The cows in Indian culture.
In ancient India, oxen, bulls and buffalos were sacrificed to the gods and their meat was eaten. But even then the slaughter of milk-producing cows was prohibited. Verses of the Rigveda ( The ancient religious text books of Hindus) refer to the cow as Devi (goddess), identified with Aditi (mother of the Gods) herself.
The cows are treated sacred and holy animals in Hindu culture in India. These are the symbol of wealth and prosperity since ancient days. It is believed that Cows represent sacrifice. Without them, there can be no sacrifice. Cows are guileless in their behavior and from them flow sacrifices… in the form of milk, curds and butter. Hence cows are “sacred to Hindus”. The cow acts as a surrogate mother by providing milk to human beings for the whole life that is why Hindus treat cows as a mother goddess and never eat beef meat. So the cow is truly the mother of the world. Cows as the symbol of wealth and prosperity is still considered the highest of all gifts. The ancient Hindu scriptures have it that nothing is more pious than the gift of cows. “There is no gift that produces more blessed merit.” Lord Rama was given a dowry of thousands of cows and bullocks when he married Sita. It is believed in Hindu religion that in a body of a cow all deities (330 million gods) are believed to reside.
Hinduism is based on the concept of omnipresence of the Divine and the presence of a soul in all creatures, including bovines. Thus, by that definition, killing any animal / anybody would be a sin: One would be obstructing the natural cycle of birth and death of that creature, and the creature would have to be reborn in that same form because of its unnatural death. In Hindu mythology Lord Krishna, one of the incarnations of God Vishnu (the preserver of the Universe) , tended cows. The cow and bull represent the symbol of Dharma (right way of living).
People visiting India are often surprised to see Cows walking neglected around city streets, living on garbage from the gutters, or people feeding the cows by the side of the roads and often call them Wild Cows. There are no wild Cows in India—but people they keep cows for milk with them. When the cow gets older or is not of any use to them, many people leave their cows by the side of the road, this is how a tended cow becomes the wild cow that many tourist coming to India, observe on the road. Cows are homeless and are on the streets by the fault of we Humans, but Cow is very sacred to Hindus in India and Nepal where the cow is the national animal.
The cow remains a protected animal in Hinduism and Hindus do not eat beef meat. Apart of Cows many of other animals, birds, reptiles, and fishes are also protected in Hinduism as they all are associated to different Gods, Either as the servants or the vehicles to the Gods. Hindus are more vegetarians. The five products of the cow (pancagavya) — milk, curds, ghee (purified butter), urine and dung — are all used in Hindu worship during the rituals at the time of death or Birth in a Hindu family.
In India, the slaughter of cattle is allowed (not cows) with restrictions like a ‘fit-for-slaughter’ certificate which may be issued depending on factors like age and gender of cattle, continued economic viability, etc., but only for bulls and buffaloes and not cows in fourteen states; it is completely banned in six states with pending litigation in the supreme court to overturn the ban; while there is no restriction in many states. The fact that one man’s food is another man’s belief, may create communal disharmony in India and may leads to unwanted incidents among the different communities….!.