Saturday February 16, 2019

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
  • 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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enable the world to follow the diet, the report suggests five strategies, one of which is subsidies.

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Eat more fruit and vegetables to lower blood pressure. Pixabay

The EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health brings together more than 30 world-leading scientists from across the globe to reach a scientific consensus. In addition to focusing on what consumers consume, the planetary health diet focuses on the role of farming plays and the impact it has on wildlife and pollution. It also addresses a widening paradox of this world: that 1 billion people across the world live in hunger, while another 2 billion people are obese. If successfully implemented, the authors estimate 10.9 to 11.6 million deaths could be avoided every year. To enable the world to follow the diet, the report suggests five strategies, one of which is subsidies.

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The report also states that incentivizing farmers to shift food production away from large quantities of a few crops to a more diverse production of nutritious crops could be beneficial. The commission says that an effort to reduce food waste can be made by improving harvest planning in low and middle income countries. It also suggests that the shopping habits of consumers in high-income countries need to be improved, too. An increase in consumption of healthy foods (such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts), and a decrease in consumption of unhealthy foods (such as red meat, sugar, and refined grains) that would provide major health benefits, and also increase the likelihood of attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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According to the lancent web site, Poor nutrition is a key driver and risk factor for disease. However, there has been a global failure to address this. It is everyone’s and no-one’s problem. Despite several efforts, actions for improving nutrition have failed to gain global traction. The triple challenges of obesity, under nutrition, and climate change, which interact and affect human and planetary health, need solutions that disrupt their common underlying societal and political drivers. Sustainable food systems that ensure health-promoting nutrition for all need urgent attention and will benefit people and planet alike.

(Hindu Council Of Australia)