Sacred Mother Cow
After a 2 hour train ride and a 1 hour bus ride, in the outskirts of Sydney, Australia there is a farm named New Gokula. A farm, part of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISCKON) is a sacred space where around 80 animals mainly cows and oxen’s live peaceful lives free from slaughter. Upon natural death they are buried or burned.
A pickup truck by a resident of the farm named Gokula awaits upon my arrival at the bus stop. “My name means Go for Cow and Kula meaning school” he says very proudly. “There are only a handful of us living on the farm and it is quite austere no radio no television. We have just acquired a few new cows from the local farmer saving them from a death of slaughter” he adds with a sense of relief.
In Hindu sacred tradition cow is a symbol of motherhood and creator. Her blood turns into milk. She feeds her children and she further offers her milk to us for our bodies and wellbeing.
Starting as early as 6.30am one by one the “Deities” as they are referred to are hand milked. Each cow is given a deities name, Radha, Sita, Bhakti. Mother Cow is considered to be the place of residence of all deities and divinities due to her sattvic, or pure nature and worshipped as so.
Above the cows head, on the top wall, where they are being hand milked, adorns an image of Lord Krishna and Sri Sri Radha. Lord Krishna Himself became a cowherd boy and took care of the cows and the calves due to their sacredness.
While milking one of the cows, her body starts to shake. “She is from the farmer next door. She is used to being milked by a machine.” he says. “She will slowly understand the loving hand that is milking her allowing eventually all the fear from the violent nature of the milk machine to release” he adds. “The Cows nervous system is just like a humans. It knows fear and all this is expressed in the animal’s body just like it would in ours under such treatment” he explains.
According to the laws of karma yoga, the “yoga of action,” all the emotions that an animal experiences transform into “a symphony of vibrations” that are directly transmuted to its body. Therefore when we are eating something, we are essentially eating everything that happened to make that food come into existence.
As the cows at the farm are hand milked and free from any violent and unethical practices, this makes the produce at the farm of milk, yogurt and curd karma free, while the commercial produce from the milk machine is a consequence of karma transmutation.
Slowly the cow begins to settle, she turns towards me and I notice a sparkle in her eyes.
“What is her name?” I ask
“Taaraa” he says “it means star”.
Yes of course I say to myself utterly excited. The spiritual name given to an animal just as to a human comes from the essence of being. The sacred concept of the soul being one!
In the 8 limbs of Yoga, Cow and Calve protection can be found in the sublime virtue of Ahimsa. Ahimsa, or non-injury implies non-killing. Entire abstinence from causing any pain or harm whatsoever to any living creature either by thought, word or deed. Non-injury requires a harmless mouth, mind and hand.
Ahimsa in its pure development of mental attitude replaces hatred for love—it becomes true forgiveness, strength, sacrifice, true Sakti (power). Ahimsa is a great spiritual force.
This ethical precept reinforces the sacredness of all life and must be followed with great devotion and purity by those wanting a true transformation of unethical practices and mukti—liberation of all beings everywhere.
The power of ahimsa is greater than the power of the intellect. It develops the heart in a wonderful manner. Ahimsa matures great will power and in the presence of one who is established in Ahimsa all enimity ceases. The practice of Ahimsa will eventually culminate in the realization of unity and oneness of life. This person then enjoys the highest joy, peace, bliss and immortality.
It is to be understood though that if we abstain from milk and milk products then the cows and bulls will ultimately become extinct. In a higher way of life and thought form the offering of milk to humans for use is the cows way of contributing to society. The solution is not in abstaining from dairy products, but is deeply rooted in the beliefs and practices of civilization and the creation of slaughterhouses. We must as people strive to elevate our consciousness to understand that all beings have a contribution to make to society and allow each other to make that contribution. Understanding who Mother is and respecting Mother in all forms is the start of change. Elevating ourselves to a plane of spiritual understanding and to the heart—to bhakti, or love and devotion, will bring freedom to all.
Elena is a yoga teacher and freelace writer. Our intentions are what create magic in the world. Make them pure and source them from your Truth.