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Why Are Cows Sacred In The Vedic Culture?

ayurvedic view on milk
Photo by Devanath

According to Vedas (sacred books of knowledge which were revealed in India more than 10.000 years ago) all living creatures are sacred but cows have most important position among animals.
Cows are sacred and respected but not worshiped. In Vedic culture eating meat is considered as eating dirty food or food in tama guna. In all the ancient Hindu books, God has strictly prohibited non-vegetarian food since all animals have soul and killing one would be a sin. According to the law of karma, killing any animal will entail you to be killed in your future births. One does not need to consume meat to survive since all nutrients can be found in pulses, fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and dairy. 

Cow is considered one of our mothers as she give us her milk and nurtures our health. The Vedic scriptures teach that killing a cow is the same as killing one's mother. The cow is a symbol of the nourisher and the ever-giving provider. When a woman gives birth and she is not able to breastfeed her baby, then the baby is fed cow's milk because it is easily digestible for the newborn. Milk has all essential nutrients required for humans and can be converted into yogurt, cheese, buttermilk, butter and ghee. According to Ayurveda cow milk has a cooling effect on the body and mind. It improves Ojas, rejuvenates and nourishes all seven body tissues. Dairy products are considered highly nutritious and important part of diet. They provide a great protein supplement. A cow gives all but it doesn't take anything, hence the reference to the maternal figure.

Cows are seen as an emblem of peace. They are not inclined to fight one another even for food. That's why you can find cows roaming freely and unmolested all over the India.
ayurveda sacred cows
Photo by Ongchinonn

When cows become old and cannot give milk they provide dung and urine which are used as natural fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides. Dung is also used for fuel, as it is high in methane and can generate heat and electricity. Dried dung is odorless. If cow eats clean food and drinks clean water its urine and dung will have antibacterial properties. After her natural death leather is obtained. In most Indian states slaughter of a bull, cow or calf is illegal.  

Author: Ayurveda Tutorials

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