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गौ-सेवा

When Lord Krishna was a child he was called 'Gopal' which means means "protector of cows".

From the Rig Veda (4.28.1;6) we read. “The cows have come and have brought us good fortune. In our stalls, contented, may they stay! May they bring forth calves for us, many-coloured, giving milk for Indra each day. You make, O cows, the thin man sleek; to the unlovely you bring beauty. Rejoice our homestead with pleasant lowing. In our assemblies we laud your vigour.”

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In the Hindu tradition, the cow is honored, garlanded and given special feedings at festivals all over India, most importantly the annual Gopashtama festival. Demonstrating how dearly Hindus love their cows, colorful cow jewelry and clothing is sold at fairs all over the Indian countryside. From a young age, Hindu children are taught to decorate the cow with garlands, paint and ornaments. Her nature is epitomized in Kamdhenu, the divine, wish-fulfilling cow.

In the Vedas, cows represent wealth and joyous earthly life. From the Rig Veda (4.28.1;6) we read. “The cows have come and have brought us good fortune. In our stalls, contented, may they stay! May they bring forth calves for us, many-coloured, giving milk for Indra each day. You make, O cows, the thin man sleek; to the unlovely you bring beauty. Rejoice our homestead with pleasant lowing. In our assemblies we laud your vigour.”

The cow's nature is represented in Kamdhenu; the goddess who is the mother of all cows. Honoring the cow inspires in people the virtues of gentleness and connects them with nature. Lord Krishna, one of the most well known of the Hindu deities 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 Govind and Gopal, which literally mean “friend and protector of cows.” It is considered highly auspicious for a true devotee to feed a cow, even before eating breakfast oneself.

The origin of the veneration of the cow can be traced to the Vedic period (2nd millennium–7th century BCE). The Indo-European peoples who entered India in the 2nd millennium BCE were pastoralists; cattle had major economic significance that was reflected in their religion