A Vedic Story: How did the Cow get a Shiny Skin? (Post No.4068)

Compiled by London Swaminathan
Date: 10 July 2017
Time uploaded in London- 10-20 am
Post No. 4068

 
Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.

 

There is a symbolic story in the Satapata Brahmana (3-1-2-16)

“That same skin which belongs to the cow was originally on man. The gods speak, ‘verily the cow supports everything here on earth; come, let us put on the cow that skin which is now on man; therewith she will be able to  endure rain and cold and heat’.

Accordingly having flayed man, they put that skin on the cow, and therewith now she endures rain and cold and heat. For man was indeed flayed; and hence wherever a stalk of grass or some other object cuts him, the blood trickles out. They then put that skin, the garment on him; and for this reason none but man wears a garment, it having been put on him as his skin. Hence also one should take care to be properly clad, so that he may be completely endued with his own skin. Hence also people like to see even an ugly person properly clad, since he is endued with his own skin. Let him then not be naked in the presence of a cow, for the cow knows that she wears his skin and runs away for fear lest he should take the sin from her. hence also cows draw fondly near to one who is properly clad”

 

 

Taittiriya Brahmana has the following passage:

“That a calf extorted a promise from certain sacrifices not to milk a cow within the first ten days after calving, and to let the calf suck for a fifth of the day after milking, and that for all time the promise has been honoured” (2-1-1-4)

Silence is observed when cows are milked.

My comments:

This story shows that the cow is the most sacred animal. It is needless to say that is the most useful animal. The cow is treated like a human being, particularly like a woman, who should be given all respect. Manu Smrti says that a woman must be respected, adorned and adored; if she is made to cry the family will be destroyed lock stock and barrel.

Probably they want us to understand that cows and human beings are same when it comes to giving respect. In Sangam Tamil literature and in the later devotional Tamil literature Brahmins and cows are treated equally.

 

This story can be interpreted in many ways. One should not misbehave in front of the cows or with the cows. One should also note that no other animal is dealt with in this way. Hindus gave respect to all animals  — Sanskrit and Tamil literature has stock phrase “from ant to elephant”—- the animals from plankton to whale should be fed and respected. Hindus do it in life every day. They do use flour to feed the ants when they draw kolams (rangoli) in front of their houses. It is a common decoration seen in front of all the houses in South India. This is part of Pancha Yajna (five sacrifices0 done by all orthodox Hindus.

Also read

How did Cow get Hoofs and Horns? A Vedic Story (Post No.4059)

Posted on  7 July 2017

–Subham–

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