Why is the cow a holy animal?

Hindus view the cow as an especially kind and submissive animal that provides more to humans than she receives from them. The cow has become revered in the Hindu faith. She stands in for Mother Earth since she is a reservoir of kindness and because her milk nurtures all living beings. Because of how essential it is to a home, the cow in particular is considered holy. Up until recently, the majority of households kept cows inside. Even today in rural areas, cows are taken care of by the households.

cow a holy animal

The cow has been associated with various Hindu gods such as lord Indra, Shiva, and Sri Krishna. Lord Indra has Kamadhenu which is represented as the wish granter. Krishna is frequently expressed in tales that describe his boyhood as a cowherd and allude to him as the young boy who guards cows. There will be no Hindu who never saw a picture of Sri Krishna with cows- milking, playing, and enjoying the company. The name Govinda, which is also one of Krishna’s sacred names, is translated as “one who gives the cows satisfaction.”  Lord Shiva has Nandi who is so beloved to him. Also, the cow is denoted to be the summation of all the gods- each god situated at a particular part of the cow. She is also worshipped as a goddess due to her infused maternal traits.

The other reason the cow is associated with purity is the nourishing milk they provide. It is said that Sri Krishna drank a lot of cow’s milk and often enjoyed savoring the cow’s Makhan since his childhood. He also always pointed out that all his strength is due to the wonderful nutrition he obtained.

The usage of the Panchagavya, or the five byproducts of the cow—milk, curd, butter, pee, and dung—in rituals of healing, purification, and penance, reveals the level of reverence accorded to the animal. However, the virtue of the cow is not just found in its milk. A cleansing concoction used in various religious rituals occasionally contains cow urine. Fertilizers and fuel are both made from cow dung. It is used to cook food after being gathered, shaped, and dried.

The cow came to represent a life of peaceful giving with the development of the principle of ahimsa (“noninjury”), the lack of the intention to injure sentient animals.  

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