Published On: Sat, Nov 28th, 2009

Cow is a sacred asset of the nation

cowSubramanian Swamy

When India fought the First War of Independence in 1857, and Bahadur Shah ‘Zafar’ was installed as emperor by the Hindus in Delhi for a brief period, his Hindu Prime Minister, on the emperor’s proclamation, made the killing of cow a capital offence. Earlier in Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s kingdom, the only crime that had capital punishment was cow slaughter.

One global patent has been granted for cow urine, neem and garlic as a pest repellent, fungicidal and growth promontory properties for all different crops.

Our West influenced intellectuals and mentally dominated by foreign idiom, sneer at the mention of the cow, leave alone speaking about the cow as an asset to the nation. But we know that these intellectuals first sneered at yoga, now it is a fashion for them doing pranayama at cocktail parties. They also sneered at our sanyasis, calling them disparagingly as “Godmen”. Now they flock to ashrams with their white friends ever since the Beatles did. Who knows, they may soon boast of a cow in their backyards. For those of us who are desi by pedigree and conviction, I place some facts about the cow in the new perspective of modern Hindutva.

India has 150 million cows today, giving an average of less than 200 litres of milk per year. If they could be fed and looked after, then these divine animals can give an average of 11,000 litres of milk as the Israeli cows do. That could provide milk for the whole world. The milk we produce today is the cheapest in the world. With enhanced production by raising the productivity of milch cows we can become the world’s largest exporter of milk and India’s biggest foreign exchange earner.

The cow was elevated to the status of divinity in the Rg.Veda iself. In Book VI, the Hymn XXVIII attributed to Rishi Bhardwaja, extols the virtue of the cow. In Atharva Veda (Book X, Hymn 10), the cow is formally designated as Vishnu, and “all that the Sun surveys.” This divine quality of the cow has been affirmed by Kautilya in his Arthsastra (Chapter XXIX) as well.

The Indian society has addressed the cow as gow mata. The Churning of the Sea episode brings to light the story of the creation of the cow. Five divine Kamadhenus (wish cows), viz, Nanda, Subhadra, Surabhi, Sushila, Bahula emerged in the churning.

Cow is there in the company of Bhagwan Dattatreya and Gopal Krishna. Cow is the vehicle of Shaillputri and Gowri – two of the nine manifestations of Goddess Durga. Ancient coins with image of bull Nandi on them have been found in excavations.

Thousands of names of places, persons and things in our country have name of the cow: e.g. Gauhati, Gorakhpur, Goa, Godhra, Gondiya, Godavari, Goverdhan, Gautam, Gomukh, Gokarna, Goyal, Gochar etc. , that signify the deep reverence and high ground reserved for the cow and her progeny in our culture. Why? Because of the deep abiding faith that the cow is verily the Annapurna.

In 2003, the National Commission on Cattle presided over by Justice G.M. Lodha, submitted its recommendations to the NDA Government. The Report (in 4 volumes) called for stringent laws to protect the cow and its progeny in the interest of India’s rural economy. This is anyway a Constitutional requirement under Directive Principles of State Policy. Article 48 of the Constitution says: “The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle”. In 1958, a 5-member Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court { (1959) SCR 629} upheld Article 48 and the consequently held total ban on cow slaughter as a reasonable restriction on Fundamental Rights of all Indians.

For a Hindu, the very appearance of a cow evokes a sense of piety. See however the most reckless bus driver avoids the cow that squats in the middle of the road. The cow is serene by temperament and herbivorous by diet. It is multi-product animal. Apart from milk, cow dung known for its anti-septic value, is still used as fuel in its dried caked form in most Indian villages. It is also used in compost manure and in the production of electricity through eco-friendly gobar-gas. Thus, Mahatma Gandhi had declared: “Cow protection is more important than even Swaraj”.

The cow, according to Vedas provides the following four products for human society :

1. Godugdha (Cow milk): As per Ayurveda, cow milk’s composition has fat, carbohydrate, minerals, calcium, Iron and Vitamin B, an even a capacity for resistance of the body against radiation and regenerate brain cells.

2. Goghruta (Cow Ghee): Best among all kinds of ghee. As per Ayurveda classics it is useful in various kind of systematic, physical and mental disorders as well as it sustain the age for long time. When it is used in Yajna, it improves the oxygen level in the air around.

3. Gomutra (Cow Urine): A total of 8 types of urine are used for medicinal purpose now a days. Among those, Cow urine is held to be the best. Hence the Americans are busy patenting while we are busy sneering about it. Anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal property is found in it. It is also having anti-oxidant and immuno modulator property, which is very much useful for immune deficiency diseases which are increasing now a day. In classics there are so many references available where cow urine is mentioned as a drug of choice. Even Parsis of Zoroastrian religion follow this practice.

Besides milk and dung, the ancient Hindu wisdom that cow’s urine has medicinal properties and hence accessible at low cost to the rural poor, is borne out by Patents granted in United States.

Two US patents have been granted for cow urine distillate (US Pat. No. 6410059 & 6896907) for anti-micro-bial, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancer properties, also it is having a lot of anti-exidants. Since it has got immumomodulatory compounds in it, it is a very good bio-enhancer to facilitate drug availability to high extent in our body. Patent from China is also granted to cow urine distillate as a DNA protector.

One global patent has been granted for cow urine, neem and garlic as a pest repellent, fungicidal and growth promontory properties for all different crops (WHO 2004/087618A1).

Another US patent has been granted for strains obtained from Sahiwal cow milk for plant growth promoter phytopathogenic fungi controlling activity, abiotic stress tolerating capability, phosphatic solubilisation capability, etc. (US patent No. 7097830 dated 29/8/06).

Also CSIR has filed US patent for Amrit Pani (mixture of cow dung + cow urine + jaggery) from NBRI Lucknow for soil health improvement properties.

All the above claims had been made in Charaka Samhita, Sushrut, Vaghbhati and Nighantu, Ratnakar, etc.

The above examples very well prove the utility of cow dung and urine for sustainable agriculture as well as for almost curing or giving relief in many serious diseases like psoriasis, eczema, asthma, diabetes, blood pressure, renal failures and cancer, etc.

This confirms Vedic message: Gomay Vasate Laxmi i.e. cow dung is a source of wealth, whereas in western culture dung and urine are considered to be waste, even if their modern medical research has begun changing its view.

4. Gomaya (Cow dung): Gomaya is considered equally valuable as Gau mutra and it is used to purify the environment. Cow dung has radium and it checks the radiation effects.

Furthermore, the common argument in the west for slaughtering cows is no more uncontested. Beef is not of high protein content as believed. Any dietician’s chart shows that beef, with 22 per cent protein, ranks far below vegetable products like soyabeen (43), groundnut (31), pulses (24). Moreover, excess intake of protein is not good as it only contributes to obesity, a bane of modern civilization. Moreover, to procure 1 kg of beef (or for that matter any flesh) it takes 7 kg of crops and 7,000 kg. of water.

Thus protection of the cow thus makes good economic and ecological sense. Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the scholar-sanyasi and convenor of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, a body of all prominent Hindu religious heads, has argued that non-vegetarianism indirectly contributes heavily to green house gases and other pollution.

He quotes a report from the United Nations of the year 2006 that reveals the surprising fact that “raising animals for meat as food generates more green house gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined.” Ten of billions of animals farmed for food, release gases such as methane, nitrous oxide and carbon-di-oxide through their massive amounts of manure. Animals such as cows and sheep, being ruminant, emit huge amount of methane due to flatulence and burping. “The released methane”, the report says, “has 23 times the global warming potential of CO2″. It is alarming to note that the livestock industry alone is responsible for 37 per cent of human induced methane emissions. To make room for these animals to graze, the virgin forests are cleared. The livestock industry also needs a vast stretches of land to raise mono-crops to feed the animals. The CO2 that the trees and plants store escapes back into the air when they are destroyed.

Growing fodder for farmed animals implies heavy use of synthetic fertilizers produced with fossil fuels. While this process emits a huge amount of CO2 fertilizer itself releases nitrous oxide (3) – a green house gas that is 296 times more potent than CO2. Alarming though these facts are, Swamiji sees in them a reason for hope. All that the people ever have to do is to avoid red-meat eating. In the absence of demand for meat there is no more need for breeding millions of animals for daily slaughter. And then animals population would cease to be medicated or inseminated for continuous breeding, thereby the population would be regulated

A single individual by simply not consuming meat prevents the equivalent of 1.5 tons CO2 emissions in a year. This is more than the one ton of CO2 emissions prevented by switching from a large sedan to a small car. One needs to have an honest commitment to save the mother earth who has been relentlessly patient and magnanimous since she began bearing life. There are a number of reasons for one to be a vegetarian. People given to meat eating think that a pure vegetarian diet is optional. But now they have no choice if they are alive to what is happening to this life-bearing planet. There is no justification whatsoever for one to continue to be a non-vegetarian knowing the devastating consequences of meat eating.

As Swami Dayananda Saraswati has noted:

“Promotion of vegetarianism does not require any legislation from the State. It does require a change of heart on the part of meat eating individuals anywhere on this planet. I cannot appeal to the tigers and wolves. They are programmed to be what they are. Being endowed with freewill only a human being can make a difference by exercising responsibly his or her choice.”

If it is too much for one to switch to be a total vegetarian, then one needs to give up at least red-meat eating.

Cattle can be conveniently reared today only in villages because villages have open grazing lands and natural atmosphere and ponds, etc., which urban dwellings do not have.

But as the erstwhile Sar Sanghchalak of RSS Sri Sudarshan has observed at a meeting of ‘Gobhakta’ industrialists in New Delhi recently, for rural economic development cow-based industries should be set up. An example of this is of Dr. Shrikrishna Mittal who successfully made tiles out of cow dung that could be used in rural housing for a long period. Of course Cow dung gas has already come to stay.

Hence, a new fervour is necessary to create a cow-renaissance in the nation. As Bahadur Shah and Maharaja Ranjit Singh did, we should amend the IPC to make cow slaughter as a capital offence as well as a ground for arrest under the National Security Act, to give meaning and urgency to the total ban on cow slaughter. It is constitutional and is Hindutva.

The cow is thus a part of Hindutva, and we should defend it with all our might.

  • sohan

    Cow is Hindutava. Hindutava is faith. Faith needs no arguments. Cow slaughter must be banned; End of the debates and arguments.

    Cow produces much needed milk. Its byproducts: urine and dung, also, are useful. Each cow is an economic gold mine and should be preserved and provided the best resources for their upkeep.

    150 million cows represent about 12% of Indian population. About 50-70% of the population is under nourished and famished. Most cows, also, are under nourished and famished.

    Cows need 20-25 square feet space per unit for housing. The space is many times more the footpath and shanty dwellers, presently can afford.

    Who should be the top of the priority line: Humans or cows? Faith wins over logic. Advancing logic as a prop is counterproductive.

    • vinayak dennis panakal

      u don’t have to worry much about the starving millions….but it’s the duty of every indian, no matter he/she is belongs to different religious butt-asses, regardless herein after they too stop slaughering not only the cows but anything that has life in it..dont u know that.this is the highest ground of spirituality or noble life….be like gods to become like them….moron

    • Rohit

      Your understanding is very shortsighted. If cow protection is given priority, within years cows can become the centre of self sustaining and thriving village economies where the poor of today will get a chance to lead a life of dignity and prosperity. Rural-urban migration and destruction of rural farmlands/water sources under the pretext of green revolution and promoting inorganic agriculture is what leads these otherwise landowning farmers to sell their stuff and migrate to cities. Here they end up creating the so called “shanty towns” and thus begins the vicious circle of poverty. The moment we nip it in the bud by stopping this phenomenon, the day our rural communities are self sustaining and prosperous which can only happen post-cow protection, we will see a rapid transformation. When you think of Indian philosophical ideas, do so from an Indic frame of reference. If you use western logic and ideas, you won’t get anywhere since western languages which are the carrier of thoughts and conceptions lack the depth and breadth of Indian languages which alone are adequate to do an analysis of Indian culture and ideas. If you insist on trying to find apples on a mango tree, you won’t.

  • mita gupta

    It is unbelievable that Hindu cow lovers would justify ban on cow slaughter on the basis of economic benefits that cows provide. OK to kill if it is of no economic use or is old. Their measuring reverence for cows in economic terms is disgusting. They would be the first, also, to abandon their aged and economically unproductive parent. These cow-lovers need to have their head examined. Their thoughts are blot on the name of Hindu religion!

    • Madhu

      I think you didn’t read the article completely. Most of Hindus want a ban on all animal slaughtering.Regarding economics benefits of cow,persons like you and Kancha Ilaiah don’t understand the importance of cow in a society therefore the benefits has to be mentioned.Only fools would collect losses instead of saving cows and reaping benefits.

  • Satya

    we have to protect cows because they are direct living gods, we call them as Gow matha Mother after Mother we cannot harm our mother and there is lot of history about the cow in vedas, protecting, worshiping the cow is equal to visiting sacret places and praying the 3Cr gods

    Persons who harm the cow will be punished by god for thousand of borns and it is a Big sin of all

    Jai Gowmatha Ki jai….

  • Fabs123

    Manusmriti (Chapter 5 / Verse 30) says, “It is not sinful to eat meat of eatable animals, for Brahma has created both the eaters and the eatables.”
    Manusmriti (5 / 35) states: When a man who is properly engaged in a ritual does not eat meat, after his death he will become a sacrificial animal during twenty-one rebirths.
    Maharishi Yagyavalkya says in Shatpath Brahmin (3/1/2/21) that, “I eat beef because it is very soft and delicious.”
    Apastamb Grihsutram (1/3/10) says, “The cow should be slaughtered on the arrival of a guest, on the occasion of ‘Shraddha’ of ancestors and on the occasion of a marriage.”
    Rigveda (10/85/13) declares, “On the occasion of a girl’s marriage oxen and cows are slaughtered.”
    Rigveda (6/17/1) states that “Indra used to eat the meat of cow, calf, horse and buffalo.”
    Vashistha Dharmasutra (11/34) writes, “If a Brahmin refuses to eat the meat offered to him on the occasion of ‘Shraddha’ or worship, he goes to hell.”
    Also, comments of some great scholars of Hinduism are also worth noting:
    · Hinduism’s greatest propagator Swami Vivekanand said thus: “You will be surprised to know that according to ancient Hindu rites and rituals, a man cannot be a good Hindu who does not eat beef”. (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekanand, vol.3, p. 536).
    · Mukandilal writes in his book ‘Cow Slaughter – Horns of a Dilemma’, page 18: “In ancient India, cow-slaughter was considered auspicious on the occasions of some ceremonies. Bride and groom used to sit on the hide of a red ox in front of the ‘Vedi’ (alter).”
    · A renowned scholar of scriptures Dr. Pandurang Vaman Kane says, “Bajsancyi Samhita sanctifies beef-eating because of its purity”. (Dharmashastra Vichar Marathi, page 180)
    · Adi Shankaracharya’ commentary on Brihdaranyakopanishad 6/4/18 says : ‘Odan’ (rice) mixed with meat is called ‘Mansodan’. On being asked whose meat it should be, he answers ‘Uksha’. ‘Uksha’ is used for an ox, which is capable to produce semen.
    · The book ‘The History and Culture of the Indian People’, published by Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan, Bombay and edited by renowned historian R.C.Majumdar (Vol.2, page 578) says: “this is said in the Mahabharat that King Rantidev used to kill two thousand other animals in addition to two thousand cows daily in order to give their meat in charity”.

    • Arunesh Dixit

      First of all please dont propagate the falsehood and dont interpret the sanskrit words into the words which suits your actions and hence please understand the actual meaning of the words:

      Maharishi Yagyavlakya: I eat “cow products” because they are healthy and delicious. What are the cow products he is talking about? They are – Ghee, Milk, Sweets, etc. and obviously not the beef!!
      Apastamb Grihsutram (1/3/10) says, “The cow should be decorated, sheltered and donated (not slaughtered, the actual sanskrit word is “vibhusitayaje” and not “vibhishite” which means killed) on the arrival of a guest, on the occasion of ‘Shraddha’ of ancestors and on the occasion of a marriage.”
      Rigveda (6/17/1) states that “Indra used to eat the meat of “Gomay” not cow, calf, horse and buffalo.” Wha is the meaning of gomay, pls refer any nighantu. Definitiely not cow.

      Rigveda (10/85/13) declares, “On the occasion of a girl’s marriage oxen and cows are sheltered and gifted (vibhusite) and not “vibhishite”. So, pls dont use -ve meaning.

      Vashistha Dharmasutra (11/34) writes, – the actual meaning is “If a Brahmin refuses to eat the “pinda” (pinda has two diff meanings -1. body and 2. rice and sesame porridge) offered to him on the occasion of ‘Shraddha’ or worship, he goes to hell.”

      The other scholars are still scholars and need to know more… as nobody is perfect and everyone interprets in his/her way as theydon’thave the right guru/teacher who can teach them the right or wrong.

      One more thing, the king Rantidev was not killing the 5000 odd cows, instead he was donating 5000+ cows everyday after he worship… the word used here was “Godhan” which means cow gifting and not the word “Gohan”which means cow killing.

  • Fabs123
  • Fabs123

    (Beef—it’s the oldest shibboleth in the Indian mind. It is with textual evidence from Hindu, Buddhist and Jain canons that historian D.N. Jha takes on the sacred cow.) Please read about historian Jha’s research.

    no body is forcing Hindus to eat beef but please don’t try to stop others who eat beef because not every one considers cow as God or mother .(even hindu holy scriptures says beef was eaten by hindus , then what is the issue!!!) If consumption of cows milk is the reason why cow is considered as mother , then is goat also a mother ? because goat milk is also used for drinking.Then should mutton also be banned?

    Hindus believe in many avatars of mahavishnu .fish is one of the avatars , so tomorrow somebody will come and say fish is god for us , don’t eat fish, respect our sentiments etc . where will this lead to? Faith is a personal choice .If some body feels it is not to be eaten it is his/her wish. But please don’t force it upon others.
    The whole world eat beef. only a few hindus don’t eat beef .even hindus in kerala eat beef. Even Hindu scripture confirm that beef was eaten and offered to guests. The consumption of beef has caused and still continue to cause a lot of tension between hindus and muslims and christians . I feel the politicians use it as a useful weapon to whip up communal tensions and hatred. Such politicians stay and move around with high security protection.They don’t suffer when a riot is hit , they don’t loose their near ones in a communal riot. One should have empathy towards others rather than hatred . It is the common man who has to face a lot of hard ship due to the handiwork of such vested interests.We all have a short life in this world , please live peacefully and let live!!!

    • kank

      u came with a biased mind and so u missed even scientific explanations given that supported not eating cows. Hinduism/sanatana dharma is not a new born phenomena like Islam/Christianity, it is 5000+ years old. In these 5000+ years, Hindus have been sticking to protection of cows, and this never extended beyond to goats/fish/etc. So what makes you think that now it is going to happen? Talking about let others live peacefully : please do so to us also, and don’t impose beef on us. We have already endured enough Islamic Alah’s army attack and christianity’s civilizing force’s attack. Who is clamouring for peace here? Go get some treatment.

    • Madhu

      You mentioned the historian D.N.Jha,that itself reflects your knowledge on ancient texts.There is no beef eating in Vedas. If you ask an Arya Samaji he will blow your misconception on cows in Vedas.Follow the right historians not the JNU left historians,right is always right.

  • Pothireddy Srinivasareddy


  • Ashok

    Ban Cow Slaughter(Punishable by Life Imprisonment….Also, lets aim to provide Gowshalas in each district!!! Jai Hind!!!

  • Vinayak Dennis Panakal

    I appreciate your interest in highlighting ‘Gomata’s divine status. But since i’m christian I do eat beaf or cow-meat often after my Sunday Mass or every other day regularily just like any other christians anywhere on earth. I’m sorry and now having been felt guilty for the first time I would rather try to skip the dishes made out of this divine and sacred but bovine cows’.

    We christians use every parts of cow from its brain/head to its tail to make and even their intestines tp prepare our dishes without a least sense of remorse from a religious/hindu point of view . I dont know why the muslims dislike pig-meat and calls it ‘ahram’. But for us, we won’t say “no” to both of them at anytime!.
    Anyway, I’m going back to my Hindu roots in search of my missing link–the soul/atma configuration. But I don’t mine even though i’m not sure about what is it going to be all about this adventure with my own consciousness. huh! I’m chewing a gum.

    • Dpk

      Mr. Vinayak Dennis,

      In bible, the commandment says “Thou shalt not kill”. If you kill for the sake of gratifying your tongue, then you are breaking the commandment.

      Thank you

      • tatvadarshan

        Killing is also foebidden ref. Old Testament of the Bible (chapter 66 verse 3)

    • PSabc

      Do explore your Hindu roots. They await you for your return. The journey will be long and arduous – have the courage my friend. Follow your inner conscience, meditate and discover the atma within.

  • Vinayak dennis Panakal

    Hindutava is the current need of the hour. It’s not ‘faith-centered’ or a false construe but based on its dharmic principles of Sanatana Dharma, however it is the only token remained, if at all the movement’s objective is to boot out the anti-hindu idiologies of a nation so ancient but plagarized by centuries of invading barbaric forces from outside. If Hindu homeland cannot be awkened or achieved after been so slouthful over a long period of time, well, then she is bound to receive further more stabs from behind/invaders and that is surely will lead her to death in a profusion of blood of the hindus.

  • venkateswar rao

    mind boggling answer

  • செவ்வேள்குமரன் Sevvel

    Please highlight all those mentioned as ‘cows’ refer only to Native indian Zebu cows (Bos indicus)… Native indian zebu cows can only give all the benefits mentioned.. those cows are alone divine and are mentioned in the ancient scripts.. Comparing israeli cows (Bos taurus) with indian cows is non-sense..

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