“My dear friends, the cows are also charmed as soon as they hear the transcendental sound of the flute of Krishna. It sounds to them like the pouring of nectar, and they immediately spread their long ears just to catch the liquid nectar of the flute.” (A gopi speaking to her friends, Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 21)
Friend1: Is there ever a valid reason for killing cows?
Friend2: Is this a one-off case or wholesale slaughter, as a kind of industry?
Friend1: Either one. I know in Vedic literature such killing is considered the worst sin.
Friend2: Keep in mind the actual definition of sin. It is behavior that has a negative consequence pertaining to the material body.
Friend1: Bad karma.
Friend2: Which does not have to manifest immediately. There are all sorts of criminals occupying posts within government. There are leading doctors and hospital administrators who intentionally murder patients, withholding lifesaving treatment in order to further a narrative of fear and hopelessness.
Friend1: And it seems like nothing happens to these criminals.
Friend2: But they will get their just reward in the end. As Shri Rama explains, the consequence will be ghastly in nature, to match the original act.
अवश्यं लभते जन्तुः फलं पापस्य कर्मणः।
घोरं पर्यागते काले द्रुमाः पुष्पमिवार्तवम्।।
avaśyaṃ labhate jantuḥ phalaṃ pāpasya karmaṇaḥ।
ghoraṃ paryāgate kāle drumāḥ puṣpamivārtavam।।
“Just as a tree starts to blossom during the proper season, so the doer of sinful deeds inevitably reaps the horrible fruit of their actions at the appropriate time.” (Lord Rama speaking to Khara, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 29.8)
Friend1: I’m just trying to think of the perspective on the other side. How do they justify cow killing to themselves?
Friend2: Enjoyment. They speculate that God gave us this life to enjoy, so we should not have any restriction.
Friend1: Okay, but certain animals they won’t kill. They love the dog to the point of treating it like a deity. Similar with the cat. Why not extend the same to the cow?
Friend2: I don’t know. I guess dog-meat is not as tasty?
Friend1: They sometimes posit the excuse of intelligence.
Friend2: What do you mean?
Friend1: That the cow lacks intelligence. It is not man’s best friend.
Friend2: Umm, that is just silly. The cow is a mother who loves its child. If the cow was useless, why do people extract milk and cream? The milk production is similar to the female human being, who produces milk within the breast to feed the infant.
Friend1: Yeah, that’s why I am puzzled by it. They come up with all sorts of excuses. None of them really make sense to me. They throw out the dire prediction that the entire world would starve if the slaughterhouses were to shut down, but I don’t buy that for a second.
Friend2: People can survive with a voluminous quantity of food through basic cow protection.
Friend1: They try the concept of man having dominion over the animal community. Again, the same dominion doesn’t apply to dogs, apparently?
Friend2: From shastra we have evidence that there is full intelligence within the cow, especially as it pertains to spiritual life. In Vrindavana, they immediately perk up at the sound of Krishna’s flute.
Friend1: Which you would think is only meant for human ears.
Friend2: All of the living entities in Vrindavana are special. They are not ordinary souls, trapped in the cycle of birth and death. Though the cows, parrots, and trees may be in what we would consider inferior body types, they are liberated in the sense of always being connected with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Friend1: Right. To take birth as a cow in Vrindavana would be considered a great achievement.
Friend2: And just see how they interact. They reciprocate. They appreciate Krishna so much. Their time in that sacred place is not wasted. They make the most out of it. At the very least, we should honor the association in relation to Krishna. We should view the cow as most dear to Him. The devotees of Krishna are in a sense identical to Him. Serving them can bring us back into the original occupation of devotional service.
Through flute playing demonstration,
Witness amazing reciprocation.
How perking up their ears,
The cows’ attention nears.
Delight from interaction to transpire,
Their example saintly people to inspire.
Such that never thinking to kill,
Sacred to Krishna still.