Surabhi cow

posted in: English 0




She is the first mother of cattle. She is a goddess with marvellous powers and attainments who gives milk whenever needed by gods and sages. The Puranas declare that all the cattle in the world today are descended from Kamadhenu.


2) Three different names.
This sacred cow is sometimes called “Kamadhenu”, at other times, “Surabhi” and also “Nandini”. They are not three different cows, as some people suppose.
See Maha-Bharata, Aranya Parva Chapter 9, Verses 7 and 17.
There Surabhi and Kamadhenu are names used for referring to the same cow.
Again, in the Bhasa Bharata, Adi Parva, Chapter 99, Verse 14, we find the name Nandini applied to Kamadhenu. Thus we may conclude that Kamadhenu had two other names, viz. Surabhi and Nandini. But since the term “Surabhirgavi” occurs in Amarakosa, it follows that even ordinary cows may be called “Surabhi”-


3) Birth and family.
In the Puranas Surabhi is described variously as Daksa’s daughter, Kasyapa’s wife, Kasyapa’s daughter, etc. Although at first sight there may appear some discrepancy in these statements, in the light of them we may clearly arrive at the ancestry and birth of Surabhi.
Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kanda, 14th Sarga says that Kasyapa, the son of Marici and the grandson of Brahma married Daksa Prajapati’s daughters -Aditi, Diti, Danu, Kalika, Tamra, Krodhavasa, Manu and Anala. From verses 20 and 21 in the same Sarga we understand that Surabhi was the daughter of Krodhavasa, Daksa’s daughter, by Kasyapa. In the same Sarga we find that two daughters, Rohini and Gandharvi were born all the horses.

It was by her own father Kasyapa himself that Surabhi’s off-springs were born. Therefore, the reference to Surabhi as the wife of Kasyapa may also be justified. Since Krodhavasd, the daughter of Daksa was the mother of Surabhi, actually Surabhi was the grand-daughter of Daksa, But in a broad sense, a grand-daughter may be considered as a daughter. So the reference to Surabhi in Bhasa Bharata, Anusasana Parva, Chapter 83, Verse 28 as baksa’s daughter is correct in that sense.


4) How Kamadhenu received divine powers.
Long ago Aditi, wife of Kasyapa, conceived Mahavisnu in her womb and began an austere penance standing on one leg. At that time Surabhi went to Kailasa and offered worship to Brahma for ten thousand years. The gods who were pleased, came to Surabhi taking Brahma with them. Brahma said to her:
Surabhi I have made you a goddess. You are now above the three worlds-Heaven Earth and Hell. Your world, “Goloka” will become famous. All people will worship you and the cows who are your off spring.”

From that day on which Brahma blessed her, Surabhi became a goddess with marvellous spiritual powers.
(M.B. Anusasana Parva, Chapter 83 ).


5) More than one Kamadhenu?
There are references to several Kamadhenus in the Puranas. There is one Kamadhenu in Vasistha’s Asrama. At Varuna’s yajna we see another Kamadhenu. There is no ground for believing that there is only one Kamadhenu and that it was borrowed by each Deva in turn for some particular occasion. It is possible that there were many Kamadhenus in the family of Kamadhenn and they were owned by different Devas. Moreover it is stated that several Kamadhenus take their origin from sources other than the family of Kasyapa. One of them is from the ocean of milk. In Mahabharata, Adi Parva, Chapter 18, we find that when the Devas and Asuras churned the ocean of milk, along with many other precious things, Kdmadhenu also came up to the surface.

There is a reference to another Kamadhenu in Maha-Bharata, Udyoga Parva, Chapter 102. There it is said, Brahma who got Amrta swallowed it beyond limit in his avidity and when he vomited, a Kamadhenu came out from his mouth. That Kamadhenu is said to be living in the world known as Rasatala. The abovementioned passage also says that there are four other Kamadhenus living on the four sides of the Kamadhenu which lives in Rasatala. They are Saurabhi in the east Hamsika in the south, Subhadra in the west and Dhenu in the north.

The next Kamadhenu is the one which was born from the side of Sri Krsna. Once Sri Krsna and his consort Radha were amusing themselves by amorous pleasures in a remote and secluded place. When they were tired they wished to drink some milk. At that time, Sri Krsna created by his will power, the cow #Surabhi and the calf Manoratha, from the left side of his body. Sridaman milked that cow into a new earthen pot and when Sri Krsna was drinking it, the pot fell down and the milk was spilt all over the floor. The milk which spread over an area of 100 yojanas, became a, lake called “Ksirasagara” for Radha and her maids to bathe and enjoy” water-sports. Numerous cows were born from the pores of Surabhi and they were presented to the Gopas by Sri Krsna.
(Devi Bhagavata, 9th Skandha).
Like this, several Kamadhenus are seen in the Puranas. Therefore there is no discrepancy or contradiction in statements declaring that there were many Kamadhenus in different Asramas. But since Kamadhenu had achieved divine powers by Brahma’s grace, it is but reasonable to believe that the different Kamadhenus are really the different forms of the original #Kamadhenu, the daughter of #Kasyapa.


6) Theft of #Kamadhenu by #Satyavrata (#Trisanku).
Satyavrata (Trisanku) was the son of Aruna, a King of the Iksvaku dynasty. He was a vicious and immoral fellow. Once he abducted a Brahmana girl just at the time of her marriage in her bridal dress. Enraged at this his father drove him away from his palace. Satyavrata wandered about aimlessly in the country and in the forests.
Soon after this there was a famine in the land. Human beings and animals began to die of starvation. At that time #Visvamitra was performing penance in the forest after leaving behind his wife and children in the country. When he saw that the whole family was in danger of death by starvation, he decided to make some money by se1ling one of the sons, in order to save the lives of the rest of the family. Satyavrata who came to know of this, met Visvamitra and dissuaded him from selling his son. He promised to supply some flesh every day to the family by hunting animals in the forest and keeping the flesh suspended from the branch of a near-by tree. Accordingly, he began leaving the flesh regularly hanging from the branch of the tree. One day he could not get any flesh by hunting. That night he went to Vasistha’s asrama and stole Kamadhenu. He killed the cow and ate some of its flesh. The rest he gave to Visvamitra’s family.
The next morning when Vasistha woke up, he did not see his cow. But he came to know of the whole affair by his intuition. In his fury he cursed Satyavrata and said that the world would brand him with the name “Trisanku” because he had committed three heinous sins viz. killing of cows, abducting another man’s wife and incurring his father’s displeasure. After that Vasistha restored Kamadhenu to life.
(Devi Bhagavata, 7th Skandha).


7) Visvamitra attacked Kamadhenu.
Once while Visvamitra was a ruling King, he went into a forest to hunt. In the course of his rambles through the forest, he happened to arrive at Vasistha’s Asrama with his retinue. Vasistha called Kamadhenu and ordered her to provide food for Visvamitra and his party. Kamadhenu, by her divine powers, prepared food within a short time and gave them a sumptuous meal; Visvamitra was greatly pleased with this amazing feat of Kdmadhenu and he asked Vasistha to give her to him. He even offered to give crores of cows in return for her. But #Vasistha refused to comply with his request. Then Visvamitra tried to seize and take her away by force.
At once Kamadhenu assumed the form of a terrible monster of destruction. From the different parts of her body emerged fierce warriors who clashed with Visvamitra’s followers. All the arrows shot by Visvamitra were caught by Vasistha with his hand. In the end Visvamitra admitted that the might of a Brahmana is superior to the might of a Ksatriya. (Vasistha was a Brahmana and Visvamitra a Ksatriya). Visvamitra, soon gave up his kingly duties and began penance, thus turning himself into a Rajarsi (Royal saint).
(Valmiki Ramayana, Bala Kanda, 52nd Sarga ;
Maha-bharata Salya Parva, Chapter 40 ; M.B. Adi Parva, Chapter 175).


8) Kamadhenu was attacked by the Asta Vasus.
(See under the word “Astavasus”, Para 2).


9) Kamadhenu cried. (See under the word “Indra”, Para 16) .


10) Kamadhenu revived King Baka. (See under the word “Gautama”).


11) Other details.

(i) Kamadhenu gave birth to Ajasa, Ekapat, Ahirbudhnya, Tvasta and Rudra. Visvarupa was the son of Tvasta.
(Agni Purana, Chapter 18).

(ii) Kamadhenu said that she had no part in the theft of Agastya’s lotus.
(Maha-bharata Anusasana Parva, Chapter 94).

(iii) Sri Krsna turned Govardhana mountain into an umbrella and defeated Indra when Kamadhenu came to Gokula and bathed Sri Krsna with her milk according to Bhagavata, 10th Skandha.

(iv) Once the sage Jamadagni went to Goloka and propitiated Kamadhenu by his tapas. Kamadhenu gave her sister Susila to Jamadagni. The sage presented that cow to his, wife Renuka.
(Brahmanda Purana, Chapter 61).


The wish fullfilling cows, also called Surabhi. She can give anything you want, so obviously any materialist will want it.

Post view 385 times

Notify of
0 Adds or Replies
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments