In India, since childhood people are taught to be caring towards cows. Cow products are beneficial for infants, children and adults. There is high nutritional value in all cow’s products. Gau Puja is performed to remember the importance of the cow. It’s an opportunity to show appreciation and reverence for the cow. The ritual possesses a symbol of beautiful spirituality and it has a deep universal significance.
Some devotees believe Gopastami as the appearance day of the cow. Hence, it is celebrated as a birthday or as a special day of cows. As a mark of respect, devotees worship cow and offer fresh grass and food on this day. On Gopashtami Lord Krishna became a gau-walla or cowherd. Hence, he is also known as ‘Gopala’. Lord Krishna had great love towards cows.
Gau Puja Ritual: Gopashtami is a festival of worshipping cows which is mainly celebrated in the Northen parts of India. Gopashtami falls in the Hindu month of Kartika. On this day cows are beautifully decorated with their horns sharpened. They are fed with sugarcanes and succulent grass to express the gratitude towards the cows. Devotees also offer flowers, tilak, Jaggery, rice and water and perform aarti. Devotees do parikrama of cows and apply ‘Guadhuli’ or soil beneath the cow’s feet on their forehead. By doing so one may get prosperous and a happy life.
Shlokas and Mantra:
Sarvakaamdudhe devi sarvatithirbhishechini l
Pavane surbhi shreshte devi tubhyam namostute ll
Lakshmirya Lokapalanam Dhenurupena Samsthita।
Ghritam Vahati Yagyarthe Mama Papam Vyapohatu॥
Many gems, animal and gods emerged from ocean churning which took place between Gods and Demons. Kamadenu, the divine also emerged during ocean churning which has the capacity to fulfil the every desire. Once Kamadenu reached the ashram of sage Vasishta. King Dilipan was childless. Hence, sage Vasishta advised him to worship Kamadenu to obtain a child. The king started worshipping Kamadhenu and he was blessed with a child. Kamadenu also helped sage Vashista in building up an army to fight a battle against Vishwamitra who wanted to take away Kamadhenu.
The significance of Gau Puja: Cow helps to remove poverty, by giving health, wealth and comfort. The worshipping cow may remove the deadliest sins. Worshipping cow helps to repay debts and to overcome enemies. Nearly 36 deities have taken abode in the body of a cow and hence it is a sin to harm it. The base of cow horns is an abode of Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu. Lord Shiva resides in the forehead and Goddess Uma resides in the middle of the forehead. The nose is an abode of Lord Ganesh and the nose tip is the abode of Murugan. Lord Yama resides in the heart, holy river Yamuna resides in cow dung while Goddess Lakshmi resides at the hind part of the cow. The sages, rishis reside in the hair of the cow and other gods reside at the base of the tail.