Why are cows sacred in India?

cow-1487821_640When a foreigner visits India, he/she may notice that there are cows freely roaming on the streets and outside the temples of worship. Because most Indians consider the cow as a sacred or holy animal. With Hinduism as the main religion for most Indians, cows are thought of as a great symbol or representation of the Earth.  Cows are deemed as great providers without asking for anything in return.  This is what makes cows very sacred in the practice of Hinduism.  Unlike the ideas of the Western world where cows serve only as a food source, cows in India give so much more meaning than providing for meat and milk, for example.

Cows in India are also considered as symbols of wealth based on old Hindu Scriptures.  This belief has even made cows more sacred.  During the Vedic times, cows were so much revered because they also represented motherhood because it was able to give many useful things to people.  Its milk can even be used as a substitute for mothers who can’t produce milk for their babies.  Aside from cow meat, cow dung was also widely used as fertilizers for plants and as a source of fuel. With all the things that cows can provide, this particular animal has reached a very sacred status in many parts of India.

Many experts would say that the cow in Hinduism is quite similar to how Christians view the lamb or sheep in the practice of religion. With the cow’s significance in the practice of Hinduism, many temples in India are adorned with images and sculptures of the cow.  Some temples and shrines have images of cattle, and many people have also associated this animal with the whole of Hinduism practice.  Along with the sacred status of cows, they are also considered as the most precious of gifts to give to other people.  This is especially true in the rural areas of India where there are more farmlands rather than concrete roads and tall buildings.  Most Indians also believe that eating cattle is a desecration to their religious beliefs, and even the selling of beef is mostly banned in all parts of India.

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