13 Sept 2011

Why Cow is Called Mother?

Irrespective of caste or religion, ancient texts describe seven mothers for human kind as follows:

ätma-mätä guroù patné, brähmaëé räja-patnikä
dhenur dhätré tathä påthvé, saptaitä mätaraù småtäù

आत्म-माता गुरु: पत्नी, ब्राह्मणि राज-पत्नीका
धेनु: धात्री तथा पृथ्वी, सप्तैता मातर: स्मृत:

One's own mother, the wife of the spiritual master (guru - गुरू), the wife of a brahmin (or a saint), the wife of a king, the cow, the nurse (care taker), and the earth are known as the seven mothers of a man.

One’s own mother and nurse is very much understandable in this context. Earth bears our weight and never rebukes even when we spit and do all non sense. The wife of spiritual master, saint and king help us in gaining spiritual and economic benefits. But why cow? What's so special about her?

A mother is one who not only nourishes but also protects her child from present and prospective future dangers. Cow is blessed with such qualities. There are myriad injunctions in vedic scriptures glorifying cows and her worth in this regard.

Buffalo and other mammals also give milk but why are they not called a mother or at least aunt (मौसी)? It has been found through modern researches at agricultural universities that if the same fodder containing DDT, BHC and other pesticides is given to the cow and buffalo, the milk of cow contain only 5% of DDT and BHC etc, while that of buffalo contains 12% of the same. Moreover, buffalo's milk makes mind dumb because the milk carries the property of its source (there are many idioms on buffalo conveying its dumbness). We notice that the calf of a cow can recognize his mother at once amongst hundreds of cows but a calf of a buffalo would mistakenly approach other buffaloes and gets kicked away.

Cow gives countless gifts in the form of milk, yoghurt, ghee, dung and urine (Panchgavya पञ्चगव्य) necessary for economic and spiritual advancement of human society. The manure from cow and bull makes soil fertile and healthy and only healthy soil can give nutritious food.

People have cited many life time incidents where their cow has tried to save their lives without caring for hers. No wonder that she is known as the mother of the world - Gavo vishwasya maatarah - गावो विश्वस्य मातरः


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