Why are cows holy in India?
Avinash Nkumar (Achyuta Das)
Meat eating is generally not recommended in Hinduism
In Vedic culture eating meat is considered as eating dirty food or food in tama guna. Also the karmic reactions for meat eating is very high and the subject who eats it will be elligible to be killed by the animal(soul) he had killed. Thus any serious spiritual aspirant or a man with high moral value should desist eating it.
Allowance to eat other animals except cow
However there are some people who do want to consume meat and cannot live without eat. So there is a provision to eat some of the animals as meat in adverse conditions. Many other animals like goat, sheep , chicken are prescribed but cow should not be consumed because of the special significance of cow.
Cow only gives and is completely selfless
Cow gives milk which can be consumed by infants as well if mothers milk is not available. Thus cow is like the mother. Cow milk has all essential nutrients required for humans.
Cow produces more milk than necessary for its own kids and is Gods arrangement for nourishment of humans. Thus cow is selfless. Also cow eats grass and straw which is of no value to humans and still converts it into milk which is very valuable nutrient and can be converted into curd, ghee, butter, oil, paneer, cheese among others. It provides all fat that is required and great protein supplement also.
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The bull is used for agriculture to till the fields. In modern farms and villages bulls can also produce electricity by rotating the shaft.
Even if cow and bull become aged and are of no use they provide dung and urine which are directly useful as fertilizers and pesticides.
Dry Cow dung is natural fuel as well. Cow dung is also great source of gas which if processed can produce electricity.
Also there are medicinal value of cow urine which has been patented in countries like USA as well.
These are the properties of cow while she is alive and after her natural death leather and meat is obtained.
Cow is the pillar of religion or dharma
The four legs of the cow and bull are the four pillars of religious life. As long as the cow is slaughtered the four pillars of religious life are diminished. Protecting cows is protecting the four pillars of religious life. Working with the bulls is protecting Dharma who is the personification of religious principles.
Cows are backbone of agriculture
Cows are a backbone of agriculture life. Simply by having land and cow a person can live happily and they compliment each other. Agriculture is a very important for humans as it is the only major source of food and is required by everyone for sustenance. Hindu or Vedic religion believes that the higher purpose of life is to spiritually uplifting oneself and the agriculture and cow protection should be the business for economic development.Cows are also by nature very friendly and loving. They are said to have very strong emotions and there is nothing better than seeing the sight of happy cows jum around. Cow was loved by Vedic Gods and killing is highest sin
Also The Supreme Lord Krishna when he appeared on the earth propagated the agrarain economy based on cow protection. Now God himself says this is the best way for humans and loved cows dearly, it is simply sinful to kill a cow. Also Lord Siva the great Vedic personality is very fond of Bull (Nandi). In fact any major ceremony in Indian land was accompanied by donation of thousands of cows to the priests and brahmanas.
Lord Krishna and his calves
It is said that Cow killers and cow eaters are condemned to rot in hell for as many thousands of years as there are for each hair on the body of every cow they eat from. Killing of another animal will only entail you to be killed by that other animal in future births. However cow killers/eaters are thoroughly condemned.
Harini Boienipelly, Indian
Cows are holy and sacred, and are therefore treated as such. But they are not worshiped (common misconception).
In Hinduism, cows represent life, wealth, and maternal figures. In fact, Bhumi, who represents the Earth, is often depicted in the form of a cow.
Since Vedic times, many Indians have relied on cows as a source of milk, yogurt, and ghee (butter that is used in many religious ceremonies). Cow dung is also used as fertilizer and fuel. A cow gives all but does not take, hence the reference to the maternal figure. It supports life. They are the mother of all creatures.
In Hinduism, all animals, including cows, have souls and killing one would be a sin. Especially one that is shown a lot of importance in sacred texts. Krishna, the eighth incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu, tended cows and showed a great deal of love for them.
In the Bhagavad Gita, a Surabhi cow (also known as Kamadhenu, a Goddess known as the mother of all cows) descended from the Heavens for the sole purpose and benefit of all other creatures.
So eating a cow or causing harm to it is sinful beyond measure. The voluntary slaughter of an ox, bull, cow, or calf is also illegal and can lead to imprisonment and/or fines in most Indian states.
We Indians refer to the cow as gau mata. It means mother cow. Yes, the cow is like our mother as her milk is considered nearest to the human mother. If a newborn baby’s mother is unable to feed her child due to some ill health or if she is no more after giving birth, in such a case cow milk is recommended for the child; not the milk of other animals such as goat, buffalo or camel.
Now imagine, if a child has lost his/her mother. In such a case on which food will, he/she survive? In ancient times when there was no baby milk powder available then it was only the cow milk which used to be the survival source for the infant. Even today, if one gets pure cow milk then it is preferred over packaged milk powder. In interior villages, it is still the cow milk, which is given to an infant.
Now consider that the child has a little grown up. He/she is two or three years old. Now, breastfeeding is obviously not an option. By now, he/she must be taking some cereals. However, for protein and calcium, he/she still needs milk. Even at this stage cow milk is considered as the best supplement for the child. Actually, the cow milk remains over the top of any other animal's milk, in terms of quality, for the human beings for whole life.
A mother is a mother. No other relationship can be as important as the relationship of a mother and her child. Any human being from any part of the world, he/she always considers his/her relationship with the mother as the most important. Thus, a mother is always considered as sacred.
In India, cow’s milk is considered as Amrita (nectar). In Ayurveda, many medicines are advised to be taken with cow milk. Even Cow Dung and Urine of cow have medicinal values. Urine of Cow is used in preparing many Ayurvedic Medicines. Treatment with cow urine is helpful in many diseases related to skin, kidney, liver, stomach, joints and bones, intoxcations etc…Eventually, many firms in the US has applied for the patent of cow urine.
No wonder that the holy cow is worshipped in our country. According to Vedic scriptures say that there are 33 koti devatas (33 types of Gods) residing in the body of Cow. It is said that Lord Ram could not get an opportunity to serve cow. Therefore, He has vowed that in next incarnation He would serve cow. In Krishna Avatar, He got this opportunity and fulfilled His desire of cow serving.
In a country where Cow is considered such holy that she is worshipped, how can one even think to inflict harm on her? In no other religion or country a cow is worshipped, therefore, they cannot understand the religious belief or conviction behind it. At least, they can understand its milk’s substance vis a vis breast milk and that is enough to regard her as sacred. And even if they think that why there is the opposition of beef then it’s clear that they are not respecting their mother. A cow is not the mother of only the Hindus, rather, the whole mankind.
Do I need to say anything more?
Pramvir Rathee, works at Earth
Let me answer this question, As I am a son of farmer and more close to cows thus eligible to answer this query. My answer is purely cultural-based. I have no influence of religion or Manusamriti etc.
In ancient time, Some 20 - 2000 years ago. Agriculture in India was particularly based on animals, there were no machines (tractors).
People and some specific caste in my region (Jat, Ahir, Chamar etc. 90% caste of Haryana, punjab, west UP and rajasthan) were indulged in agriculture. They used to plaugh fields with cattels (More specifically Bullock - OX). Their pets used to be these cattels.
They had a very close attachment with cows, as they were their partner in Hardwork for agriculture. Cow milk was the main source of Milk protein for the vegetarian people, thus it was regarded as mother for providing MiLk. This long term bonding was the main reason for people in this region to be considering the cow as a part of family.
古代，大约20 - 2000年前，印度的农业特别倚仗动物，没有机器(拖拉机)。
If you go on youtube and search Haryanvi Ragini (classical haryanvi music) You will find many poems about relation of farmers and cows in Farmer community and the cause of respect for cows in this community.
In that era, Cow was the only animal to work harder compared with other animals with you day and night just to feed you selflessly. Made this bond even more emotional. Cow was seen as mother and its calves as the hardwork partners.
This was the time when Hinduism started acknowledging cow as holy animal to bring these people closer making them united under a religion. Cow became a sacred animal just for the ease of brahmins to get the 90% of population follow them and their Manusamriti.
If you see Ambedkar's Writing about cow meat being consumed in Hindusim in vedas period. (Do a simple google search regarding it.) It was the farming culture of Jats who loved cow and regarded it as a family member, made a cow sacred animal in hinduism, So that brahmins can let follow these farming culture in their mutated religion.
I am a son of farmer. I respect and love cows because they fed us in the hardest times of history, stood by us during shortage of grains and food. Cow was the hardworking creatures of our harworking society in the ancient times. By the way, I do not live in india. I have cows in my home in india.
I love cows not because of hinduism or cow is sacred in hinduism, But my father gandfather used to grow grain and all our wealth now is as a result cows.
We are jats(farmers) and made the hindusim to consider cow as a sacred animal. Hindusim did not make us to worship cows.
Although I've never been there, I read the news and lately there have been several instances of people being attacked and killed because some other Hindus believed those people possesed or had eaten beef. So yes, cows are sacred in India and since the election of Mr. Modi, these attacks seem to have become more common. I guess every religion has its fanatics.
Cow isn't considered “holy” in Hinduism. However, many Hindus consider cow as a holy animal.
The reason for this is that Hindus of the so-called “cow belt” in India, were historically quite dependent on cow for economical benefits.
It was cow that helped them in farms, provided milk etc. So, Hindus revere the “holy” animal.
Just like how a guitarist would get disheartened if his guitar is broken because he loves his guitar and it forms a part of his identity.
Similarly, cows are considered part of Hindu’s identity, as a part of their custom since centuries.
Point to be noted: Hindus of Kerela and Bengal don't revere cow, because the locals weren't depended on cow for their survival. Thus, it is a cultural phenomenon, not religious one.
Many reasoning to this,one is in ancient time lot of women died in childbirth in india and the infants were fed on cow’s milk which could be easily digested because less creamier(fat)than any other animals milk.Baby lived on cow milk so cow was treated like mother.lord Krishna gave them as a symbol of Hindu religion because of their productivity.perhaps that's how they got the holier tag among Hindus.
First of all cow is not holy in india, Cows are holy for Hindu population,those who follow Hindu gods and goddesses in India.
India is a nation vast in demographic and geographical manner. And the majority of people are Hindu, about 80% of the population. So people make a mistake of saying that India is a Hindu nation similarly.
And this Hindu people don't consist of any particular ethnicity, a person from Tamil nadu can be a Hindu, a person from Orissa or any other state.
This question is about why cow is holy in India, why cow's are holy to Hindu population is a different topic so i will discuss about that in another question.
Madan K Limbu, An natural born animal lover
Cows give milk. India is a Hindu-majority country. Most Indian Hindus are vegetarians and milk is a good source of protein for them. This is the reason cows are so special in India. And then, of course, there was this king called Manu in ancient India who forbade the slaughter of cows because people were eating too many of them.