The Cow Sanctuary
Air Chief Marshal NC Suri
I would like to begin by applauding the philanthropic work initiated by Mr GM Patel in Gujarat on a wide spectrum embracing drinking water to the villages, promoting free eye treatment for the needy, introducing concept of dental camp etc. Added to these having created a Sanctuary for Cows is most gratifying and in keeping with the Hindu culture and religious sentiments.
The cow has been revered by the Hindus since inception of their beliefs and traditions. With passage of time this system of belief has grown stronger rather than reduced. This is primarily due to two reasons. The first relates to our conviction that there are five forms of the Mother and any sin against them is tantamount to a most heinous crime. The five mothers being: the mother who gives one birth, the cow that gives one milk throughout one's life without asking for anything in return, the soil that gives one food, the country that gives one a place to live in and finally God who is one's father and mother. The second reason is our belief that God resides in all His creation be it human, animal or vegetation. Thus lack of care or destructive attitude towards them is defacto sin towards the indweller who is God.
The thrust of the Gowshalla (cow Sanctuary) is not only to look after the cow when it is non-productive and aged or incapicated due to illness but also to prevent senseless slaughter of an animal that has given us so much with selfless love. It is in this context that Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba repeatedly told those who were privleged to come in His contact that
" You are not human beings trying to be spiritual, but spiritual beings trying to be human"
It is therefore my belief that this gowshalla has to be looked at with a deeper meaning and not merely as a sanctuary to house cows when they fail to be of use to the human being and become a burden. The gowshalla is to awaken our conscious and make us alive to our moral and ethical obligations towards God's gift to mankind in the form of a cow. Your show of gratitude towards her is among the easiest ways to reduce one's Sanchita Karma, the total cosmic debt. I strongly recommend that one should not lose this God sent opportunity and begin to assist and contribute to this laudable venture.
Aum Sai Ram