Why the cow was chosen to be holy - a hypothesis
#13
(29-Apr-2010, 08:48 PM)Lije Wrote: But I propose that there was another significant reason the cow was chosen. It's a docile animal and no matter what inane rituals you perform on it, it just stands there and accepts the abuse. I don't think other animals can withstand the abuse (maybe buffaloes can, but they are black in color which may have been deemed inauspicious).

Like most domestic animals, the desire to attack/flee was bred out of the aurochs. The science is not clear on when the domestication of these beasts and their artificial selection into cows took place. But yes, most breeds of modern cattle seem perfectly suited to take all sorts of abuse.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#14
(30-Apr-2010, 03:49 PM)shrihara Wrote: Please read the following article to find out reasons for considering cow as sacred animal:
http://www.archaeologyonline.net/artifac...d-cow.html

Wow.. this sure is a shill site. This article ends with
it may well be time to export the spiritual heritage of India to the West, where technology continues to threaten the tangible progress of humanity in its search for the deeper meaning of life

I looked at a few of the other articles.. and they are all peddling "india's ancient wisdom". for e.g vastushastra
http://www.archaeologyonline.net/artifac...astra.html

It ends with
Architecture is a human act. It requires carving out a segment of that omnipotent, universal space of the brahmanda, the cosmic space, for the use of the human beings. It is not often that architecture truly rises to the challenges of capturing the divine character of the brahmanda in its folds. When it does happen the architectural experience exalts generations of people to come. Is this not true of Mahabalipuram, Khajuraho, Kailashnath? Or the city of Jaipur, its havelis as well those of Samod and Shekhavati region? Let us remember that these are all based on the Vasthusastras.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has - Margaret Mead
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#15
I read through that article. Besides the fact that it presents a completely distorted version of the rationalist point of view, it also contains a whole lot of selective reading of Hinduism, omitting the dangerous and truly primitive superstitions and adding a revisionist spin on the rest.

For example, right at the beginning she says:
Quote:"The common, popular view of India in the West is that of an underdeveloped nation steeped in superstition. Overpopulated, overcrowded, undereducated, and bereft of most modern amenities, India is seen to be a backward nation in many respects by "progressive" Western civilization. "If only India would abandon her religious superstitions and kill and eat the cow!" Over several decades many attempts have been made by the "compassionate" West to alleviate unfortunate India's burden of poor logic, and to replace her superstitions with rational thinking."

The first two sentences are absolutely correct. But after stating the truth, the author says that the rationalist position is that Indians should all eat the cows. Confused Since when does being a rationalist mean that you are in favor of eating meat? This is nothing but making rationalists look like fools by inventing ridiculous generalities about them. There are plenty of rationalists who are vegans and vegetarians. There are plenty of reasons for not eating meant. More importantly, rationalists do not say that you need rational reasons for not eating meat. For example, it is perfectly fine to have an emotional reason. Rationalists only say that we should avoid irrational reasons in order to justify any action. Meanwhile, the reasoning in the above passage also makes it seem as though all those problems that India faces are not important.

At the bottom of such articles from Western writers is a sort of condescension about the mental capabilities of Indians. This borders on racism. The attitude says: The fruits of knowledge and reason are accessible for the rational West, but Indians are incapable of letting go of their superstitions. Therefore, only their superstitions can save them.

During our evolution superstitions were judged upon by trial and error, which is why some of them may actually have a tiny statistical significant benefit (although most were and are still dangerous, and any benefits are overshadowed by the dangers of superstitions in general). There was a sort of natural selection of superstitions. We were too ignorant about the world, so we hde to have superstitious rules to help us survive. The superstitions that we have today, as silly and dangerous they may be, are just a fraction of the terrible superstitions that have already died. In the modern world, our culture and technology is evolving way too fast for superstitions to evolve with them and catch up in providing a benefit to the host population. The only way we can progress truly and create a better future is by using reason, not by holding onto primitive superstitions.

There is another side to this. There are those in the West who endorse a sort of cultural imperialism. But these are not rationalists but western religious and cultural conservatives. Winter switches the villain with the good guy in the story.

By endorsing the superstitions that Indian society is afflicted by, Robin Winter demonstrates that she is just another in the ranks of bigoted Western Intellectuals.
[Image: burnvictim_bnw-child-bathes-in-cow-urine.jpg]
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#16
Guys,

Please don't be so quick to dismiss traditional farming techniques.

Remember the Green Revolution of the 1960s, when the Rockefeller Foundation helped farmers in the Punjab improve wheat yields? Apparently, there's a hidden danger with "modern" agricultural techniques. From NPR:

Quote:the advisers told farmers to stop growing old-fashioned grains, beans and vegetables and switch to new, high-yield varieties of wheat, rice and cotton. Farmers began using chemical fertilizers instead of cow dung. They plowed with tractors instead of bulls.

The "Green Revolution" of the 1960s and 1970s meant that if farmers embraced chemicals and high-yield seeds, their fields would turn lush green with crops.

Quote:When farmers switched from growing a variety of traditional crops to high-yield wheat and rice, they also had to make other changes. There wasn't enough rainwater to grow thirsty "miracle" seeds, so farmers had to start irrigating with groundwater. They hired drilling companies to dig wells, and they started pumping groundwater onto the fields.

But Sandeep says he has been forced to hire the drilling company again, because the groundwater under his fields has been sinking as much as 3 feet every year.

Quote:Nobody was surprised when environmental activists started warning years ago that the Green Revolution was heading toward disaster. But they were astonished as government officials started to agree.
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#17
The decline in groundwater levels has been confirmed by NASA satellites:

Quote:Where is northern India’s underground water supply going? According to Rodell and colleagues, it is being pumped and consumed by human activities -- principally to irrigate cropland -- faster than the aquifers can be replenished by natural processes. They based their conclusions -- published in the August 20 issue of Nature -- on observations from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE).
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#18
(23-Aug-2010, 07:24 AM)TTCUSM Wrote: Guys,

Please don't be so quick to dismiss traditional farming techniques.

Remember the Green Revolution of the 1960s, when the Rockefeller Foundation helped farmers in the Punjab improve wheat yields? Apparently, there's a hidden danger with "modern" agricultural techniques. From NPR:

Quote:the advisers told farmers to stop growing old-fashioned grains, beans and vegetables and switch to new, high-yield varieties of wheat, rice and cotton. Farmers began using chemical fertilizers instead of cow dung. They plowed with tractors instead of bulls.

The "Green Revolution" of the 1960s and 1970s meant that if farmers embraced chemicals and high-yield seeds, their fields would turn lush green with crops.

Quote:When farmers switched from growing a variety of traditional crops to high-yield wheat and rice, they also had to make other changes. There wasn't enough rainwater to grow thirsty "miracle" seeds, so farmers had to start irrigating with groundwater. They hired drilling companies to dig wells, and they started pumping groundwater onto the fields.

But Sandeep says he has been forced to hire the drilling company again, because the groundwater under his fields has been sinking as much as 3 feet every year.

Quote:Nobody was surprised when environmental activists started warning years ago that the Green Revolution was heading toward disaster. But they were astonished as government officials started to agree.

What does this post have to be do with cow being considered holy? Are you suggesting that dung is a good fertilizer and therefore the cow is holy?
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#19
(23-Aug-2010, 09:04 AM)Sajit Wrote: What does this post have to be do with cow being considered holy?
Nothing.

(23-Aug-2010, 09:04 AM)Sajit Wrote: Are you suggesting that dung is a good fertilizer and therefore the cow is holy?
No, I am not.
BTW, I have read a few articles from archaeologyonline.net, and I agree with the opinions of the other posters.
That site looks like a shill site, and their explanation is poorly written.

Personally, I prefer Subhash Kak's explanation as to why the cow is holy:

Quote:What does the word GAVA mean? We can go to Nirukta, the earliest book of etymology from India, and look up its meaning. The two primary meanings of the word ``gauh,'' from which GAVA is derived, are given in the following order:

1. The planet earth

2. The animal, cow.



Now guess which of the two meanings was used by the famed Dutch translator of this book.

The cow!
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#20
(31-Aug-2010, 05:42 AM)TTCUSM Wrote: Personally, I prefer Subhash Kak's explanation as to why the cow is holy:

Quote:What does the word GAVA mean? We can go to Nirukta, the earliest book of etymology from India, and look up its meaning. The two primary meanings of the word ``gauh,'' from which GAVA is derived, are given in the following order:

1. The planet earth

2. The animal, cow.



Now guess which of the two meanings was used by the famed Dutch translator of this book.

The cow!

That's weird, all I see is an explanation for why a primitive people considered the cow holy, not an explanation for why the cow is holy. Wink

Sarcasm aside, I think the difference in POV arises because we here tend to associate supernatural and superstitious connotations with the fairly abstract term 'holy', while others probably don't see past the emotional value that ideas such as 'holiness' offer those who lack knowledge of mechanistic explanations for much of what they experience in their daily lives.

"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#21
LOL, Another reason i think word holy is to make some do something with asking for logic or question...

I think its really hard to explain an ignorant mass people to take care of cow, since it is very important for human survival... And it is simple to tell its holy you better take care of it..

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#22
(02-May-2010, 01:02 PM)iconoclastmolotov Wrote: Cow worship probably is one of the first signs of ritualism that cropped up in the IVC. Just like it did for the neighboring civilization in the Greater Khorasan area.

Wait a minute...
There was a civilization next to the IVC in Greater Khorasan?
As far as I know, the only civilizations that were active during this period of human history were the Harappans, the Mesopotamians, and the Egyptians.
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#23
(06-Sep-2010, 12:52 AM)TTCUSM Wrote:
(02-May-2010, 01:02 PM)iconoclastmolotov Wrote: Cow worship probably is one of the first signs of ritualism that cropped up in the IVC. Just like it did for the neighboring civilization in the Greater Khorasan area.

Wait a minute...
There was a civilization next to the IVC in Greater Khorasan?
As far as I know, the only civilizations that were active during this period of human history were the Harappans, the Mesopotamians, and the Egyptians.

You seem to have misunderstood what iconoclastmolotov was saying. Indeed, all your main premises are false. The Greater Khorasan is not a period, but a region, and the IVC is further to the east of the Greater Khorasan area.

From wikipedia:
Quote:Khorasan was originally inhabited by the Eastern Iranian peoples who trace back to the ancient Indo-Iranians, migrated from the north to the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex in around 2000 BC. The BMAC was a Bronze Age culture situated in the upper Amu Darya region of Khorasan. Airyanem Vaejah (Land of Aryans), which is mentioned in the Zoroastrian Avesta, is also believed by some scholars to be situated in the territories of Khorasan.
The Persians appear to have been the first ethnic group to populate the region, but, in time, they mixed with an increasing number of foreign invaders and, as a result, their proportionate number was reduced.[16] Significant immigrants such as Arabs from the west since the 7th century and Turkic peoples after the Turkic migration from the north in the Middle Ages settled in the region.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#24
I am an atheist and definitely think it is irrational to worship the cow and eat everything else with a face. But I am also a vegetarian and happy that the irrationalism is at-least keeping the cows from being slaughtered for meat. I am living in USA and have seen first hand the effects of consuming beef. Heart disease , cancer, arthritis have all been linked to consuming beef served by fast food industry in US. We have already done enough damage by adopting chemical fertilizers and genetically modified seeds from USA. I suggest we as atheists have many other irrational issues to target let us leave the cow worship alone.
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