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Importance of Indian Cow

Religious and spiritual importance of Cow

Cow is not a mere animal for Hindus. They consider Cow as an adobe of 33 crore Hindu Deities and hence Cow is considered as sacred in Hindu Dharma. Cow has been treated as auspicious and also a symbol of compassion and piousness. Cow is treated as the highest and most pious animal and is given the utmost importance, being at the apex in the Animal world. The belief is that one can attain salvation (Moksha) by worshipping the Cow and serving her and both Lord Krishna and Balram spearheaded the “Cow worship and preservation” culture. The first Jain Tirthankar, Adinath was also named as Vrashbh meaning ‘Oxen Sorub’. Of all beings, the Cow is treated, in India, as the most sacred and sanctified. This sense of the unique sacredness of the Cow is expressed in the works of ancient Indian Rishis (like in the Vedas, Smritis, Srutis and Puranas, etc., as well as in later literature and folklore.

So highly were cows held in esteem by the Society that there were days fixed in the yearly calendar for exclusive worship of the Cow. Three days prior to the festival of Deepavali is called “Bachvaras (Vasubaras), which is a festival when cows are offered “Pooja”. Dhanteras is a day when cows are worshipped along with Dhanwantari the Sage and the diety of medicine) Balipratipada or Padwa is celebrated the day after Deepavali when, in many parts of India, cows are ceremoniously worshipped. Not only cows, but bulls also, were, and still are, the objects of worship. The last day of the month of Shravan, called POLA, is a day when bulls are decorated and taken in a procession to a public place for collective worship, after which they are then taken from house to house where each family offers ‘pooja’. The day after this is celebrated as Children’s Pola, when the children decorate and worship the wooden idols of bull and take them in a procession to a public place.

Cow – The Universal symbol of Motherhood

Cow is an ideal animal in Deity Bramha’s creation. As per spiritual science, the four Purushārthas, namely, Dharma, Artha, Kāma, and Moksha can be acquired by serving the cow. While praising the cow, the principal Deities, namely, Bramha, Vishṇu and Shiva have narrated the following shloka:

त्वं माता सर्व देवानां त्वं च यज्ञस्य कारणम् ।
त्वं तीर्थ सर्वतीर्थानां नमस्तेस्तु सदानधे ।

Meaning: O Destroyer of sins! You are the mother of all Deities. You are the reason for yadnya (sacrificial fire). Among all Tirthas (Holy places), you are the holiest. I pay my obeisance to you.

What do Vēdās say about the cow?

1. As per the Vēdās, cow is considered as a Universal symbol

As per the Atharvavēda, 33 crore Deities reside inside the cow. While describing the Divine form of cow, Bhagawan Shrīkrushṇa has said,

‘धनूनामस्मि कामधुक’

In the ancient Rushikuls (Hermitage of Sages), Cow sēvā (service) was compulsory along with Guru-sēvā (Service unto the Guru).

-Vishwa Hindu Parishad Calendar – 2010.

2. Slay the Cow slaughterers. – Atharvavēda 1-16-4

यदि नो गां हमि यद्यश्वं यदि पूरुषम् ।

तं त्वा सीसेन विध्यामो यथा नोऽसो अवीरहा ॥

(अथर्ववेद १।१६।)

Meaning : If someone destroys our cows, horses or people, kill him with a bullet of lead.

Meaning (Hindi) : यदि हमारी गौ, घोड़े पुरुष का हनन करेगा तो तुझे शीशे की गोली से बेध देंगे, मार देंगे जिससे तू हननकर्त्ता न रहे । अर्थात् पशु, पक्षी आदि प्राणियों के वध करने वाले कसाई को वेद भगवान् गोली से मारने की आज्ञा देता है ।

वेदों में मांस खाने का निषेध इस रूप में किया है । मांस बिना पशुहिंसा के प्राप्त नहीं होता है । अश्व, गौ, अजा (बकरी), अवि (भेड़) आदि नाम लेकर पशुमात्र की हिंसा का निषेध किया है और द्विपद शब्द से पक्षियों के मारने का भी निषेध है।

3. Cow is like a mother for all those who are bachelors till the age of 25 years, a daughter for those who are 26 years old and a sister for those who are 48 years old.

– Rugvēda 8-101

4. Cow brings well-being and purity in the house. She is a source of wealth and prosperity.

– Atharvavēda 4-21-5

5.Gou Karuna Nidhi, Rushi Dayanand Saraswati, Surajmal Tyagi, E- 370, A, Shastri Nagar, Ajmer, Rajsthan

(‘Aryaniti’, 10.2.2011)

6. यजुर्वेद अ० १२, मन्त्र ४०

इममूर्णायुं वरुणस्य नाभिं त्वचं पशूनां द्विपदां चतुष्पदाम्।

त्वष्टुं प्रजानां प्रथम जनित्रमग्ने मा हिंसीः परमे व्योमन् ॥

Meaning (Hindi) : इन ऊन रूपी बालों वाले भेड़, बकरी, ऊंट आदि चौपाये, पक्षी आदि दो पग वालों को मत मार ।

7. A guru, a teacher, a father, a mother, a brahmana, a cow and a yogi all should never be killed.

Manu-samhita, chapter 4, verse 162

8. मनुस्मृति के प्रमाण के अनुसार मांस न खाने का फल सौ अश्वमेध यज्ञों के समान बताया है ।

वर्षे वर्षेऽश्वमेधेन यो यजेत शतं समाः ।

मांसानि च न खादेद्यस्तयोः पुण्यफलं समम् ॥

मनुस्मृति ५।५३॥

Meaning (Hindi) : जो सौ वर्ष पर्यन्त प्रतिवर्ष अश्वमेध यज्ञ करता है और जो जीवन भर मांस नहीं खाता है, दोनों को समान फल मिलता है ।

अनुमन्ता विशसिता निहन्ता क्रयविक्रयी संस्कर्ता चोपहर्ता च खादकश्चेति घातकाः

मनुस्मृति ५।५१

Meaning : Those who permit slaying of animals; those who bring animals for slaughter; those who slaughter; those who sell meat; those who purchase meat; those who prepare dish out of it; those who serve that meat and those who eat are all murderers.

Meaning (Hindi) : मारने की आज्ञा देने वाला, पशु को मारने के लिए लेने वाला, बेचने वाला, पशु को मारने वाला, मांस को खरीदने और बेचने वाला, मांस को पकाने वाला और मांस खाने वाला यह सभी हत्यारे हैं ।

9. याज्ञवल्क्य स्मृति में लिखा है,

सर्वान् कामानवाप्नोति हयमेधफलं तथा ।

गृहेऽपि निवसन् विप्रो मुनिर्मांसविवर्जनात् ॥

(आचाराध्याय ७।१८०॥)

Meaning (Hindi) : विद्वान् विप्र सर्वकामनाओं तथा अश्वमेध यज्ञ के फल को प्राप्त होता है । ऐसा गृहस्थी जो मांस नहीं खाता, वह घर पर रहता हुआ भी मुनि कहलाता है ।

10. महाभारत मे भी मांस को निषेध बताया है

सुरां मत्स्यान्मधु मांसमासवकृसरौदनम् ।

धूर्तैः प्रवर्तितं ह्येतन्नैतद् वेदेषु कल्पितम् ॥

(शान्तिपर्व २६५।९॥)

Meaning (Hindi) : सुरा, मछली, मद्य, मांस, आसव, कृसरा आदि खाना धूर्तों ने प्रचलित किया है, वेद में इन पदार्थों के खाने-पीने का विधान नहीं है ।

जीवितुं यः स्वयं चेच्छेत् कथं सोऽन्यं प्रघातयेत् ।

यद्यदात्मनि चेच्छेत् तत्परस्यापि चिन्तयेत् ॥

(शान्तिपर्व २५९।२२॥)

Meaning (Hindi) : जो स्वयं जीने की इच्छा करता है, वह दूसरों को कैसे मारता है । प्राणी जैसा अपने लिये चाहता है, वैसा दूसरों के लिये भी वह चाहे । कोई मनुष्य यह नहीं चाहता कि कोई हिंसक पशु वा मनुष्य मुझे, मेरे बालबच्चों, इष्टमित्रों वा सगे सम्बन्धियों को किसी प्रकार का कष्ट दे वा हानि पहुंचाये अथवा प्राण ले लेवे, वा इनका मांस खाये । एक कसाई जो प्रतिदिन सैंकड़ों वा सहस्रों प्राणियों के गले पर खञ्जर चलाता है, आप उसको एक बहुत छोटी और बारीक सी सूई चुभोयें तो वह इसे कभी भी सहन नहीं करेगा । फिर अन्य प्राणियों की गर्दन काटने का अधिकार उसे कहां से मिल गया ? प्राणियों का हिंसक कसाई महापापी होता है ।

11.​ अहिंसा परमो धर्मः सर्वप्राणभृतां वरः ।

अहिंसा परमो धर्मः सर्वप्राणभृतां वरः ।

(आदिपर्व ११।१३)

Meaning (Hindi) : किसी भी प्राणी को न मारना ही परमधर्म है ।