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Cow Donation or Baitarani Cow Daan while doing Pind daan

Submitted by astroved on Tue, 10/12/2021 - 02:32

The Baitarani River in Hindu Mythology

The Garuda Purana and many other Hindu scriptures mention Baitarna or Baitarani river. It is also called the Vaitarani. This river supposedly lies between the earth and Naraka or hell, which is the kingdom of Lord Yama, the Hindu god of death. It has the power to purify one's sins. Good souls see it as a river with nectar-like water, but sinful souls see it as a river with pus and blood. Sinful souls have to cross this river after they die. The Garuda Purana says that the river flows along the path that leads to the southern gate of Yama’s city. Only the souls of sinners come through the southern gate.

At the same time, the Harihareshwara Mahatmya in the Skanda Purana mentions a physical river, too, that flows into the eastern ocean. Those who bathe in will forever be free from Yama’s torments. It appears for the first time in the TirthaYatra Parva (Pilgrimage Episode) in the epic Mahabharata. Supposedly, it rises from the Vindhyas, and it falls into the Bay of Bengal after passing through Odisha or Orissa as the Baitarani river. It also appears in Matsya Purana and Vamana Purana. The Padma Purana reveals the etymology of Vaitarani in Vaitarani Mahatmya. Here, it is described as Vai (truly) tarini (saving). It also relates the legend about how it was brought up to the earth from the netherworld or Patala due to Parashurama’s penance. Due to his penance, he got a boon from Lord Shiva.

Baitarani Cow Daan

The Vaitarani river has an equivalent in Greek mythology – the Styx river. The Vaitarani Vrat (fast) is on the 11th day of Krishna Paksha or the dark phase of the moon. As part of the vrat, people worship a cow and donate it. They believe that this act can help them to cross the dreaded river, as the Garuda Purana claims. This is Baitarani Cow Daan.

The very sight of the Vaitarani river fills people’s hearts with fear, as it causes misery. It is described as being a hundred yojanas (a measure of distance in ancient India, around 12-15 km) in width, and there is no water in it. Instead, it is full of blood and pus, and the bank is made of bone. The sinful cannot cross the river. Their path will be blocked by crocodiles, hairy moss, flesh-eating birds, and a lot of insects. When a sinner approaches the river to cross, it begins to seethe, and smoke and flame spread over it. The sinful will be hungry and thirsty, so they drink to satisfy their thirst. Those who fall into the Vaitarani are beyond rescue. The whirlpools will suck them down into a lower region. Here, they stay for a moment, and then they rise to be washed again.

The river can be crossed using some methods. Only the sinful souls need to cross this river. The good souls who have good karma have no need to travel on the path through which this dreaded river flows. 

Methods that Help Sinful Souls to Cross Baitarani river
If a sinner has done certain meritorious deeds, they can get a boat to cross the river after travelling for some time. Donating a cow, food, wealth, or offering a sacrifice, etc., are some of these deeds with merit.

If a sinner follows a real spiritual guru, they can cross the river by holding their Guru's hand. 

If both the above methods do not enable the sinner to cross the river, they will have to wait many years until it is decided that they can cross it. Alternatively, Yama’s servants may drag them through the river.

The sinner’s descendants can also help them cross the river by chanting, "Shree Gurudeva Datta". It is a chant for Lord Dattatreya.
Once they cross the river successfully, the sinners reach the frightening Southern Gate of Yama’s city. Here, the sinful as well as the good souls will be judged by Yama, who is the God of Justice. The sinners go to hell, and the good souls go to heaven.

If a sinner’s soul is unable to cross the Vaitarani river, they cannot go to hell. They will be stranded at the shore of the river for eternity. This means that they cannot be reborn on earth as a human being or animal. These souls become the ghosts who cannot pass on.

Baitarani Cow Daan During Pind Daan

Thus we can understand why Baitarani Cow Daan is so important for Hindus. In ancient times, kings and other important personages used to donate cows to Brahmins and temple priests. A person should donate at least one cow in their lifetime. According to the Vedas, there are many benefits to donating a cow. Hindus believe that souls can cross the Vaitarani river safely by hanging on the cow’s tail. All the gods – Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Sun, Moon, Agni, Varuna – salute those who donate cows. It is an act of great piety. So Hindus perform cow donation during Pind Daan ceremonies for their dead ancestors. 

Pind Daan is a very important ritual for Hindus. It helps their ancestors to get peace if they are still wandering on earth, unable to leave the earth and their loved ones. It also relieves them from the tortures of hell and grants them Moksha. The people who offer Pind Daan to their dead ancestors also receive abundant blessings that impact their lives positively. It brings peace, success, and prosperity. Baitarani Cow Daan performed during Pind Daan, therefore, is a very significant and meritorious deed in the Hindu religion.

You can do cow donation online, as many online religious and astrological sites on the net offer such services.