Meaning: noun: A mythical cow, believed to be giving all one asks for.
ਇਛਾ ਪੂਰਕੁ ਸਰਬ ਸੁਖਦਾਤਾ ਹਰਿ ਜਾ ਕੈ ਵਸਿ ਹੈ ਕਾਮਧੇਨਾ॥
ichhaa poorak sarab sukh-daataa har jaa kai vas hai kaam-dhenaa.
The Divine is the fulfiller of all desires and the giver of all comforts; the wish-fulfilling cow is in His power. – Guru Ram Das, Guru Granth Sahib, 669
Message: Mythical though it is, the cow that fulfills all our wishes is a creation of the Divine and hence under the divine control. Why worship something mythical when you can reach out to the real power. The verse reminds us that the Almighty is the fulfiller of all our desires and the giver of all our comforts. Our egoistic nature, however, gets the better of us and leads us astray to look for something else.
If we need rituals in our life, then be mindful that devotion to the One is the highest of all rituals. Any worship devoid of divine wisdom, although immediately desirable, cannot satisfy the mind in the long run. Ponder on divine attributes, submerge in the splendor of divine teachings, and submit to divine love in full faith. Then the woes and strives in our lives take leave to be replaced by peace and serenity.
ਪਾਰਜਾਤੁ ਇਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਨਾਮ॥ ਕਾਮਧੇਨ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਮ॥
The Name of the Divine is the wish-fulfilling tree, and singing the attributes and virtues of the Divine the wish-fulfilling cow. – Guru Arjan Sahib, Guru Granth Sahib, 265
Etymology: From Sanskrit dhenu (milch; milch cow) → Pali dhenu → Prakrit dheṇu (recently calved cow) → Punjabi dheṇ (cow).