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Hindu perspective of Gomata

Sev­er­al but not all states in India have laws pro­hibit­ing the slaugh­ter of cows. 20 out of 29 states in India cur­rent­ly have var­i­ous reg­u­la­tions pro­hibit­ing either the slaugh­ter or sale of cows. Ker­ala, Goa, Kar­nata­ka, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizo­ram, Megha­laya, Naga­land and Tripu­ra are the states where there are no restric­tions on cow slaugh­ter. India’s beef indus­try is pre­dom­i­nant­ly based on the slaugh­ter of the water buf­fa­lo. Since buf­fa­lo slaugh­ter is legal­ly per­mit­ted, it fuels a mul­ti-bil­lion dol­lar meat export indus­try.

There was much debate and argu­ment when the Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment, imposed a ban on the sale and pur­chase of cat­tle at ani­mal mar­kets across India (although the Supreme Court lat­er sus­pend­ed the ban, to the relief of the meat and leather indus­tries). The most com­mon line of argu­ment was that the mul­ti-bil­lion dol­lar meat and leather indus­try would take a huge hit if the nation­wide ban were imple­ment­ed. Anoth­er line of argu­ment was that the gov­ern­ment has no right to impose restric­tions on people’s food choic­es, and that one is free to eat the meat of any ani­mal one wants to.

Debates along the above lines of rea­son­ing arise only because of a very uni­di­men­sion­al view of cows as mere ani­mals that pro­vide prof­it for busi­ness­es through their milk and meat. For thou­sands of years in our civ­i­liza­tion­al his­to­ry, Hin­dus have wor­shiped cows, look­ing upon a cow as their own moth­er, Goma­ta. The rea­son for this is not because it is a rule writ­ten in our scrip­tures and we ought to fol­low it. Rather, it is based on sci­ence, most impor­tant­ly, it is look­ing at the cow from an evo­lu­tion­ary point of view.

View of a cow from an evolutionary standpoint

In the Indi­an yog­ic sci­ence, a human being’s exis­tence is seen as five com­po­nents or koshas :

1) Anna­maya kosha – made of food, the phys­i­cal body

2) Prana­maya kosha – made of vital life ener­gies, prana

3) Manomaya kosha – made of mind, emo­tions and men­tal process­es (All ani­mals have these three sheaths. Human beings have two more)

4) Vij­nana­maya kosha – made of intel­lect

5) Anan­damaya kosha – made of bliss (every being’s real nature)

A human being’s manomaya kosha has evolved from the cow. The phys­i­cal body, Anna­maya kosha, of a human being and a cow might be dif­fer­ent, but that is not the only line of rea­son­ing for deter­min­ing evo­lu­tion­ary state. The inner koshas also need to be con­sid­ered. Evo­lu­tion is not lin­ear, but non-lin­ear and mul­ti-dimen­sion­al.

This is the rea­son why in India, it was said that a cow must nev­er be killed, because it is a high­ly evolved being whose emo­tions are close to that of a human being. It can respond to our grief and sor­row. For exam­ple, when a per­son in the fam­i­ly is mis­er­able, the cow feels this and sheds tears for his pain. In the old­en times, the cow was an inte­gral part of every house­hold and peo­ple had a very deep rela­tion­ship with cows. The cow was a being in the fam­i­ly. Even today, in the vil­lages of India, one will find that vil­lagers have inti­mate rela­tion­ship with cows. A cow was a life nour­ish­er; its milk pro­tect­ed the fam­i­ly and chil­dren dur­ing famines. The sim­ple rur­al wis­dom was that if one had a cow in one’s house, one’s chil­dren would live, oth­er­wise they would not.

All the prod­ucts from cows were indis­pens­able for the house­hold. Cow milk is con­sid­ered a whole­some food, a com­plete diet in itself. A fam­i­ly could just live off a cow and its prod­ucts. In India, there lived many peo­ple who did not use grains, and who just con­sumed cow’s milk and ghee, and that was Poor­na Ahara (com­plete diet). Ghee (clar­i­fied but­ter), made from milk, was used in cook­ing. The con­sump­tion of ghee is actu­al­ly very good for health, con­trary to pop­u­lar belief. It is canola oil and vanas­pati that adverse­ly affect our health. When ghee is con­sumed before a meal, it kin­dles the diges­tive fire, Jatarag­ni, and hence food is digest­ed well.

Even the waste prod­ucts of a cow are ben­e­fi­cial to human beings. Cow urine has pow­er­ful med­i­c­i­nal prop­er­ties and was exten­sive­ly used in Ayurve­da. Cow dung, flat­tened into cakes and dried in the sun, was used as cook­ing fuel. The ash­es were then used for wash­ing ves­sels.

In ancient Indi­an guruku­las, stu­dents lived with their teacher for many years while they received their edu­ca­tion. Indi­an edu­ca­tion was not only about learn­ing from text­books, but from nature and life. The guruku­la was sit­u­at­ed amidst nature, and the teacher and fam­i­ly of stu­dents were self-reliant in pro­duc­ing their own food. Stu­dents would have to tend to cows and prac­tise farm­ing, along with their stud­ies. The edu­ca­tion impart­ed was very mul­ti­di­men­sion­al and con­nect­ed the stu­dents to life in a deep way, and so every­thing they did in their lat­er life was in tune with nature. The kings in those times gave away land and cows as daana (gifts) to teach­ers and sages, so that their guruku­las could be self-reliant and fur­ther the growth of knowl­edge.

This arti­cle focus­es on the ben­e­fi­cial prop­er­ties of Gomu­tra (cow urine) as stat­ed in the tra­di­tion­al Indi­an sci­ences, and cor­rob­o­rat­ed by mod­ern research.

Benefits of Gomutra (cow urine)

The human body con­tains tril­lions of bac­te­ria. This vast and large­ly unex­plored bac­te­r­i­al com­mu­ni­ty known as the micro­bio­me has been linked to many aspects of human health, from gas­troin­testi­nal dis­eases to obe­si­ty. Dis­rupt­ing the micro­bio­me with antibi­otics can cause dis­ease by wip­ing out the help­ful bac­te­ria in our guts.

The bac­te­ria in the gas­troin­testi­nal tract are col­lec­tive­ly called the gut micro­bio­ta. A research study done by Dr Bakker (Uni­ver­si­ty of Gothen­burg, Swe­den) has linked the gut micro­bio­ta to a pletho­ra of dis­eases, includ­ing Clostrid­i­um dif­fi­cile infec­tion (CDI)*, inflam­ma­to­ry bow­el dis­ease (IBD), and meta­bol­ic dis­eases such as obe­si­ty, type 2 dia­betes (T2D), and non­al­co­holic steato­hep­ati­tis (NASH).

* Clostrid­i­um dif­fi­cile col­i­tis results from dis­rup­tion of nor­mal healthy bac­te­ria in the colon, often from antibi­otics. It can cause severe dam­age to the colon and even be fatal.

Fecal micro­bio­ta trans­plan­ta­tion (FMT) is cur­rent­ly being test­ed as a ther­a­peu­tic option in var­i­ous dis­eases. Dur­ing FMT, a fecal prepa­ra­tion from a care­ful­ly screened, healthy stool donor is trans­plant­ed into the colon of the patient. There are mul­ti­ple routes of admin­is­tra­tion — via colonoscopy, naso-enteric tube, cap­sules.

The research shows that FMT may prove to be a pow­er­ful tool pro­vid­ing us with diag­nos­tic and ther­a­peu­tic leads. [1]

When peo­ple accuse Indi­ans of being “Gomu­tra drinkers”, they imag­ine the kind of con­sump­tion sim­i­lar to coke or any oth­er soft drink. Gomu­tra is had in quan­ti­ties as advised by vaidya. Hin­dus drink gomu­tra, cow urine, because it con­tains microor­gan­isms that are ben­e­fi­cial for the human body and cures dis­eases by restor­ing bal­ance of ben­e­fi­cial bac­te­ria in the micro­bio­me. The urine of a preg­nant cow is con­sid­ered spe­cial, for it con­tains spe­cial hor­mones and min­er­als.[2]

Gomu­tra is used :

1) For ther­a­peu­tic pur­pos­es in Ayurve­da, the Indi­an sci­ence of med­i­cine

2) As an impor­tant com­po­nent of Pan­cha­gavya, a fer­til­iz­er in Krishi, the Indi­an sci­ence of farm­ing

3) For puri­fy­ing the house in Vas­tu shas­tra, the Indi­an sci­ence of archi­tec­ture.

In Ayurve­da (Indi­an sci­ence of med­i­cine)

Cow urine is wide­ly used for many health prob­lems in India. The team of Ayurvedic Vaidya and experts Dr MS Krish­na­murthy, Dr Prashanth BK, Dr Raghu­ram YS and Dr Heb­bar pro­vide detailed and thor­ough infor­ma­tion on Ayurvedic meth­ods, quot­ed from orig­i­nal San­skrit texts like Chara­ka Samhi­ta and Sushru­ta Samhi­ta, on their web­site. [3] Accord­ing to them, the prop­er­ties of gomu­tra are:

* Hot, pun­gent, reach­es up to the deep tis­sues of the body

* Increas­es vata and pit­ta, due to its bit­ter and pun­gent nature.

* Improves diges­tion and intel­li­gence.

* Used in the treat­ment of abdom­i­nal col­ic pain, bloat­ing, con­sti­pa­tion and indi­ges­tion

* Use­ful in con­di­tions like intesti­nal worms and skin dis­eases.

* Use­ful in obe­si­ty and ane­mia

* Used in the treat­ment of Vitili­go (skin patch­es).

* Has immense scope of research in treat­ment of can­cer.

* Acts as a nat­ur­al detox­i­fi­ca­tion for­mu­la

Recent research on Gomu­tra by Dr Gur­preet Rand­hawa MBBS, MD (Gov­ern­ment Med­ical Col­lege, Amrit­sar) [4], con­firms what is said in Ayurve­da. Her research shows that Gomu­tra is a bioen­hancer. A bioen­hancer is an agent capa­ble of enhanc­ing bioavail­abil­i­ty and effi­ca­cy of a drug with which it is co-admin­is­tered, with­out any phar­ma­co­log­i­cal activ­i­ty of its own at ther­a­peu­tic dose used. This con­cept is men­tioned as Yog­vahi in Ayurve­da and was used to increase the effect of med­i­cines by increas­ing oral bioavail­abil­i­ty and decreas­ing adverse effects.

Gomu­tra is not a tox­ic waste mate­r­i­al. It is made of 95% water, 2.5% urea, and the remain­ing 2.5% is a mix­ture of min­er­als, salts, hor­mones and enzymes. Gomu­tra exhibits the prop­er­ty of Rasayana tattwa, respon­si­ble for mod­u­lat­ing var­i­ous bod­i­ly func­tions, includ­ing immu­ni­ty.

* Antimi­cro­bial and ger­mi­ci­dal prop­er­ties of gomu­tra are due to the pres­ence of urea (strong effect), cre­a­ti­nine, swarn kshar (aurum hydrox­ide), car­bol­ic acid, oth­er phe­nols, cal­ci­um and man­ganese

* Its anti-can­cer effect is due to uric acid’s antiox­i­dant prop­er­ty and allan­toin

* Immu­ni­ty is improved by swarn kshar (aurum hydrox­ide)

* Wound heal­ing is pro­mot­ed by allan­toin.

* Car­dio­vas­cu­lar health is main­tained by a num­ber of its com­po­nents: kallikrein is a vasodila­tor; the enzyme uroki­nase acts as a fib­ri­nolyt­ic agent; nitro­gen, uric acid, phos­phates and hip­puric acid act as diuret­ic agents; ammo­nia main­tains the integri­ty of blood cor­pus­cles; nitro­gen, sul­fur, sodi­um and cal­ci­um com­po­nents act as blood puri­fiers; while iron and ery­thro­poi­etin stim­u­lat­ing fac­tor main­tain hemo­glo­bin lev­els.

* Its anti-obe­si­ty effect is due to the pres­ence of cop­per ions;

* Renal health is main­tained by nitro­gen, which acts as a renal stim­u­lant, and uri­nary com­po­nents which act as diuret­ic agents.

* Aurum hydrox­ide and cop­per act as anti­dotes for var­i­ous poi­sons in the body.

In Krishi (Indian science of farming)

Tra­di­tion­al Indi­an farm­ing gives the most atten­tion to soil. If the soil is tak­en care of well, nat­u­ral­ly the plant’s growth is tak­en care of. Soil is very much alive, and it is a liv­ing organ­ism in its own right. In 1 gram of soil there are 1 bil­lion bac­te­ria and 1 mil­lion fun­gi.

It is the soil microor­gan­isms that are respon­si­ble for decom­pos­ing and break­ing down the manure that we add into the soil, into essen­tial nutri­ents that are need­ed for the plant growth — nitro­gen, phos­pho­rus and potas­si­um. These bio­log­i­cal process­es in the soil is the dis­tin­guish­ing fac­tor in organ­ic or nat­ur­al farm­ing, where­as in chem­i­cal farm­ing, plant nutri­ents are sup­plied as salts in the form of chem­i­cals.

There­fore, is it nec­es­sary to pro­vide a con­ge­nial envi­ron­ment for microor­gan­isms to thrive, and Pan­cha­gavya, a fer­til­iz­er pre­pared using cow dung and cow urine, pro­vides such an envi­ron­ment to ben­e­fi­cial microbes. Its main func­tion is to encour­age micro­bial activ­i­ty in the soil.

Sci­en­tists from Tamil Nadu Agri­cul­tur­al Uni­ver­si­ty (TNAU) have pub­lished data on Pan­cha­gavya prepa­ra­tion and prop­er­ties on their web­site, based on their research on organ­ic farm­ing meth­ods.[5]

Pan­cha­gavya is an organ­ic prod­uct has the poten­tial to play the role of pro­mot­ing growth and pro­vid­ing immu­ni­ty in plant sys­tem. Pan­cha­gavya con­sists of 5 prod­ucts of a cow — cow dung, cow urine, milk, ghee and curd. These 5 prod­ucts are mixed with jag­gery, ghee, banana, ten­der coconut and water. When suit­ably mixed and used, Pan­cha­gavya has mirac­u­lous effects — func­tion­ing as both a fer­til­iz­er and a pest repel­lent.

Ingre­di­ents for pan­cha­gavya prepa­ra­tion

Physi­co-chem­i­cal prop­er­ties of Pan­cha­gavya reveal that they pos­sess almost all the major nutri­ents, micro nutri­ents and growth har­mones (IIA & GA) required for crop growth. Pre­dom­i­nance of fer­men­ta­tive microor­gan­isms like yeast and lac­to­bacil­lus might be due to the com­bined effect of low pH, milk prod­ucts and addi­tion of jag­gery as sub­strate for their growth.

Lac­to­bacil­lus pro­duces var­i­ous ben­e­fi­cial metabo­lites such as organ­ic acids, hydro­gen per­ox­ide and antibi­otics, which are effec­tive against oth­er path­o­gen­ic microor­gan­isms besides its growth.

Fig­ure below shows the physi­co-chem­i­cal prop­er­ties and micro­bial con­tent in a sam­ple of Pan­cha­gavya.


SVAROP Program at IIT Delhi

The Cen­tre for Rur­al Devel­op­ment and Tech­nol­o­gy is one of the most renowned cen­tres of IIT, Del­hi. Its aim is to become the out­reach cen­tre for sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy for rur­al prob­lem-solv­ing and improv­ing qual­i­ty of life by gen­er­at­ing more sources of liveli­hood. It has made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions and devel­oped “rur­al-friend­ly” tech­nolo­gies in areas like alter­nate ener­gy tech­nol­o­gy (bio­gas, smoke­less chul­ha, etc.), sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture, food pro­cess­ing, preser­va­tion and stor­age, bam­boo based sus­tain­able hous­ing, mush­room cul­ti­va­tion, waste man­age­ment, san­i­ta­tion, etc.

The cen­tre is the nation­al coor­di­na­tor of Sci­en­tif­ic Val­i­da­tion and Research on Panch­gavya (SVAROP) pro­gram of the Gov­ern­ment of India. This pro­gram will help in rein­stat­ing the cat­tle based rur­al econ­o­my sup­port­ed by crit­i­cal sci­en­tif­ic val­i­da­tion. [6]

As of now, IIT Del­hi has received 50 pro­pos­als from dif­fer­ent aca­d­e­m­ic and research insti­tutes to study the ben­e­fits of cow urine and milk under the SVAROP pro­gramme.

The gov­ern­ment has con­sti­tut­ed a nation­al steer­ing com­mit­tee (NSC) to ini­ti­ate the SVAROP pro­gramme. Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Min­is­ter Harsh Vard­han is the chair­man of the NSC and Vijay Bhatkar, the archi­tect of the Param super­com­put­ers, is the co-chair­man.

Vijay Bhatkar is linked to Vij­nana Bharati, pre­vi­ous­ly known as “Swadeshi Sci­ence Move­ment”, a Non Prof­it organ­i­sa­tion, work­ing for sci­ence pop­u­lar­iza­tion and imple­men­ta­tion of mod­ern tech­nol­o­gy and ancient sci­ences in India.

In Vastu Shastra (Indian science of architecture)

Vas­tu shas­tra is not just the sci­ence of archi­tec­ture, but about align­ing the ener­gies with­in the con­struct­ed space with cos­mic ener­gies by giv­ing the right dimen­sions, pro­por­tions, and ori­en­ta­tions to the build­ing, so that the indi­vid­ual expe­ri­ences peace and pros­per­i­ty while liv­ing in the space.

In India, peo­ple move in to a new­ly built res­i­dence only after it is con­se­crat­ed. Con­se­cra­tion is done essen­tial­ly to cre­ate an enhanced sense of life ener­gy, so that the peo­ple who live in the house nat­u­ral­ly move towards well-being. After a house is con­struct­ed, the space is con­se­crat­ed by per­form­ing a rit­u­al known as Gri­haprave­sha. Dur­ing the cer­e­mo­ny, Go puja is done, where a cow is brought inside the new­ly built house. The cow, along with her calf, are wor­shiped. Go puja removes vas­tu dosha and all neg­a­tive ener­gies in the liv­ing space.

In Indi­an homes, cow urine is sprin­kled to puri­fy the floor. The purifi­ca­tion is not just phys­i­cal but also spir­i­tu­al. The body of a cow is con­sid­ered holy because the ener­gies of Divine beings reside with­in her. The bha­va (feel­ing) that one has towards one’s cow is that of Sri Lak­sh­mi, the God­dess of pros­per­i­ty.

Cows and human beings have a close rela­tion­ship on mul­ti­ple dimen­sions – a per­son­al and inti­mate con­nec­tion in shar­ing emo­tions, being an inte­gral part of every house­hold, pro­vid­ing milk and ghee for the fam­i­ly mem­bers’ nutri­tion, pro­tect­ing them dur­ing famine, puri­fy­ing and con­se­crat­ing a liv­ing space, mak­ing the land fer­tile for farm­ing and thus pro­duc­ing healthy food, keep­ing pests under con­trol, pro­vid­ing a pow­er­ful ther­a­peu­tic to cure dis­eases, being an inte­gral part of the guruku­las and mould­ing stu­dents’ lives.

References

[1] Bakker, Gui­do & Nieuw­dorp, Max. (2017). Fecal Micro­bio­ta Trans­plan­ta­tion: Ther­a­peu­tic Poten­tial for a Mul­ti­tude of Dis­eases beyond Clostrid­i­um dif­fi­cile. Micro­bi­ol­o­gy Spec­trum. 5. 10.1128/microbiolspec.BAD-0008–2017.

[2] N. H. Sahasrabud­he; R. D. Mahatme (2000). Mys­tic Sci­ence of Vas­tu. Ster­ling Pub­lish­ers Pvt. Ltd. p. 68. ISBN 978–81-207‑2206‑4. Retrieved 6 Jan­u­ary 2015.

[4] Rand­hawa G. K. (2010). Cow urine dis­til­late as bioen­hancer. Jour­nal of Ayurve­da and inte­gra­tive med­i­cine, 1(4), 240–1.

[6]

http://crdt.iitd.ac.in/about.html

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