COW IN VEDAS


Dr Vivek Arya

Question 1 – what do you mean by word AGHANYA? Why is holy cow considered as AGHANYA?
The word Aghanya is referred to the cow in many mantras of Vedas. The meaning of this word means, “not to be killed under any circumstances”.
All the world languages bear three types of words – Rudhi or orthodox words, Yogic or literal words and Yogrudha words.
Rudhi are those words, which has no meaning they are only assigned to name anything. These words do not say about qualities of the object to which they denote.
Second word category is Yogic. They are based on qualities and the word itself denotes function or attributes. For e.g. take the word protector, it means those who protects- a protector can be a man, a dog, a horse anyone like them. This is yogic word as the word denotes its function.
With the passage of time the yogic word is fixed means they becomes partially rudhi and partially yogic then they are called yogrudha. For e.g. word jalaj means anything originating in water like fish, aquatic animals, plants etc. this is yogic word. With the passage of time this word is now used for lotus this is yogrudha word and if some one names his son by name jalaj then it becomes rudhi.
Similar pattern is seen with word aghanya also which literally means not to be killed under any circumstances. It can be a cow, horse, our parents etc. as it becomes yogrudha is now used for cow, as she is considered as most sacred or holy.
Someone will now ask a very simple question that why do you consider cow as sacred or holy. Answer is also very interesting. Although none of the animals should be killed as all have right to live in this world. We borrow milk from her as we borrow from our own mother. So, we should have love and affection towards her as we have towards our own mother.
The cow status is even above ordinary mother. If we watch birth of calf from a cow we will realize why cow status is above from an ordinary mother just after the birth cow forgets all her pain and bleedings and first starts cleaning her new born calf dirt, secretions, blood etc with her own tongue so that he must stand as early as possible. And then feeling that calf is hungry she starts her feeding as early as possible. There is only own thought in her mind that to save the calf in any way. Even if we see her later in life that she becomes restless to feed her calf at the time of feeding and does not sits quietly until her calf is hungry.
Every one clears dirt by hands or limbs but none uses his tongue as cow to clear the dirt. If we see ordinary mother they are laying in semiconscious state after birth and her relatives takes care of baby. She is not so eager to feed her baby or clean her baby. In this whole world we will never find such example of love and affection.
This noble relationship is also said by almighty god as supreme example in the mantra of Atharva Veda 3/30/1 as “I remove all your jealousness and prejudices, unite your hearts. May you love each other as a cow loves her new born calf”
We should understand the great message of Vedas that god says all human beings to remove all dirt i.e. sufferings, hunger, pain etc. of each other and feed each other with happiness, prosperity, wealth etc. and this noble work should be done following the best example of mother cow and her calf.
Mother cow gives us message of bondage and affection. She gives us solution to end all sufferings of the world andthat why she is known as aghanya or never to be killed under any circumstances.

Question 2.What are the evidences of word Aghanya for cow in Vedas?
Word Aghanya has been used in many mantras of Vedas.
1. (Atharv 7/73/11 or Atharv 9/10/20)
In this mantra cow addressed as Aghanya have been enjoined to keep themselves healthy by use of pure water and green gars so that we, who drink their milk, may be endowed with dharma, knowledge ad wealth.
Fortunate mayst thou be with goodly pasture, and may we also
be exceeding wealthy.
Feed on the grass, O Cow, through all the seasons, and coming
hitherward drink limpid water.
Source-Hymns of the Atharva Veda, by Ralph T.H. Griffith
2. (Atharv 9/10/5)
Cow or Aghanya is responsible for health and prosperity.
She, Lady of all treasures, hath come hither, yearning in spirit
for her calf, and lowing.
May this Cow yield her milk for both the Asvins, and may she
prosper to our high advantage.
Source- Hymns of the Atharv Veda, by Ralph T.H. Griffith
3. (Atharv 30/3/1)
Almighty gods removes all your jealousies and prejudices and unite your hearts. He says us to love each other as cow loves her new born calf.
Freedom from hate I bring to you, concord and unanimity.
Love one another as the cow loveth the calf that she hath borne.
Source- Hymns of the Atharv Veda, by Ralph T.H. Griffith
4. (Rig 4/1/6)
In this mantra cow milk is compared with the splendor of god
Excellent is the glance, of brightest splendor, which the auspicious God bestows on mortals-
The God’s glance, longed-for even as the butter, pure, heated, of the cow, the milch-cow’s bounty.
Source-Rig Veda, tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith
5. (Rig 7/68/9) it is stated to get up before dawn, entertain noble thoughts and drink milk of cow to strengthen you.
With his fair hymns this singer, too, extols you, waking with glad thoughts at the break of morning.
May the cow nourish him with milk to feed him? Preserve us evermore, ye Gods, with blessings
Source-Rig Veda, tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith
6. (Rig 9/1/9) it is stated that cow milk is of special benefit for children.
Inviolable milch-kine round about him blend for Indra’s drink,
The fresh young Soma with their milk
Source-Rig Veda, tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith
7. (Rig 9/93//3) it is stated that cow milk is for learned persons endowed with great intellects.
Yea, swollen is the udder of the milch-cow: thither in streams goes very sapient Indu.
The kine make ready, as with new-washed treasures, the Head and Chief with milk within the vessels
Source-Rig Veda, tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith
[ Mahabharata- Shantiparva 262.47
Cow is called ‘Aghanya’ and thus non-killable]

Question no 3. What are the evidences of Vedas which condemns killing of animals?
For years there has been a continuing debate amongst the western scholars whether the ancient followers of Vedas were vegetarian or not. A close look at the Vedic philosophy provides that the answer is an emphatic “No”.

Vedic thought is totally against non-vegetarianism

1.(Yajur40/7) says-
“He, who visualizes all beings as souls (and not as woman, men, children, cows, deer, peacocks, tiger’s serpents etc) in his mind, does not feel infatuation or anguish at their sight, for he experiences oneness (sameness or similarity) with them”. Or
When, in the man who clearly knows, Self hath become all
things that are, what wilderment, what grief is there in him who sees the
One alone?
Source -The Texts of the White Yajurveda, tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith
2.(Yajur 26/18) it says that all living beings are friends.
“May all living beings look upon me as their friends and may I too treat them as my own friends? Oh God, do arrange things in such a way that all (living beings) behave with one another like true friends.
3. (Yajur 16/3) says-enjoins strict non-violence of mankind and animals
The shaft which, Mountain-haunter, thou art holding in
thy hand to shoot,
Make that auspicious, Mountain-Lord! Injure neither man nor
moving thing (bipeds and quadrupeds)
Source -The Texts of the White Yajurveda, tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith
4. (Yajur 13/42, 13/ 49) gives message of no harm to anyone
The rivers’ tawny child, based on the mountain, harm not.
Infinite, (cow) yielding butter for the people, harm not.
Source -The Texts of the White Yajurveda, tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith
Similar message which bans killing of animals is also given in (Yajur 16/41, 43, 47, 48)
5.(Rig Veda 6/28/4) states that Nobody should take them to butcher house to kill them
The charger with his dusty brow o’ertakes them not, and never to the shambles do they take their way.
These Cows, the cattle of the pious worshipper, roam over widespread pasture where no danger is.
Source-Rig Veda, tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith
6. (Rig Veda 6/28/3) states Enemy may not use any “astra” i.e. weapon on cows
These are ne’er lost, no robber ever injures them: no evil-minded foe attempts to harass them.
The master of the Kine lives many a year with these, the Cows whereby he pours his gifts and serves the Gods.
Source-Rig Veda, tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith

Question 4. What are the punishments prescribed in Vedas to the killer of cow?
  1. (Atharv Veda 1/16/4) Vedas prescribe killing with bullet of lead for a cow killer.
If thou destroy a cow of ours, a human being, or a steed,
we pierce thee with this piece of lead so that thou mayst not slay
our men.
Source- Hymns of the Atharv Veda, by Ralph T.H. Griffith
2. (Rig Veda 7.56.17) Punish the killer of the cow and the man.
So may the Maruts help us and be gracious, bringing free room to lovely Earth and Heaven.
Far be your bolt that slayeth men and cattle. Ye Vasus, turn yourselves to us with blessings.
Source-Rig Veda, tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith
3. (Rig-Veda 1/114/10) Vedas says to keep away from the killer of the cow
Far be thy dart that killeth men or cattle: thy bliss be with us, O thou Lord of Heroes.
Be gracious unto us, O God, and bless us, and then vouchsafe us doubly-strong protection.
Source-Rig Veda, tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith
4.(Rig Veda 10/87/16) Those who kill the ‘Aghanya’, the cow which is not to be killed according to the Vedic edicts, their heads should be chopped off.
The fiend who smears himself with flesh of cattle, with flesh of horses and of human bodies,
Who steals the milch-cow’s milk away, O Agni,—tear off the heads of such with fiery fury.
Source-Rig Veda, tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith
5. (Yajurveda 30/18) Vedas Awards death sentence to the killer of the cow.
For the Dice-king a gambler; for the die Krita one who
contemplates his adversary’s ill luck, for the Tretâ a
gamble-manager; for the Dvâpara a chief manager; for Askanda
one who will not leave the gambling-hall; for Mrityu one
who approaches cows; for Antaka a Cow-killer; for
Hunger one who goes begging to a man who is cutting
up a cow; for Misdeed a leader of the Charakas; for
Misery a robber;
Source -The Texts of the White Yajurveda, tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith
Advertisements

About Fan of Agniveer

I am a fan of Agniveer

Posted on August 4, 2011, in Vedas. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: