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Hindus and sacred cow - Why do Hindus worship cows in India. Beef consumption in India

BY: Swati | Category: Religion | Post Date: 2008-06-30
 



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   Swati
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Hinduism is a very old religion and predates most other cultures / religions which exist today. It is common that the core believes of one culture may not necessarily be well understood in another culture and may even sound illogical to them. Many people argue that an animal is an animal and eating meat is a part of our life. Westerners are beef lovers, at the same time the idea of eating a horse, dog or cat would drive many furious. Even the ancient Egyptians sacrificed other animals, but not the cow because it was sacred to goddess Isis. Similarly the Muslims do not eat pork.


SIGNIFICANCE OF COWS IN INDIAN HISTORY:
Historically, India has been an agricultural based society and the major religion being Hinduism. People were mostly vegetarian and milk, butter curd formed the important nutrition source. Centuries ago, cow was the most useful animal to the local people. Apart from milk, cow dung is probably the best manure for plants, repels mosquitoes and even the dried cow dung is a very good fuel for burning. The physical strength of Cows/bulls/ox were also used to pull agricultural equipments, in a similar way the horse was used in western countries in farming. They are even used to pull small carts for transportation.

Having a large number of cows was a reflection of prestige and prosperity. Cows were actually treated like a family member and looked upon with great respect in the Hindu society. Donating a cow to a poor individual was considered to be a very good deed. Moreover most Indian cow's just survive on green grass which is anyway free in the vast open fields of India.


WHY DO HINDU'S WORSHIP COW ?
Mostly due to above mentioned reasons, cows are often associated being a favourite pet of several Gods in Hindu religion. Equivalent of Bible or Quran in Hinduism are books called "Vedas, Ramayana and Bhagwat Gita". These books further emphasize the importance of cow in the Hindu religion and promote people to worship them. Popular leaders like Gandhi also worshipped the holy cow.

HOW DID/DO HINDUS WORSHIP COWS ?

Not more than 10% of Hindus do this today:
They offer foods like roti (wheat flour tortillas) and gur (jaggery).
Offer a necklace made of flowers and put a red dot (teeka) on cow's forehead.
Recite holy prayers to honour cows.
Offering cow's milk to God statues is considered lucky.

Not more than 2% of Hindus do this:
Cow dung is used to make some tiny sculptures in certain sections of the society while worshipping.

Not more than 1% of Hindus do this:
Probably 0.00001% Hindus taste urine on very rare occasions.

There are several extreme and false rumors surrounding Hindus and cows.

PRESENT DAY STATUS OF COWS IN INDIA:
Things have changed - Big time !!

You can see few cows wandering freely around the streets in every city even the capital city of New Delhi (which many believe it as ridiculous and complete nuisance) and cause many traffic accidents each year.

Although some respect for these animals still exists but the traditional HIGH respect of cows has vanished and mostly remain only in popular religious centers and temples of the country. Cow slaughter is permitted in most Indian states with limits and regulations only, although illegal slaughterhouses exist in most cities.

As the percentage of people who consume meat rises in India, the once soft heart of most Hindus has become more tolerant. Even though the Hindu's who eat meat almost never eat beef, they usually restrict themselves only to eating chicken, fish and goat meat. Beef consumption in India is still fairly low and a large percentage of slaughtered cows are exported to middle eastern countries.

The purpose of cows these days is mostly limited for the reasons of milk and cow dung manure for farming. Consumption of milk is still very high in India as they not only consume milk but also use it to prepare local sweets, cheese, frying butter (Ghee) , Paneer (Cottage cheese) and countless others things.

The rise in milk prices is often considered a major hardship for the Indian society. Giving hormones for higher milk yield is unfortunately becoming a common practice too. Cows have certainly lost their pride which they once enjoyed and younger educated generation hardly cares about the fate of these animals.

Article Source: http://www.saching.com



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Comments on this article: (2 comments so far)

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Comment Comment By Comment Date
IMPORTANCE OF COWS
FROM THIS SITE,I REALIZED THE IMPORTANCE OF COWS... AS THE BELIEF OF WORSHIPPING COWS IS STILL ACTIVE TODAY,WE MUST CONTINUE IT IN THE HOPE OF OUR INDIA`S CULTURE AND PROSPERITY LIES IN THESE CELEBRATIONS...
PRIYANKA NANDA 2009-09-27
love cows and get wishes fulfilled
dear friends its true and accepted that if you worship cows and give them roti and gur to eat everyday then i assure you that whatever you want to achieve just speak it in her ears i assure you will get your wishes true. try it once,but be patient and wait and watch
dinesh 2009-07-11



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