Cow is a part of life in Indian tradition
“The new dimensional slogan for Service to Cow: Forests, forest dwellings and forest dwellers protected together”
The importance of Cows to human life in India is not limited to lifestyle and the cow as a giver of sustenance but it goes beyond. Holy mother cow is deeply ingrained in our psyche and we have strong emotional ties as well as tangible connections. We must understand this and the way cows are foundational to protection and nurturing of forests, forest dwellings and people who dwell in forests.
There are physical and practical reasons as to why Indians revere cows. There is also a spiritual connection. We must understand these strong bonds and reasons to develop a better understanding of the multi-dimensional importance and the central role the cow plays in our life. From the perspective of folklore, mythology, legend and history as well as from the spiritual aspect, we can see that the cow is inseparable from human life and existence. The cow, horse and dog have been known to sacrifice their lives in the service of humanity and to take on obstacles that impede humans. History is full of such anecdotes.
If man reveres his mother, he also venerates the holy cow. Once his mother finishes nurturing him as a baby, it is the cow’s milk, curds and ghee that provide sustenance throughout his life. The cow can be said to be more than a mother since a mother suckles an infant for a short period but the cow provides nourishment throughout life.
What we should also understand is the cow’s wisdom in partaking only of such holistic and satvik foods that will give milk in abundance to fortify us throughout our lives. There are numerous instances and ayurveda too confirms that consuming cow’s milk, curds, butter and ghee keeps us healthy. Free roaming cows roam the forests and consume not only grass but also vital herbs. We get the essence of these ayurvedic herbs in the milk obtained from such cows, not from cows in the city that are fed dry grass. We can say that consuming milk of cows that are free-ranging and feed on grass and herbs in the forest gives us vitality and energy as well as long and healthy life.
Cows that are allowed to roam the forests and forest grasslands are not destructive. If they feed on grass, they leave enough for it to grow back. They roam and leave behind cowdung that acts as fertilizer for the plants and trees, nourishing mother earth as well. Cows that roam while they graze stay healthy and when they eat natural herbs and grass the milk they give is healthier and imparts strength as well as immunity. As you can see, cows, humans and forests have a symbiotic relationship.
People who live with nature and tend to cows understand all this and give love, affection and respect to the mother who sustains them. However, city dwellers are unaware of this critical connection and ties between nature, cow and human beings. We are far removed from nature and live in concrete jungles. Walking on the grass or sitting under a tree are not normal but are considered special activities to be undertaken on weekends. For us, milk does not come from cows but from pouches and milk powder. We are paying a heavy price for this alienation from nature in the form of degraded health and a host of lifestyle diseases. Ignorance of nature and its benefits can be deadly.
If we can once again retain a healthy way of life aligned with nature then we can see drastic improvements all around us. The secrets are contained in nature and we can gain access to these secrets only if we live a life in harmony with nature. Those who have been living in forests or at the edges and lead a symbiotic life with cows and plants and trees know this subconsciously. They pass on the training and knowledge to future generations through strict do’s and don’ts on treatment of animals and trees. We can tap into their knowledge but in order to do so, it is necessary to preserve and continue that culture of living with nature.
For those who are living in sync with nature, it is necessary that they be helped and supported to carry on with their age-old traditions. City dwellers can learn from them the connection and tiest between Cows, Humans and Trees. It is not only that we must preserve this way of life but government and people but also look to ways to establish more such natural reserves and establish colonies of people who will be happy to live this way in harmony with cows and nature.
One such example of cows, humans and forests existing in harmony is that of the Maldharis of Gir forests in Saurashtra, Gujarat. Their way of life is to take their herds of cows to the forests to graze, live in habitats close to the forest, milk the cows the natural way, prepare curds the natural way and also prepare ghee in the traditional way. The Gir cow is famous for its quality of milk even though quantity is less. Still, families sustain themselves and their herds of cows rather well. It is the same case in Madhya Pradesh where we see cowherds leading similar lives. These verities of cows are limited to their regions because of low yields whereas dairy farmers, as we can see, are going in for exotic breeds that yield higher amount of milk but the quality simply cannot compare with the milk of Gir and local cows. Their milk is organic, full of goodness of herbs and balances proteins and fats just right. Consuming their milk and milk products does not lead to problems of cholesterol and diabetes. Gir Cows are graded A2 from the health perspective.
Governments introduce laws about cows but these do little for the cows themselves who are left to fed for themselves in villages and cities since no one feeds them. Many are starving. On the other hand, if collective action is taken to increase forest land, populate such lands with forest dwellers who will maintain herds of cows in a natural way, then it is the best form of service to holy mother cow. Cows receive adequate sustenance, protection and care. They will also help provide sustenance to cowherds. Everyone benefits: cows, forests and human beings. This concept is embodied in Nature’s Treasure Brand. We live this life and walk the talk. We are actively engaged in implementing it across Gujarat and MP to start with.