On one hand we have the cows considered as the most sacred in the scriptures. All deities, pilgrimages, Rishis are said to be found in it's body.
Giving it pain is considered as an offence. Killing it even a bigger offence. The five products (Panchagavyas) obtained from the cow are considered as most sacred and used in almost all Hindu rituals. Consumption of those products also considered in the scriptures to be the destroyer of various kinds of sins.
And, on the other hand, the soul must have done something sinful in the previous birth to get born as a cow. If the Karmas are higher on the merit side then the soul must have obtained a human body and not an animal body.
For example, a chapter of Vishnu Smriti says:
- Those who have committed a crime effecting loss of caste, enter the bodies of amphibious animals.
- Those who have committed a crime degrading to a mixed caste, enter the bodies of deer.
- Those who have committed a crime rendering them unworthy to receive alms, enter the bodies of cattle.
This leads us to an apparent contradiction. My question is how to reconcile?