Everything happens for a reason. At least that is the stance of one animal sanctuary owner in India. When he took in a cow six months ago, he had no idea it would change his life. Or, for that matter, the lives of those in the community. However, unexpected results occur when your cow gives birth to a calf with a human-looking head.

Raja Bhaiya Mishra began managing the cow shelter three years ago. Since cows are sacred to Hindus, he frequently receives animals rescued from butchers. That’s exactly what happened in this case. The god calf’s mother became pregnant soon after her arrival. This resulted in the birth of the calf earlier this month.

Raja knew right away that the calf was special. Born with four legs and the tail of a cow, the animal’s facial features were strange. Beneath a sloping forehead there were eyes, ears, and a nose that resembled those of a human. Unfortunately, the calf struggled to breathe, and died an hour later. Despite the animal’s short life, locals came to see the weird creature. Upon seeing the dead cow, they proclaimed it an avatar of Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is the god of protection and one of the three main deities in Hinduism. This avatar is called “Gokaran.”

Video footage of the dead cow caused thousands of people to descend on the sanctuary. For the first few days after its death, the calf resided in a glass box, surrounded by garlands. The community’s response to the proclaimed avatar led to a major decision. First, the calf was cremated. Now, the community is raising money to build a temple on the site. Construction will begin later this year.

While many in the community continue to proclaim the calf a god, not everyone is so sure. Veterinarians are making no such claims. Instead, Dr. Ajay Deshmukh, the senior physician at Wildlife SOS in Uttar Pradesh, chalks the birth up to a genetic anomaly. He dismisses completely the idea that there is any religious significance behind the cow’s birth. Nevertheless, thousands continue to flock to the sanctuary, even after the bovine’s cremation.



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