An essay on Cow

Gau, is ancient Sanskrit name of Zebu or Bos Indicus species of that has evolved in Indian subcontinent all along with our ancestors. Few symbols unite heterogeneous dharmic world together as the way does. The connection with Gau and men goes to genetic level.

When dharmic Indian reveres Gau as the Mother deity he means that the Gau has sustained him as a mother. Its only Dharmic civilization that has got elaborate rules for Gau-paalan from very ancient times. Gau is ‘aghnya’ i.e. not to be harmed or killed. She should never be hurt or ill treated in any way and should be milked only after her calves are fed satisfactorily. Gau has been traditionally nurtured with such reverence and received in such fashion is considered as Nectar. It is also worth noting that European cows that give milk in huge quantities don’t need calf for producing milk. Gau cannot be milked without calf, her milk contains hormones that are associated with maternal feelings. Dharma Shastra rules that milk of Gau whose calf is dead should not be used for rituals or consumption; it should be fed to other calves. in his famed Arthashastra, if recommends death penalty for Cow slaughter, he also orders chopping of thumb of person who milks Gau without feeding calves satisfactorily.

If we take cursory look at Veda with ancillary literature, Dharma Shastra, and Etihaas, we find that Gau commands most exalted status among all. Vishnu the all pervading sustainer aspect of God resides in ocean of milk nectar of Kaamdhenu. Vaatsalya, maternal love for offsprings (literally love of Gau to her calf) and milk in all females is thought to come from this ocean. Not only Gau, Nandi the bull and oxen are also seen as representation of Dharma. In fact, there are detailed rules about raising and serving them.

In India milk that is over and above the requirement of calf is considered as best food supplement. Thus the universal outlook visible in dharmic values has its roots in this unique relationship of man and Gau. The sense of gratitude and duty towards all existence (illustrated by Gau) is the most fundamental building block of Dharmic ethics and morality. It is the secret of Aryan value civilization. People who understand and live as per this unique Gau-Human relation are Aryan and all those who oppose this are Dasyus, Anarya and Panis.

The most celebrated Purana, Srimad Bhagwatam uses metaphor of a king mercilessly beating Gau and her calf representing earth and dharma to depict advent of Kali Yuga. The anthropomorphic utilitarian view towards nature and other living creatures is roundly condemned as Asuric in Dharma Shastra. In other part of world like Europe, mid-eastern and central Asia, milk is a by-product and Cow is predominantly reared for beef. People who oppose Gau Raksha belong to narrow-exclusivist and destructive cults. These people have caused great destruction across the world and now they are sowing these very values in Bharata. In India Gau is revered for all life and moral value sustaining gifts. Gau stands for natural, sustainable and all encompassing moral order ‘Rit’. Perhaps this is the reason mother earth is depicted as Gau in ancient dharmic texts. By saving and serving Gau we actually serve sacred universe and existence. Maryada Purushottama Rama, Bhagwan Krishna and all illustrious personage of our tradition have exemplified the ideal of Gau Seva in their lives.

Charaka notes ten properties of Gau’s Milk “Svadu, sheeta, mridu, snigdha, bahula, shlakshna, pichcchil, guru, manda, and prasanna Dashaguna i.e. sweet, cold, soft, unctuous, dense, smooth, viscous, heavy, slow and pleasing.” Ancient Ayurveda text claimed existence of Gold content in her milk, urine etc. A recent research by Junagadh Agricultural University has proved it to be true. Dr. B. A. Golakia and his team found existence of more than 5100 compounds in the mutra of Gau of Gir. This gives special rejuvenative therapeutic power of her milk. Modern science is coming to appreciate the therapeutic quality of Indian cow’s milk.

It is not Ayurveda alone that extols Gau’s milk, urine, dung and her mere presence; preparations like panchgavya, panchamrita, ghee, curd etc. are mandatory in every Sanatana ritual of worship. In fact all Shastra’s unanimously assert that only pure products from Gau are acceptable to Gods. Yajna is the most fundamental concept of Vaidic religion. It is extremely wide term that denotes wide array of activities from Shruta Yaga to Mantra Japam. Further it is stated that Mantra chanting done in Gostha increases its efficacy manifolds. An ancient puranic text in its own inimitable style informs us that God has placed the Havya (food offerings) in Gau and Mantra (sacred chant part) in Brahmanas. In Mahabharata it is said that God has three mouths, Fire, Brahmanas and Gau. Such statements substantiate the importance and connection of Gau with the Yajna Samstha.

In this regard discovery of the difference in the milk of Indian Gau and European Bos Taurus breeds based on Beta Casein is very crucial and revolutionary. The milk of Indian Gau is categorized as A2 and that of European cows as A1. This depends on the genotype frequency. A1 Beta Casein contain BCM –7 which binds to the opioid receptors and causes immune suppression – leading to type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM1), cardiovascular diseases (CVD), autism, metabolic syndrome, schizophrenia. -casein is a protein with 209 amino acids chain. At its 67 position, the A1 type is a mutant variant which has the amino acid - Histidine instead of Proline in the natural A2 type. This variant was developed due to mutation in normal A2 beta casein gene about 3,000 years ago in Europe. Indian desi cows did not have this mutation. This mutation leads to an enzymic product of the A1 type in the small intestine. A1 casein, unlike A2 type, is prone to digestion by pepsin, leucine aminopeptidase and elastase. A 7 amino acid peptide, called ß casomorphin 7 (BCM-7) is released by the proteases. BCM-7 binds to the opioid receptors and causes immunosuppression – leading to type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM1), cardiovascular diseases (CVD), autism, metabolic syndrome, schizophrenia.

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