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Holy Cows in Rishikesh

After the building work of our resort was completed, we had a vedic havan ceremony to purify and bless the property. And at the end of our house-warming ritual a cow was brought in. The photo shows our neighbour's cow during the ceremony.

Bringing a cow into a newly built house is seen as highly auspicious and called Gho Vardhana Pooja.

In the Indian culture every cow is venerated as an Avatar (earthly embodiment) of Kamadhenu, the sacred cow deity and mother of all cattle – a form of Devi (Mother Goddess). The cow is a symbol of life and viewed a sacred animal which provides essential nourishment. It is regarded as the source of all prosperity. Slaughtering a cow and eating its meat is a major sin according to the Vedas.

Besides their milk, cows serve many practical purposes, and are considered a real blessing to the rural community. On the farm, bulls are used to plough the fields and as a means of transportation of goods. Even Lord Shiva’s trusted vehicle is Nandi– the sacred bull.

Kamadhenu and its supreme powers are mentioned in several ancient epics. For example in the Mahabharata and Devi Bhagavata Purana, in the context of the birth of Bhishma (son of Kuru King Shantanu and goddess Ganga).

Also Lord Krishna is often depicted playing his flute amongst cows and dancing Gopis (milkmaids). He grew up as a cow herder. Krishna also goes by the names Govinda and Gopala, which literally mean “friend and protector of cows.”


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