“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 the world.” (Vishnu Purana 1.19.65)
Five thousand years ago, the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared to perform many pastimes here on earth. He spent much of His youth herding the calves and cows of Vrindavan. About 4,500 years later, Sri ChaitanyaMahaprabhu appeared in MayapurDham. Since He was Krsna Himself in the mood of Radharani, His greatest devotee, He was especially merciful to all living entities, and also had deep love for the cows. The following verses are from Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya 17.194-196):
“When Sri ChaitanyaMahaprabhu passed through Vrindavan, herds of grazing cows saw Him and immediately surrounding Him, began to moo very loudly. Seeing the herds approach Him, The Lord was stunned with ecstatic love. The cows began to lick His body out of great affection. Becoming pacified, Sri ChaitanyaMahaprabhu began to caress the cows, and the cows, being unable to give up His company, went with Him.”
Lord Chaitanya, being Krishna Himself, told an astrologer:
“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.” (C.C.Madhya 17.111)
Lord Chaitanya was referring to His appearance of Krishna in Vrindavan and, playing the part of a jiva soul, spoke of how association and service with the cows can only enhance one’s material and spiritual life.
One may ask, “What exactly is so important about the cow?” Here are some scriptural quotes that can illustrate her glories:
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.21.18, Govardhan Hill is glorified as the best devotee because of supplying water, soft grass, caves, fruits, flowers, and vegetables to Krsna, Balarama, the cowherd boys, and the cows.
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.16.10, Krsna Himself states, “The brahmanas, the cows, and the defenseless creatures are My own body.”
All throughout the Vedic literature, it is mentioned how dear brahminical culture and cows are to Krsna, and how important they are in human civilization.
“Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the prime protector of brahminical culture and the cow. Without respecting these two, one cannot realize the science of God, and without this knowledge, welfare activities or humanitarian propaganda cannot be successful.” (SB 4.21.38)
It is said that cows and brahmanas belong to the same family. They are both in the mode of goodness. The brahmanas are qualified to chant Vedic mantras, and the cows supply the ingredients for sacrifices. Parasurama said in the Gomati-vidya from Vishnu-dharmottara:
“Only by the combination of brahmanas and the cows, is the performance of sacrifice for the pleasure of Visnu complete.”
In fact, Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.21 indicates that human prosperity depends on two items: brahminical culture and cow protection. Lord Krishna in never satisfied where these are lacking.
In the BrihatParasara-smriti, it is written:
“Simply by eating grass, the cows give us milk. From milk, ghee is produced by which demigods become satisfied. So how can one neglect the cow ? Simply by her association, a person becomes purified. By serving her, one achieves unlimited wealth, and by donating cows, one can transfer himself to heaven. There is no wealth superior to the cow. All the demigods reside in different parts of her body. By serving the cow with devotion, Lord Hari becomes pleased. Her milk nourishes human beings. How can such a cow not be worshipable.”
Actually, the cow is one of the seven mothers, for she nourishes us with her milk, the miracle of aggregate food values, and other milk products. Many mothers who cannot nurse their babies, turn to cow’s milk. In the same way as a father supplies food for the family, the bull is meant to help in the production of grains and vegetables by plowing the fields.
Srila Prabhupada states:
“The bull is the emblem of the moral principle (dharma), and the cow is the representative of the earth.” (SB 1.16.18, purport)
Srila Prabhupada further comments (SB 1.17.3, purport) that indeed it is a law of nature that one can earn happiness by pleasing the bull and the cow.