“The cow is a poem of compassion. I worship the cow and I shall defend its worship against the whole world” – Mahatma Gandhi
I was asked recently, “Why cows? Why cows and not dogs?” For me it’s not an either or situation. I hold all life sacred. From Mother Earth and her life-giving bounty, to all creatures great and small. However cows, like dogs, have had a symbiotic relationship with mankind as long as both have been in contact with each other. After all, dogs are known as mans best friend and for good reason. Yet cows hold a special place alongside humanity due to their intrinsic position within an economic model best suited to the Planet Earth on which we all depend.
I currently live at a farming community called New Govardhana in northern New South Wales, Australia. The guiding principle of life here is simple living and high thinking, with cow protection as the basis of an eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle. This community’s mission statement is to show a practical example how, simply by protecting cows, bulls and their calves and working the land, peace and prosperity can be had by all. The type of lifestyle we strive to demonstrate can heal this ailing planet, on all levels, turning desert into forests and economic ruin into true wealth.
In most indigenous cultures cows and bulls are considered the wealth of a family or village. In certain African tribes, warriors lay down their lives to protect their cows. In fact, one tribe prefers to go hungry rather than slaughter their cows when food is scarce. The Vedic culture of India, which can be traced back at least 5,000 years, was based on an agrarian lifestyle and culture, which placed bovines at the centre of the social fabric. All mankind’s most basic needs could be met through the protection of cows and bulls. Vedic culture has produced highly advanced systems of mathematics, astronomy, astrology, medicine, architecture, agriculture, etc., so it would benefit us to take a look at why such a sophisticated and developed culture would regard the cow with so much respect.
Real, long lasting and sustainable wealth is realized through working the land and tending cows. Think about it for a moment. You can’t eat paper, concrete or metal. We really do depend on nature’s natural gifts more than we realise. The modern consumer culture encroaches violently upon the limits of Mother Earth. The natural conclusion of its obsession with bigger, better and faster is not hard to see everywhere around us already, and just 200 years into the industrial revolution. The rivers are choked, the forests and the eco-systems within them are disappearing rapidly and the air is hardly fit to breathe in more and more places. This is largely due to the modern agriculture industry, specifically the production of meat and milk for human consumption.
Pollution from agribusiness is responsible for some of America’s most intractable water quality problems – including the “dead zones” in the Chesapeake Bay, Gulf of Mexico and Lake Erie, and the pollution of countless streams and lakes with nutrients, bacteria, sediment and pesticides.
Farming is not an inherently polluting activity. But today’s agribusiness practices – from the concentration of thousands of animals and their waste in small feedlots to the massive planting of chemical-intensive crops such as corn – make water pollution from agribusiness both much more likely and much more dangerous. The shift to massive corporate agribusiness operations is no accident. It is largely the result of decisions made in the boardrooms of some of the world’s largest corporations. When it comes to agricultural pollution of America’s waterways, therefore, the problem begins at the top.
Noted Indian author and expert on cow protection, Dr. Sahadeva Dasa, “We’re finally going to get the bill for the Industrial Age. At the dawn of the Industrial Age two hundred years ago, humanity took a wrong turn when it started living on nature’s capital instead of nature’s income. It started gorging on resources that took millions of years to create and which were saved up according to its own plan of functioning. This senseless exploitation of resources can not go on forever. This is where the cow comes into the picture. Living with a cow is living on nature’s income instead of squandering her capital.”
Cows are gentle creatures with the ability to turn ordinary, everyday grass into the miraculous food, milk. From milk we get the basic ingredients like yoghurt, cheese, paneer, cream, whey, butter, ghee, from which thousands of delicious and healthful preparations can be made. Bulls are generally employed for breeding, while bullocks, castrated males, love to work.
In fact, the working bullocks are the most important aspect of the cow protection model. “Milk production was always considered a by-product. If Indians just take two spoons of cow urine distillate every morning, it will save many cows and the health of the nation will improve dramatically, which in turn will save billions in health care.”
∼Dr. Sahadeva Dasa, Cows and Humanity: Made for Each Other, Ch. 6.
Bullocks provide transport, carts and other wheeled vehicles, fuel (dung), medicine (urine) and power, i.e. the bullocks move in a circular path, and with the help of a central rotating lever, rope and pulley arrangement, attached buckets move up and down. Each bucket may have a carrying capacity up to 70 litres. A pair of bullocks may develop approximately 0.80 horsepower.
If left to live out their natural lives they will also provide leather, and much more. If protected and cared for, rather than exploited for every last drop of milk or slaughtered for their flesh, bovines form the basis of an eco-friendly and sustainable economy that brings about peace and prosperity, as well as nourishing the body, mind and soul of those who protect them.
“If you wish to know why there are disasters of armies and weapons in the world, listen to the piteous cries from the slaughterhouse at midnight.” – Chinese proverb
Utility of cow dung and urine for sustainable agriculture as well as for disease prevention was an integral part of the Vedic culture. The cow, according to the Vedas, provides four products for human use: (i) Godudha (cow milk): As per Ayurveda, cow milk has fat, carbohydrates, minerals and Vitamin B, and even a capacity for body resistance to radiation and for regenerating brain cells. (ii) Goghruta (ghee): The best ghee, it is, as per Ayurveda useful in many disorders. When used in certain Vedic rituals, it improves the air’s oxygen level. (iii) Gomutra (urine): Eight types of urine are used for medicinal purposes nowadays, among which cow urine is held to be the best. The Americans are busy patenting it, as it contains anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties. Cow urine has immune-modulator properties, which makes it useful for immune deficiency diseases. In the classics there are many references to cow urine as a drug of choice. Even the Parsis follow this practice. Lastly, (iv), gomaya (dung) is considered as valuable as gomutra and used to purify the environment, as it has radium and checks radiation effects. ∼Subramanian Swami.
Mother Nature has made the perfect arrangement for bovines and humans to cohabitate, right down to how the cow and bull poop differently. Cows will poop in one spot standing still, whereas bullocks will incrementally deposit their dung as they move about ploughing the fields. This aids in a more thorough coverage of the fertilising properties of their dung.
I care for old cows, and sometimes they sustain scratches and other kinds of wounds as they move about their pasturing grounds. The best thing for healing such wounds is to cover the wound with fresh cow dung. It has antiseptic properties, a nice earthy smell and it repels insects. It forms a protective ‘band-aid’ and the wound heals very quickly, the dung eventually drying out completely and dropping off, like a scab.
Cow urine has long been used as a medicine in India. Even today, this practice is still alive in the villages. “Its magical properties can cure hundreds of different ailments and diseases. The analysis of cow urine has shown that it contains nitrogen, sulphur, phosphate, sodium, manganese, carbolic acid, iron, silicon, chlorine, magnesium, melci, citric, titric, succinic, calcium salts, Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, minerals, lactose, enzymes, creatinine, hormones and gold. A person falls ill when there is deficiency or excess of these substances inside the body. Cow urine contains all of these substances, which are naturally present in the human body. Therefore consumption of cow urine maintains the balance of these substances and this helps cure incurable diseases.
Cow Urine Treatment and Research Centre, Indore has conducted a lot of research over the past few years and reached the conclusion that it is capable of curing diabetes, blood pressure, asthma, psoriasis, eczema, heart attack, blockage in arteries, fits, cancer, AIDS, piles, prostrate, arthritis, migraine, thyroid, ulcer, acidity, constipation, gynaecological problems, ear and nose problems and several other diseases.
gavyam pavitram ca rasayanam ca pathyam ca hrdyam balam buddhi syata
aayuh pradam rakt vikar hari tridosh hridrog vishapaham syata
Cow urine panchgavya is great elixir, proper diet, pleasing to heart, giver of mental and physical strength, enhances longevity. It balances bile, mucous and airs. Remover of heart diseases and effect of poison.
Cow milk contains all life giving properties. In fact, the bos indicus (Indian cow) has a vein in the hump called surya ketu nadi which is absent in bos taurus (non-Indian breeds). This nadi (vein) absorbs all the energies and radiations from the sun, the moon and the luminaries in the universe, producing gold salts in the cows’ and bulls’ blood. These salts are present in the milk and urine and can cure many diseases. These divine effects of surya ketu nadi are absent in the milk, dung and urine of western cow breeds.
“European and American civilization will be finished on account of this sinful activity of killing the cows.”
– AC Bhaktivedanta Swami
Due to their mode of goodness, peaceful nature, simply being around cows will cause a sense of calm and the lowering of blood pressure. Working around the cow shed, breathing in the air and walking barefoot in the dung (full of beneficial microbes and anti-septic properties) is a health giving experience.
There are workshops being given in Europe in ‘Cow Cuddling’ and ‘Cow-munication’ aimed at relieving stress. Cow cuddling is known of widely in Holland as a great remedy against stress. Dutch cows not only give healthy milk, they also give a Mindfulness Therapy against stress. This ‘Cow-munication Workshop’ originated at a Dutch farm “Hof Noord Empe” and is now known internationally. Cow-munication inspires human communication without violence, for healthy cooperation between family and friends.
Also, researchers have found that if you name a cow and treat her as an individual, she will produce almost 500 more pints of milk a year. However in our so-called advanced western culture, cows, and bulls especially, have become almost invisible. Apart from cartoon-type images of happy cows in emerald green pastures on your milk carton, or on the colorful signs of butcher shops, most people don’t get to see them in their natural state – up close and personal. This disconnect from reality and nature, which pervades every aspect of modern living, has certain psychological implications when it comes to choices at the supermarket. Imagine, if you will, the real-life horror images of cows, pigs and other factory farm animals on your milk carton or egg container – something akin to the rotten lungs and teeth often depicted on cigarette packaging and advertising.
“Our modern civilisation has been operating under the paradigm of consumption and control over nature. We have sought to reduce and mechanize nature for our benefit, without regard to the ecological system as a whole. We have arrived at a moment in our history where it is necessary to learn from nature, to partner with her as our ally. Otherwise, under business as usual, we are moving towards our deathbed. From afar, our actions look like that of a yeast mold or a cancer cell, ceaselessly consuming all the resources available within the vicinity. Once the resources are fully consumed, nothing but death and decay remain in store for this organism.”
This is by no means the full extent of the benefits of cow protection. Check out the links below for further reading.
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THE CASE OF THE CURLEW
REACHING OUT TO ANIMALS & ALL CONSCIOUS LIFE
AN ANIMAL SANCTUARY CALLED LOTUS
WHY THE COW
THREE REASONS WHY AN ANIMAL MAKES THE BEST MEDITATION PARTNER
FROM PITY AND SADNESS TO COMPASSION AND LOVE
HORSE SWEAT & HUMAN TEARS