The innate nature of sattva in a cow is restored proportionally to the decrease of the atmosphere of fear, with the help of care and protection which reasonable people should provide for them. Of course, those who are taking care of the cows directly are going to feel this deep empathic connection to them sooner than other people. However, as the “spirit of the Mother cow” is spread through different socio-cultural and economic structures that produce products from “protected and happy cows”, that deep connection with the motherly feelings of a cow is going to be passed to those who consume such products and are even indirectly connected to their production and distribution. That is for sure! In my experience, simply by associating with those who serve the cows directly, one can feel this deep connection to the cows even at a distance.
I must confess I don’t feel strong attachment to expressing love to cows; I am not eager to hug a cow, for instance, milk or brush her. However, I once had a wonderful experience of real attachment to the “loving service” of a cow “at a distance”. I was spending some time on the Planet of Cows farm. One evening, after an intense program I was resting in my room, not even having association with the Vaishnavas of the farm. Before I went to sleep, a child brought me a glass of fresh milk, and having drunk it, I felt the love and gratitude of all the 120 cows living on the farm about whom I knew next to nothing. And each person can have such an experience. And it can be especially intense when one understands that all the living beings are connected to one another with the “thread” of the Supersoul present in the heart of everyone.
In any case, a most important factor in developing an empathic connection with a cow is the process of receiving transcendental knowledge through regular shravanam-kirtanam. That is an unshakable truth! Simply taking physical care of cows is not enough! If one doesn’t develop a transcendental vision of the relationship with cows, with time such “bodily” care of them will show its limits, which would mean disappointment. And that is true for both sides. Of course, for us, the dwellers of the age of Kali, it’s hard to grasp the great power of hearing shabda-brahman, but the fact is still there – there’s nothing more powerful than that. Only as the transcendental knowledge enters our heart do we become capable of understanding what is “hrishikena”, spiritual senses. Without the transcendental knowledge, our consciousness is concentrated on physical sense organsonly, and simply is not able to “see” anything else. And all the need for love and true compassion is degraded to primitive sentimentality. But it is known that it is just the other side of cruelty, the “crocodile tears”. Definitely, one cannot “touch” the true feelings of the cow without transcendental knowledge. Association with a cow is an act of self-realization: to the degree that we realize our own self and transcendental feelings, to the same degree we are able to feel with the true, that is, spiritual, feelings and to connect with the personality of a cow in all her inexplicable depth.