(a)(iii) Explain the significance of cow protection and vegetarianism in Hinduism

Authors Avatar

(a)(iii) Explain the significance of cow protection and vegetarianism in Hinduism

Cow protection and vegetarianism are significant beliefs and values within Hinduism, as there are many teachings on these two topics.

        Cow protection is mentioned in the early Hindu scriptures the Vedas. Within these four books are references to herds of cattle, and the cow was a sacrificial animal, being appreciated for its role as an offering to the Gods. So cows were used as a sacrifice and the person offering the sacrifice could gain ascension to heaven, especially if numerous sacrifices were offered. Therefore the cow is regarded sacred because from a religious perspective it was used in ritual sacrifice. In ancient Hindu society a Brahmin had a special role as he understood the Vedas and maintained order in the world by performing sacrifices. Therefore people thought it was important to respect the Brahmin and his cow.

        The cow was also valued economically as it made many essential products. It is the source of milk, milk products, meat, dung etc. The products of butter, whey, cream and cheese made up a ritual offering named ida. The cow was also a great prize of war.

        Even cows’ urine has medicinal qualities as it can be used to cure ailments. The state of Gujarat in India encourages sufferers of ailments to drink the urine and doctors prescribe it.  

Join now!

        Shiva’s vehicle is Nandi the bull and temples devoted to Shiva are normally dedicated to bulls as well as a sign of piety or in fulfilment of a vow. In stories involving Krishna, he milks and plays with the cows.

For the reasons above, Gandhi said, “For me the cow represents the totality of the sub-human world. Through it human beings are made aware of their identity with all living things. To protect the cow is to protect all in the divine creation which is not endowed with the word.” This is why farmers may treat their cows as ...

This is a preview of the whole essay