Cows & Hindu Mythology

Kamadhenu, the sacred cow which grants all wishes and desires, is an integral part of the Hindu mythology. This divine cow, which lives in swargalok (heaven), emerged from the ocean of milk (ksheerasagar) at the time of samudramanthan (the great churning of the ocean by the gods (suras) and demons (asuras). It was presented to the seven sages by the Gods, and in course of time came into the possession of Sage Vasishta.

Kamadhenu’s complexion is like the white clouds. Every part of cow’s body has a religious significance. Its four legs symbolize the four Vedas, and its teats the four Purusharthas (i.e. four objects or aims of human existence. These are (i) dharma or righteous conduct, (ii) artha or wealth, (iii) kama or desire, and (iv) moksha or liberation. Its horns symbolize the holy trinity of Hindu gods (Brahma (tip), Vishnu (middle) and Shiva (base)); her eyes are the Sun and Moon gods, her shoulders represent the fire-god Agni and the wind-god Vayu.

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