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Reverence for Cows

Since Hinduism first evolved, respect for cows has been central to the faith. Rather than being worship, which is a common misconception, Hindus respect, honor, and adore the cow because she gives more than she takes (only grass, water, and grain). The five products of the cow- milk, curd, butter, urine, and dung are all used by Hindus. This animal is so highly regarded due to its religious role. Each of the Hindu deities has a vehicle. Shiva, the destroyer of evil and transformer, has the cow for a vehicle. This is a main reason why the cow is so revered in Hindu culture. It is an animal to be esteemed, not one to be eaten. No single set of rules is in place for cow treatment but reverence for cows can be found throughout religious texts and injuring or killing a cow can result in being jailed. We may encounter cows roaming completely freely and it can be good luck to feed them or give them snacks!