Free Press Journal

Who has more religious sentiment: The peacock or the cow? We find out!

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After Rajasthan High Court Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma recently recommended that cow should be declared the national animal and also shared his view on how our national bird peacock is a lifelong celibate. Concluding how both species are pious. Here’s a peek in to the religious significance of cow and peacock.

Peacock

The colourful and extravagant peacock is indeed one the most effortlessly beautiful creature on earth and is a symbol of love, beauty, joy and grace. Apart from being India’s national bird it has cultural significance in India, Greek, Christianity, Islam and ancient Persia. In Christianity, it is considered as the symbol of ‘Resurrection’. While Islamic religious buildings are often painted with an image of peacock. In India, people consider keeping peacock’s feather in home brings good luck and prosperity.


Legends associated with peacock

Among the several legends associated with the gorgeous bird, here we list a few for you.

  • Peacock’s feather weren’t always colourful. In fact, once it had dull tail feathers. Once during a battle between Lord Indra and Ravana, the bird to protect Lord Indra spread its feather wide open and was successful in waging the war and saving the lord. In return, he made the bird’s feather full of colours.
  • Lord Krishna wears a feather on his crown.
  • Peacock is considered as the mount (vahana) of Kartikeya, Saraswati, Lakshmi and Brahma.

Cattle

Taking in consideration the multiple benefits, cattle is considered sacred in several Indian states and Nepal. It is considered sacred in Hinduism, Jainism and Zoroastrianism. Since ancient days it is considered as the symbol of wealth. Lord Krishna was a cowherd and Lord Shiva’s vehicle was bull. Several temples in India has Nandi bull in the entrance.

Religious sacrifices by cow

In Hinduism, no religious sacrifice is complete without ghee, made from cow’s milk. Hindus consider cow dung as cleansers and sanctifiers. It is also used as fuel in lieu of firewood. In the Mahabharata, Bhisma states that cow acts as a surrogate mother by providing milk for the whole life and so is the mother of the world. It is a belief that when Rama got married to Sita he was gifted thousands of cows and bullocks.

Islam allows consumption of beef only if the cow is slaughtered in a religious ritual called Zabiha. Many rulers of the Mughal Empire during their rule banned slaughtering of cows owing to the Hindu and Jain populations.

In a secular country like India where we are taught to respect animals is it correct to judge them on their holiness?