Govatsa Dwadashi is the worship of the divine cow Nandini and her calves. It is basically worshipping the cows and underlining the importance of this useful animal in our society.
It is also known as Nandini Vrat. The Govatsa Dwadashi is observed on the dwadashi of the Krishna Paksha of the month of Ashwin or Kartick according to traditional Hindu calendar.
As per the Gregorian calendar the Govatsa Dwadashi is observed in the month of October November during the waning phase of the moon. In 2019, the Govatsa Dwadashi will be observed on 25th October.
Legend behind Govatsa Dwadashi
- It is believed that from the samudra manthan, or the churning of the ocean that was done to find the Amrita or the divine nectar.
- In the process, five wish fulfilling cows had emerged. They were known as Kamdhenus.
- Among these five wish fulfilling cows there was one cow called Nanda or Nandini.
- Till date this Kamdhenu is worshipped for all the fulfillment of one’s wishes.
- It is also known that Lord Krishna was extremely attached to cows and used to play with them in his childhood. Thus worshipping the cows also pleases Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva.
- There is also a story of a king called Utanpad, who was the one who started the observance of this vrat formally on earth.
- They were a childless couple and his wife had observed this Govatsa Dwadashi vrat or ritual and was blessed with a beautiful son.
Rituals of the Govatsa Dwadashi
- The devotee observing the vrat needs to have an early cleansing bath. If cows are not found, then clay idols of cows and their calves are decorated beautifully.
- The cow is then adorned with clothes or dupattas and also with garlands and flowers.
- Rituals like Padya, arghya etc are also done.
- Sandalwood, vermillion and turmeric paste is now applied on her.
- The cow is now worshipped with lamp, incense, flowers, water, rice and copper.
- After the cow, the calved too are worshipped.
- The devotee should offer a garland of Tulasi leaves and flowers and offer it to the cows.
- After this the devotee should offer urad dal to the cows.
- Listen to the stories of the Govatsa and fast for the entire day.
- This observance should be done on the pradosh vyapini tithi
- Meal should be taken only once during the day
- In certain regions any cow related products are not consumed on this day , such as cow milk, ghee and curd.
- Again in certain regions, drinking cow milk is mandated on this day. And the fasting person only consumes wheat and milk product.
Significance of the Govatsa Dwadashi
Cows are extremely useful animals. They are sattva-predominant and nourish human beings with their milk. The Panchagavya, or the mixture of five elemental substances are important for any kind of religious performances and purification. This contains cow urine. It is also believed that the observance of this vrat or ritual endears the devotees to Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva, and they are blessed with all kinds of worldly pleasures and materials in life.