'Gau' means cow and Daan means donation. Cow has a great importance in Hindu religion. Since ancient times cows have been donated by kings and other people to Brahmins and others. Although it can be donated any time, but it is believed that at least one cow must be donated in one man's life time.
The benefits of donating a cow are simply endless. There is no other donation comparable to donation of a cow in this world.
Benefits / Purpose of Cow donation:
1. Paap Dhenu Daan: to get rid off sins.
2. Karj Mukti Dhenu Daan: freedom from debts
3. Moksha Dhenu Daan: for Moksha (enlightenment)
4. Prayaschit Dhenu Daan: for seeking forgiveness
5. Vaitarni Dhenu Daan: Cow donation during the last days of a person's life for Moksha (enlightenment).
6. It helps in making a person pure and helps him in attaining the highest state of eternal bliss.
7. It is said that the Sun, Moon, Varuna, Agni, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva salute the person who donates cow benevolently.
Special Days for Cow donation:
1. Vijaya Ekadashi
2. Amlaki Ekadashi: Phalguna Shukla Paksha Ekadashi is known as Amalaki Ekadashi. Amalaki Ekadashi falls between Maha Shivaratri and Holi.
3. Paapmochani Ekadashi: Ekadashi which comes between Holika Dahan and Chaitra Navratri is known as Papmochani Ekadashi. It falls before Yugadi and it is the last Ekadashi of the year.
4. Kamada Ekadashi: Chaitra Shukla Paksha Ekadashi is known as Kamada Ekadashi. It is next Ekadashi after Chaitra Navrati and Rama Navami.
5. Varuthini Ekadashi: Varuthini Ekadashi is observed during Krishna Paksha of Vaishakha month according to North Indian Purnimant calendar and Krishna Paksha of Chaitra month according to South Indian Amavasyant calendar. However both North Indian and South Indian observe it on the same day.
6. Vaishak Govratam: It is recommended not to consume salt, use flowers and any other fragrant products on this day.
7. Go Padam Vrat: Comes on Aashan Guru Purnima, Shukla Paksha Astami, Ekdashi (11th day) and Dwadashi (12th day) of Krishna and Shukla Pakshas.
8. Bhul Chaturthi Vrat: Comes on Bhadrapad Krishna Chaturthi.
9. Kapili Sashti: Bhadrapad Krishna Chatha (6th day of Bhadrapad). It comes once in 60 years. Kapila sashti happens only when all the below auspicious timings coincide on the same day:
Surya is in Singh Rashi, VyatiPata Yoga, Tuesday and Rohini Nakshatra.
Kapila Sashti Date: not coming in this year.Else, it is called as Haldar Sashti
10. Gau Triratra Vrat: Bhadrapad Shukla for 3 days (from 13th till 15th day of Bhadrapad Shukla)
11. Gau Navratri: Kartik Shukla (for 9 days)
12. Gopa Ashtami: It comes on the 8th day of Gau Navratri, it was the first day when Lord Krishna went to graze cows. Also, Kamdhenu cow originated from Samudra Manthan (churning of the ocean) on this day.
13. Vaitarni Ekadashi: It comes in Magsar month on Shukla Ekadashi (11th day)
14. Gau Vatsa Dwadashi: Kartika Krishna Dwadashi (12th day), it is one day before Dhanteras festival.
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Benefits / Purpose of Cow donation: