In Sanskrit the cow is called as ‘Aghnya’ which means “not to be killed”. The Vedas consider the cow as the most sacred animal and killing of a cow is considered to be the same as killing a Brahmin. The Veda mentions that there are seven mothers namely 1) atma-mata (one’s biological mother) 2) guroh patni (the wife of one’s teacher) 3) brahmani (the wife of a brahmana) 4) raja-patnika (the wife of the king) 5) dhenu (the cow) 6) dhatri (the nurse) and 7) prithvi (the Earth). Hence it is evident that the Cows should be considered as ‘Mother’ with all the sentiments and protection granted to one’s own biological mother. Cows are also considered to represent ‘Mother Earth’ which in turn signifies the importance to honour them and worship them. Not only in Hinduism, other religions such as Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism also prohibit killing of cows.
Lord Krishna descended to Earth 5,000 years ago and grew up as a cowherd boy in Vrindavan which was also called as “Goloka”(Cow Planet). During this time Lord Krishna spent most of his time with Cows and treated them with utmost love and care. He showed the human kind the importance of Cows and the need to treat them with love. Lord Krishna is known as Gopala, the protector of the Cows and Govinda, the one who gives pleasure to the Cows. He showed that the Cows were to be considered more auspicious than demigods and directed the villagers to worship cows along with the Govardhan hill which provided all the resources such as grass for the cows to graze. Angered by this change, the God of rain, Indra, reacted with heavy rain and thunderstorm in an act to punish the villagers to worship him and not the hill or the cows. Lord Krishna, in return, lifted the Govardhana Hill with his little finger and held it as an umbrella, thereby providing shelter to all the residents of the village including all the cows. Indra having his ego humbled by the Lord, descended to earth and worshiped Lord Krishna and sought his mercy.
Celebrating Govardhan Hill
This event has been celebrated over the years by the devotees who conduct Govardhana pooja by making a replica of the Govardhana Hill with different varieties of food and worship Lord Krishna and the Cows which are very much loved by Lord Krishna and been an integral part of the human lives.
His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena rescues a cow from slaughter on his birthday
The President of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, on this 66th birthday which fell on the 3rd September 2017 visited the Dehiwala Vishnu temple to offer pooja. The President also released a cow from the slaughter house and gifted her to Mahakarta Das – the temple president of ISKCON Sri Lanka to be protected and maintained by the “Goshala” of ISKCON Sri Lanka.
Support the cow protection in Sri Lanka
ISKCON Sri Lanka has its own Goshala or cow shelter which is located in Hekita, Wattala. Here, cows, bulls and calves rescued from slaughter houses are given protection for the rest of their lives. The milk obtained from them are used to nourish over hundred children at ‘Bhaktivedanta Children’s Home – Gokulam’ which is also established and run by ISKCON Sri Lanka. Currently there are more than 50 cows including calves and bulls and the protection of the Goshala.