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the Cow in Vedic faith and worship -- some random reflections

From: sudarshan (
Date: Wed Oct 07 1998 - 10:15:20 PDT

Dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s",
I am delighted to receive an unexpectedly large number of private mails
from members, some warmly appreciative, some icily critical of my series of
posts on "purAnA & the sibling ideal"! Thank you one & all. I will respond
to the best of my ability to all of you separately.

Many members have raised the question on the "place of the cow in Vedic
faith and worship". It is indeed a very interesting one which I thought
might be quite relevant to discuss on the "list". I would be really
interested to hear what other learned members have to say for example on:

(1) the origins of how the cow became a hallowed animal in the Vedic faith 
(2) how the cow came to be an active and much-sought-after
"character-actor" in the "dramatis-personae" of  virtually hundreds of
pieces of "purAnic" literature in the Vedic tradition
(3) the mystical/ritualistic symbolism, if any, of the cow in Vedic
religion (Sri.Sempath Rengarajan briefly alluded to this in a post-script
to his post y/day)
(4) is there a bovine equivalent of the equestrian "aswamEdha-yagnyam" in
the vast array of Vedic rituals
(4) the cow-cults in different parts of India
(5) the philosophy behind "gO-samrakshanam", behind the politics of
cow-slaughter and the constant clamour for its banning in India