Why are cows considered holy animals in Hinduism(sanatana dharma)?
People in the Vedic period were primarily pastoral. They relied on the cows for milk and dung. Cow dung is one of the main fuels in rural India and also served as a fertilizer. Cow dung and cow urine is also thought to be an disinfectant among ancient Indians and used to clean up home. Thus, cow provided the food, fuel, disinfectant and fertilizer for the Vedic people.
1 Hindu scriptures have always considered milk as among the highest forms of food – Satvic. Cow’s milk is believed to have a great calming effect and improves meditation.
2. A product of cow’s milk – ghee (clarified butter) – is used for Yajna (fire worship). Fire worship is the highest form prayer for Hindus. This adds religious significance to cow’s products.
3. Despite its big size, a cow is a calm animal and non-threatening – you could see cows quietly roaming Indian roads. Hindus have always appreciated the tolerance, patience and calmness of the cow. Thus, cows stood for the goodness of Hindu religion and considered a representative of Dharma. Also, a cow’s affection to its calf is a beautiful thing and Vedas greatly appreciated this bonding.
4. Sustainability: Ancient Indians probably ate meat when they wandered in the grasslands. However, as soon as they settled and the population near Ganges exploded, they saw the issues cropping. The key was water pollution from the slaughterhouses. Both the leather industry and slaughter industry hugely polluting industries and thus taboos quickly came.
5.In some ways, cows for Indians are like the pets in the Western Culture. You don’t see dog meat, cat meat or even horse meat in the US as these are the animals people have in their homes and form a special bonding with. For some Westerners, killing a dog for meat can be as gruesome as killing a human for meat. In the same way, many of us Indians formed a special bonding with our cows