Khamadhenu

Definition - What does Khamadhenu mean?

Also known as Surabhi, Khamadenu is understood as the mother of all cows, according to ancient Hindu scriptures. She is considered to be the divine ancestor of all cows, who brings good fortune to all who worship her. This is reflected in her name, derived from two Sanskrit root words; Kama meaning "desire" or "wish" and dhenu meaning "milk cow."

Yogapedia explains Khamadhenu

In India, all cows are thought to be the earthly embodiment of Khamadenu, and are therefore worshipped as holy. There is no specific temple for Khamadenu, since Hindus worship her presence through the veneration of cows in general. Cows are an integral part of Hindu culture, thought to help cleanse people of their sins in both this life and past lives before it. Feeding cows is seen as a good deed in Hinduism, and cows in India are indeed highly respected and well taken care of.

The story of Khamadenu appears in the Vedas, Hinduism's oldest scriptures. The four legs of the cow are said to represent each of the four Vedas, the teats symbolize the Purusharthas (goals of human life) and the horns honor the gods. As such, it is thought that all that is sacred can be found in the cow.

Hindu scriptures provide varied accounts of the birth of Khamadenu, perhaps the most well-known of which is that she emerged from the churning of the cosmic ocean. In this story, the devas and asuras (gods) were churning the ocean to obtain the milk of immortality, and instead created Khamadenu. She was given to the Saptarishi (seven great sages), to whom she provided milk and ghee for sacred rituals.

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