From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Holy cows: Some compelling facts

Brahman Baby (Photo by Lea Maimone)
It's refreshing to read an article about animals that doesn't solely focus upon their usefulness to humans.

Such is Yahoo! Shine's "20 Strange Things You Didn't Know About Cows."  Among these interesting facts are the following: 80 percent of cow's genes are shared with humans; "researchers have found that if you name a cow and treat her as an individual, she will produce almost 500 more pints of milk a year"; and "cows have favorite friends and become stressed when they are separated."

Cows have not only been considered holy within the Hindu religion - but also within Jainism, Zoroastrianism and the religions of Ancient Egypt, Greece, Israel and Rome. Wikipedia explains that Zarathustra (aka "Zoroaster") was told by Wise Lord Ahura Mazda to "protect the cow."  Jainism "forbids the killing of cattle, whether for consumption or sacrifice."

Ancient Egyptians also shunned the sacrifice of cows, believing them to be "sacred to goddess Hathor."  Io, a priestess of the Ancient Greek goddess Hera, was changed by Zeus into a heifer for her own protection
(after Zeus had seduced Io, thus incurring Hera's wrath).  To this day, Judaism forbids the wearing of leather shoes during the solemn holidays of Yom Kippur and Tisha B'Av.

The Bhagavata Purana describes the cow as humankind's mother (because so many are nourished by her milk), and the bull as humankind's father (because he "tills the ground to produce food grains").

Copyright October 25, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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