KAMADHENU, the sacred cow, is a part and parcel of Hindu mythology. She is the cow, which grants all wishes and desires. She is the cow of plenty, which emerged from SAMUDRAMANTHAN (the churning of the ocean) and taken by seven gods, who compose the constellation of the Great Bear in the sky. She is also called SURABHI, SHAVAL, ADITI and KAMDUH. She is the mother of all cows.
According to mythological accounts, Brahma created the Brahmins and the Cow at the same time, the Brahmins were to recite Vedas and scriptures while the cow was to afford ghee (clarified butter) for burnt-offerings in religious sacrifices. The cow is deemed to be the mother of gods and is declared by Brahma to be a proper object of worship. The unclean places are purified with cow-dung and in rural areas still the cow-dung is to be used to rub the ground of the doorway, which is the first act in the morning.
Amongst orthodox Hindus she is worshipped on the first of VAISHAKH (first month of the Hindu calendar), when Brahma created the cow. The milkmen paint the horns and hoofs of their cattle yellow or saffron and bathe them in the river. Whoever kills a cow or allows another to kill it, shall rot in hell, as many years as there are hairs upon his body. A child born under unlucky stars is passed under the body of a cow to offset the effects.
Moreover cow plays a very important role in the cult of god Krishna. It follows the cowherd Krishna through his life on earth and also symbolizes with its four legs the four Vedas of the Hindus. Every part of cow’s body has a religious significance. Its horns symbolize the gods, its face the sun and the moon, its shoulders Agni, the god of fire, and its legs the Himalayas.
Cow also symbolizes Dharma itself. It is said to have stood steadily upon the earth with its four feet during the SATYUG (world’s first age of truth), upon three feet during the, TRETAYUG (the second stage of less than perfection), upon two feet during the DWAPARYUG (the third stage of dwindling and disappearing perfection) and only on one leg during KALIYUG (the fourth and current age of decadence).