls happy, but it is a fact by the law of nature. Let us take it from the authority of Srimad-Bhagavatam and adopt the principles for the total happiness of humanity.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 1: Chapter 17 Text 3: Purport)

One cannot become spiritually advanced without acquiring the brahminical qualifications and giving protection to cows.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 6: Chapter Eighteen, Text 52: Purport)

In Vedic culture, the welfare of the cows and the welfare of the brahmanas are essential. Without a proper arrangement for developing brahminical culture and protecting cows, all the affairs of administration will go to hell.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 7: Chapter Three, Text 13: Purport)

Without protection of cows (the earth), brahminical culture (religious principles), cannot be maintained; and without brahminical culture, the aim of life cannot be fulfilled. (Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 8: Chapter Twenty-four, Text 5: Purport)

Prabhupada:. Krshi-go-rakshya-vanijyam vaishya-karma svabhava-jam. (Bhagavad-gita 18.44).We don't stop trade. We don't stop producing food grains. But we want to stop these slaughterhouses. It is very, very sinful. Therefore in Europe there are so many wars. Every ten or fifteen years, there is a big war and wholesale slaughter of the whole human kind. And the rascal leaders, they do not see it. The reaction must be there. You are killing innocent cows and animals. Nature will take revenge. Wait for that. As soon as the time is ripe, the nature will gather all these rascals, and club and slaughter them. They will fight amongst themselves, Protestant and Catholic, Russia and France, and France and Germany. This is going on. Why? This is the nature's law. Tit for tat. You have killed. Now you be killed. (Room Conversation: June 11, 1974, Paris)

The cow is a very important animal. From her milk you get so many nutritious foods. So apart from religious sentiment, from economic point of view, cow-killing is not good. Christ says, “Thou shall not kill— stop wholesale killing.” And the Vedic literature is little more liberal. It does not say, “Thou shall not kill,” but, “At least you should not kill the cow.” But to stop wholesale killing is not possible. The Vedic wisdom knows that. So at least you shall not kill cows. That is civilization. Yet Christians are maintaining thousands of slaughterhouses. (Garden Conversation: June 24, 1975, Los Angeles)

Quotes from Vedic scriptures.

“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.” The words of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the greatest authority, herein clearly indicate that one becomes pious simply by keeping cows and protecting them. Unfortunately, people have become such rascals that they do not even care about the words of an authority. (Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi-lila Chapter Seventeen, Text 111)

The sacred cow is the mother of the cosmic powers, the daughter of the beings of light, the sister of the sun-gods and the navel center of truth. Speak to those who are aware; do not harm the cow, for in so doing, you are harming the earth and all of humanity.
(Rig Veda 8.101.15)

Cow protection means feeding the brahminical culture, which leads towards God consciousness, and thus perfection of human civilization is achieved.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 1: Chapter Nineteen, Text 3)

Lord Krishna says:-“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.”
(Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 11: Chapter11, Text 43)

Worship of the cow is accomplished by gently scratching, offering green grass and circumambulating. When the cow is pleased Sri Gopal is also pleased.

In Sanskrit the very name of the cows is aghnya, meaning they should never be slaughtered. Other names for cows are ahi ; not to be killed and aditi ; not to be cut. Who, then, could slay them? Surely, one who kills a cow or a bull commits the most heinous of crimes. (Mahabharat Shanti-parva 262.47)

Go-mata ki Jaya!

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