Why do Hindus consider the cow sacred?
Amongst Hindus, the cow is specially revered and equated with a mother and the gods. It is believed that all the gods reside within the body of a cow. It is therefore the responsibility of every person to accord it respect and do one's duty by it. For most religious ceremonies the cow is essential.
The cow has been important since ancient times. Maharishi Vashisth once played with his own life for Kamadhenu, the celestial cow. Maharishi Chyavan preferred a cow to a kingdom. Such was the importance of the cow. Like a mother, the cow is known for the good it does mankind. It helps promote good health and long life.
Religious texts say:
The cow is a universal mother.
The Agnipuran says that the cow is a pure, auspicious animal. Looking after a cow, bathing it and making it eat and drink are commendable acts. Cow dung and urine are said to have medicinal qualities. The milk, curd, butter and ghee are all used in religious ceremonies. Whoever offers a morsel of food to the cow before eating attains salvation. Whoever gives a cow in charity benefits the whole family. Wherever a cow lives the place becomes pure. The touch and care of cows absolves one of sins.