Vedic literatures highlight the importance of cow protection. Bhagavad Gita 18.44 recommends(go-rakṣya). Lord Krishna loves cows.
Krishna’s love for cows
He appeared in Vrindavan as a cowherd boy. In the sacred land of Vrindavan, Krishna would play with the cows and would take care of the cows. Cows too loved to be with Krishna. They felt protected and cared. Krishna, the Supreme Lord, is the best well-wisher of the cows. Viṣṇu Purāṇa 1.19.65 says
govindāya namo namaḥ
Srila Prabhupada explains, “Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the prime protector of brahminical culture and the cow. Without knowing and respecting these, one cannot realize the science of God, and without this knowledge, any welfare activities or humanitarian propaganda cannot be successful.”
Krishna’s favourite food is butter and butter comes from milk. Mother Yashoda knew Krishna’s love for milk and preparations made from milk. So, she would prepare many delicacies of milk and give it to Krishna. Krishna enjoyed them. One of the names of Krishna is Govinda because he gives “pleasure to the cows.” Krishna is also called Gopal, the maintainer of the cows. Vrindavan is also known as Goloka Vrindavan. Goloka means “planet of cows.” So, cows have great spiritual significance in India. Millions worship cows daily here. And in India cow is always referred as “mother cow.”
Cow’s milk so precious and delicious
As a mother cow gives abundant milk which sustains life. Milk is also used to prepare varieties of nutritious and delicious food items. Cow’s milk is precious and delicious. Dozens of varieties of sweets are made from cow milk. It is not that cow milk is used only in India. People in all parts of the world use cow milk and milk products.
Like a mother she gives her milk to us. Milk is said to be complete food, it completely nourishes us. We start drinking cow’s milk when we are just an infant. But sadly, the same cow who serves us as mother is killed for flesh. Even in India cows are killed. It’s so unfortunate. Although millions of Hindus revere cows and in many provinces cow slaughter is banned but still cows are killed, many times brutally.
Liberals or pseudo seculars against cow protection
In India there are certain section of people who call themselves secularists, but they are mostly pseudo – secularists. They also call themselves as liberals. These people have lots of problems with Hindus religious belief system. Not only with the Hindus these people have issue with anyone who follows the Vedic teachings and respect the Vedic culture. For example, these liberals did not like APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India and a renowned scientist. It was because although a Muslim APJ Abdul Kalam would love reading and deriving inspiration from Ramayana and Mahabharat.
These pseudo – secularists are few in number, but they wield tremendous power. Most of them are active in academics and in media. Today if anyone in power speak about cow protection then these pseudo secularists with their media partners will start making lots of noise. They will label him or her as communal, fascists and most importantly anti-Muslim. This despite the fact that majority of Muslims in India have Vedic roots. In fact, many Muslims in India happily participate in festivals like Janmashtami and Ramnavmi. One of my office colleagues was a Muslim and lived in Mumbai. He would tell me that he with his friends would participate in dahi handi festival during Janmashtami.
When once Menaka Gandhi, former Union Minister in Indian Government and well-known animal rights activist and environmentalist, raised her concern against cow slaughter then immediately the pseudo secularists lampooned her and labelled her as communal. The liberals support cow killing and vehemently oppose anyone who talks about cow protection.
People callous towards cow protection
It is disheartening to see cows being killed in India. But why to only blame the pseudo seculars or liberals or the inefficient government. People are also responsible. Many people keep cows till the time she gives milk. Once she grows old and stop giving milk the owner thinks that it is uneconomical to keep the cows. So, they abandon the cows.
Some are so callous that they even sell their cows to butchers. For many killing cows have become more profitable because selling meat bring instant profit.
Scriptures say that a person has 7 mothers and one of them is the cow. So, cow is called gau-mata (mother cow). But today people have become so wicked and so savage that they do not hesitate in inhumanly killing mother cow for money. Once cows grow old and become non profitable, they are unceremoniously driven out from the house. Height of insensitivity! Such cows can be seen loitering in the streets for want of food, water and shelter. They eventually end up in slaughterhouses or die on the road. Sometimes they are hit by trucks and buses or they die because of hunger or some disease.
The cows served their master by giving her milk. She should be loved and cared like a family member. It is high time that sane and pious men understand the gravity of the situation. People need to be educated about the need of cow protection and simultaneously government should take strong action against those who indulge in such acts. Although cow slaughter is banned in many states of India but nevertheless people illegally with implicit support of the local administration continue with the business.
Our spiritual responsibility to protect mother cow
A human being does not become a human if he does not show compassion towards other living beings. Srila Prabhupada gave emphasis on cow protection. Many Iskcon centres and farmhouses all over the world have cows which are well taken care. At Iskcon Mayapur Gaushala (or Goshala) there are scores of healthy and happy cows. Anyone can go there and see how joyfully they live. Those cows who stop giving milk are not thrown out from their homes but are properly taken care. They continue to get their share of food, water, shelter and love. In fact, at all the Gaushalas run by Iskcon all over the world cow gets complete protection and care. This is what scriptures teach. And this is what every God loving person should do.
Mother is always a mother whether young or old or diseased. Her value cannot be determined in terms of monetary benefit. Cow is our mother. So, it our spiritual responsibility, yours and mine, to protect her and protest against her killing. Those slaughterhouses which kill cows should be closed. And those who indulge in this gruesome act should be punished.
Lord Krishna appeared in India. Devotees love Krishna and Krishna loves cows. So, devotees of Krishna should take a lead role in protecting cows especially in India. They should do whatever possible legally to save cows and also should preach vigorously about the spiritual significance of cow protection.