Thursday June 21, 2018

Why is it ‘Holy’ Cow in Hinduism? Find out!

Ayurveda places importance on the sattvic properties of cow milk and other dairy products

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Ghats of Maheshwar. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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  • In Hinduism, Lord Krishna is depicted frolicking with cows and is shown playing his flute amongst cows and Gopis, or milkmaids
  • Ayurveda places importance on the sattvic properties of cow milk and other dairy products 
  • Milk, paneer (home-made cheese), ghee (home-made butter), urine and dung are the five things that cows provide that give it its reverence

For those who practice Hinduism, the divinity of the cow is unquestioned. So why are cows considered sacred in the first place in Hinduism? Well, the answer lies in the oldest Hindu scriptures, the Vedas.

It is interesting to note that in ancient times, cattle, and even oxen, were often offered as a sacrifice to the gods and the meat was widely eaten. Nevertheless, the milk produced by them was considered an irreplaceable food source and milk-producing cows were not used in the rituals even then.

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Soon after, one of the three main gods in Hinduism, Lord Krishna, started to be depicted frolicking with cows. He was shown as playing his flute amongst cows and Gopis, or milkmaids. The god himself is often referred to as Govinda and Gopala (friend and protector of cows) and is known to have grown up as a cow herder. Even his transport is Nandi, a sacred bull. The Vedas also associate the cow with Aditi, the mother of all gods. The imagery often consists of white cows with flower garlands to emphasize their esteem.

Contrary to popular belief, Hindus do not think that the animal itself is a god and do not worship it.

God Krishna with Flute and cows around him. Image source: www.hindugodwallpaper.com
God Krishna with Flute and cows around him. Image source: www.hindugodwallpaper.com

A cow is instead considered as a sacred symbol of life that is to be protected and admired. This is why it is considered sinful to kill a cow or eat beef. The answer may also lie partly with Ayurveda and the importance it places on the sattvic properties of cow milk and other dairy products. They are believed to be an important source of Ojas, which boosts immunity and provides strength. Additionally, milk and dairy products are all said to be highly nutritious and provide protein and calcium for our bodies.

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The unparalleled uses of the cow do not end there. Milk, paneer (home-made cheese), ghee (home-made butter), urine and dung are the five things that cows provide that give it its reverence. Cow dung is often used as a fuel in rural areas in India as it contains high levels of methane and generates heat and electricity. Many houses in villages also plaster the outside of the walls of their homes with a mud and cow dung mixture to provide insulation. It is also rich in minerals and is an excellent natural fertilizer for the soil.

All in all, the history and practical uses of the cow and the things it provides grant it the level of sanctity that it has today. This places the animal on par with the deities and makes sit just as sacred to the Hindus.

– by Varsha Gupta of NewsGram. Twitter: @VarshaGupta94

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Study Suggests Obese Children who Meet Milk Guidelines Have Less Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

Milk intake may cut metabolic syndrome risk in obese kids

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Study Suggests Obese Children who Meet Milk Guidelines Have Less Risk of Metabolic Syndrome
Study Suggests Obese Children who Meet Milk Guidelines Have Less Risk of Metabolic Syndrome. Pixabay

Is your child obese? If so, drinking at least two servings of any type of cows’ milk each day are more likely to have lower fasting insulin, indicating better blood sugar control — risk factors for metabolic syndrome, according to a study.

Metabolic syndrome is defined as the presence of at least three of five conditions that increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke–high blood pressure, high levels of blood sugar or triglycerides, excess belly fat, and low “good” cholesterol levels.

The results showed that children who drank less than one cup of milk each day had significantly higher levels of fasting insulin than those who drank less than or at least two cups a day.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“Our findings indicate that obese children who consume at least the daily recommended amount of milk may have more favourable sugar handling and this could help guard against metabolic syndrome,” said Michael Yafi from the University of Texas Health Science Centre, US.

For the study, the team analysed 353 obese kids and adolescents aged three to 18 years and recorded information on daily milk intake, milk types, sugary drinks intake, fasting blood glucose, and insulin sensitivity.

The results presented at 2018 European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Austria, showed that kids who drank at least two cups of milk a day no association between milk intake and blood glucose or lipid levels.

Also Read: “Most obese people likely to stay fat” : Study

Another study, presented at the 2018 ECO, stated that dairy products had no link in the development of childhood obesity, as thought earlier.

According to the researchers, no evidence was found to suggest that body fatness varied by type of milk or dairy products, or with age of the children as opposed to the known belief. (IANS)