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Cow is Not Holy in Jainism and Buddhism

Updated on January 16, 2017
Holy Cow with Gods inside her body
Holy Cow with Gods inside her body

There is not a single Jain or Buddhist text, which declares cow as a holy animal. Jainism and Buddhism respect all types of living beings, but they also consider that human being is superior to other living beings. So there is no question of cow being holy in these two religions.

The Vedic Hindus think that cow is a holy animal. But in ancient time, cows were being killed by Vedics in the name of religious rituals, and beef was one of their popular food.

It were Jainism and Buddhism, who stopped the Vedics from sacrificing animals in the name of rituals. Because of campaigns by Jains against eating meat , most of the Vedics became vegetarians.

The campaign launched by Jains and Buddhists was for saving all animals, big and small, and not just for cows. But the smart Vedics, who were beef eaters, declared cow as a holy animal. They declared that inside each of the cow, 33 types of Gods live. Later it was spread that cow is home of 33 Crores (3.3 Billions) Gods. Not only that, but the Vedics discovered and declared that Cow Urine can cure all type of diseases, so people should drink it.

Why Cow, Why not Bull?

It is a question that why Vedics did not declare Bull as a holy animal? If Gods selected cow as their home, there is no reason that a Bull can not become their home, and if cow's urine can cure diseases, then so can do the urine of a Bull. Then why bulls were not declared as holy?

Bull is a symbol of hard work as Indian farmers were using bulls for the works in farms and also for transportation through Bullock Carts. But as Vedics never gave respect to physical hard work, they never show respect for Bulls. (Remember that in Vedic Varna system, people who did physical hard work were in forth place) That is why they did not declare bull as a holy animal. In case of cow, she do not do any physical hard work, we know.

Cow is not holy in Jainism

Although Jainism believes in equality of souls and respects all types of life, it does not say that cow is a holy animal. No animal is holy for Jainism. In fact, according to Jainism cow and all other animals, trees etc. are inferior to human beings, as only human beings can get liberated from the cycle of birth and death. So Jainism does not permit to worship animals, trees, stones etc. It is a Vedic tradition which promotes worshiping such things.

But now a days, we see that some Jain monks and nuns are showing a special interest in protection of cows. Some of them are worshiping this animal. Some of them are telling people that how cow urine cures diseases. All this is a stupidity. They have nothing to do with real values of Jainism.

-Mahaveer Sanglikar


Submit a Comment
  • profile image

    Ayush USA 

    3 years ago

    Agreed that cow or any other animal is not holy in Jainism. But they are neither inferior too. They are also soulful like humans. Its just that they cannot attain Moksha in this birth but that does not make them inferior in Jain philosophy.

  • Onkar Karambe profile image

    Onkar Karambe 

    4 years ago

    The Buddha on the sacredness and benefits of cows:

    The Rishis (of the Vedas) never killed cows, because cows, which produce medicines and herbs for us, are our best friends, like our mother, father, brother, and other relations.13.

    Cows give us food, give strength, give beauty, give also health; knowing this multitude of benefits the Rishis never killed the cows.14. (-- quoted from Brahmana Dhammika Sutta from the Sutta Nipata)

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    Jain are more keen to serve cows and feeding them but at same time they forget about basic Jainism principles apart from vegetarianism.

  • profile image

    Shubham Badjate 

    6 years ago

    Please change the title of this article. "Cow is Not Holy in Jainism" gives a negative impact about jainism, until last paragraph is read. Appropriate title would be "Cow: views in jainism and buddhism".

  • jainismus profile imageAUTHOR

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 

    6 years ago from Pune, India

    Thank you Samraj for expressing your views on this topic.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Hinduism preaches killing of fellow human being in the name of a HOLY war whereas killing a cow for food is a SIN which sounds illogical and elites propaganda since only elites are following it religiously :)

    Christianity preaches other way around which sounds normal and natural but I doubt whether people are following it religiously :)

    Jainism and Buddhism preaches not to kill both fellow human being as well as animals which seems to be supernatural and hard to follow for those people live in different landscape except Plains like Mountains, Forests, Plains, Coastal and Desert (These 5 divisions are stated from Tamil literature).

    In general, food habits are predominantly determined by what you get there in each region.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    We are free to consider any one inferier to us

  • jainismus profile imageAUTHOR

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 

    7 years ago from Pune, India

    According to Jainism, only human being can get liberated, all other forms of life are inferior to human beings. But that doesn't mean that we should kill them. Jainism opposes worshiping animals and trees and calls it as a stupidity.

  • Yaduvanshi profile image


    7 years ago from Bharat Vrse

    When in Jainism cow and all other animals, trees etc. are inferior to human beings, then where is the equality of souls or only humans have the souls. It is not that only human beings can get liberated from the cycle of birth and death I suppose thry need to due their Karma.

    All of our fore fathers have done all what we are trying to deny today under differentiated influences.

  • jainismus profile imageAUTHOR

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 

    7 years ago from Pune, India

    Barbara Kay,

    You are right.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    let us leave the cow alone

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Cow's urin has some anti bacterial properties. It is also used in many african countries for that purpose. However, we now have much better choices. We do not need to use urine for that purpose. Well, for a poor person in a rural area that may be the only choice.

  • Cyndi10 profile image

    Cynthia B Turner 

    7 years ago from Georgia

    Interesting article about the origins of the cow's coming into being a sacred animal. I agree with Barbara about the drinking of urine. Not something I would do. Thank you for clearing up which Hindu worship the cow.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    this vedik people are so cunning and humiliate poor people in every way.

  • Barbara Kay profile image

    Barbara Badder 

    7 years ago from USA

    Drinking cow urine sound terrible. It probably causes diseases. It is strange the different beliefs people have.


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