Are there Vedic Mantras that promote the Hindu concept of sacred cow?


Holy Cow is from Vedic literature?

Yes most certainly it is.

In Vedas Cows are equated to the nectar of immortality (Amrita) and also to the supreme Vedic deities like Indra etc. It's also stated that Cows become everything. This gives Cows the supreme stature.

VasAm Eva Amritam Ahuh, VasAm Mrityumupasate, Vasedam sarvamavad, DevA ManushyA AsurAh Pitara Rishayah.


Vasha (the barren cow) they call as immortality (amrita), vasha they worship (upAsate) as death, vasha became all this (sarvam abhavat), Gods, men, asuras, fathers and rishis.

Atharva Veda 10.10.26


GAvo Bhago, GAvo Indro, Ma IcchAd GAvah Somasya Prathamasya Bhakshah.


To me the Cows (gavah) are Bhaga, they are Indra, they are a portion of the first poured Soma.

Atharva Veda 4.21.5


VasAm devA upa jivanti vasAm manushyA uta (1) vasedam sarvambhavad (2) yAvat suryo vipasayati (3)


On this vasha (the barren Cow), the Gods subsist and men also (1), vasha became all this (2) so far as the Sun looks over (vipashyati).

Atharva Veda 10.10.34

So, the Cow here is compared with the supreme light on which even the Gods subsist.

Also, Cows are repeatedly mentioned in the Vedas as not to be killed. The word for killing is ghna And for Cows it's stated Goshu Aghnayam ( Cows should not be killed). The words Goshu aghnayam explicitly appear in the mantra Rig Veda 1.37.5

The word Goghna (killing a Cow ) however appears only once in the entire Rig Veda,viz- in Rig Veda 1.114.10, which is a prayer to Lord Rudra asking him not to harm our animals.

On the other hand, the word aghnayAh (not to be killed) or their variants appear in many other mantras like Rig Veda 4.1.6, Rig Veda 1.164.27, Rig Veda 1.164.40 and there they refer to the Cows.

So, Cow has been mentioned as the most sacred animal in the Vedas themselves.

Note that in the Vedas words like gau or gavah, vasah (the barren cow), pashu are used to denote a Cow.

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  • @rickross--Your answer should be improved. Quoting Rigveda and numbers are not enough even a layman can do. Rig veda 1.114.10 mantra should be told and meaning should be given, – Parthasarathy Raghavan Jul 20 '17 at 6:44
  • I have already given two mantras in full which aptly describe the sacred and supreme nature of the Cows. Its not necessary that i mention all mantras in the answer in full. It will make the answer very long unnecessarily. @ParthasarathyRaghavan – Rickross Jul 20 '17 at 6:49
  • @rickross--you have mentioned a line and explained. what rig veda quotes just you gave numerals not slokas. – Parthasarathy Raghavan Jul 20 '17 at 7:16
  • Good answer. But preformatted text is for code. If you want to emphasize a word, itlalics or bold are a better option. – Sarvabhouma Jul 20 '17 at 8:23

Yes ,The concept of “Holy Cow” is there in Vedas. There are many verses in Atharva Veda which describes the concept of Holy cow by admiring her , and describing her importance in human life as well as Many gods residing in her. Making her holy.

Atharva-Veda Kanda Kanda 4 Sukta 21 -:Go Samuha Sukta

यूयं गावो मेदयथा कृशं चिदश्रीरं चित् कृणुथा सुप्रतिकं |
भद्रं गृहं कृणुथ भद्रवाचो बृहद वो वय उच्चते सभासु ||6|| page 132

Yuyam Gavo MedYatha Krusham ChidShriram chid KrunuTha SuPratikam
Bhadram Ghruham KrunuTha Bhadrawacho Bruhad Vo Vaya Ucchate SuBhaSu

O cows let us make strong / powerful /potent | Make our diseased bodies healthy and beautiful . O cows make our homes pure by your good sound.

Here cows are praised because of her milk is vital source of nourishment for healthy as well as sick persons , Ghee can be used to treat various deformities that has arose due to various diseases.

Atharva-Veda Kanda Kanda 9 Sukta 12 Gou Sukta : Page 384

Here in Atharva Veda we find the Hindu concept of many gods residing in cow.

प्रजापतिच्श्र परमेष्ठि च श्रुङ्गे इन्द्र: शिरो अग्निर्ललाटम् यम कृकाटम् ||1||

prajaPatiSchra Paramesthi Ch Shurunge Indra Shiro Agnir Lalatam Yama KuKatam

Prajapati and Parameshthi are the two horns of cow , Indra is head , Agni is forehead and Yama is bell in her neck.

सोमो राजा मस्तिष्को द्यौरत्तरह्नु: पृथिव्यधरहनु ||2||

Somo Raja Mastishko DyaouRttarHrnu PrithiVyaDharHanu

King Soma is her Brain , Duloka is her upper jaw and earth is her lower jaw.

विद्युज्जिव्हा मारुतो दन्ता रेवतिर्ग्रिवा: कृत्तिका स्कन्धा घर्मो वह: ||3||

VidyuJivaa Maruto Danta RevatirGriva Kruttika Skandha Gharmo vaha

Electricity (Vidyuta) is her tongue , Marut gana are her teeth ,Krittika is her arms and surya (sun) is her horns.

विश्वं वायु: स्वर्गो लोक: कृष्णद्रं विधरणि निवेष्य ||4||

Vishwam Vayu Swargo Loka KrushDram VidharNi Niveshya

All this universal wind (vayu) (prana) , Swarga , Krushnad and Vidharani are her back portion

देवानां पत्नी: पृष्ठय उपसद: पर्शव ||6||

DevaNaam Patni Prushta Upasad Parshav

Energies of god are her back and Upasad , isthiyan are her bones and Ribs.

एतद वै विश्वरूपं सर्वरूपं गोरूपं ||25||

Etad Vai VishwaRupam SarvaRuupam GoRupam

These are the forms of immense Supreme God , all these are present everywhere in the universe and also the forms of Cow

Here its said this(cow) itself is a another form of Supreme God .

Such are the 26 verses in that sukta describing the gods and godly powers residing in cow.

Atharva-Veda Kanda Kanda 4 Sukta 21 -:

न ता नशन्ति न दभिति तस्करो नासामामित्रो व्यथिरा दधर्षति |
देवांच्श्र याभिर्यजते ददाति च ज्योगित ताभि: सचते गोपति: सह ||3|| Page No 131

Cows are not get harmed by the thieves , the enemy weapons can’t harm them. Let the keeper of the cows remain prosper those who Praise / Revere / perform Yajan with the cows .

Here the importance of Ghee is described. It is said that those who perform Yajna with cows ghee ..May remain prosperous. .

So from above verses we get a picture of holy cow Hinduism and come to know that why she is holy for Hinduism.

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