Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Concerning Sacred Cows

The stereotype is true.  Indian streets are in fact teeming with bovine masses. India apparently has 30% of the world's cows, and it is illegal to kill and religiously forbidden to eat them.. the result of which is that they are everywhere, being allowed to wander free, apparently anydamnwhere they please, such as the middle of busy urban streets:

Holy Cowz wandering free..

I've been told they are considered sacred due to the fact they give milk, and that "ghee" or clarified liquid butter is essential to many Hindu temple ceremonies.. the cow is an archetype of the earth and fertility, the bull of virility and fertility, the masculine and feminine. The cow is a surrogate mother, providing milk to children.  The Hindu epic the Muhabharata says "cows represent sacrifice.. they are guileless in their behavior and from them flow sacrifices.. milk and curds and butter.. hence cows are sacred."  Their dung is also used for fertilizer and fuel, and their milk is a staple in the vegetarian diet here.

To quote the Vedas: "The cows have come and brought us good fortune. In our stalls contented may they stay! May they bring forth calfs for us, many colored, giving milk for Indra each day. You make o cows the thin man sleek, to they unlovely you bring beauty. Rejoice our homestead with pleasant lowing. In our assemblies we laud you with vigor."

There are, if you are wondering, McDonald's in India. They do not, however, serve beef. My mind belts in amazement.. As in Israel where they do not put cheese on the beef, and so have no cheeseburgers, India is the one place in the world where they do not have hamburgers. Such delicate sensitivity on the part of Leviathan! They will do whatever it takes, even if it means dispensing with their signature product, to succeed.

Anywhichway, just know that cows do in fact have their way here, and it is in fact rather quite charming.. Even if you often have to step around them and their shit everywhere you go, and when out in the countryside driving at night you have to keep your eyes peeled, else you plow into one. Not so bad as hitting a moose whose legs are much longer, putting their carcass atop your roof, rather than merely your hood and windshield, but still..

Parting thought: maybe Chick fil-A can figure out an Indian angle for their ads someday?  Hmm..



  1. Truly amazing!
    BTW, what are those little yellow vehicles (?) in the picture? Are they the same 3-wheeled taxis they have in Guatemala?