The Agni Purana

by N. Gangadharan | 1954 | 360,691 words | ISBN-10: 8120803590 | ISBN-13: 9788120803596

This page describes The greatness of cows and their welfare (go-shanti) which is chapter 292 of the English translation of the Agni Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas dealing with all topics concerning ancient Indian culture, tradition and sciences. Containing roughly 15,000 Sanskrit metrical verses, subjects contained in the Agni-Purana include cosmology, philosophy, architecture, iconography, economics, diplomacy, pilgrimage guides, ancient geography, gemology, ayurveda, etc.

Chapter 292 - The greatness of cows and their welfare (go-śānti)

Dhanvantari said:

1. A king should protect cows and brahmins. I shall describe the propitiation of cows [i.e., go-śānti]. Cows are sacred and auspicious. The world is sustained by them.

2. Their feces and urine are the excellent destroyers of poverty. Stroking of a cow and the water from its horns would destroy multitudes of sins.

3. The urine and feces of a cow, milk, curd, clarified butter and rocanā (yellow pigment got from a cow) are the six constituents that are excellent and when drunk they would prevent bad dreams etc.

4. (Go) rocanā is capable of nullifying poison and demons. One who feeds the cow with a morsel of food would go to heaven. In whose house cows are ill-kept, that person would go to hell.

5-6a. One who gives a morsel of food to a cow belonging to another would go to heaven. One who does good to a cow would reach the world of Brahmā. One who makes a gift of a cow, one who sings her praise and one who saves her life would elevate his family. The earth becomes pure by the breath of cows. Sins get destroyed by their touch.

6b-8. The urine of a cow, the feces, milk, curd, clarified butter and the water in which kuśa (grass) (has been dipped) (being taken) and a night’s fasting would purify even a vile person. It was practised by the gods in days of yore to destroy all inauspiciousness. If each one of the above was practised for three days, it was known as the mahāsāntapana. This is capable of fulfilling all the desires (of a person) and destroying all that is inauspicious.

9. It was (known as) kṛcchrātikṛcchra, if one lived on milk for twenty-one days. The excellent men (who practised it) would become stainless, would get all the desires fulfilled and attain heaven.

10-11. One should drink hot urine, hot ghee, and hot milk, each one for three days and consume air only for the next three days. This vow known as taptakṛcchra would destroy all sins and confer the world of Brahmā. It is known as śītakṛcchra if done with cold things (as above). It was described by Brahmā. It would yield the world of Brahmā.

12-13a. One should bathe in the urine of a cow, maintain himself with milk and move with the cows eating after they had eaten. It is known as govrata. One would become free from the sins in a month. He would attain the world of cows and reach heaven.

13b-14a. One who mutters the gomatī vidyā (a sacred formula) would reach the excellent world of cows. Therein he will enjoy music, dance and the company of nymphs in the celestial car.

14b-18. Cows are always fragrant. They give out the perfume of guggulu (fragrant resin). They are the sustainers of beings. Cows are the supreme conferers of welfare. The excellent food for gods is the clarified butter from cows. They pour out and utter purity for all the beings. They satisfy the immortals in heaven with the clarified butter purified by mystic formulas. Cows are connected with sacrificial rites such as agnihotra of the sages. Cows are the excellent refuge of all beings. They are supremely holy and are exceedingly auspicious. Cows are the steps leading to heaven. They are the perpetually blessed ones.

19. Obeisance to cows! To the fortunate ones! To the fragrant ones! Obeisance to the daughters of Brahmā! Obeisance to the holy ones!

20-22. One family has been made into two (such as) brahmins and cows. The sacred formulas remain on one side and clarified butter on the other. The entire universe is supported by gods, brahmins, cows, holy men and chaste women. Hence they are always considered to be the fittest to be worshipped. Wherefrom (cows) would drink is known to be a sacred spot. Cows are really the Ganges and others. The greatness of cows has been told. Listen to me! I shall now describe the treatment (of their diseases).

23. Oil mixed with rock salt and decoction of śṛṅgavera, balā and māṃsa, together with honey should be used for the diseases affecting the horns of cows.

24. Oil prepared with mañjiṣṭhā, asafoetida and rock salt or garlic alone should be used in all kinds of pain in the ears.

25. Besmearing a paste of the roots of bilva, apāmārga, dhātakī, pāṭalā and kuṭaja at the base of the teeth would remove the pain therein.

26. O Rāma! Ghee heated with the ingredients used for removing tooth-ache is known to remove the disease of mouth. Rock-salt (is used) for the diseases of tongue.

27-28. Śṛṅgavera, the two varieties of turmeric and the three kinds of myrobalans (are useful to remedy) the stiffness of neck. The three myrobalans mixed with ghee given as a drink to cows is commended in heartache, stomachache, rheumatic complaints and pulmonary diseases. The two varieties of turmeric and pāṭhā may be given for dysentery.

29. Śṛṅgavera and bhārgī may be given for the diseases of the digestive organs and the pulmonary capillaries, cough and asthma.

30. Priyaṅgu together with salt should be given for joining the broken (bones). Oil that removes wind, when heated with madhuyaṣṭī (would cure) biliousness.

31. Mustard mixed with honey (would be the remedy) for (deranged) phlegm. (For the diseases) of the flesh, the same with the dust of puṣṭaka (would be the remedy). One should apply oil, clarified butter and haritāla on wounds from which blood oozes out.

32-34. Blackgram, sesamum, wheat, cow’s milk and ghee made into a ball with salt gives nourishment to the calves. It would give strength to the young bulls. Fumigation would destroy the affliction due to evil planets. Fumigation with devadāru, vacā, māṃsī, guggulu, asafoetida and mustard is beneficial for cows against pain due to evil planets. After fumigation a bell should be tied to cows.

35. If a cow is fed with aśvagandhā and sesamum it would increase its strength and make it yield profuse milk. For a bull that is maintained in the house, oil-cake (would be) the elixir.

36. The goddess of fortune should always be worshipped in the feces of the cows on the fifth (lunar day) for peace. (Lord) Vāsudeva (should) also (be worshipped) with perfumes etc. A different propitiatory rite will be described now.

37. (Lord) Hari (Viṣṇu) should be worshipped on the fifteenth day of the bright fortnight in (the month of) aśvayuk (October-November). (Lord) Hari, Rudra, Aja (Brahmā), Sun, (goddess of) Fortune and Fire-god (should be worshipped) with ghee.

38-39a. After feeding cows with curd and worshipping (them), one should circumambulate the fire. One should also arrange for a bull-fight accompanied by singing and instrumental music outside (the place). Salt should be given to cows. Brahmins (should be paid) the fees.

39b-43. In the periodical (propitiatory rite) (Lord) Viṣṇu should be worshipped at the centre of a lotus (diagram) on the ground along with (goddess) Śrī on the (occasion of Sun’s transit through) Capricorn etc. The celestials should be worshipped in the filaments in the (different) directions. The Sun, the Subhadrāja (born as fortunate) and Bali, the Bahurūpa should be worshipped outside. The Sky, Viśvarūpā, Siddhi, Ṛddhi, Śānti, Rohiṇī (should also be worshipped). The guardian cows of the cardinal points—east etc., the Moon and Īśvara (should be worshipped) in the filaments. The guardian deities of the cardinal points (should be worshipped) in the pitchers (placed) on the petals of the lotus. Oblation should be made unto the fire with the twigs of the kṣīra tree, mustard and unbroken rice a hundred times each. Gold and bronze should be given away to brahmins. Cows should then be worshipped and released for the sake of peace and to be endowed with milk etc.

Fire-god said:

44. Śālihotra narrated the veterinary science relating to the horses to Suśruta. Pālakāpya narrated the science relating to the elephants to Aṅgarāja.

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