Caring for Cows

When young men asked Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja for sannyasa he asked them to first spend some time at his math and engage in go-seva, cleaning the barn and so forth. And as we know, “go” means “cow” and “go” means “senses.” Go figure!

In raganuga bhakti caring for cows is considered svabhistha bhava avirudha, that which is not contrary to the bhakti one is cultivating. It is supportive of the practice and should be embraced.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura cites the Damodara-lila: Krsna wanted to drink milk from the breast of Yasoda, and at the same time the milk she had kept on the fire was about to boil over. Thus she put him down and tended to the milk that had been acquired from special cows grazed on special grasses with the intent of giving this milk to Krsna in an effort to keep him from stealing milk products from the neighbors. The idea here is that the milk and cows of Krsna are dear to him. Serving them is a form of tadiya seva, serving that which is dear to him. And tadiya seva is higher than serving Krsna himself. Thus Yasoda-devi put him down to tend to the milk.

So that which is bhaboth va anukula, such as tulasi seva, and that which is bhava avirudha are related to tadiya seva, the difference being that tulasi seva is compulsory, whereas go seva is not. But if the latter is embraced, it will assist one in developing the desired bhava.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *