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Sacred Cows

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Rayne, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. Rayne

    Rayne New Member

    Do the natives still believe that white cows are sacred in India? I'm not even sure in which part of India this is practiced. Anyone?

  2. Daira

    Daira New Member

    I think this is a Hindu belief and as far as I know, cows are still held sacred today. I think it's actually a problem there because they are also exporting beef, which is probably insulting to strict Hindus.

  3. AlapanB

    AlapanB Member

    Well, it all depends. In remote villages and places where devout Hindus live, cows are still considered sacred. But in majority of areas where the average education level is high, we neither believe that, nor are offended with people eating and exporting beef.
  4. Elaine

    Elaine Member

    I think that nowadays some people still get offended though. I have an Indian friend who lives overseas and his level of education is quite high, but he still does.
  5. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    I think a lot of the time even if the person is educated, it can be hard to shake a lot of those long term held beliefs - particularly if it's something your parents, grandparents and so on have always told you to be true. So I guess there's that aspect to it as well.
  6. Daphne

    Daphne New Member

    I agree with both Amelia88 and Elaine. I guess some traditions and beliefs are hard to shake off; regardless of whether you are educated or not.
  7. tri-n-b-helpful

    tri-n-b-helpful New Member

    To the best of my understanding, all cows are sacred in India, whether or not some people choose to eat beef or not. As tourists, we should bear that in mind and not be found to do anything that will knowingly upset the people of the country we are visiting, especially our hosts. I understand the slaughter of cattle has been banned in 24 out of 29 states in India, but state laws may only take into account the strong views of the majority. The other five states will almost certainly have practicing Hindus who hold cows sacred. I find it terrible that those who are the most ready to fight, kill and cause trouble against those who eat beef are those who eat pork, or chicken or fish, or mutton, or all of these and more!
    Elizabetonth likes this.
  8. Jenny

    Jenny Guest

    Good information tri. I've wondered the same thing as Rayne about the cows. Now, why are the cows considered sacred? How far back does this go and what circumstances surround this belief?
  9. JKewe

    JKewe New Member

    I would like to point out that education and religious belief are not mutually exclusive. In today’s sensitive political environment it sometimes gets a bad rap, but some of history's greatest scholars have been religious people.
  10. Vinaya

    Vinaya Member

    Cow is to the Hindus what Virgin Marry is to Christians. Interestingly, India is also the country that has highest number of Muslim population outside the Muslim world. Online search term from India is cow.
  11. tri-n-b-helpful

    tri-n-b-helpful New Member

    I'm not certain exactly how far back this belief dates. I am struggling to refrain from quoting Holy Scriptures, suffice to say that cows were considered sacred for at least as long as I can find in the recorded history I can access.

    You can probably guess the surrounding circumstances. India has a very long history steeped in the vegetarian diet as as unquestioned way of life, supported by their Holy Scriptures. When the Muslims invaded, that changed more than a little. There is at least one Bollywood movie I've seen (Jodhaa Akbar?), that gives an example of what this may have been like. When the British invaded (well, it was much worse than an invasion!), the mentality for many became, "well, now we all just have eat meat to make us strong against the British". Then there arose a whole heap of problems that were not arguably related to meat consumption. Now, before these two periods of time, when the whole of India was strictly vegetarian, and by that I mean their diet did not include egg, the cow was held sacred because she produced milk for the people. My understanding is that because today's dairy products such as cheese, cream, ice-cream, etc were never a part of the people's diet, although ghee at some point was, there did not need to be a massive supply of milk for each person. The Indian people cared for every animal almost as they would their own children. Because cows only give milk when they are lactating, just as humans and other animals do, supply was limited and that alone increased its value. Forced pregnancies, like mass-agribusinesses engage in today, were never even contemplated and mass-breeding programs would have been unsustainable. A high population and land ownership situation ensured one family never controlled enough land to breed up cattle to provide for any more than their own family, at least for some part of the year. And so the people cared deeply for their cattle which at some point must have become intertwined with religion.

    Just a couple of years ago, two independent studies in India concluded exactly how far back the vegetarian tradition went in India.
    Chahal and Elizabetonth like this.
  12. rz3300

    rz3300 Member

    When I traveled to India I just operated under the assumption that all cows were considered sacred and I did not have any issues. I was not interested in causing a stir and being a annoyance to anyone that I was with though, so maybe that played a little bit into how I operated. Just make sure that you do your research beforehand.
  13. Elizabetonth

    Elizabetonth Member

    tri-n-b-helpful's posts are brilliant. Cows are most certainly still held sacred in India, and, in fact, in some places tensions are growing. Just in October, a Muslim man was killed by a mob in a village northern India because he was accused of eating beef. That's not to put anybody off - this will obviously not be a problem for tourists. Everyone I've met in India understands that foreigners tend to eat beef, and it's never been an issue. What is more, although cows are sacred, this doesn't mean that they're never touched or anything. For instance, in Varanasi, where there are lots of cows wandering around the streets, often blocking the little streets that make up the brilliant maze-like old city area, people just hit them on the rump to get them to move. Maybe leave that to the locals, though. I found that the cows blocking the streets were part of Varanasi's charm.
  14. Chahal

    Chahal ਜੱਟ ਕੀ ਤੇ ਘੱਟ ਕੀ Staff Member

    Just like you wont expect any one killing their horse in USA or UK for meat, Cows are looked at with love in India by majority of people. Hindus do not worship cows, please do not mix respect and worship with each other. Cows urine is used for preparing some medicines as well and cow dung is used as fuel for different purposes. Killing a cow would attract very strict punishment no doubt in it but so would killing a tiger or a peacock. Cows have been a part of life in rural areas and are looked upon with respect that's all it is really.

    These days some right wing people have taken it to the extremes but that does not change much. Cows still eat plastic bags and die of different diseases as a result.. if they were really that sacred someone would do something about these problems but they clearly don't and you see cows roaming the streets.

    I am not a Hindu but I respect the feelings of Hindus and never say anything derogatory about cows even though they are stupid enough to land on some people's dinner plates that's all really.
  15. jnorth88

    jnorth88 Active Member

    It is very possible to visit cow houses, which can be found all over the place. These are areas where cows are kept, free of charge, almost like a stable. Believers will donate time and money to help care for the cows. The cows are also free to come and go. They are certainly worth a visit for a tourist, since it is so different from how we treat cows in the rest of the world. Also, many people purchase cow urine as a healing drink. I declined this opportunity, bot many people are brave enough to give it a shot.
  16. GinaMax

    GinaMax Member

    I don't eat cow, so I am not really worried about offending any Hindi's that way. I was very young the first time that I heard that Hindi people consider cows to be sacred. I know we don't worship cats and dogs, but I know how horrified I feel when I hear about places where they eat cats and dogs. I am not a vegetarian, an enjoy turkey, fish and chicken. When I first quit beef, it was because of how they are processed and inoculated. I just don't think the cattle slaughter industry is safe anymore, but now that I don't eat it I feel a little better knowing that I would not offend a whole group of people.
  17. Steve Dawson

    Steve Dawson Member

    I've never been a fan of eating red meat, its not actually all that good for you as there is too much protein within it for your body to cope with. A regular diet of it without adequate exercise can lead to heart or digestive system problems over the long term. As an interesting aside, the best meals I've ever eaten in India have all been vegatable dishes. Meat eaters tend to avoid them because they think of them as less tasty, but for any visitor whos a fan of spicy foods should definitely try a vegatable Bhuna the next time they are in India, it has the kind of taste explosion that will surprise you beyond belief.
  18. GammaRay

    GammaRay Member

    It's still a widely-held belief by practitioners of Hinduism. As a tourist or really, in general as a good human being you should respect the practices and beliefs of other people no matter how outrageous you think it is.