Go Raksha translates from Sanskrit to English as cow protection.  Aryan culture determined the piety of a nation by the happiness of its cows.  Indeed, the devas or demi-gods of the Hindu culture are said to reside on various parts of the cow’s body.  According to Vedic culture, she is also one of the seven mothers.  There is great benefit or punya in cow protection; on the other hand, it is considered a very serious sin to mistreat or kill our mother, the cow.

Cows are not protected in the west.  Western terms like cattle-raising and cow farming are euphemisms for cow slaughter.  Go raksha, or cow protection, respects the productivity of the cow.  The cow produces more milk than she needs for her own offspring – making her a wonderful provider for humanity.  Milk and dairy products are important products in the human diet.  Milk is important for the development of brain tissues in the pure vegetarian diet – crucial in the cultivation of a spiritual life.

Why would you want to kill a creature that is producing so much for you?  Can you imagine a world without milk and dairy products like cream, yoghurt and butter? Pure ghee (clarified butter) is considered one of the most effective medicines in ayurveda. Cow ghee – made from pure milk – breaks down cholesterol and has universal health benefits.  Cow dung has been scientifically proven to have antiseptic qualities.  It is an excellent fuel and also a source of methane gas.  In Vedic culture the bull ploughed the fields – executing many of the tasks performed by modern-day machinery.  The culture of go raksha was, therefore, eco-friendly, humane and economical.

Cow protection not only advocates a negative action, ahimsa, or non-violence; it encourages a positive action and that is to love and respect cows.   The dwelling and grazing area for cows in Hindu culture is called a goshalla. The word ‘cow’ in Ancient Rome was pecus. A person’s wealth was measured by the number of cows he owned, hence the English word ‘pecuniary’.  Cows and grain were also the basis of wealth in the agrarian Vedic culture.  The fact most of us depend on large food chain-stores for grain and dairy products in our modern times is proof of a bankrupt civilization.  After all, who of us can confidently say they know how to milk a cow?