Kamadhenu also known as Surabhi is a divine bovine-goddess described in Hinduism as the mother of all cows. Kamadhenu, the sacred cow which grants all wishes and desires, is an integral part of the entire Indian culture. This divine cow, which lives in swargalok (heaven), emerged from the ocean of milk (kshira-sagar) at the time of samudra-manthan (the great churning of the ocean by the gods (suras) and demons (asuras).
It was presented to the seven sages by the Gods, and in course of time came into the possession of Sage Vasishta.
Kamadhenu is also well-known through its other five forms: Nanda, Sunanda, Surabhi, Susheela and Sumana. Kamadhenu’s complexion is like the white clouds. Every part of cow’s body has a religious significance. Its four legs symbolize the four Vedas, and its teats the four Purusharthas. Its horns symbolize the gods, its face symbolize the sun and the moon, its shoulders Agni (the god of fire), and its legs the Himalayas Brahma (the creator of the Universe in Hinduism) is her back, while Lord Vishnu is her throat. To the right, a man is seen as protecting the cow from being slaughthered.She’s described as sometimes taking on an anthropomorphic form, with a human head, a cow’s body, a peacock’s tail, and the wings of a parrot.”
According to the Ramayana
Surabhi is the daughter of sage Kashyapa and his wife Krodhavasha, the daughter of Daksha. Her daughters Rohini and Gandharvi are the mothers of cattle and horses respectively. Still, it is Surabhi who is described as the mother of all cows in the text. However, in the Puranas, such as Vishnu Purana and Bhagavata Purana, Surabhi is described as the daughter of Daksha and the wife of Kashyapa, as well as the mother of cows and buffaloes.
According to the Mahabharata
Kamadhenu-Surabhi rose from the churning of the cosmic ocean (Samudra manthan) by the gods and demons to acquire Amrita. As such, she is regarded the offspring of the gods and demons, created when they churned the cosmic milk ocean and then given to the Saptarishi, the seven great seers. She was ordered by the creator-god Brahma to give milk, and supply it and ghee for ritual fire-sacrifices.
According to the MatsyaPurana
Surabhi is described as the consort of Brahma and their union produced the cow Yogishvari, the eleven Rudras, “lower animals”, goats, swans and “high class drugs”. She is then described as the mother of cows and quadrupeds. In another instance, she is described as a daughter of Daksha, wife of Kashyapa and the mother of cows. The Harivamsa, an appendix of the Mahabharata, calls Surabhi the mother of Amrita (ambrosia), Brahmins, cows and Rudras.
According to the BhagavadGita
The Bhagavad Gita, a discourse by the god Krishna in the Mahabharata, twice refers to Kamadhenu as Kamadhuk. In verse 3.10, Krishna makes a reference to Kamadhuk while conveying that for doing one’s duty, one would get the milk of one’s desires. In verse 10.28, when Krishna declares to the source of the universe, he proclaims that among cows, he is Kamadhuk.
The cow symbolizes the dharma itself.
It is said to have stood steadily upon the earth with its four feet during the Satyayuga (world’s first age of truth), upon three feet during the Tretayuga (the second stage of less than perfection), upon two feet during the Dwaparayuga (the third stage of dwindling and disappearing perfection) and only on one leg during Kaliyuga (the fourth and current age of decadence).