Why particularly cow is protected? Because milk is very essential food for the human society, therefore cow protection is the duty of the human society. That is the conception of Vedic literature

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"Why particularly cow is protected? Because milk is very essential food for the human society, therefore cow protection is the duty of the human society. That is the conception of Vedic literature"

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

As the king was entrusted to protect the life of the citizens, similarly, the vaiśya class, or the mercantile class, they were entrusted to protect the life of cow. Why particularly cow is protected? Because milk is very essential food for the human society, therefore cow protection is the duty of the human society. That is the conception of Vedic literature.
Lecture on BG 2.46-47 -- New York, March 28, 1966:

So the intelligent class, they have got separate department of duty. The administrative class, they have also got separate department of duty. Similarly, the mercantile class, they have got separate activity. And the laborer class, they have only one activity, to serve others. That's all. Because they cannot do anything independently, therefore they have to offer the service to the higher class, to the administrative class or to the mercantile class or the intelligent class and take some payment for his livelihood. So these divisions, these divisions... So the Lord says, Lord Kṛṣṇa says, that "According to your quality, you have to do your duty." You just... Just you can... Hereditary or by your own choice, you can have your own duty. But there is no question of that one should be idle. No. If you are intelligent class, then you have to take to intelligent quality of work, just like you must become a scientist, you must become politician, not politician, philosopher. You must be a religionist or so many intelligent class of work. So you must engage in that way if you are actually intelligent, if you belong to the intelligent class. Now, if you are administrative class, then you must take to the politics or election, be elected the mayor, be elected the president or something like that, and work in that way. And if you belong to the mercantile community, then you must do business and produce agricultural grains and distribute them. That is your business. In the Bhagavad-gītā you will find that the mercantile class... Who are mercantile class? Kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vāṇijyaṁ vaiśya-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.44). Vaiśya means the mercantile community. They are meant for giving protection to the animals, and produce grain, and distribute and make trade on them. That's all. Because formerly there was no industry—people generally depended on agricultural work—therefore the mercantile community, they used to produce food grains and distribute them, and protection of cow was their duty. As the king was entrusted to protect the life of the citizens, similarly, the vaiśya class, or the mercantile class, they were entrusted to protect the life of cow. Why particularly cow is protected? Because milk is very essential food for the human society, therefore cow protection is the duty of the human society. That is the conception of Vedic literature.

Now, the Lord says that karmaṇy adhikāras te: "Now, according to your quality and according to your position, you have to work. You cannot stop working. But you should not enjoy the fruit." That is... In other way this is a conception of spiritual communism. Spiritual communism. Now, just like in Communist country the center is the state. Nobody is private proprietor, but everyone is a member of the state, and whatever he earns, it goes to the state. That is... So far I know, this is the communistic idea. Now, here, if I am not entitled to take the result of my labor or my activity, then whom it is going to? Who shall enjoy it? So that is the conception of spiritual life. That means your earnings, your earnings, should be distributed to the central point. It should be through the central point. The central point is God. Instead of making central point to any limited things, if you make the central point God and if you work on His behalf and if you think that it should be enjoyed by the Supreme Lord, then your spiritual life is fixed up. Then your spiritual life is fixed up. Because your... You are not discouraged to produce, but the production or the entire result of your work, the fruitive result, should go to somebody. And who is that somebody? If you are... If you are not going to enjoy, then who is going to enjoy? That means this should be enjoyed by everyone through the central point of God. Just like the state realizes taxes from you. That taxes is distributed. Taxes... Tax is distributed throughout the state. So as you deposit tax to the state and it is distributed throughout the whole state, similarly, if your fruitive result is offered to the Supreme Lord, then your fruitive result is distributed to everyone. The central point. That is the spiritual state.