The picture shows the sacred cow, Gomata, and the position of Devas (Gods) in Gomata. Cow and Devas

How was the position of Gods determined? For example, why is Shiva shown between the eyebrows? Why are Bhairava and Hanuman shown in the legs?


3 Answers 3


Well, we can't be sure if the painter of the picture in question is well versed in Scriptures or that he has drawn the positions of various Gods exactly as depicted in our Shastaras.

However,one can get a good summary of the positions of Gods,Rishis,Vedas etc in a Cow's body in the "Grihasta Ashrama" chapter found in the Skanda Purana.

In the Grihashtashram (family life), Maharshi Veda Vyas extolled to Yudhishthar the virtues of human beings, especially Brahmanas, as they play a pivotal role in performing duties to Devas, Pitras, Co- human beings, Bhuta Pranis, Krumi-Keetas (insects), Pakshis (birds) and even Asuras.

Cows standing for virtues do fall in the care of Brahmanas as the former represent Vedas-Rig Ved being the back of Cows, Yajur Ved being their middle portion, and Sama Ved their ‘Kukshi’(stomach); ‘Ishta’or Yagnas and Yagas and ‘Apurti’ or Wells, Tatakas, Gardens etc are their horns; Veda Suktas are the body hairs; Shanti Karma and Pushti Karma are their dung and urine; ‘Aksharas’ are their feet; Cows live for their Pada-Krama-Jata-and Ghana Paatha viz. the various Mantras; Swahakar, Swadhakar, Vashatkar and Hanthakar are the four nipples of their breasts, each of the nipples representing Devatas; Pitras; Bhutas, Rishis, Munis and Sureswaraganas; and Human beings respectively. The last nipple yeilds maximum milk to human beings.Thus the responsibility of looking after cows is squarely on human beings


Answer for this question is also found in the Padma Purana.

Padma Purana, Srishti Khanda, Chapter 48, Verses 157 to 164:

  1. The Vedas with their six limbs and the pada and krama, reside in the mouth of cow. On the horns Hari and Kesava always stay together.

  2. In the belly lives Skanda; and Brahma always remains in the head. Sankara lives in the forehead and Indra on the tip of the horn.

  3. The deities, Asvins, live in the ears; the Moon and the Sun live in the eyes. God Garuda lives in the teeth, and Sarasvati in the tongue.

  4. All the sacred places remain in the anus, and the Ganges in the urine. The sages live in the pores of the skin, and Yama lives in the backside of the face.

  5. Kubera and Varuna have resorted to the right side; the lustrous and very powerful Yaksas reside in the left side.

  6. Gandharvas reside in the centre of the face, and the serpents on the tip of the nose. The celestial nymphs have resorted to the hind parts of the hoofs.

  7. The all-auspicious LaksmI resides in the cow-dung and cow-urine. Those who move in the sky reside on the tips of the feet; Prajapati lives in the bellowing sound.

  8. The full four oceans reside in the udders of the cows. A mortal who everyday bathes and touches a cow, gets relieved from all major sin


How was the position of Gods determined? For example, why is Śiva shown between the eyebrows? Why are Bhairava and Hanuman shown in the legs?

The position is determined on the basis of Shastra-pramana (scriptural-testimony).

Asking 'Why and How' in this case at least, I think tantamount to opinion. That's like asking why Lakṣmī: only is the goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, and not Sarasvatī or Pārvatī?

It is so because the scripture says so.


There's a detailed description of the Cow's origin, its bodyparts and their connection with various deities narrated by Ṛṣi Mārkaṇḍeya to Yudhiṣṭhira in Skanda MahāPurāṇa:

Chapter 83 - The Greatness of Hanūmanteśvara (hanūman-īśvara-tīrtha), Section 3 - Revā-khaṇḍa

  • 1. Devas including Indra:

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

सर्वदेवमया गावः सर्वे देवास्तदात्मकाः । शृङ्गाग्रेषु महीपाल शक्रो वसति नित्यशः ॥ १०३ ॥

103. Cows are full of all the Devas and all the Devas are identical with a cow. O king, Śakra dwells always on the tips of the horns;

  • 2. Kārttikeya, Brahmā, Śiva, the Moon and the Sun & Sarasvatī:

उरः स्कन्दः शिरो ब्रह्मा ललाटे वृषभध्वजः । चन्द्रार्कौ लोचने देवौ जिह्वायां च सरस्वती ॥ १०४ ॥

104. Skanda (Kārttikeya/Murugan) occupies the chest; Brahmā the head; the Bull-emblemed Lord is in the forehead; the deities Moon and Sun are the two eyes. Sarasvatī dwells in the tongue.

  • 3. Sādhyas, Maruts, the Vedas and Vedangas:

मरुद्गणाः सदा साध्या यस्या दन्ता नरेश्वर । हुङ्कारे चतुरो वेदान् विद्यात्साङ्गपदक्रमान् ॥ १०५ ॥

105. All the Sādhyas and groups of Maruts are her teeth, O king. One should know that all the four Vedas with the Aṅgas and duly arranged words are in the Huṃkāra (bellowing of cow).

  • 4. Sages (Rishis), Ascetics, and Yama, and sacred Oceans:

ऋषयो रोमकूपेषु ह्यसंख्यातास्तपस्विनः । दण्डहस्तो महाकायः कृष्णो महिषवाहनः ॥ १०६ ॥
यमः पृष्ठस्थितो नित्यं शुभाशुभपरीक्षकः । चत्वारः सागराः पुण्याः क्षीरधाराः स्तनेषु च ॥ १०७ ॥

106. Sages, the innumerable ascetics, dwell in the pores of the hairs. Yama stands at the back always scrutinizing the auspicious and the inauspicious. He has a huge body. He is armed with a big staff. He is dark-complexioned and has a buffalo for his vehicle.
107. The four meritorious oceans are the flowing currents of milk from her udders.

  • 5. The holy Gangā:

विष्णुपादोद्भवा गङ्गा दर्शनात्पापनाशनी । प्रस्रावे संस्थिता यस्मात्तस्माद्वन्द्या सदा बुधैः ॥ १०८ ॥

108. Cow should be honoured by a sensible person always, because Gaṅgā who originated from the feet of Viṣṇu and destroys sins merely by her sight is stationed in the flowing milk.

  • 6. Lakṣmī:

लक्ष्मीश्च गोमये नित्यं पवित्रा सर्वमङ्गला । गोमयालेपनं तस्मात्कर्तव्यं पाण्डुनन्दन ॥ १०९ ॥

109. O son of Pāṇḍu, the sacred and all-auspicious Lakṣmī is always present in cow-dung. Hence smearing with cow-dung should be done.

  • 7. Gandharvas, Apsaras, & Nagas, All Tirthas:

गन्धर्वाप्सरसो नागाः खुराग्रेषु व्यवस्थिताः ।
पृथिव्यां सागरान्तायां यानि तीर्थानि भारत ।
तानि सर्वाणि जानीयाद्गौर्गव्यं तेन पावनम् ॥ ११० ॥

110. Gandharvas, Apsarās and Nāgas are well-established at the tips of the hoofs. Know that cow is identical with all the Tīrthas that are present on the ocean-girt earth. Hence Gavya (milk product) is sacred.

But why devas live in a Cow?

Well, Yudhiṣṭhira asked the same question, and hence -

युधिष्ठिर उवाच ।
सर्वदेवमयी धेनुर्गीर्वाणाद्यैरलंकृता । एतत्कथय मे तात कस्माद्गोषु समाश्रिताः ॥ १११ ॥

  1. Yudhiṣṭhira said: Dhenu (cow) full of all Devas is embellished with the Devas and others. Why have they resorted to cow?

And the answer is-

श्रीमार्कण्डेय उवाच ।
सर्वदेवमयो विष्णुर्गावो विष्णुशरीरजाः । देवास्तदुभयात्तस्मात्कल्पिता विविधा जनैः ॥ ११२ ॥

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

112. Viṣṇu is identical with all the Devas.Cows are born of Viṣṇu’s body. On account of these two things, the different Devas are attributed by the people (to the different limbs of cow).

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