Why Cows Are Worshiped In Hindu Religion? – Holy cow is an idiom. It is a word or term that is used without being about a cow or religion in the literal sense.
When it is spoken or written it means a person or a belief that has long been respected. It’s become sacred and then people are scared or unable to challenge it or question it. The idiom in Hinduism is based on the reverence shown to cows.
The early 20th century is thought to have begun in America. Much other languages use similar idioms. Another example may be to say “holy cow!” when shocked. An actual’ sacred cow’ or’ sacred bull’ is a real animal which is regarded in particular religions and their celebrations with genuine reverence.
Read Also: Why cows meat are banned in Nepal
They cannot eat cow meat because it’s sacred. Millions of Hindus honor and revere the animals. Hinduism is a religion that elevates Mother’s status to Goddess ‘ level. The cow is therefore considered a sacred animal, as it provides us with milk that sustains life.
The cow is considered a motherly figure, a caretaker of her people. The cow’s a sign of earth’s divine abundance. Lord Krishna, one of the Hindu deities most well known is often depicted playing his flute among cows and dancing Gopis (milkmaids). He grew up like a herder in a farm.
Krishna also goes by the names Govinda and Gopala which literally means “friend and guardian of cows.” It is considered highly auspicious for a true devotee to feed a cow even before eating breakfast himself.
There are verses throughout the Vedic scriptures which stress the need to protect and care for the cow. Murdering a cow and consuming its meat is considered a sin. Even today there are many states in India where cow slaughter is illegal.
This is why cows can be found wandering freely in India, including along the busy streets of Delhi and Mumbai. Ayurveda is a significant promoter of the sattvic virtues of dairy and milk products. Therefore most Hindus are vegetarian, not vegan.
Fresh organic milk, yogurt, buttermilk, paneer and ghee are all known to be highly nutritious and an important part of the diet. Such dairy products not only provide our tissues with essential protein and calcium, but are also sources of Ojas, which offer our body strength and immunity.
Cows also provide other practical purposes in addition to their milk, and are considered a real blessing for the rural community. Bulls are used on the farm for ploughing the fields and as a means of transporting goods. Even the trusted vehicle of Lord Shiva is Nandi–-the holy horse.
Because it is rich in methane, cow dung is saved and used for fuel which can produce heat and electricity. Most village homes have a mud / cow dung mix that isolates the walls and floors from extreme hot and cold temperatures.
Moreover, cow dung is rich in minerals, and is an excellent fertilizer. In India, there is a large movement for organic farming to return to ancient methods of using cow dung to re-mineralize degraded soil.
In Hinduism, cows are thought sacred, or profoundly respected. Cows are considered a’ caregiver’ or motherly figure. Bhoomi is generally shown as a donkey, a Hindu goddess. She serves the planet Earth.
The majority of Hindus admires cows for their gentle nature, and show strength as well. Hindus who eat meat will not beef-eating. There is a festival to thank cows for helping farmers for farming; this festival is called “Mattupongal,” which is one of the four days of the great Indian festival called the Pongal, which is entirely focused on thanking each and every farm implement.
One can find religious rituals taking place at anytime and anywhere in such a sacred land as Nepal and India. Spiritual “yagnas” are fire rituals conducted to thank the gods and to seek blessings from them. In these fire yagnas, or Agnihotras, even cows play a central role.
Ayurveda understands that the diet and herbs alone can’t cure some physical and emotional health crises. For clear astrological past karma they need the deeper and subtler healing of these forms of Vedic ritual ceremonies.
Once, the holy cow gives its blessing by supplying the ingredients in the Panchamrit, or blessed drink, which is distributed following the ceremony. Panchamrit translates as “sacred ambrosia” or “holy nectar” and consists of five things-milk, yogurt, ghee, honey and sugar. By drinking this sweet prasadam one is infused with, and healed, the divine energy created during the puja.
Celebration of cows
White cows decorated for celebration of a Diwali festival. Cows are honored, garlanded and given special feedings at festivals across India, in the Hindu tradition. One is the annual festival of Gopastami which is dedicated to Krishna and cows.
To Kamadhenu the essence of the cow is represented; the goddess who is the mother of all the cows. More than 3,000 institutions in India, called Gaushalas, take care of both old and infirm cows.
There are about 44,900,000 cows in India, the highest in the world, according to animal husbandry statistics. So while in Gaushalas some old and infirm cows are handled, the rest are usually abandoned in public places, such as railway stations and bazaars.
Honoring the cow encourages, and shares with nature, the virtues of gentleness in men. The cow offers milk, sugar, yogurt, cheese, butter, and ghee. A cow’s milk is thought to fine-tune a human. Milk ghee (clarified butter) is used in rituals and religious food preparations. Cow dung is used in homes as a fertilizer, as a fuel and as a disinfectant.
Do Hindus worship cows?
Yes, Hindus do regard the cow as a god, and do worship it. Nevertheless, Hindus are vegetarians and they find the cow a holy symbol of life which should be preserved and respected.
The cow is identified with Aditi, the mother of all gods, in the Vedas, the oldest of the Hindu texts. As a symbol of the unique respect of faith, Hindu imagery also depicts a beautiful cow— usually white — garlanded with flowers.
Why cows are considered so holy and divine?
The cow is seen by Hindus as a particularly generous, docile being, one that gives more to humans than it takes from them. The cow produces five things, they say, — milk, cheese, butter (or ghee), feces, and dung.
The first three are consumed and used in the worship of the Hindu gods, whereas the last two can be used in religious devotion or in penance or for fuel burned. When was the last time you got anything from your cat besides a dead mouse? But there is none as beloved as the cow.
Have Hindus always considered the cow as holy?
No. In ancient India the gods were sacrificed to cattle and oxen and the meat was eaten. But even then, cows that were producing milk were off-limits, perhaps because their milk was as valuable as a source of food. But with the advent of Buddhism and Jainism — two other world religions with Indian origins and a vegetarian ethic — Hindus stopped eating meat, too.
By the first century A.D., cows in Hinduism had come to associate themselves with Brahmans, the highest caste or class. Killing a cow was akin to killing a Brahman— a big taboo. Shortly afterwards, Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, one of the three main Hindu gods, was often portrayed as cavorting with cows in literature and art.