|Editor’s Note – The article was published several years ago at the time of Prashanth Poojary’s murder. Its contents are relevant in the wake of secularist-leftist propaganda against the Cow.|
The concept of animal protection in general and of cow protection in particular may be a Hindu one but it is one that has global importance and impact. Hindus have a special place for cows in their hearts and minds. The Hindu scriptures proclaim the venerable and gentle cow as “kam dhenu” or, loosely, all-giving. To a Hindu, the cow is sacred and is given the position of a communal mother as she provides milk much as a mother does. As pure science and knowledge is often dry and boring to a common man, the wealth of the Hindu scriptures is often relayed in stories with rich science, metaphysics and wisdom stuffed carefully within them by the ancient Yogis and Rishis. As many ancient cultures and especially Hinduism bear out, such stories far outlive dogma, being carefully “handed down” from generation to generation.
Based on energy transfers in the food pyramid, it is highly wasteful to consume flesh. The insatiable need for beef and animal flesh in general is causing depletion of world water supplies, deforestation and species extinction, pollution of fresh water supplies as well as oceans, pollution of food supplies, and the direct and indirect causing of human disease and suffering, especially some types of cancer, endocrine diseases such as diabetes and likely accelerated ageing and its attendant disorders, all at an alarming rate. Global warming from greenhouse gases, of which animal farming is the major contributor more so than all others combined and the resulting climate change, is a real and immediate catastrophic threat. Rising ocean levels, whitewashing of coral reefs from desalination resulting from melting ice caps, depleting and polluted fresh water aquifers, sinking land masses, prolonged droughts and intermittent flash flooding are all real. A lot of people everywhere will run out of fresh water long before fossil fuels, for example!
The planet is being thrown into chaos and disarray with disastrous consequences looming in the future ultimately for all mankind. Will our future be a barren and toxic earth devoid of beauty and bio-diversity stemming from unchecked human greed and a total and brutal lack of compassion for all creatures? The responsibility lies with each of us educating ourselves with what is happening around us locally, nationally and internationally rather than resigning ourselves to such a bleak future, with not a moment to waste. The best of intentions achieve nothing. To paraphrase what someone wisely said, it is only the lack of action by the good majority for the evil minority to succeed.Hindus, then, revere the gentle cow as holy and akin to a motherly figure richly deserving of veneration and protection.
The cow has earned a special place in Hindu hearts over thousands of years for many reasons, and only a few will be highlighted. Just as westerners cringe at the very thought of eating dog meat, Hindus cringe at the mere thought of eating flesh and especially cow meat. Psychology aside, there are other well-known (to Hindus!) reasons too. Cows are far more valuable alive than dead socially, economically as well as medically according to Hindu scriptures (especially Ayurveda and Arthashastra descriptions). It is the demure cow that allowed the somewhat nomadic early humans to originally settle in one place and thrive. Cow products from a living cow are extremely useful. Cow urine is beneficial for a variety of medical issues ranging from stomach ailments to cancer. In fact, US companies now have multiple patents on anti-cancer drugs that involve some components of cow urine, for example. Cow dung is extremely valuable in farming as it is a natural insect-repellant and is far more potent than chemical fertilizers as well as in helping with moisture retention in soil, greatly diminishing or entirely eliminating the need for long-term irrigation and toxic chemicals from the food and water supplies. Cow dung is also used as part of rural building materials (bricks), insect and mosquito repellants, and more importantly for producing bio-gas. The bio-gas thus derived could potentially drive the fuel needs of motorists in entire countries if adopted. Cow milk for those driven to need for milk and some of its derivative products are nutritious and beneficial. They are also used in sacred Hindu rituals, ceremonies and rites, some of which are highly purifying of the surrounding atmosphere, and the rest of which are highly purifying and stabilizing of the restless human mind, preventing or alleviating greatly such psychological and neurogenic conditions such as depression, anxiety, ADHD and Alzheimer’s disease. Karmic consequences of cruelty and violence against “dumb” and “mute” creatures such as the cow cannot be escaped but that is a topic that deserves a fully separate discussion. Spiritual ascension or, put bluntly, human evolution, the ultimate goal and very purpose of human life, is minimal at best and unlikely at worst without compassion for all of creation, especially the cow. It should be blatantly obvious that a cow is far more valuable alive than dead, even a non-milk producing cow! Killing the cow is akin to killing the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg, to make a crude economical analogy.
Cow and animal protection should not remain merely a Hindu ideal and struggle, for it is truly a global urgency and should be recognized as such. It’s not just about morals or ethics anymore, the time for that debate is long past. Nay, the time for action is at hand. Vote with your wallet, the only language that human greed understands, for the stakes are high – human ill health and suffering, and the very future of mankind and our beautiful blue planet, no less! What’s on your plate?
|Addendum – A fitting tribute to Martyr Prashanth Poojary would be to launch a #CowIsMyMother campaign.|