ISKCON’s Role In Cow Protection
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and one of the greatest spiritual ambassadors of India in recent times, spoke often with great force and feeling on the need to protect cows. Guided by his teachings and inspired by the strength of his personal conviction, ISKCON has played a pioneering role in advocating and practicing cow protection by establishing farm communities, Goshalas, etc., all over the world.
The Importance of the Cow and Bull
The people of our times have forgotten that the Cow is the most important animal for human society. The Bull is the emblem of Dharma and cow is the representative of the Earth. When the Bull and Cow are in a joyful mood, it is to be understood that the people of the world will also be in a joyful mood. The reason is that the Bull helps in production of grains in the agricultural field, and the Cow delivers milk, the miracle food which can be further converted into curd, yogurt, butter and ghee. Milking a Cow means drawing the principle of religion in liquid form. Cow’s milk is so pure that it is considered liquid religiosity. So in scriptures Cow is considered to one of our MOTHERS. The Cows give milk and the Bull gives grains through tilling the land, they are considered the MOTHER and the FATHER of human society. Both the Cow and Bull are symbols of the most offenceless living beings because even their dung and urine are of IMMENSE VALUE (medicinal, fuel, etc.) to human society.
Protection of Cows is the single-most important principle towards saving the whole world from both moral and spiritual degradation. Simply by protection of Cows all the wonderful benefits of religiosity and piety will be automatically achieved without any separate endeavor. This is because Cows are as beloved to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, as even saintly brahmanas.
In scriptures it is said, namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca jagad-dhitaya krsnaya govindaya namo namah, “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.” (Visnu Purana 1.19.65) Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the prime protector of brahminical culture and the Cow. Without knowing and respecting these pleasing personalities, one cannot realize the science of God, and without this knowledge, any welfare activities or humanitarian propaganda cannot be successful. SB 4.21.38 purport For the Cowherd men and the Cows, Krishna is the supreme friend. His pastimes in Gokula, His dhama, are always favorable to the brahmanas and the Cows. His first business is to give all comfort to the Cows and the brahmanas. In fact, comfort for the brahmanas is secondary, and comfort for the Cows is His first concern. Because of His presence, all people would overcome all difficulties and always be situated in transcendental bliss. SB 10.8.16 Krishna says in Srimad Bhagavatam, “I can be worshiped within the Cows by offerings of grass and other suitable grains and paraphernalia for the pleasure and health of the Cows, and one may worship Me within the Vaishnavas by offering loving friendship to them and honoring them in all respects. SB 11.11.43 Krishna with cow Human society needs only sufficient grain and sufficient Cows to solve its economic problems. All other things but these two are artificial necessities created by man to kill his valuable life at the human level and waste his time in things which are not needed. Lord Krishna, as the teacher of human society, personally showed by His acts that the mercantile community, or the vaisyas or business or trading community, should herd Cows and Bulls and thus give protection to these valuable animals.
According to smrti regulation, the Cow is the mother and the Bull the father of the human being. The Cow is the Mother because just as one sucks the breast of one’s Mother, human society takes Cow’s milk. Similarly, the Bull is the Father of human society because the Father earns for the children just as the Bull tills the ground to produce food grains. Human society will kill its spirit of life by killing the Father and the Mother. SB 3.2.29 purport The Cow is the most important animal for developing the human body to perfection. The body can be maintained by any kind of foodstuff, but Cow’s milk is particularly essential for developing the finer tissues of the human brain so that one can understand the intricacies of transcendental knowledge. A civilized man is expected to live on foodstuffs comprising fruits, vegetables, grains, sugar and milk. The Bull helps in the agricultural process of producing grain, etc., and thus in one sense the Bull is the father of humankind, whereas the Cow is the Mother, for she supplies milk to human society. A civilized man is therefore expected to give all protection to the Bulls and Cows. SB 3.5.7 purport.