Monday, February 4, 2013


PAY HOMAGE TO COWS - Hindus do not eat beef for religious reasons. This is because cows are holy to Hindus. The pun or sarcastic phrase 'holy cows' has sprung from this religious belief of Hindus. According to Hindu culture, cows are holy because they are milk giving animals. We get our first milk from our mother and that is why cows are equated with mothers. In fact they are also called 'Gau mata' which means 'cow mother'. Many Hindu festivals revere cows. Everything coming from the cow is considered holy, even the cows piss and dung. Some festivals require cow dung to cleanse the atmosphere. Let us take a deeper look at the festivals that require the holy cows to complete them.
1. Pongal: The biggest harvest festival of Tamil Nadu is incomplete without the presence of cows. The third day of Pongal is allocated to cows. Women from every Tamilian family worship the cows and feed them sweet Pongal.

2. Gaijatra: This is a festival dedicated to cows celebrated in Nepal. Numerous cows are marched on the streets of Nepal in the memory of family members who have passed away. 3. Gowardhan Puja: The day before Diwali is the famous Gowardhan puja or the festival of cow dung. On this day, cow dung is the deity to which food (vegetables) and money is offered.  This custom stems from the fact that cow dung is considered holy by the Hindus. 4. Deepali-Tihar: Deepawali or Diwali is a pan-Indian festival that is celebrated with great pomp and show. Our neighbour Nepal also celebrates Deepawali, but they call it Tihar and celebrate it differently. In Nepal, the customary Lakshmi puja for Diwali is incomplete without cows. 
5. Shivaratri: Don't be surprised because we are talking about the cow's male counterpart, the bull. No worship of Lord Shiva is ever complete without paying homage to his pet bull, Nandi. Especially on Shivaratri, women pay their respects to Shiva's bull and then move on to the Lord himself. Do you know any other Hindu festivals that pay homage to cows?.

The presence of the holy cows is essential for many rituals in Hinduism and many Hindu festivals cannot be complete without worshiping cows. Anwesha, the author of the article, mentions that the Nepali festival 'Gaijatra' or 'cow's journey' usually takes place in August or September. Also in Nepal, on the main day of the Deepawali festival, cows are worshiped as the form of Goddess Lakshmi. Women do 'aarti' of the cows and feed them 'prasad'. On the third day of Pongal - called the Mattu Pongal - cows are adorned with kum kum and their horns are painted. As regards Lord Shiva's bull, Anwesha explains that every Shiva temple has an idol of this bull outside the sanctum chamber. The bull, Nandi, is always placed right in front of the Shiva Linga. Besides all the spiritual significances, the protection of the cow and the bull is the basis for a simple and prosperous life.

Bhaktivedanta's alternative vision of how human society ought to live could be summed up with the twin concept of protection of brahmanas and protection of cows. ... he writes: "The bull is the emblem of moral principle, and the cow is the representative of the earth. When the bull and the cow are in a joyful mood, it is to be understood that the people of the world are also in a joyful mood. The reason is that the bull helps production of the grains in the agricultural field, and the cow delivers milk, the miracle of aggregate food values." To protect the cow is more than good economics, it is a matter of principle. In the Vedic tradition she is one of the seven mothers: the real mother, the wife of the spiritual master, the wife of a brahmana, the wife of the king, the nurse, the earth and the cow. All of them should be respected and cared for.

Ranchor Prime (Śripad Ranchor Dasa) :
“Hinduism & Ecology”
Chapter 12: “An Alternative Society”
Friends of Vrindavan (FOV) - WWF

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

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