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Cows are considered to be sacred due to their utility value to man

Recently, on an internet forum, a reader posted a question as to why Hindus consider cows, among all animals, as sacred. “Why not the Bengal tiger or the elephant, which hover on the edge, as endangered species?” the reader asked. The general response was that many of the factors in considering the cow to be sacred were practical in origin. This point was elaborated with examples such as, cows (oxen) having pulled ploughs on Indian farms for centuries, the cow gaining the image of ‘life-giver’, being man’s greatest supplier of milk, etc.

The cow is sacred to Hindus, not due to its utility value, as suggested by the response on the above forum. If that were to be true, the buffalo would fit the bill equally.

The cow is sacred because it is considered that a cow is the only animal that has maximum Divine qualities. Thus, it is worshipped just like God Himself. By killing such an auspicious animal, one incurs sins. So we should take care of the cow and use its other products too like cow dung and cow’s urine (gomūtra). Gomutra is a substance which has the maximum sāttviktā (spiritually pure component).

Another point is that among all animals, only the cow can capture the frequencies of all the Deities in the Universe. It is said that a cow has 33 crore (330 million) Deities in her stomach.

Thus, the cow is sacred due to spiritual, not utilitarian factors.

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