At this point of time, the whole world is putting its brains together to address the issues of environmental change and global warming. This is the right time to discuss the issue of cow protection. We have to think what our learned ancestors would have done when faced with such a situation or problem? Our Seers and learned philosophers had a different approach when faced with major problems i.e. they used to put both their Heart and Brains together to arrive at a solution. The subject of Cow protection is a prime example of that thinking and it has the answer to most if not all of the problems faced by us and the World.
So in the few words of introduction to the topic itself we can understand the seriousness of purpose behind the issue of Cow protection and religion should not be the prime reason or justification for Cow protection. The larger cause of environment, sustainable agriculture, health of all living beings is associated with Cow protection. It may not be an exaggeration if we say that Earth’s existence is linked firmly to whether we can ensure the protection of Cow or not. Let us take a look at how Cow protection can be the solution for the problems and we have to admit that most of them are our own creation:
Definition of Dharma is given as follows in the scriptures:
“Dharathi Vishwam iti Dharmaha”
That which protects the Universe is Dharma.
Earth is referred to as Dharthi Ma in Hindi and it is because Earth supports or bears us. But there should be something which sustains the life on Earth and my firm belief is that something is nothing but Dharma. Dharma in turn depends on the ardent practice of Satya and Ahimsa, the two core principles, which when violated leads to Adharma and in the end disaster of unimaginable proportions. It is time for all of us to wake up since the early signs of the approaching danger have started becoming visible.
Satva Guna and Dharma:
Dharma can be practiced by a person established in Satva Guna and devoid of Raja and Tamo guna. When we look at the source of Satva, Cow emerges as one of the major source. So Dharma and Cow protection are firmly linked together. Cow milk, Ghee, Butter are sattvika in nature and help enhance the Satva guna in us when consumed regularly. When the Satva guna increases in a human being he naturally becomes peaceful, truthful, and free from greed. These are the principles on which Dharma is established.
Importance of health and contribution of Cow to Human health:
Dharmarthakamamokshanam Arogyam Moolamuthamam
Health is the fundamental requirement to achieve the four goals of human life viz., Dharma (righteousness), Artha (wealth), Kama (desire) and Moksha(liberation).
In few words I would try to put some light on the issue of contribution of cow to human health. As all of us are aware, Cow provides us with five vital components which are as follows:
Cow Milk: Cow milk has been described as nutritive and good for the vital organs such as the Eyes, Brain and the Heart. It possesses sweet taste and is cooling in nature. Cow Milk promotes immunity and acts as rasayana and ojovardhaka. Among the doshas, it has the capacity to alleviate aggravated Vata and Pitta dosha. We have to understand that these properties have been explained in the context of Desi or indigenous breed of Cow and not the hybrid ones which are the major source of milk to us today. There is a need to institute studies to compare the quality and health giving properties of the milk obtained from indigenous and hybrid cows. Cow milk is one of the most important ingredients in several Ayurvedic preparations such as Mahanarayana Taila, Ksheerabala Taila, Panchagavya Ghritha, Amrtaprasha ghrtha etc. To conduct research on indigenous cows, saving them from complete destruction and once again making the river of pure milk flow in this country will be our dharma.
Curd: Curd has been described as nutritive, tissue promoter, weight promoter and is said to be useful in the emaciated. But the negative side is that it is contraindicated in people who are overweight and suffering from diabetes. Excess consumption of curd has been indicated as one of the causative factor of diabetes in Ayurveda. Consumption of Curd should be avoided in the night and also it should not be consumed regularly. In Ayurveda, Curd is used in the preparation of Panchagavya and Mahapanchagavya ghritha and these two formulations have proven extremely beneficial in the treatment of psychiatric disorders and Epilepsy. They are also excellent promoters of memory and intellect.
Buttermilk: It has been equated with amrutha or nectar by our ancestors. It is especially useful for people suffering from malabsorption (Irritable bowel syndrome) and Piles. The formulation Takrarishta contains buttermilk as its main ingredient and is especially useful in the treatment of IBS and Piles. Latest research says that buttermilk is a rich source of probiotics (non pathogenic microbes which are beneficial to human beings) and this explains the secret behind our tradition of finishing a meal with a cup or two of buttermilk. The food we consume will consist of substances which disturb the essential bacterial flora present in the gut and this tradition of consuming buttermilk restores the balance. People who are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome should live on a diet consisting exclusively of buttermilk and pomegranate for a period of 21 days and they will find excellent improvement in the absorptive capacity of their intestines.
Ghee: According to the principles of Ayurveda, Goghritha is Vata and Pittashamaka (alleviates or pacifies vata and pitta doshas). It is an excellent Eye vision promoter (chakshushya), Brain tonic and detoxifies (Vishghna) the toxins present in human body. Ghritha is said to enhance dhee (the capacity of the intellect to preserve knowledge, its faculty of rational thinking and its ability to take decision), dhrthi (ability to adhere to the righteous path) and smrithi (memory). Ayurveda advocates the daily consumption of Ghee and it is listed under the nithya rasayana dravyas. More than 150 Ghee based preparations are regularly used in Ayurveda treatment and some of the most commonly used are as follows:
1. Mahathikthaka ghritha in the treatment of skin diseases
2. Panchagavya and Mahapanchagavya ghrtha in the treatment of psychiatric problems and Epilepsy
3. Brahmi and Maha Kalyanaka ghritha in the treatment of developmental disorders of the brain such as Autism
There is a definite difference between the Ghee prepared out of indigenous cow’s milk and that of hybrid cows. Further investigations will be able to throw more light on the subject. But we cannot wait for science to confirm everything to take the advantage of traditional advice and practices. So use traditionally prepared Ghee in small quantities every day in your diet, exercise and avoid other fat sources such as deep fried food etc and you will remain healthy.
Cow Ghee prepared using the traditional process of churning curd, removing the butter and heating the butter possesses all the qualities traditionally ascribed to it. So stick to this process and enjoy the nectar like quality of Ghee. While buying Cow Ghee from the market sources, beware of adulteration and cheats who are even going to the extent of mixing animal fats with vanaspati etc and passing this substance off as Ghee! Do not blame Ghee, Cow and Ayurveda for any such problems because during the time when Ayurveda was advised such a thing as buying Ghee from the market was unimaginable leave alone the thought of adulterating it.
Gomutra and Gomaya:
Ayurveda advocates the use of Gomutra in Vata and Kapha dosha aggravated conditions such as prameha (Diabetes), Medo roga (Obesity), Twak roga (Skin diseases) and Udara (Ascites).It has proven very useful in the treatment of Vitiligo (white spots on the skin), Ascites (collection of fluid in the peritoneal cavity), Obesity (because of its lekhana guna) and recently some successful case documentations have been done in the treatment of oral cancer conditions. Further studies are going on regarding the applications of Gomutra in the treatment of life threatening conditions such as Kidney failure and Cancer.
Gomutra is widely used for the detoxification of toxic herbs (e.g.Vatsanabha) and purification of minerals (e.g.Mandoora shodhana) in Ayurveda. One widely researched example is that of Aconitum (Vastanabhi).Crude aconite is an extremely lethal substance. In case of accidental consumption, death ensues from myocardial depression or respiratory paralysis. Animal studies done on crude and processed Aconite showed that Aconite processed successively with Gomutra and Godugdha(Completely processed aconite) was rendered completely and absolutely non-toxic even at a dose as high as 20.8 mg/mouse. This study successfully demonstrated the Vishghna property of Panchagavya components and completely justifies instituting further deeper research into their applications.
Gomaya(Cow dung) is Vata Kapha shamaka and is majorly used in Agriculture and also as fuel(source of gobar gas). In Ayurveda, its use is advocated in the form of fuel to purify metals to be used as medicines. Apart from these applications, some research findings indicate that it has radio protective effect.
Lessen the use of harmful pesticides-adopt Cow urine based crop protection methods:
Pests attacking crops have become resistant to simple pesticides leading to the usage of stronger pesticides. This in turn has led to the presence of poisonous pesticide residues which has entered the food chain leading to severe debilitating illnesses such as cancer etc. Gomutra based keetaniyantraks (Pest controllers not killers) have proved to be very effective in pilot studies conducted by different organizations working in the field of organic farming. Further intensive research and large scale field trials will be able to demonstrate their effectiveness and lead to the large scale usage of cow urine in pest control. This single change will drastically reduce the damage being done to the environment and human beings. The farmer and his family who handle the harmful pesticides are directly exposed to their harmful effects and a shift to natural crop protection methods will save them from several dreadful diseases. This will be a good way of protecting the hands that feed us. To take care of people who serve us is dharma and to knowingly harm them is adharma.
The Cows are fed the grass (fodder) obtained after harvest and since they still contain harmful chemicals (in the form of residues) used during their cultivation, we are literally poisoning them. To harm a dumb animal which gives to us nectar like substances is adharma. I always quote the example of the cow to explain the meaning of Sanyasa. Abandonment of the fruits of one’s action is Sanyasa and what better example can be there for the act of renunciation than the Cow. To harm such a being is great adharma.
Cow protection and its different dimensions:
The issue of Cow protection addresses the issues of declining soil fertility, increasing usage of pesticides for crop protection, declining ground water levels, decreasing porosity of soil, decreasing nutrition status of rural community, increasing diseased state of humans, increasing violent behavior among children, increasing consumption of imported oil, inflating oil bill and increasing use of artificial fertilizer and the resultant burden on the country.
All this is happening because we as a country have completely forgotten our roots and have blindly adopted western models of Agriculture and Healthcare. Small is no more beautiful for us. We are focused on big ideas and when they fail to succeed the resultant burden is huge and unbearable. The farmer who is compared to the spine of the country is burdened with increasing input costs, increasing cost of healthcare and reduced fertility of his soil. If this state of affairs is to be corrected, there is an urgent need to look at holistic solutions instead of short term remedies.
Cow protection-what can be our contribution?
In the Ramayana, even a small squirrel contributed its might to build the bridge to Lanka by rolling on the sand with its wet fur and running back into the waves of the sea. Likewise even a small effort on our part will go a long way in ensuring that the Cow is protected. Some ideas:ü Fasting once a week and contributing the savings to the cause of cow protection. This achieves the dual purpose of Cow protection as well as self protection ü Spread the word of Cow protection through pamphlets, blogs, web ,writings in the media etcü Motivate your own family to do their bit for cow protection. On a festival day or a birthday in your family, you can celebrate by feeding the Cows in a goshala or in an agricultural farm near to your home.ü Once you are convinced about the cause, you will find your own ways of contributing to the cause of cow protection. I have just cited a few for the purpose of this article.
Conclusion: The topic of Cow is an ocean and any numbers of words are not enough to describe completely its contribution to mankind. Kamadhenu is a gift of God to mankind and He expects us to take good care of it. If the mission of Cow protection has to bear fruit, each and every one of us and our organizations have to work together with a single minded unison of purpose. The movement/mission will be successful the day every Indian’s heart beats for the cause of Cow protection and their heart bleeds when Cows are slaughtered. When a new dawn happened on Aug 15th, 1947 we started with two companions, Satya and Ahimsa (the two crutches of Dharma) but during the last 62 years of our journey, we have sadly lost them along the way! Hope we will rethink and retrace our steps to find our lost companions and bring back the days of original glory to our country?
Gopijana-vallabha-caranau saranam prapadye