Sacred Cows of India

I visited India a few years and was surprised to see cattle wandering the streets, often laying down in the middle of busy junctions. The traffic obligingly drove around them. Cows, you see, are sacred. Traditional Hindus regard them as gods. If a godess wishes to take a nap on your motorway, she can.

Interestingly, cows have not always been so sacred to Hindus. Hinduism is so old a religion, dating back to the mists of time, it is obvious that some of its present features are not original. DD Kosambi in Ancient India (1965), states "a modern orthodox Hindu would place beef-eating on the same level as cannibalism, whereas Vedic Brahmins [early Hindus] had fattened upon a steady diet of sacrificed beef". In other words, sacred cows are rather modern. They may have developed in the nineteenth century when Hindus wished to create a religio-national identify that excluded Muslims; the cow was deemed sacred and Islamic beef-eaters could be deemed un-Indian. Unfortunately, this sometimes manifests itself in attacks on dairy farmers by nationalists:

My visit to India was nearly called off when my hosts, days before I arrived, were involved in a car crash when their vehicle nearly hit a cow. Had it done so, the villagers would probably have beaten them to death; tumbling into a river seemed the safer option.  

Psalm 8:6-8 says ‘You have made him [man] to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen—even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas.’

Cows are not gods. Cows are not sacred. Dairy farmers are not gods- but they are sacred, being made in God’s image. Cursed is the day that a sacred human is killed for the sake of a cow.

The above image shows the blogger next to a sacred cow; it really needed a bath.