gāvo vṛṣā vatsatarā
gāvaḥ—the cows; vṛṣāḥ—the bulls; vatsatarāḥ—the calves; haridrā—with a mixture of turmeric; taila—and oil; rūṣitāḥ—their entire bodies smeared; vicitra—decorated varieties of; dhātu—colored minerals; barha-srak—peacock-feather garlands; vastra—cloths; kāñcana—golden ornaments; mālinaḥ—being decorated with garlands.
The cows, the bulls and the calves were thoroughly smeared with a mixture of turmeric and oil, mixed with varieties of minerals. Their heads were bedecked with peacock feathers, and they were garlanded and covered with cloth and golden ornaments.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead has instructed in Bhagavad-gītā (18.44), kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vāṇijyaṁ vaiśya-karma-svabhāvajam: “Farming, cow protection and trade are the qualities of work for the vaiśyas.” Nanda Mahārāja belonged to the vaiśya community, the agriculturalist community. How to protect the cows and how rich this community was are explained in these verses. We can hardly imagine that cows, bulls and calves could be cared for so nicely and decorated so well with cloths and valuable golden ornaments. How happy they were. As described elsewhere in the Bhāgavatam, during Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira’s time the cows were so happy that they used to muddy the pasturing ground with milk. This is Indian civilization. Yet in the same place, India, Bhārata-varṣa, how much people are suffering by giving up the Vedic way of life and not understanding the teachings of Bhagavad-gītā.
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