Hindu perspective of Gomata For thousands of years in our civilizational history, Hindus have worshipped cows, looking upon the cow as their own mother, Gomata. The reason for this is not because it is a rule written in our scriptures and we ought to follow it. Rather, it is based on science, most importantly, it is looking at the cow from an evolutionary point of view.

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Several but not all states in India have laws prohibiting the slaughter of cows. 20 out of 29 states in India currently have various regulations prohibiting either the slaughter or sale of cows. Kerala, Goa, Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura are the states where there are no restrictions on cow slaughter. India’s beef industry is predominantly based on the slaughter of the water buffalo. Since buffalo slaughter is legally permitted, it fuels a multi-billion dollar meat export industry.  

There was much debate and argument when the Central Government, imposed a ban on the sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets across India (although the Supreme Court later suspended the ban, to the relief of the meat and leather industries). The most common line of argument was that the multi-billion dollar meat and leather industry would take a huge hit if the nationwide ban were implemented. Another line of argument was that the government has no right to impose restrictions on people’s food choices, and that one is free to eat the meat of any animal one wants to.

Debates along the above lines of reasoning arise only because of a very unidimensional view  of cows as mere animals that provide profit for businesses through their milk and meat. For thousands of years in our civilizational history, Hindus have worshiped cows, looking upon a cow as their own mother, Gomata. The reason for this is not because it is a rule written in our scriptures and we ought to follow it. Rather, it is based on science, most importantly, it is looking at the cow from an evolutionary point of view.

View of a cow from an evolutionary standpoint

In the Indian yogic science, a human being’s existence is seen as five components or koshas :

1) Annamaya kosha – made of food, the physical body

2) Pranamaya kosha – made of vital life energies, prana

3) Manomaya kosha – made of mind, emotions and mental processes (All animals have these three sheaths. Human beings have two more)

4) Vijnanamaya kosha – made of intellect

5) Anandamaya kosha – made of bliss (every being’s real nature)

A human being’s manomaya kosha has evolved from the cow. The physical body, Annamaya kosha, of a human being and a cow might be different, but that is not the only line of reasoning for determining evolutionary state. The inner koshas also need to be considered. Evolution is not linear, but non-linear and multi-dimensional.

This is the reason why in India, it was said that a cow must never be killed, because it is a highly evolved being whose emotions are close to that of a human being. It can respond to our grief and sorrow. For example, when a person in the family is miserable, the cow feels this and sheds tears for his pain. In the olden times, the cow was an integral part of every household and people had a very deep relationship with cows. The cow was a being in the family. Even today, in the villages of India, one will find that villagers have intimate relationship with cows. A cow was a life nourisher; its milk protected the family and children during famines. The simple rural wisdom was that if one had a cow in one’s house, one’s children would live, otherwise they would not.

All the products from cows were indispensable for the household. Cow milk is considered a wholesome food, a complete diet in itself. A family could just live off a cow and its products. In India, there lived many people who did not use grains, and who just consumed cow’s milk and ghee, and that was Poorna Ahara (complete diet). Ghee (clarified butter), made from milk, was used in cooking. The consumption of ghee is actually very good for health, contrary to popular belief. It is canola oil and vanaspati that adversely affect our health. When ghee is consumed before a meal, it kindles the digestive fire, Jataragni, and hence food is digested well.

Even the waste products of a cow are beneficial to human beings. Cow urine has powerful medicinal properties and was extensively used in Ayurveda. Cow dung, flattened into cakes and dried in the sun, was used as cooking fuel. The ashes were then used for washing vessels.

In ancient Indian gurukulas, students lived with their teacher for many years while they received their education. Indian education was not only about learning from textbooks, but from nature and life. The gurukula was situated amidst nature, and the teacher and family of students were self-reliant in producing their own food. Students would have to tend to cows and practise farming, along with their studies. The education imparted was very multidimensional and connected the students to life in a deep way, and so everything they did in their later life was in tune with nature. The kings in those times gave away land and cows as daana (gifts) to teachers and sages, so that their gurukulas could be self-reliant and further the growth of knowledge.

This article focuses on the beneficial properties of Gomutra (cow urine) as stated in the traditional Indian sciences, and corroborated by modern research.   

Benefits of Gomutra (cow urine)

The human body contains trillions of bacteria. This vast and largely unexplored bacterial community known as the microbiome has been linked to many aspects of human health, from gastrointestinal diseases to obesity. Disrupting the microbiome with antibiotics can cause disease by wiping out the helpful bacteria in our guts.

The bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract are collectively called the gut microbiota. A research study done by Dr Bakker (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) has linked the gut microbiota to a plethora of diseases, including Clostridium difficile infection (CDI)*, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and metabolic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes (T2D), and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

* Clostridium difficile colitis results from disruption of normal healthy bacteria in the colon, often from antibiotics. It can cause severe damage to the colon and even be fatal.

Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is currently being tested as a therapeutic option in various diseases. During FMT, a fecal preparation from a carefully screened, healthy stool donor is transplanted into the colon of the patient. There are multiple routes of administration – via colonoscopy, naso-enteric tube, capsules.

The research shows that FMT may prove to be a powerful tool providing us with diagnostic and therapeutic leads. [1]

When people accuse Indians of being “Gomutra drinkers”, they imagine the kind of consumption similar to coke or any other soft drink. Gomutra is had in quantities as advised by vaidya. Hindus drink gomutra, cow urine, because it contains microorganisms that are beneficial for the human body and cures diseases by restoring balance of beneficial bacteria in the microbiome. The urine of a pregnant cow is considered special, for it contains special hormones and minerals.[2]

Gomutra is used :

1) For therapeutic purposes in Ayurveda, the Indian science of medicine

2) As an important component of Panchagavya, a fertilizer in Krishi, the Indian science of farming

3) For purifying the house in Vastu shastra, the Indian science of architecture.

In Ayurveda (Indian science of medicine)

Cow urine is widely used for many health problems in India. The team of Ayurvedic Vaidya and experts Dr MS Krishnamurthy, Dr Prashanth BK, Dr Raghuram YS and Dr Hebbar provide detailed and thorough information on Ayurvedic methods, quoted from original Sanskrit texts like Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita, on their website. [3] According to them, the properties of gomutra are:

* Hot, pungent, reaches up to the deep tissues of the body

* Increases vata and pitta, due to its bitter and pungent nature.

* Improves digestion and intelligence.

* Used in the treatment of abdominal colic pain, bloating, constipation and indigestion

* Useful in conditions like intestinal worms and skin diseases.

* Useful in obesity and anemia

* Used in the treatment of Vitiligo (skin patches).

* Has immense scope of research in treatment of cancer.

* Acts as a natural detoxification formula

Recent research on Gomutra by Dr Gurpreet Randhawa MBBS, MD (Government Medical College, Amritsar) [4], confirms what is said in Ayurveda. Her research shows that Gomutra is a bioenhancer. A bioenhancer is an agent capable of enhancing bioavailability and efficacy of a drug with which it is co-administered, without any pharmacological activity of its own at therapeutic dose used. This concept is mentioned as Yogvahi in Ayurveda and was used to increase the effect of medicines by increasing oral bioavailability and decreasing adverse effects.

Gomutra is not a toxic waste material. It is made of 95% water, 2.5% urea, and the remaining 2.5% is a mixture of minerals, salts, hormones and enzymes. Gomutra exhibits the property of Rasayana tattwa, responsible for modulating various bodily functions, including immunity.

* Antimicrobial and germicidal properties of gomutra are due to the presence of urea (strong effect), creatinine, swarn kshar (aurum hydroxide), carbolic acid, other phenols, calcium and manganese

* Its anti-cancer effect is due to uric acid’s antioxidant property and allantoin

* Immunity is improved by swarn kshar (aurum hydroxide)

* Wound healing is promoted by allantoin.

* Cardiovascular health is maintained by a number of its components: kallikrein is a vasodilator; the enzyme urokinase acts as a fibrinolytic agent; nitrogen, uric acid, phosphates and hippuric acid act as diuretic agents; ammonia maintains the integrity of blood corpuscles; nitrogen, sulfur, sodium and calcium components act as blood purifiers; while iron and erythropoietin stimulating factor maintain hemoglobin levels.

* Its anti-obesity effect is due to the presence of copper ions;

* Renal health is maintained by nitrogen, which acts as a renal stimulant, and urinary components which act as diuretic agents.

* Aurum hydroxide and copper act as antidotes for various poisons in the body.

In Krishi (Indian science of farming)

Traditional Indian farming gives the most attention to soil. If the soil is taken care of well, naturally the plant’s growth is taken care of. Soil is very much alive, and it is a living organism in its own right. In 1 gram of soil there are 1 billion bacteria and 1 million fungi.

It is the soil microorganisms that are responsible for decomposing and breaking down the manure that we add into the soil, into essential nutrients that are needed for the plant growth – nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These biological processes in the soil is the distinguishing factor in organic or natural farming, whereas in chemical farming, plant nutrients are supplied as salts in the form of chemicals.

Therefore, is it necessary to provide a congenial environment for microorganisms to thrive, and Panchagavya, a fertilizer prepared using cow dung and cow urine, provides such an environment to beneficial microbes. Its main function is to encourage microbial activity in the soil.

Scientists from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) have published data on Panchagavya preparation and properties on their website, based on their research on organic farming methods.[5]

Panchagavya is an organic product has the potential to play the role of promoting growth and providing immunity in plant system. Panchagavya consists of 5 products of a cow – cow dung, cow urine, milk, ghee and curd. These 5 products are mixed with jaggery, ghee, banana, tender coconut and water. When suitably mixed and used, Panchagavya has miraculous effects – functioning as both a fertilizer and a pest repellent.

Ingredients for panchagavya preparation

Physico-chemical properties of Panchagavya reveal that they possess almost all the major nutrients, micro nutrients and growth harmones (IIA & GA) required for crop growth. Predominance of fermentative microorganisms like yeast and lactobacillus might be due to the combined effect of low pH, milk products and addition of jaggery as substrate for their growth.

Lactobacillus produces various beneficial metabolites such as organic acids, hydrogen peroxide and antibiotics, which are effective against other pathogenic microorganisms besides its growth.

Figure below shows the physico-chemical properties and microbial content in a sample of Panchagavya.

SVAROP Program at IIT Delhi

The Centre for Rural Development and Technology is one of the most renowned centres of IIT, Delhi. Its aim is to become the outreach centre for science and technology for rural problem-solving and improving quality of life by generating more sources of livelihood. It has made significant contributions and developed “rural-friendly” technologies in areas like alternate energy technology (biogas, smokeless chulha, etc.), sustainable agriculture, food processing, preservation and storage, bamboo based sustainable housing, mushroom cultivation, waste management, sanitation, etc.

The centre is the national coordinator of Scientific Validation and Research on Panchgavya (SVAROP) program of the Government of India. This program will help in reinstating the cattle based rural economy supported by critical scientific validation. [6]

As of now, IIT Delhi has received 50 proposals from different academic and research institutes to study the benefits of cow urine and milk under the SVAROP programme.

The government has constituted a national steering committee (NSC) to initiate the SVAROP programme. Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan is the chairman of the NSC and Vijay Bhatkar, the architect of the Param supercomputers, is the co-chairman.

Vijay Bhatkar is linked to Vijnana Bharati, previously known as “Swadeshi Science Movement”, a Non Profit organisation, working for science popularization and implementation of modern technology and ancient sciences in India.

In Vastu Shastra (Indian science of architecture)

Vastu shastra is not just the science of architecture, but about aligning the energies within the constructed space with cosmic energies by giving the right dimensions, proportions, and orientations to the building, so that the individual experiences peace and prosperity while living in the space.

In India, people move in to a newly built residence only after it is consecrated. Consecration is done essentially to create an enhanced sense of life energy, so that the people who live in the house naturally move towards well-being. After a house is constructed, the space is consecrated by performing a ritual known as Grihapravesha. During the ceremony, Go puja is done, where a cow is brought inside the newly built house. The cow, along with her calf, are worshiped. Go puja removes vastu dosha and all negative energies in the living space.

In Indian homes, cow urine is sprinkled to purify the floor. The purification is not just physical but also spiritual. The body of a cow is considered holy because the energies of Divine beings reside within her. The bhava (feeling) that one has towards one’s cow is that of Sri Lakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity.

Cows and human beings have a close relationship on multiple dimensions – a personal and intimate connection in sharing emotions, being an integral part of every household, providing milk and ghee for the family members’ nutrition, protecting them during famine, purifying and consecrating a living space, making the land fertile for farming and thus producing healthy food, keeping pests under control, providing a powerful therapeutic to cure diseases, being an integral part of the gurukulas and moulding students’ lives.

 

References

[1] Bakker, Guido & Nieuwdorp, Max. (2017). Fecal Microbiota Transplantation: Therapeutic Potential for a Multitude of Diseases beyond Clostridium difficile. Microbiology Spectrum. 5. 10.1128/microbiolspec.BAD-0008-2017.

[Online] https://www.gu.se/english/research/publication/?publicationId=258876

[2] N. H. Sahasrabudhe; R. D. Mahatme (2000). Mystic Science of Vastu. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. p. 68. ISBN 978-81-207-2206-4. Retrieved 6 January 2015.

[3] https://easyayurveda.com/2011/05/10/cow-urine-therapy-benefits-indication-and-contra-indications/

[4] Randhawa G. K. (2010). Cow urine distillate as bioenhancer. Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine, 1(4), 240-1.

[Online] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3117312/

[5] http://agritech.tnau.ac.in/org_farm/orgfarm_panchakavya.html

[6]

http://crdt.iitd.ac.in/about.html

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