Question 1 - what do you mean by word AGHANYA? Why is holy cow considered as AGHANYA?

The word Aghanya is referred to the cow in many mantras of Vedas. The meaning of this word means, “not to be killed under any circumstances”.

All the world languages bear three types of words – Rudhi or orthodox words, Yogic or literal words and Yogrudha words. Rudhi are those words, which has no meaning they are only assigned to name anything. These words do not say about qualities of the object to which they denote.

Second word category is Yogic. They are based on qualities and the word itself denotes function or attributes. For e.g. take the word protector, it means those who protects- a protector can be a man, a dog, a horse anyone like them. This is yogic word as the word denotes its function.

With the passage of time the yogic word is fixed means they becomes partially rudhi and partially yogic then they are called yogrudha. For e.g. word jalaj means anything originating in water like fish, aquatic animals, plants etc. this is yogic word. With the passage of time this word is now used for lotus this is yogrudha word and if some one names his son by name jalaj then it becomes rudhi.

Similar pattern is seen with word aghanya also which literally means not to be killed under any circumstances. It can be a cow, horse, our parents etc. as it becomes yogrudha is now used for cow, as she is considered as most sacred or holy.

Someone will now ask a very simple question that why do you consider cow as sacred or holy. Answer is also very interesting. Although none of the animals should be killed as all have right to live in this world. We borrow milk from her as we borrow from our own mother. So, we should have love and affection towards her as we have towards our own mother.

The cow status is even above ordinary mother. If we watch birth of calf from a cow we will realize why cow status is above from an ordinary mother just after the birth cow forgets all her pain and bleedings and first starts cleaning her new born calf dirt, secretions, blood etc with her own tongue so that he must stand as early as possible. And then feeling that calf is hungry she starts her feeding as early as possible. There is only own thought in her mind that to save the calf in any way. Even if we see her later in life that she becomes restless to feed her calf at the time of feeding and does not sits quietly until her calf is hungry.

Every one clears dirt by hands or limbs but none uses his tongue as cow to clear the dirt. If we see ordinary mother they are laying in semiconscious state after birth and her relatives takes care of baby. She is not so eager to feed her baby or clean her baby. In this whole world

we will never find such example of love and affection.

This noble relationship is also said by almighty god as supreme example in the mantra of Atharva Veda 3/30/1 as “I remove all your jealousness and prejudices, unite your hearts. May you love each other as a cow loves her new born calf”

We should understand the great message of Vedas that god says all human beings to remove all dirt i.e. sufferings, hunger, pain etc. of each other and feed each other with happiness, prosperity, wealth etc. and this noble work should be done following the best example of mother cow and her calf.

Mother cow gives us message of bondage and affection. She gives us solution to end all sufferings of the world and that why she is known as aghanya or never to be killed under any circumstances.

Question 2.What are the evidences of word Aghanya for cow in Vedas?

Word Aghanya has been used in many mantras of Vedas.

1. (Atharv 7/73/11 or Atharv 9/10/20)

In this mantra cow addressed as Aghanya have been enjoined to keep themselves healthy by use of pure water and green gars so that we, who drink their milk, may be endowed with dharma, knowledge ad wealth.

Fortunate mayst thou be with goodly pasture, and may we also be exceeding wealthy.Feed on the grass, O Cow, through all the seasons, and coming hitherward drink limpid water.

2. (Atharv 9/10/5)

Cow or Aghanya is responsible for health and prosperity.

She, Lady of all treasures, hath come hither, yearning in spirit for her calf, and lowing.

May this Cow yield her milk for both the Asvins, and may she prosper to our high advantage.

Source- Hymns of the Atharv Veda, by Ralph T.H. Griffith

3. (Atharv 30/3/1)

Almighty gods removes all your jealousies and prejudices and unite your hearts. He says us to love each other as cow loves her new born calf. Freedom from hate I bring to you, concord and unanimity.

Love one another as the cow loveth the calf that she hath borne.

Source- Hymns of the Atharv Veda, by Ralph T.H. Griffith

4. (Rig 4/1/6)

In this mantra cow milk is compared with the splendor of god Excellent is the glance, of brightest splendor, which the auspicious God bestows on mortals- The God's glance, longed-for even as the butter, pure, heated, of the cow, the milch-cow's bounty.

Source-Rig Veda, tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith

5. (Rig 7/68/9) it is stated to get up before dawn, entertain noble thoughts and drink milk of cow to strengthen you. With his fair hymns this singer, too, extols you, waking with glad thoughts at the break of morning.

May the cow nourish him with milk to feed him? Preserve us evermore, ye Gods, with blessings

Source-Rig Veda, tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith

6. (Rig 9/1/9) it is stated that cow milk is of special benefit for children.

Inviolable milch-kine round about him blend for Indra's drink, The fresh young Soma with their milk

Source-Rig Veda, tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith

7. (Rig 9/93//3) it is stated that cow milk is for learned persons endowed with great intellects.

Yea, swollen is the udder of the milch-cow: thither in streams goes very sapient Indu.

The kine make ready, as with new-washed treasures, the Head and Chief with milk within the vessels Source-Rig Veda, tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith, [Mahabharata- Shantiparva 262.47 Cow is called ‘Aghanya’ and thus non-killable]