560 – Cows and Brahmans

National Integration Through Thirukkural And Sanskrit

Cows and the Brahmans

Followers of Sanathana Dharma tradition hold the Cows and the Brahmans sacred.

Cows:  Vedic culture stresses protection of the cow. The cow is considered one of our mothers, as she gives us her milk and thus nurtures our health and well being. The cow has abundance of milk such that after satisfying the need of her calf, she is able to feed other people with milk. No other animal has this trait.

Just as no civilized person would injure or kill their mother, the Vedas teach that to take milk from the cow and then kill her is the same as killing one’s mother.  Cows also produce dung and urine which is valuable as fertilizer, compost, medicines, cleaning products and biogas fuel.

In India, it is considered sacred to maintain Gho Shalas (Cow shelters), wherein Cows are fed with healthy staple and are taken care of.

If the cow is comfortable, the entire world will be happy. It is because all people gain comfort from the cow, worship of cow has been accorded importance.

Brahman: Dharma Shastra, emphasizes that every individual aspiring for Brahmin-hood,  must learn the Vedas which are considered, the secular sciences, the Vedic supplements, the dialogues, the epics and the Puranas. He has  to understand the texts and pattern his conduct according to precepts contained in those texts and lead a virtuous life. Dharma Shastra repeatedly defines “Brahman” not in terms of family of birth, but in terms of personal qualities.

Shanthi parva of the Mahabharata in which  is Bhishma counsels Yudishtira on administration of Kingdom says: “It is the duty of the Brahmins to strengthen the king’s hands. By their charity, tapas, controlling their senses, performing yagnas they should protect themselves. They should perform Vedic rites to support the king. A wise king shall always take the help of Brahmins to improve his strength. When there is good governance by the king people will engage themselves in lawful activities.”

In all Vedic rituals it is the practice to say “गोब्राह्मणेभ्यः शुभमस्तु नित्यम् “ – “Go Brahmanebhyaha Subhamastu Nityam”- “May cows and brahmans be always happy”.

Thiruvalluvar in his couplet 560 also echoes the same when he says that produce from Cows will dwindle and Brahman will forget his six important sacred duties (recite vedas, teach vedas, perform yagnas for benefit of mankind, perform yagnas on behalf of others, charity, accept bhikshas),  if a king falters in the administration of his Kingdom.

ஆபயன் குன்றும் அறுதொழிலோர் நூல்மறப்பர்
காவலன் காவான் எனின்

Aapayan kundrum aru-thozhiloar nool-marappar
Kaavalan kaavaan yenin

பரிமேலழகர் உரை: 

காவலன் காவான் எனின் – காத்தற்குரிய அரசன் உயிர்களைக் காவானாயின், ஆ பயன் குன்றும் – அறன் இல்லாத அவன் நாட்டுப் பசுக்களும் பால் குன்றும், அறு தொழிலோர் நூல் மறப்பர் – அந்தணரும் நூல்களை மறந்துவிடுவர். (ஆ பயன்: ஆவாற்கொள்ளும் பயன். அறுதொழிலாவன: ஓதல், ஓதுவித்தல், வேட்டல், வேட்பித்தல், ஈதல், ஏற்றல் என இவை. பசுக்கள் பால் குன்றியவழி அவியின்மையானும், அது கொடுத்தற்குரியார் மந்திரம் கற்பம் என்பன ஓதாமையானும், வேள்வி நடவாதாம்; ஆகவே, வானம் பெயல் ஒல்லாது என்பதாயிற்று. இவை இரண்டு பாட்டானும் அவன் நாட்டின்கண் நிகழும் குற்றம் கூறப்பட்டது.).

Sanskrit Translation by Shri S N Srirama Desikan

அரக்ஷதி பு⁴வம்  பூ⁴பே பதா² ந்யாயானுரோதி⁴னா |
விப்ரா: ஸ்²ருதிம்  விஸ்மரேயு: ந த³த்³யு: பஸ²வ​: பய​: ||