Go-seva

By Bhakti Promode Puri Goswami Maharaja

There is a mantra for the worship of the cows. There is a mantra for herding the cows. Krishna was a cowherd, that is why he has names like Gopal and Govinda. Krishna protected all the cows himself. He and his friends would shout, “Hoy, hoy” at the cows to make them go in the direction they wanted.

I have often said no one should think that serving the cows is an ordinary kind of job. There is a very famous pandit in Vrindavan—I even have some of his books here—Haridas Shastri. He gave up everything to serve the cows. If we can serve the cows then we will give pleasure to Krishna. We have an expression, go-manyu. Manyu means anger. If the cows are displeased with our behavior, then there will be inauspiciousness in the household. All the gods dwell in the heart of the cow; that is why she is called sarva-deva-maya.

This is why I say that service to the cows is not a commonplace activity. One of Krishna’s names is Gopal. This is a special aspect of Krishna’s pastime. He has so many cows, black ones, white ones. There are seven notes on the scale that Krishna plays on his flute—sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha and ni. So when he plays sa, then all the syamali or black cows would come running. When he plays the dha note, all the dhavali, or white cows come running to him. They would come up to him and start licking him, and Krishna would rub and scratch them.

When Krishna left for Mathura, the cows completely lost their appetite. They stopped eating altogether. The mothers of the cowherd boys said to their sons—Sudama’s and Sridama’s mothers said to them, “Go and take the cows out to graze a little. Eat a little something yourselves and then go.” Then they answered, “Mother, we stopped feeling hunger and thirst the day that our brother Kanai left us. You’re telling us to take the cows into the fields, but they won’t even look at the grass. They simply look up and moo for our brother Kanai to come back. Tears pour out of their eyes in torrents. That is the state the cows are in.”


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2 Responses to Go-seva

  1. Ratna-cintamani dasi

    This is such a nice article and is one of the most endearing aspects of Swami’s Ashram. It is so nice to be cooking in the kitchen and look out and see the beautiful cows strolling around. Interacting with them is enormously satisfying. One festival Swami orchestrated a cow washing pastime, and although I must admit I was reluctant to participate at first, it was the most fun I have ever had. Such a simple activity but so satisfying. My husband told me that one day Swami came out of his room and called for Khama-dhenu and she came galloping up the hill at full speed only to stop on a dime at his feet with love in her eyes. This is what makes us hanker to spend all of our free time at Audarya and thank the residents of Audarya for making this possible.

  2. I have come across this article a few times before and each time I read it I just feel pleasure in my heart. Srila Puri Maharaja’s simple yet profound appreciation of go-seva is just sweet, sweet!

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