This is the right time to discuss the issue of cow protection. We have to think what our learned ancestors would have done when faced with such a situation or problem? Our seers and learned philosophers had a different approach when faced with major problems i.e. they used to put both their heart and brains together to arrive at a solution. The subject of cow protection is a prime example of that thinking and it has the answer to most if not all of the problems faced by us and the world.
The larger cause of environment, sustainable agriculture, health of all living beings is associated with cow protection. It may not be an exaggeration if we say that Earth’s existence is linked firmly to whether we can ensure the protection of cow or not.
Dharma can be practiced by a person established in satva guna and devoid of raja and tamo guna. When we look at the source of satva, cow emerges as one of the major source. So dharma and cow protection are firmly linked together. Cow milk, ghee, butter are sattvika in nature and help enhance the satva guna in us when consumed regularly. When the satva guna increases in a human being he naturally becomes peaceful, truthful, and free from greed. These are the principles on which dharma is established.
Dharmarthakamamokshanam Arogyam Moolamuthamam Health is the fundamental requirement to achieve the four goals of human life viz., Dharma (righteousness), Artha (wealth), Kama (desire) and Moksha (liberation).
As all of us are aware, Cow provides us with five vital components which are as follows:
Milk: Cow milk has been described as nutritive and good for the vital organs such as the eyes, brain and the heart. It possesses sweet taste and is cooling in nature. Cow milk promotes immunity and acts as rasayana and ojovardhaka. Among the doshas, it has the capacity to alleviate aggravated Vata and Pitta dosha. We have to understand that these properties have been explained in the context of desi or indigenous breed of cow and not the hybrid ones which are the major source of milk to us today. There is a need to institute studies to compare the quality and health giving properties of the milk obtained from indigenous and hybrid cows. Cow milk is one of the most important ingredients in several Ayurvedic preparations such as Mahanarayana Taila, Ksheerabala Taila, Panchagavya Ghritha, Amrtaprasha ghrtha etc. To conduct research on indigenous cows, saving them from complete destruction and once again making the river of pure milk flow in this country should be our dharma.
Curd: Curd has been described as nutritive, tissue promoter, weight promoter and is said to be useful in the emaciated. But the negative side is that it is contraindicated in people who are overweight and suffering from diabetes. Excess consumption of curd has been indicated as one of the causative factor of diabetes in Ayurveda. Consumption of curd should be avoided in the night and also it should not be consumed regularly. In Ayurveda, curd is used in the preparation of Panchagavya and Mahapan-chagavya ghritha and these two formulations have proven extremely beneficial in the treatment of psychiatric disorders and Epilepsy. They are also excellent promoters of memory and intellect.
Buttermilk: It has been equated with amruta or nectar by our ancestors. It is especially useful for people suffering from malabsorption (Irritable bowel syndrome) and Piles. The formulation Takrarishta contains buttermilk as its main ingredient and is especially useful in the treatment of IBS and Piles. Latest research says that buttermilk is a rich source of probiotics (non pathogenic microbes which are beneficial to human beings) and this explains the secret behind our tradition of finishing a meal with a cup or two of buttermilk. People who are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome should live on a diet consisting exclusively of buttermilk and pomegranate for a period of 21 days and they will find excellent improvement in the absorptive capacity of their intestines.
Ghee: According to the principles of Ayurveda, Goghritha is Vata and Pittashamaka (alleviates or pacifies vata and pitta doshas). It is an excellent Eye vision promoter (chakshushya), Brain tonic and detoxifies (Vishghna) the toxins present in human body. Ghritha is said to enhance dhee (the capacity of the intellect to preserve knowledge, its faculty of rational thinking and its ability to take decision), dhrti (ability to adhere to the righteous path) and smriti (memory). Ayurveda advocates the daily consumption of ghee and it is listed under the nitya rasayana dravyas. More than 150 ghee based preparations are regularly used in Ayurveda treatment.
Cow ghee prepared using the traditional process of churning curd, removing the butter and heating the butter possesses all the qualities traditionally ascribed to it.
Goumutra and Goumaya: Ayurveda advocates the use of Goumutra in Vata and Kapha dosha aggravated conditions such as prameha (Diabetes), Medo roga (Obesity), Twak roga (Skin diseases) and Udara (Ascites).It has proven very useful in the treatment of Vitiligo (white spots on the skin), Ascites (collection of fluid in the peritoneal cavity), Obesity (because of its lekhana guna) and recently some successful case documentations have been done in the treatment of oral cancer conditions. Further studies are going on regarding the applications of Goumutra in the treatment of life threatening conditions such as Kidney failure and Cancer.
Goumutra is widely used for the detoxification of toxic herbs (e.g.Vatsanabha) and purification of minerals (e.g.Mandoora shodhana) in Ayurveda.
Goumaya (Cow dung) is Vata Kapha shamaka and is majorly used in agriculture and also as fuel (source of gobar gas). In Ayurveda, its use is advocated in the form of fuel to purify metals to be used as medicines. Apart from these applications, some research findings indicate that it has radio protective effect.
Cow protection and its different dimensions
The issue of cow protection addresses the issues of declining soil fertility, increasing usage of pesticides for crop protection, declining ground water levels, decreasing porosity of soil, decreasing nutrition status of rural community, increasing diseased state of humans, increasing violent behaviour among children, increasing consumption of imported oil, inflating oil bill and increasing use of artificial fertilizer and the resultant burden on the country.
All this is happening because we as a country have completely forgotten our roots and have blindly adopted western models of agriculture and healthcare. Small is no more beautiful for us. We are focused on big ideas and when they fail to succeed the resultant burden is huge and unbearable. The farmer who is compared to the spine of the country is burdened with increasing input costs, increasing cost of healthcare and reduced fertility of his soil. If this state of affairs is to be corrected, there is an urgent need to look at holistic solutions instead of short term remedies.
Cow protection: What can be our contribution?
In the Ramayana, even a small squirrel contributed its might to build the bridge to Lanka by rolling on the sand with its wet fur and running back into the waves of the sea. Likewise even a small effort on our part will go a long way in ensuring that the cow is protected.
The topic of cow is an ocean and any number of words are not enough to describe completely its contribution to mankind. Kamadhenu is a gift of God to mankind and He expects us to take good care of it. If the mission of cow protection has to bear fruit, each and every one of us and our organisations have to work together with a single minded unison of purpose. The movement/mission will be successful the day every Indian’s heart beats for the cause of cow protection and their heart bleeds when cows are slaughtered. When a new dawn happened on August 15, 1947 we started with two companions, Satya and Ahimsa (the two crutches of Dharma) but during the last 62 years of our journey, we have sadly lost them along the way! Hope we will rethink and retrace our steps to find our lost companions and bring back the days of original glory to our country?
(The writer runs Agasthya Ayurveda Clinic in Hyderabad and has done many experiments on panchgavya. He can be contacted at [email protected])