Why cow is sacred?

Association of cow and man

The cow is an animal most adapted for domestication and associated with human society throughout the world since ancient civilizations. This is because of the products of cows and the kind of relationship developed between man and this sacred animal. India has a great history of cattle rearing with high level of diversity among the cow breeds. India is considered as the land of sacred cows. The Hindu culture and tradition gives holy status to the cow and treats this sacred animal with reverence. The cow is the highest giver on earth, leading a humble life.

Cow products:

Milk is the most precious and popular product of cow. Cow’s milk is the primary source of nutrition for babies and children next to mother’s milk. The cow is considered as the universal mother for all in Hindu culture and called as Goumata meaning cow mother. It is common across our societies to see children grown wholly dependent on cow’s milk, in cases of early death of the natural mother or any health issues of the mother preventing breastfeeding. There is no case of deficiency or any other health issues with infants or babies totally fed by cow’s milk during their early years. This gives sufficient proof for the importance of cow’s milk in human diet and upbringing of children.

The urine and dung of the cow are other two important products of the cow. Use of these products as manure is a common and age-old practice since the early day of agricultural practice by human societies. However, Ayurveda recommends both the products as raw materials for the preparation of therapeutic formulations for the treatment of a wide range of human ailments affecting different body systems. Panchagavya, the ancient formulation of Ayurveda containing five products of the cow such as the milk, urine, dung, curd, and ghee have been used as a sacred product for purifying the body, mind, and the soul in all the religious rituals of the Hindus. Apart from this, Panchagavya acts as a wonderful drug for the cure of several diseases and disorders including deadly and chronic diseases like cancer, AIDS, diabetes, hypothyroidism, hypertension, etc. Apart from part of Panchagavya, the cow urine alone has innumerable medicinal properties and finds extensive use in cowpathy and other traditional healing systems. Cow urine therapy has succeeded in curing challenging disabilities like cancer, diabetes, AIDS, psoriasis, etc.  Besides acting as medicine, cow urine finds multiple uses as a health supplement for improvement of physical and mental fitness. Cow dung is still another product of the cow and finds application in multiple aspects. As part of Panchagavya, it is used as a purifying agent of the body, mind, and the soul. Apart from this, cow dung is used as a manure and fertilizer for plants.  In a nutshell, cow provides man with everything necessary for food, healthcare, agriculture, cosmetics,   spirituality and so on.

Why are cows sacred in India?

The cow is the only animal which provides multiple products which make human life more comfortable and prosperous. But the knowledge about the benefits of cows and their products is undermined in major parts of the world and majority of the cultures may be due to ignorance, lack of understanding or both. and However, in India, the understanding of cow has been in-depth since the Vedic period. Considering the relevance of cow from the environmental and human perspectives, ancient Hindu civilizations across India have entitled this animal with a sacred status. The Hindu philosophy considers cow as a symbol of grace and abundance and hence veneration of the cow will infuse the virtues of gentleness, receptivity, and connectedness with nature. Today Science has proved the importance of the unity of man with the environment and the harmony with Nature for establishing a healthy and wealthy society in all respects. Cow symbolizes the Universe according to the perception of Hinduism. The Hindu philosophy extends due consideration for all the living and non-living entities of the universe and looks for the oneness of all. Because of its docile nature, divine powers, noble products and prolonged association with mankind cow deserve a prestigious position, which is expressed through the sacredness bestowed upon this animal in Indian culture!

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