Why is the cow considered sacred by Hindus?
Hindus regard all living beings, including animals, birds and insects, sacred and having souls. As such, Hindus must not kill or cause physical or emotional pain to any living creature, be it a human, animal, bird or insect. This attitude, showing compassion towards God’s creation, is known as Ahinsa or Ahimsa meaning non-violence.
Hindus hold special reverence to cow as it symbolicaslly represent our biological mother. Just like our mother, the cow is vital for sustenance of human life. Aside from giving milk, it provides cream, butter, cheese and so many other nourishing food products. In traditional agricultural societies like India, the cow has valuable economic resource: it produces bullocks to plough fields and pull carts. Dried-up cow dung is used as domestic fuel and as cementto make sense to destroy such a valuable economic resource. For this reason, cow protection is actively promoted and beef-eating is condemned. It is perfectly normal to show affection for a valuable animal like cow.
This Q/A was taken from the book Hinduism: Myth and Reality written by Ajit Adhopia and published by Inderlekh Publication.