Since cow is one of the sacred animals in Hinduism, are there any cremation rituals that need to be followed when a cow dies? If yes, what is the exact process?

1 Answer 1


I am not sure how you got the idea that a cow should be cremated. To be frank I have never found (so far) a reference which says that a cow should be cremated or even buried. So, there seems to be a complete lack of references regarding this topic in the scriptures.

However, in ParAshara Smriti, there is an entire chapter dedicated to how to serve the cows. This is the 9th chapter of the text and is named " Go Seva Upadesha Varnanam" (Instructions regarding how to serve the cows).

The verses given below are all from that chapter:

  1. On breaking a horn, a bone, or the spine about the waist, if the animal lives during the next six months, — there is no penance prescribed by law.

  2. On causing a fracture or a wound, the sinner with his hand must apply some oily substance to the injured part ; fodder also must be given to it, till it is restored to full strength,

  3. The man must nurse it, till its entire body is rendered whole ; and then, in a Brahman's presence, he is to make obeisance to it, and bid it farewell.

Verse 21 is important for us. To understand what it actually says we need to see the original Sanskrit verse:

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The 2nd half of the verse is important for our purpose and which transliterates to -

Gorupam brAhmanas agre namaskritvA visarjayet ||

Now, Visarjana means to offer something unto water. So, the dead cow should be submerged in water (possibly in a river). No cremation or even burial is ordained.

NamaskritvA visarjayet -- It should be first offered respect (by doing Namaskara) and then the body should be immersed in water (Visarjayet).

And, this is actually what happens too from what I have seen. In Ganges, for example, we often see the dead bodies of cows/bulls being floating carried away by the current.

  • The question arises because Hindus don't eat beef, so if they don't then the dead body of cow must be cremated in some way to avoid letting anyone eat it as meat.
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Commented Dec 4, 2018 at 10:19
  • @TheLittleNaruto That is no logic IMO.. A Hindu shd not eat dog's meat too..so does tht imply tht a dog shd also be cremated? Whn it's said tht dog meat shd not be consumed it is so said not because killing a dog is a grt sin (it is a sin alright but not a grt one). But whn it's said don't eat beef tht is only because killing a cow is a grt sin. The Vedas declare cows as "Aghna" - not to be killed.
    – Rickross
    Commented Dec 4, 2018 at 11:23
  • Should have added "a sacred animal" in the comment too to put my logic understandable.....
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Commented Dec 4, 2018 at 11:48
  • If not cremation then how a dead body of cow should be treated ?
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Commented Dec 4, 2018 at 11:49
  • 1
    in our village (south india) we used to bury the dead cows. Calves were sometimes, in rainy season (when water levels are high), were dropped in rivers. May thats the ritual but carrying dead cow to river is a challenge and hence may be burial (near home) process started.
    – Kanthri
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 12:31

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