Zentraveler on the sacred cow!

We could start with deriatives of cow and come up with cow-a-bunga and go into extensive research to learn how the

Cow Grazing

cow has become sacred over the years and maybe even a god!

In ancient India, oxen and bulls were sacrificed to the gods and their meat was eaten. But even then the slaughter of milk-producing cows was prohibited. Verses of the Rigveda refer to the cow as Devi (goddess), identified with Aditi (mother of the gods) herself.

Even when meat-eating was permitted, the ancient Vedic scriptures encouraged vegetarianism. One scripture says, “There is no sin in eating meat… but abstention brings great rewards.” (The Laws of Manu, V/56)

Later, in the spiritually fertile period that produced Jainism and Buddhism, Hindus stopped eating beef. This was mostly like for practical reasons as well as spiritual. It was expensive to slaughter an animal for religious rituals or for a guest, and the cow provided an abundance of important products, including milk, browned butter for lamps, and fuel from dried dung.

Some scholars believe the tradition came to Hinduism through the influence of strictly vegetarian Jainism. But the cow continued to be especially revered and protected among the animals of India.

By the early centuries AD, the cow was designated as the appropriate gift to the brahmans (high-caste priests) and it was soon said that to kill a cow is equal to killing a brahman. The importance of the pastoral element in the Krishna stories, particularly from the 10th century onward, further reinforced the sanctity of the cow. religionfacts.com

The five products (pancagavya) of the cow — milk, curds, ghee butter, urine and dung — are all used in puja (worship) as well as in rites of extreme penance. The milk of the family cow nourishes children as they grow up, and cow dung (gobar) is a major source of energy for households throughout India. Cow dung is sometimes among the materials used for a tilak – a ritual mark on the forehead. Most Indians do not share the western revulsion at cow excrement, but instead consider it an earthy and useful natural product.

Despite their sacred status, cows don’t seem very appreciated in India. Visitors are often surprised to see them walking neglected around city streets, living on garbage from the gutters. But the cow is honored at least once a year, on Gopastami. On this “Cow Holiday,” cows are washed and decorated in the temple and given offerings in the hope that her gifts of life will continue.

Mother of the Earth. The cow always gives and feeds, representing life and the support of life. Honoring the cow inspires in people the virtues of gentleness and connectedness with nature. The cow takes nothing but water, grass and grain, while it gives of its milk, as does the liberated soul give of his spiritual knowledge.

“The cows have come and have brought us good fortune. In our stalls, contented, may they stay! May they bring forth calves for us, many-colored, giving milk for each day. To the unlovely you bring beauty. Rejoice our homestead with pleasant loving. In our assemblies we laud your vigor.” Rig Veda (4.28.1;6) In the Rig Veda, cows represent wealth and joyous Earthly life. Several hymns refer to ten thousand and more cattle.

Cow-A-Bunga

QUOTE: “One can measure the greatness of a nation and its moral progress by the way it treats its animals. Cow protection to me is not mere protection of the cow. It means protection of all that lives and is helpless and weak in the world. The cow means the entire subhuman world.” Mahatma Gandhi.

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:In the Hindu tradition, the cow is honored, garlanded and given special feedings at festivals all over India, most importantly the annual Gopashtama festival. Its nature is represented in Kamadhenu, the divine, wish-fulfilling cow. In India, more than 3,000 institutions called Gaushalas care for old and infirm cows. The gift of a cow is applauded as the highest kind of gift.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Cows! And that’s no Bull!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:Cow-a bunga!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone!

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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