of the most amazing sights in India, especially for the first time
visitor, is the number of cows roaming the streets, narrow lanes or in
If lucky, one could also see Hindus feeding these cows early in the morning as
part of their religious duty.
This ubiquitous animal is considered holy to the Hindus since ancient
times. The sacredness of the cow is a central and crucial element of Hindu
belief. The cow is supposed to be the living symbol of
| Mother Earth.
For the early migrants the cow was an indispensable member of the
family. As agriculture was the occupation of the migrants, the cow
provided them with milk, and it's byproducts and also necessities of life
such as fuel, manure for the farm, etc. During this time the Aryans
prayed to their numerous gods through
Yajna. This was initially a simple way of private
worship. However became public in character later on. Yajna consisted of
invoking the fire god, Agni, by ritually kindling sacred wood on an
alter, and keeping the fire alive by constantly feeding it with Ghee
(clarified butter). It was through the instrumentality of Agni (fire) that the
offering of the milk pudding, curd, and honey was conveyed to one's chosen
gods. Thus the cow supplied the major requirements of the Yajna and this
association soon made it sacred.
Later on animal sacrifices waned as gradually the Hindus veered towards
vegetarianism due to the influence of early Jainism & Buddhism.
Gradually the cow came to be known as Gaumata (cow the
Aditi (mother of gods).
The eighth incarnation of Vishnu, Lord Krishna was a cowherd since his
birth. This also helped in consolidating the importance and the religious
glorification of the cow among the Vaisnavites (followers of Krishna). Some
other factors which resulted in its sanctity were; its figurative usage in
Vedic literature which later was taken literally; prohibitions against killing
of a Brahmin's cow and lastly, the symbol of cow protection as an affirmation
of religious solidarity against Muslim invaders.
Besides the religious factors, cow is a very useful animal, having special
qualities in his milk, urine, and dung. Cow milk is
considered to be easily digestible and good for mental health. Its urine
is used in many medicines curing cold, cough, headache gastric-troubles,
leucorrhoea, tuberculosis and even cancer.
in India use cow dung regularly for cleansing the body at the time of
bathing-soaps are also made with cow-dung, which are 100 percent result
villages, one can see many houses painted with cow-dung,
which acts as repellant for mosquitoes and other insects. It is also very
useful as powerful fertilizer for agriculture. In most of the Indian
villages Kanda (dry dung-cakes) and Gobar Gas (gas produced,
using cow dung) are used for fuel purpose. The other qualities of Indian cow
dung are that it is highly anti-radioactive and protect from lightening surge.
It also very useful in removing snake poison, and all types of skin diseases
What else is needed to
worship this holy animal, which is so deeply related with the Hindu faith and
serving the society selflessly?