sa vai ratnaṁ tu tad dṛṣṭvā
saḥ—he (Kārtavīryārjuna); vai—indeed; ratnam—a great source of wealth; tu—indeed; tat—the kāmadhenu in the possession of Jamadagni; dṛṣṭvā—by observing; ātma-aiśvarya—his own personal opulence; ati-śāyanam—which was exceeding; tat—that; na—not; ādriyata—appreciated very much; agnihotryām—in that cow, which was useful for executing the agnihotra sacrifice; sa-abhilāṣaḥ—became desirous; sa-haihayaḥ—with his own men, the Haihayas.
Kārtavīryārjuna thought that Jamadagni was more powerful and wealthy than himself because of possessing a jewel in the form of the kāmadhenu. Therefore he and his own men, the Haihayas, were not very much appreciative of Jamadagni’s reception. On the contrary, they wanted to possess that kāmadhenu, which was useful for the execution of the agnihotra sacrifice.
Jamadagni was more powerful than Kārtavīryārjuna because of performing the agnihotra-yajña with clarified butter received from the kāmadhenu. Not everyone can be expected to possess such a cow. Nonetheless, an ordinary man may possess an ordinary cow, give protection to this animal, take sufficient milk from it, and engage the milk to produce butter and clarified ghee, especially for performing the agnihotra-yajña. This is possible for everyone. Thus we find that in Bhagavad-gītā Lord Kṛṣṇa advises go-rakṣya, the protection of cows. This is essential because if cows are cared for properly they will surely supply sufficient milk. We have practical experience in America that in our various ISKCON farms we are giving proper protection to the cows and receiving more than enough milk. In other farms the cows do not deliver as much milk as in our farms; because our cows know very well that we are not going to kill them, they are happy, and they give ample milk. Therefore this instruction given by Lord Kṛṣṇa—go-rakṣya—is extremely meaningful. The whole world must learn from Kṛṣṇa how to live happily without scarcity simply by producing food grains (annād bhavanti bhūtāni) and giving protection to the cows (go-rakṣya). Kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vāṇijyaṁ vaiśya-karma svabhāvajam [Bg. 18.44]. Those who belong to the third level of human society, namely the mercantile people, must keep land for producing food grains and giving protection to cows. This is the injunction of Bhagavad-gītā. In the matter of protecting the cows, the meat-eaters will protest, but in answer to them we may say that since Kṛṣṇa gives stress to cow protection, those who are inclined to eat meat may eat the flesh of unimportant animals like hogs, dogs, goats and sheep, but they should not touch the life of the cows, for this is destructive to the spiritual advancement of human society.
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