The Harivamsha depicts Krishna as a cowherd. He is often described as Bala Gopala, "the child who protects the cows." Another of Krishna's names, Govinda, means "one who brings satisfaction to the cows." Other scriptures identify the cow as the "mother" of all civilization, its milk nurturing the population. The gift of a cow is applauded as the highest kind of gift.
The milk of a cow is believed to promote Sattvic (purifying) qualities. The ghee (clarified butter) from the milk of a cow is used in ceremonies and in preparing religious food. Cow dung is used as fertilizer, as a fuel and as a disinfectant in homes.
The earth-goddess Prithvi was, in the form of a cow, successively milked of various beneficent substances for the benefit of humans, by various deities.
Cows are the abode of the Goddess of wealth. Sins don’t touch them. There exists a fine relationship between man and cow. A home without a cow is like one without dear ones.
namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya cajagad-dhitaya krsnaya govindaya namo namah(Vishnu Purana 1.19.65)
“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.”
The man, having a body of flesh, bones and blood,--who, towards the end gives cows to the twice-born, uttering "Nandanandanam," never falls into the Vaitaraṇī. (Garuda Purana 8.24)
In disease and calamity two gifts rank above all others. They are indispensable--the eight-fold gift of sesamum and other things.Sesamum, iron, gold, cotton stuff, salt, the seven grains, a plot of ground, a cow,--every one of these is said to purify. (Garuda Purana 8.32-34)
Therefore shall a king especially make gifts of land; though for others, I say, the gift, of a cow is equal to a gift of land. (Garuda Purana 8.55)
Towards the end, a cow should be given. He should give a cow to overcome death, another to absolve himself of debts, another for the gaining of liberation.With special rites, O Bird, should the gift of a cow for Vaitaraṇī be made. The cows verily carry the man beyond three kinds of hells. (Garuda Purana 8.56-57)
Having given even once a tawny cow, milkgiving, with the calf and other necessary things, to a well-conducted and austere Brāhmiṇ, learned in the Vedas,--one is absolved of all these sins. The giver is released by her at the end from the accumulated sins. (Garuda Purana 8.60-61)
The gift of one cow while one is in full vigour of mind, the gift of a hundred cows while suffering from diseases, the gift of a thousand when dying and bereft of mental faculties,And the gift of one hundred thousand cows after death 1, are equal. A gift made to a deserving person, who has bathed at the sacred waters, increases a hundred thousand fold. (Garuda Purana 8.62-63)
"May cows be in front of me; may cows be behind me; may cows be in my heart 1; and may I dwell in the midst of cows."May she who is the Goddess of Prosperity for all creatures, who is the mainstay of the shining ones, its the form of a cow remove my sins." (Garuda Purana 8.81-82)
The murderer of a Brāhmaṇ becomes consumptive, the killer of a cow becomes hump-backed and imbecile, the murderer of a virgin becomes leprous,--all three born as outcastes. (Garuda Purana 5.3)
Who strikes a cow or a Brāhmaṇ with his foot is born lame and deformed; who speaks lies becomes a stammerer, and who listens to them becomes deaf. (Garuda Purana 5.9)
Those who protect the human beings, cows, Brahmins, vegetation and remain engrossed in discussion of Lord’s virtues. Those who always donate water and cereals, cows and daughters are the excellent among all the devotees.
Virtues of donating land and milch cow to a Brahmin cannot be described in words.
Those who serve the Brahmin deities or cow, those who play instruments, bell, and blow conch or clap in the temple enjoy intimacy with divine beauties in the heaven for five Kalpas.
Those who consume cow’s flesh live in Vingbhojya hell for thousands of years.
Anyone who helps brahmanas or donates cows to them is blessed. Apart from cows, buffaloes can also be donated. (hence eating of beef is strictly prohibited)
There are three types of wine, known as goudi, madhvi and paishti. The drinking of wine is forbidden. If one drinks wine, the prescribed penance is the drinking of clairfied butter and the urine of cows. Drinking wine, in fact, is as great a sin as the killing of a brahmana.
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