The sacred mother….or “Go Mata” is the Hindu term to describe the cow. “Go” is the Sanskrit word for “cow” and “mata” means “mother.” The cow, in Hinduism, is considered a scared mother and is highly revered by Hindus of all denominations. Just as the physical mother nourishes and sustains her children, so does the cow who selflessly gives of herself. She is believed to contain and embody the divinity of all the Hindu gods, which makes her holier than any other god Hinduism.
The Bull is also considered sacred because it is the spiritual vehicle of Lord Shiva (The god of destruction). Like the cow, the bull is respected as “father” because, back in the day, he would till and plough the land. And like a good human father who worked hard to provide for his family, the bull was considered to play a similar role in the lives of his owners.
Every aspect of the cow is considered sacred, except for her meat. It is unholy for cows to be consumed by human beings, according to Hinduism. Cow urine is used for medicinal purpose, cow dung is used as bio gas, cow’s milk (after it has been fully consumed by her own calf, and that’s how it should be) is also used for human consumption. In the era of the Vedas and the Puranas, the cows played a very sacred and central role in a family’s life. Now, it seems that while people in India still do worship and revere the cow and still perform poojas (Hindu rituals) for the cows, the awareness of how cows in India are actually treated is very, very limited.
I often notice, when I am out and about Mumbai, how there are so many cows that are aimlessly walking the streets; sitting by footpaths, homeless and abandoned. Once upon a time, these same cows were owned by someone who used it for transporting goods or for its milk; once the cow was of no use or too much of an economic burden to maintain, it was most likely made to fend for itself. It pains me to see these gentle creatures eating from garbage dumps or having to look for food among piles and piles of plastic bags that are piled all over the city.
Yesterday, I was in Khar in this kinda posh neighborhood and was saddened to see go mata reduced to such a joke:
Have you ever looked into the eyes of a cow? If so, you may understand why it must sadden me to see these such images all over the city. I notice how oblivious people are to the plight of these animals, perhaps not understanding the harm that is caused to the cows when they have to fend for themselves.
Karuna, an animal sanctuary in Puttaparthi (South India), just did a documentary on the “Plastic Cow,” highlighting how India has an “open garbage system” where all kinds of animals, dogs, cats, crows, cows, bulls, bandicoots, and so on, feed and thrive on the garbage. The Non Governmental Organization, Karuna, operated on two cows: one cow had 32 kg (71 lbs) of plastic, while the other one had 42 kg (93 lbs) in its stomach.
If you would really like to learn more about this phenomena and possibly try to help the plight of these cows, please follow this link which has useful information. It is not disturbing and answers most questions relation to “plastic ingestion”:
What would Lord Krishna, the cow herd and lover of cows say, if he saw the plight of his animals? When did “go mata” (mother cow) become the plastic cow? It is indeed sad that the sacred mother is no longer treated with the respect and reverence that she was once accustomed to. What needs to be done to allow go mata to live a life of dignity?