Idiom question

chuck grandgent chuck at CHUCKG.COM
Fri Jan 21 23:19:21 UTC 2000

Beverly Flanigan wrote:
> As a dairy farmer's daughter, I grew up thinking (maybe erroneously) that
> cows were never slaughtered for meat; only bulls and steers (castrated
> bulls) were.  The idea seemed to be that cows were too valuable to
> slaughter, precisely because they were needed (and valued) for milk,
> cheese, etc. as well as for calf-bearing--i.e., as Mothers.  (Bulls were
> valued too, for fathering, though their term of "service" was shorter.)  I
> don't know whether Hindus distinguish between male and female bovines in
> terms of slaughterability?  The basic problem in this country, of course,
> is that non-rural people no longer know the difference between cows,
> heifers, bulls, and steers!

No, the reasoning that the male is acceptable for slaughter is not
One commentator says
"The activities of Maharaja Pariksit are also wonderful because he
chastised Kali, who was attempting to kill a cow.  To kill cows means to
end human civilization.  He wanted to protect the cow from being killed by
the great representative of sin..."

In Hindu altar worship also, various tokens of the cow are used in the
service, such as a whisk made from the hairs of a cows, as a reminder of
this principle.

We even find the following:
"...All Vedic knowledge is infallible, and Hindus accept Vedic knowledge to
be complete and infallible.  For example, cow dung is the stool of an
animal, and according to smrti, or Vedic injunction, if one touches the
stool of an animal he has to take a bath to purify himself.  But in the
Vedic scriptures cow dung is considered to be a purifying agent.  One
might consider this to be contradictory, but it is accepted because it is
Vedic injunction, and indeed by accepting this, one will not commit a
mistake; subsequently it has been proved by modern science that cow dung
contains all antiseptic properties."

Whether this is in fact true I don't know, but it is a fact that Vedic
scriptures speak of cow dung in these terms.

> >So many Western perceptions of India are based on India as seen through
> >the eyes of the British colonials, including even the city names, which is
> >why "Bombay" within the last ten years has reverted to its true name of
> >"Mumbai", "Bombay" being an erroneous British mutilation of the name.
> Myanmar being another obvious example--the /m/-->/b/ pattern is evident,
> here and elsewhere?

I believe "Varanasi" is also now used more commonly in place of the previously common
"Benares".  Certainly since Indian independence in 1947 there has been a
definite trend in this direction.

   Chuck Grandgent

More information about the Ads-l mailing list