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Stories Of Kamadhenu – Wish Fulfilling Cow In Hinduism

Stories of Kamadhenu, wish fulfilling cow in Hinduism, is found mainly in Mahabharata and Puranas. She is also known as Surabhi and sometimes Nandini. As per popular belief she is said to have originated from Sage Kashyapa.

She is the mother of call cattle as per Puranas. Accounts of her origin are not the same in all scriptures. Sometimes Surabi and Nandini are referred to as the calves of Kamadhenu.

As per Mahabharata Adi Parva, Chapter 18, Kamadhenu is said to have emerged from the kshirasagara (milky ocean) when it was churned for amrit (elixir of life) by Devas and Asuras.

Devi Bhagavata (Skandha IX) speaks of another Kamadhenu created by Krishna, while he and Radha felt tired when they were enjoying divine play. Numerous cows sprang from the pores of Kamadhenu and were presented to the cowherd companions of Krishna.

Kamadhenu was possessed not only by gods but also by sages. Often Kamadhenu is seen to be dispatched or requisitioned for achieving specific objective.

Anecdotes about Kamadhenu in Puranas refer not only to her benign and beneficial nature but also to the protection she afforded to her possessors when the occasion demanded.

Once when Vishwamitra, king of Kanyakubja, reached the hermitage of the great Sage Vasishta with a large retinue, Kamadhenu in the hermitage provided sumptuous food for the king and his following. Vishwamitra desired to possess Kamadhenu but Vasishta Rishi would not part with her since she was a gift from the Devas, given to him for meeting the needs of guests visiting his ashram. When Vishwamitra tried to take her by force, Kamadhenu assumed a terrific form, and soldiers jumped out of the different limbs of her body and routed the soldiers of king Vishwamitra.

Vishwamitra then realized the superiority of tapas and penance of a Rishi over the power the king. He then performed severe penance and ultimately turned himself into a rajarishi and a celebrated brahmarishi.

Another legend in Mahabharata Adi Parva Chapter 99 also refers to Kamadhenu and Sage Vasishta. Eight semi divine vasus were once sporting in the vicinity of the hermitage of Vasishta Rishi, when the wife of one of them wished to posses the Kamadhenu in the ashram of the rishi. Thereupon the eight vasus stole the cow. The sage then cursed the vasus to be born as mortals on the Earth. The repentant vasus brought back Kamadhenu and begged pardon of the sage, who reduced the curse to just life on Earth for seven of the vaus but a long life for that Vasu who was the culprit. In effect, the vasus were born as the sons of King Shantanu and Ganga. Seven of them were thrown into Ganga River as soon as they were born and thus attained their original status, while the eighth vasu had to lead long mortal life on Earth as the renowned grandsire Bhishma.

Kamadhenu was also stolen by from Sage Jamadagni’s ashram by Sahastrabahu Arjuna (a king named thousand armed Arjuna). Sahastrabahu killed the rishi and forcibly took the divine cow.

Parashuram, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu, who was the son of Sage Jamadagni cut off the arms of Kartavirya Arjuna and killed him.

To avenge this incident Parasurama wiped out generations of corrupt warriors from the planet to restore justice. 




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