ne of the most amazing sights in India, especially for the first time visitor, is the number of cows roaming the streets, narrow lanes or in crowded bazaars. If lucky, one could also see Hindus feeding these cows early in the morning as part of their religious duty.

This ubiquitous animal is considered holy to the Hindus since ancient times. The sacredness of the cow is a central and crucial element of Hindu belief. The cow is supposed to be the living symbol of
Mother Earth.

For the early migrants the cow was an indispensable member of the family. As agriculture was the occupation of the migrants, the cow provided them with milk, and it's byproducts and also necessities of life such as fuel, manure for the farm, etc. During this time the Aryans prayed to their numerous gods through

A cowherd with his cow

Yajna. This was initially a simple way of private worship. However became public in character later on. Yajna consisted of invoking the fire god, Agni, by ritually kindling sacred wood on an alter, and keeping the fire alive by constantly feeding it with Ghee (clarified butter). It was through the instrumentality of Agni (fire) that the offering of the milk pudding, curd, and honey was conveyed to one's chosen gods. Thus the cow supplied the major requirements of the Yajna and this association soon made it sacred.

Later on animal sacrifices waned as gradually the Hindus veered towards vegetarianism due to the influence of early Jainism & Buddhism. Gradually the cow came to be known as Gaumata (cow the

A village woman making Cow-dung cakes. These cowdung cakes are used as fuel in villages mother) and Aditi (mother of gods).

The eighth incarnation of Vishnu, Lord Krishna was a cowherd since his birth. This also helped in consolidating the importance and the religious glorification of the cow among the Vaisnavites (followers of Krishna). Some other factors which resulted in its sanctity were; its figurative usage in Vedic literature which later was taken literally; prohibitions against killing of a Brahmin's cow and lastly, the symbol of cow protection as an affirmation of religious solidarity against Muslim invaders.

Besides the religious factors, cow is a very useful animal, having special
qualities in his milk, urine, and dung. Cow milk is considered to be easily digestible and good for mental health. Its urine is used in many medicines curing cold, cough, headache gastric-troubles, jaundice, prostrate, leucorrhoea, tuberculosis and even cancer.

Many villagers in India use cow dung regularly for cleansing the body at the time of bath. Very
special bathing-soaps are also made with cow-dung, which are 100 percent result oriented.

While visiting villages, one can see many houses painted with cow-dung, which acts as repellant for mosquitoes and other insects. It is also very useful as powerful fertilizer for agriculture. In most of the Indian villages Kanda (dry dung-cakes) and Gobar Gas (gas produced, using cow dung) are used for fuel purpose. The other qualities of Indian cow dung are that it is highly anti-radioactive and protect from lightening surge. It also very useful in removing snake poison, and all types of skin diseases completely.

In villages, houses are still painted with cowdung, to keep the insacts & mosquitos away.

What else is needed to worship this holy animal, which is so deeply related with the Hindu faith and serving the society selflessly?


Auspicious Colours   Mehndi   Celebrating Indian Tastes
Cricket Mania   India on Rails   The Hindu Marriage
Paan Chewing   Colourful Bazaars   Sadhus  
The Ganga   Indian Villages   The Holy Cow  
Jungle is calling   The Tilak   Kite Flying  
Traditional Wearing  



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